Understanding the mark of the beast
Since the book of Revelation is not very well understood, the "mark of the beast" is not understood. For those seeking, religious doctrine and systematic theology will not produce an answer of peace.
The context of the "mark of the beast" is found in Revelation chapters 12, 13 and 14. These chapters should be read when studying this topic.
Here is a brief answer to the question "What is the mark of the beast?": The beast is a metaphor which represents the economic, political and religious systems of this world. It includes the institutions, laws, practices, policies, procedures which originate from the dragon, which is a metaphor for the god of this world, satan, the devil.
The mark of the beast cannot be separated from the worship of the beast, which is actually indirect worship of the dragon. The mark is a mental state of complete, committed agreement with and allegiance to the systems of this world. Understand that simply receiving a physical mark, barcode, serial number, or microprocessor on or in your body is not the actual "mark of the beast". It is a mental state of will, logic, allegiance and commitment which results in the actual, true worship of the systems of this world, the beast.
The account in Revelation 12 began thousands of years ago, just after the fall of mankind. The dragon, the two beasts and the image of the beast are all active and functioning today. The worship of the beast and its mark exist today. Yet, not all the population of the world accept the mark or worship the systems of this world. Some of each generation die because of their rejection of such worship and the mark. What has not yet come to pass is the 42 months mentioned in chapter 13.
Until that time, we still have the freedom to stand against the rulers of the darkness of this world in thought, word and deed. Although we live in this environment of corruption which is built against us, we can endure with the new spiritual nature which is in each of us by way of the accomplishments of Jesus Christ. Never fail to worship God in spirit and in truth.
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(C)2018 Keith S. Radcliffe