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What is the Mark of the Beast

What will the mark of the beast be?  People have wondered about this for centuries.  Could it be a tattoo?  Although the Bible clearly speaks of the mark of the beast, it must be remembered that we are not explicitly told what it will be.  

Understanding that we cannot know with any certainty, we’ll look at the Bible for some reasoning about what it might be.  But first let’s review the factual information that the Bible does reveal about this mark and the one who gives it.

The Mark

  1. will be “his mark” — the beast/the Antichrist’s mark (Rev 14:9)
  2. will be received in the forehead or hand (Rev 14:9)
  3. will be the ultimate bad thing (Rev 14:10,11)
  4. will be permanent (Rev 14:11)

Who is the Beast?

The beast referred to in Revelation 14:9-10 is clearly the Antichrist, of whom the Bible prophesies (Daniel 7:8, 8:25, 9:26, Zechariah 11:17, Micah 5:5, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-9 and Revelation 13:4).

While there have been many antichrists (1 John 2:22, 1 John 4:3, 2 John 1:7), and there still could be many more, the beast of the end-times will be THE Antichrist.  He will be the begotten son of Satan, who will rise up out of the sea during the Tribulation (Revelation 13).  He will be empowered by Satan (Daniel 8:24) and he will draw people to himself through deception (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11).

The Great Copy-cat

Ever since Satan rebelled and fell from heaven, his strategic plan has been to glorify himself above God by causing men to turn from God and to turn to himself.

While Satan is fully cunning, defiant and destructive in his works, it’s important to recognize that he is not original in his deceptive works.  Instead, he copies the work of God and “twists” it, using lies and deceptions to create confusion — always with the intent to gain control of the hearts and minds of people.

Satan’s Counterfeit Works 

We’ll look at how the mark of the beast will be a counterfeit mark, but first let’s look at other examples of Satan’s strategic counterfeit works.  

  • From the beginning in the Garden, Satan has copied God’s words and twisted them for his unholy purposes (Gen 3:1, Matt 4:1-11). God’s words are true (Psa 119:160), but Satan is the Father of Lies (John 8:44).
  • In the court of Pharaoh, Satan empowered the magicians to copy the plagues sent from God.  They were able to duplicate the first two plagues, but were unable to create lice from dust (the third plague, Exodus 8:16-17). Satan’s power failed because only God can create life from the dust of the earth. Satan’s attempts to plagiarize God’s work will always fall short.  
  • Satan can appear as “an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:4) an imposter of the True Light Jesus (1 John 1:9).
  • Satan prowls like a roaring lion (1 Pet 5:8) an imposter of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev 5:5)
  • Satan empowers all false gods, false prophets and pagan worship practices by deceptive counterfeit means. (1 John 4:1)

During the Tribulation Satan will desperately increase his efforts to deceive by counterfeit means.

  • Revelation 6:2 tells of a rider on a whte horse who will come forth as a conqueror at the beginning of the Tribulation.  He is a clear imposter of the true Conqueror who will come on a white horse with His saints. (Rev 19:11-16)
  • Mystery Babylon will be a counterfeit religious system.  The description of the harlot who rides the beast is rich with copied symbols. (Rev 17).
  • During the Tribulation, Satan will counterfeit the Holy Trinity. His unholy trinity will consist of:   The father of lies (John 8:44)—Satan himself. The “son” (Revelation 12, 13, 16)—the Antichrist (1 John 2:18, Rev 13:1-10).  The “spirit”—the false prophet who testifies of the Antichrist (Rev 13:11-14).
  • During the Tribulation, Satan will give his mark to all who will receive it.  This mark will be one of his most heinous and most successful forgeries of God’s work.  Just as there will be an Antichrist—a counterfeit of Jesus—there will also be an anti-seal—a counterfeit seal of God’s true and faithful seal.

God’s Mark

When Jesus saves a repentant sinner, the forgiven sinner is received into the family of God through adoption (Romans 8:15-17).  God marks His children with a “seal,” which is the gift of the Holy Spirit.  

The Holy Spirit

  • is given to indwell believers and to teach and guide them (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19, John 14:26, 16:13).  
  • is given to seal them “unto the day the day of redemption” (Ephesian 4:30).  
  • is the quickening power of the resurrection (Philippians 3:10, 1 Peter 3:18) 
  • is the promise of future glory (Ephesians 1:14).  
  • is the one who seals the believer, secure in Christ forevermore (John 14:16).   

The Antichrist and His Mark

The Antichrist will be raised-up by Satan in unprecedented power after the Church-age saints of God have been raptured to Heaven by Jesus. (Read: What is the Rapture? Is it biblical? and  Why a Pre-trib Rapture?)  When the saints are removed from the earth, so also will the indwelling-presence of the Holy Spirit be removed.  Without the Spirit’s testimony of Christ (John 15:26), the Antichrist will gain authority over people of all nations. (Revelation 13:7)

At the midpoint of the seven year period of tribulation, the Antichrist will demand allegiance to himself.  Our God does not demand worship.  He desires devotion, from which worship flows.  Coming to Christ is a personal surrender of one’s self to a good, kind, loving, merciful and gracious God who desires to mold us in the image of His Son (Rom 8:29) and to receive us into the fellowship of His family (joint heirs with Christ, Rom 8:17).

The Antichrist will demand worship. And with deception he will get it.  People will surrender to him, believing the lie that he is good, and they will take his mark. 

The Antichrist’s Counterfeits

  • People who take his mark will become part of his “family.”  A counterfeit of the joint-heir relationship Christians have with Jesus.  
  • With his mark they will prosper, being able to buy and sell (Rev 13:17).  Again, a counterfeit. The prosperity of Christians is not worldly gain, but rather spiritual peace, satisfaction and union with Christ.  
  • With his mark, people of all nations will follow the Antichrist into battle against God (Joel 3:2, Zech 14:2, Matt 24:9, Rev 16:16).  Another counterfeit.  The Bible speaks clearly of the battle in which Christians engage—a battle for God and for His truths.
  • With his mark people will be sealed unto the day of condemnation (final judgment).  God’s people are “sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesian 4:30).  
  • His mark will be 666.  Again a counterfeit.  God’s number of perfection and completion is seven. Six is the number of man and represents falling short of God’s perfection (Read: The Meaning of Numbers in the Bible?)

So what might the mark be?

Now that we have seen Satan’s counterfeit practices and intentions, next week we’ll look at what this mark might possibly be.  Many have suggested a tattoo?  Could that be?  Let’s look at the reasons some think that?  And what else might it be?  Click here and read: Is the Mark of the Beast a Tattoo? A Computer Chip? A Barcode?


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