In Revelation 13, it is prophesied that at the end of the age there will be a false prophet that arises to prepare for and give power to one called “the beast.” This “beast” deceives the nations and requires all to take a mark, 666. Without this mark no one can “buy, sell or trade.” This “mark of the beast” has been a dominant subject in eschatology (the study of biblical prophecies of the end of the age) since the first century, and many things have been called this that turned out not to be so. However, we know it will come, and it may be upon us. Few events in history have so remarkably fit the biblical scenario of this mark as the potential U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. As bizarre as this may sound, this is an uncanny parallel to the biblical prophecy. Even if this is not the actual mark of the beast, it is at least a precursor, a “dress rehearsal” that sets up the world for this ultimate test.
First, taking the mark of the beast is not the sin, but rather worshipping the beast. The mark is just the evidence of what one is doing. So to understand the mark, we must first understand the beast. This “beast” has been presumed by many Bible scholars to be an individual, such as the “antichrist” figure. He is also called the “man of sin,” or “abomination of desolation” prophesied by Daniel. Others have seen it as a system, a world power such as a world bureaucracy. Some have believed it to be the spirit that dominates the world at the end of the age. Some have concluded that it could come in all of these forms. There may be some merit to all of these assumptions, but the principles given in Scripture for identifying the nature of the beast are clear enough for any seeker of truth to discern it, regardless of the form in which it comes. MORE