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Mark of the beast

What is the "mark of the beast"?

The answers to such a question depend, of course, on who or what is first identified as the "beast". In the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation, many Protestant expositors so identified the Pope of Rome. This led, more or less logically, to the identification of the beast's "mark" as the cross or crucifix, which figured so prominently in Roman Catholic worship.

In modern times, as attention turned to a possible Last Days "beast" yet to be revealed, much has been made in certain circles of computer-generated "bar codes", or Universal Product Codes, variants of which can now be imprinted on or even implanted in people.

Perhaps a latter-day Arab/Moslem "beast" will arise in the Middle East, to defeat Israel and to subjugate the Jews, and to be in turn destroyed by the coming of Christ. Assuming this, then can we determine a Biblical basis for identifying the "mark" of such a "beast"?

"Marks" in the OT

The "Mark" of the Saints in Revelation

(3)         Rev 22:3,4.

The mark, or seal, upon the foreheads of God's servants is the name of God and His Son. In other words, these servants who kept God's Law would be marked out by Him: His Name would be upon them, and they would belong to Him, and be safe. So this Revelation usage corresponds to the OT passages cited previously.

The "Mark" of the "Beast"

With the foregoing Biblical evidence, we can reasonably expect that the "mark" of the "Beast" will be a crude parody of the true divine mark. It will be a sign (not necessarily literal and visible) by which those who worship the Beast and keep his laws will be "guaranteed" his protection!

Thus Arab oil-producing cartels and the uncompromising practice of Islam are two possibilities for the "mark" of the beast. Note that Islam is enforced upon all subjects as a way of life, as a political code, and not just as a "religion" in the more liberal Western sense. Where it has the power, Islam is a system which permeates every part of society.

Last Days Persecution by the Beast

In the Last Days, when the Beast overruns Israel and tramples down Jerusalem, he will probably make every effort to force his religion upon the Jews -- in short, to make his "mark" (Rev 13:18; 14:9-11; 20:4) upon them in place of God's "mark" (Exo 13:9; Deu 6:8; 11:18; Eze 9:3-6; Rev 7:3,4; 9:4; 14:1). It is not hard to envision the brutal measures -- such as economic boycotts, threats and, in the extreme, beheadings -- by which the practices of Islam could be forced upon all their subjects. There is, in fact, the hint that such public executions will be carried out in the great public square of Jerusalem, in front of the "Wailing Wall" adjacent to the Temple Mount (cp the "street" or "wide place", the one great open square, of "the great city... where also their Lord was crucified": Rev 11:7,8).

It is possible that a resurgence in the practice of Judaism (which may include the rebuilding of a Jewish temple) will precede the last and successful Arab invasion of Israel. If this proves to be the case, then the Arab defeat of Israel might lead to one of two things:

Either approach will spell trouble for the Jewish Christian remnant that will be developed by the Last Days preaching of "Elijah" (Rev 11:3-6). These new believers may find themselves squeezed between two systems ("orthodox" Judaism and militant Islam), both antagonistic toward the religion of Jesus. The dual persecutions of the Jewish followers of Jesus Christ in that day may, in fact, parallel (and exceed!) the dual persecutions of the Jewish believers in the first century, who were caught in a vise between the "orthodox" Judaism of Caiaphas and Annas, and the political oppression of the Roman overlords like Pilate (cp Heb 10:32-34).

Jezebel (a Zidonian, and an Arab!) and Ahab (an apostate Jewish "puppet" king) joined forces in an unholy "mixed marriage" to persecute Elijah and the righteous remnant in Israel in his day. So it is possible that a latter-day Arab "Jezebel" (Rev 2:20; cp Rev 17;18) and a latter-day Israeli "Ahab" will similarly join in persecuting the Jewish converts of the latter-day "Elijah" in the Land.

In such a time and place, it will be extremely difficult for a faithful remnant to maintain their faith in the One true God and in His Son. But such a fierce oppression as will be their lot will last no more than 3 1/2 years (Rev 11:2,3; cp Rev 12:6; 13:5; Dan 7:25; 12:7). And those who maintain their faith, their godly "mark" on the forehead, even to the point of death, will rise from the dead to receive a crown of life.
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