The Mark of the Beast
What is the “Mark of the Beast”? First, who is the Beast? The answer begins in the Book of Genesis. Genesis 3:1, (ESV) “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD (Yahoveh) God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Noticed that the serpent in Genesis 3:1 is referred to as the most crafty of the ‘beasts’. The ‘serpent’ in the Scriptures is a ‘beast’ who questions the authority of God's laws.
The first lie and deception in the Bible happened in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:4-5). The serpent (beast) told Eve that she could reject God’s command and convinced her that she would not suffer the consequences for her disobedience, “surely you will not die”. Doesn’t that sounds kind of like what we hear in our churches today, preachers say, ‘We are not under God’s law, so you can reject God’s commandments and you will not suffer any eternal consequences for that disobedience – "surely you will not die " for you are under grace. The Serpent’s ‘lawless’ teaching (his poisonous venom) began in the Garden of Eden and continues to this day. But as we saw in the Garden of Eden, and in Jesus’ teachings, such as Matthew 7:23 and 13:41-42, there are severe and harsh consequences for lawlessness – those who accept that teaching (poisonous venom) will die.
Then interesting enough we read in Acts 28:4 (ASV), “And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his (Paul) hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.“ In this verse, the Greek says that Paul was bitten in the hand (his writing hand?) by a ‘beast’, which translators agree it was a ‘venomous snake’, or a venomous serpent. The serpent’s venom is his lawless teachings, as Eve was inflicted with. So here, as in Genesis 3:1, we see the serpent, is a venomous snake, also referred to as a ‘beast’.
The same Greek word for ‘beast’, translated as ‘venomous serpent’ in Acts 28:4, is also translated as ‘beast’ in the Book of the Revelation. In the Book of Revelation, the ‘beast’ (i.e., venomous serpent) comes out of the bottomless pit (Rev 11:7) and that ‘beast’ (i.e., venomous serpent) deceives the whole world (Rev 12:9, 13:14) with his poisonous venom (his lawless teachings), just as it deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden. It says that the whole world wondered after the ‘beast’, that is they bought into his lawless teachings. And the whole world worships the ‘beast’ (Rev 13:4) by accepting the Beast’s authority over God’s authority. How does this happen? The ‘beast’ (Satan or the Serpent) is using the same lie (venom) he told Eve, "there is no consequences for being lawless and setting aside God’s laws" – “we’re not under the law, we’re under grace – so surely you will not die for being disobedient to God’s laws” they are told. But this is flawed thinking of the lawless who reject God’s law.
We know that those lawless ones who bought into the beast's lie are not under God’s grace, because Jesus said the lawless and unrepentant sinners will be destroyed (Matthew 7:23, Matthew 13:41-42, Matthew 18:8-9). God will only give His saving grace to “those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Exodus 20:6 and John 14:21,23). God will never give His saving grace to rebellious sinners who reject His authority, despise His word (Numbers 15:31) and ‘hate’ Him (Exodus 20:5).
A woman in Bible prophecy represents a church, or religious systems. Just as Eve (a woman) was deceive and passed on that deception to Adam, so the Church, passes on that deception to those in the church. Today the false churches, the great harlot and her daughters, are infected with the Serpent's venom of lawless teachings, which they are passing on to their members, just as Eve passed it on to Adam. And today, 'all the world' is deceived' and 'wonder after the beast'.
This false lawless teaching has spread so fast, because it is coming through religions – and people are by nature religious, therefore easily deceived by religious leaders. Our Christian religions tell us that we are not under the law, but under grace, so there is no need to keep God’s law – the people buy into that deception because they believe it’s a message from God – but it’s a message from the ‘beast’ – they are deceived - all the world is deceived. The ‘beast’ is Satan, and he is portrayed in the Scriptures as a “venomous serpent” – because of his poisonous lawless teachings that cause death. Serpent’s deadly venom, which he delivers by his mouth through the vehicle of religions, is his ‘lawless’ teaching and the result of receiving that deadly venom is a ‘lawless’ lifestyle leading to eternal death. The “Mark of the Beast” is that lawless lifestyle, after the victims receive the ‘serpent’s’ deadly venom which results in death.
And we see that lawless lifestyle everywhere in these ‘last days’ (2Timothy 3:1-5). Satan didn’t play dead very long, his deadly wound is healed. 2Timothy 3:1-5, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” In these ‘last days’ we see this lawless lifestyle and it might not be so prevalent if it was taught in the bars, drug houses, secular institutions and the prisons, but it’s being taught in our churches in these ‘last days”. Revelation 12:a, “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world ….” Revelation 13:3b, “….And all the world marveled and followed the beast”. And that deception is the same ‘lawless’ deception that he deceived Eve with. Jesus wondered if when he returns will he find faith on the earth.
What ushered in the ‘lawless’ teaching in the ‘last days’? There of course are many factors as to why the Beast’s teachings on lawlessness are so prevalent and easily accepted today, such as; Enlightenment, reason, science, prosperity, rationalization, higher education, secularization of the society, etc. And since we are by nature, self-centered and rebellious creatures, we look upon this lawless teaching as favorably, and with the promise of eternal salvation that goes along with it, that makes it pretty attractive. So this lawless teaching, that we can reject God's law and be saved by His grace, has gone into ‘all the world’ through ‘religions’ that are designed to appeal to the masses. There have always been lawless people around in the pagan world and among some wicked apostate people, but using the vehicle of religion to promote it, this lawless teaching has spread like wild fire. It was ignited by Catholicism when rituals and sacraments replaced the keeping of God’s law as a means of meriting God’s favor, then the Protestant Reformation fan the flames with their anti-law teachings and then it gained full speed with the advent of “dispensationalism”. (Is the false teaching that we are in an age of grace and the age of the law ended at the cross). Revelation 22:14 sinks that theory like the Titanic.
Revelation 13:3, “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.“ Satan’s head that issued the venom of lawlessness was healed by human centered religions, and the ‘world followed the beast’ through teachings and participation in these ‘lawless Christian religions’ – that aren’t really ‘Christian’ at all.
Revelation 13:12, “And he (religious leaders) exercises all the authority of the first beast (Satan) in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” And they ‘worshiped the beast’ by their acceptance and obedience to the ‘beast’ lawless teachings over God's commandment.
You’re saying, ‘Who would ever worship the Beast?’ People do it all the time. Here’s how; God is to be our supreme authority and as our supreme authority God has given us commandments, statutes and ordinances to keep. When we keep them, we are acknowledging His authority, paying Him honor, showing Him reverence, and that makes our obedience to Him an act of worship. However, when we accept a different authority, one that tells us that “we don’t have to keep God’s law(s)”, then we have placed that lawless authority over God’s authority, by obeying it and setting God’s law aside. The issuer of that lawless authority then becomes supreme authority and our god. So when we obey that lawless authority, by setting aside God’s commandments, it is an act of worship of that lawless authority, the beast, or false god. Obedience is an act of worship. Our true worship isn’t what we do in church/synagogues, it’s how we live our lives in obedience to our God (or god). Obedience to the Beast (living a lawless lifestyle) is to worship the ‘beast’. It is practiced in almost every church – though people think they are worshiping the true God –but they are not – they have been deceived. They don't even realize they are worshiping the Beast.
Jesus said, apart from obedience to God’s laws, your worship is in vain. (Mark 7:6-8). And God said, Proverbs 28:9, “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.” The ‘Christian Church’ has ‘turned its’ ear away from hearing God’s law’, and if Proverbs 28:9 is correct, their ‘prayers are an abomination’ to God’. And if Jesus is correct, they ‘worship God in vain’.
Simple logic will verify that the ‘Mark of the Beast’ is lawlessness, because those with the ‘Mark of the Beast’ have their final destination as “the lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Revelation 14:9-10, 19:20). That was also the final destination for the 'lawless' in Matthew 13:40-43. They both have the same final destination because they are the same group. Those with the 'mark of the beast' are those 'who practice lawlessness' and they are on the broad way leading to destruction.
The only other option for a final destination is the Kingdom of Heaven, or the ‘New Jerusalem’ and, according to Jesus, that’s only for those who ‘do the commandments of God’, and they will have the ‘seal of God’. (Revelation 22:14). But for those who will not do the commandments of God, or repent of their sins, they will have the ‘Mark of the Beast’ and will be cast into ‘the lake of fire burning with brimstone’.
The mark of the Beast identifies that person as the property of the Beast (Presumptuous sinners). They are property of the Beast because they obey the Beast and therefore worship the beast. yThey are lawless because the set aside one or more of God’s law(s). They do that because they are allowing the ‘Beast’s’ authority to supersede God’s authority, so the ‘beast’ is now their greatest authority, their supreme authority, so by definition the ‘Beast’ is their god, then to obey the beast is an act of worship – even though they profess to worship the true God and attend Christian Churches or Jewish synagogues.
The people with the ‘mark of the Beast’ are not all what we would call ‘wicked’ or ‘evil’ people, they are deceived people who may have rejected just one or more of God’s laws. They may keep 99% of God’s laws, and seem to be very nice and humble folks, but in rejecting even one law, they are rejecting God’s authority – in that one rejection they are saying ‘NO’ to God. They may be keeping 99% of God’s law, but that’s not because they are willfully and humbly submitting to God’s authority – which they don’t accept as supreme. They may be keeping many of God’s laws for some other reason (civil, social, religious, pretense, family, legal, etc.). That’s why James wrote, (2:10), “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point (1%), he is guilty of all (100%).” Because to reject just one law, shows that we are not humbly submitting to God’s authority – but we have spurned His authority, we are a rebel at heart – while believing ourselves to be a ‘good’ Christian, or Jew, and in good standing with the church or synagogue – even an elder or a pastor.
Revelation 13:16, “He (the Beast) causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads.” How did the Beast ‘cause all’ to receive the mark? By getting them to adopt a ‘lawless’ lifestyle and telling them, “Surely you will not die”.
Revelation 14:9-10, “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.”
Now here is some good news. Revelation 15:2, “And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.” Here we see those who came out of Babylon. It says that they overcame, or had victory ‘over the beast, over his image and over his mark, and the number of his name’. This means they too were part of the ‘lawless church’ called Babylon, they had the mark of the Beast and the number of his name, 666, but they came out of it, and ended up in God’s kingdom on the ‘sea of glass’. Praise God! There is still hope for all living people.
All people, before Judgment Day, will either have the ‘Mark of the Beast’ or the ‘Seal of God’ – it’s your choice. Since it’s those with the “Seal of God” that will be saved from God’s wrath, and they are also those who ‘do, or keep, the Commandments of God’. 'God loves those who love Him and keep His commandments’ (Exodus 20:6) and repent when they fail – they alone will receive God’s saving grace. You will either get the ‘seal of God’ (an unintentional sinner) or the ‘mark of the beast’ (a presumptuous sinner), it’s ultimately your choice.
1John 5:2-3, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” Love God and keep His commandments.
The Mark of the Beast is 'lawlessness'.
The lawless are not those who are as evil as possible, breaking every one of God’s laws every chance they get. The lawless are those who reject one or more of God’s laws. In rejecting even one law, a person has rejected God’s authority over them, they have spurned it, and have accepted some other lawless authority as supreme over God's supreme authority. Satan gets people to be lawless through deception, his deceiving lies, which is his poisonous venom that causes death.
Eve was first to fall for Satan’s (Beast) lawless deception, poisonous venom. Satan convinced Eve that she could set aside God’s law and convinced her that she could eat of the forbidden fruit and she would ‘surely not die’ – he even convinced her that she would benefit from eating that forbidden fruit. Eve became the first ‘presumptuous sinner’, presuming that she didn’t need to keep the law and presuming that there would be no negative consequences for breaking that law. Eve, accepted Satan’s authority over God’s authority. Satan become her supreme authority, until she later repented. Eve, in effect, worshiped the Beast by her obedience to the Beast. The same lawlessness is taught in our churches today, people are told that they don’t have to keep God’s Old Testament ‘law and prophets’ and they are told that they will ‘surely not die’. When people buy into those deceptive lies, they are worshiping the Beast instead of God. and, yes, Satan deceived all the world, and all the world wonders after the beast and worships it. Christianity has become lawless by rejecting Jesus’ words to keep of the Old Testament ‘law and prophets’ and adding laws of their own. Islam is also lawless for they have rejected many of the Old Testament laws and added laws of their own. Much of Judaism is lawless because they have created their own ‘Oral law’ of Talmud which add to and subtracts from God’s word. Deuteronomy 4:2, “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yahoveh your God which I command you.” Deuteronomy 8:3b, “man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of Yahoveh.” We read that Jesus repeats this command in both Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4, just to make sure that those reading the New Testament would understand that doing God’s ‘law and prophets’ is still God’s will.
In spite of the Great Falling Away, or Apostasy, there is good news, in Revelation 15:2 (NKJV) we read this wonderful verse, “And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.” In God’s kingdom, on the Sea of Glass, there will be people there who had the Mark of the Beast, and were living lawless lives, but who have ‘victory over his image and over his mark and over his name’. God called them out of Babylon and they heard the call and responded. They rejected the lawless teaching and submitted themselves to God’s supreme authority, keeping His ‘law and prophets’. They were 'overcomers'.
And yet, there is a group of people (the redeemed) who will not accept the church’s ‘false prophet’, or false teachings, the deception to be lawless. Revelation 14:3-4, “They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.” This 144,000 represents all of those who “were redeemed from the earth”. It says that they were ‘not defiled with women’. A ‘woman’, in the Book of Revelation, represents a religious system or church. The great whore (mother church - i.e., the Catholic Church) is the mother of her daughters (Protestant Churches) who are false churches. There is also one pure ‘woman’ robed in white, and that is the bride of Christ. But, here we see those who were redeemed were not defiled with the teachings of the false churches (women) and their false doctrines. Instead of following the churches’ lawless doctrines and lawless teachings, they are “the ones who follow the Lamb (Jesus) wherever he goes’. That is, they followed Jesus’ teachings, instead of Church teachings, and were redeemed, or saved because of it. But, the ‘many’, who followed the churches’ lawless teachings were not redeemed, they were lost. They were the same ones in Matthew 7 who were on the ‘broad way’, to which Jesus said, ‘depart from me I never knew you how practice ‘lawlessness’. And that all agrees with Revelation 12:17, 14:12 and 22:14 each of which tell us to keep the Commandments of God, if we wish to enter the New Jerusalem and eat from the Tree of Life.
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