The Mark of the Beast
Copyright © 2011 by Joseph Herrin
Permission of the author is hereby granted for copying, printing and distributing this book to others, either in part or in whole. However, no charge may be associated with the distribution.
“Nebuchadnezzar” by William Blake, c. 1795
A word of explanation is necessary at the start of this book. In this work you will find the writer using names in reference to God the Father and God the Son that are more faithful to their Hebrew original than the names and titles generally in use by the church today. The name Yah, or Yahweh, will be found in reference to God the Father, and the name Yahshua will be utilized when speaking of the Son.
This usage is not intended to be divisive, nor does it serve as a renunciation of the usage of titles such as Lord or God. Neither is it a condemnation of those who choose to call the Son of God Jesus. My intent as a teacher of the Bible is simply to illumine and instruct. There is great meaning in the Hebrew names of the Father and the Son, and these names are directly related to one another. Many of the people whose lives are portrayed in Scripture also serve as types and shadows of God, bringing to light truths that might otherwise be hidden.
For example, Joshua, the Israelite leader who led the people of God across the Jordan and into battle to take possession of the land of Canaan, bears the same name as the Messiah. They both were called Yahshua. Like Joshua in the Old Testament, the Son of God began His ministry at the Jordan River as He was baptized by John. Both men labored to establish a kingdom dedicated to Yahweh, the first external and natural, the latter internal and spiritual.
Yah is the name used in reference to the Father on forty-nine separate occasions in the Old Testament. Most Christians have utilized this name of God without knowing that they were doing so. Whenever the word hallelujah is uttered, the speaker is literally exclaiming “Praise Yah,” for this is the meaning of the Hebrew word from which it is derived. The longer name Yahweh is found an additional 6,828 times.
The name of the Son is likewise significant, for Yahshua is understood to mean “Yah’s Salvation.” The Gospel writer indicates that this is the meaning of the name given to the Savior at His birth.
“And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Yahshua, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.”
It has been the practice of this writer for many years to use these names, which more clearly represent their Hebrew originals. It is my hope that their employment in this book might aid the reader by bringing forth light on relationships that are obscured, as well as promoting an increased intimacy with God the Father by calling Him by His memorial name, instead of a title which men have substituted.
This book presents a focus on the spiritual understandings of the imagery found throughout Scripture that relates to the beast, the mark of the beast, his image and the number of his name. This writing gives attention to the truly important spiritual understanding of these things, understandings of which the church has almost no perception. So dull have the eyes of the church grown in this late hour that she does not realize the great peril that is everywhere around her.
Many carnal interpretations of the Scriptures which relate to the end times are being declared in this day, and it is these carnal interpretations that have consumed the attention of the church. Yet these teachings are of no real benefit in preserving the saints in this hour, and in leading them to victory over the beast, his image, and the number of his name (Revelation 15:2).
Throughout this book I will speak of these “carnal interpretations,” but I do not use this phrase in an entirely negative way. Rather, I am employing it in the same sense that Paul meant when he wrote the following:
The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; which stood only in meats and drinks, and diverse washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
The apostle Paul referred to the ordinances found in the Law, particularly those relating to the tabernacle and its service, to offerings and sacrifices, as carnal ordinances. Paul was not declaring the Law to be an evil thing, but he stated that the things it used as types and symbols to signify spiritual truths were incapable of making anyone perfect. It would not benefit man at all to merely observe these fleshly ordinances if he did not perceive that to which they pointed. If the symbolism of the tabernacle and its sacrifices did not lead the worshiper to Christ, who was the fulfillment of all the types being presented, then the man would never arrive at God’s true desire.
In the same way, a great number of prophecy teachers are focusing upon carnal interpretations of those things written in the book of Daniel, in the book of Revelation, and elsewhere, but they are almost universally neglecting the spiritual truths to which they point. This is not wisdom, for it will lead no man to perfection. These carnal signs exist for the purpose of leading the saints to the spiritual realities that are signified in them, but for the most part there is no discerning of these greater things.It is not my intent to deny that there will be a physical fulfillment to many of the things described in the apocalyptic Scriptures, though certainly much that is taught today is spurious and results in much injury to the church by leading the saints to focus upon false notions of man’s imagination rather than directing them to that which could be of real spiritual benefit to them. I am not denying that there will be a physical mark, or implant, that will be given one day soon which will be required for men and women to buy and sell. What I do want to stress is that such a carnal fulfillment of the Scriptures is not nearly as important as the spiritual truth to which it points.
In the history of the church during the past 2,000 years there has not yet existed a physical mark of the beast which has been required to buy and sell, yet there have been innumerable saints who have received the imprint of the beast nature to which it points. In receiving this mark many men and women have been able to trade in all of the things of a fallen and corrupt world. Many more saints stand in danger of receiving this mark, and of bringing the wrath of God upon themselves, and they have no clue as to the true identity of this mark.
This book seeks to illumine the saints to the greater meaning of those things relating to the mark of the beast that they might arrive at the perfect will of God and escape the wrath that comes upon the children of disobedience.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days,
Shadow and Substance
The church is fascinated with matters relating to the last days prior to the return of Christ. The teachers of end times prophecy are legion, and their message goes forth over the airwaves, while their books fill the shelves of bookstores and major shopping centers. Movies are made out of many of these books and teachings, and Internet chat rooms are dedicated to the discussion of various end times doctrines, prophecies and scenarios.
A particular prophecy that has captivated many is that relating to the mark of the beast. The Scriptures reveal the following about this mark:
And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.
A myriad of teachings have gone forth to the body of Christ with the effect of causing the saints to focus upon the number 666 and to be wary of new and upcoming technologies that will allow mankind to be imprinted with some type of physical mark, or computer chip, that will be required in order to buy or sell. Speculation concerning what this mark will be has changed over the years as technology has advanced. I remember years back when bar codes were just becoming popular, and many theorized that men and women would be given some type of bar code as a mark. More recently, with the advent of technologies such as Digital Angel, and smart chips, and RFID tags that can be scanned from a distance, opinion has shifted to these more advanced technologies.
Tragically, in leading the saints to focus upon the danger of receiving a physical mark, these end time prophecy teachers have lulled the church to sleep and have failed to warn them of the real danger. The book of Revelation is highly symbolic, and the physical and tangible things described in the book are most often employed to speak of spiritual realities, and it is these spiritual realities that are most important. The mark of the beast spoken of in the passage above is in fact a type and shadow of mankind receiving the imprint of the beast nature so that mankind can traffic in the things of a corrupt and fallen world.
I have never heard a teacher on end time prophecy speak of the spiritual substance of which the physical mark is but a shadow. There is endless speculation about physical technologies which will be required to buy and sell, and the world is surely rushing forward to implement this control of all mankind. Yet, as so much of that which is physical in the Bible, this mark serves as a parable of much deeper spiritual substance. By focusing ONLY on the physical shadow, and ignoring the spiritual substance, prophecy teachers have done much harm to the understanding of the saints.
That the things in this passage are symbols of spiritual realities is evident if one looks at the context of the letter. Below are the first eight verses of Revelation chapter 13, followed by a list of the physical symbols described in these verses.
And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.
Look at some of the symbols here:
• a beast
• a sea
• ten horns
• seven heads
• ten diadems
• blasphemous names
• body of a leopard
• feet of a bear
• mouth of a lion
• a dragon granting power and a throne and authority
• a wounded head that is healed
• a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies
• authority to act for 42 months
• blasphemies against Yahweh, His name, His tabernacle
• the Lamb
• the Lamb’s book of Life
All of these things are symbols that stand for some truth. We would be wrong to think that these things are all to be understood literally. In fact, out of all the things listed, we would most certainly declare that the majority of them cannot be taken literally. The book of Revelation is highly symbolic, and everything is revealed in signs and types. Thus we see Christ as a Lamb that was slain, we see the overcomers referred to as virgins, and the churches are themselves represented by candlesticks. We read of a great harlot riding on the back of a beast, and we see revealed all types of fantastic creatures with multiple heads and horns. We should not take these things literally, for they are merely prophetic types that represent truth. Those things that do have some literal fulfillment, also serve as prophetic types of spiritual truth.
In the opening words of Revelation we are told that what is written is conveyed in signs and parables, and these things are shadows of spiritual realities.
The Revelation of Yahshua Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants — things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John…
The word rendered as ‘signified’ is the Greek word ‘semaino’ and it occurs 23 times in the New Testament. Of these 23 occurrences, 16 times it has been rendered as the word ‘signs’ by the KJV translators. Following is one example:
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars…
Now a sign is something that points to something else. The sign is not the reality of a thing. A sign in the sun, moon, or stars is something that gives warning of some spiritual truth of the kingdom of God, some act of God, such as a coming judgment. Suppose some heavenly sign, such as a great solar flare, was given that indicated that a great judgment was coming, but all men wanted to talk about was the solar flare. If they were to focus upon the physical sign, while ignoring the spiritual truth it represented, they would have fallen far short of God’s will and their actions would not represent godly wisdom. What folly it would be for the church to go around speaking endlessly about solar flares while never mentioning the judgment for which the sign was given to warn them.
Revelation is a book whose message is delivered in signs. Consider for a moment the purpose of a road sign. A road sign might tell you that there is a stop ahead, or that a winding section of road is upcoming. The sign, although a tangible physical reality, is not to be confused with the substance to which it points. It would be calamitous for the driver and passengers of a car to speak incessantly of the signs they are seeing while they drive right through the intersection at which they were supposed to stop. The mark of the beast may truly make an appearance as some technology employed to regulate those who can buy and sell. As such it is real and tangible, even as road signs are real, and the sun and moon and stars are real, but this physical mark serves as a sign pointing to a much deeper spiritual truth.
I would like to shout it out loud where every saint could hear it that there is a spiritual reality that this sign points to that is far more important than a physical mark. If the saints focus only on the sign (and they are doing so), and they fail to heed the message of the sign, they will be met with disaster. Multitudes of saints are in danger of being imprinted with the spiritual mark of the beast, and this mark has nothing to do with technologies now being developed. If they should receive the spiritual imprint of the beast they will fall under the judgment of God more surely than if they receive a physical mark in the forehead or on the hand. The consequences of receiving this mark are terrible.
“If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will 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 goes up to the age of the ages; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
We should not believe that such a judgment is doled out simply because men and women utilize a new technology to be able to buy and sell. Something much more sinister is referred to in this mark. If a man or woman should receive the imprint of the beast nature to which this sign points they would be in grotesque opposition to the will of God who desires that His children should bear the image of the divine nature.
If Bible prophecy teachers would compare the words relating to receiving the mark of the beast to similar words that lie in close proximity in the text of Revelation they would understand that this physical symbol serves as a prophetic foreshadowing of a deep spiritual truth. In Revelation 13, verses 16-18, we read about the mark of the beast being given on the forehead, or the right hand. IMMEDIATELY after these words we read of another mark that is given to a different group of people which also goes on the forehead.
Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.
Isn’t it amazing that the church doesn’t spend as much time trying to decipher what form this mark will take that goes on the foreheads of the overcomers? They have not theorized that God will use permanent ink, or that God will implant a chip in the forehead of the saints that bears the names of the Father and the Son. No one is speaking about smart chip technology, or bar codes, or discussing what language these names will be written in, or how big the letters will be, or what color they will be. Why? Because most of the church realizes that what is written is spiritual truth conveyed through symbolic means.
When we say that the overcomers will have the name of the Father and the Son written on their foreheads, we understand that they are being sealed with the mind of Christ. Their minds have been renewed, and even as the High Priest of the Old Covenant wore a band of blue with letters of gold across his head with the words “Holy to Yahweh” written on it, so these saints have separated themselves unto Yahweh to live for His purposes and to be conformed to the image of Christ.
In this text of Revelation we read that the overcomers will have the names of God “written” on their foreheads. The actual Greek word is “grapho” which means “to grave” and it is the same word that would be used of a sculptor who carves an image out of wood or stone. Similarly, the word that is rendered as “mark” when referring to the mark of the beast is the Greek word “charagma,” and Strong’s Dictionary defines it in this way:
NT:5480 charagma (khar’-ag-mah); a scratch or etching, i.e. stamp (as a badge of servitude), or scupltured figure (statue).
The choice of words that the apostle John employed reveal that what is spoken of is not something superficial, such as taking a marker and writing something on a person’s forehead, but it is permanent, indelible and deeply formed. John is describing two types of people. One group has been altered until they bear the image of the beast nature, and the other group has been transformed until they bear the image of the divine nature. These images are so deeply formed that it is as if a sculptor has chiseled an image out of stone and the image is permanently set.
The scriptures employ similar imagery in other places, for Paul writes:
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Yahshua for good works…
The word rendered as “workmanship” is the Greek “poiema” and this word speaks of something that has been fashioned into a masterpiece. What is it that God seeks to fashion? As the first chapter of this book reveals, God determined that man should be formed in His image, after His likeness, and when John writes that there are a group of overcomers who have the names of the Father and Son engraved in their foreheads he is indicating that there will be a firstfruits company of believers who come to a fulness of expression of the image of God. There will be those who are full stature saints who have attained to the image of Christ (Ephesians 4).
We read earlier about the terrible judgments of God to be poured out upon those who receive the mark of the beast. God’s wrath comes upon the children of disobedience (Colossians 3:6), and this mark of the beast is merely a sign that points to men and women who have given themselves wholly over to disobedience. They have sold themselves to serve the natural appetites. Their god is their belly and their end is destruction. Those who receive a physical mark will be those who have already been stamped with the spiritual mark of the beast nature. It is those who will trade the blessings of God away in order to satisfy their belly, imitating the error modeled by Esau.
In this book we will explore God’s desire for men to bear His image and His likeness, and we will also examine the enemy’s plan to form within man his own corrupted beast nature. As the end of the age approaches we will see both of these plans coming to a fulness as the light seen in the overcomers grows brighter, and the darkness of a fallen world grows darker. Both the divine nature and the beast nature will come to fuller expressions until one group is sealed in their foreheads as being a mature expression of the divine image of God, while a much larger group are sealed in their foreheads as being a mature expression of the beast nature.
The church at large does not realize the peril of the moment. The church of this hour is depicted as a great whore riding upon a beast, and this is but another sign given by our Lord to give the wise understanding of the days we live in. Rather than subduing and ruling over the beast nature, the church has made an unholy alliance with the beast. The sinful flesh is protected by the church, and the preaching of the disciple’s cross has been so diluted, and in many cases removed, that even the grossest of sins are tolerated and embraced by the harlot.
It is my hope that in reading this book that you will begin to understand the peril of the hour, and the deep deception that has fallen upon the church. We live in an age of apostasy where sound doctrine is rarely tolerated, and men and women prefer to focus upon teachings which are unsound. Many are at risk of coming to a full expression of the beast nature, for the One who restrains is shortly to be removed and then the beast nature will rise up uncontested in those who have failed to crucify the flesh. Many will be given over by God to an unrestrained slavery to the sinful flesh, and only those who have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts will be spared.
II Thessalonians 2:7-12
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
Many are the saints who have been walking in sin. Many have been careless in their walk in this world, toying with temptation, and at times even fully embracing it. Few have labored to buffet their bodies and crucify the flesh, and as a judgment God will suddenly remove the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit in their lives and give them over wholly to their depravity, their sinful fantasies, and their selfish nature. The still, small voice that has been urging the children of God to repentance will suddenly be removed, while at the same time the beast nature will rise up in all its power, and multitudes of those who once professed Christ will fall away and no longer make any pretense of seeking to please God. They will live only to satisfy the carnal desires of a depraved world.
The hour is close at hand, and the Spirit is making a final appeal. It is time to take a decisive stand:
“Come out of (the great harlot), my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues…”
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve Yahweh, choose you this day whom ye will serve…”
I Peter 4:1-3
Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.
One group of people live for the lusts of men, while another live for the will of God. One group are marked by the beast nature, the other with the divine nature. There is a vast group of people today who have sought out a middle ground. They pay lip service to God, calling Christ ‘Lord’ and ‘Master’ while at the same time seeking to fulfill their own lusts, to satisfy the many desires of the flesh and the soul. Immense numbers of saints picture God as a divine assistant who will help them find earthly prosperity, ease and satisfaction. Their minds are not set upon the will of God, but upon their own will and desires. Many who are called to be pure virgins, devoted to Christ alone, have become harlots riding upon the beast.
We live in an hour when all things are coming to a fulness and a maturity. At this hour you are either increasing in your reflection of the image of God, or the image of the beast. All things must come to maturity, to a fulness of stature, either of Christ, or of the beast.
I urge you to read this book prayerfully while allowing the Spirit to search your inward parts and reveal if there be any wicked way in you. May many overcomers come forth who have been victorious over the beast, his image, and the number of his name.
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