[quote=Pax]The mark of the beast has been given a very literal treatment by many. I always took this to be literal as well until I saw how far out some of the modern day Protestant views of the apocalypse have gone. The entire Book of Revelation is filled with imagery that is highly symbolic. Sorting out that which is to be a literal and visible manifestation can be difficult. The mark of the beast has an interesting counterpart in Revelation 3:12. The verse reads as follows:
“He who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God; never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.”
No one seems to take this verse in the same literal fashion that some take the “mark of the beast.” The Church teaches that baptism leaves an indelible mark on our souls. It could be that the verses should be taken to mean literally “marked for life” or “marked for death” in terms of our spiritual life and eternity. The verses in Revelation may not mean actual physical marks placed on the head or the hand.
I hope this helps.
The counterpart verse to the “mark of the beast” that I was actually looking for is Rev 7:3 which says, **…“Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads.” ** It would seem that whatever the mark of the beast may be, that there is also a seal or mark on the forehead of the faithful. I find the mark and the seal on the forehead to be sufficiently similar that they represent spiritual marks rather than physical marks. I personally like Bauerice’s explanation as to the meaning or the mark on the hand and forehead.