Revelations 16:2 and 19:20 in the Bible speak of the Mark of the beast as a sign taken by those who worship the beast out of the sea. This beast is identified as the antichrist and the mark was first mentioned in Rev 13:16-17, where humanity is imprinted with the mark by the beast.
The vision of John
John sees a beast rising out of the sea, that is summoned by the dragon on the seashore (Rev 12:17). The sea has always been traditionally a place of chaos, and evil for the Hebrews. In Daniel 7:3, Daniel sees “four great beasts . . . out of the sea.” The beasts in Daniel represent great empires and a great empire that could be the Roman empire. The kingdom rising out of the sea is not a humane or supportive administration but is a ravaging and ferocious beast that preys on its citizens.
The beast is probably the fourth beast seen by Daniel (Dan. 7:7, 19, 23). This beast in Revelation has extraordinary power, as it has 10 horns, with ten diadems (Rev. 17:12; Dan. 7:20, 24) a symbol of ruling authority on its horns. It’s got 7 heads, that signify its authority and power. The dragon had 7 heads and 10 horns (Rev. 12:3), and he’s given all authority to the beast. The 7 heads bear blasphemous names which are Roman claims to the Godhead such as “Lord,” “son of God,” and “Savior”, revealing the divine pretensions of the beast.
The appearance of the beast
The beast coming out of the sea is described to look like a leopard, with feet like a bear’s and a mouth like a lion’s. In Daniel’s vision of the four beasts, the first (Babylon) looked like a lion with eagles’ wings (Dan. 7:4). The second (Medio-Persia) was like a bear (Dan. 7:5), and the third (probably Greece) was like a leopard (Dan. 7:6). John notices that these beasts are consummated in Daniel’s fourth beast, which is the beast he describes here (probably Rome; Dan. 7:7, 19, 23). This beast is not independent but derives its rulership from the dragon.
The blasphemy of the beast
The beast is full of himself, uttering blasphemous words against God, just like dictators and evil rulers like Antiochus IV Epiphanes did in his day. This man of lawlessness, who exalts himself as divine (2 Thess. 2:3–4) will be allowed to exercise his authority for forty-two months or three and a half years before Jesus returns. The dragon is worshiped for giving authority to the beast and the beast is worshiped because of his resurrection. He is considered incomparable like God (Ps. 89:7). People worship the beast imaging he cannot be resisted or overcome.
Mark of the beast
The second beast enforces the power of the first through economic discrimination. No one will be able to buy or sell unless he has a mark upon the forehead or hand to signify devotion to the beast. The number signifies the name of the beast that will be imprinted in some fashion on the foreheads and hands of the people, just as the seal on the foreheads of the 144,000.
The kingdom of the beast is a human kingdom and an evil kingdom, which chooses to destroy human beings unlike the kingdom of God which is a divine one and holy one.