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The Mark of the Beast
Who are the ‘Beasts' of Revelation (or Apocalypse) and what is their ‘mark?' The answer is obvious, but most religious people simply don't choose to believe it.
As you will notice; we have used the words wild animals to translate the Greek word theriou (pronounced thay-ree-ow). However, in other Bibles this word is translated as beast or wild beast. The reason why we have done this is because the Greek word actually means prey, or that which is hunted, to distinguish them from the ‘clean' domestic animals such as sheep or cows. So, theriou refers to all wild animals, not just those we would think of as beastly.
What the Bible Says.....
Found below are all the scriptures in Revelation that speak of the wild animals and their ‘mark.' And if you really want to know the true answer to what the mark means, you should read all the scriptures, because they clearly show who the beasts are, the things they will do, and what the mark represents.
We should probably start with Revelation 16:2 (although it's out of order), for it specifically mentions ‘the mark of the wild animal (beast).' It says there, ‘So, the first one went and poured his bowl on the ground. At that, the men who had the mark of the wild animal and who were worshiping its image, broke out in very bad, malignant sores.'
Notice that those who have the mark are worshiping the image of the wild animal, so that gives us our first clue. The mark involves worship of the wild animal.
But, before we can understand what the Mark of the Beast is, we must first understand who the beasts are, and how people ‘worship' them. Here is what the scriptures say:
Revelation 11:7 says, ‘And once they (the two witnesses) have finished their witnessing, the wild animal that comes out of the pit will fight against them,
conquer them, and kill them.
Revelation 13:1, 2 says, ‘Next, I saw a wild animal coming up out of the sea, which had ten horns and seven heads. On its horns, there were ten royal turbans and on its heads were blasphemous names. Now, the wild animal that I saw looked like a leopard, but it had feet like a bear and a mouth like a lion. And the dragon gave it power, a throne, and great deal of authority.'
Revelation 13:3, 4 says, ‘Then one of its heads looked like as though it had been slaughtered and killed, but this deathblow had been healed. And the whole earth started to follow the wild animal admiringly. They worshiped the dragon because it gave the wild animal its authority, and they worshiped the wild animal, saying, Who is like the wild animal and who can stand against it?'
Revelation 13:11, 12 says, ‘Then I saw another wild animal coming up out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it started talking like a dragon. And it had complete authority over everything that it saw the first wild animal doing. However, it made the earth and everyone who lives on it worship the first wild animal whose deathblow was healed.'
Revelation 13:14, 15 says, ‘It (the two-horned wild animal) misleads those who live on the earth by signs that it was allowed to perform in front of the wild animal. And it tells those who live on the earth to make an image to the wild animal that survived the sword stroke. Then it was allowed to give breath to the image of the wild animal, so the image could speak and cause everyone who wouldn't worship the image of the wild animal in any way, to be killed.'
Revelation 13:16-18 says, ‘It also forces everyone, the small and the great, the rich and the poor, the free and the slaves, to receive a mark in their right hand or on their forehead. So, nobody will be able to buy or sell except people who have the mark, which is the name of the wild animal or the number of its name. This is where wisdom is required: Let those who are smart enough, calculate the number of the wild animal. It's a man's number, six hundred and sixty-six.'
Revelation 14:9, 10 says, ‘If anyone worships the wild animal and its image and they receive a mark on their foreheads or on their hands, he will also have to drink of the pure wine of God's rage that is being poured into the cup of his anger. And that one will be tortured with fire and sulfur where the holy messengers and the Lamb can see it.'
Revelation 16:10 says, ‘Then the fifth [messenger of God] poured his bowl out on the throne of the wild animal. So, its whole Kingdom became dark and the [people] were biting their tongues in pain.'
Revelation 16:13, 14 says, ‘At that, I saw three frog-like, dirty inspirations come out of the mouths of the dragon, the wild animal, and the false prophet. They were the inspirations of demons and they serve as signs. These [inspirations] went to all the kings of the earth to bring them together for the war of the Great Day of the Almighty God (Armageddon).'
Revelation 17:3 says, ‘There I saw a woman (The Great Babylon) who was sitting on a scarlet-colored wild animal that was covered with blasphemous names. It had seven heads and ten horns.'
Revelation 17:7, 8 says, ‘I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the wild animal that she is riding with the seven heads and the ten horns. The wild animal that you saw was, but it isn't. Yet it is about to come out of the pit and go off into destruction. And when they see the return of the wild animal that was but isn't, those who live on the earth will marvel at it. However, their names haven't been written in the Scroll of Life since the founding of the world.'
Revelation 17:9-11 says, ‘The seven heads are seven mountains that the woman is sitting on. And there are seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other hasn't arrived yet. But when he gets here, he will only be allowed to stay for a little while. However, the wild animal that was but isn't, is an eighth king that comes from the seven, and it goes off into destruction.
Revelation 17:12-14 says, ‘Now, the ten horns that you saw represent ten kings who haven't received a Kingdom yet, but they will be authorized to be kings for one hour with the wild animal. However, they will just have one idea in mind: To give their power and authority to the wild animal. And they will fight against the Lamb.'
Revelation 17:16-18 says, ‘And those ten horns, as well as that wild animal that you saw, will hate the prostitute. They are going to take away everything she has, leaving her naked. Then they will eat her flesh and burn [what's left] in a fire. You see, God put [this idea] into their hearts to do what he thinks she deserves. And he gave them the idea to hand their Kingdoms over to the wild animal, so that whatever God says will be fulfilled. Now, the woman that you saw means the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.'
Revelation 19:19, 20 says, ‘At that I saw the wild animal, along with the kings of the earth and their armies, all gathered together to go to war against the one who was sitting on the [white] horse and his [heavenly] army. Well, the wild animal was captured, as was the false prophet that performed the signs in front of it, which he used to mislead those who received the mark of the wild animal, and those who worshiped its image. While they were both still alive, they were tossed into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.'
The Prophecies of Daniel
Although we feel that there is an abundance of plain evidence in the scriptures in Revelation (above) to show exactly who the Beasts of Revelation are, as another step of clarity, let's refer to the prophecies in the Bible book of Daniel, to see how similar wild animals are described there.
Daniel 7:1, 2 says, ‘I Daniel looked and saw the four winds of the sky blowing violently over the great sea. Then four huge wild animals came out of the sea,
and they were all different.'
Daniel 7:4 ‘The first looked like a female lion...'
Daniel 7:5 ‘The second wild animal looked like a bear...'
Daniel 7:6 ‘Then I saw another wild animal that looked like a leopard...'
Daniel 7:7 ‘Then I saw a fourth wild animal that was awful, fearsome, and strong...'
Daniel 7:17 ‘These four wild animals are four kingdoms that will arise on the earth.'
Daniel 7:24 ‘And his (the fourth wild animal's) ten horns are ten kings that will arise...'
Daniel 8:3 ‘I raised my eyes and saw a ram...'
Daniel 8:5 ‘As I was thinking about this, I saw a billy goat...'
Daniel 8:20 ‘The ram that you saw that had the horns is the king of the Medes and Persians...'
Daniel 8:21 ‘The billy goat that you saw is the King of Greece...'
The Wild Animals
So, who are the wild animals of both Daniel and Revelation? They obviously picture outstanding world governments (kings) that will have an impact on God's faithful servants. But, first notice that they are not God's friends, for they get their authority to rule from the ‘Dragon,' who is Satan, the Devil, the Slanderer, the Opposer, or Beelzebub (Revelation 13:11, 16:13).
Then notice that the kings of all the nations of the world are included among these wild animals and all will fight against God in the final Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:13, 14).
Then all the governments of the world, along with those who have their ‘mark,' will be destroyed (see Revelation 19:20).
Is ‘the beast' the same group of nations that are described in Ezekiel as ‘Gog of Magog?' We think not. However, before that final battle, these beasts will all attack and destroy a former lover, an adulterous prostitute who ‘ruled over the kings of the earth' (Revelation 17:18). Her name is The Great Babylon, and she obviously represents all ‘Christian' religions who have prostituted themselves by getting involved in the support of political governments (the ‘beasts'). How do we know? Well, consider what the following scriptures say, then put them in context:
Revelation 17:8: ‘And when they see the return of the wild animal that was but isn't, those who live on the earth will marvel at it. However, their names
haven't been written in the Scroll of Life since the founding of the world.'
Revelation 13:3, 4: ‘And the whole earth started to follow the wild animal admiringly. They worshiped the dragon because it gave the wild animal its authority, and they worshiped the wild animal.' (Notice that worship of governments is depicted here as Devil worship.)
James 4:4: ‘Adulteresses, don't you know that if you are a friend of the world, you are an enemy of God? So, whoever wants to be a friend of the world is putting himself down as God's enemy.'
Then contrast these actions to the description of the faithful (as described at Revelation 14:4): ‘These didn't dirty themselves with women. In fact, they are virgins who keep following the Lamb no matter where he goes. They were bought from mankind [and offered] as the first fruitage to God and to the Lamb.'
And note that this destruction of The Great Babylon seems to be represented by the destruction of Jerusalem (an adulterous religious group that claimed to represent God - see Matthew 12:39).
The Mark of the Wild Animal
So, what is the mark of the wild animal? It doesn't appear to be a literal mark that people can actually see, as many religions have taught. For example, a religion once claimed that the mark is the triangular slow-moving-vehicle sign that local governments asked their members to put on their horse-drawn buggies. However, the mark on the ‘hand and forehead' that is mentioned at Revelation 13:16 seems to represent a demonstrated willingness to show support for beastlike governments both mentally and physically. And the number six-hundred and sixty six (which is described as ‘a man's number') appears to represent the corruption and imperfection of human rule.
But, no matter what forms this ‘mark' may take before the imminent destruction of adulterous religion, we know that those who are faithful to God (the ‘virgins') won't be able to ‘buy or sell' without that mark, so it will be a very difficult time for true Christians. And it is this period of persecution that immediately precedes (and results in) Armageddon. For as Jesus said at (Matthew 24:22), ‘And if those days aren't cut short, nobody will be saved. But because of the elected, those days will be cut short.'
What is the fate of those who have the ‘mark?' Well, we've learned that their names aren't written in ‘the book of life,' they will ‘drink from the cup of God's rage,' and they are thrown into ‘the lake of fire' (probably at Armageddon), and they will be gone forever.
As for those who don't receive the mark and who the prophecies say are to be persecuted and ‘conquered' because of this, the Bible says (at Revelation 21:4), ‘Next, I saw thrones. Those who were executed with axes for testifying about Jesus and telling about God, and those who hadn't worshiped the wild animal or its image, and who hadn't received the mark on their forehead and on their hand, sat down on them, and they were appointed judges. They came to life and ruled as kings with the Anointed One for a thousand years.'
So, notice that this righteous group includes all those who ‘hadn't worshiped the wild animal or its image, and who hadn't received the mark on their forehead and on their hand.' Thus they appear to be all those faithful virgins who remain on the earth and are invited to the Lamb's wedding banquet!
Then all forms of corrupt human government, along with their patriotisms and national pride, will be gone forever, to the relief and joy of virtuous and righteous humankind.
Who Has the Mark?
These scriptures in Revelation and Daniel make it obvious who has the mark. It is those Christians (especially) who say they are chaste (spiritual) virgins and claim to be part of ‘the bride of the Lamb' (see Revelation 19:7, 8). However, they are unfaithful to their true King (and betrothed), Jesus, and they have committed spiritual adultery by putting their love for the ‘wild animal' (political governments) over their love for him and their love for their brothers. In fact, they have started ‘worshiping the wild animal and its image.'
Does ‘The Great Babylon' have the mark? She surely does, because of her close ties to the wild animals. And that is why God will put it into the hearts of the wild animals to ‘eat her flesh' and ‘burn her with fire.'
So, just who are we really talking about here, and what are they doing? Well, consider World Wars I and II, and even the American Civil and Revolutionary Wars, and throw in the War of 1812 and the Spanish-American War if you wish. None of these wars would ever have happened if all who called themselves ‘Christians' had put their love of brother and God ahead of their love of politics and country (the Beast). So, those religions that put worship of the wild animal over their love for God, His Son, and their spiritual brothers, have the mark.
Those in Judea and Jerusalem in the First Century had the mark. For when Pontius Pilate asked them (at John 19:15) ‘Shall I hang your king on a pole?' Their leaders answered ‘We have no king but Caesar' (the wild animal of Daniel 7:7). Then that same wild animal attacked them and burned their city. So yes, they had the mark.
So each of us should ask ourselves: ‘Do I... and does the religion that I represent... have the mark?'
The answer may be found in our reply to the question: ‘If your country should go to war with another country where your brothers lived, would you support your brothers or your country... which is truly first; our love of God and our brothers, or our love of the Beast?'
And while that question may sound very ethereal to all those who find the Bible ‘impractical,' the answer is easy to understand, for there is no question as to whom the wild animals of Revelation and Daniel represent.