The Mark of the Beast? Is it just about the Pope and the Catholic church?
A Bible study put together by my husband and I, and a friend.
When entering into this topic it’s important to remember that what God has set up Satan always has a counterfeit. How does this manifest with the Mark of the Beast? Well the opposite of the Mark of the Beast is the Seal of God. Let’s see what Scripture says about these two things.
Typically when people start researching this topic of the Mark of the Beast and the Seal of God they go to Revelation, which describes the Mark of the Beast as such. So let’s start there in Revelation 13:15-18: 15 “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six.”
Important rhetorical question! What is the Mark of the Beast? Is it a literal thing or a spiritual thing?
Well let’s see what God’s Seal is so as to compare. Revelation 7:2-3: 2 “And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.” And again in Revelation 9:4, “They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.”
Keep in mind that when the apostles and Christ walked the earth, they did not have a New Testament. So by default what were they reading and studying their whole lives? What was the foundation behind their word usage, terms, and definitions/context? The Old Testament. So we need to look there to understand what this seal of God on the forehead was all about.
Important rhetorical question! Why does the mark of the beast mention forehead and right hand and the Seal of God only mention forehead? Let’s find out!
There are places in the Old Testament that refer to the foreheads and hands of God’s people. Here are the verses with some context for a fuller picture. Deuteronomy 11:13-21: 13 “So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. 16 Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. 17 Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut up the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you. 18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.”
So what “words” is God referring to when it comes to tying something to their hands and their foreheads? I believe this question is answered in the same place of Deuteronomy 11:1. We see He is referring to verse 1 “Love the Lord your God and keep His requirements, His decrees, His laws and His commands always.” And again in verse 8 “Observe therefore all the commands I am giving you today…” which was defined in the 1st verse of Deuteronomy.
So according to these verses so far it was God’s requirements, His decrees, His laws and His commands that He wanted them to keep always, and to “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” So are we supposed to have literal bundles of His commands, degrees, and laws tied to our foreheads and hands?
To answer this question we have to go a bit deeper in to the original language of the Bible which was HEBREW. When looking at the verse with the Interlinear Bible 1 it paints a different picture. The word qâshar for the English word tie means “a primitive root ; to tie, physically (gird, confine, compact) or mentally (in love, league) :– bind, bind up, conspire, make a conspiracy, conspirator, join together, knit, stronger, work treason.”
Sometimes in the Hebrew language a word loses some of its meaning when it is transferred to another language. Our English words don’t always give full meaning to what the original intent of the Hebrew language was for some words. So our translators did their best but much is lost in translation. I believe this is a verse that they really struggled to translate. How to you explain to a blind person what color is? So then how do you communicate from one language to another the action of a mental process? Very difficult!
The verse talks about fixing the words in their hearts and minds and then talks about binding them on their hands and on their foreheads, then making sure they talk about them and teach them to their children every day. Is it possible that this binding on could be a continuation of the instructions of keeping them on their mind, a mental process, and uniting together to learn them, practice them, and act them out with their actions or hands? Let’s see if Scripture brings this theory together for us?
In Jeremiah 31: 33 we find similar thoughts. 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” If heart surgery is done after God does this, theoretically speaking, would we see literal writing tattooed or engraved into their hearts? Of course not! This is a spiritual thing, a process of God placing the full knowledge and understanding of His Law in their hearts so they know between right and wrong.
Looking also at the Seal of God being on their foreheads (Revelation 7:3; 9:4), in Greek according the Interlinear Bible again shows this word could mean a number of different things including “into.” But in accordance to the last verses we have gone over, it says that it should be more of an internal thing or sign, not an external sign. “I will write it on their hearts” but it really means in their hearts. Could it be the same thing here?
One final example of misunderstanding a spiritual thing for a literal thing is explained by Jeremiah Gordon, a scholar of the Hebrew language, the Torah, and has the background of being raised an Orthodox Jew. When discussing the topic of placing God’s Laws between the eyes and on the hands he has also found that many have misunderstood the meaning of the original language in this topic.
He explains, “Popular legend has it that the Karaites, and the Sadducees before them, interpreted the words ‘and they shall be for Totafot between your eyes’ literally and as a result wore Tefillin (Phylacteries) right above their noses….” (Phylacteries are little black boxes that contained the words of God in the Torah that they would tie to ther heads and which were located between the eyes right above the nose). “The phrase which allegedly commands the donning of Tefillin appears four times in the Torah (Ex 13,9; Ex 13,16; Dt 6,8-9; Dt 11,18). It should be noted that the difficult word “Totafot” which the Rabbis arbitrarily interpret to mean “Tefillin”, actually means “Remembrance”. This is clear from Ex 13:9 (one of the four “Tefillin” passages) which substitutes the word “Totafot” with the equivalent but more familiar “Zicharon” (Remembrance).
Upon closer examination it becomes clear that this phrase is a figure of speech and not a command at all. The brilliant Rabbanite commentator Rashbam (Rashi’s grandson) was wise enough to realize the true meaning of this expression. Commenting on the verse ‘And it shall be for a sign upon your hand and a remembrance (Zicharon) between your eyes’ he writes:
‘For a sign upon your hand‘ According to its plain meaning (Omek Peshuto), ‘It shall be remembered always as if it had been written upon your hand’ SIMILAR TO ‘he put me as a seal upon your heart’ (Cant 8,6). ‘Between your eyes‘, like a piece of jewelry or gold chain which people put on the forehead for decoration’ (Rashbam on Ex 13,9)’ “ 2
The Seal of God can be contrasted to the Mark of the Beast in the following verses. See the distinction between the two. “11″And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. 12 Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.” (Revelation 14:11-12). So the first group chose to worship (pledge allegiance to) the beast, his image, and surrender to the mark, which is the beast’s name. Also it is shown that they are able to buy and sell because they did this. (Revelation 13:7).
Important rhetorical question: If the mark of the beast was literal, couldn’t they round up God’s people, drug them, or knock them out, and forcefully give them the mark of the Beast i.e. microchip, tattoo, etc.? Wouldn’t it make more sense that if something was to decide someone’s eternal fate in heaven or hell, like taking or rejecting the Mark of the Beast, that they would have to willingly do something or deny something, that it couldn’t be forced upon them without their consent?
Be careful of this trick. If the mark of the beast is a trick, people thinking it is a literal thing that they are mentally preparing to reject, something obvious like the microchip, they could overlook the simplicity and spiritual seal of God with their focus on the literal counterfeit of the devil.
Back to the comparison between the mark of the beast and the seal of God in Rev. 11-12. The second group kept or did not compromise to the enemies’ demands but obeyed God’s commandments and held to their faith in Jesus. The good group is again described in this way in Revelation 12:17 “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
So it seems to me that the Seal of God is written in their minds. They therefore have the knowledge of God’s commandments and live the life that shows the works and fruits in their life. They are mirroring the mental assent to God’s ways and the actions prove their knowledge. This is also known as “and they that worship him must worship him in spirit (character/fruits/actions) and in truth (mental assent).” (John 4:24).
When the beast rises up in power His goal will be to get God’s people to break God’s commandments. This goes along with the SDA’s understanding of how the Pope will be trying to force a Sunday Law on everyone. But ultimately it comes down to will God’s people choose to follow ALL of God’s commandments by knowing them (seal on/in the forehead) and proving their knowledge of them with the fruit of their hands in what they do. So be careful to place a lot of emphasis on one commandment as being the mark of the beast because this could mean the oversight of God’s other commandments.
I believe the Seal of God was supposed to describe both the forehead and the hands but the translators left out the hands part. How else would the devil have the counterfeit mark on the forehead and the hands if the hands were never a part of the dynamics to begin with? Clearly something is missing in Revelation because we have and can see in the verses covered in the beginning of the study, binding them on the forehead and the hands (in the spiritual sense.)
If the devil has a counterfeit plan for the seal of God and the Real Mark of the Beast, it would make a lot of sense for him to have an obvious false mark, something literal like a microchip or tattoo that most people are looking for. Then it would be easy for them to overlook the real mark of the beast. Scripture has already explained what the real mark will be, “to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 …or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” But does this have to be limited to a literal visual mark? Could it possibly be an action that demonstrates if they are ready to forsake life, even food, if it means staying true to God’s ways? Someone’s actions can be proof for or against them just as much as a literal mark. What if this action that shows they are for the Beast was to break one of God’s commandments?
This might be easier than it sounds. For example, most Christians today believe that the Commandments, other than the 10 commandments and the laws of tithing, have been nailed to the cross. If this is you and the Mark of the Beast is received after breaking God’s commandments, will you not be in danger if you have been raised to believe only the 10 matter, and therefore don’t even know or study the other Laws? See how easy it would be for you to commit a sin against God’s Laws and not even know it? And it would also be just as easy to fall into the trap that many of the churches are teaching today about submission to the governments Laws of the Land, according to Romans 13, even if it seems to go against God’s Laws.
If you grew up believing that you have to submit to the government and every law of the land, and that this is God’s will for you, I think you need to ask yourself some very important questions. Below has been written by Keith Franks.
“Do you think Romans 13 is saying to submit to a governments’ ungodly laws?
Do you think God was saying you should always pay taxes because “…Jesus answering said unto them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s’…”? (Mark 12:17).
Are we to fund terrorists?
Do you pay taxes?
What will you do when your government tells you to give up your guns?
What does God think when people say what’s good is bad and what’s bad is good?
Does GOD tell us to support people or (governments) doing evil?
The USA’s Founding Fathers’ would be ashamed of all the good men NOT doing nothing, 3 but funding a wicked, corrupted and tyrannical government!
Do you think Britain was any better back in 1776 than the USA is now?
Our Founding Fathers’ didn’t have the indoctrination of the 501c3 (government controlled) church telling them God says submit to your government.
Did the good men back then do nothing?
Did they pay their taxes or abide by the laws; or did they risk everything to fight against tyranny?
Did Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego submit to their government?
What would you do if your government told you to kill Jews?
“Our Founding Fathers’ insured that if the USA became tyrannical it would be power without legal right!”
Where are all the good men now?”
Important rhetorical question: If the laws of the land are against God’s Laws and the constitution (which the Founding Fathers wrote based on the principles of the Bible), do you really think it is God’s will to submit to the government we have today? Doesn’t Scripture say, “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’”? (Acts 5:29).
Be careful because by showing submission to the ways of the world, ultimately Satan himself, which have and will continue to heavily influence the government we have today, you will inevitably be aligning yourself to be a part of the wrong kingdom. Remember what the seal of God is, those “…which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Joshua 24: 14-15 ” 14 Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
I know this brings up a lot of thoughts like, wait, the Law was nailed to the cross, and what about sacrifices? More bible studies soon to follow on those topics. 🙂 So stay tuned!
A great follow up message taught by Chuck Baldwin, “Romans 13: The True Meaning of Submission”
1 (For more info about the Interlinear Bible it has the words in Hebrew and English, gives you a word and you look that word up in the concordance. http://biblehub.com/interlinear/ )
3 Edmond Burke