S (Scripture): Revelation 13:15 The second beast was empowered to give life to the image of the first beast so that it could speak, and could cause all those who did not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 He also caused everyone (small and great, rich and poor, free and slave) to obtain a mark on their right hand or on their forehead. 17 Thus no one was allowed to buy or sell things unless he bore the mark of the beast – that is, his name or his number. 18 This calls for wisdom: Let the one who has insight calculate the beast’s number, for it is man’s number, and his number is 666.
O (Observation): Marks on peoples’ foreheads has some interesting significance throughout scriputre. The Hebrew application of placing the Shema on your hand and forehead indicates a more symbolic understanding of keeping that word close to you. Before that, Cain had some kind of mark that kept others from bringing harm to him. There are others.
So, symbolic or actual, I don’t know if this mark is meant literally or not. Many folks are convinced this is about a microchip implant or barcode across your forehead. Interesting. Wrong, I think…but interesting.
As an ELCA (Lutheran) pastor, I subscribe to the “amillennial” understanding of Revelation. No rapture. No 1,000 years to worry about. Those are based on an overly literal reading of Scripture of Revelation.
A (Application): Here is a quote from a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod pastor. I appreciate his thoughts and agree with him, so I’ll let his words suffice for me today…
I would hold that the Mark of the Beast means worshiping someone other than the Triune God. If they wanted to put a microchip in my hand or forehead, I would refuse. If it meant I couldn’t buy food, I’d forage the desert. But I learned many years ago that I cannot protect myself from whatever comes. I have to trust in God alone to protect me. If He chooses to take me Home during that time, one way or the other, I join with Paul in saying that it is better to be with the Lord. Trust in God. Don’t “feed” yourself from the fears of people who miss the whole point of the Christian faith. Spend your time discussing Jesus, and don’t worry about eschatology. As far as I can tell, discussions of eschatology just prove frightening and disturb the peace that passes all understanding.
– Unknown author
P (Prayer): Lord, you know our appointed time. Keep us faithful until then. Amen.