The biblical reference for the mark of the beast is Revelation 13:18 which states: "Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is 666."
Well, that pretty much settles it. There you go: biblically speaking the mark of the beast is the number 666! But wait, lets not jump to conclusions quite so fast.
The modern world has a fixation on the arabic number 666 being the mark of the beast. The 1611 King James Bible was the first translation that was mass produced by the invention of the printing press, and placed in the hands of the common man. Here is Revelation 13:18 from the 1611 King James Bible: "Here is wisedome. Let him that hath vnderstanding, count the number of the beast : for it is the number of a man, and his number is, sixe hundred threescore and sixe." Nine out of 21 modern translations use the digits 666, while the other 12 spell it out; as revealed from the online parallel bible biblehub.com.
Whether or not the number "666", or the long hand: "six hundred and sixty-six" is used appears to be based on the translator's prerogative. Regardless, the arabic number 666 is primarily regarded as the mark of the beast in our modern world. I believe this fixation on numeral 666 being the mark of the beast probably traces back to the King James Bible written in english being the first bible widely accessible to the common man.
I believe the modern fixation on the arabic numeral "666" being the Mark of the Beast is misleading, because the original new testament was penned in the Greek language. When the apostle John, enslaved on the island of Patmos, wrote the book of Revelation; he wrote it in Greek. When he saw the mark of the beast, he did not see "666". What John saw was "χξς". Therefore, it would be more accurate to visualize the mark of the beast as χξς instead of 666.
Biblehub.com shows eight Greek translations. Four of these translations use the Greek symbol χξς for the Mark of the Beast. Also of keen interest is the fact that the oldest Greek translation shown on Biblehub, the Stephanus Textus Receptus 1550 translation, uses the symbol "χξς" for the mark of the beast.
So, what did the apostle John on the island of Patmos really see? I'm pretty sure it was not the arabic numeral "666". Why does this matter? After all χξς = 666, right? Well, that depends on how you look at it. If we are looking at the pure value of the number, then yes: χξς equals 666. However, numbers sometimes contain alternate meanings. Take the number 69 for instance. Written in numerical form, sixty nine also suggests and represents a well known sexual connotation known as 69. Could the apostle John have used χξς to be symbolic of what he saw?
A deeper explanation to the possible symbolic meaning of χξς can be found >>>HERE<<<. Before discounting this plausible explanation, you should seriously consider modern day world events and who is attempting to control who is allowed to buy and sell. I strongly believe our focus on what the mark of the beast is should be aimed at the greek symbol χξς as John on the island of Patmos saw it, and not the arabic numeral 666.
How this insight on 666 & χξς was acquired.
At the time I arrived at the significance of the difference between the popular arabic numeral 666 denoting the mark of the beast and the Greek numerical symbol χξς denoting the mark of the beast, there was much talk about the mark being an RFID Chip. I started seriously praying about the mark of the beast and what it could truly be. I could not imagine the mark of the beast being something that was values neutral, like an RFID chip. Besides, I could simply ask for my personal RFID chip to be installed in my buttocks or someplace other than my forehead or right hand; and it would not meet the biblical requirement to be located where the bible says the mark of the beast will be received. This quest for something that definitely was not values neutral brought me to the symbol χξς where I found it for my first time in the Pulpit Commentary found under the twenty one different translations for Revelation 13:18 on biblehub.
Could this really be the mark of the beast? I guess time will bare that out, but I would not discount the possibility given our current political world climate as of 2014 and the notable events that have already taken place. There are already those in certain religious circles folding and embracing as righteous what the Bible clearly exposes as unrighteous. We live in precarious and insidious times.
I once believed it would take a cashless society to allow the mark of the beast to be enforced. I no longer believe that based on the behavior of those who will worship the beast when the beast is revealed and currently openly worship perversion, while despising those who don't join in with them. They won't and don't want your money if they have a means to determine that you are not with them. In all likelihood, they will want the mark on their forehead or right hand just like the bible says. They will be haters of the bible, and will relish displaying their personal mark in mockery of the bible and those who cherish it. Whatever the mark of the beast truly is, those who diligently read and know their bible, and truly love Jesus as their Lord and Savior will have no doubt that taking this mark will be just like spitting into Jesus's face.
Jesus gave His disciples, and such are you if you read and keep his word, clear warning in Matthew chapter 24: "see to it that you are not mislead, and those who endure to the end will be saved." Also, Ephesians 6:13 tells us "Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm." Therefore, He did not leave us without what it will take to make it successfully through, as God sees it, whatever is in your future.