And he [the second beast] causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: (Revelation 13:16)
This scripture consistently gets people all freaked out. I’ve written on it before, but I want to write about it again because I discovered something interesting from the Book of Mormon that can inform this passage and throw a different light upon it.

One aspect that is so worrisome about this verse is that EVERYONE seems to be FORCED to receive the mark, even if they don’t want to, and then Revelation 14:9-10 warns that anyone who receives this mark is doomed to suffer the wrath of God with fire and brimstone, etcetera, etcetera. This makes it seem as if there is no escape from it. However, here’s where the Book of Mormon gives us a different (and possibly more hopeful) view.
4 And the Amlicites were distinguished from the Nephites, for they had marked themselves with red in their foreheads after the manner of the Lamanites; nevertheless they had not shorn their heads like unto the Lamanites….
14 Thus the word of God is fulfilled, for these are the words which he said to Nephi: Behold, the Lamanites have I cursed, and I will set a mark on them that they and their seed may be separated from thee and thy seed, from this time henceforth and forever, except they repent of their wickedness and turn to me that I may have mercy upon them.
15 And again: I will set a mark upon him that mingleth his seed with thy brethren, that they may be cursed also.
16 And again: I will set a mark upon him that fighteth against thee and thy seed….
18 Now the Amlicites knew not that they were fulfilling the words of God when they began to mark themselves in their foreheads; nevertheless they had come out in open rebellion against God; therefore it was expedient that the curse should fall upon them.
19 Now I would that ye should see that they brought upon themselves the curse; and even so doth every man that is cursed bring upon himself his own condemnation. (Alma 3:4,14-16,18-19)
The Book of Mormon gives us the insight that people actually choose to set the mark upon themselves when they come out in open rebellion against God, and they don’t know they are fulfilling the words of God when they do it. So the message for us is, “don’t rebel against God and you won’t end up with the mark.” Also, we are told that the mark (and the attached curse) can be put off through repentance and turning to the Lord; the Lord promises to have mercy on the repentant. I find this more reassuring.
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