In my daily readings I’m going through Exodus. I noticed recently while reading Exodus chapter 13 that we have the first mention in the Bible of something on the hand and something on the forehead (“between the eyes”).
“And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt. 9 AND IT SHALL BE A SIGN UNTO THEE UPON THINE HAND, AND FOR A MEMORIAL BETWEEN THINE EYES, that the LORD’S law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt. 10 Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year.” (Exodus 13:8-10)
In Deuteronomy, in one of the best known passages in the Old Testament, we find again the same kind of language:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine hose, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 AND THOU SHALT BIND THEM FOR A SIGN UPON THINE HAND, AND THEY SHALL BE AS FRONTLETS BETWEEN THINE EYES.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-8)
Let us read John Gill’s understanding of Exodus 13:9:
[And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, etc.] These are not the words of God or of Moses to the children of Israel, but of an lsraelitish parent to his son, telling him that this feast of unleavened bread would serve the same purpose to refresh his memory with what God did for his people of old, AS the tying of a thing on the hand, or placing it before the eye, is to a person to bring anything to his remembrance, to which THE ALLUSION is; the LIKE FIGURATIVE PHRASES may be observed in (Proverbs 1:9 3:3), the Jews understand this literally, and hence the use of phylacteries among them, which they bind upon their left hand, and place upon their foreheads between their eyes, of which ((see Gill on “Matthew 23:5”)), but such a practice could be of no use to answer the end next mentioned:
[that the Lord’s LAW MAY BE IN THY MOUTH]; for surely THIS CANNOT BE TAKEN LITERALLY, but the sense is, that being instructed by the observance of the above feast, and being taught the meaning of it, they might be able to speak of it to their children, and so transmit it from age to age to their latest posterity:
Now if the first mention of something upon the hand (in conjunction with something upon the forehead) in the Bible is to be taken figuratively within a narrative historical book (to be understood literally except for a few figurative passages) how much more is the mark upon the hand or forehead of Revelation chapter 13 to be taken figuratively within a book of symbols where much is to be understood figuratively/symbolically?
The hand speaks of actions and deeds while the forehead speaks of the conscience and will. The “mark” on the forehead and hand symbolize total, sincere allegiance to the Beast’s religious system. We should not be thinking in terms of Intel microchips or bar codes.
In the quoted passage in Deuteronomy chapter 6 the forehead (will) and hands (actions) are mentioned in connection with the Commandments of God. Let us remember that the AntiChrist, portrayed as a little horn in Daniel chapter 7, would change “laws” (Daniel 7:25)… God’s laws! It is interesting to note that in Exodus this mention of the hand and forehead is associated with RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCE not financial transactions. The quoted passage in Exodus chapter 13 connects the hand and forehead with the Old Testament Passover feast which pointed to the future redemption to be accomplished by our Passover Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ.* The “not being able to buy” part mentioned in Revelation chapter 13 is not because someone doesn’t have the right Henry-Kissinger-approved-VISA-European-Union-Digital-Angel barcode on his/her forehead… the inability to buy or sell is because of not being a faithful adherent to the Roman beast’s false religion. Let us not be ignorant of the use of prophetic figurative language in the Old Testament… we cannot properly understand Revelation if we neglect the Old Testament. All of the Bible is profitable for learning and correction (2nd Timothy 3:16-17).
* could this be a clue that the “mark” upon the “hand” and “forehead” of Revelation chapter 13 maybe in some way connected to a corrupted memorial of the death of our Passover Lamb in connection with apostasy? maybe connected to the Lord’s Table in some corrupted way?
In Revelation chapter 17 something is written on the forehead of the Great Whore. It is interesting to note that the first time something is mentioned as being written on a forehead also appears in Exodus – the writing upon the MITRE of Israel’s HIGH PRIEST, Aaron (Exodus 28:36). The same Aaron who after Moses, a forerunner of Christ as a mediator between God and the Israelites, went up Mount Sinai fell into IDOLATRY. After Christ, THE sole mediator between God and men, departed into a “high place” the professing visible Church would fall into IDOLATRY centuries later.
In Exodus the words written “upon the mitre” were HOLINESS TO THE LORD. In the case of Revelation chapter 17 among the words written on the forehead of the whore we see the word ABOMINATIONS. We see here an interesting contrast.
If the true Church is represented in Revelation by a chaste bride then a whore** by contrast in the same book (context is important!) would symbolize a FALSE CHURCH. I believe that the writing on the forehead in Revelation chapter 17 points to something RELIGIOUS. I believe that the Holy Spirit intended that this “writing on the forehead” symbol along with the fine linen, the golden cup and precious stones symbolism was meant to point to an APOSTATE CHRISTIAN “PRIESTHOOD” associated with the city of ROME, the city sitting on seven hills. Sorry preterists! The city sitting on seven hills does not point to Jerusalem. Church Fathers AFTER NERO believed the AntiChrist was still future… why would Ireneaus for example, a disciple of Polycarp who himself was a disciple of the apostle John, have not been certain that the Mark of the Beast pointed to Nero specifically if Nero was the prophesied AntiChrist? I guess it took Reformation-opposing Jesuits in the 17th century, liberal “higher criticism” Germans in the 19th century and proud, boastful, comfortable Americans in the late 20th century to figure out what truly pious Christians (including many martyrs who put us all to shame!) couldn’t understand for close to 1800 years despite having the Holy Ghost to help them understand Scripture! Wow! How did the statue of Daniel 2 representing GENTILE KINGDOMS (“the times of the Gentiles”) come to be destroyed in 70 AD? I don’t remember the Roman empire disappearing or losing power in 70 AD. And when did those ten toes appear during the reign of Nero or even before him? Some people have been reading some bad prophecy books. It’s truly pathetic! They don’t properly understand Daniel and yet they think they can properly interpret a more complicated book like Revelation. The proud deserve to be fooled to the glory of God who reveals His truth to humble babes – Matthew chapter 11. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and that certainly includes the wisdom to properly interpret Bible prophecy (Revelation 13:18). Someone can be a true Christian and not properly understand prophecy for a time because of : pride, despising the wisdom of past interpreters who manifested true piety, ignorance of Church history, lack of Bible study-meditation, being in a church where prophetic truth is not taught, lack of prayer, lack of sanctification, not taking God’s Word seriously, not seeing the prophetic unity in the Bible, being materialistic and carnally-minded, using prophecy as a means of financial gain, etc…
** the Old Testament symbol of a whore which we must take account of when interpreting the symbolic language used by the commissioned-by-God-to-write-and-divinely-inspired apostle John, a Jew, points to apostasy from the true religion… Revelation 17 does not point to Islam or atheism or 1st century Paganism, folks… let’s be Biblical and submit to God’s definition of the symbols He has used to convey truth to us… truth begins with God… let’s LEAVE BEHIND “Left Behind”!