Revelation 13:16-18: The Mark of the Beast

He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666. (Revelation 13:16-18, NIV)

Christians can sometimes be very critical of how some Jews interpreted "tie them" and "write them" literally in the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). However, the same Christians often make this same mistake about the mark of the beast in this passage. The mark on the hand and forehead parallel the command in the Shema. Six is one less than seven, the number for perfection. Six was "man's number" or the human number. The word John used is the word for human being as opposed to the word meaning man as a male or a husband. Three stands for the Trinity. Thus, 666 means a man calling himself god or letting humanity be one's god. This is in contrast with the one God whom we are to love with our entire mind, soul, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

Many rulers such as the Pharaohs of Egypt and the Caesars considered themselves to be gods. We don't see much of this anymore with respect to individual rulers. However, a democratic version is very common. Many people have substituted humanity for God. Some people even believe that anyone can become a god. In the United States today from secular humanism to New Age religions, the majority of our society has handed the allegiances due God over to humanity and its ability. This is the tendency of the unregenerate human mind and heart.

The hand represents our actions and work. The forehead represents our mind. What is notably left out with respect to the mark of the beast is the reference to "the door-frames of your houses and on your gates" or any other reference to the family or children. The Antichrist will place little value on the family, what the door-frames represent.

The Antichrist will follow the temptations Satan placed before Christ. The Antichrist will be preoccupied with deceiving the people with miraculous signs (Revelation 13:13-15). He will emphasize taking care of peoples' physical needs. He will use governmental authority to force what he considers to be right upon the people. Controlling buying and selling is one example. Even today in many countries considered primarily Christian, Christians struggle with governments attempting to legislate immorality. This is the tendency of an unregenerate world, but why are so many Christians caught up in this same tendency?

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