It is a common misconception that when the Bible refers to the Mark of the Beast, that the beast if Satan. A beast in prophetic terms is a religious, political or regal power. Daniel 7:23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. Daniel 7:17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. Revelation also clearly shows that there is a distinction between the devil and the beast. Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. The second beast referred to in Revelation is a false religious system with political power.
The fifteenth century protestant reformers, such as John Wesley, John Huss etc all clearly stated that the fourth beast or little horn power of Daniel 7 that also correlates to the first beast of Revelation could be identified as the false system of religion, and persecuting power found within the papal system. The non-biblical doctrines instituted by the Roman Catholic Church had replaced many scripturally based doctrines with traditions of man. During the dark ages millions of people were tortured and killed as heretics for not bowing down to all of the precepts of the Roman church.
The Bible also tells us that the little horn power of Daniel 7:25 would think to change times and laws.
One of the most notable changes implemented by the papacy was the changing of the day of worship that God had implemented, the seventh day Sabbath, with Sunday worship.
The papacy go so far as to say that the action of changing the Sabbath to Sunday, without any scriptural grounds is the Mark of their authority, showing that they have the power to override even the institutions of God. “Sunday is our mark or authority…the church is above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact.” Catholic Record of London , Ontario, September 1, 1923.
When people say that 666 is the devils number, this is also an incorrect conclusion. 666 is the number of a man (being the leader of the political-religio system). Revelation 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. It is interesting to note that one of the names given to the Pope, which is written on his triple tiered crown is VICARIUS FILII DEI, and that if you add up the Roman numerals for each letter it comes to 666.
Revelation predicts that at the end of time a second beast will arise that will be an image of the first beast, carrying out the same persecuting acts and holding the same false doctrines as the first. Revelation 13:12-13 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed Revelation 13:15-17 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
This shows that anyone who does not take the mark of the beast will be persecuted or killed. Then it goes on to speak of those true followers of God, who do not take the mark of the beast. Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
It is interesting that the differentiating factor is that those who are saved will be keeping the commandments, and that the Mark of the papal system is that they changed the fourth commandment, the Sabbath to Sunday.
It seems then that the religio-political system, when it comes to power will enforce, upon consequence of death, the observance of worship on the counterfeit day, the day on which the pagans worship the sun god.
Those that stay true to the Bible based teachings and keep the commandments have the following promise to look forward to. Revelation And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
All Bible references are from the King James Version.