The Book of Revelation – Chapter 31 (The Mark of the Beast)

Chapter 31

The Mark of the Beast


The prophecy about the land beast is, that he would prevent people from buying and selling unless they received a mark in their foreheads or their hands. This mark is commonly called the ‘mark of the beast.’

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads. And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  Rev. 13:16, 17.

At the very beginning of this series on Revelation, a question was asked, “If you could sum up the Book of Revelation in one word, what would that word be? The word suggested/proposed was ‘allegiance.’ The mark of the beast is about allegiance. Revelation presents us with two choices; we either receive the mark of the beast or the seal of God. There are only two choices. Everyone, in the last days, will choose one or the other. There is no possibility to opt out. There are no other choices available, we must choose one or the other. If we refuse to choose the seal of God, by default we choose the mark of the beast. It is an issue of allegiance. Our choices will be determined by, to whom, we give our allegiance.

It is standard procedure, in deciphering Revelation, to look for types in the Old Testament. Therefore, are there any types in the Old Testament that mention ‘marks’ in association with allegiance. Yes, there are!


The Mark of Cain

Most people know the expression ‘a marked man.’ The expression is used when a person (male or female) does something exceptional or is something exceptional. For example, a footballer who has a reputation as a goal scorer, automatically become a ‘marked man’ for the opposing team. The expression, ‘a marked man’ of course, originates with the first ‘marked man’ – Cain.

Even those who have who have a cursory knowledge of the Bible, know the story of Cain and Abel. Cain slew his brother over an issue of worship. And because this was a heinous crime, and because this was rebellion against God, God gave him a ‘mark’ (see Gen. 4:15). We are not told what the mark was. We are not told if it was visible or invisible. However, when we use the expression a ‘marked man’ today, we do not mean a person is physically marked. However, in all probability, in Cain’s case, it was a physical mark. This is because Cain feared the consequences of his actions – because he killed, he feared he would be killed in return. Therefore, God “set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him” (Gen. 4:15). For our purposes, the main point to be gained from this ‘marked’ incident, is that Cain was marked because of his actions. His anger, hatred and envy, caused him to commit a crime. Therefore, he became a ‘marked man.’ The same principle applies in Revelation, all those who commit crimes, sin and rebellion are ‘marked.’ And the ‘mark’ they receive will reveal to whom they give their allegiance.


The Sins of Israel

There is one more incident, recorded in Scripture, that serves as a type for the antitype in Revelation. This type concerns a vision, given to the prophet Ezekiel. The context of the vision, is the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Three times God allowed the king of Babylon, to capture the city of Jerusalem. Three times Judeans were taken captive and led away to Babylon as slaves. The prophet Ezekiel was one of the first deportees. Whilst in Babylon, Ezekiel was given a vision and he was shown what the people back in Jerusalem were doing. He was shown, idols in the temple, people worshipping the idols, women weeping for Tammuz and the elders of Israel worshipping the sun (see Ezekiel Chapter 8). Therefore, because of the sins of Israel, God calls for angels to carry out judgment upon them.  One angel was commanded to go through the city and:

Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.  Eze. 9:4.

The faithful people who were ‘sighing and crying’ for the abominations perpetrated by the people, were ‘marked’ by the first angel. The other angels were commanded to follow the first angel and slay all those who did not receive the ‘mark.’ This means that the ‘mark’ was the distinguishing feature, which separated the righteous from the wicked. The righteous were expressing their allegiance, by lamenting the woeful condition of the people and for what their woeful condition led them to do. This is the type, for which Revelation 7, 13 & 14 are the antitypes. However, in keeping with the other principle of repeat and enlarge, the ‘mark’ in Revelation 7, is called the ‘seal of God’ (see Rev. 7:3).


The Holy Spirit and the Seal of God

Jesus said, to His surprised disciples, that it was better that He went away, so that another could come (see Jn. 16;7). Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit, whom He called the Comforter. He then went on to explain, what the Holy Spirit would do when He came:

And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.  Jn. 16:8-14.

The Holy Spirit has been heavenly tasked, with guiding God’s people into ALL TRUTH. This is a huge assignment. It includes; reproving for sin, instruction in righteousness, judgement, revealing the glory of Christ (understanding everything about the plan of salvation), be the intermediary between the Shepherd and the sheep and reveal the goals and the progress and the destination of the Kingdom. When all this work is completed, in each and every individual candidate for the Kingdom, the Holy Spirit seals the candidate:

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise. Eph. 1:13.

When the work of the Holy Spirit is completed it is graduation time. The candidate is then ‘sealed’ by the Holy Spirit. The sealing is a confirmation that the candidate is a fit and worthy citizen of the Kingdom. Therefore, the seal is in the forehead, because the candidate has understood and fulfilled all the conditions and obligations of a righteous citizen. Therefore, because it is in the forehead, and not on the forehead, it is an invisible mark. Ellen White commenting on the sealing of the Holy Spirit states:

What is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His people? It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read; for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption.  Ellen White, SDABC, vol. 4, p. 1161.


…it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so that they cannot be moved… Ellen White, Maranatha, p. 200.


The Hand or the Forehead

In Ezekiel’s vision the people received the mark on their foreheads. However, since prophecy utilises the principle of repeat and enlarge there are two crucial differences in the antitypical equivalent in Revelation:

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads. And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  Rev. 13:16, 17.

The difference between the type and the antitype, is that in the type the people receive the mark on their foreheads, in the antitype the people receive the mark either on their hands, or in their foreheads (not on their foreheads). In order to understand these differences, we need to compare and contrast the mark of the beast with the seal of God. If we understand the seal of God, we will understand the mark of the beast. And the seal is received in the forehead, and so is the mark of the beast. The forehead is where the frontal lobe of the brain is located. The frontal lobe is many things, and one of its main functions is decision making. Therefore, the fact that the prophecy states that both the righteous and the wicked are sealed in their foreheads, is indicating that the seal/mark is a result of individual decision making.

Those who are marked on their hands, are also a result of choices made in the mind. The difference is those who are marked in the forehead, are followers of the sea beast. They trust in the sea beast, they believe in the sea beast and they worship the sea beast. Therefore, they are ‘marked in their foreheads. There is another category of people, who are not so enamoured of the sea beast. Nevertheless, their attitude is, ‘to go along, to get along.’ Therefore, they fall into line with the ‘official narrative’ (the common good). They obey the sea beast, without necessarily believing in the laws and regulations passed by the sea beast. Therefore, because they choose to ‘surrender’ to the sea beast, by obeying laws and regulations passed by the sea beast, they receive the mark in their hands.



There will be two marks in the last day, one is called a seal. The two marks are the mark of the beast and the seal of God. Each mark, is a mark of allegiance. All of mankind, in the last days, will give their allegiance to one or the other. The choices they make will be ‘marked’ and recorded. The purpose of which is to separate the saved from the unsaved.

Regardless of whether Cain’s mark was visible or invisible, both the seal of God and the mark of the beast will be invisible. They will be invisible because the marks are determined by choices made. These choices take place in the mind. This is why those who trust in the sea beast, and those who trust in God, are ‘marked’ in the forehead (not on the forehead). And the remainder are marked on the hand.

Note: The mark of the beast is repeated and enlarges in Revelation 14. Therefore, the interpretation of the mark of the beast will also be repeated and enlarged upon.

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