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The Mark of the Beast

Question:

What is "the mark of the beast"? So many people said that once you receive it your name will be erased from the book of life, but isn’t God’s mercy and love greater than that?

Answer:

[The beast] forced all the people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to be given a stamped image on their right hands or their foreheads, so that no one could buy or sell except one who had the stamped image of the beast’s name or the number that stood for its name.

Wisdom is needed here; one who understands can calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number that stands for a person. His number is six hundred and sixty-six (Rev. 13:16-18).

The Book of Revelation makes great use of symbolic imagery and theological themes. It used the events contemporaneous to its composition to deliver a message about the ultimate triumph of Christ. The beast symbolizes the various Roman emperors who persecuted the early Christians but mainly is a symbol of Caesar Nero (whose name in Hebrew has the numerical value of 666). The so-called “mark of the beast” is presumed by most scholars to allude to the coins of the Roman Empire that bore the image of the emperor.

The Book of Revelation states quite clearly that this mark was forced upon all the people; there is no mention of it being voluntary. The only thing that Revelation mentions regarding the Book of Life and the beast is that those who choose to worship the beast do not have their names in the Book of Life. However, this is quite distinct from the forced mark of the beast.

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