So many people today miss the real danger of the message of the mark of the beast in Revelation 13. They get all caught up in wondering if it's going to be a microchip or a bar-code tattoo that most don't realize they've already been marked. The beast's mark, which goes on the forehead and the hand (Revelation 13:16), is not referring to some technological means of physically marking someone. This imagery of marking clearly represents a spiritual reality because those who receive the mark are judged for it by God and receive His wrath (14:9-10). In fact, the great horror of the mark of the beast is that it goes in the same place that God's mark was supposed to go.
God commanded His people to bind His Law as a sign on their hand and as frontlets between their eyes (Deuteronomy 6:8). The implication is that the Law of God would guide their thoughts (the mark on their forehead) and their actions (the mark on their hand). And when this mark of God's Law is forfeited in favor of the mark of the beast - the adoption of Satan's rules and morality - then one has truly abandoned the proper worship of God, which is so wrapped up in obedience to His commands, and has decided to worship the Enemy.
The beast's mark is offered everywhere today. Instead of godly parents teaching the laws of God diligently to their children and talking about them when they sit in their house, when they walk by the way, when they lie down, and when they rise (Deuteronomy 6:7), many send their children to a state-run public school where the beast has his opportunity to influence them for hours a day. The television pumps metric tons of marking ink straight toward our foreheads and our hands. The internet is the Devil's own tattoo parlor. Even taking a leisurely stroll through a local mall is to be surrounded by legions of those who already bear the mark and who are looking for a fresh flesh canvas to cover with their way of thinking.
Our culture shows very clearly that its thoughts and its actions are not guided by God's Law. No, it bears the competing mark - the counterfeit one - and it wants us to wear it too.
But the beast's mark promises only safety from persecution at the hands of others who bear it. If you take it, you will "fit in", but that's as far as the benefits go. Not so with God's mark. Ultimately, God's promise of protection is far greater than the beast's, because His wrath is more to be feared than man's (Matthew 10:28), but His mark also carries other blessings.
God promises those who are obedient to His commands that He will love them, bless them, and multiply them (Deuteronomy 7:13). He will bless the fruit of their womb and the fruit of their ground: their grain, their wine, and their oil. He promises to bless their herds and their flocks. He will not bring disease on them as punishment, as He did the Egyptians (verse 15). They will be blessed above all peoples (verse 14).
The Psalms contain similarly glorious promises of blessing for those who obey. The man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked nor stand in the way of sinners nor sit in the seat of scoffers will be greatly blessed (Psalm 1). He who delights in God's Law and meditates on it day and night will be like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season (verse 3). The Psalm even says that "in all he does, he prospers".
Our God is a feast for those who love Him and who obey His commands. "Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him." (Psalm 34:8)
I couldn't stop thinking about this song this morning as I was meditating on all of this.