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The concept of the Mark of the beast, a biblical concept, is well known, even though, many persons will admit that it is a mystery to them as to what that mark is. What is less considered is that the Bible, in speaking of this mysterious mark, mentions not only the Mark of the Beast but also the Name of the Beast and the Number of his Name – “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.” (Rev. 13:17).
The Bible further speaks of the Mark of the Beast as being the Mark of his Name – “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name” (Rev. 14:11).
It should therefore be evident that both the “number of his name” and “the mark of his name” are proxies for the Name of the Beast. Name signifies identity and character, as evident, for example, when God proclaimed His Name to Moses – “And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Ex. 34:5, 6).
In contrast to God, who is merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, the Beast is the opposite – intolerant, unkind, impatient, wicked, and untruthful. It should therefore be recognized that it is the Name or character of the Beast that is most anti-Christ in nature, and that elicits God’s most stern warning against the Beast and his Image. It is the Name or character of the Beast that ultimately undergirds the system that will prevent persons from being able to buy or sell. God is love (1 John 4:8) and all God’s commandments are summarized as love to God and love to our fellowmen (Matt. 22:36-40). The Beast and his Image represent the opposite.
God warns against worshipping or giving homage to the Beast and his Image in the Third Angel’s Message as follows:
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Rev.14:9-11).
It is interesting that the warning does not include condemnation of those who receive the Number of his Name. This is understandable because numbers are often hidden in codes and persons might receive the Number in a hidden code without realizing it. In fact, the mention of the number includes a hint that it will not be “in your face”, so to speak – “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.” (Rev. 13:18). For those who can exercise wisdom and understanding, they may be able to recognize the number 666 – “Six hundred threescore and six”, though possibly hidden, and thus identify the footprints of the Beast.
The key is to make sure, that even if one takes the Number inadvertently, they do not embrace the Name (or character) of the Beast by becoming intolerant of those who would not have received it, so that they give homage to the Beast, supporting a system whereby innocent people are victimized and prevented from being able to buy or sell. If that happens, one would have already been sucked in, so that receiving the Mark of the Beast (whatever it is) would only be a matter of time.
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matt. 11:15)