Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Mark of the Beast in Revelation 13

And he [the second beast] causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: (Revelation 13:16)
This scripture consistently gets people all freaked out. I’ve written on it before, but I want to write about it again because I discovered something interesting from the Book of Mormon that can inform this passage and throw a different light upon it.

One aspect that is so worrisome about this verse is that EVERYONE seems to be FORCED to receive the mark, even if they don’t want to, and then Revelation 14:9-10 warns that anyone who receives this mark is doomed to suffer the wrath of God with fire and brimstone, etcetera, etcetera. This makes it seem as if there is no escape from it. However, here’s where the Book of Mormon gives us a different (and possibly more hopeful) view.
4 And the Amlicites were distinguished from the Nephites, for they had marked themselves with red in their foreheads after the manner of the Lamanites; nevertheless they had not shorn their heads like unto the Lamanites….
14 Thus the word of God is fulfilled, for these are the words which he said to Nephi: Behold, the Lamanites have I cursed, and I will set a mark on them that they and their seed may be separated from thee and thy seed, from this time henceforth and forever, except they repent of their wickedness and turn to me that I may have mercy upon them.
15 And again: I will set a mark upon him that mingleth his seed with thy brethren, that they may be cursed also.
16 And again: I will set a mark upon him that fighteth against thee and thy seed….
18 Now the Amlicites knew not that they were fulfilling the words of God when they began to mark themselves in their foreheads; nevertheless they had come out in open rebellion against God; therefore it was expedient that the curse should fall upon them.
19 Now I would that ye should see that they brought upon themselves the curse; and even so doth every man that is cursed bring upon himself his own condemnation. (Alma 3:4,14-16,18-19)
The Book of Mormon gives us the insight that people actually choose to set the mark upon themselves when they come out in open rebellion against God, and they don’t know they are fulfilling the words of God when they do it. So the message for us is, “don’t rebel against God and you won’t end up with the mark.” Also, we are told that the mark (and the attached curse) can be put off through repentance and turning to the Lord; the Lord promises to have mercy on the repentant. I find this more reassuring.


Ramona Gordy said...

I read your previous post on this and this is something I have been pondering.
I thought maybe it had to do with everyone having their own handheld device,cell phones, i-phone etc. The mark is an app. Everyone uses apps to buy, sell , e-trade, etc. An app can take you places without leaving the house. The forehead reference I thought would be more of a spirtual reference than a physical, in that it relates to our mindset,our focus and committment to either God or mammon. It seems to me that this train of thought reminds me of the rod of iron vs the spacious buildings.
An app can be a virtual place, and with technology improving daily, an app could be a hologram.
A lot of people are fascinated with their i-phones and black berry's. Look what happened when the black berry service was not available for that short time last month. Lots of problems.
The book of Mormon reference is killer, but is that all?

Michaela Stephens said...

RGG, sorry if my post didn't meet your expectations. I can only do my best with the bits I learn at a time.

Anthony E. Larson said...

I do applaud your efforts to address this difficult subject. Please, please . . . take a look at my research into the symbolic language of the prophets. And if you really want to be informed on this and all the other imagery used by the prophets, you might want to attend my online classes, "The Ancient Skies and the Restored Gospel." There you will learn that we err when placing a modern interpretation of technology on this particular statement by John. The answers are so easy and far less mysterious than those most scriptural scholars and pundits put on it. And Latter-day Saints should be the last to share the mainstream Christian interpretation of John. I beleive that the Savior told Joseph Smith to join none of those sects because they were wrong. That would apply as much today as it did then, and it would apply equally to their strained interpretations of prophetic imagery. Joseph Smith gave us the keys to prophecy and prophetic imagery. We've simply failed to recognize them. Come visit my web site. There you will find links to my blog and my videos. The truth is far more fascinating and enlightening than you ever imagined. And we have Joseph Smith to thank for that enlightenment.

Ramona Gordy said...

Hi Michaela
No criticism of your post from me, I tend to "stream" my ideas and thoughts, but as I said, the reference you gave from the Book of Mormon is killer, meaning I had not read that, and that everything is a learning experience for me. I appreciate all that you put forth. I suppose my question is rhetoric. Or can we take what you wrote in your previous post and add to this. I think I will take a look at what Brother Larson has to say.
Thanks for your posts, no offense intended.:) xoxo

Anonymous said...

I commend you for your efforts to try to give a clearer description of the Beast.However,It is important to note that no one is "forced"to receive his mark.Everyone who receives the mark of the beast receives it willingly http://truth.co.vu/forbiddennumber

Michaela Stephens said...

Anthony, from what I’ve read on your website, to me it all seems to be fruitless speculation, and for my verdict you might label me as one of those Mormons who are slaves to church correlation. So be it. But your website doesn’t bother me; you have the privilege of believing what you want. I’m more concerned about you as a person and what this theory of yours is doing to you.

What if you find out that your theory is false? You will have wasted so much of your valuable time on an illusion. You’ve gathered a lot of knowledge about a wide range of subjects, but does it really help if you come to the wrong conclusions about how they fit together? What else do you have to show for your life besides your work on this theory of yours? I hope for your sake that you have done many works of charity and service so that when the Lord separates the sheep from the goats, you will be among the sheep, theory notwithstanding.

Now, let’s assume that your theory is actually true; how is it helping you? You take joy from telling others about it, but you also suffer a lot of rejection and that seems to be souring your opinion of the saints. Do you consider yourself the one major enlightened one and look on all the rest of us as blundering around in the dark? Do you look on the saints with suspicion and scorn for no other reason than they will not believe what you say? Are you inclined to patronize and condescend mentally to the prophet and apostles of the church for not teaching your theories? Do you read the scriptures looking for what they might confirm about your theory rather than what doctrinal principles they might teach you? If so, then the fruits of your theory are not good and you need to set it aside and refocus on the basics of the gospel. It would be terrible if you were destroyed by pride even after knowing your theory. (I’ve been in a danger of this type myself and it’s not pretty, that’s why I can see it.)

I don’t mean to be offensive when I say this, I’m just concerned about you.

Michaela Stephens said...

I find at the LDS Scripture Citation Index that Orson Pratt, Brigham Young, and Wilford Woodruff spoke jocularly of the the 666 Christian denominations and sects of religion, which certainly puts a different spin on it in a fascinating way.