Whose Mark Do You Wear?

We live in an increasing image-based culture. Icons are everywhere. It is vital for businesses to establish their “brand” and cultivate an “image.”

Revelation constructs a world full of “signs” and “images.” One of the themes found in Revelation is that of being “marked” or “sealed.”

One item contemporary readers of Revelation get sidetracked on is the mark of the beast (Rev. 13:16-18). There is a fantastic array of suggestions concerning the meaning of “666,” many of which relate to the contemporary situation (at the time they were suggested) and have absolutely no meaning to the original readers of Revelation. Some of the popular targets have been “Caesar Nero,” “Ronald Wilson Reagan,” “Mikhail Gorbachev,” and various popes in Roman Catholic history. The hot name when I taught Revelation at Amarillo College was “Prince Charles.” The lengths some will go to to get a person’s name to add up to 666 are incredible.

Everyone receives a “mark” or “seal.” This mark figurative (symbolic) and not literal. There are two contrasting “marks” in the book of Revelation. God “marks” His people and “the earth beast” also “marks” those who follow him. The “mark” that one wears signifies the spiritual reality to which one belongs. Both stamps of ownership are placed on the hand, and/or forehead, symbolizing commitment and allegiance demonstrated through thinking and actions. Both marks portray a person’s loyalties reflected in their ethical choices and objects of worship.

Having God’s seal and bearing God’s name is the same thing in Revelation. Both the seal and the name of Christ and God are placed on the person’s forehead (Rev. 7:3; 9:4; 14:1; 22:4) and signifies that one is owned by (belongs) to God.

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