How do you interpret “the mark”? Literally only, symbolic only or both?
I know that a mark is put upon the righteous in Ezekiel and it’s a spiritual distinction for God and the angels.
So how do you reckon this with what appears to be a physical mark in Revelation?
I think both. The language of prohibition from the normal activities of commercial exchange sounds very literal to me. But compliance with the mark is a statement of an already existing condition that is only then being manifested, namely, total and irreversible spiritual reprobation. The outward mark becomes the sign and seal of an irreversible threshold that has already been crossed.
The mark is irreversible only because those that take it show that they have already passed into an irreversible union with the spirit of Satan. The scriptures speaks of those that are “past feeling”, having grieved the Spirit to the point of no return.
There’s a mysterious threshold here that we see again at the end of the millennium. I have reason to infer that the false church, in its steadfast resistance to the last prophetic testimony, will not be able to repent after a certain point (I think the middle of the week), so that while a multitude that no one can number is being saved all throughout “the tribulation, the great one” (Mt 24:21; Rev 7:14), the false professing church of apostate Christendom will have passed into final reprobation and may become some of the most rabid persecutors and treacherous betrayers of the true church.
It is a day of exposure and manifestation of things formerly covered and difficult to distinguish, but nothing that was not already the hidden condition of the heart, waiting only to be provoked for the sake of final manifestation. If I am correct in my inference, these sobering prospects make it all the more urgent that comfortable Christians, conditioned more by the culture than the cross, take pains to examine themselves to see whether they are truly “in the faith”, and to “take diligence” (“strive”) to make their calling and election sure, lest that hour of ultimate testing come on them as a thief.