The Mark of The Beast: Literal or Symbolic?
In Revelation 20:4, is the mark of the beast on the forehead and on the hand to be taken literally, or is it symbolical?
What is the beast named there, and what does it mean when it speaks of those who have the beast’s mark on their foreheads or their hands?
In Revelation 13 and in Revelation 17 it speaks about a beast coming up out of the sea with seven heads and ten horns. And that beast is worshipped as God by the unsaved. It is intimately related to the dragon, who is Satan himself. And so we know that the beast is a reference to the kingdom of Satan, or to Satan himself. You can’t have a kingdom without a king, nor a king without a kingdom. And the beast and the dragon are references to Satan himself, or to his kingdom.
All of the peoples of the world who are dead in trespasses and sins are slaves of Satan. Now when a man had a slave, that slave was marked in some fashion. It either was branded, or his ear was clipped, or whatever. And here it speaks about those who have the mark of the beast, that is, the mark of the kingdom of Satan on them, on their foreheads or their hands. That is, their wills, represented by their hands, have been sold out to Satan. And their foreheads means their intellects, their minds, have been sold out to Satan. They are totally the slaves of Satan.
You see, they are unsaved. They cannot come to life. But if we do not have the mark of the beast, that is, if we are not identified with the dominion of Satan, which of course occurs when we become born again, then to be martyred, or to die, is no victory for Satan. We simply leave our body and go to live and reign with Christ in Heaven as a soul being. And this is what is in view here. “I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded.” These are disembodied souls.