What Is the Mark of the Beast?

Explore the Mark of the Beast and What the Number 666 Signifies

The Mark of the Beast
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The Mark of the Beast

The mark of the beast is the sign of the Antichrist, and is mentioned in Revelation 13:15-18:

The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.

This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666. (NIV)

The Number of the Beast - 666

It seems there are as many interpretations of this passage as there are Christian denominations. Some believe these verses refer to a tattoo, a brand, or even a microchip implant. Theories also abound about the number 666.

When the Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation, about 95 A.D., numerical values were sometimes assigned to letters as a sort of code. A common theory about 666 is that it was the numerical total for the name Nero Caesar, a Roman emperor who persecuted Christians. Tradition says Nero had the Apostle Paul beheaded about 64 or 65 A.D.

Numbers are often used symbolically in the Bible, the number 7 representing perfection. The Antichrist, a man, has the number 666, which continually falls short of perfection. The letters in Jesus Christ supposedly total 888, which goes beyond perfection.

Recently, many claim that the implant of medical or financial electronic ID chips are the mark of the beast.

Others point to credit or debit cards. While those items may be an indication of what is to come, Bible scholars agree that the mark of the beast will be a recognizable sign of those who have voluntarily chosen to follow the Antichrist.

The Mark of God

The phrase "mark of the beast" is found only in the book of Revelation, but a similar mark is referenced in Ezekiel 9:4-6:

And the Lord said to him, "Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it." And to the others he said in my hearing, "Pass through the city after him, and strike. Your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity. Kill old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one on whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary." (ESV)

In Ezekiel's vision, he saw the people of Jerusalem struck dead for their wickedness, except those bearing the mark of God on their foreheads. The mark identified those who were under God's protection.

A Sign Versus a Seal

In the end times, the mark of the beast will be a sign to identify those who worship and follow the Antichrist. By contrast, those who worship and follow Jesus Christ will bear the seal of God on their foreheads to protect them from the coming wrath.

Bible References to the Mark of the Beast

Revelation 13:15-18; 14:9, 11; 15:2; 16:2; 19:20; and 20:4.

Also Known As

666, 666 the number of the beast, 666 Satan, 666 beast, beast 666.

Example

The mark of the beast on the forehead or right hand may be literal or may symbolize allegiance of thought and action to the Antichrist.

(Sources: New Bible Commentary, edited by G.J. Wenham, J.A. Motyer, D.A. Carson, and R.T. France; The Abingdon Bible Commentary, edited by F.C. Eiselen, Edwin Lewis and D.G. Downey; Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, Tyndale Bible Dictionary; ESV Study Bible; and gotquestions.org.)

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Zavada, Jack. "What Is the Mark of the Beast?" ThoughtCo, Apr. 10, 2017, thoughtco.com/mark-of-the-beast-700628. Zavada, Jack. (2017, April 10). What Is the Mark of the Beast? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/mark-of-the-beast-700628 Zavada, Jack. "What Is the Mark of the Beast?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/mark-of-the-beast-700628 (accessed May 25, 2018).