Revelation 13:16-17, “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
The most popular view today regarding the Mark of the Beast in Revelation 13 is that it is a literal mark physically placed in the forehead or right hand of those who worship Antichrist. Many teachers of Biblical eschatology will even refer to modern 21st century technology and point to some type of tattoo or implantable microchip under the skin when attempting to explain the mark. But why? What is in the text that leads many to believe that this mark must be physical when, after all, virtually every one of us would agree that while the book of Revelation speaks about the dragon, the Beast, the “Whore of Babylon” or the mark of Christ upon the elect etc. that these descriptions are not referring to a literal dragon, a literal animal, a literal prostitute or a literal seal of Christ? This is obviously figurative language pointing to something completely different. On the other hand, so to speak, is there anything from Scripture to indicate for us that this mark need not be a physical mark at all, but could instead be something else entirely?
After careful consideration, I believe that the Mark of the Beast is very likely a spiritual mark just as the mark of Christ upon the elect is spiritual. Since many will resist the suggestion that a figurative Beast will also have a figurative mark, despite the fact that there is nothing in the text stating that the Mark of the Beast must be physical, it is important to rightly divide the Word of God and study, from the whole of Scripture, the significance of the hand and head and how it often relates to man’s condition in the Biblical text. Read more…