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 The mark of the beast arrives Tuesday

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Tuesday looms ominously on the calendar, a day that conjures images of evil and despair, the end of times and the threat of a holy war and a dark overlord.

While interpretations of its meaning vary widely, the book clearly does not say that a single anti-Christ will be born marked with three sixes. Rather, Chapter 13:16-17 tells of a time when all people, "both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond," will receive a mark on their right hand or their foreheads. No man will be allowed to buy or sell unless he has "the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."

The book doesn't specifically say what the mark is, but verse 18 (King James Version) reads: "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number (is) six hundred threescore (and) six."

Some Christians believe there will be a time when all people are required to carry some kind of mark on their hand or forehead in order to do business. Others believe the story in Revelation is historical and filled with coded messages and symbolism not meant to be taken literally.

"We take it seriously," said Kevin Schmid, administrative pastor at Calvary Chapel in Oceanside.


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