In Hebrew culture, both the head and the hand contained their own symbolism. For example:
Originally Posted by ClayInHisHands
Exodus 28.36-38: "You shall make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet, 'Holy to the LORD.' And you shall fasten it on the turban by a cord of blue. It shall be on the front of the turban. It shall be on Aaron's forehead, and Aaron shall bear any guilt from the holy things that the people of Israel consecrate as their holy gifts. It shall regularly be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD."The Levite priests who served in the tabernacle (and temples) were required to wear an inscription on their foreheads, stating "Holy to YHWH". This action of wearing the name of God on one's forehead was symbolic of swearing one's allegiance to God. This action was literally carried out (Exodus was not a book of prophetic symbols), but it was the meaning behind the action that was important. By taking "the mark", which is the name of the beast, it meant swearing one's allegiance to the beast.
Deuteronomy 6.6-8: "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes."Here, God commanded the Covenant people to bind his Law "on your hand" and "between your eyes". Was this command carried out in a literal fashion? Yes, it was. (Again, Deuteronomy was not a book of prophetic symbols.) But the meaning behind the command is clear. Keep the Law in deed (the hand) and thought (the forehead); in no way should a person turn aside from God if they always have his Law in their hand and on their forehead. Regarding the beast, by taking his "mark" upon one's hand and/or forehead, they were pledging to submit to the beast's authority, in deed (the hand) and thought (the forehead).
Ezekiel 9.4-6: And the LORD said to him, "Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it." And to the others he said in my hearing, "Pass through the city after him, and strike. Your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity. Kill old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one on whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary." So they began with the elders who were before the house.The prophet Ezekiel hears God tell an angel to "put a mark on the foreheads" of the residents of Jerusalem who remained faithful to God. In consequence, Ezekiel sees that anyone who did not bear the mark of God was killed. The action in Ezekiel's vision is wholly symbolic. No one in Jerusalem literally received a mark on their foreheads to show that they were faithful to God. When the Babylonians came to destroy Jerusalem in 586 BC (for that is what Ezekiel is writing about here), the warriors didn't stop to check the foreheads of each and every person they came across. What Ezekiel is seeing is a symbolic representation of God extending (supernatural) protection to the faithful remnant in the city. John sees a similar thing happen in Revelation 7 to the 144,000 "sons of Israel". And here in Revelation 13, the beast employs a dark parody of God's seal. In Ezekiel 9, those who received "the mark" of God were spared from his wrath. In contrast, those who receive "the mark of the beast" are spared from his wrath.
All in all, taking "the mark of the beast" is the action of submitting to the Roman Emperor. The first beast (Rome) required it, and the second beast (apostate Israel) enforced it. Anyone who refused to "take the mark" (submit to Caesar) was persecuted and killed. [John 19.12-15; Acts 4.24-28; 12.1-3; 13.8; 14.5; 17.5-8; 18.12-13; 21.11; 24.1-9; 25.2-3,9,24]
Spare from the wrath of the Roman Empire and apostate Israel.
What do you mean by anyone who took the mark was spared from apostate Israel?
In 30 AD, Jesus preached, died, and resurrected. He ascended to heaven, taking the role of High Priest, to present the New Covenant sacrifice (himself) before God. Upon his arrival in heaven (depicted in Revelation 5) he took the scroll of the New Covenant, his personal will, to open it. Each of the seven seals of the scroll corresponds to the overarching events of history between 30-70 AD. During this time, the Apostles were laying the foundation of the Church and the Kingdom of God, all the while being resisted and persecuted by apostate Israel. In 64-68 AD, the Roman Empire began an official, open persecution of the Church, and apostate Israel took advantage of this. It was during this 3.5 year persecution that many of the Apostles are believed to have been killed. This 3.5 year persecution of the Church is the 42 month persecution referred to in Revelation 13. However, in 66 AD, tensions between the Roman Empire and apostate Israel began to escalate. At the beginning of 67 AD, lasting 3.5 years until the middle of 70 AD, the Roman Empire officially declared war upon the nation of Judea (the homeland of apostate Israel), which culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple exactly as Christ prophesied in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21). With that, the "thousand years" began, a symbol of the Kingdom of God while it endures over the sinful world. Satan is "bound" in order to prevent him from inciting the sinful population of the world to destroy the Church. When the "thousand years" come to completion (for the number 1000 is used in Scripture as a symbol for "completion"), Satan will be released to bring about the ultimate war upon the Church, but the Second Coming of Christ will take place. Satan will be condemned; the dead will be resurrected; the wicked will be condemned; the righteous will inherit immortality and be transformed; and God will bring perfection to the world.
Help me understand what it is you believe?