Bible prophecy reveals events in a symbolic language. Thus sealing up their prophetic meaning until the nearing of Christ's return, which is close at hand. This revealed knowledge of God's master plan for humanity has remained sealed for centuries, but is unfolding now before our eyes.
The book of Revelation is a warning message, (Revelation 14:9-10, also 16:2) "If any man worships the beast or his image, and receives it's mark in their forehead, or in their hand, the same will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture". "There fell a foul and grievous sore upon humanity which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image."
Those who suffer the wrath of God are described as those who worship the beast, or his image, or have his mark. But we cannot determine the mark of the beast until we have learned who or what the beast is.
Read Revelation 13:1-2;
"I saw a beast rise up from the sea having seven heads and ten horns with crowns upon the horns, and the names of blasphemy upon his heads. And the beast I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were those of a bear, and his mouth that of a lion, and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority."
To identify the beast we must first interpret the symbols, and for that we need only turn to the Bible.
In Daniel 7:1-7, we can find the leopard, bear, lion, and a fourth dreadful creature coming out of the sea; with the leopard having four heads, and the dreadful beast having ten horns. Now comes the interpretation.
Daniel 7:17 "These great beasts which are four, are four kings (or kingdoms) that will rise out of the earth."
Thus far we know that the beast is a kingdom (or government) upon this earth.
What then do the horns represent? Daniel 7:24 " And the ten horns of this kingdom are the ten kings that will arise." The ten horns are the succeeding kingdoms growing out of the fourth kingdom, which was to rule the earth.
Which kingdoms are represented here? To find the answer please turn to Daniel 2:31-43. In verse 36 we find the first kingdom is the Chaldean Empire of Babylon (lion). To find who the following three kingdoms were, look to history. The Persian Empire (bear) conquered the Chaldean, and the Macedonia (leopard) under Alexander the Great, conquered the Persian Empire. After Alexander's death, his four generals divided the Empire into four regions; thus becoming the four heads of the third beast. The fourth kingdom, the Roman Empire (dreadful beast) came to occupy the territories of all the others, giving it the features of all the beasts combined. Which is why Revelation 13 is a combination of all four.
We come to the conclusion that the beast of Revelation is the revised Roman Empire. The ten horns are ten successive kingdoms that are to rise out of the old Roman Empire.
With the beast identified, read on
Revelation 13. "And I saw one of his heads wounded to death, but his deadly wound was healed, and all the world marveled after the beast." "And they worshiped the dragon which had given power to the beast, and they worshiped the beast saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" "And there was given to him a mouth to speak great things and blasphemies, and power was given to him to continue for forty and two months (1260 years, one day represents a year, Eze 4:4-6 and Numbers 14:34 explains this). "They worshiped the beast"
The people of the Roman Empire were required to worship the emperor as a god. "Who is able to make war with him?" The Roman Empire was the greatest war making power the world had ever known. "One of his heads was wounded unto death" The wound occurred when the Barbarians overran the government. Three different groups overran the Roman Empire, each eventually being driven out (first three horns).
Now Daniel saw a " little horn" coming up among the ten, before whom the first three (Barbarians) were "plucked up by the roots". Daniel 7:8 " his look was more stout than his fellows." (verse 20) "but his deadly wound was healed". What is known in history as the Imperial Restoration of the Empire occurred when Emperor Justinian of the east set up his government through an imperial legate (fourth horn). "and power was given to him to continue for forty and two months" For 1260 years the kingdom continued under French rule, known as the Frankish Kingdom (fifth horn), then under German rule, known as the Holy Roman Empire (sixth horn), then under the Austrian Hapsburg, also known as the Holy Roman Empire (seventh horn). The French under Napoleon (eighth horn) who was crushed in 1814, at which time the beast went into a nonexistent condition, symbolized as the bottomless pit in Revelation 17:8. Exactly 1260 years went by.
Notice in Revelation 17:10, "five are fallen, and one is, and the other is yet to come." The first five had fallen during the 1260 years, the one that John saw was that of Garibaldi who united Italy into a nation in 1870 (ninth horn).
"And the other is yet to come" (tenth horn). One can see that the horns of the beast have been kingdoms within the bounds of the Old Roman Empire. So it would make sense that the last kingdom to rise would be the Roman Empire.
But how will we know when the last kingdom is in power? Because it is revealed to us in Revelation 17:12-14. "Ten kings which have received no kingdom as yet, but to receive power as kings for one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and will give their power and strength to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them."
Ten kingdoms will combine their strength and minds to act as one kingdom. Could this happen? It is already beginning Ten European nations (European Union) are at this very time forming a united federation of nations within the bounds of the Old Roman Empire. "These will make war with the Lamb" (Christ). This will be the last powerful kingdom before Christ returns. It is happening now!
WHAT IS THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST?
Revelation 13:17-18 "And no man might buy or sell, save he had the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom, let him that has understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred threescore and six" (666).
The number of the beast is 666, and since beast stands for kingdom or government, the beast is a government whose name can be found in the number 666.
The first king and founder of Rome was Romulus, his Empire, as well as it's citizens, were named after him. Revelation was written in the Greek language, so to confirm this identity we need to look for the name and number in Greek. Greeks like Romans use letters for numbers. Greek for Roman in the second century was spelled Lateinos: L-30 A-1 T-300 E-5 I-10 N50 0-70 S-200, which adds up to exactly to 666. The beast is now identified as the Roman Empire.
THE TWO HORNED BEAST AND THE WOMAN
Read on in Revelation 13:11 "But behold, another beast comes up out of the earth, that has two horns like a lamb, yet he spoke as a dragon. This two horned beast appears as a lamb, but spoke as a dragon, showing it's true character. Here is a kingdom or government, that appears as Christ's. It is symbolized by the lamb, but it is run by Satan, which is symbolized by the dragon, read Revelation 12.
Satan is a deceiver and he has deceived the world into believing his system or government of churches is that of God's. During the 1260 years, the duration of the healed beast, the Emperors acknowledged the supreme power of religion leading to the church being organized as a government. It was both a church and state government, thus the two horns. This second beast was to exert power over all the earth, and to cause them that dwell on it to worship the beast, whose deadly wound was healed in 554 A.D. This church government use's it's influence to get people all over the earth to pay homage to the beast. This church must be a large organization that is world wide.
Then in Revelation 17 we find a woman riding a beast. The woman is symbolizing a church or religious organization (2 Cor 11:2, Eph 5:22-27). The beast symbolizes a government. This woman is riding the beast, a church organization is controlling and guiding it. Revelation 17:18 "She is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth." She has managed to deceive all nations and will be active until Christ's second coming. This religious entity is further described in 2 Thessalonians 2:2-4. "The day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day will not come, except there come a falling away at first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." It must then be the woman riding the beast, the two horned beast, and the man of sin, all picture a counterfeit Christianity.
Revelation 13:12-17 "And he exercised all the power of the first beast before him, and caused the earth and them that dwell on it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.... And deceived them that dwell on the earth... saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast ... and caused as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he caused all both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save that he had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."
We see that this two horned beast not only causes people to receive the mark of the beast, but also into forming an image. And those that wouldn't worship the image were killed. History shows us that the Roman government martyred millions who were declared anathema (cursed) from Christ or heretics, by the Roman church for not worshiping the state and church.
The church made a likeness or counterpart of the Roman government itself. The first pope, Leo I, applied the principles of the Roman government to the church, organizing it into a government and forming the papacy. This church government is the image of the two horned beast. This image coerced and forced people to worship the church, and the state.
Revelation 17:5 " And upon her forehead a name was written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, Mother of Harlots."
Babylon The Great refers to her pagan customs and doctrines of this church. Mother of Harlots refers to the churches that have come out of her, such as the Protestant, to only name one.
And the name Mystery describes how she has succeeded in hiding herself under the name Christianity; deceiving the earth into false worship.
THE MARK OF THE BEAST
History tells us millions were martyred because they refused to worship (receive the mark of the beast) the Roman Emperors. Those who were martyred refused to worship the church and state, to conform to the idolatry and pagan customs of the Holy Empire.
Once again this mark, which is presently referred to as traditional Christianity, will be enforced. Those refusing the mark of the beast will be martyred. The mark involves obedience to the beast, over obedience to God.
Revelation 14:9-12 " If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same will drink of the wrath of God... who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God,"
Those who do not have the mark of the beast are those who do not commit false worship, but instead keep the commandments of God. The beast will persecute those which keep the true commandments of God. The mark of the beast represents commandment breaking.
It will affect
ones ability to buy or sell, the ability to hold a job or engage in business. If
you refuse to work the Sabbath, you will have a hard time finding a job, or
maybe having to work a lower paying job which would affect your ability to buy.
If self employed it could affect how much you make as well. Already in some
European countries you most join a union and work Saturdays to hold a job.
From this one could assume that, to receive it in your head would be to willingly accept false Christian beliefs, to receive the mark in ones hand would be to willingly or having oneself forced into acting against your beliefs.
You can see the mark of the beast involves obedience, whether to obey God's laws or man's laws.
THE FINAL MARTYRDOM
Revelation 12:12 "Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, and because he knows that he has but a short time." "And the Dragon is enraged with the woman (true church), and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Bible)".
It will be the wrath of Satan inflicted by the false church through the beast against the people of God.
The plagues of God during the tribulation will be directed at those that follow the false church and her teachings. If you accept the mark of the beast you will suffer the plagues of God, which is the Great Tribulation, and you can face judgment day with the expectation of eternal damnation. But if you obey God, there is a possibility in which you might be martyred by the beast, but at the judgment day, you can look forward to reward, not damnation.
1) The revised Roman Empire is the beast
2) The mark is disobeying God's commandments
3) The false church deceives people into receiving the beast's mark.
4) Those who refuse the mark are affected in holding a job or running a business
5) There will be a final martyrdom of Christians.
The conclusion being, the mark is something enforced by the false church. Originating in the paganism of the roman Empire, and deceiving people into breaking God's ten commandments.
The choice is yours, reward or damnation. Only YOU can make the right choice.
Revelation 18:4 "Come out of her my people, that you are not partakers of her sins, and that you do not receive her plagues."
The Church of God Proclaimed