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A Mark in the Right Hand
or in their Forehead.
"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." - Rev. 13:16-17
By: David Deschesne
Fort Fairfield Journal, April 23, 2008, p.9
Originally published in the Fort Fairfield Journal, July 6, 2005. This version updated and expanded from original.
Around 2000 years ago, when John penned what is now the Book of Revelation, there is no way he could have explained what he was seeing in a vision given to him from a time in the distant future. At that time, there was no understanding of electricity, data mining, computers, driver's licenses, banking account numbers, biometric photos, thumbprint scanners, etc.
Ancient Greek was inarguably the most precise language that ever entered on the world stage - with a vocabulary consisting of words more descriptive and precise than even our English language today. Be that as it may, John simply didn't have the words in the vocabulary of his day to describe what he was seeing. Therefore, he wrote using the words he had available - the same way you or I would have to write if we were to see some new technology in the future, that hasn't yet been introduced and explained - we'd have to use currently existing words to describe something that hasn't yet had words invented to describe it.
A cursory analysis of the Mark of the Beast would lead one to conclude that it is a culmination of at least two systems working concomitantly. One is some form of identification system, in order to determine who might "buy or sell," and Second, a monetary system that features units of money that are easily tracked and controlled in order to allow or disallow the disbursement of said money in a transaction.
ID and money are the two systems that will be required for the Mark of the Beast to work to the point that "no man might buy or sell" without it.
Today, most people are openly embracing two systems that seem to operate very closely to the types that would be needed for the Mark of the Beast to even exist - State-issued Driver's License/ID cards and a Social Security number that links a person' identity to all of his/her monetary transactions through the banking system.
The word "mark" comes from the Greek word χἀραγμα - charagma - which means: a scratch, etching or stamp (as a badge of servitude);1 a stamp that was once used on deeds of sale and similar documents that contained the name and regnal year of the emperor.2
In Revelation 13:16-17 we “see a symbol of the priestly organization which conducts the worship of the emperor...the business of the world [is] so tied up with the imperial cult that without its acceptance men could neither buy nor sell. It [is] a travesty of true worship, putting the beast which had been slain in the place of the Lamb which had been slain.”3
Identification schemes exist in various forms. In all cases, the one being identified is thus “marked” by an entity superior to himself, thus submitting to and gaining the protection and endorsement of that superior.
The first time God marked someone for His divine protection was when he placed a “mark” on Cain. The Hebrew word for mark - owth - means a signal, flag, beacon, monument or evidence.4 “The mark the Lord set on Cain was not a brand of rejection, but a sign of protection from blood revenge.”5
A mark can either be literal, like a brand or tattoo, or figurative. An example of a figurative “mark” on a person would be someone “marked” for death. In that case, the mark exists as an understanding within an assassin’s mind, but not in the mind of the marked person.
While government seeks to “mark” people for protection with government-issued ID cards, God also marks people for His protection, as He did the twelve tribes in Revelation.
The Right Hand
In the Bible, the "Right Hand" is symbolic of power, strength and authority over one's self and his surroundings.
Exodus 15:6"Your right hand O Lord glorious in power, Your right hand, O Lord shatters the foe!"
Duet. 33:2"...Lightning flashing at them from His right."
‘Right’ is from the Latin rectus - which means “ruled.” The adjectival semantic strands include: ‘straight,’ ‘upright,’ ‘righteous,’ and ‘legitimate.’6
In Greek, ‘Right’ is dexios7 which is derived from dechomai - to receive, accept, take (willingly)8 - an exercise of individual power to receive/accept something or not. "His right hand man." is an idiom describing one in whom authority is willfully delegated and can be trusted by the delegator.
Jesus sits at the “right hand of the father”9 making Him God's Right Hand Man. Biblically, the ‘right hand’ symbolizes God's authority over His creation, and man's authority over himself (free will) to contract or not contract with others around him, also in whom he will place his faith and trust.
In Revelation 13:16 , the "Mark of the Beast" is prophesied as being placed in the "Right Hand." It is quite probable that Right Hand in the socio-economic context of that verse, was being used colloquially for a person's power and authority over himself to willingly use some form of mark (or government identifier) when engaging in trade or commerce with another - not necessarily symbolic of a part of the body with four fingers and a thumb.
The Greek word for 'forehead' is μέτωπον - metophon.10 It is derived from the word meta, which means accompanying, participation, proximity, transfer or sequence11 and the word ops, which means face.
John was seeing something marked, or imposed upon either a person’s ability to contract or on their face. The power to impose is presumably the police power government exercises today.
Today, the digital biometric photos on driver's licenses are set up to allow face mapping of each individual's face. Most States claim to not have the system in place; the Federal government is attempting to mandate such face mapping biometrics on threat of withholding funds for highway maintenance.
This is not to say that the biometric photo is the mark on the forehead. Rather, it’s prudent to note that it is what John could have seen in his vision that describes such a "mark."
The Beast System
The Beast system that these voluntary marks will consist of has been around for hundreds of years, in lesser stages of development. We have reached a point where John's vision is more closely lining up with reality than it ever has.
With current Federal and State mandates, ID cards are increasingly being used to verify citizenship as a precursor to employment. The day is near when nobody will be able to drive their automobile, or gain employment unless they have an ID card with face-marking biometric face scans. People will accept that system in their “right hand” as they devolve their right to freely contract by accepting government permission to contract with one another; indeed, to “buy or sell” only upon the government’s approval.
The Beast system is a socio-political-religious-military-ideological system whereby Satan uses man’s tools of government to break man’s Faith in his Heavenly Father in the end times.
In the Christian religion, salvation is through the doctrine of Faith in the Lord for safety, security, and subsistence. The Mark of the Beast is Satan's way of shifting the only parameter that matters - Faith - from God to man to attain those ends.
The Mark of the Beast will be voluntary, such as the aforementioned "marks" currently are. A day will soon come when we will have to decide in whom to place our Faith - in God or in man.
1. Strongs #5480
2. Light From the Ancient East, Adolf Deissmann, ©1995 Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., p. 341
3. Interpreter’s Bible Commentary, ©1957 Abingdon Press, Vol. 12, p.588
4. Strong’s #226
5. The Torah: A Modern Commentary, ©1981 Union of American Hebrew Cong., p. 45
6. Oxford Dictionary of Word Histories, ©2002 Oxford University Press, 436
7. Strong’s #1188
8. Strong’s #1209
9. Luke 22:69
10. Strong’s #3359
11. Strong’s #3326