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The Beast Behind the Mark

If we would know the truth about “the mark,” we must first identify “the beast.”

By David Symons

“I…saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” Revelation 13:1

Interest in the topic of the “beast” and his “mark” has always surged during times of peril and uncertainty. As people grapple with a lingering pandemic coupled with worldwide economic and political insecurity, their anxious search for what the future holds has once again ignited fear and wild speculation on the subject.

The phrase “the mark of the beast” originates in God’s Word, specifically in its last book—Revelation.1 And it is the Bible that holds the key to unlock the meaning of the mysterious symbols of this vital prophecy.2

So where do we begin? Logic tells us that if we are going to understand the mark of the beast, we must first understand who or what

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  1. See Rev. 13:16, 17; 14:9, 11; 15:2; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4.

  2.  See 1 Cor. 2:13.

  3. They can also represent kings themselves. See Ps. 89:17; Hab. 3:4; Dan. 7:24; 8:20, 21; Rev. 17:12.

  4. Verses 7–9.

  5. A dragon/serpent is a beast or animal and thus represents a nation(s).

  6. See Matt. 2:3–16.

  7. A day in Bible prophecy is equal to a literal year. Num. 13:34; Eze. 4:6. Forty-two months refers to 1,260 prophetic days or 1,260 literal years.

  8. Jacob’s name meant “supplanter,” well describing the way in which he overtook his brother and the firstborn’s privileges by deception. Gen. 25:26. Matt. 1:21 shows that the name “Jesus” was given to our Lord as it described His mission to save.

  9. See John 10:33; Mark 2:7.

  10. See Rev. 2:9. It uses the word “Jew,” which in New Testament times, referred to believers in Jesus. See Rom. 2:28, 29. Also compare Rom. 9:6–8 with Gal. 3:7, 26–29.

  11. This claim can be found in Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae (The Reunion of Christendom), an apostolic letter of Pope Leo XIII, promulgated on June 20, 1894.

  12. We can be sure of this because of Rome’s doctrine of “papal infallibility,” which means that the pope can never be wrong in what he says. Rome’s teaching that priests and the pope himself can offer forgiveness is still authoritative to this day.

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About the author

David Symons is a pastoral evangelism graduate of Hartland College. He now serves as a Bible teacher at Purelight Missions in South Africa.