How does the right hand and forehead for the mark of the beast correlate to the hand and forehead for the Shema?

Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, (Rev. 13:16, ESV)

καὶ ποιεῖ πάντας, τοὺς μικροὺς καὶ τοὺς μεγάλους, καὶ τοὺς πλουσίους καὶ τοὺς πτωχούς, καὶ τοὺς ἐλευθέρους καὶ τοὺς δούλους, ἵνα δῶσιν αὐτοῖς χάραγμα ἐπὶ τῆς χειρὸς αὐτῶν τῆς δεξιᾶς ἢ ἐπὶ τὸ μέτωπον αὐτῶν (Rev. 13:16, NA27)

και ποιει παντας τους μικρους και τους μεγαλους και τους πλουσιους και τους πτωχους και τους ελευθερους και τους δουλους ινα δωση αυτοις χαραγμα επι της χειρος αυτων της δεξιας η επι των μετωπων αυτων (Rev. 13:16, TR)

You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. (Deut. 6:8, ESV)

וּקְשַׁרְתָּ֥ם לְא֖וֹת עַל־יָדֶ֑ךָ וְהָי֥וּ לְטֹטָפֹ֖ת בֵּ֥ין עֵינֶֽיךָ׃ (Deut. 6:8, BHS)

καὶ ἀφάψεις αὐτὰ εἰς σημεῖον ἐπὶ τῆς χειρός σου, καὶ ἔσται ἀσάλευτον πρὸ ὀφθαλμῶν σου, (Deut. 6:8, LXX)

Christians often criticize Orthodox Jews for literally binding the Shema on their hands and forehead. But, the same Christians will take the mark of the beast as literally on the right hand and forehead. How should we make a parallel between these two?

Clarification: Deut. 6:8 was God's command while Rev. 13:16 is Satan's mark. If Deut. 6:8 represents our actions, thoughts, and home shouldn't the same locations in Rev. 13:16 represent the same thing. Note the doorpost (Deut. 6:9) is not in Rev. 13:16, maybe failure to recognize the home.

  • Hand could stand for acts and forehead could stand for thoughts. The mark of the beast in the forehead sets the hand in motion, while the mark of the Lord in the forehead doesn’t. Jul 24, 2023 at 11:14

6 Answers 6


There are several references to marking things on the forehead and hand.

  • This annual festival [Passover] will be a visible sign to you, like a mark branded on your hand or your forehead. Let it remind you always … Ex 13:9
  • This ceremony [Passover] will be like a mark branded on your hand or your forehead. … Ex 13:16
  • You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. … Deut 6:8
  • impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. … Deut 11:18
  • See also Rev 13:16, 14:9, 20:4; and Eze 9:4.

All the OT references are surrounded by references to the Law and worship of the true God. This is (as the question implies) clearly symbolic and is perhaps(??) an allusion to the law being written on the heart (Deut 6:5, 6, 27:26, 30:10, Jer 31:33; see also Ps 37:31, 40:8, 119.34, Prov 3:1, Isa 51:7, etc.) It may also be significant that Rev 13:16 & 14:9 is clearly contrasted with Rev 14:7 which contains another quote from the 10 commandments.

The reference of binding on the hand and forehead in the OT and the Torah in particular is NOT the law itself but reminders to keep the law with all one's heart Deut 6:4-8. If this is the idea carried over into Revelation, then the mark of the beast is something that involves false worship and a reminder to keep some sort of false law.

By contrast with the mark of the beast, the name of the Lamb and the Father (Rev 14:2) is written on the foreheads of the saints and not on their hands.

  • 1
    I've always interpreted forehead and hand (and heart) as thought and action (and feeling). Your observation about the mark of the beast is interesting. Perhaps that mark will be something that one is forced to do (action), but true Christians will do so while retaining the knowledge that it is wrong (thought). May 8, 2019 at 13:21
  • That is a view common in some circles - the mark on the hand is something some are forced to do while the mark on the forehead is some that some believe. In any case, both are somehow connected with the law and legalism which is always a marker of false worship.
    – user25930
    May 8, 2019 at 21:13
  • Here is Dr. Eli Lizorkin - Eyzenberg's interpretation: "Instead, we should understand the mark of the beast to be an inward or outward expression that opposes the Law of God in the life of a human being." weekly.israelbiblecenter.com/what-was-the-mark-of-the-beast
    – Perry Webb
    Jan 23, 2021 at 14:11

While a comprehensive understanding of the symbolism of the Revelation is elusive it is possible to see the reference to the mark placed on the hand and forehead as symbolizing the tokens testifying to commitment to Mosaic covenant:

[Deu 11:18 ESV] (18) "You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.


The history is obscure but it seems possible that the wearing of phylacteries became enforceable and the failure to wear them the basis for persecution (or at least a practical means to avoid persecution). This would allow one to "fit in" without having to flash one's circumcision. Notice that Paul indicates that one might avoid persecution by demonstrating commitment to Torah:

[Gal 6:12-13 ESV] (12) It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. (13) For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.

This would be in contrast to the writing of Torah upon the heart in the new covenant.

[Rom 2:23-29 ESV] (23) You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. (24) For, as it is written, "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." (25) For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. (26) So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? (27) Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. (28) For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. (29) But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

In the first century there was a confluence of religious and political imperatives with both secular and religious enforcement that made the failure to be circumcised (becoming accountable to the Sinai covenant) and conformity to Jewish rules (scriptural or not) to be punishable offences.

Please see this related question and this one.


The question does not apply. You are using a revised version of the Bible. pretty sure (sarcasm) you cannot change the Word of God.

The Mark of the Beast in the Bible says it is IN IN IN IN IN in the King James Version. and they changed it to (yes they changed the Word of God - yeah right - sarcasm - they can do that)

And they changed it to ON ON ON ON ON in the NEW King James Version - and ALL other newer versions of the Bible.

IN means in your skin like a chip, implant, injection. ON is like a tattoo or not even sure.

KING JAMES VERSION 16 "And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." (bold, underline, italic, enlarge added)


NEW KING JAMES VERSION - and all other newer versions such as New International Version

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 [a]the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." (bold, underline, italic, enlarge added)


  • 1
    Welcome to BHSX. Thanks for your contribution. Please take the tour (link below) to better understand how this site works. I am struggling to understand the oblique langue in this post and how it addresses the question.
    – Dottard
    Dec 16, 2020 at 11:39
  • The Greek text is ἐπὶ meaning on. In probably could also mean on when KJV was translated, since they translated from the Greek test.
    – Perry Webb
    Dec 16, 2020 at 21:52
  • I checked the Textus Receptus, the Greek Text used to translate the KJV, and it also has ἐπὶ .
    – Perry Webb
    Dec 16, 2020 at 21:55
  • 2
    The mere fact that the new translations differ from the King James Version does not prove that the new translations are wrong. Please provide valid linguistic or textual evidence for your position. Dec 16, 2020 at 22:06

You know, the Bible is pretty specific. It has been proven right so many times. We are looking at a situation we don't understand fully yet, but I would say that the mark of the Beast is likely going to be just what it says. If it was changed from 'in' to 'on' that is a big difference, especially now that we understand what 'in' could mean. It is going to happen the way the Bible says, and all this wandering around trying to 'fit' the Bible into our translation of it is inane. Wait and see because the God of the Bible is not a liar, and He knows what He is talking about. We don't need to 'fit' the Bible into our opinions, especially if we change what the Bible says to do it. We believe in God, but for some reason have a hard time believing what He actually says. That is the same as thinking that He needs a little help doing His job, and we are going to make excuses for Him. Either the Bible is true or it isn't. We either believe He knows what He is talking about or we don't. Time to self assess and figure out what we do believe.

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    – agarza
    Aug 9, 2021 at 20:35
  • Thanks for this answer. Do you think that you could include some references,, even Bible references to support your answer?
    – Dottard
    Aug 10, 2021 at 2:48

They that have the mark in their hands will not be able to have Holy hands. The mind will be married to the fear giving, railing, scorning Satan who is offended by the sight of all things, specially the parts that can make new life, making laws against the showing of those parts. Satan trembles not knowing when the end of all things will be. That sexless being is willing to believe a lie.1 Timothy 2:8 “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” Those hand are peacful hands. Modest apparel that is talked about in verse 9 is not looking like the proud faced fallen Lucifer, who is decked out with gold and gems." The word immodest has been warped from what the Biblical interpretation of the word. God did not say the word naked, or the word immodest, referring to Adam and Eve, knowing that they were naked. The word naked came into their minds, when Satan's spirit, entered into their minds. God's peacful, truthful mind is in Ruminator, who is below my comment.

King James Version (KJV)

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    Oct 22, 2021 at 16:30

God never lies ! Why does Jesus say when called good Master”, none is good except one and that is God in Heaven, but yet he says He and the Father are one. And Jesus also says He is the Son of God and has all Power in Heaven and Earth which makes God irrelevant and in Revelations He exalts Himself above The Heavens and the Earth and says He is God in that Jesus states the similar views of Lucifer that He is Alfa and Omega, the beginning and the end; The Bright and Morning Star! Lucifer was known as The Morning Star! Also, it is forbidden to eat or drink blood in the Old Testament, but Jesus says to drink his blood which is wine, but is suppose to be his blood for everlasting life along with the eating of his flesh which is the bread of life. Is it possible that the mark of the cross on the forehead in baptism which is not a part of The Old Testament could be the mark of the beast who is Lucifer disguised as a Prince of Light! The one True Living God is a Forgiving God who requires True Repentance in Prayer and to Love The Lord God with all your Heart,Mind and Strength!The true Sabbath is Friday at Sundown through Saturday at Sundown; the seventh day of the week not Sunday, the first day of the week which keeping the True Sabbath is a Holy Commandment! Most of The Gentiles are breaking God’s Holy law in obedience to this change by Constantine 1 the Roman Emperor and the Roman authority of the Catholic Church in respect to the Resurrection Day of Jesus! If you have really paid attention to the testimonies in the New Testament, there are a lot of inconsistent writings in the scriptures. Is Jesus bringing us closer to God or to Himself ! Could this actually be the mark of the beast who is also a Son of God who can appear as a Son of light!

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    – agarza
    Jul 24, 2023 at 0:04

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