The Revelation of Jesus Christ
John sees a 7 headed and 10 horned beast rising up from the sea (representing the nations) that that will be empowered by the dragon who is Satan.—CH 13:1-10
The 7 heads represent 7 empires that have controlled Jerusalem throughout history. They are the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greecian, Roman and Ottoman empires. (We know this from O.T. studies.) The 10 horns are leaders of nations that give allegiance to the Antichrist.
The description of part leopard, part bear, part lion is similar to the vision that Daniel the Prophet had of the future antichrist and the second coming of Jesus Christ (read: Daniel 7:1-27). Daniel’s vision addresses middle East nations which include Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran that will be under the Antichrist’s control.
This beast, headed by the anti-christ, will wage war and persecute Israel and believers for 42 months after the abomination is set up in the rebuilt Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. (Jesus warned about this event in Matthew 24:24:15-22). The Lord Jesus Himself will destroy the beast headed up by the Antichrist at the battle of Armageddon.
(More details about the mystery of the beast is given in Revelation 17 when John sees the Harlot who rides the beast.)
The False Prophet
John saw a second beast rise from the earth, characterized as a lamb but empowered by the dragon, this is the false prophet who will also be empowered by the dragon with supernatural signs.—13:11-18
The false prophet institutes a mark for all people to receive on their arm or forehead as an allegiance to the Antichrist. People will not be able to buy and sell without it.
Taking this mark would condemn one to hell. The question must be asked, what is so evil about this mark that would condemn people to hell? 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 (Revelation 14:9-10). The only sin that condemns a person to eternal hell is the rejection of The Lord Jesus Christ. (John 3:16-18). So the mark must include an allegiance to anti-christ and a rejection of the true Christ.
There has been plenty of speculation over the years concerning this mark. The interpretation of 3 markings assumed to be 3 Greek letters in Revelation 13:18 into the number 666 is based on using a system called gematria where each Greek letter of the alphabet has an assigned numerical equivalent. Reading from left to right, the first Greek letter, χ (pronounced “chi”) had a numerical value of 600. The middle Greek letter, ξ (pronounced “xi”), and it had a numerical value of 60. The third Greek letter, ς (pronounced “stigma”) had a numerical value of 6. This type of interpretation of the text used by the translators has led to a lot of speculation and may be completely misguided.
There is another interpretation that may fit the context of the vision of the beast. When looking at the meaning of these 3 markings instead of their Greek letter numerical equivalent, we arrive at another conclusion. Reading from right to left and viewing the marking of what looks like the Greek letter, ξ (xi) as an Arabic symbol we come up with a different meaning explained below…
- The marking or Greek letter ς—“mark, or badge of service”.
- The marking or Greek letter ξ—may also be the Arabic character “bismillah,” which means “in the name of Allah.”
- The marking or Greek letter χ—may also represent the crosses swords frequently associated with Islamic symbols.
Here is an alternative translation that may bring clarity to this text.
Let him that hath understanding count or determine the number or multitude of the beast, for it is the number or multitude of a man; and his number or multitude is “bismallah” or in the name of Allah (ς ξ χ ).—Revelation 13:18
The head and arm bands worn by Islamic Jihadists has inscribed upon it the creed of Islam which denies the Father and the Son. Is it possible that the mark of the beast may well be the mark and creed of Islam? In addition, Islam also has a system of buying and selling called Hallal. All products marked Hallal have been dedicated to the Islamic god Allah.
Whatever it may be, the mark of the beast will become perfectly clear after the appearance of the Antichrist and the false prophet. Right now we can only speculate. God placed it in His Word to warn those living in the time of the Great Tribulation. I personally believe it is tied to the martyrdom of believers especially those under Islamic control.