In the previous two articles analyzing the Second Beast of Revelation 13 (“Buying and Selling of the Second Beast” and “Simon Magus – The Man Behind the Mark”) we examined the idea taught in the gospel parables and the writings of St. Seraphim of Sarov that the buying and selling associated with the mark has much more to do with the acquisition of the Holy Spirit, and not so much to do with the physical forced purchases of the 666 number through some sort of credit card, chip ID or vaccine. Furthermore, the abuse of this acquisition and withholding and delaying the “sealing of the gifts of the Holy Spirit” can be identified historically and correlated with the rise of Papal Supremacy within the church in the Middle Ages. These claims of supremacy were accomplished through the magical and simoniacal use of forged documents like the Donation of Constantine, Donation of Pepin and the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals. The Papacy therefore was guilty of using Simony (attributed to Simon Magus, the “man behind the mark”) to rise to power with two horns of authority “like a Lamb” to rule over the Western Roman Church both temporally (politically) and religiously.
In this article, we will examine some of the physical attributes and identification of the “mark” of Simony. The “mark” in a spiritual sense identifies the “Lateinos” 666 calculation (spoken of by Irenaeus and Hippolytus). That is, the visible mark helps to identify the lamb-like two-horned beast coming in the name of Christ (the “lamb of God”) as some sort of Latin leader or Roman ruler – “Lateinos”. The application of the spiritual mark we can of course identify with physical acts of simony like the sale of indulgences which gullible westerners used as a fast track to salvation to bypass Purgatory, or priests who were paying sums of money in order to obtain a bishops position within the church. But, perhaps, there also must be a physical identifier of those who were willing participants to follow the Lateinos, even though other God-fearing Christians were forced to submit to the Lateinos Beast due to circumstances beyond their control. How do we identify such a mark? Well, for one, St. John the Theologian, the author of the Apocalypse, more often than not used symbols and stories from the Old and New Testaments to encode the meanings of the prophecies through obscure and difficult-to-interpret symbols. And we find this is definitely the case for the mark of the beast. We will see that the nature of the mark, that is the symbolic representation of it, is most definitely taught to use elsewhere in the scriptures. And therefore, the previous related scriptures must be applied to the text of Revelation 13 in order to properly understand the application and identification of the visible mark. Most likely, if these scriptures are not considered, then the interpreter will most likely be off the mark with their analysis of Revelation 13. And this is most often the case today with many of the so-called imported Protestant Dispensationalist interpretations being promoted today within Orthodoxy. Especially now more than ever with the association of the mark of the beast with the Covid-19 vaccine. However, the true nature of the mark is revealed to us in the Book of Ezekiel in Chapter 9, and we will examine the relevant verses in that chapter. The practical application of this mark or symbol is once again reused in Revelation Chapters 7 and 14 for those “144,000” who were to receive the mark of Christ and the Seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit on their foreheads. Therefore, the application of this symbol of Ezekiel 9 will help us identify its reuse once again in Revelation 13 as a sort of “anti-mark” by the Apparent Lamb, instead of the True Mark by the Real Lamb standing on Mount Zion with the “144,000.”
Ezekiel 9 – The Man Clothed in Linen
In the introduction to Ezekiel chapter 9 we read the following concerning the marking on the foreheads. This is the only other place in the bible where we have such a clear analogy to the marking on the foreheads in Revelation:
“He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
Who is this mysterious “man clothed in linen” who is called to “set a mark upon the foreheads of men” and therefore mark the righteous ones? Is this the same man we also read in Daniel? Notice that the man clothed in linen who had the writer’s inkhorn is ready to mark those who cry out against these abominations. To identify the man dressed in fine linen we must look to the prophet Daniel:
“Then I lifted up Mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz. His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.” – Daniel 10:5-6
We also can identify this same man appeared to John with his visions on the Isle of Patmos. In Revelation Chapter 1 we have a very similar description of this son of man clothed in a garment as is described in Daniel 10:
“And in the midst of the seven candlesticks, one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shineth in His strength – Revelation 1:13-16
This is the same person that Daniel saw in a vision, and it is the same man Ezekiel saw in his vision. This man clothed in linen is the Son of Man and Preincarnate Logos, the Lamb standing on Mt Zion, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Daniel sees the same man again in his vision of Chapter 12.
“Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when He held up His right hand and His left hand unto heaven, and sware by Him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when He shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O My Lord, What shall be the end of these things?” – Daniel 12:5 – 8
In Revelation 19, we also find that the fine linen is the “righteousness of the saints”– Revelation 19:8 and that the “armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean” – Revelation 19:14.
Now let’s go back again to the key passage in Ezekiel 9 and what was requested of the man clothed in linen who had the writer’s inkhorn by His side:
“And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” Ezekiel 9:4
This command to mark and protect those in Jerusalem strongly parallels the marking of those in Israel in Revelation chapter 7. The command is to mark these chosen Christian servants with the seal of Christ similar to the man clothed in Linen.
“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. – Revelation 7:1-4
The political tranquility and peace of the Roman empire was crucial for the preaching and the teaching of the Gospel; and so the four angels of God held back the four winds and prevented them from tossing and stirring up the barbarian (“sea”) tribes against the Roman world (“earth”) or the ambition of the mighty trees and the great men until after the divine and saving work at the dissemination of the Gospel had been completed and the worthy had secured salvation. The seal on the forehead is the idea and the knowledge of God and of Christ, where the Christian is distinguished from others. This idea the angels impress invisibly upon the minds of those who believe and are baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. This very idea, David, the prophet, calls a mark of the divine light, saying: “The light of thy face has made a mark upon us.”
We get further proof on the identity of the man clothed in linen of Ezekiel to be Christ Himself in Revelation Chapter 14, as Jesus is the True Lamb standing on Mt. Zion, as opposed to the false lamb of Revelation 13, who also writes the names of the Son and the Father upon the foreheads.
Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads – Revelation 14:1
This name of the Father, and Son and Holy Spirit we write on our foreheads through the process of crossing ourselves. The proclamation of the father when we touch our foreheads. The proclamation of Christ with the physical marking of the cross upon ourselves. And the seal on the forehead of Christians is accomplished by the “seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit” through the Sacrament of Chrismation. This sealing is typically represented with the marking of the SIGN OF THE CROSS with holy oil upon the foreheads of Orthodox Christians when they are baptized or chrismated. This practice has continued since the days of the early church. Man in this world is born, nourished, and grows up and then attains perfection by being sealed with the seal of God. Our goal in life is the continuous acquisition of the Holy Spirit sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit and the Sign of the Cross upon our foreheads. This sealing act of Chrismation through the Seal of the “Sign of the Cross” closely parallels the actual mark and sign used in Ezekiel 9, as the ancient symbol for “mark” was also a “tau” symbol. At the time of Ezekiel, this mark of the “tau” letter was made in the shape of a cross. It was a prefigurement for the Sign of the Cross on the foreheads of the men! So there is a direct link of the act of Chrismation in Revelation chapter 7 with the Sign or Mark on the foreheads of Ezekiel. This is critical to understanding the nature of the mark in revelation 13.
Many biblical commentators like St. Jerome have concluded that the mark was cross-shaped. St. Jerome says the mark was shaped like the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet, which, in its earliest forms had a cross-like shape.
Tertullian (c. 160-225) also identifies the Tau (or “mark” and “sign”) with the Cross:
Premising, therefore, and likewise subjoining the fact that Christ suffered, He foretold that His just ones should suffer equally with Him–both the apostles and all the faithful in succession; and He signed them with that very seal of which Ezekiel spake: “The Lord said unto me, Go through the gate, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set the mark Tau upon the foreheads of the men.” Now the Greek letter Tau and our own letter T is the very form of the cross, which He predicted would be the sign on our foreheads in the true Catholic Jerusalem, in which, according to the twenty-first Psalm, the brethren of Christ or children of God would ascribe glory to God the Father, in the person of Christ Himself addressing His Father; “I will declare Thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the congregation will I sing praise unto Thee.” For that which had to come to pass in our day in His name, and by His Spirit, He rightly foretold would be of Him – (Tertullian, Five Books Against Marcion, Book III).
Tertullian also wrote:
“We Christians wear out our foreheads with the sign of the cross.”
Thus, the Sign of the Cross is indeed a distinctly practice of the Church in both the East and the West, deeply rooted in the Old Testament.
The Sign of the Cross From Ancient Times in the Eastern Churches
Th ancient gesture of using two or three fingers was implemented, and still in use today in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The tips of the first three fingers (the thumb, index, and middle ones) are brought together, and the last two (the “ring” and little fingers) are pressed against the palm. The first three fingers express one’s faith in the Trinity, while the remaining two fingers represent the two natures of Jesus, divine and human.
Athanasius of Alexandria (269–373 A.D.)
By the signing of the holy and life-giving cross, devils and various scourges are driven away. For it is without price and without cost and praises him who can say it. The holy fathers have, by their words, transmitted to us, and even to the unbelieving heretics, how the two raised fingers and the single hand reveal Christ our God in His dual nature but single substance. The right hand proclaims His immeasurable strength, His sitting on the right hand of the Father, and His coming down unto us from Heaven. Again, by the movement of the hands to our right the enemies of God will be driven out, as the Lord triumphs over the Devil with His inconquerable power, rendering him dismal and weak.
Theodoret (393–457) gave the following instructions to make the Sign of the Cross:
This is how to bless someone with your hand and make the sign of the cross over them. Hold three fingers, as equals, together, to represent the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. These are not three gods, but one God in Trinity. The names are separate, but the divinity one. The Father was never incarnate; the Son incarnate, but not created; the Holy Ghost neither incarnate nor created, but issued from the Godhead: three in a single divinity. Divinity is one force and has one honor. They receive on obeisance from all creation, both angels and people. Thus the decree for these three fingers. You should hold the other two fingers slightly bent, not completely straight. This is because these represent the dual nature of Christ, divine and human. God in His divinity, and human in His incarnation, yet perfect in both. The upper finger represents divinity, and the lower humanity; this way salvation goes from the higher finger to the lower. So is the bending of the fingers interpreted, for the worship of Heaven comes down for our salvation. This is how you must cross yourselves and give a blessing, as the holy fathers have commanded
Pope Innocent III (1198–1216) explained:
“The sign of the cross is made with three fingers, because the signing is done together with the invocation of the Trinity. (…)This is how it is done: from above to below, and from the right to the left, because Christ descended from the heavens to the earth.
However, soon after this practice of making the sign of the cross in the West began to change.
The “Mark” of Revelation 13 Identifying the Lateinos Beast
In Revelation 13, we read the following related to the “mark” on the “forehead”
“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. 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.” – Revelation 13:15-16
Recall in our previous article we identified the Papacy as the “Lamb-like Beast” or Apparent Lamb (since the Rev. 13 phrase “like a lamb” = “Vicar of Christ” with two horns of power – temporal/religious) and “mark of the beast” the submission to it was through acts of simony (i.e. indulgences, buying and selling ecclesiastical offices, sale/trafficking of relics), that is the selling of the “gifts of the holy spirit” for salvation. The man behind the calculation of the 666 mark was Simon Magus, who traveled to Rome to confront Peter in front of Nero (another 666 identification). The mental submission is thus recognizing the Papacy as the head of the Church required for salvation. This fact was proudly expressed in writing during the thirteenth century by Pope Boniface to King Philip of France. His letter to the king said verbatim: “We state and proclaim that the belief that every human creature is subject to the Pope of Rome is necessary for future bliss.”
So the question remains. Is there a possible link of Ezekiel 9:4 and the Tau symbol, or “Sign of the Cross to Revelation 13:15-16? Is the calculation and observance of the 666 “Lateinos” related in some way to the Sign of the Cross, to distinguish the followers of the Lateinos compared to the followers of Revelation 7 who have the chrismated seal on their foreheads in the Church? What are the visible characteristics of the SEAL of the Lateinos followers compared to others today? Is the “Sign” of the Lateinos visibly different? Is it related in some way to Ezekiel 9:4?
Father Inok Vsevolod (Filipiev) is on the mark with identifying the anti-mark to the True Cross:
“In a spiritual sense, this satanic mystery – the imprinting of the mark of Antichrist – will be the antithesis of the Christian Mystery of Chrismation, which, we recall, is the placing of the seal of the Holy Spirit, while imitating its external form. Just as in the Mystery of Chrismation, the priest anoints the newly-illumined on the forehead and hands, so, too, in the placing of the mark of Antichrist, his servants may well anoint people with some kind of “sacred” oil, which will symbolize the voluntary acceptance of Antichrist and his religion.” – From the Orthodoxinfo article: Count the Number of the Beast: 666
There are many notable signs of the changes to the Sign of the Cross and sacrament of Chrismation (i.e. “Seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit”) in the Lateinos West:
- Sometime in the 13th to 14th century the Roman Catholic West changed the formation of the Sign of the Cross to the open hand and moving from left to right. The newer modification of the Sign of the Cross would now use five open fingers. This is the most common method by Western Christians today.
- The Roman Catholic West also employs the “Small Sign of the Cross” (+), using only the thumb. The priest or deacon, while announcing the Gospel text, “makes the Sign of the Cross on the book and on his forehead, lips, and breast.
- The pattern of these larger or smaller signs of the cross performed THREE times from the perspective of the observer the shape of three repeating patters of 6. “6 6 6”
- In the Roman or Latin Rite Church it is customary to make the full Sign of the Cross using the RIGHT HAND dipped in holy water when entering a church. The first three fingers of the right hand are dipped into the font containing the holy water and the Sign of the Cross is made on oneself.
- The practice of Ash Wednesday in the Latin West began after the Great Schism and dates back to the 11th Century. The ashes are marked in the shape of the sign of the cross on the foreheads of Catholics. This is very much identical to the very act of Ezekiel 9:4 and identifies the difference between the Orthodox East with the practice of Chrismation and Holy Unction and the Western Churches, both Catholics and some Protestant churches. Since the Middle Ages after the rise of the Papacy from the time of the Donation of Pepin and Donation of Constantine, the Lateinos Church has used ashes to mark the beginning of the penitential season of Lent with a sign of the visible cross on the foreheads.
- And lastly, the Papacy forced upon the Western Church the alteration of Nicene Creed with the addition of the Filioque (See “History of the filioque controversy“). The alteration of procession of the Holy Spirit was made to the completed Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed to proceed from also the Son at which point the Papacy, as the Vicar of Christ, would use this alteration to also claim the absolute dispensing the power of the Holy Spirt upon the entire universal church. That is, the Rev. 13 “buying and selling” of the acquisition of the Holy Spirit was such that the Papacy had the power to control, grant and withhold the procession of this power due to the claim of being the representative of Christ before men (i.e. “like a lamb” – Rev 13-11). The alteration of the Nicene Creed, forbidden by the Ecumenical Councils, was forced upon the entire Western Church, those small and great, rich and poor, free or slave, to the dismay and resistance of the Eastern Churches. This act would lead to the Great Schism, at which point the West was left to divide and conquer itself through the Protestant Reformation. What began with Simon Magus in his quest to secure the power of the Holy Spirit through Peter was completed in the act of the Filioque with the successors of the very same Simon Magus of Rome.
Thus we come to the conclusion that the Lateinos Mark of Simony is closely identified with a modified visible mark of Ezekiel 9:4. The text of Revelation 13, according to the Historicist hermeneutic, leave no ambiguity as to the identity of the Papal Beast, the Second Beast of Revelation 13 who arose upon the ashes of the Sixth Trumpet and Fall of Rome. With the restraining force out of the way, the Papacy was able to forge its way to power through false documents and decretals. The practice of simony allowed it to secure its domination over the laity in the church, and this power was to control the salvation and acquisition of the holy spirit which St. Seraphim of Sarov spoke of. The “rich man” and poor “Lazarus” were both able to purchase the cost of escape of purgatory through the sale of indulgences. The “small and great” priests and bishops were able to buy their way into becoming bishops or cardinals. Nepotism by the Papacy, forced celibacy of priests, acquisition and sale of stolen relics, delaying first communions to be performed only by bishops, these were all tools to control the “buying and selling” of the Holy Spirit and salvation within the church, and demand everyone to “make an image to the beast“, or cause those such that “that every human creature is subject to the Pope of Rome is necessary for future bliss.”
The “mark of the foreheads” of those in Revelation chapters 7 and 14 and Revelation chapter 13 MUST BE associated with the sign of the cross and the “tau” mark. St. John the Theologian reapplies and builds upon the mysterious “tau” or mark symbol of Ezekiel 9:4 to help identify the act of “sealing of the foreheads” through the sacrament of Chrismation upon those who would disseminate the Gospel throughout the Roman Empire and the world. And later in the Apocalypse, once again the “tau” symbol is used by John to identify the followers of the Papal Beast who practiced simony and purchased indulgences through illegitimates means. The Filioque addition to the Creed is another identification of those who would be ‘marked’ mentally by the Lateinos Beast with their statement of faith of Christianity. The forced ‘selling’ and ‘marking’ of the dispensing and procession of the Holy Spirit “through the Son” and “vicar of the son of God” expressed in the forged Donation of Constantine, enabled the rise of political influence and enormous wealth of the Papacy. The very root cause of this forced mark was through the power of simony, accomplished through simoniacal selling of ecclesiastical titles, sales of Papal Indulgences, abuse and trafficking of holy relics, and forced celibacy. In addition, the separation of infant baptism, chrismation and the delaying of partaking in the Eucharist through the act of Confirmation at a later age was another attempt by the Papacy to control the dispensing of the Holy Spirit through the Lateinos Beast. That is, according to the Roman Church, the delayed service of confirmation not to infants but to older youth celebrates the “fullness of the Holy Spirit in the life of the person in the Church” at a later age and thus another tool used to withhold and control the free acquisition of the Holy Spirit which was traditionally given with infant Baptism even in the early church of the West.
Finally, a stern warning is given shortly after the description of the Lateinos beast in the very next chapter, specifically for those Christians who attempted to cheated and paid their way to salvation and escape Purgatory at any price, like the unfaithful husband who paid his indulgence for his sins and continued to commit adultery. And for those who performed acts of simony, or “buying and selling” for their salvation so they can use the church for their financial benefit and personal gain, what is their fate? We read the following in Revelation chapter 14 for those accepting the simoniacal mark in honor of Simon Magus:
“A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus. – Revelation 14:9-12
Based on the biblical and historic evidence, we can assert that if your interpretation of the SECOND BEAST of Revelation 13 and the 666 mark on the forehead, and “buying and selling” is not in any way associated with the “tau” or SIGN OF THE CROSS as revealed in Ezekiel 9:4, then perhaps your interpretation is “off the mark”. This certainly appears to be the case with many of the futurist “Hal Lindsey” type Orthodox commentaries from certain (often schismatic) bishops and monastics promoting the idea that the vaccine is the mark or precursor to the mark. There is no scripture that teaches such a precursor to the mark. Those fear mongers are simply leading the church into a darker period of deception, uncertainty and chaos. Revelation 16 teaches us that the apostacy is coming to a climax through the influence of the three croaking frogs and “insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matthew 24:24). That is, even some of the Orthodox leaders of our day of the obscured Sun are in danger of being led astray with strange Protestant Dispensationalist teachings and fail to adequately recognize the signs of the times. Jesus warned us about this in the Olivet Discourse.
However, we are finally nearing the end of the days of the apostacy, the end of the darkening of the sun and moon, and the falling stars of the church. We now find ourselves at about the end of the one thousand two hundred and sixty “days” or years of the abominable spiritual desolation, when the Orthodox Christians will soon be called to shake off the moral slavery of Babylon and make ready to welcome the approaching Kingdom of God in the New Jerusalem and that once Great City. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
© 2021 by Jonathan Photius