4 Things to Know About the ‘Mark of the Beast’ According to the Bible
The “mark of the beast” is one of the many bible topics that give rise to varying interpretations. Many people speculate what it looks like, if it is at all an actual mark that is visible on a person.
The mark of the beast is a cryptic symbol mentioned in the New Testament’s Book of Revelation. It is said to signify allegiance to Satan or the antichrist and therefore indicates absolute evil.
There are disconcerting descriptions of how it may appear and/or how it is imprinted on a person. Many are convinced it is a number, others say it is an actual symbol or a physical mark, while some believe it to be a microchip that is implanted under the skin.
The mark of the beast is described in full detail in Revelation 13:16-18:
16 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, 17 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.
18 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.
It is no longer surprising to find conflicting interpretations of bible imagery and symbolism. So how do we know what this mark will truly look like? Will it really be seen on people’s skin like a sort of tattoo? Or is it more of a metaphorical expression?
Let’s break down the above passage into pieces and try to understand what it means. Here are four things that the bible could be saying about the “mark of the beast”:
- The mark of the beast can be literal or figurative.
First, we have to understand that the bible is a truly complicated piece of writing, especially the Book of Revelation given its symbolic nature. Therefore, it is not something that one can easily interpret and decisively given absolute meaning.
Still, people have been wondering if the mark of the beast is literally a graphic mark or symbol. This makes perfect sense.
Historically, in ancient Mesopotamia, it has been studied that brands and tattoos are inflicted on slaves as a sign of human or divine ownership. In fact, in H. W. H. Saggs’ The Greatness That Was Babylon, these marks are indeed, on the face or the back of the hand which is somewhat consistent to what was described in the passage above.
Yet, there is also the figurative interpretation. The mark of the beast is received on the right hand which is generally known as the dominant hand, and thus represents actions. Many think that the mark of the beast on the hand means that people will do things in accordance with the Beast’s will.
It is also on the forehead, which could mean thoughts, therefore, the way of thinking follows that of the Beast.
Arguably, both meanings have a point. But for some reason, many lean more towards the literal meaning of the mark which leads us to the next point.
- There is an economic implication
Many think that the number is a physiological mark on the skin like a tattoo, a chip implanted, or an RFID. This belief stems from the idea that the mark of the beast has an economic element in it: it is said in the scripture that no one could buy or sell without the mark.
No wonder the misinformation about the mark of the beast appearing in the form of the COVID vaccine. Conspiracy theorists spread this false rumor owing to the fact that some do lose their jobs or are refused passage to establishments due to vaccine refusal. In the Philippines, that seemed to be quite true to some extent.
But don’t worry: many publications already addressed this claim and proved it false. Religious leaders say that the COVID vaccine, or any vaccines, has nothing to do with the mark of the beast. The mark is a sign of allegiance to the beast and people are convinced that it cannot be taken unknowingly.
- It is known as the number 666.
Similar to the infamous number 13, the number 666 has been traditionally given a bad reputation. This is because some theologians literally associate the number 666 to the mark of the beast.
There could be truth to this given that it is explicitly mentioned in the passage, however, it is still a mystery to many. Revelation 13:18 particularly points out: “This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate…” which produced various interpretations as to how it becomes the number 666.
Some speculate that this has something to do with a date, something like June 6, 2006 (06/06/06).
Others do use math to compute it.
Gematria, a Jewish practice of assigning numbers to Hebrew letters is also a popular way of interpreting the bible’s 666. People are referred to by the “number of their name” instead of their actual name. For many centuries, the religious community has been using this method to compute numbers through letters of a name and identify individuals as the antichrist.
Other bible interpreters believe that the number six is the number of man. It is said to symbolize human weakness. Truly, man and woman were created on the sixth day; man labors for six days.
From this, they infer that 666 may mean that the mark is not something literal or noticeably seen. Instead, it is a result of human nature or following one’s own will rather than that of God’s.
- It is the opposite of God’s sign or Sabbath
The mark of the beast is also believed to be the mark of the antichrist. And with the antichrist literally countering Christ, it can be inferred that the mark is also the opposite of God’s sign.
In Exodus 31:12-17, it is said that the Sabbath is the sign between God and his people. The day of rest or seventh-day is commanded to be observed as holy to the Lord. In other words, it is dedicated to worship God and whoever desecrates it will be put to death.
Juxtaposed with the mark of the beast, God’s sign is the identifying mark of God’s followers — those who observe the Sabbath.
Indeed, it can be scary to think that an individual can be branded as a worshiper of the antichrist. It would be good to try to understand what the bible says and be wary about what the mark could be and how the “marking” will go about. But after all these centuries, perhaps we can only guess.