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16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.
Rev 13:16-18 (NIV)

Revelation 13 talks about 2 beasts; one rising out of the sea, and one out of the earth. Then mentions the infamous "mark of the beast", but doesn't seem to say which "beast" this represents.. the one that came from the sea or the one from the earth. Can Biblical Hermeneutics answer this question?

{ asked by Shredder }

ANSWER

Contextually, the Mark of the Beast refers to the beast which has the fatal wound on one of its heads. This would seem to be the beast arising from the sea. Verses 12, 14b, 15 seem to support this in that the second beast will make the earth worship the first beast (v12), commanded the people to make a statue to honor the first beast (vv14b, 15). It would follow, then, that the mark and the number are in reference to the first beast since everything the second beast does is to bring honor to the first beast.

We see further clarification of this in Rev 19:20 in which the beast whose image was worshiped and mark received was cast into the fire. This same verse seems to identify the second beast as the character known as the false prophet. This can be inferred by the description "performed signs on [the first beast's behalf]", referencing the description of the second beast's actions in Rev 13:13-14a.

Please note, this is only exegeted from a contextual viewpoint, no interpretation, prophetic or historical, is intended nor should any be inferred.

{ answered by Mark Anthony Songer }
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