I apologize in advance for this being a longer than normal post.
In the last letter of the Bible, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, God sends a last message of warning to a dying planet – Revelation 14:6-12. This message is given by three angels to “those who dwell on the earth;” people who hate God and hate those who love God. It’s a serious message – the consequences are life and death – but it’s a message given in great love because God is willing to go to the uttermost to reach even his most aggressive enemies.
I would like to draw your attention to verses 9-11: “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
Do you see the repetition concerning worship of the beast and receiving the mark of the beast? This is parallelism – saying the same thing twice for emphasis. These statements are like bookends and in the middle, we see the consequences for that way of life. So then, what is the mark of the beast?
Back in Revelation 13:15-17 we see the first mention of the mark and it says the same thing: those who worship the beast will receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that mark is the name of the beast.
The beast’s mark is the beast’s name. What’s the significance of that?
If we were to keep reading past the end of chapter 13 and into chapter 14, we see the a group standing in stark contrast to those who worship the beast. Check out Revelation 14:1. We don’t have time to go into it today but the 144000 is John’s symbolic way of talking about the redeemed; the rescued, those that know God and are known by God.
What do the redeemed have written on their foreheads? God’s name. Repeatedly, John sees that those who love God with God’s name – his seal – on their foreheads.
In other words, those that are tight with God will have his name and those that are tight with the Beast will have his name.
This runs to the very core of who we are and what direction our life is taking.