The Mark of the Beast
And he causes all both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave to be given a mark – the mark is the signature mark of the beast, who Daniel told us “shall intend to change time and law” (Dan 7:25). John lists the “economic groups” that will be affected by the mark. In John’s time, it was very difficult for a poor slave to rest on the Sabbath Day as God commanded, unless his master allowed it. Therefore, the commandment of God was written to masters, requiring them also to allow their servants to rest.
on the right hand or forehead – the mark against one’s forehead or right hand is a mark against the commandments of God, listed in Deuteronomy 5. In Deuteronomy 6:8, we read, “you shall bind them as a sign in your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.” This goes back to Exodus 13:9, “it shall serve to you as a sign on your forehead and a reminder on your hand that the law of the Lord may be in your mouth.” The law in this passage is in verse 6, “seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the Lord.” Here, we find the first Sabbath Day, as described in Deuteronomy 16:8, “Six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD your God; you shall do no work on it.”
The mark or scratch of the beast on all men is the violation of the commandment of God to rest on the Sabbath day. This mark was enforced on all men, beginning in the fourth Century. The Catholic Church proudly boasts that moving the day of rest from Saturday to Sunday is its mark:
“Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change [Saturday Sabbath to Sunday] was her act… And the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical authority in religious things” (H.F. Thomas, Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons).
“Sunday is our mark of authority… the church is above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact” (Catholic Record of London, Ontario Sept 1, 1923).
There are several clues that tell us the changing of the day of rest is “the mark”:
- Daniel said the beast would “intend to change times and law.” There is no greater representation of changing times and law (God’s law), than moving the Sabbath day from Saturday to Sunday.
- The timing given by John is the fall of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire began its fall in the Gothic War of 376 to 381. Sunday rest was first enforced in 364 AD, by a council at Laodicea, and its enforcement continued over the next centuries.
- Changing the Sabbath day is the only thing that would cause “all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave” (Rev 13:16) to receive a mark, since the Sabbath day was made for all men, and not only for the church.
- Satan’s attack is against those who have “the testimony” and “faith of Jesus” (Rev 12:17; 14:12). The keeping of God’s commandments was considered by the Apostles to be the most significant act of a Christian (1 Corinthians 7:19; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 5:2-3; Acts 5:32).
- If there is anything that would differentiate the Nations or Gentiles from those “who keep the commandments of God” (Rev 14:12) it is forsaking the rest of the Sabbath day.
- Revelation 14:11 tells that those who worship the beast, and his image and receive his mark, have “no rest day or night.”
- Keeping the Sabbath Day has always been the sign of the sanctified people of God: “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you’” (Exodus 31:13). Only those who keep God’s commandments can be sanctified by the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32).
that no one will be able to buy or sell except the one who has the mark– in other words, “no one can do business (on the Sabbath Day) unless they have the mark.” The same kind of a double negative riddle is found at Revelation 9:4, “they were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of the living God on their foreheads.”
the name of the beast or the number of his name – the Gentiles were called “beasts” throughout the Old Testament, eg. Hosea 2:18, Zechariah 8:10. The name of the fourth beast of Daniel is the “Latins,” as we shall discover in the next verse. The letters of the Greek,”Lateinos” add to 666.
The European States enforced Sunday rest through a barrage of sanctions, including fines, expropriation of property, and even imprisonment. These are comprehensively documented in Thomas Morer’s, “Discourse of the Lord’s Day,” published in 1701. Thomas proudly describes the history of these laws, on page 257, saying, “there are a great many cannons, decrees, edicts and laws..to let you see the Piety of all ages in this particular, and the care they had to have the Lord’s Day kept…I begin with Emperor Constantine…” Below are a couple of quotations from his book, that describe the fines and other penalties, given to those who worked on Sundays.
His book is filled with many testimonies of signs and wonders that attested to the keeping of Sunday rest. Just as John wrote, “he (the false prophet) deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the presence of the beast,” (Revelation 13:14).