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; in this Bible 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.
You will also notice that we have recently removed the word 'mark' and replaced it with the word 'brand,' because the Greek word is 'chargama,' which actually implies a raised lettering or a branding.
Found below are all the scriptures in Revelation that speak of the wild animals and their 'mark' or 'brand.' And if you really want to know what this means, you should read all the scriptures, because they clearly show who the beasts are, the things they will do, and what the branding represents.
We should probably start with Revelation 16:2 (although it's out of order), for it specifically mentions 'the brand of the wild animal (beast).' It says there, 'So, the first one went and poured out his bowl on the ground. At that, the men who had the brand of the wild animal and who were bowing low before its image broke out in very bad, malignant sores.'
Notice that those who have such a mark are bowing low before the image of the wild animal. So, that gives us our first clue… this branding involves worship or reverence.
But before we can understand what the Brand of the Beast is, we must first understand who the beasts are, and how people 'worship' them. Here is what the scriptures say:
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.
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. For more information on who each one represents, please see the Note, 'Wild Animals of Revelation.' 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).
Thereafter, all the governments of the world, along with those who have their 'brand,' 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. To understand why we have come to this conclusion, see the linked document, Gog of Magog.
However, before that battle, these beasts will all attack and destroy a former lover… an adulterous whore who 'ruled over the kings of the earth' (Revelation 17:18). Her name is The Great Babylon, and she could possibly represent all 'Christian' religions that have prostituted themselves by getting involved in the support of the 'beasts'. Why do we suspect this? Well, consider what the following scriptures say, then put them in context:
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). For more information, see the linked document, 'Armageddon – When?'
So, what is the brand 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 and bow low before beast-like 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 'branding' 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 it… so that will be a very difficult time for true Christians. And it is this period of persecution that immediately precedes the coming of Jesus. For as Jesus himself 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 'brand?' 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.' So, they will be gone forever.
As for those who don't receive the branding 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 bowed low before the wild animal or its image, and who hadn't received the branding on their foreheads or on their hands, 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 branding on their forehead and on their hand.' Thus they appear to be all those faithful virgins who are invited to the Lamb's wedding banquet!
Thereafter, all forms of corrupt human government will be gone forever, to the relief and joy of virtuous and righteous humankind.
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 'bowing before the wild animal and its image.'
Does 'The Great Babylon' have the brand? 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 the many global conflicts that have happened before and since. Few of these wars would 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 Beasts). So those religions that put worship of the wild animal over their love for God, His Son, and their spiritual brothers, have the brand.
Also, looking back in history, we can also see that those in Judea and Jerusalem in the First Century had the brand. 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 were branded.
Therefore, each of us should ask ourselves: 'Do I – and does the religion that I represent – have the same mark?'
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 doubt as to whom the Bible says the wild animals of Revelation and Daniel represent.
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