The Mark of the Beast

(Exodus 13:9; Daniel 6:9-14; 7:25; Revelation 13:16-17)

The meaning of the mark of the beast can be found in the Book of Daniel. In Chapter 6, Daniel tells us about the law that cannot be changed. In Chapter 7, he says the beast would “intend to change time and law.”1Dan 7:25

The laws that cannot be changed are the Ten Commandments. In Acts 15, the apostles said that the Gentiles did not need to keep the law of Moses, but no one questioned the Ten Commandments. Paul said, “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of God’s commandments is what matters.”21Co 7:19 In his Epistles, John said that those who love God keep His commandments.31Jo 5:3

In the Book of Revelation, John told us that the beast would cause “all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to be given a mark on the right hand or forehead.”4Rev 13:16 These different economic groups reflected different abilities to rest on the Sabbath day. In John’s time, a Gentile slave could not rest on the Sabbath day unless his master allowed it.

The meaning of the right hand and forehead can be found in Deuteronomy: “You shall bind [the commandments of God] as a sign in your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.”5Deut 6:8 This was first commanded in 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.”

In the 4th century, the Catholic Church forbid rest on the Sabbath day and required everyone to rest on Sunday instead. John said, “No one will be able to buy or sell except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name [on his forehead or his right hand].”6Rev 13:17 In other words, no one can do business on the Sabbath day unless he has letters adding up to 666. The same kind of double-negative expression can be found in Revelation 9:4 — “The locusts were told not to hurt … any tree except the men who do not have the seal of the living God on their foreheads.”