Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. 12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 14 And he deceives those[e] who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or[f] the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.
C. I. Scofield and other Premillennnialists pride themselves on interpreting the book of Revelation literally and thus interpret the mark of the beast literally. Great confusion has resulted from Premillennialists teaching, yet the doctrine neither makes sense nor is consistent.
Question: Why must we interpret the mark of the beast literally, but are not required to interpret the beast as a literal beast, breathing literal fire, or the horns as literal horns? How does a non-literal beast giving out a literal mark make any sense?
Seventh-Day-Adventist: Believe the mark to be the keeping of Sunday rather than the Sabbath. This is a symbolic interpretation, but one without any Biblical foundation.
What is the Mark?
The Mark is mentioned 7 times in the Book of Revelation: 13:16-17,’ 14:9, 11/ 16:2/ 19:20/20:4/ 15:2
In each instance, the mark is to be received on the hand and forehead. The hand is used symbolically to represent fellowship and action (Gal.2:9) and the forehead represents mental receptivity.
Coincidentally, in Revelation 14:1 the Children of God are said to have his name written in their foreheads. Is this too to be taken literally?
The mark represents the Children of God giving up and fellowshipping in both mind and action something evil. The beast either refers to false religion generally or the Catholic church in particular. Whichever the beast symbolizes, it will be destroyed when the Lord returns – Rev. 19:19-21
“And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.”
Premillennialists believe there will be a great physical battle in the Middle East just before the return of Jesus. This supposed battle is one reason there is a lot of emphasis placed on the unrest over in the Middle East. Coincidentally, Premillennialists also believe the Battle of Armageddon is the battle between Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38.
1- If the battle of Armageddon is the Battle or Gog and Magog and this is all to be taken literally – so must their weapons of swords, spears, and arrows. It is inconsistent to claim a literal battle is being fought, but that the weapons being used in that battle are not literal.
2- Also, Premillennialists claim Revelation 16:16 is speaking of a literal battle, but they do not believe Gog and Magog are the actual names of the countries involved in the battle. Where is the consistency in the interpretation of what is literal and what is not?
What is Armageddon?
Armageddon is another name for Hill of Meggido where several decisive battles were fought by Israel. What seems to be a symbolic depicted in Revelation 16 is the final judgment day where the Lord comes in battle array to gain the final victory (2 Thess. 1:5-10).
The Thousand Year Reign
Premillennialist claim that Jesus must come back to the earth and reign for a thousand years. The literal thousand year reign doctrine is advocated by a large number of denominations that have been influenced by premillennialism and C. I. Scofield in particular (the Scofield Study Bible).
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
The Premillennialist Position:
The culmination of the earth and mankind is to culminate in a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth. This event is to be preceeded by a Rapture, a literal seven year tribulation period, the Restoration of Israel, the defeat of the Antichrist (Best), and the second of multiple comings of the Lord.
1- Why is it that nowhere else in Scripture do we find any such things taught if this is to be the culmination of time and mankind? Why is it that we only find such events spoken of in a highly symbolic book?
2- Why is it that the pit, the chain, and the dragon are to be taken figuratively, but not the 1,000 years?
3- Why is it that though the number 1,000 is used some twenty time in the Book of Revelation – and not once literally- that it is to be taken as a literal number in this instance?
4- The number 1000 simply signifies completeness in the book of Revelation and is to be taken symbolically – not literally.
This view teaches:
1- A weak God (can’t accomplish what he wants to)
2- A pointless church (a stop gap)
3- Makes Israel the focus – not the Church (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10).
1- That Jesus is in heaven reigning (Mark 16:16/Matthew 28:18-19, Eph. 1:20-21 etc.)
2- The value of the Church (Eph. 1:22-23, Matt.16:18)
The thousand year reign of Christ is representative of eternity, The reign of Christ takes place in heaven where he is currently reigning. An earthly reign is assumed by Premillennialists, but is never found nor advocated in Scripture.