The mark of the beast makes an appearance in the Bible. Though many Christians are familiar with the term, its significance remains elusive. This is how scholars and theologians break it down.
Revelations references three beasts that form what scholars call ‘the unholy trinity.’ These beasts include a dragon, a monster that rises out of the sea, and a false prophet. The beast that rises out of the sea plays the role of a demonic ruler who takes orders from the ‘evil one’. The book of Revelations describes the third beast vividly as a being who claims to speak God’s word but enforces the power of the first beast instead. This third beast or false prophet can manipulate people into worshipping him by carrying out an imitation of Christ’s life on Earth. Some scholars believe that the third beast represents religious authority over God’s Word.
The Bible verse in Revelations mentions the number 666. This is also known as the number of Man for a variety of reasons. It is important to note that the name of the antichrist in Greek adds up to 666. This makes a mockery of the Holy Trinity. Satan tries to mimic God in most things from his creation of a false prophet to the resurrection of his beast. Christians believe that those who follow the beast will be marked with this number. This number would then signify Satan’s ownership over his followers.
The question of whether or not the mark will be physical, in the form of a visible tattoo or number is still debated. There are a fair number of theories about this. Some scholars believe the beast in Revelations has already come and gone, evidenced by the Nazi’s marking Jewish people. Others argue that the mark may come through the vessel of technology or as an economic identifier. Though there is no conclusive consensus on this, many writers have noted that ‘marking’ is a common form of identification, punishment, ownership, or allegiance to pagan deities across societies.