The book of Revelation is probably the most well known and intriguing one among the entire 66 books of the Bible. The visions that John shares of the end times holds the attention of even doubters of the Christian faith and, among the many he records, perhaps the mark of the beast is most widely recalled. “He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:16-17); this mark is also referred to several times throughout the rest of Revelation (14:11, 16:2, 19:20, 20:4). I won’t pretend to know all that there is about this aspect of eschatology, but I will make the claim that Satan and his schemes always seem to attempt to copy God’s methods in the worst imaginable way. I say worst because they are usually so close to the Truth and the Way that, in our ignorance and sinful state, we tend to fall for them headfirst.
On the topic of heads, it is the mark on the foreheads that caught my attention, but not in Revelation. In Ezekiel 9, we read about a man clothed in linen with a writing kit at his side (v. 2) who was told by God to “Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it” (v. 4). This man was accompanied by six others (v. 2) that God ordered to “Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary” (v. 5-6). There’s that mark again, except this mark on the forehead is from God as a means to spare the lives of those He has chosen. Quite a bit different from the mark of the beast on the foreheads of those under Satan’s “care,” this mark was to save rather than to damn. But, of course, the method and means is eerily familiar and this is still how the deceiver plods his course.
The last words from God, “Begin at my sanctuary,” in Ezekiel 9:6, are striking in that He makes it abundantly clear there will be those without His mark on their foreheads that are to be killed which reside in His sanctuary. Not only will the deceived be in His sanctuary, but He commands the six destroying men to begin there with their killing. These four words speak so much in regards to the severity of the unmarked sinners that attempt to taint the bride of Christ by their very presence within His sanctuary. They also give us insight as to how God deals with these souls, unmercifully and unhesitatingly, as He decrees their demise. So although we, today, will have the wolves deceiving among His sheep, we can rest knowing the marks have been made. Those who God calls to Him will be given ears to hear His voice and will be given eyes to see the deceitfulness of those bearing the mark of the beast, even when those are attempting to hide within His church.
While it is true that Satan uses the forehead to mark those that he will take with him into the lake of fire, it wasn’t as though this choice of marking was first thought through by him. God first, as always, sets the stage and ordains how all His plans proceed. God revealed this method of marking through Ezekiel far before the memorable mark of the beast was written of by John in Revelation. Satan bodes well at convincing some that his imitations are the original, but he falls short every time. He masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) and even when it seems as though there’s some truth mixed in with these lies, these “half truths” have his evil intent written all over them. And though we aren’t the ones giving the marks upon our foreheads, it is God who claims us and Satan who frames us, it is on our heads as we are the receivers of them. This is where being knowledgeable and discerning about what’s in our head pays its dues. What is in our minds most throughout our days is a definitive reflection of whose mark is on our forehead.