What Is The Mark Of The Beast?

What is the mark of the beast?  What does the number 666 mean?  Who is the beast?

Who is the Beast?

This question has been asked more times than I can even count and the number of people who this was thought to be has been just as long.  Some said it was Hitler, then Stalin, then Mussolini, and some even the Pope.  We see that these have all turned out to be wrong so who is the beast mentioned in the Book of Revelation, chapter 17:7-14?    Here is what John wrote.

“But the angel said to me, “Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her.The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast.These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”

We would expect that the beast would give us some information on what the mark or number of the beast is but these chapters about the beast don’t tell us much.  What it does say is that the beast will or some say already has made war with the saints.  Several theologians believed this was what happened in A D 70 when the future emperor Titus destroyed Jerusalem. Others think it is yet to be fulfilled.  The seven heads of the beast are the seven kings and there were seven kings in Rome.  Even though they were called emperors by the Romans, the Jews called them kings because when the Jews wanted Jesus killed, they said “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15) so it’s not what the Romans called kings that is relevant but what the Jews did and John, a Jew, wrote the Book of Revelation.  There were also Jewish puppet kings like King Herod for example so kings are what John is speaking of.  Seven kings did rule in Rome before and up to the time that Titus became ruler.  Augustus was considered the first by many but the list has been historically considered to be Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius Caligula, Claudius and Nero.  That’s numbers “seven kings.”  When Titus destroyed Jerusalem some considered him the seventh ruler so the seven heads of this beast (Rome) may have been the seven kings (emperors or Caesars).  Titus may well have been he who “has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while” (Rev 17:10).  More recent evidence and research by modern scholars, including writings of the early church leaders, seem to point to the Book of Revelation being written in A D 64.  This would explain why Jesus said in the Olivet Prophecy in Matthew that “these things must shortly come to pass” (Matt 24:6).  If it was to come 2,000 years later, near our time, that would hardly be “shortly” coming to pass!  This lines up with Revelation 1:1 which says “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place.”  Again, if it was “soon [to] take place” it wouldn’t make sense if it was going to take place 2,000 years later.

The Mark of the Beast

The number of the beast is said to be 666.  Six is the number of man and the three six’s could indicate an unholy trinity.  The beast is certainly inspired by Satan.  Could it be that it is Satan himself for he does attempt to set up worship for himself in the end times during the abomination of desolation that Daniel wrote about (Dan 9:27)?  Satan wanted Jesus to worship Him in the Wilderness and Satan wanted to take the place of God, probably to receive worship.  The abomination of desolation or sometimes better worded, the abomination that makes desolate was also mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 24:15 in the same chapter where Jesus said that “these things must shortly come to pass”.  Jesus says in Matthew 24:15-16 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”   Apparently you cannot buy or sell if you have this mark but what is the mark?  It is actually the number 666 but here is what Revelation 13:15-18 says that mark of the beast actually is:

“And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead,so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.”

The Reformation Study Bible says that the mark of the beast is a counterfeit for the seal of God’s name on the saints (Rev 7:2-8; 14:1; Ezek 9) because those who are Christ’s also have a mark but it is from God and not from Satan or the beast.  The beast owns those who are his slaves as Satan is called the father of lies and those who are lost are called the children of the Devil which Christ called them many times during His earthly ministry.  Revelation speaks of the same thing (Rev 14:9; 19:20; 20:4). Looking for a visible mark misses the mark because it is a state of mind…a spiritual distinction between the children of darkness (the lost) and the children of light (Christians).

The Number 666

When Nero reigned, historians recorded that he was the most evil man that may have ever lived.   He burned Christians as torches for his parties full of debauchery, he dressed himself in animal’s skins and attacked Christians who were tied to poles and bite off their genitals, and generally was seen as the most “anti” of any “anti-Christ” type that has ever lived.  Ironically, he was known as the beast.  Many have tried to count up the number of particular historical figures and these have all turned out to be wrong.  The number was considered to be counted using Greek letters as numbers and interestingly, Nero’s full name, Caesar Nero, equaled 666!


The mark that you need to worry about is not the mark of the beast, who the beast is, or what the mark is but to be ready today to meet your maker.  If you are not saved, then you will endure such agony for all eternity that it cannot even be described.  There is no need for this.  Today if you have not already repented from your sins and your sinful life, confessed your sins and asked for God’s forgiveness, and then put your trust in Christ, all of this discussion is nothing to worry about.  However, if you have not yet been saved, your eternal future is indescribable. It will be worse than any tribulation that ever has been or ever will be. Imagine on that day you will face Christ and you will have to pay for all of your sins for all eternity (Rev 20:11-15)  If you will repent and trust in Him, then He will tell the Father what He said at Calvary; “it is finished” which is literally “paid in full” (John 19:3).  Your sins will be placed on Him and His righteousness will be imputed to you (2 Cor 5:21).  You will pay for your sins or you can repent and trust in Him and He will.  It’s your choice and to make no choice is to choose to reject Him and suffer for all time…ages without end.

Jack Wellman is Senior Writer at What Christians Want to Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design

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  • http://www.focusonrecovery.net 2012 Consciousness Shift Resou

    Apparently, the Mark of The Beast is not so much a mentality, nor an embedded Smart-chip, but rather has more to do with a world wide debt based economy…aka VISA. There may come a time when people will be required to embed a Smart-chip into their body if they wish to maintain any form of commerce; http://focusonrecovery.net/hijackofamerica/Themark.html

  • Anonymous
  • JohnStefanyszyn

    Mark of the beast: X ξ Ϛ …to serve and magnify oneself….freedom

    The “number” is neither a numeral, a code, a chip, person, nor the name of an individual.

    The reference to this “number” is found in Rev. 13:16-18, as written by the Apostle John. It reads as follows:

    Rev. 13:16, “And he¹ caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads,

    Rev.13:17, “… 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.”

    Rev. 13:18, “Here is wisdom, let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.”

    When reading this translation it seems obvious, because of such words as “number” and “calculate”, to expect the “number” to be a numeral. All bible copies, even as far back as the Codex Sinaiticus (4th century), have translated the old Greek text (X ξ Ϛ) to mean the numeral “666”. Instead of helping to recognize the identity of this beast, the use of the “666” has fertilized people’s imagination to distort the truth.

    The choice of meaning of Greek words is greatly dependant upon the context of the message. Verses 16 to 18 are not referring to a context of numerical interpretation but to one of belief identification within an international forum, in which this dominant world power (beast) has the ideological, political, economic, and military influence to control one’s (a nation’s) access to buy and sell (trade) based on that nation’s allegiance to this empire’s image, mark, name, or number of it’s name. This “number” is associated with the beast, its mark, its name, and man.

    In order to understand the message it is important to pay closer attention to the meaning of the Greek text (Greek English Lexicon, Liddell & Scott, 9th edition) for…

    … receive, mark, name, number, calculate, and “X ξ Ϛ”.

    Receive …Greek word = δωσiν (phonetic…dosin)

    …can also mean: to give oneself, to receive willingly

    Mark … Greek word = χαραγμα (phonetic…charagma)

    …can also mean: sign, characteristic, trait, distinction

    Name…. Greek word = ονoμα (phonetic…onoma)

    …..can also mean: title, reputation, character, designation

    Number…. Greek word = αριθμoν(phonetic…arithmon)

    …can also mean: mark of a station, worth, value.

    Calculate…. Greek word = ψηθισατω (phonetic…psaythisato)

    …can also mean: determine, conclude, identify, recognize

    These other meanings of the Greek words clearly refer to a context of character and values identification!

    Now, let’s take a look at the Greek letters X ξ Ϛ .

    In Greek new testament texts, the X ξ Ϛ will be followed by a stroke notation (X ξ Ϛ´) above and to the right of the letters to indicate a numerical interpretation. It is important to note that this convention was acquired during the Byzantine Empire, 4th – 15th century. This stroke notation was therefore not part of the original text. It was also common practice for interpretations to be edited into scripture. Taking into consideration the duality of the Greek alphabet to act as letters or numerals and the scribes’ assumption to interpret the greek word “αριθμoν” to signify numeral, the translators interpreted and added the

    letters X = 600, ξ= 60, and Ϛ = 6, producing 666.

    However, X ξϚ has also another meaning.

    The numerical interpretation does not make sense for 3 significant reasons.

    First, it does not require “wisdom” to see that the mathematical interpretation of the symbols equals 666. I do not believe that Jesus Christ would highlight the need for wisdom to do simple addition. God’s Word has never turned to the use of numerology to communicate the truth.

    Secondly, verses 16-18 do not relate to a mathematical context but to one of character-value recognition and allegiance.

    Thirdly, since this same “number” applies to a man, to the beast’s name (character), and to the beast (government-empire), it must encompass a characteristic common to all three. What can be commonly shared by a government power, its character, and a man? Is it a common value-belief or a common numeral? The answer is obviously that of a common value-belief.

    Let’s investigate X ξ Ϛ with wisdom and understanding.

    XξϚ (as three individual symbols = as one meaning)

    The roots of the Greek alphabet are found in the ancient Sematic and Egyptian symbols. Each symbol represented a meaning.

    The letter / symbol X …Taw …sign, mark, self

    The letter / symbol ξ …Samech …support

    The letter / symbol Ϛ …Shin…stigma, recognition of servitude

    Therefore X ξ Ϛ = oneself + support + in servitude to.

    The (number=belief) is clear.

    In servitude to support oneself. The desire to serve one’s own interests / to do one’s own will.

    What is the significance of this interpretation?

    · As Individual Man…. To serve one’s own interests. The desire to do one’s own will.

    · National Character…. The belief in the rights of the individual. Will of the people.

    · Beast /World Mission…Democracy (def.: people (self) – rule) as a way of life for all nations.


    Let’s look now at Rev. 13: 16-18, but in the light of this information.

    Rev. 13:16, “…and this world power brought about everywhere, to all the small and to all the great, and to all the rich and to all the poor, and to all the free and to all the oppressed, the willingness and desire to receive and embrace its characteristic-nature (mark) as their way of life (right hand) or as their belief (forehead) .”

    Rev. 13:17, “…and that no nation will be permitted to trade except the ones that have the

    distinction (mark) or the character (name) of this world power (beast), or that value (number) his character (name).”

    Rev.13:18, “…Here is holy wisdom. Have the understanding to recognize the value/belief of this world power, for it is based on the value/belief of a man. His value/belief is the desire to serve his own interest / his own will (to know good and evil).”

    This message is also confirmed by the writings of the prophet Daniel in Daniel 11:36-39.

    (Note: This is the description of the last king/world power before the return of Jesus Christ.)

    Daniel 11:36;

    “Then the king shall do according to his own will; he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done.

    Daniel 11:37;

    “He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall magnify himself above them all.

    Daniel 11:38;

    But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things.

    Daniel 11:39;

    “Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain.

    Please note that the hand of the king of the north has been stretched out to Egypt and to other countries.

    Does it exist today?

    The world is presently living in the presence of this dominant power. Economic sanctions on a global level have been imposed on countries which have shown flagrant disregard for its ideological foundation, the freedom of rights of man. Today, more than 75% of the world’s nations have willingly embraced and have become democracies. Recently Egypt has embraced this way and others are demanding to receive it. No nation is able to make war with (conquer) the beast (Rev.13:4) either militarily or politically (=spiritually). Its way (through capitalism) also offers the most prosperous economic rewards on earth (Rev.18:11-15). This primary belief has already unified the majority of nations, all the while respecting their “cultures/religions” (fortresses), and will, in the near future, unify all of mankind under the belief of universal values and freedom of rights. This “belief unification” is also reinforced by the ever growing global economic interdependence (capitalism is a powerful tool for spreading democracy). This world unified belief in “individual self-rights” is the goal of Satan in the preparation for the confrontation, both spiritual and military, against the return and rule of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, against the kingdom of God. It is evident that the identity of this empire (beast) is that of the United States of America, leader and promoter of democracy / freedom of rights, in conjunction with its world partners and mankind.

    Recently, we have seen the people of Tunisia and Egypt overthrow their governments in order to embrace this way and belief. The prophetic words in Daniel, Trumpets #1-3, and Bowls #1-3 are being fulfilled. The non-democratic governments feel the pressures from outside and within their countries to change and to adopt democracy. They are trying to resist this conversion by using internal as well as external forces. Their resistance will be overcome in time to unify all of man (Rev.16:12-14) against the return of Jesus Christ.

    Will of man or the will of the True God:

    The U.S.A. embodies, on the global stage, each man’s desire for the freedom to do and justify his own will. Man has chosen to live and to fulfill his physical, emotional, and spiritual needs according to what he believes and justifies to be right and wrong, good or evil. It is important to highlight that these choices are based on man’s will and are not based on the absolute truths established by God. Even the belief in God has been decreed by man to be an “expression of a religious freedom”. The above are witnessed in excerpts from the Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution of the United States.

    Declaration of Independence;

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness-….”

    Constitution of the United States, Article the third (Amendment I)

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

    These words clearly reflect the scriptural prophecies that we have read and seen in Daniel 11:36-39. Where is the faith in and servitude to the one and only true God and the desire to do His will? God does not accept man’s will to worship beliefs of his own creation. By doing so man rejects God’s existence as the True God and places himself in the position above God. This is blasphemy in the eyes of The Most High as declared in the First Commandment.

    God’s desire is for man to embrace and to do His will, which is absolute love for God and for those around us, and to receive the gift of eternal life. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, summarized well this “servitude and love” on the Mount of Olives prior to his capture, torture, death, and resurrection.

    His words were: Mathew 26:42, Mark 14:36, Luke 22:42;

    “Father, all things are possible to thee

    Allow me from this cup

    Another I will not, other than Your Will”

    (correct interpretation from the Greek text)

    …..which He did as an act of sacrifice, love, and forgiveness for those who repent and follow Him.

    Please note that when Christ will return to earth He will do so as King of kings. This also means that there will be only one way of life, one belief. This also means that there will not be any belief in “freedom” of religion and any “freedom” of rights.

    As God’s Holy Spirit is here now, we are also to serve Him now as King.