Return of the King // Part 4
He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. /// Revelation 13:16-18 (NKJV)
We have been in the midst of a series called, “The Return of the King”. In this study, we have discussed things like the Rapture of the church and other end time subjects like the Antichrist. Today, we’re going to continue by looking at another end time event of interest: the mark of the Beast.
Last Sunday, we studied the topic of the Antichrist. Revelation, chapter 13 describes him, along with other prophetic scriptures found in Daniel, the gospels, and the epistles. As we just read, one of the acts of the beast commonly known as the False Prophet will be the institution of a “mark” on the right hand or the forehead which will be a sign of allegiance to the Antichrist. This “mark” will also be required to buy or sell. What is this mark? There is a ton of speculation. With modern technologies now available it could be an invisible imprint, a microchip, a tattoo, you name it. Everyone is seeking insight into exactly what this is so that they will not “mistakenly” take the mark. Let’s look at the biblical definition:
The only other place in scripture that the same word for “mark” is used is in Acts 17:29 in Paul’s sermon at the Areopagus where said that God is not an idol of man’s making. Satan was not created in the image of God – man is. So, creative abilities are possessed by God and those who bear His image; Satan copies the things of God and perverts them. A “mark” recognizing someone spiritually and sealing their fate was instituted by the Lord. Look at this:
Then He called out in my hearing with a loud voice, saying, “Let those who have charge over the city draw near, each with a deadly weapon in his hand.” And suddenly six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his battle-ax in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen and had a writer’s inkhorn at his side. They went in and stood beside the bronze altar.
Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side; and the Lord said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.”
To the others He said in my hearing, “Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.” So they began with the elders who were before the temple. /// Ezekiel 9:1-6 (NKJV)
In this instance describing the coming judgment of Israel, God “marks” the foreheads of those who are truly His. Those who have the mark are spared. Remember Cain? God put a “mark” or a sign upon him so that he would not be killed for his sin. Do you think that these marks were visible? Some scholars believe that Cain’s “mark” was actually a sign to Cain that God’s word to him was going to come to pass. At the opening of the sixth seal of Revelation documented in chapter 7, an angel with the seal of the Living God said judgment would be delayed until the servants of God were marked on their foreheads. Chapter 14 of Revelation speaks of the same mark again – telling us it is the Name of the Father on the forehead.
Satan stole the idea of a mark because of his jealousy of God. The whole rebellion in the heavenlies, the plan of the Antichrist, the giving of a mark – all is out of a desire to be God and is a result of Satan’s rebellion and hatred against the One who created him in near perfection. Verse 17 of Revelation 13 tells us that the mark of the Beast and his name are connected. The number of the Beast is 666. 6 in the Bible is used for man and for sin and imperfection. 3 is the number for fulfillment. So, 666 is the number of the fulfillment of man’s desire to live as god and represents total depravity. Albert Barnes comments on Revelation 13:
The "number" is what is immediately specified, "six hundred threescore and six" - 666. The phrase "the number of the beast" means, that somehow this number was so connected with the beast, or would so represent its name or character, that the "beast" would be identified by its proper application. The mention in Revelation 13:17 of "the name of the beast," and "the number of his name," shows that this "number" was somehow connected with his proper designation, so that by this he would be identified. The plain meaning is, that the number 666 would be so connected with his name, or with what would properly designate him, that it could be determined who was meant by finding that number in his name or in his proper designation.
Don’t be afraid, you will not be able to ignorantly take the mark of the Beast because it will come with the pledge that you will serve him. Verse 15 of Revelation 13 tell us that all who refuse to worship the image of the Beast will be killed. Hopefully and probably, true believers will not even be confronted with this choice. You will already be gone to heaven. But, for those who are left behind because of a lack of submission to Christ remember this:
A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. /// Revelation 14:9-10 (NIV)
Join us next weekend as we continue this study of the return of our King by actually looking at the second coming of Christ.
- Revelation 13:16-18 (NKJV)
- Acts 17:29
- Ezekiel 9:1-6 (NKJV)
- Revelation 14:9-10 (NIV)
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