Mark of the Beast

All men who refuse to follow the Lamb will render homage to the Beast and take its mark – Revelation 13:16-18. The “False Prophet” uses the power of the “Beast” against anyone who refuses to give allegiance to it. Its “mark” is an economic tool. Commerce is the lifeblood of the EmpireLeveling sanctions against nations and peoples is its enforcement mechanism, which means deprivation and suffering for their victims.

All the “inhabitants of the earth” take the “mark,” and thus are legally authorized to engage in commerce. They willingly if not eagerly give their allegiance to the “Beast from the sea.”

666 Photo by Master Wen on Unsplash
[666 Photo by Master Wen on Unsplash]

In contrast, anyone who chooses to follow the “
Lamb wherever he goes” gives his allegiance to Jesus alone, and therefore, he is excluded from society’s economic life.

  • (Revelation 13:16-18) – “And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the bond, that they should give to them a mark on their right hand or on their forehead; and that no one should be able to purchase or to sell, except he that has the mark, the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom: he that has understanding, let him count the number of the beast, for it is, the number of a man; and his number is 666.”


The “mark of the beast” is also called its “name” and the “number of its name.” It enables some men to participate in the economy but also excludes others who refuse to render homage to the “Beast” – (Revelation 14:9-11, 15:2, 16:2, 19:20, 20:4).

If the “seal of God” is figurative, so is the “mark of the Beast.” By default, anyone who gives allegiance to the “Beast” has been “branded” with its “mark,” just as anyone who follows the “Lamb” receives the “seal of God” and has his Father’s name “inscribed on his forehead.”

Thus, the fundamental choice before every man is whether he will render homage to the “Lamb” or “Beast.” And if he chooses the latter, by proxy if not intent, he gives allegiance to the “Dragon” – (Revelation 7:1-3, 14:1-11).

The description of the “number of the beast” utilizes language found in Daniel when Nebuchadnezzar erected his great “golden image” and required everyone to “render homage” to it.

That passage is also the source for the number, ‘666,’ which is derived from the dimensions of that ancient idol (“Its height was sixty and its breadth six cubits”) - (Daniel 3:1-7).

For its number is also of man.” The Greek term anthrōpou is used here for “humanity” in general. The point is not the identity of an individual man, but the connection of the “number” to humanity itself.

Thus, the “number” shows the idolatrous nature of the Beast’s “mark.” Just as the “golden image” of Nebuchadnezzar was “his image,” so the “number of the beast” portrays humanity in its idolatrous religion, for the “Beast” demands the total allegiance that all men owe to God alone.


The “name of the beast” is just that – “Beast.” The book of Revelation employs the diminutive form of the Greek noun for “beast” - ‘thérion’ – and it corresponds to the diminutive form for “Lamb” used in the book or ‘arnion.’

This means that the “Beast” is an imposter, a false Christ, an imitation of the “Lamb.” But John’s vision makes clear that appearances can be deceiving.

The “mark of the Beast” is the satanic counterpart of God’s “seal.” Those who take it give their allegiance to the “Beast from the sea,” while those who receive the “seal of God” follow the “Lamb” who now reigns from God’s throne.

The former will find their names excluded from the “Lamb’s book of life,” while the names of the latter are “written” in it - (Revelation 14:1-5).


The Greek verb translated as “worship” or “render homage” is proskuneō, a compound of the preposition pros (“toward”) and the verb kuneō or “kiss.” The basic idea is “to kiss towards,” to prostrate oneself.

Derived meanings include “give obeisance,” “revere,” and “venerate.” It refers to the deference and honor paid to a superior being, whether human or supernatural. To “render homage” is to give one’s absolute allegiance, whether to God, Jesus, or the “Beast” - (Revelation 7:15, 22:3).

In chapter 13, two groups are presented: The “inhabitants of the earth” and those who “tabernacle in heaven.” Awed by the “Beast,” the first group “renders homage” to its image, demonstrating that “their names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb.”

The “slander” of the “Beast from the sea” is directed against those who “tabernacle in heaven,” identified as the “saints,” the group targeted for destruction by the “Dragon” and his earthy vassals, the same group seen standing with the “Lamb” on “Mount Zion” in chapter 14 - (Revelation 13:6-10, 12:12).

The “seal of God” identifies those who belong to the “Lamb.” They are not removed from the earth to escape persecution. Instead, they are “sealed,” and thereby equipped to persevere through it. Their identification with the “Lamb” excludes them from God’s judicial “wrath,” especially the “Second Death,” but not necessarily from tribulation and persecution - (Revelation 2:11, 7:1-3, 20:6).

The “inhabitants of the earth” that “render homage to the image of the beast” are “branded” with its “mark on their right hand or forehead.” Without it, none of them may participate in the economic life of society.  Anyone who refuses the “mark” is ostracized and suffers economic deprivation - (Revelation 13:11-14:5).

But the men who belong to the “Lamb” have “his name written on their foreheads.” They will find themselves before the “throne” and the “Lamb,” where they will “sing a new song” that no one else can learn, and they will know hunger and thirst no more.

If the “seal of God” is figurative, the same holds true for the “mark of the beast.” This is how the book of Revelation divides humanity into two groups.

God “seals” all who give their allegiance to the “Lamb,” but all those who give allegiance to the “beast” receive its “mark” and their names are excluded from “the book of life.” There is no third alternative, NO NEUTRAL GROUND. And this reality is made clear when the angel warns:

  • Anyone who renders homage to the beast and his image and receives its mark will drink of the wine of the wrath of God.”

To give allegiance to the “Beast” is tantamount to taking its “mark.” ALL who do so will partake of God’s “wrath” - (Revelation 14:9-11).

But the “saints” who “keep the faithfulness of Jesus” will overcome the “Beast,” and therefore, they will also be found “standing on the glassy sea” before the “throne” in “New Jerusalem.” In contrast to the “inhabitants of the earth,” they will participate in the “first resurrection” and “live and reign with Christ” - (Revelation 7:9-17, 15:2-4, 20:4).

So, how does one avoid taking the Beast’s “mark”? By “following the Lamb wherever he goes” and giving one’s allegiance to him alone. And doing so regardless of any suffering that choice might cause.