Samson and the Mark of the Beast


Before discussing Samson’s role in the story of the Mark of the Beast it would probably be good to define what the Mark of the Beast is. The great Beast in the Bible is “the great dragon was case out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan who deceives the whole world” Revelation 12:9. Anyone who chooses to join the ranks of the Great Dragon, the Serpent, the Devil, and Satan will be marked as one of his. We know that the Devil, the Serpent, the Dragon, Satan was once an angel and he fell by self exaltation in his relationship with God (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:12-19 in the parable of the king of Tyre). We also know that many of the angels in heaven chose to sin (II Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6; Revelation 12:7-9), and thus joined with the Devil, that fallen angel once known as Lucifer – the light bearer. They, Lucifer and his angels, were cast out of heaven and chose to take up residence around earth and started tempting mankind almost as soon as man was created.


In Genesis 4:1-15 God tells the story of Cain and Abel, the first offspring of Adam and Eve. They apparently get into a fight over the proper way of worshipping God and God talks to Cain about his behaviors and Cain will not repent even though he had killed his brother. As a result of this interaction God pronounces judgment upon Cain and Cain will be a vagabond and a fugitive on the earth. Cain remonstrates with God and is afraid that what he has done will be done to him. God promises to put a “mark” on him some kind of identification so that all who see it will know whose side Cain is on and they will not harm him. We are not told what the mark was, but since God is not so much interested in the outside of a person I believe that it was a character mark – something that people could see in the person, not a tattoo, nor an inscribing but a testimony of what that person was on the inside. This mark was something similar, but opposite of the mark of God – His character as stated in Exodus 34:5-7 “And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him (Moses) there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him (Moses), and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” Moses had asked to see the glory of God and this is how God chose to reveal Himself, to reveal His mark, and His character. Similarly the mark on Cain would be a revelation of his character, one not in harmony with the will and mind of God.


We have a variety of Marks/Seals/Signs in the Bible by which God tries to describe Himself and His will to man. We have the Passover in Exodus 13 and God says that Passover “shall be a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that that the Lord’s law may be in thy mouth…” Exodus 13:9.  In Exodus 13:16 God says that Passover “Shall be a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes…” These two texts tell us that the Passover, the sign of blood on the door posts would be a symbol of the thoughts of the mind and the activities of the hands of the believer. So Passover was a sign, a memorial, a token, and frontlets between thy eyes on each believer. The Passover was a sign of the power of God to protect and take care of us as He did for Israel (Exodus 12:13) when bringing them out of the Egyptian captivity long ago. It is also interesting that it was a sign on the hand and a sign between the eyes, or on the forehead. This is very similar to the mark of the beast in Revelation 13:16 were those rebelling against God have a sign on their right hand and on their forehead.


In Deuteronomy 11:18-23 God uses another spiritual concept to convey this idea of marking the hand and forehead by a sign of surrender and relationship with God. In Deuteronomy 11:18 God wants us to focus on His words/His truths “Therefore shall ye lay up these My words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.” If God’s people would do these things and teach these thought to their children and write them on their houses, then God would deliver them from their enemies for they would be in harmony with Him. In all of God’s truths there is a revealing, a marking, a sign of surrender and obedience to God and His will for us. Everything that we do, that is in harmony with the mind of God reveals that we, His people, are in harmony with Him and identifies us as a follower of God.


God has another sign as well and that is found in Ezekiel 20:12. God says “Moreover also I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign (mark) between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.” God’s Sabbaths were a sign to all peoples that the followers of Jehovah we unique and different. Those who understood Sabbath gave a signal to all that these people believed in the God of heaven and were willing to be openly identified with Him. In Ezekiel 20:13 God says that His people, the House of Israel – His church on Earth, “rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in My statutes, and they despised My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and My Sabbaths they greatly polluted…”. God states again in Ezekiel 20:16 the following statement “Because they despised My judgments, and walked not in My statutes, but polluted My Sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols.” God testified that since they were not willing to take His mark then in essence they were following after their idols and would end up taking their marks, their signs of identify and relationship.


In Ezekiel 8:1-18 God is gracious to give us a list of various signs of rebellion by which Israel testified to the world that they did not want God to rule over them. In this list of worship activities Israel had studiously found things that God did not approve of and they decided to do these things to mark themselves as loyal to different Gods and to testify publically that they were not in harmony with the will of God. This list of activities were clear testimony, clear marks, by which they could tell all that they were not followers of the God of heaven. This list is as follows:

  1. In Ezekiel 8:5 Israel had erected an idol in the entrance of the temple gate.
  2. In Ezekiel 8:10 Israel had drawn pictures of creeping things to worship instead of God. In verse 11 there were 70 elders offering incense to these images.
  3. In Ezekiel 8:14 there were Israelite women worshipping the false God Tammuz, and weeping over his death. This was another pagan worship issue incorporated into the temple worship.
  4. In Ezekiel 8:16 the greatest abomination was to worship the sun with their backs to the Ark of the Covenant. This was testimony that they had rejected the God of Israel and chosen the sun god. The day that they worshipped the sun god was on the day of the sun – Sunday, rather than on the 7th day Sabbath.
  5. In Ezekiel 8:17 God says that all of these overt marks of rebellion ended up changing the hearts of the people and now they were filled with violence toward others and thus they were no longer displaying the character of the God of heaven for God has already told us what He is like in Exodus 34:5-7 – One full of mercy and compassion. God was telling Israel that when they unhooked from God they would turn into compassionless, murderous, rebellious people who defile the name of God. This compassionless, murderous, rebellious quality is the mark of the beast. This state of being is marked by clear, outright rebellion against the things of God. Everything that God holds dear and declares will be a blessing to His people those who are in a relationship with the beast will declare just the opposite (Isaiah 5:20-24). These people will especially do everything in opposition to the laws of God, including breaking the intent of Passover, breaking the intent of sacrifice, will not look to God for protection, and everything that God’s laws tell us to do they will find other things to do to mark themselves as in rebellion to God. Now with these thoughts in mind let us return to Samson.


In the story of Samson he is marked by his hair to be a devotee of God. He was a Nazarite from birth. His hair was not to be cut all during the time of His connection to God (Numbers 6:1-5; Judges 13:5). As long as he stayed true to this commitment to God then God would use Him in a special way. In spite of all of the foolishness of Samson, very similar to our experiences with God, God still used Samson to fight the battles for Israel to bring them closer to desiring freedom from the Philistines. Finally, Samson told his secret to Delilah and thus to the leadership of the Philistines for she was willing to sell her soul, and Samson’s soul to the Philistines for money. When Samson’s mark was removed by his hair getting cut, he lost his relationship with God and was as weak as any other man. Samson himself was in danger of accepting the mark of surrender to the beast. Yet the Bible says that when Samson was blinded and put to work in the prison house, that he began to “see” his need of a Saviour.


 The Philistines, however, were not interested in the Saviour of the world but put their faith in the god of the Philistines, Dagon, who actually was a type and symbol of Satan. All the things that God had revealed to Israel, and Israel was in turn to reveal to the world, the worship of Dagon rejected. Everything that God told Israel to do, the god of the Philistines told them to do just the opposite. When it came to worship those who followed Dagon would worship on most any other day but Sabbath. When it came to clothing they would reveal what God wanted covered, when it came to food they would eat what God forbade and when it came to sexual issues they practiced every form of fornication forbidden by God in Leviticus 18. Thus they did not practice mercy, compassion, and love for ones neighbor, and they certainly did not practice keeping God’s Sabbaths.


So when the worshippers of Dagon proclaimed that it was Dagon who had given them their enemy Samson, and had defeated the God of Israel they were stepping over the line of mercy and committing the unpardonable sin of not acquiring the forgiveness of the One true God, and they were going to kill God’s anointed – Samson. By doing all of these things they were in essence asking to be identified, marked, sealed, in Dagon while rejecting the true God, the God of Israel, the Creator God. When marked with the marks of the beast, the lust to kill the representatives of God, then they were ripe for destruction for there was not anything else left for God to appeal to in their hearts and minds. When the Philistines took that fateful journey on that day long ago to worship the god of Dagon, and to mock the God of Israel, and to kill His anointed judge Samson, they were accounted as in full apostasy with no way to come back to God. As a result of these decisions they met the same judgment as did Belshazzar many years later in Daniel chapter 5 and what Israel herself did in rejecting Jesus just before Calvary, and what Rome did in persecuting the saints of God and what Babylon will do in Revelation 13-19.


At the height of the worship of Dagon the people wanted to bring in Samson and to mock him and the God who sent him. At the height of their worship God invested Samson with the desire and the power to pull the temple down, and in doing that all of the people in the temple died in their rebellion except Samson for Samson was declared a saint by God in Hebrews 11:32.


Yet even in this catastrophe, God still used it as a warning to all who read the story of Samson. These events, and the events that followed in Israel through Saul, Jonathan, and David there were many people who were convinced that the God of Israel was the one true God. At the sacrifice of the many thousands of people in that pagan temple the message went out to not get the mark of the beast but to get the mark of God. In II Samuel 15:18-22 we have the story of Ittai the Gittite (those who come from Gath of the land of the Philistines) and the 600 families of Philistines who were converts to the true God of Israel.


The story of Samson and the Mark of the Beast is just a mini-story to show us how people fall into error and choose to stay in error. Yet the ever compassionate God wants to warn people to come to Him before it is too late. The story of Samson is full of gracious God revealing issues. These were given to us so that we may learn to find the true God and in turn to warn others of the mistakes that Cain, and all others who followed Cain’s life should learn. A few always profit from the failures of others and praise God there are those who choose God and surrender to Him and follow Him like Ruth (Ruth 1:16) and like Ittai (II Samuel 15:21). This is the warning and the promise of Samson and the Mark of the Beast.