What is the MARK of the BEAST?
Who will likely be the power that will rule the world during the end time just before the return of Jesus Christ? How is the MARK of the Beast related to this power?
In order to figure out what the mark is, we first need to know who and what is the Beast. The two legs of iron of the great statue in Daniel 2 and the Beast that rises up out of the sea (Revelation 13) are symbolic of the same thing that the fourth animals in Daniel 7 represents. Daniel 7's dreadful and strong animal has teeth of iron and ten horns, making it the most fearsome animal seen in Daniel's dream. It represents the Roman Empire, including its various resurrections, such as the Holy Roman Empire of the Middle Ages.
The End Time Identity
The term 'Beast' can refer to either an empire as a whole or the dictator leading it, just as a king represents his country symbolically (cf. Daniel 7:17-18, where "king" and "kingdom" are interchangeable). The end time world power, who will enforce a mark on all people, will be the current European Union (possibly minus a few smaller countries) or the dictatorial person who heads it. What can be confusing is that the SECOND beast of Revelation 13 (verses 11-18) is the false prophet or man of sin described by Paul in 2Thessalonians 2 and the religious institution he or she leads. If we use what Revelation chapter 17 to 18 says about a "woman riding the Beast," this second 'animal' is also symbolized by a woman. Ask yourself what church became unified with the state during the Middle Ages and even with the Roman Empire before it fell? What church had great influence over kings and emperors?
Identity of the woman
If we use history as our guide to interpret these above symbols we arrive at the conclusion that the Roman Catholic church, both in the past and near future, was and will be in an unrighteous alliance with the European-based government that supports it. It may sound incredible and highly unlikely, but the union of church and state that characterized the Middle Ages WILL be reborn fully in the years just ahead of us. The church, or the person who represents her, will publicly perform demonic miracles that will deceive almost everyone into believing the power of God backs him.