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Understanding Revelation 14:9-10: What is the mark of the beast?

Imagine that God gave you a warning, a warning so important that if you did not listen to it and heed it you would be eternally lost.  What would you do with such a warning?  Would you ignore it?  Would you spend no time studying it?  Would you trust a pastor or priest’s interpretation of the warning even if they could not explain it from Scripture?  Certainly not, for it would be too great of a risk to ignore or guess at the meaning of such a warning. Yet this warning is not a figment of one’s imagination, it is reality.  The Bible warns us in Revelation 14

“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” (Revelation 14:9-10)

Theories regarding the mark of the beast abound, a microchip, a tattoo, a number 666, yet ask those who present such theories to prove their theories from the Bible.  Ask them to prove who the beast is, using every point of Revelation 13. Ask them to prove what the mark of the beast is from Scripture.  Can they do it?  No friends unfortunately many cannot.  With tears in His eyes God declares “His watchmen are blind, They are all ignorant; They are all dumb dogs, They cannot bark; Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber” (Isaiah 56:10) The parable of the wise and foolish virgins tells us the state of our Christian world at this hour “While the bridegroom (Jesus) was delayed, they (Christians) all slumbered and slept.” (Matthew 25:5)  The Christian world is asleep, unprepared for the final test.  The mark of the beast is soon to be enforced yet the vast majority of the Christian world has no idea what this test is about.  And if you do not understand what the final test is about, you will be deceived.  This final message has an urgency not sufficiently understood by the world today.  Beloved, now is the time to be prepared.  Now is the time to study the word of God like you have never studied before.  While many are spiritually asleep you need not be, you can be ready for Jesus return.  Jesus loves you with an everlasting love, you are of great value in His sight, and He gives the warning of the mark of the beast not to condemn anyone, but to save them from eternal loss.

“Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.  And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:6, Romans 13:11)

Today beloved, let us study the Bible and discover what this mark of the beast truly is.  Let us allow Scripture to interpret Scripture, so that there is no doubt.  Let us watch and be ready “for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:44)

But before we study the Bible today, let us ask the Lord for wisdom, let us pray.

Dear gracious and loving Heavenly Father,

Today we ask that you open our understanding, give us eyes to see and ears to hear the message you have for us today.  A great test Lord is about to overtake the world as an overwhelming surprise, but this day should not overtake us as a thief.  Please Father remove the obstacles in our hearts, give us a heart to know you and to be willing to follow your commands.  Please Lord soften our hearts and enlighten our minds and help us to be ready for your coming, send your Holy Spirit to teach us now we humbly pray, we thank you for doing so, in Jesus name, amen.

The strongest warning in the Bible is found in the book of Revelation which says

“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.” Revelation 14:9-10

Here I think anyone can agree that if anyone receives this mark, whatever it is, they would be lost, for that is what the Bible says. A key phrase of that verse is “if anyone” that is, it does not matter your creed, your denomination, it does not matter if you believe yourself to be saved at this moment, if anyone receives the mark, they are lost. But what is this deadly mark? To understand what the mark is, and how to avoid it, let us not trust in external opinions, let us not rely on preconceived ideas, instead let us allow only the Bible to explain itself.  Based on Revelation 14:9-10 which we just read, it is clear that whoever receives this mark would be separated from God, but that begs the question, what separates us from God? The Bible gives us the answer when it says

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1-2)

There is one thing that separates us from God, sin. Therefore to receive this mark of the beast must be a sin. But what is the Biblical definition of sin? The Bible gives us a definition when it says

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4)

From these simple Scriptures, the mark of the beast is something that separates us from God, it is a sin, and sin is defined as breaking one of God’s Ten Commandments, which are still binding up Christians (Matthew 5:17-20, 19:16-19).

A universal method of Bible interpretation

Christianity as a whole agrees that the book of Revelation is a book that uses symbols to illustrate a deeper meaning.  For example beginning with the first chapter that goes into detail regarding the mark of the beast found in Revelation 13 there is pictured a beast that has seven heads and ten horns.  Obviously we all know that doesn’t mean we should look for a seven headed animal on this planet.  Likewise in the next chapter Revelation 14 which gives the warning about the mark of the beast, it also says “Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion” (Revelation 14:1)

All Christians would recognize this Lamb not as a literal lamb, but rather this Lamb would be Jesus.   And how would we know it is Jesus?  Because in the gospel of John it says

 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)

The point is this friends, all Christians whatever their denomination interpret Bible symbols using the same method, they simply search the Bible to interpret what the symbol means.  Also every Christian whatever their denomination knows that the book of Revelation is a prophetic book written by the prophet John.  With that in mind we can also agree that when it talks about receiving a mark on the right hand or forehead, it is symbolic not only because the verses surrounding the mark of the beast contain obvious symbols but also because the Lord has said

“I have also spoken by the prophets,
And have multiplied visions;
I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets.” (Hosea 12:10)

Therefore to understand what these symbols mean, we simply need to search the Bible, doesn’t that sound simple enough?  So when we read in the prophetic book of Revelation that “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads” certainly this would be yet another symbol just like the symbolic seven headed beast in the same chapter.

So what does this Bible symbol mean when talks about receiving a mark on the right hand?

The Bible gives us the answer when it says

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going. (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

The hand in the Bible is associated with your actions, with doing things.

And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. (Deuteronomy 6:6-8)

God desires those who love Him to have His commandments, in their hands and in the frontlet between their eyes.  Where is the fronlet between your eyes?  That would be where your forehead is, and that would be where your mind is, isn’t that right?  So in Ecclesiastes we learned that the hand represents your actions, the forehead is associated with the mind for the Bible says

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Hebrews 8:10)

As a quick summary what we have learned so far is

  1. the mark of the beast makes you lost, it separates you from God (Revelation 14:9-10)
  2. Sin is what separates us from God therefore the mark must be a sin (Isaiah 59:1-2)
  3. Sin is the breaking of one of God’s Ten Commandments (1 John 3:4)
  4. To receive the mark on your hand would mean you would be breaking one of God’s commandments by your actions (Ecclesiastes 9:10, Deuteronomy 6:6-8)
  5. To receive the mark on your forehead would mean you would break the commandment with your mind by agreeing with it.  (Deuteronomy 6:6-8, Hebrews 8:10)

Has anyone already received this mark on their forehead or on their hand?

The Bible gives us the answer when it says

He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:16-17)

The Bible here warns us that there will be a worldwide commandment regarding worship, which will be enforced using the economy (no buying or selling). Do we know of a law like that now? Not in 2013 when this article was published.  This brings us good news beloved, why?  Because no one has received the mark of the beast yet, that means that everyone has a chance still to be saved.  Make no mistake about it friends, God has given us this warning about the mark of the beast, not to scare us, not to bring us doom and gloom, rather Jesus says

“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble.” (John 16:1)

“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4)  God warns us ahead of time so that we may be ready and avoid the mark.  Since we know from Scripture that the mark will cause people to break of the Ten Commandments, this leads us to our next question…

Which commandment of the ten would Satan attempt to force individuals to break?

The Bible gives us a clue when it says

“If anyone worships the beast and his image” (Revelation 14:9)

Satan will inspire men to enforce a commandment regarding false worship. If you look at the 10 commandments, the first four commandments, thou shall have no other gods before me, you shall not have idols, do not take the name of the Lord in vain, remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, these four commandments deal with worship. The last six, honor your father and your mother, you shall not murder, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness and covet, these deal with our relationship between men. Therefore the mark of the beast must deal with one of the first four commandments for these deal with worship.

There is yet another clue regarding the mark found in Revelation 14:9. Do you notice that everyone worships someone in the last days?  There are those who worship the beast and those who worship the Lord.  And because the mark of the beast is about worship, it must be a religious commandment.  And atheists do not wish to enforce religious commandments. Therefore this mark must be promoted by religious people.  It was religious people who desired Christ to be put to death.  The very people, priests, Pharisees, scribes and Sadducees these individuals who claimed to be following the true religion of the Lord were the very people who ended up persecuting God’s true followers.  The sad thing is that history will repeat for the Bible says…

“That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,
And there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

And Jesus warned us that in the last days

“Brother will betray brother to death.” (Mark 13:12, Luke 21:16)

It’s not just blood brothers, it’s spiritual brothers.  You see beloved, “As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel’s message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side.”

The Bible warns us that brother in Christ will betray brother in Christ.  But do not worry friend because those who go through such horrible persecution do not go through it alone.  Because Jesus has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).  In addition, Jesus knows how it feels to be betrayed.  On the night Jesus was betrayed, it was one who claimed to be a Christian who betrayed Jesus for money. Just like the faithful in the last days, He knew that the betrayal was coming ahead of time.  He knew of His coming persecution, in Gethsemane He prayed

“O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39)

It was a most bitter cup that Jesus had to drink.  The guilt of the sins of the entire world would be placed upon Jesus.  Jesus asked the Father if there was any other way for humanity to receive pardon, but there was not.  The law of God is as sacred as God Himself; it cannot be changed or nullified.  If this were possible then Jesus would not have needed to die.  Jesus must drink the cup, He must give everything, including His own life to redeem you.  Yet how sad it is that those receive the mark will drink an unnecessary cup of suffering for it is written

“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” (Revelation 14:9-10)

You need not drink that cup of woe because Jesus already drank it at the cross.  May I ask you a question before we cover our last verse about the mark of the beast?  If in order to avoid the mark of the beast, God required you to change the way you lived your life, would you do it?  If God required you to worship Him the way He commanded, instead of the way the world does it, would you change?  Wouldn’t heaven be worth it?  Jesus pleads with you today

“Today if you hear His voice do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3:15)

Since those who receive the mark of the beast are breaking one of the commandments regarding worship, which one is it?

The answer is found in the warning itself when it says

 “They have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.  Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” (Revelation 14:11-12)

If we search the Ten Commandments there is only one commandment regarding rest.  This is the fourth commandment which says…

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work” (Exodus 20:8-10)

Therefore “the Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty, for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not. While the observance of the false sabbath in compliance with the law of the state, contrary to the fourth commandment, will be an avowal of allegiance to a power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true Sabbath, in obedience to God’s law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator.” (The Great Controversy p. 605)

The true Sabbath, from Genesis to Revelation has always been and always will be on Saturday.  This may be new to many but the Lord’s day is also on Saturday for God Himself has said

“If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,
From doing your pleasure on My holy day,
And call the Sabbath a delight…
 Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord” (Isaiah 58:13-14)

It has been the work of the antichrist power to “intend to change times and law. “ (Daniel 7:25) By attempting to change the Sabbath commandment, and moving it to another day which has no sanctity in the Bible, this antichrist power has intended to change the only law regarding time.  One may think that the enforcement of a counterfeit commandment regarding worship, the enforcement of Sunday and violation of the seventh-day could never be passed in our age of modern enlightenment.  But Germany, Austria, France and others have already passed national laws enforcing Sunday observance.  While many may urge that they are observing a day of rest, the Bible speaking of the Lord has said “And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?” (Hebrews 3:18)  We must obey the commandments of God as the Lord has directed not man.  Jesus Himself, with tears in His eyes, rebuked the Pharisees for upholding traditions above the written word of God.  And many have today have “made the commandment of God of no effect by their tradition.” (Matthew 15:6)  Thankfully there is good news, and that is there is still time to choose the right side.  You may have gone to church on Sunday for most of your life like I did, yet today God is calling a people who will keep His commandments.  He pleads with you today saying

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.  He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.  For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” (John 14:15, 21, Matthew 5:18)

Friend now is the time to choose the right side in the great controversy between Christ and Satan.  It is unsafe to delay obedience. You may never hear the invitation again.  Jesus is willing to forgive all sins, including violation of the fourth, but He can never forgive a sin if one refuses to confess and forsake it.  No man who willfully and knowingly disregards one principle of the law shall enter the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus has made an infinite sacrifice to save you from sin, will you give your full heart to Him today?  It will be worth it for heaven is awaiting the faithful.  If it is your will to follow Jesus and keep His commandments of love would you make that decision today and seek out a church that does so.  Let us close in prayer…

Dear Heavenly Father,

We thank you Lord that we need not guess what the future will be for you have already revealed it in your Word.  Today we ask for clean hearts and a mind willing to serve you, even if that means a radical change in our life.  Give us the strength oh Lord to endure temptation and persecution for your name sake.  May we never lose sight of what Jesus has already done for us at the cross.  I especially pray for those who have heard this message for the first time.  Perhaps some have never heard of the Sabbath, I pray for these that they continue to study out this topic and that your Holy Spirit guide their study.  I pray for those who know the truth but will face this final crisis, let not our feet slip oh Lord, set our feet on solid ground, on the Rock. Make us immovable, steadfast, always abounding in the work of the Lord.  Time is almost finished, may we reflect the lovely image of Jesus as we should.  Please forgive us of all our sins, including the violation of commandments that we were ignorant of.  And sanctify us by your truth today, we pray all these things in name of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ, amen.


4 thoughts on “Understanding Revelation 14:9-10: What is the mark of the beast?”

  1. I am 66 years old My Church, Lowell Church of God has Sunday worship. I don’t know anywhere around that has Saturday worship. Is this a sin to God all these years of worship on Sunday? We have a God loving Pastor. I love my Church people also.

  2. Two quick questions:
    Firstly, didn’t God promise to delivour us from sin through out belief in Jesus Christ? why wouldn’t that account for all sins, including the 10 commandments and the sabbath day? Why would God refuse to save us from only that one sin? Wouldn’t it be more likely that the mark would be a rejection on Jesus, a rejection of the saviour, a mark that would refute God/Jesus himself.

    Secondly, if as you suggest the mark does have to do with the commandments, why the sabbath day? although you raise some excellent point about the sabbath day, when Jesus came didn’t he break down the previous beleifes about the sabbath. In Mark 2 (verse 23-28) and in Mark 3 (verse 1-6) jesus redefined the idea of the sabbath. He asks “Which is lawful on the sabbath; to do good or to do evil, to save a life or to kill.”In this passage, he tells the pharises that it is better to do God’s work on the sabbath then to reject his works. Much like the other religious rules he broke down the previous beliefs about them. This suggests that although it is important to maintain time for God, and rest with him where possible, it is not as important as fulfilling the works of God on the sabbath day.
    Additonally in Matthew 22 (verse 34-40) Jesus reveals the greatest commandment to be “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.” would it be possible that the mark is referring to this passage instead, referring to the most important commandment. It too could refer to the forehead and hand, through the reference to “heart,” “Soul,” and “mind.”
    This comment is not to be overly critical of your piece, I am just a young Christian trying to create an understanding of a highly complex chapter of the bible. I did love some of the ideas in this article, such as the forehead and hand being symbolic, I had never previously considered that. This is a highly interesting article, and I just wish to solidify some ideas

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