In the Book of Revelation, we read about the arrival of the Beast – the enemy of God’s people. During this period, Christ-followers will be excluded from participation in the local economy unless they agree to place upon their head and hand the mark of the Beast (Rev. 13:16-18). But what is the exact nature of the mark?
To understand the true meaning of the mark of the beast, something must be kept in mind – The Book of Revelation is a Jewish, anti-Roman document. Once we realize that, we need to remember that the central Jewish Torah text that was recited twice daily stated, “‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one.” It had another, less famous, but an integral part: “Bind them (God’s commandments) as a sign on your hand and they will be on your forehead.” (Deut. 6:4-8) Jewish people, both today and in antiquity, fulfill this commandment by literally tying the words of the Living God found in Torah to their hand and head almost every day of the week. This Practice is called, “the laying on of a tefillin.”
If the Book of Revelation is read with an awareness of the first-century Jewish context, it becomes clear that we should not imagine that one day the entire world will undergo a medical procedure that will insert a chip under the human skin (as some Bible teachers speculate). Instead, we should understand the mark of the beast to be an inward or outward expression that opposes the Law of God in the life of a human being. As the enemy of God and His people, the evil Beast would naturally want to replace the mark of God that goes on the hand and head of the worshiper with his own mark.
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