I’ll share two different stances regarding the mark of the beast. First, the mainstream one which I do not agree with. Second, my own stance.
1. Nero as the beast from the sea.
Start this video from the 25 minute mark and you’ll get some interesting information from Dr Jonathan Welton regarding the mark being ash marks from those who worshiped Nero in order to get food from the market.
2. Zealot Israel as the beast from the sea.
Mark of the Beast vs Mark of the Sealed
In Ezekiel 9, the Mark on the forehead was for those who would be ‘saved’ from their coming judgement.
“Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a MARK on the FOREHEADS of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.”
5 As I listened, he said to the others, “Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. 6 Slaughter the old men, the young men and women, the mothers and children, but DO NOT TOUCH ANYONE WHO HAS THE MARK. Begin at my sanctuary.” So they began with the old men who were in front of the temple.
7 Then he said to them, “Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain. Go!” So they went out and began killing throughout the city. 8 While they were killing and I was left alone, I fell facedown, crying out, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! Are you going to destroy the entire remnant of Israel in this OUTPOURING OF YOUR WRATH ON JERUSALEM?”
9 He answered me, “The sin of the people of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice.
In Ezekiel 9 above, those who received the mark on the forehead were a remnant of Israel who were chosen to survive that judgement against Jerusalem in 586bc.
It was a ‘mark on the forehead’ for those who were ‘saved’ from that judgement.
Who were those who had the Mark of the Beast in Rev19 that were thrown into the LoF (Lake of Fire)?
The Harlot was Old Covenant Jerusalem.
(Video for more info: (28 mins) https://youtu.be/qTPl47MYhWA )
The harlot’s FOREHEAD bore the title “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations” (Rev. 17:5).
5 And upon her FOREHEAD was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth.
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the MARK of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
Mark of the Sealed: the 144K.
We get to see those “marked” on the forehead to survive (be ‘saved’ from) another judgement identical to the judgement we saw in Ezekiel 9. It’s the same scenario, same city, a remnant being chosen to survive, etc.
Rev7:4 And I heard the number of them which were SEALED: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his MARK upon their FOREHEADS, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Those who had the Mark of the Harlot (Old Covenant Israel) were thrown into the LoF (Israel’s baptism of fire imagery).
Those who had the Mark of the Bride (New Covenant Israel/144k) received salvation from that day of wrath in ad70.
So what about the ‘cannot buy or sell’ passage?
The mark was apostasy to Zealot-led Israel just prior to 70AD.
Believers who took the mark would have left the New Covenant community and would have re-submitted to the Old Covenant community (fallen from grace).
The Zealots had begun minting their own coinage as early as 66AD and were likely compelling others to accept their coinage to show allegiance to the Zealot cause against Roman occupation of Judea.
Marks on Forehead and Wrist:
The best evidence of the ‘mark’ being an identifying characteristic of one’s faith is from the scriptures themselves.
“…a mark on their right hand or on their forehead”
(Eze 9:6) “Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man ON WHOM IS THE MARK; and you shall start from My sanctuary.” So they started with the elders who were before the temple.
As in Rev 13:16, the ‘mark’ is used in conjunction with the forehead and the hand. In contrast, in the Old Testament, sinners suffer death but those with God’s ‘mark’ were spared.
So the ‘mark’ is really the antithesis of the genuine mark that identified genuine, faithful Israelites.
In contrast to the mark given to those who believe the false prophet (which would prove them to be apostates) the saints (genuine followers of Jesus) have a ‘seal of God’ and “name upon their foreheads” (Rev 9:4).
This is not a physical “seal” as in a lid that seals something, but a seal of identification.
Israelites in the Old Testament were said to have a ‘harlot’s forehead’ if they committed spiritual adultery.
(Jer 3:3) “…..Yet you had a harlot’s FOREHEAD; You refused to be ashamed.”
And in the first century, Roman prostitutes would wear a headband advertising their names as an invitation to fornicate, unashamed of their wicked profession.
In direct contrast, genuine believers have a new name put on their foreheads, are spiritually virgin and they too are unashamed. John, who penned the Revelation had much imagery to draw from to describe spiritual apostasy as well as faithfulness.
(Rev 22:4) they will see His face (symbol for returning to covenant), and His name will be on their FOREHEADS (the 144k).
The law was also placed upon an Israelite’s hand and forehead.
Maybe it was a poetic form of speaking of actions (hand) and thoughts (forehead)?
Exodus 13:9 …’And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD’s law may be in thy mouth.’
Deut 6:8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.’
Thus, those who had a love for the truth and “obeyed God” had the seal and name on their foreheads, which is figurative for spiritual faithfulness.
Those who apostatized are identified by the spiritual mark on their hand and forehead, which is just a Jewish idiom, language that describes spiritual adultery, unfaithfulness to God.
Just as those who apostatized to the beast (Judaism) and worshiped the image of the beast (Zealot-led Israel), those who endured to martyrdom (Rev 2:10, Rev 12:11 among others) already had a spiritual seal, distinguishing them from as genuine believers. For example….
(2Tim 2:19) Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, HAVING THIS SEAL, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” (Caps mine for emphasis)
2 Tim 2:19 clearly shows that believers in the first century had a seal of identification. Those who were his were distinguished by a seal with a name “written on their foreheads”.
This is the same ‘name’ that is associated with genuine believers elsewhere in…
Rev 14:1 “…having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads”
The ‘name’ that followers of Jesus had was part of the ‘seal’ that was on their foreheads (2 Tim 2:19, Rev 7:4, Rev 9:4).
This ‘name’ on the seal is in contradistinction to the ‘name’ of the ‘mark’ of those Jews who remained unrepentant had (Rev 13:16-18, Rev 15:2). It also distinguishes those who apostatize from those who endure faithfully to the end (ad70), even until death itself.
(Rev 2:17) ‘ … I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’
(Rev 3:12) ‘… I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.’
This is a good case from the scriptures that the ‘mark’ was a figurative way of describing the identifying characteristic of the Israelites’ faith, in this case, apostasy to Zealot-led Israel vs those who were faithful to Jesus’ New Covenant Kingdom promises.
* Those who had the ‘mark of the beast’ were those who clung to the Old Covenant.
* Being ‘marked’ was symbology for being chosen or rejected by YHVH. The ‘mark’ would show their faithfulness or their harlotry against YHVH.
(Many thanks to Michael Bradley)
An additional find from Joe Simpson:
“Nebuchadnezzar entered Jerusalem to take control in the spring of 597BC.
If we count down 666 years from that, we come to spring of AD69.
It was the spring of AD69 that Simon bar Giora entered Jerusalem as the savior of the city that John would call Babylon.
From one king of Babylon to the last is exactly 666 years.”