Center for Biblical Theology and Eschatology

Almost from the time that John, the servant of God, penned the thirteenth chapter of the book of Revelation, men have been trying to figure out what the mark of the beast meant, and what was the significance of the number Six hundred threescore and six. I would like to present what has in our day become a novel approach to determining what this number signifies. How about we forget debit cards, the Pope's address, the numeric equivalents of Greek letters, a new one world government, computer chips under the skin, magnetic scans in the forehead, Hebrew numerology, etc., and get our interpretation from...

    ..the Bible Alone!

What a novel theological approach this seems to be in our day. Nevertheless, as righteous Joseph said when asked for his interpretation, "..Do not interpretations belong to God? -Genesis 40:8."  Indeed they do! If we want God's interpretation of a matter, the only sound hermeneutic for finding out what He means by what He has inspired written, is to ask Him. We do that by evaluating His Word in comparison to itself. In other words, reading His Word, in the light of His Word. The Bible then becomes its own interpreter and even dictionary. It's important that we allow the book of Revelation to interpret its own symbols through repitition and shed light itself through parallel usage. When we study Scripture nobly, contrite of spirit and with an honest view of ourselves (as the Bereans Acts 11:17), we will begin to surrender to the authority of the Word itself, rejecting wild personal opinions. When we consider how the author (God Himself) used the Words elsewhere in Scripture, we can begin to discern that it can only be God who defines His own terms. The Scriptures are not subject to our private interpretations or personal calculations. It is only at the point of realizing this that we will begin to understand that this beast and his number cannot be understood by human formulas, numeric equivalents or by overactive imaginations foreseeing a coming super devil-man. Wisdom and understanding will come by the Spirit of Christ through a sound and ordered exegesis of God's Word itself. The answers are not found in intricately woven tales of a Satanic seed, world politics, national geography, world economics or unbiblical Bible codes. The "six hundred and sixty-six" question can only be answered from within the pages of the Scripture itself. If we are going to be faithful to God wherein we do not lean towards our own personla understanding of the matter, then we will have to get understanding of the imagery of Revelation from the Word of His prophesy. When we trust in the written Word, comparing Scripture with Scripture, then we are on the only path that will bring us to God's truth, rather than our own supposition of it.

"So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths
." Proverbs 3:4-6

Granted, when we do this, the results will not be as entertaining, flamboyant, approved, fashionable or intriguing as some of the popular books you've read, but they certainly will be biblically justifiable. God's Word must be the source and authority of any interpretation. Do not accept an interpretation loosely based on scripture, but one gleaned from scripture. There is a difference. For any interpretation not having its roots solidly grounded within the Scripture, is nothing more than our own private speculation. Likewise, the problem with extra-biblical interpretations is that God's Word is not subject to such secular explanations.

"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost
." (2nd Peter 1:20-21)

Every Word of the Scriptures were divinely inspired, and so we cannot define it by any hypothesis from outside of the Words of the author Himself. The first thing that we need to understand is that private interpretation is the essence of every single false Christian gospel, bar none. People subjecting God and His word to their own private interpretation is the very reason that their doctrines are their own and labeled false. By contrast, faithful or true Christianity is prescribed by believers who do just the opposite concerning God and His Word. They will faithfully follow the Lord's Word as their ultimate authority, rather than attempt to lead it by what (to them) seems right. By the Spirit guiding them to compare Scripture with Scripture, God leads them into its truth, rather than to their own imaginations.

"But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." (1st John 2:27)

The Spirit of God teaches us "through" the Word of God so that there is no guessing, speculation or presumption. In this prescribed teaching of the Word, God uses symbolism, figures and imagery to paint spiritual portraits for us. He also gives the faithful student of Scripture enough information throughout the Bible to identify and validate what the imagery represents. It is true that this may be in His own good time (rather than ours), but without the open-minded study of Scripture with a heart receiving it as authoritative, we will not really come to understand passages such as those in the book of Revelations. If we have received the gift of an earnest desire to follow His Word faithfully, the Spirit, through the pertinent Scriptures, will supply all that is needed to come to the knowledge of truth. God did not inspire these chapters of Revelation simply because He wanted to confound us or because He had nothing better to do. This imagery and prophecy was inspired written for our knowledge and learning. Thus it is written,

"Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six." (Revelation 13:18)

Who is this that has understanding (Psalms 119:99-100; 119:104-105; 119:129-130)? Is it not those who bow to the authority of God's divine Word? Those who have understanding will know who the beast is, and who possess his number and fall under the banner of his name. It's imperative that they know this, that they will not be deceived and suffer the same fate. For the name of the beast will only be discerned by the Spirit of God, that His servants rightly divide the word of truth.
"My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God." (Proverbs 2:1-5)


What is the Mark of the Beast

by Tony Warren

What is the Imagery of the Beast?

        We begin this study as we pick up the vision of the second beast coming up out of the earth, having two horns like a lamb, but speaking as a dragon. This beast did great wonders, and deceived those who dwelled upon the earth by means of these lying miracles.

    Revelation 13:16

From this verse we see that there are three characteristics that the beast causes the people to receive. And all three are illustrative of these people being brought into league or association with him.

  1. The Mark
  2. The Name
  3. The Number
There are none that could buy or sell, except those who had received the mark, name or number of the beast. The imagery of them receiving these things is to signify their association with the beast. The mark is to signify Satan's ownership of them. The name is to signify they are part of his family. And the number is to signify their lot or part is with the beast. Those people who receive these signs have "fallen" away from God, and are now deceived into worshiping the image or likeness of the beast. And when we go through these verses, considering what they declare point by point, we see that the cryptic imagery of this chapter is a spiritual picture puzzle. And it will be discerned only through the Spirit of God witnessing with our spirit as we evaluate and compare Scripture with Scripture. God's people do not close their ears to authority of Scripture, they hear it, they receive it, and they do so by the Spirit.

    1st John 4:6

Today, he that knows God, hears God's Word. It is their supreme authority over interpretation, so whatever it confirms has to be the truth. But in order to even begin understanding what the mark of the beast represents, we first need to identify the meaning of the imagery of beast.

The word used for the beast of Revelation 13 is the Greek word [therion], which means a wild animal. The symbol of a beast in Scripture is often used to illustrate those who come to destroy the Lord's people. They are pictured as a dangerous people, presence or rule (kingdom) that comes against the children of God. And God's people are typed as being the prey of these beasts, spiritual carnivores that are the natural enemy of the saints. For example, the imagery in Daniel's vision of the four beasts. God declared that the images were figures of kingdoms, pictured as a Lion, a Bear, and a Leopard. He said that the fourth beast had great and dreadful devouring teeth. These are all symbolic images or spiritual "word pictures" of carnivorous beasts that devour prey. The "interpretation" of God is clear, and God makes it very plain that the prey was "His people."

    Daniel 7:16-18

    Daniel 8:23 Daniel was made to "know the interpretation," that these beasts represented the unsaved people as they were devouring kingdoms or rules, which come up out of the earth (just as the beast of revelation 13 rose out of the earth) to fight against the people of God. Again, the "imagery" of the strong kingdoms as beasts like Lions, Bears or Leopards to illustrate strength and fierceness. Also note that it is the saints, the children of God, who will ultimately overcome this kingdom symbolized by the beast. God tells us that they will take and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever. A clear illustration that this beastly principality (kingdom) ultimately identifies with Satan's devouring kingdom, and how it is ultimately overcome in Christ. Two types of people opposed and at enmity with each other. One pictured as beasts, and the other pictured as the prey that these beasts come to devour.

The fact is, it is typical in Scripture to see unsaved man or a wicked ruling principality signified by a beast or fierce animal. In Revelation chapter 13, the first vision of a beast there is symbolic of the wicked men of the principality of Satan, as they come and blaspheme God throughout time. The number seven is the number representing "totality" or completeness. The heads of the beast symbolize authority. Thus the seven heads symbolize this beasts rule and authority through the totality of time. And the Dragon (satan) gives them their power or authority. Likewise, the number ten is used in Scripture to symbolize fullness, and horns symbolize power. Thus the ten horn of this beast symbolize the "fullness of his power" in reigning near the end of this kingdom. Satan's kingdom of false prophets is allowed of God to reign during the latter times (Revelation 17:12-13). This is when these ten horns will arise. In Revelation thirteen's illustration of this beast having it's authority broken by being dealt a death blow by the cross of Christ, it shows that Satan's power over man had been broken (Hebrews 2:14-15) so that the church could be built and those whom Satan held captive could be set free. But when Revelation 13 talks of his death wound being healed, it refers to Satan's loosing near the end time. Satan himself is the source of power for this beast. He is the king or authority of those unsaved people who come "like" a beast to devour.

Some people have misunderstood Revelation thirteen, so it's important to understand that the vision of the second beast coming out of the earth is a "second vision," not a continuation of the first beast (which came out of the sea). This second beast is a figure of Satan's people as they are the false prophets that arise after Satan is loosed. Thus this beast is spoken of as having "horns like a Lamb, and yet speaking like a Dragon." It is the illustration of devouring beasts coming against God's people, but they come in the likeness of God's own people. It is the coming of the anti-Christ or substitute-Christ. This is symbolism of Satan's people who come as peacemakers and reconcilers to God, when in reality they bring no peace, and they exhort no reconciliation because they are adversaries to God. They are people who speak lawlessness, as a dragon, but who in appearance are as the power of the lamb. They are unsaved people from one kingdom, masquerading as being from the other. This is very much like the imagery we find in Ezekiel.

    Ezekiel 22:25

This is how this rule of false prophets work, that they are as beasts ravening the prey. Prophets in the midst of the churches, appearing to have the power of Christ (horns like a Lamb), but whose words are not the word of God, but of Satan (speaks like the Dragon). They replace the laws of God with their own visions and precepts so that they are the man of lawlessness rather than the man of lawfulness. Children of Satan rather than children of God. And as a roaring lion they ravish the prey as if they were sheep. As the adversarial principality or beast, they take the precious people of the church, and treat them as prey.

    1st Peter 5:8

God often uses this imagery of devouring beasts to get the point across that Satan is a strong adversary, and he comes through the lawless actions of men to ravage the shepherd's flock. God is using a lion (beast) to symbolize his strength. Saints are often symbolized as sheep to illustrate our humility and harmlessness. As Jesus also illustrated this in the book of Matthew.

    Matthew 10:16

The recurring theme is of the believers are harmless sheep, doves, or children, and Satan and his ministers are as Lions, Wolves, or Serpents who come to do them harm. The saints are those whom the beasts and serpents want to destroy. But as Daniel in the lion's den, by Grace of God we are not harmed. We are secure in God's hands where we can take up serpents and are not harmed (Mark 16). In other words, it is the imagery that Satan is powerless to hurt or destroy the children of God in God's Holy mountain. Again, we can see this same symbolism pictured Ezekiel chapter 34.

    Ezekiel 34:8

God isn't talking about literal sheep, literal selfish shepherds out in the fields, or literal beasts. God is using imagery and talking about His congregation, the Kingdom of God, attacked by the beast, which are those unsaved men who are of the power of Satan. The saints are sheep, the shepherds are the leaders thereof, and the devouring beasts that make them prey are the wicked of Satan. You see, this isn't some new symbolism, God has always used this type imagery, both in the old Testament and the New. It's not new revelation, but an old standard. But as sad as it may be, today's church frequently prefers their own private or personal interpretations, rather than the sound Biblical hermeneutics of comparing Scripture with Scripture.

    Ezekiel 34:28

    Ezekiel 34:31 Again, not literal sheep whom the literal beasts devour, this was the imagery of the Lord's kingdom, Israel. Those of His congregation were those whom the beasts (who were the pagan or unsaved nations in bondage to Satan) devoured.

You may ask, why the figure of a Beast for unsaved man? It is because the carnal man, the unsaved man is acting as a beast acts, without fear or knowledge of God. What many do not understand is that mankind is a "unique creation," with exclusive properties which animals do not possess. Because man was made in the image or likeness of God, he is a living rational spirit able to think, reason, know and divise, because he is like God. As opposed to animals who are dumb (without understanding), foolish, without reason, wisdom or discernment, and many very savage. Man is a rational spirit, but beasts are simply living spirits with no ability to reason as a man. That is to say, they are creatures with the breath of life, but without the soul of man. There is a difference, and that difference is what separates man from the beasts.

    Psalms 73:22

Man was made in the image of God, to think, to judge, to reason. But beasts were created as creatures that defer to the instinct of the flesh and do whatever comes naturally. This is a state unintended for "man." The lawlessness and savagery of man in sin dehumanizes him, and brings him down to the level of beasts. Thus when the manner of man is as a beast, God likens him unto them signifying their carnal nature.

    2nd Peter 2:12

God speaking of these men as brute [alogos] beasts, the creatures unable to reason, He is illustrating they are as animals in their foolishness and lack of understanding. When man becomes that which is of the flesh, worldly, carnal, or that which sets itself up and aligns itself with the "god of this world," he is in opposition to the heavenly kingdom of God, and under rule of the beast.

    1st Corinthians 15:32

Here Paul is speaking in imagery, in the metaphorical sense declaring that he has fought with vicious men, with men who are likened unto beasts in their savagery and lack of God given morality. This is why Satan was typed as going forth as a roaring Lion, this is why the beast of Daniel was a Lion, and this is why the false prophet is called a beast. For Satan and those who follow him are likened unto beasts ready to destroy those who come inside their sphere of influence.

    Proverbs 28:15

    Jude 1:10 They speak evil or talk against that which is righteous, because they are of the spirit of Antichrist. A wicked ruler in the church is as a Kingdom divided against itself. And it's not their appearance that gives them away, it's the words prove false prophesy. Though those of the flesh may appear as the church, their words condoning lawlessness reveal that their hand is of the beast and their mind of the dragon. Indeed, this is how true Christians will recognize a false Christ. Not by their apparent power of the church in that they have horns like a Lamb, but by the witness of their words. As Christ foretold, it is by their fruits that ye shall know them. Their words will bear witness against them, because they do not come with the faithful testimony of Christ, they merely "appear" Christian.

    2nd Timothy 3:5-8

False prophets and teachers resist the truth of God's Word, and by this resistance they are denying the power thereof. So the image given in Revelation chapter thirteen of the beast "having horns as a Lamb and speaking as a dragon," and the picture of those "having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof," are synonymous images and evidences of the spirit of Antichrist. A form of Godliness is having "appearance" or horns like a lamb. And denying the power thereof is speaking not as a Lamb, but as the Dragon. This is that spirit of antichrist and not the Spirit of Christ. This is the power and authority of the beast that the Dragon gives him. The power of God is the witness of the word, which this beast and it's minions will never have.

    Revelation 20:4

The witness of Jesus that the saints possess is the power of God by the Spirit. Those possessing it are not deceived that they receive a mark that they will worship the carnal likeness. The power to teach as Christ taught is the power of the Spirit through the "authority" of the word. It is certainly not in an outward appearance as a Lamb.

    Luke 4:32

    2nd Corinthians 6:7     1st Thessalonians 1:5 The word of God and the power of God go hand in hand, because their witness is the power of God. The false prophets oppose God's Words, and they come deceiving and seducing the people. It is indeed the Spirit of God's mouth that is called, "The word and breath of his lips (Isaiah 11:4)." Revelation chapter thirteen shows us in spiritual imagery where the power of this beast is, and where the power of God is. The spirit of disobedience to the word (Ephesians 2:2) or lawlessness is from the mouth of the beast, who speaks as a dragon. The Spirit of truth is from the mouth of those who come with the witness of the word. God's Word is the spirit of His mouth (2nd Thessalonians 2:8, Revelation 2:16), and the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). This is the word of God lawfully brought that men might be saved.

  &Nbsp; Jeremiah 23:28

To the faithful, the beast will become self-evident, because the words of the Bible are not carnal, but spiritual. And the words of the carnal are antithetical to that of the Scriptures. Here is wisdom, that if we do not remain vigilant that we try or prove men's words "by God's Word," then we will be ripe for devouring by the beasts who are spiritually wolves who come among us in sheep's clothing. With horns like the Lamb.

    1st John 4:1

True believers must always test, try, or prove, that we know which prophets are teaching that which is antithetical to Christ. That we have the mind of Christ to know beasts usurping authority and power as a substitute or antichrist, and teaching the worship of a false "likeness" mimicking the true Lamb of God.

What does the Name of the Beast Signify

        As we've seen, the imagery of the Beast or false prophets of Satan is set forth as those come against the saints to devour them. But before we get to what is the mark of the beast, we need to look at what is the name of the Beast. The name in Scripture is often the title "representing" certain aspects or family relationship. Whether it is demonstrating genealogical, typological or a systematic relationship, a name is a title by which a person or thing is known that distinguishes him or it from another. Those with the same name share some common characteristics. In this case the children of the beast is distinguished from the children of the Lamb just as the kingdom of Satan is distinguished from the Kingdom of God. The name of the beast illustrates its character grouping, which is carnality.

A good example of the distinctive illustration found in names can be found in Revelation chapter nine. There God reveals a beast coming from the bottomless pit having power as the scorpion, and a king over them illustrating they are ruled. All these images again signify some characteristic. Here they come as locusts having teeth of a lion, and they torment men five months. The imagery of the scorpion and lion are to reveal their characteristic of strength as they go forth to destroy the people (Luke 10:19, 1st Peter 5:8, Proverbs 28:15). In this imagery we see the spirit of satan as he comes from the pit as king ruling over the carnal army and God tells us his "name" is called, "the Destroyer." Remember, names are words by which a person or thing is known that distinguishes them from another, or that characterizes a certain group. Satan is characterized as a Destroyer. We see in the image of the Son of God that He comes as King also to rule His people, but His name is called "the word of God -Revelation 19:13." These are the two contrasting kingdoms these two kings rule over. Christ's Kingdom is to build, and His name is called Jesus [iesous], or Yehowshuwa, meaning Saviour.

Luke 2:21

By contrast, Satan's kingdom is to destroy, an exact anti or opposite of Christ. He is the substitute of carnality of the imagery we see of Christ. One Kingdom builds and plants, the other is like locusts going forth to root up and destroy what has been planted. And note what God says about this army of locusts.

    Revelation 9:7-11

The king or ruler of these spirits from the bottomless pit is Satan, the messenger (not angel) who was bound in the bottomless pit. So his people are prefigured as coming as locust to signify that they a plague sent by God upon the people (see Moses and the plagues) as judgment. He sent them to devour the field and leave it desolate. This beast comes upon the unfaithful church of God because they have forsaken Him and placed his people in bondage (spiritually) as Egypt did. And because of this, God sends His judgment. He sends spirits who come with lion's teeth symbolizing they are strong and fierce to devour. They come as brute beasts. God says the "name" of their ruler in the Hebrew tongue is [abaddon], which being interpreted means, "to make perish" or to "destroy." In the Greek tongue his name is [apollyon], which means a "total destruction." So the picture that is being revealed here is that while God's people are spirits who go forth planting seed, watering and caring for the wheat of the field (1st Corinthians 3:6), these spirits of Satan will come upon them from the bottomless pit as a plague of locusts "loosed" as antichrist, an opposite of Christ to destroy the field. i.e., to make the fruitful fields a desolate wasteland. The name "destroyer" illustrates the character of this ruler, and of those of his kingdom. Christ is the Life, the builder, Satan is Death, the destroyer. Two distinct and opposing rules or kingdoms which are at enmity with one another.

So the idea of many modern day authors that "The name of the beast" refers to a particular common name that a particular man is given, is not Biblically validated. Rather the name of the beast signifies the family association that these who receive it, have to their King. Just as I have the name of my father, and it associates me with him. So those receiving the name of the beast are associated with the spirit of antichrist who rules over them. His name signifies the spiritual character of the beast, which these people that are deceived by his minions are part of. Just as the name of Christ signifies that we, as His children, receive the characteristics of Christ, and are of His family.

    Revelation 19:11

Revelation 19:16 These names are to illustrate what the Lord is. It in no way is to declare that God has literally carved in his thigh the wording "King of Kings and Lord of Lords," rather, it is imagery to signify that "this" is what the Lord is. He is Faithful, He is true, He is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. The same Greek word translated name [onoma] that appears there, is also used in Revelation 13:17-18. It is obvious that the name applies a characteristic to what the beast is. His name is the destroyer, for that is his character. And those who receive his name, are ruled by this king and receive power as destroyers. Just as those who receive Christ's name, are ruled by Him, and receive power as builders and planters.

Again, there is the example in Revelation 3:1 as Christ says, "I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest and art dead." God is illustrating that these people took the name of Christ (The resurrection and the life), but their works were not of life, not of Christ, but were dead.

    Hebrews 9:14

These of this church had the name of Christ, but their works were dead. In other words, they did not have the character of a true Christian, thus they have taken the name of Christ in vain. For the name is a sign or token of the character of whom we are named after.

    Revelation 2:17

No man truly "knows" the name of Christ except those who have truly received Christ. Because the name is a sign or token that the believer has received the holy Spirit, where Christ, New Life, has come to dwell with them making them sons of God, a spiritual family. They receive of the character of Christ where His seed remains in them and their will is to do God's will rather than their own. But as God says, (1st John 2:4) 'He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.' No man knows the name Christ except him that has truly received it. He that is sealed in his forehead with the Spirit of promise has received the name of Christ there, that he knows Him. He that does not show the characteristic in keeping His name (the Word of God), and yet claims to know Him, is a liar and the truth is not in Him.

Likewise, in this same way, those who receive the spirit of antichrist take on the characteristics of Satan, which his spirit works within them. Even as the spirit of Satan entered Judas when he betrayed Christ. As in the imagery we saw before of men likened unto serpents and scorpion (signifying Satan's power) who came as false Prophets to hurt and destroy. So the Spirit of Christ is a quickening Spirit. We come with the Spirit of truth, while they come with the spirit of disobedience. This imagery again a token of the exact opposite of Christ. It is a sign of the false or counterfeit Christ. If we do not serve God lawfully, then we lawlessly serve another Christ in the Holy Temple, and we have spiritually received the mark of his Satan's name. We have a king over us that is the destroyer.

What Does The Word 'Mark' Illustrate

        What is the mark of the beast? Continuing in Revelation 13:16 we see that this beast causes all to receive the mark of his name. However, verse 17 assures us that this "all" is qualified. In other words, it's not everyone in the world, it is everyone that will "buy and sell" at this time. Only the buyers and sellers will receive this mark of the beast. And the buyers and sellers depicted are not literal merchants and purchasers, rather this is symbolic of those merchants of the church. These will not be able to practice their trade in the church except they are marked of the beast. Revelation is a book of symbolism, and to take this buying and selling literally would be just as much a mistake as taking the beast who gives the mark literally.

Revelation 3:17-19

Christ was warning the messenger of the church of Laodicea in "symbolic" terms to be a faithful "merchant" of spiritual things, and "buy of Him" Gold tried in the fire, Gold that would not corrupt, Gold that thieves would not seek to break through and steal, Gold that would be more precious than any literal merchant could ever obtain. He is told to be the merchant of these precious "spiritual" things, and he is rebuked and chastened for not doing this. This messenger of Laodoicea thought that he was rich and had need of nothing because of his literal wealth, but God is declaring that "spiritually speaking", he was poor and blind and naked. For the Merchant that Christ had in view was the spiritual merchant of the church, the earthly representation of the Kingdom of God. The one who was seeking to buy and sell precious things far more valuable than literal gold.

Matthew 13:45-46

The Kingdom of heaven is likened unto a merchant man. This is the symbolism of God's church going forth. At this time depicted in Revelation 13, no one will be able to be these merchants in the church except the buyers and sellers. Those who will not worship the 'image' of the beast, we read these are all killed. These are those who will not be deceived of false prophesy and who will not receive the mark of Satan's name to buy and sell in the Lord's house. So it's important that we understand that the symbolism here is that no one can buy and sell "except" those who receive the mark of the beast.

The truth is that this mark is a spiritual token that he who receives it has "fallen away" from God or been brought under the reign of Satan's kingdom. This beast symbolizes Satan's false prophets and ministers coming to deceive the people of the church. The Greek word translated "mark" is [charagma], and is taken from a root word meaning to etch or scratch. For example, as someone would engrave something today. It's use here is to illustrate a spiritual branding or etching upon as a sign of ownership by Satan. Just as we today might write, mark, or scribe something with the mark of "our name" to show ownership. For example, as your name is signed on a deed illustrating that you own the land. Or as a rancher might brand a cow with his or her own unique name to illustrate that the cow belonged to that particular rancher. This is same meaning in the "imagery" of revelation of those who receive the mark of the beast. It signifies that they have the same family name, and they belong to Satan, who rules over them. It's just the opposite of Christians being bought with a price by Christ, that they are not their own, and belong to Him (1st Corinthians 6:19-20). Likewise, those with the mark of the name are illustrating they serve him and are under his control. Again, this is the mimicking of Christ in this substitute or anti-Christ kingdom.

It is also important that we are not led astray to believe this is a literal mark. It's not a literal mark on anyone anymore than this beast who causes them to receive it is a literal beast ('he who hath an ear, let him hear'}. We know this is not a literal beast with seven literal horns that had come out of the 'literal' earth. Nor is this second a literal beast with horns like a lamb that speaks like a dragon. Could anyone even say how a Dragon would speak? We could only answer that honorably when we understand that the Dragon is not literal, and so it speaks as Satan, who is spiritually a Dragon. And so if it's not a literal beast, it would logically, rationally, and biblically follow that this is not a literal mark that this non-literal beast would make. In fact, it would be illogical to think so. Both images (the beast and the mark denoting it's family character) are symbolic images depicting spiritual realities. And what they symbolize is Satan bringing men into servitude by means of his false prophets. These false prophets cause the unfaithful church to be deceived and fall away to become slaves of Satan. that they go forth destroying the field. The enemy sows tares among the wheat, and there comes an [apostasia], or a falling away from the faith by the corporate church.

Another point is that this could not be symbolism of the people of the world who do not believe in God falling away, because they either have already fallen, or they never have gone to church or professed Christ. Thus this falling away, these who receive this mark of the beast, of necessity must be those who are of the external church. Those who claim to believe (Luke 8:13) in God, but who in time of trial and testing will fall away. This spirit of antichrist causes a forsaking of God by the people of the corporate or external church, who have no real root in themselves that they would endure trial.

1st Timothy 4:1

Giving heed to seducing spirits of Devils is another way of saying that those of the church begin departing from the truth because of the spirit of antichrist. The unfaithful churches, having once been enlightened, start departing from the faith (Hebrews 6:4-6) that they forsake God. This is depicted in Revelation chapter 23 as them receiving Satan's mark so that they can be merchants for him in the churches. They have left their first love, and receive the character and spirit (name) of their ruler, the destroyer. And what they destroy by their spiritual fornication is the once glorious and faithful church of God.

By contrast, we can read in Revelation Chapter 14 that those who are the servants of God, have His name written in their foreheads. Again, this is the very same imagery, rather than literal marks. The only thing different about this is that it is an exact opposite of the name of the Beast. This doesn't mean that God's name is literally bored or burned into our foreheads. It signifies that we belong to God, or that we are in servitude to Him (1st Corinthians 7:22-23). Christians being bought with a price are 'servants' or bondservants of God. That symbolism of the name of God in their foreheads, signifies that by being part of God's "family," they take on certain aspects of the character of God, including the name Christ-ian. It is a picture that our minds are in Christ. Likewise the mark of the beast in man's hand and forehead symbolizes his servitude, and that his mind is sold out to Satan. These are the two proverbial Kingdoms. Either we're God's servants, or we are servants of the Devil. Either we have the Spirit of Christ, or the spirit of anti-Christ. So the question, "what is the mark of the beast," is a question that must be answered by the Spirit, through the careful exegesis of the word of God, rather than through the words of fanciful books and popular authors.

Though it seems to me hard to believe, people lose sight of the fact that Revelation is a book steeped in symbolic imagery. It is often because of church tradition that many attempt to force Scripture to be literal, even when it is tortuous to do so. Here we read of Locusts, Candlesticks, Stars, Beasts, Plagues, Horns, Crowns, Chains, Women, Harlots, Mountains, Marks, Fornication, etc., and it would seem obvious by the context that these are all symbolic images in Revelation. Still some are reticent to say it is symbolic. Nevertheless, these are word pictures to illustrate something to those with the wisdom and understanding that only God can endow. They are not to be understood as literal things, or acts, but as spiritually signifying actions and events. If we would stop to think about this Biblically and 'honestly,' and with no preconceived ideas, the truth of it becomes self-evident. If the beast is a symbolic creature and not a literal beast (which everyone would agree that it is), why would anyone then tortuously conclude that the mark of "this non-literal beast" should be literal? It makes no sense! The truth is, the mark of the beast is imagery painting a spiritual picture ownership, just as the beast who causes it is a picture of principality and rule of the flesh.

When this false prophet, spiritually a beast, comes to deceive and rules in the church, only those who are deceived of him (marked as serving in his kingdom) will be able to buy and sell in the church. No true believers will be able to demonstrate their wares here. They will refuse to worship his likeness (image) of carnality, they receive no mark of servitude, they cannot buy and sell in this house, and they will be slain. The wicked will fall into the deceivers snare and take on the character of his name, but the Saints will not worship the beast, neither his image, neither will receive his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands. Neither their mind nor their hand is with the beast in this spiritual fornication of the church.

In their Hand and Forehead

        What is the symbolism of the mark of his name in their right hand, and in their foreheads? The hand in Scripture is often used as a illustration of the will of man. Because the hand is used by man to do his bidding. We see for example when Pilate wanted to release Jesus, and yet the people wanted him killed.

Matthew 27:24

By this washing of his hands, Pilate was attempting to declare that he was clean of the sin of this man's murder. In other words, he was indicating that it was not "his Will" that this would happen, but the people's will. In washing his hands of it, he felt himself to be washed free of the guilt and responsibility of it. This is a vain attempt by him to make it known that "his hand" was not in this man's death.

The hand is illustrative of man's will, and specifically, the right hand, is the main hand. It is self-evident that the overwhelming majority of people are right handed, meaning, the right hand is the prominent hand. i.e., it's the stronger hand, or the hand of power. In the old Testament, when a father will was that his son be blessed, he would signify this by laying his "right hand" upon him. Or When Jesus ascended to the throne of God, He was seated at the "right hand" of God. In these illustrations of the hand, God is giving us a spiritual image of the will. Even today, if you were to say of a friend, that he was your "right hand man," immediately all would understand what you meant. Because it's an illustration of being able to depend upon him. i.e., he works like my own right hand, or he does "my will" as if by my own hand. Again, if we were to say, "He had his hand in it also," that would indicate to all that "his Will" was to go along with it, or that he was a "willing participant" in it. That is the significance of the hand in this imagery. The right hand is an idiom for "will and power." Thus when we read Satan's mark is in their right hand, it signifies Satan uses these deceived men as his 'main hand' or as his power to get his will done on earth. He doesn't pop up as a red horned devil with a pitchfork, he manifests himself in "MAN."

2nd Corinthians 11:13-15

They do his bidding as if it were by his own right hand. They are in servitude to him, are under his authority, and do his will.

As for the forehead, it is where the mind is, and is illustrative of man's thinking. By giving us spiritual images of believers with the name of God written in their foreheads, it is revealed their minds are sealed in Christ Jesus so that their thoughts become one with his. Believers all have one mind as they are all sealed or secured of the Spirit in Christ.

Romans 15:6

1st Corinthians 2:16 Believer's having the name of God written in their foreheads are illustrative of a people who are of one Spirit where God is guiding them in their will and in their thinking. It is the fulfilling of Old Covenant prophecy.

    Hebrews 10:16

No one would look at Hebrews 10:16 and even begin to think that God means that He's literally written Scripture on someone's heart, or that He has literally carved laws on our foreheads or in our minds. Because of the Spirit we readily understand its imagery or a spiritual metaphor illustrating our spiritual nature. And yet, some theologians will take the verse in Revelation chapter 13, which is an even more obviously symbolic and spiritual book, and try and force the name or number of the non-literal beast, to be literally something marked in one's forehead. And ironically, usually all while looking at the beast, it's horns, and it's rising from the earth and sea, as symbolic. There is no scriptural justification for this type of interpreting. Not in the context, content, or character of the chapter can we "read into" Scripture such ideas. The mark is no more talking about a literal mark, than Hebrews 10:16 is talking about literal marks of Scripture written upon our hearts or passages scribbled in our minds. It is mere symbolism that we are sealed with God's Spirit in our minds (2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 4:30, Revelation 7:3), that we have an earnest desire to obey God's laws and do His will by our hand. It is by the Spirit ingrained upon our hearts and minds that we will and do.

2nd Timothy 1:7

Philippians 2:13 All true believers have the spirit of a sound mind, the one mind in Christ Jesus. The name of Christ is the word of God, and that is what is spiritually sealed within our minds that we would obey and work and do.

By the same token, those who are deceived by the spirit of Satan also have the same mind. But instead of the mind of lawfulness, they have the mind of lawlessness. Their desire is not to do the will of God, but to be disobedient and do the will of their father, the Devil.

Ephesians 2:2-3

Jesus told the Scribes and Pharisees that their mind was defiled because they were of their father, the Devil. Why? Because the mind of the people of Israel was given over to that prince or ruler, Satan. Spiritually speaking, he had become their king and held them in bondage (John 8:36). In this same fashion, when the church falls into the apostasy illustrated in Revelation chapter 13, these also will be brought into bondage by Satan. And as the true believers are sealed in their foreheads to signify they are all of one mind in the Spirit of Christ, so these will be spiritually marked in their forehead signifying that they are all of one mind in the spirit of antichrist. Indeed, as it is written:

Revelation 17:13

One mind, one spiritual father, one character of the beast. Collectively, we have either the mind of Christ, or the mind of Satan. And those who fall away are spiritually defiled. The same type illustration as found in Titus, where it speaks about the mind of the unrighteous being defiled.

Titus 1:15

This is what the mark on the forehead symbolized. That their mind is defiled and they are all of one spirit to give their hand in work for the beast's kingdom. So again, the mark of the Beast in man's hand and forehead is not a carnal or fleshly mark, rather it is the mark of the flesh, or of carnality. For the carnal mind is illustrated in the will of the flesh. The mind being marked signifies carnal thinking, and the hand signifies the will of the flesh. The mark is a token of the nature of disobedience, and signifies that one does not have the Spirit of God, but is sold out to the flesh. And one who has the mark of the beast in his head, has the sign of death upon him.

Romans 8:5-8

How can we answer the question, "What is the mark of the beast?" We answer that it is the carnal mind, the mind spiritually marked of the beast that has deceived them that they take on his character and do his will. Their hand is to serve in his kingdom, rather than in Christ's.

And in this same cryptic fashion, Revelation 17:5 talks about the Harlot with a name written on her forehead saying "Mystery Babylon, the Great, the Mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth." Is this a literal woman with literal writing in her forehead? Again, not at all. It is symbolic language signifying a fallen spiritual city that outside looks rich, but inside is abominations and filth. To look for a literal woman with a name literally marked in her forehead would be foolishness. Yet this type of unsound hermeneutic is routinely practiced by many theologians in chapters such as Revelation 13. But in these cryptic images we see battle against the one true God, and the images of the god of this world. One Kingdom of the Lamb, with the man of law serving God, and the other is the kingdom of the beast, with the man of lawlessness (sin) serving Satan. Images of the Christ, and of the false Christ.

What is The Number of the Beast

        This brings us to the topic of, "what does the number of the beast mean?" His number of six hundred threescore and six has long been thought to be the key to the mystery of the beast. But in truth, it is the other way around. This beast that brings extreme false prophecy and apostasy in the churches, is the key to understanding it's number. Bearing in mind all the things we've already learned, we have three very pertinent clues as to what the number of the beast represents. We can conclude from what we have gleaned from the Scripture thus far, that those who are marked of the beast are:
#1. The unsaved
#2. Those receiving his Name characteristic
#3. Those who come under rule of their king Satan
#4. Those who are the Buyers and Sellers
#5. Those with the same mind or way of thinking as the beast
They are the unsaved who have the name characteristic of their father, the devil, who rules over them. Their thinking is as a beast, namely, carnal, fleshly, and they are the buyers and sellers (more on this later).

Revelation 13:18

God tells us that it is "wisdom and understanding" rather than mathematical skills that is required to discover what the number of the beast signifies. And comparing Scripture with Scripture, we know that wisdom and understanding (Biblically speaking) is in the fear of the Lord to take His divine word very seriously and studiously. The unfaithful have no real fear of God or reverence for His word, and thus their allegiance and faithfulness to it becomes lukewarm. In looking superficially at the word, they lack the real spiritual insight and guidance of the Spirit instructing in the word. Biblical wisdom and understanding is given by the Spirit of God alone, and is evidenced by forsaking evil, repentance and humbly "receiving" God's correction.

Job 28:28

He who has wisdom and understanding that will count the number of the beast is he that has a fear of the Lord that he will want to depart from evil. By contrast, the wicked will not depart from evil because they have no fear of the Lord. They will not depart from evil because they don't have this spiritual understanding that the true saints of God have. i.e., they won't have this wisdom and understanding that would allow them to count the number of the beast "as" the number signification of carnal "man."

Psalms 111:10

Proverbs 2:6 Out of God's mouth (God's Word) comes understanding, and fear of God again is seen as the starting point of being wise. Do we get the impression that wisdom and understanding is in reverential fear and faithfully following what proceeds out of the mouth of the lord? Only those indwelled by the Holy Spirit of God have this earnest desire to "be lawful" and faithfully follow what the Scriptures actually teach. The rest will depart from the faith at the first sign of trouble or trial. They are ripe to be deceived by carnal lusts and vain imaginations of man's heart. How can we avoid such a fall? God declares that "He who hath wisdom and understanding (true Believers) should "Count" the number of the beast. In other words, exegete, calculate, evaluate, so that you know the character of the beast. No, it's not a mathematical equation, because God gives us but "one number." How do you count one number? Well, the answer to this mystery is hidden in plain sight. God tells us "exactly" what the number is. He states very succinctly, "..it is the Number of MAN!"

Take note that your "translation" may read, "the number of 'A' Man," but rest assured the a is not really (never was, never will be) in any manuscripts. It is not in any of the manuscripts or copies of the original. We should understand that there are no indefinite articles in the Greek, as there are in English. The word is anarthrous or [anth'-ro-pos], and is a genitive case, which specifically defines. So be forewarned that in the Greek, it is the exact same declarative phrase as found in Romans:

Romans 2:9

Or again, as we see demonstrated in Corinthians:

1st Corinthians 2:9

There is no article 'a' there, just as there is none in Revelation chapter 13. Or again, as seen in such contexts as Revelation chapter one:

Revelation 1:13

This is the "exact" same Greek application as in Revelation chapter 13. There is no article 'a' there, nor in Revelation chapter 13, and there shouldn't be. The 'a' in Revelation chapter 13 was put there erroneously in some translations (presumably) because they thought that it might make it better understood. In reality of course, it has had the opposite effect. Because some people (and even a few theologians) have because of this formed the misguided idea that there actually is an 'a' in that verse. Consequently, many think that this verse refers to a particular man, rather than simply man, or mankind, which is the way it was actually "inspired of God" to be written. This number of the beast is the number "of man." But there is no need to take my word for it, simply check it out carefully yourself. Compare in the original Greek, or get yourself an interlinear explanation, or consult any "real" expert in the Greek languages, and you will find this to be the case. It is an undeniable fact that there is not written there, "..number of a man." What the Holy Spirit actually inspired written is, ..it is the Number Of Man. So we have the beast a devouring creature signifying animalistic carnality, "of the flesh." And we are told that the number of the beast is the number of man, whose number is six hundred, sixty and six. Finally, those with wisdom and understanding should count this number of man, which is of the beast.

Proverbs 4:5

Proverbs 9:10 Colossians 1:9 Here is he who has wisdom and understanding. It is the Holy Spirit moving within us that we have a fear of God to 'keep' His word faithfully, and forget it not. And indeed, "THIS" is what will allow us to count the number of man.

2nd Timothy 2:15

Rightly dividing the word of truth is done the same way as counting the number of the beast. "Rightly Dividing" means cutting or measuring correctly. By extension, it's telling us to make just judgments concerning the word, that we may come to truth. "Count the Number" means to calculate or compute correctly. And by extension it's telling us it requires wisdom and understanding (as defined by God) to make just judgments concerning what this number of man represents. In effect, they're both telling the believers to do the same thing. Search the Scriptures to justly "interpret" God's Word.

Genesis 40:8

Indeed they do. And God interprets His own word, by His own word, not by the private interpretations of men.

From the preceding considerations we know three things unquestionably. We know that the beast represents the devouring ministers of Satan. We know that the name of it's king is the destroyer. We know that the number of the beast is the number of man. And we know that it is not all men who are signified by this mark, only those who worship the image of the beast. i.e., those who are not truly "in Christ" are those numbered of the beast. Moreover, from Revelation 13:17, and Revelation 14:11, we know conclusively that those who receive the mark of the beast, are those who receive the name of the beast, and those who receive the name of the beast are those who receive the number of his name. In other words, the name, the mark, and the number are all synonymous, and really signify the very same thing. Namely, the characteristics of Satan placed in those whom he rules over. It is the spirit of antichrist in those who serve him in this beastly kingdom.

So using a sound Bible alone hermeneutic, defining imagery by imagery, and comparing Scripture with Scripture, I believe that there is only one biblical conclusion possible. And that is, those who receive this number of carnal man represent those of the church who depart from the faith to serve the likeness of the beast. They forsake truth to serve carnality, having been robbed and snared (trapped) so that the false prophet brings them into spiritual captivity. That is why in Scripture false prophets are pictured as robbers who steal. God gives them that image because they steal from God by deceiving the people, spoiling them (take by conquest) that they fall away and forsake God. By using the words Buyers and Sellers, God signifies the merchants have taken the Lord's house of prayer, and made it into a den of thieves by robbing God. God spoke of Israel the same way when their leaders were leading them astray as "beasts" upon a prey.

Isaiah 42:22

They are in spiritual captivity, in Satan's prison house, a prey for the beasts. This is the "imagery" God uses for those who were taken into captivity by Satan. And likewise it is the imagery God uses in Revelation 13 of the beast. The prey are those receiving his mark, name and number, as children of the devil. And we'll cover the buying and selling later. But this prophecy of Isaiah 42 was fulfilled at Christ's first advent as the Old Covenant congregation fell into great apostasy. Those who have been deceived, or brought into servitude to Satan were pictured as snared in his principality, having been deceived by the false prophets (Isaiah 42:14) who were controlled by the wicked one. We learn from Scripture that there is nothing new under the sun. That which has been is that which shall be, because "Man" does not seem to learn from biblical history.

"Count" The Number

        We have seen many aspects of the beast that illustrate the significance of his number, but a truly sound exegesis is in the careful "cross checking and cross referencing" all of our conclusions, by continuing to compare Scripture with Scripture for total Biblical consistency throughout. The question is, how do we Biblically count this number? And are the results in total harmony and agreement with everything else that we've learned? Lest we forget, we were told that those who possess wisdom and understanding, should count or calculate the number of the beast. And the number to count was given as six hundred, sixty, and six, and declared to be, The Number of Man.

But "how" is it the number of man? Without a system we have chaos, and without biblical validation we have private interpretation. Thus we approach the Scriptures both systematically and reverentially in order to assure that we have God's view, rather than our own idea of what we think is God's view. As noted before, God gives no other number with which to count six hundred, sixty-six with. So we immediately discern that we are simply to count that one number. But how do we count six hundred sixty-six alone. There really is only one way, which is use the Bible as our example and count it the way other numbers are counted in Scripture. We count it as a spiritual number. And since it obviously is not upon all, but only part of the whole are marked deceived of Satan to worship the image, we count it as part of the whole. In other words, we count it as a fraction (part of the whole number). Not surprisingly, it all leads us to the very same conclusion. To answer any objection, in context, counting as a fraction is Biblically justifiable because it is referring to a part of the whole. Or more specifically, the 666 refers to those who are to be cut off from the whole by reason of their being deceived (marked), of the beast. This in relationship to the part that God says will not be marked of the beast (The faithful of God), and whom we are told would be killed because of their faithfulness. So we have two fractions, or two parts. Those who will refuse to worship the beast and so be killed are numbered with God, one part. And those who worship the beast and receive his mark, are numbered with him as his part. So what is the number six hundred, sixty, and six "counted" as a fraction or as part of this whole? It breaks down to two thirds. And no surprise, this correlates perfectly with God's Word because in the Scriptures God uses the division of 1/3 to symbolize the truly Saved who are brought through the fire and refined of God, and 2/3 as those who are to be cut off from God. And these marked of the beast are those designated to forsake God and be deceived (cut off) of the beast.

An illustration of this spiritual division can be seen in the third part of the shekel that was to be used for the work of the Sanctuary, which illustrates the work of the believer justified in the work of Christ. Or in the prophesy of the coming Messiah, and man is numbered, we see Christ takes only the 'true believers' through the fire to cleanse them (Salvation), and we read that it was numbered 2/3 that were to be cut off. This is six hundred and sixty and six, counted as a fraction of the whole.

    Zechariah 13:7-9

Two parts therein, or, two parts of the congregation are to be cut off, and one part saved. The Lord our God has assigned the number (fraction) to "count" those whom Christ will bring to Salvation, and the number in His house who will be cut off. A remnant will be saved, and the rest are deceived and cut off. The true believers are numbered as 1/3, and the unsaved who are cut off from God are numbered as 2/3. So here we have GOD'S defining a NUMBER of the whole that represents man being cut off from God. And He (not I) defines it as 2/3. And again, this correlates perfectly to what God said about the number of man who will buy and sell, being the number six hundred and sixty and six (2/3). This number being written in the forehead and hand is an illustration that the spiritual condition of their mind, and the works of the hands, are of this carnality or beast that they serve. Just as in the days of old, it is spiritual idolatry.

Jeremiah 44:8

These marked are those who are deceived of the beast, the false prophets who come in his name, and these are cut off from God by that deception. When we count the number six hundred and sixty and six in the Bible, both spiritually and fractionally, it is illustrating this fall. Those with this number, this name, and this mark, represents the man of lawlessness, whom Satan has deceived, and whom God has designated to be cut off.

Even if we simply look at the very context of Revelation 13 it confirms this. It's not the number of 'a' man as some have surmised, it is the number of man "that is deceived." He is the forsaken who will be buying and selling in the Lord's house at this time. His designated number is 2/3 or 666, and his ruler has the name, Destroyer. For it is written, judgment must begin at the house of God. Just as it did with the house of Israel. In this, we have our Biblical interpretation of what the number of man, counted 666 represents. It is the "part" of the whole that is 'cut off' from God.

But what about counting this spiritually? Six hundred, threescore and six [chi xi stigma], were letters of the Greek alphabet, representing numbers respectively 600, 60 and 6. In other words, six hundred and sixty and six as a numeral. It doesn't take much to see this number (600 +60 +6), has the number 6 predominant, which signifies 'work,' and multiplied by 10 and 100, which signifies fullness (see the significance of numbers of Scripture, study). It very well may illustrate the number of man whose work in salvation is after his own spirit, rather than the work of Christ. The ultimate futility of man's work or walk in this world serving Satan can be seen in Israel attempting to get into the Kingdom of God by their own works (by the law). As a result, like these numbered of the beast, they were cut off like branches from the Olive tree. They failed to realize that it is only by the work of the Christ that anyone will see the Kingdom of God. It is by His merit and by being conformed to His image that we are children of God. A likeness or image in the spirit of antichrist will not suffice. Likewise, many in the church are cut off having received the mark of the beast in their minds and hands. The 'works' of their heart is to worship this image or likeness of Satan, and the mark on their hand is to illustrate this.

Revelation 9:20

The works of their hands is idol worship (a god of their own making). It is to serve a false god rather than Christ, wherein these deceived people are really worshipping devils. Spiritually, these works are in the number of man, and man shall be judged every one according to that work. According to the law.

And so all roads though they take different paths, lead us to the exact same conclusion. The number represents the lot of those who do not have Christ as their Sabbath of rest, and whose works follow against the law. It signifies man all of one mind, one family, with the name of their father, Satan predominant in their thoughts and deeds. As God indeed declared in the verse itself, "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of Man." It's the number of mankind who is deceived by the spirit of anti-Christ whose hand and mind is to do the works of the devil, and to worship the 'likeness' of the beast.

2nd Thessalonians 2:9-12

Once again, man in the works of the devil, and also this is an illustration that it is God who is sending these unfaithful this delusion, because they would not believe the truth preached in love. These antichrists who come after the 'workings' of Satan (with all lying signs and wonders to deceive) are those who cause them to receive this mark and be cut off from God. The phrase 'mark of the beast' refers to their being brought into servitude to the spirit of antichrist and deceived (Revelation 14:9, 20:4). They fall because of the judgement of God for not receiving truth. This Apostasy, this cutting off, this marking of the people by Satan, is "ultimately" judgment from God for their abominations. And that is what this verse in Thessalonians declares. It is because the spirit of man is in opposition to the Spirit of God, that he has made The Lord's house into a den of thieves, wicked buyers and sellers who rob God in their lawlessness. So when we ask the question, what is the mark of the beast? We can answer assuredly that it is the number of his name, a number signifying carnality, a spiritual mark of ownership.

Verses where the number is found

        Any study would be remiss if it didn't include the verses that use the actual number, six hundred sixty-six. Because comparing Scripture with Scripture is an essential in coming to sound Biblical conclusions in interpretations. So in looking at the places where this number is found, we would expect to glean some spiritual truth in these passages. For, "it is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter -Proverbs 25:2." And the first place this number six hundred threescore and six is found is in 1st Kings:

    1st Kings 10:14

Both this verse and it's companion verse in 2nd Chronicles 9:13, have a spiritual meaning far above the actual amount of gold given the King of Israel. We have to pick up the context into which this number is inserted to discern what is in view. The Queen of Sheba had heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, and she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem bearing gifts, spices and very much gold and precious stones. And when she came to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. The end result was her comment, "Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made He Thee king, to do judgment and justice." In other words, this gold came from outside of Israel, as glory to the King God established upon the throne.

Solomon, the King of Israel is a "type" of Christ, and the weight of the gold that came to him (six hundred threescore and six) in one year, is a type signifying the glory of the heathen or gentile people of the world (who are under bondage to Satan) who would end up in the storehouse of the King. That king (A representation of Christ) will give them of His abundance and wisdom. This is why this number six hundred threescore and six talents of gold is singled out for special mention when the Queen of Sheba heard of the King's Glory and came to hear Him.

1st Kings 10:13

The Hidden manna is that the Gentiles in captivity to Satan would also bring their bounty into the storehouse of Christ, and thus receive the bounty and blessings of the King of Israel. They will take of His bounty into their nations. This is a "type," a prophecy of salvation going to those Gentiles nations who were deceived of Satan. Israel will see the riches of the Gentiles brought into her, and they shall carry the King's bounty to their own nations. This is very much as the principle that God sets forth in the book of Isaiah:

    Isaiah 60:9-10

These Gentiles are those under bondage of Satan who know not God, because they are strangers from the commonwealth of Israel. But they also will come up into the House of the Lord and become sons of God. The six hundred threescore and six talents of Gold that the queen brought to the King "signified" that the riches of the Gentiles nations would also come unto Israel.

Colossians 1:26-27

The riches of those who were in bondage or servitude to Satan would come to Israel. This is the signification of the six hundred threescore and six talents of Gold the queen brought to Israel saying He made him king to do justice and judgment. It signified the bondage of the flesh of the Gentiles, those carnal nations who were not God's people, being made God's people. Those enslaved spiritually in the "works" of the devil, now being brought into the house of God. The number illustrated their characteristic, as being of Satan. Even as we see in another place this number is found:

    Ezra 2:13

Again, when we pick up the context, we see that these are those who were held in captivity or servitude in Babylon, yet were brought again unto Jerusalem.

    Ezra 2:1

The name Adonikam [adoniyqam] means Lord of rising, and is taken from the two root words [adon] meaning Lord or Master, and [quwm] meaning to rise. i.e., these are the children of Adonikam (the Lord of Rising), six hundred sixty and six, who were freed from the captivity of Babylon. Again, the same spiritual picture of six hundred threescore and six signifies those in servitude. Babylon is a "type" of the bondage of Satan. Freeing the captivity is God's covenant sign that salvation would be brought to those who are held in spiritual bondage to Satan.

So in all these cases, we see this number as a token of those who were in captivity to Satan. Whether they were brought into the house of God as Gold from a foreign land, or if they were delivered from the bondage of the ruler of Babylon to freedom in Jerusalem. It all points to those who are enslaved by Satan, the great deceiver. Likewise, that 2/3 who were not tried in the furnace to make them pure, but divided to be those cut off, are also of that number. The number signified their servitude to Satan. So once again we see that all these instances of six hundred threescore and six lead to the same conclusion that it illustrates the number "of man" as he is in servitude to (works, on behalf of) Satan. His hand (will) and his mind (thoughts or thinking) is to work on behalf of his namesake. And our conclusions are verified in Revelation chapter 15.

Revelation 15:2

These are the true believers, and by the blood of Christ they had gotten the victory over the beast, his image (his likeness or mindset), and over his mark (the number of his name). This is because it is by the death of Christ, and through His blood, that we gain the victory over Satan and were set free from serving sin. This freedom from bondage, by His blood, is illustrated in Hebrews.

Hebrews 2:14-15

By the death and resurrection of Christ, we gained the victory over bondage and servitude to him that once held us captive. We are victorious, more than conquerors through Christ who set us free (john 8:33-36). Gaining victory over the mark, name and number signifies the victory Satan who held us in servitude and bondage in his kingdom.

The Buyers and The Sellers

        The theories about these who buy and sell are as wild, varied and groundless as the theories about the number six hundred sixty-six. Nevertheless, the buyers and sellers are not literal, it is symbolism illustrating the merchants of the congregations who make the Lord's house "spiritually" a place of robbers and thieves. What people often forget is that we cannot define words by Webster's dictionary, nor make interpretations by world politics or economics reports. The interpretations of Scripture must be defined by a sound Biblical hermeneutic. In other words, "bread" by Webster's dictionary is simply a food from a starchy food group, but by God's definition it could be the word of God. A Temple by Webster's dictionary is a religious building where people go to worship, but by God's definition it may be the body of Christ. By Webster's Dictionary, a highway in the desert that is made straight is a crooked road fixed by construction workers, but by God's definition it's the correction of unrighteousness. By the same token, a den of thieves by Webster's dictionary is a room with a group of criminals who steal, but by God's definition it may be the false prophets in the congregations. And not interpreting these things in the way God intended is not having the wisdom and understanding that Revelation chapter 13 says is required to count the number of the beast. This is the major reason why so many people come to so many erroneous conclusions about what the book of Revelation means. Discernment is from spiritual ears, not from reading things and defining terms by Webster's dictionary, by secular history, or by the precepts of men. We compare Scripture with Scripture to see how God defines His own terms. And clearly, God is not prophesying about grocery store clerks who will only sell to people with a mark on their heads. That is not what is in view with these buyers and sellers. And frankly, it's amazing that so many people actually teach this. Yet the gospel message is not about economics, it's about the good news of salvation. The interpretation of Revelation is not found "out there" somewhere, it's found "in" the Scriptures. Even the very context of this chapter should tell us that it's speaking about false prophets deceiving by means of miracles that the people will worship a false god. Because that's the context. So then, do these false prophets work in department stores and super markets and have power to restrict people buying goods unless they are literally marked in the head and hand? Of course not, false prophets work in churches, and that is where their buying and selling is done. The gospel of Christ isn't about world politics, computer chips, or economics, it's about the word of God in salvation and judgement. This symbolic language found in Revelation is imagery illustrating false prophets make evil merchandise of the gospel. They sell the things of God, as Esau sold his birthright for a crumb of bread. And doing so, He was cut off from God and brought into servitude of Satan. Jacob and Esau were brothers, both sons of Issac, but one was truly elect, while the other one never really was. It was this son that was not elect, that was cut off.

Romans 9:11-13

Many sons in the church of our day sell their birthright for less than Esau did. They are those in "works gospels," which fundamentally deny that we are already "bought" with a price by Christ. Other false gospels deny the authority of Scripture, either verbally or by deeds. Still other false gospels seek signs and wonders adding to the revelation of God, and hold to these in place of Biblical truth. But every false prophet sells you a lie in place of the gospel truth. And it is spiritually as if they are stealing from God. Because they use God's name in selling you goods which are of no real value. And it is God who equates those false prophets to buyers and sellers, thieves and robbers who are stealing from Him. This was "clearly illustrated" in the first advent of Christ. Remember when He came to Jerusalem, He threw the "Buyers and Sellers" out of the Holy Temple of God. This pointed to the fulfillment of the Old Testament Scripture prophesying of false prophets in the Lord's house. i.e., God, not I, has equated the Buyers and Sellers of the Temple, to the false prophets who were prophesied to come and serve other gods in Israel. Consider Matthew and Jeremiah carefully:

    Matthew 21:12-13

These buyers and sellers in the Temple fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah that false prophets would come and serve false gods in the House of the Lord, making it an abomination. And when Christ says "it is written," He is exhorting the faithful to search the Scriptures and discern the truth from "where" it is written.

    Jeremiah 7:8-11

This is the passage that the Lord Jesus referenced illustrating that it was fulfilled as He threw the Buyers and Sellers out of the Lord's house. It's a word picture or 'type' of them being cut off from their God. To be thrown out of The Temple is a "sign" of this cutting off of Israel. These Buyers and Sellers were tokens of the false prophets of the Lord's house that Jeremiah spoke of. They had made the Lords House a house of lies and false gods. Moreover, indeed the Jews came and asked Jesus for a "sign" that would show them that He had authority to throw these buyers and sellers out of the temple. And Christ responded illustrating that the "sign" fulfillment, was that they would crucify Him.

John 2:18-19

They asked for a sign of His authority to cast the buyers and sellers out, and Christ told them what the sign would be. They would be cut off as Christ was cut off in His death for the sins of the people. The point here is, the Buyers and Sellers signified those of the Temple that were to be cut off. They would destroy Christ the Temple, and that would be the 'sign' of His authority to cast them out.

Thus in Revelation chapter 13, these Buyers and Sellers are symbolic of the very same people who would be cut off from their God because they make His house abominable. Therein lies the significance of them being marked of Satan and numbered with his name. It now fits perfectly how only "they" could be those who buy and sell as thieves and robbers, while the faithful in the House of God cannot. It has nothing whatsoever to do with economics, it has to do with carnality and spirituality of the Devil. Those who are deceived by false prophets to serve other gods in the House of the Lord, make evil merchandise of the church. And they are not thieves and robbers as Webster's dictionary defines it, and not Buyers and Sellers as Webster's dictionary defines it, but as God defines it and as those with wisdom and understanding (a gift from God) have eyes to see and ears to hear the truth. Thieves are an illustration of those who come into the congregation with false teachings. Look again at what symbolism Jesus uses to illustrate this.

    John 10:8

Was Jesus talking about literal thieves and robbers who His servants could not hear? No, He is talking about false teachers who came to deceive the people of Israel into following them, and how God's true people wouldn't listen to them. Jesus equates those false teachers to being thieves and robbers whom the true people of God (sheep) would not follow. Just as those verses in Matthew and Jeremiah points out. They are false teachers, prophets and leaders, out to deceive into serving other gods.

Obadiah 1:4-5

The thieves, locusts or grasshoppers, the Buyers and Sellers in the House of the Lord symbolize these false teachers who exalt themselves in God's congregation. The classic example of the story Jesus told of the certain man who fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead (Luke 10:30). It was the good Samaritan who had compassion on him, helped him, and bound up his wounds pouring in oil and wine. This is a picture of us, the church in the ministry of Christ, and how they have compassion on those whom the false teachers deceive. The church by the power of the gospel brings these half dead back to life. The gospel we bring is that which heals in the spiritual oil of the anointing, and the wine of the blood of Christ. Thieves signify those false prophets who rob and kill, and the Saints the good Samaritans having compassion, who come to heal. These spiritual truths all point us to understand more fully the imagery, the symbolism, and the spiritual nature of the gospel language.

The true believers will not hear these thieves (buyers and sellers) that come into the Lord's house by the windows, nor will they be marked of them to worship the image of the beast as those to be cut off. Because they are the Lord's sheep and listen only to the Good Shepherd. They keep God's Word and aren't deceived of Satan that they receive his name to Buy and Sell in the Temple. They know false teachings when they hear them because they are His sheep who's authority is that word.

Matthew 7:28-29

Likewise, when we listen to the word of God, we are listening to the power of God, the true authority of the church. There is coming upon the earth a time when men will not endure sound doctrine, and Satan will be loosed of God. Lawless man will rule in the Holy Temple and exalt himself to throne of God, and this abomination will be judged. The Lord's Temple will again be made as a den of thieves and robbers by the Buyers and Sellers who have the mark of the beast. It is a time when iniquity will abound and the love of God will grow cold so that there is a great forsaking God (2nd thessalonians 2). This is the prophecy put forth in the imagery of the man of lawlessness (sin) sitting as ruler in the Temple, as if he was God. Man with the spirit of disobedience making his own laws and serving a god, the creation of his own hands. And because there is no word being preached there, there is famine and no life there. The life of the church is Christ, and without the word of God as authority of the church, there is no life there. The true witnesses will have been killed (Revelation 11:7) after their testimony, and these false prophets, man, rules there without law.

    Mark 11:15-17

Christ would not suffer that any man carry any vessel through the Temple. A prelude signification of the end time church when the two witnesses are killed and there is no mercy. The congregation (as prophesied) will become abominable and will not be serving God, and their judgment is that they will be left desolate. And just as Jesus threw these Buyers and Sellers out of that Temple to signify the destruction of His house by them, near the end of the world the Lord's house will again be as a den of thieves and robbers and they will be cast out. Biblical history repeats itself, as it is written, there is nothing new under the sun.

And knowing these things, we can better understand why only those who received the mark would worship the beast, and be those who buy and sell. In other words, the false teachers who operate in the church. Because they are the ones deceived, and the ones to be cut off by God. And we read that those who would not bow down to worship the beast and would not receive the mark, would be killed (Revelation 11:7). These are the two witnesses who represent the truthful or "faithful" witnesses of the church.

Revelation chapter 11 in speaking of this period declares that it will not take place until "after" the testimony of these two witnesses is finished. In other words, it is not until after the faithful church has completed its task of witnessing or of testimony, that Satan will be loosed from the pit and marshals the nations. And the nations will go forth as a devouring beast against the camp of the Saints.

What is the mark of the beast: Conclusion

        In this chapter of Revelation we have seen that those who worship the beast will be the buyers and sellers and will receive the mark of this beast in their right hand or in their foreheads. By the same token, all those who will not worship this beast shall not receive of his mark, and will be killed. God informs, "here is wisdom, let he who has understanding count the number of the beast, for it is the number of man, and his number is six hundred threescore and six." Do we count chronologically by one until we reach six hundred threescore and six? That would be ridiculous of course. But God didn't give us any other number to count with or by, so obviously He wants us to simply count "that" single number. He didn't say add it to another number, He didn't say assign letters for numbers, He didn't say to calculate it using Hebrew numerology, and He didn't say that it was three six's. The number is not 6 three times, it is "literally" 600, +60 +6. And so as faithful servants of God, we should do exactly as God has instructed. We count this number the only way it can be counted. As the number of itself. Since it is the number of man, but not of all men (only those marked), we obviously count it as the number of unsaved man, that is part of the whole. Spiritually speaking, we could the number of man who has come under bondage to Satan. Six hundred threescore and six counted as "this part" of man, is two thirds. And not coincidentally, we find that is the number of man that God assigns for those of the house of God who will be cut off. And so our Biblical conclusions that this number signifies those who are of the church are become deceived, is confirmed on multiple fronts.

There are those who would call these numbers mere coincidence, and proceed to assign the number six hundred threescore and six as the address of the common market, a computer title, or a seal to be literally placed upon men. But interpretations of God's Word are found in God's Word. And God declares that it is the man of God that hath wisdom and understanding that would be able to count the number six hundred threescore and six. This is illustrating that not everyone will understand this count, only those whom Scripture defines as wise and having understanding. Only those led of the Spirit to understand, will understand (Daniel 12:10). It is the Holy Spirit of God that reveals truth, through His holy word. Those who have wisdom and understanding will not buy and sell the truth as merchandise in God's house. They will hold onto it as if it were more precious than gold.

Proverbs 23:23

The lord will destroy the unfaithful, He will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring their understanding to nothing. God uses the language of "here is wisdom, let he who hath understanding," to alert us that He's said something that is not easily understood. And frankly, it will be those who buy and sell who will not understand. But the wise and He that hath understanding will understand the nature of the beast and the number of man who worships him. Because it's spiritual understanding. And basically, it's the same type language Jesus used in Matthew 24 where He said, "whosoever readeth, let him understand (verse 15)." In other words, Selah, God is alerting us that this is a verse that is to be measured and considered wisely. As we saw in Daniel chapter 12, God said that the truth of His words were sealed up, and that at a latter time "the wise would understand," but the wicked would not understand. It's the very same principle. Because they have not this spiritual wisdom and comprehension where we do not lean unto our own understanding, but unto God's Word. Its not unlike the point God is making when He says, "He who hath ears to hear, let him hear." It's something that not everyone will hear, nor receive, but the wise will receive it by the Spirit that dwells within them.

John 8:43

They had literal ears, but they couldn't understand that which was of the Spirit. In other words, Christ is declaring that understanding of His Word is spiritually discerned, not something everyone naturally can do. Only those who study God's Word and have the Holy Spirit of God, has the Wisdom and understanding to know the beast that he will not be deceived by it. For they have the Holy Spirit of truth which guides them to know what is truth. Christians don't understands because they are smarter, or more educated, or have been to a great theological school, or have studied diligently in the Greek. These truths are spiritually discerned with spiritual ears that are freely given of God. That's what is meant by, "Here is Wisdom, let him that hath understanding, count the number, it is the number of man." It is the number signifying the works of man in servitude to Satan's kingdom. Let him that has hath wisdom count that number, and then he will recognize the "mysterious" beast.

So we have our answer to this puzzle, if we will receive it. It is totally consistent with all of Scripture, and cross-references harmoniously and without contradiction. Two thirds to be cut off, and one third are those not cut off who have God's mark in their forehead. These one third are the number of those brought through the fire and purified and made righteous. What does the number of the beast mean? It signifies those who have taken on the character of Satan and are deceived to worship his image.

The overview of Revelation chapter 13 is that Satan rampaged as a beast, Christ broke his power, but it will be healed and return near the end of the world. That is when Satan will be loosed from his prison and goes forth deceiving the nations again. That's what the symbolism of the people receiving the mark of the beast signifies. Revelation 20 tells us, Satan is loosed to deceive the nations from the four quarters of the earth. This tells us that this is a global deception in churches all over the earth. These false prophets of the beast are destroyers and their mission is to destroy the church (The camp of the saints) and trample the Holy City underfoot.

Nevertheless, Satan's rampage is short lived because ultimately his warfare is doomed to failure. The second advent and the judgment of almighty God thwart the beast, and his minions are undone along with the beast that they serve. So Revelation chapter 13 is only clearly understood in the "light" of studying all the other chapters of Revelation (e.g., Revelation Chapter 11, Revelation Chapter 20, and 2nd Thessalonians Chapter 2). God has a clear and precise plan for the future, and He has graciously allowed us to have some insight into His Word.

Proverbs 25:2

We earnestly pray that the Lord who is gracious above all, may lead us into that honor of kings, and into the wisdom and understanding brought by the Spirit, through the diligent study of His Holy word.


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Copyright ©1994 Tony Warren
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