posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 02:23 PM
"Anyone not wishing to come under suspicion of behaving in a consciously negative manner will therefore render the 'Hitler-greeting'." German
I want to offer some thoughts on Revelation ch13 vv16-17.
I'm going to be asking the question; how can we know the "mark of the Beast"?
We've got the guidance of a number of clues in the chapter.
The first clue is the timing of the Mark.
The timing is very clear, and very important.
The first Beast, the world-state, comes to power in vv4-7.
The second Beast, the world-leader and antichrist, appears from v12.
Then the second Beast compels the worship of the first Beast (and acceptance of his own authority).
He's allowed to "give breath to the image of the Beast...and to cause those who would not worship the image to be slain".
It is at THIS point that he begins to require the Mark.
The obvious purpose is to identify those who are willing (or unwilling) to worship the Beast.
The context identifies it as a deliberate sign of loyalty.
The second clue is the location of the Mark.
"On the right hand or the forehead".
These places have symbolic meaning.
They are the places where God wanted his people to keep his laws- Deuteronomy ch6 v8
The Pharisees obeyed the command with phylacteries and scripture texts, but they were surely missing the point (this is one of the hazards of
I believe what God really meant was that he wanted his people to keep his Law at the forefront of their minds.
The implication of putting the Mark in the same place is that obedience to God has been replaced by obedience to the Beast.
(There's also the possibility that slaves were marked in this way to identify their owners)
So it isn't necessary to take the location literally- we can focus on the symbolic meaning that the Mark indicates a loyalty to the Beast which
replaces loyalty to God.
The next clue is the form of the Mark.
We're told that the Mark would be the name of the Beast or the number of its name. In theory, the latter would be "666". But is this plausible, in
practice, when the number itself is already so notorious? We understand that the second Beast would be someone claiming to be the returned Christ, and
he would surely want people to believe him. If he openly used the number 666, he would be advertising himself as an imitation. So nobody would apply
that number to him except his enemies (which would make it a dangerous graffito to paint on the walls).
So the point must be that "name or number" must link the wearers to the identity of the Beast, whatever that identity might be. I've expressed my
thoughts elsewhere about the kind of ruler that would be indicated by the number "666".
The fourth clue is the social effect of the Mark.
Since the Mark identifies the willing worshippers of the Beast, the absence of the Mark identifies the stubborn people who reject his claims. We're
told that they won't be allowed to "buy or sell".
In other words, they will experience a boycott. A well-organised boycott is devastating in its effects, as the eponymous Captain Boycott discovered.
It works by marshalling the social majority against a social minority (like the Jews in Nazi Germany), which makes it a perfect instrument of
The social effect of the Mark is that it protects people from this treatment, because it identifies tham as worshippers of the Beast and therefore
loyal members of society.
The final clue is the spiritual effect of the Mark.
The next time we meet the people wh were "given the Mark" is in ch14 v10, when we're told that they must "drink the wine of God's wrath". In
other words, God now identifies them as his enemies.
That follows naturally from the fact that taking the Mark involves choosing loyalty to the Beast, the enemy of God. So taking the Mark is a decision
against God, which God recognises as such.
But if the Mark is such a reliable indicator of loyalty that it can be decisive even in the eyes of God, there are certain conditions which it must be
able to meet;
The condition of voluntary loyalty (it can't be forced on you). Because if it could be imposed by physical force, then it would not be a
genuine test of your loyalty.
The condition of conscious loyalty (you must be aware of what you're doing). Because if it could be imposed by any kind of deception or
trickery, then it would not be a genuine test of your loyalty.
These two conditions together add up to the principle of "informed choice", as they call it in the medical world.
One of the implications of the second condition is a third condition;
The condition of timing (the Mark cannot be offered until there s a visible Beast to receive the loyalty). Which is precisely what we've
already discoverd in the passage, that the Beast came first and THEN enforced a symbol of loyalty to himself.
One of the further implications is that nobody has committed himself to the Beast if he innocently receives something which is later identified
as the Mark of the Beast.
I can illustrate the point by the analogy of the swastika. This was used in India for centuries before the Nazis, and Rudyard Kipling used to put it
on the covers of his books. I've got one in front of me now- The Jungle Book, printed 1932. There it is, on the front cover, next to an elephant's
profile. But the Indians and Kipling did not become Nazis by using the symbol. My father did not become a Nazi by receiving the book as a school
prize, and I don't become one (even now) by having it on my bookshelves.
In other words, there can be no such thing as accidentally receiving the Mark and giving your loyalty to the Beast.
We're now in a position to put together a defintion of the mark, which helps us to identify it.
I've established that the Mark is a sign of loyalty to the Beast.
I've established that it must represent a voluntary and conscious loyalty (since, otherwise, it would not incur the wrath of God).
Most interpretations of the two Beasts will apply the term "antichrist" to one of them (the second one, as far as I'm concerned), and the meaning
of the word "antichrist" is "someone who claims to be the returned Christ".
Therefore we can add that the meaning of the Mark would have to include the recognition of those claims.
Putting those components together;
The Mark of the Beast is that symbol or set of symbols which indicates a voluntary and conscious loyalty to the Beast and/or that world-leader
openly claiming to be the returned Christ
How do some of the current theories match up to these conclusions?
I believe one group is founded on the observation that "the Beast gives everyone a number", because they look to Social Security numbers and other
identity numbers. But the observation is inaccurate; everyone in the text gets the same number, because the Mark is there to present the name
of the Beast, not the names of the people wearing it.
In any case, identity numbers don't seem to pass the test of "conscious loyalty", because they're not distributed on that basis.
The same objection applies to most of the examples of "666" that can be found in different places (in so many different places, as I've observed
elsewhere, that they cancel each other out- it becomes impossible to choose between them).
As for the ingenious theory that the number 666 has been somehow encoded into the human body- that one obviously fails the test of "voluntary
Another group is founded on the observation that "the Beast controls who buys and sells". But that observation's inaccurate as well. The
restriction in the text is a way of penalising the stubborn believers, who are "behaving in a consciously negative manner". It is a means to an end,
not an end in itself.
Nevertheless, there are people finding the Mark in anything to do with trade and commerce, from Barclaycards to barcodes. But I must ask- do any of
these suggestions pass the test of "conscious loyalty" relating to a public individual resembling the Beast?
And I suppose I must consider the RFID chip, which brings in two themes at the same time- control of trade and identity numbers. Part of the anxiety
about the chip is the possibility that it might be made compulsory. But in that case, I should point out, it would immediately fail the test of
"voluntary loyalty". And it's not going to pass the test of "conscious loyalty", either, unless it's distributed in the name of someone openly
claiming to be the returned Christ. This is not likely to happen in the near future, so an RFID chip being distributed in the near future is not going
to be the Mark of the Beast, whatever else might be wrong with it.
Which brings us to one final point, namely the condition of timing.
I pointed out at the very beginning that the Mark would be distributed at a time when an antichrist figure with world-wide power would be enforcing
worship of the Beast and imposing the death penalty on those who refused to obey.
We do not have such a figure in the world at the moment.
Therefore it is premature to expect to see the Mark of the Beast.
Based on my previous definition, I'm going to offer this two-step method of identifying the Mark;
Step 1; Look around the world, and identify a world-leader openly claiming to be the returned Christ. That is the Beast, or one of them.
Step 2; Note what symbol he is using to identify those who accept his claim. That is the Mark.
If the steps are carried out in that order, and the second step is not even attempted until the first step has been successfully completed, then the
method is infallible.
[edit on 1-8-2010 by DISRAELI]