This weekend, I preached from Revelation 13 and one of the points I made was that the mark of the beast is not a literal mark that we need to be on guard against. (If you missed it, head here: http://www.easthillsalliance.org/media.php?pageID=5) The idea that a social security number or a computer chip could be the mark of the beast is preposterous to me. Afterwards, I had someone approach me and ask, "Did you come across the Exodus 13:16 connection?"
I think the blank expression on my face answered the question for me. He proceeded to take out his Bible and flip to the book of Exodus. "Here, read this," he said, "I happened to stumble across it and find it pretty amazing."
Exodus 13:16 reads, "And it will be like a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand." The "it" in this passage was the Jewish practice of redeeming their firstborn sons by some other sacrifice to God. So the sign on their hand and the symbol on their forehead really wasn't a visible mark at all, but a metaphor for what their actions would say about their allegiance to God.
Ironically, Revelation 13:16 (notice same chapter and verse) says, "He (the beast) also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead." The apostle John had no idea that these two references would line up so perfectly, but I believe firmly that John did know exactly what had been written in Exodus, and so did his readers. The mark of the beast was never intended to be a literal mark, but a metaphor by which an action or way of life reveals our allegiance, either to God or to things opposed to God. When you put this all together with Revelation 14:1- a host also "marked" by the name of God, the picture is pretty clear. This host in Revelation 14 is known for their purity, their devotion, and their truth. These actions marked them as an army that stood with the Lamb.
So, there's some interesting Bible trivia for you today! But more than that, these verses are a solid reminder that a life in and for Christ has less to do with what you wear or how you look, and much more to do with the way you live your life. What do your actions reveal about your allegiance today?
May you be marked by God as you follow Him. Journey on-