The Book of Revelation Tells of a Mysterious Mark that Many Have Tried to Decipher
What is the Mark of the Beast of the Book of Revelation? Is it your Visa card? Is it the Euro? Is it bitcoin? How can we know what it stands for and, more importantly, how to avoid it?
When it comes to new forms of vehicles to purchase items and services, any new innovation that catches on seems to quickly become the target of speculation about whether or not it is the “Mark of the Beast” mentioned in the Book of Revelation. Because the passage speaks about the power over who can buy or sell, anything involving currency comes under the scrutiny of those looking for clues as to what the passage means. Visa, the Euro and other methods of purchasing have been picked up on the radar of conspiracy buffs in this regard.
So, it should be no surprise that now bitcoin, which is a decentralized virtual currency, is so different from other forms of currency that it too would gain the notice of people searching high and low for the Mark of the Beast. It is a decentralized form of currency, which means no governmental banking system, like the Federal Reserve for example, has control over it. Bitcoins can be “mined” electronically using special algorithms that control the amount of bitcoins in existence, and goods and services can be sold for them like any other currency.
Some of the things driving the idea that they may be the Mark of the Beast: Bitcoin is based upon a specific key assigned to an individual (i.e., a “number”) which is required for a transaction. Bitcoin is outside of the scope of traditional governments, much like the Beast power in Revelation is supposed to be above all other governments for a time. Since it is not regulated by a central government, it truly is a one-world currency, and if it were eventually tied to a one-world government, then that government would have power over who could buy or sell.
According to RT, palm activated ATMs are being set up in Canada that will recognize the scanned palm of the user and dispense Canadian currency if they have enough bitcoins.
This last one in particular is the clincher for those who claim bitcoin is the Mark of the Beast. For, the Book of Revelation describes the mark as being something in the forehead or in the hand:
11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”
Numerous theories have been put forward about what the Mark of the Beast might be, but could it be that most of them focus on the wrong things?
First, we are introduced to several beasts in Revelation 13. The first rises out of the sea, and it has the combined characteristics of the beasts that Daniel saw in his visions. Daniel saw a series of four beasts, and they are parallels to four kingdoms that King Nebuchadnezzar had in Daniel 2. John, however, saw one that had the same characteristics of the four beasts Daniel saw.
When you consider that the statue Nebuchadnezzar saw was one image, then it becomes clear that the four beasts that Daniel saw really were different stages of the same system continued from before. Simply put, this system is “Babylon”, with its chaos of religious and political influence where human beings are put in charge and treated as gods.
Revelation 13 goes on to describe how this first Beast receives power from the Dragon, an obvious reference to Satan (cf Rev 12:9), and both are worshiped. However, those who have their names in the Book of Life do not worship him (v 8).
So, when we come to v 11, this is a second beast power that has “two horns like a lamb”. Jesus is the Lamb of God (Jn 1:36). However, this second beast “spake as a dragon”, which means in the likeness of Satan. It is a counterfeit Messiah figure! He cause those who will not worship the first Beast to be killed and not be able to buy or sell without permission.
Notice, however, that this permission to buy or sell does not necessarily require the Mark of the Beast. That is only one of the requirements. They can also do it with “the name of the beast, or the number of the name” (v 17). People have often tied these together as the same, but that is not required according to this verse.
Yet, what clearly is the same is the number and the name. Again, there has been a lot of speculation about this. The key is that in both Hebrew and Greek, numbers are represented by letters.
Every Super Bowl, people fumble over the Roman numerals used to represent the sequence number of the particular Super Bowl. They look like letters to most people. That’s because they really are letters, but in the context of enumerating the Super Bowl game, the letters represent numbers.
Likewise, Hebrew and Greek both use letters for numbers, and the context dictates which. John is giving a clue about the name of the Beast that probably will not be 100% clear until he is given power.
However, the mark is something else. The only clues are that it is either in the right hand or the forehead. The right hand is most often the dominant hand, and it is usually the hand of blessing. In this case, it is the hand receiving monetary favor from an evil agency, though. The forehead is the center of thought. Distilled down, it is what you say and what you do.
What affects what you say and what you do? Worship and obedience!
2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
The exact identity of the 144,000 is outside of the scope of this article, but the first clue is that they are “servants of God”. Notice they are sealed in the “foreheads”!
A servant must obey his or her master. Paul often calls us slaves to Christ, and he even called himself “servant” and “slave” at various points.
It is important to understand that a seal was a piece of wax placed upon a scroll which had a signet ring pressed into it. In that way, the receiver could be assured that the scroll was originally the property of the owner of the signet and the message inside had not been tampered with. Likewise, we see the servants of God sealed in their foreheads, thus showing they are the property of God!
8 And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the Lord did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt.
9 And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the Lord‘s law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the Lord brought thee out of Egypt.
10 Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance [Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread] in his season from year to year.
14 And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the Lord brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage:
15 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the Lord slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem.
16 And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt.
God told ancient Israel that the Feast of the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread were to be a memorial between the eyes. Tied to that was the sacrifice or dedication of all firstborn animals, which was to be frontlets between the eyes. Both of these expressions are references to the forehead. The keeping of the Law was to be embedded in one’s mind.
6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
~ Dt 6:6-8
Here, God takes it one step further. Deuteronomy, or “the second giving of the law”, was written as a testimony of Moses transmitting the Law to the next generation of the Children of Israel (for the first one sinned and died in the wilderness while wandering for 40 years). God is saying the entire Law was to be:
- In their hearts
- Taught to their children all throughout the day
- Be a sign upon their hands
- Be frontlets between their eyes.
Not only was it to be in their minds and what they do, but it was to be in their hearts and transmitted from generation to generation.
3 And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side;
4 And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
What is interesting here is that yet one more detail of who will be sealed in the endtimes is given. It isn’t enough to simply think and do the Law, but it should be painful to watch the world sin and fall into total anarchy as a result.
What all of this means is that God’s people have the Law as His mark upon their hearts, minds and hands! So, the Mark of the Beast is a counterfeit of God’s mark! The Mark of the Beast is disobedience to God’s Law.
The Book of Revelation states that those who are not written in the Book of Life will receive the mark. How will they know to refuse the mark? Because they will know that it is a violation of God’s Law! How will the Beast power know who to persecute? They will be keeping God’s Law!
17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
It should be clear, then, that the Mark of the Beast is not some form of currency like bitcoin or the Euro, although such a thing will certainly be standardized and one component of the overall Beast power system in the endtimes. However, money in and of itself is not evil (check out 1Ti 6:10 in a modern translation, for “the” root of evil is not justified). Many patriarchs were rich and had a lot of goods. In fact, Abraham had so much that he and his nephew Lot had to go separate ways. Money is not evil, but the coveting of money is.
Even then, how can we know money is not evil but the coveting of it is? The Law. The last of the Ten Commandments is to not covet. How will endtime Christians know not to take the Mark of the Beast? Receiving it will violate the Law.
Instead of focusing on the mark, it makes more sense to focus upon the Beast, the dragon and the False Prophet (second beast). Understanding them and their roles makes it clear what to avoid. In the end, the Beast, sometimes called the final Antichrist, desires worship. He heads a Babylonian system of emperor worship! One receives his “mark” same as how a Christian receives a “seal” of God. By becoming his slave!
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
~ Ro 6:16
To receive the seal of God, we must obey Him, become His servants and follow His system of rules and governance. To receive the Mark of the Beast, one must obey him, become his servant and worship him and his system of government. The first is the original, and the second is a counterfeit.
So, no, the bitcoin is not the Mark of the Beast, and neither is Visa or the Euro. No matter what currency the Antichrist sets up, that is not even the point. The point is that he will require worship, and those who are not alert and obedient to what God wants will fall into his trap and not be placed in the Book of Life.