A Mark of Allegiance

Over the past couple of years, there’s been a lot of talk about “the mark of the beast.” This refers to some type of allegiance-pledge to the antichrist, and the phrase is introduced in Revelation 13. With so much uncertainty in the world during COVID, a lot of confusion has been propagated about this mark. What is it really? Well, as always, let’s allow God’s Word to direct our understanding.

The first passage describes the work of the great false prophet:

“And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, , to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either 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 the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.” (Revelation 13:16-18)

A sobering passage, to be sure. However, we don’t need to be afraid that this could refer to any number of possible things. Notice that the text refers to the mark being “on their hand or on their forehead” (Revelation 13:16). Interestingly, this point is described again in Revelation 14:9 and 20:4. The Greek word translated as “on” means exactly that: “upon, on” “over,” and refers to “position” (G1909 Blue Letter Bible). Whatever the mark is, it is not a microscopic thing injected under the skin. It will be on the forehead or the hand, and the text seems to imply it is visible.

But maybe the mark is some kind of barcode. After all, Revelation 13 speaks of a number, right? Well, let’s look again. Revelation 13:17 clarifies that “the mark” is “either the name of the beast or the number of his name,” this beast referring to the antichrist. The emphasis here is on the name of the beast. And once again, other verses repeat this fact (Revelation 14:11; 15:2). Three times the mark is described as pointing to the name of the antichrist. Yes, there is a number of the name, and we are not exactly clear what that means. But what we do know—and this will be important to remember—is that the mark is tied to the name of the beast.

There is a third level of qualifiers to the mark. The overwhelming distinction of the mark of the beast is that it is tied to the worship of the antichrist (Revelation 13:14-16; 14:9; 11; 15:2; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4). The mark is not just an end of itself—it is a mark of allegiance and worship of the antichrist. This is why those who receive the mark will spend eternity in hell (Revelation 14:9-11). They didn’t just slip up and take something accidentally. Receiving the mark will be a choice to worship the beast, and people will know full well what is going on.

And this brings us to the real heart of the matter. There is another Name mentioned repeatedly in Revelation, a Name as good and holy as the antichrist’s name is pure evil. It is the name of God, and one day, all the redeemed will bear His name on their foreheads. Revelation 22:3-4 says plainly of the New Jerusalem, “The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.” Revelation 14:1 says that the name of the Lamb “and the name of His Father” will be on the foreheads of the 144,000 sealed from Israel. We will bear the name of God on our foreheads forever as we worship Him.

This is the root of the problem. Satan is a counterfeiter. He always tries to be “like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14). So if God will put His name and the name of Christ on the foreheads of His children, why should we be surprised if Satan imitates that with his antichrist and his own children? We will bear the name of God as a representation of our worship and belonging to Him, and the mark of the beast will do the same for those who follow Satan.

We cannot miss this. So many voices are on the internet these days stirring up fear and anxiety , unsettling dear saints of God. However, there is no need to be unsettled. There will be no “accidental” taking of the mark of the beast. Receiving that mark is part of the worship of the antichrist, and the choice to receive it will be one done in full consciousness.

So let us take courage. Whenever the mark does come, there will be no confusion about what it is. But also be encouraged that all true believers will one day bear the name of God on their foreheads. I believe it will be a visible sign will wear for all eternity. God has taken us to be His people because of His great love. No matter what difficult days lay between us and Christ’s return, He won’t abandon us. He will walk with us till He comes to take us home. Be encouraged, hold fast to Him, and keep looking for the day of His appearing.

Work Cited

G1909. Blue Letter Bible. https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g1909/nasb95/mgnt/0-1/

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