Is Ash Wednesday the Mark of the Beast?

Every year on Ash Wednesday, devoted Catholics go to their church and have ash put on their forehead in the shape of a cross. Some argue that this ash on their head imitates what the Bible calls the dreaded and mysterious Mark of the Beast. Is this true? That’s what you’re going to find out as we answer the question, “Is Ash Wednesday the Mark of the Beast?”

Is Ash Wednesday the Mark of the Beast?
Is Ash Wednesday the Mark of the Beast?

What is Ash Wednesday?

Ash Wednesday is a Christian holy day of prayer, fasting, and repentance. It marks the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period of preparation leading up to Easter Sunday. Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of believers as a sign of mortality and repentance.

The ashes used on Ash Wednesday are typically made by burning palm branches blessed on the previous year’s Palm Sunday. During Ash Wednesday services, a priest or minister will mark the foreheads of worshippers with ashes in the shape of a cross while saying, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” or “Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

The ashes serve as a reminder of human mortality, the need for repentance, and the importance of spiritual renewal during the Lenten season. Many Christians observe fasting, prayer, and acts of self-denial during Lent as a way to prepare themselves spiritually for the celebration of Easter, which commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

What is the Mark of the Beast?

The “Mark of the Beast” is a concept mentioned in the Book of Revelation in the Bible, specifically in Revelation 13:16-18. It’s described as a mark that will be given to people by the Antichrist or the beast, who is an evil figure representing opposition to God and Christ. The mark is said to be placed on the right hand or forehead of individuals, and it’s associated with worshiping the beast and his image.

Is the ash on the foreheads during Ash Wednesday the Mark of the Beast?

Now that we have a quick overview of Ash Wednesday and Mark of the Beast, it’s time to answer our core question.

To give you a quick answer — the answer is NO. The cross ashes you see on people’s foreheads during Ash Wednesday is not the Mark of the Beast. HOWEVER, there are dire warnings that I should give you in this article.

So, let’s discuss deeper.

Why do some people believe the ash on the forehead is the Mark of the Beast?

The main verse people quote to prove that Ash Wednesday is related to the Mark of the Beast is found in Revelation 13:16-17, where we read:

He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Revelation 13:16-17

At first glance, this verse could suggest that Ash Wednesday does serve as a prototype of the Mark of the Beast. However, we should realize that it is not only on Ash Wednesday that we see in the Bible that something is written or put on their forehead.

Let’s continue our discussion.

Why is Ash Wednesday not the Mark of the Beast?

The ash on the foreheads of Catholics on Ash Wednesday is not the mark of the beast because of the following reasons:

cross on the forehead with the use of ash during ash Wednesday

1. The Mark of the Beast refers to the name of the beast

If you read the whole context of Revelation 13, you’ll notice what this mark is:

 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

Revelation 13:16-18

So, we can see here that the mark of the Beast could be the NAME or NUMBER of the Beast. What we see on the foreheads of the Catholics isn’t the name or number of the beast.

Of course, we can’t dismiss the possibility that the “mark” is the cross on the foreheads. But we will talk more about this later.

2. Marking the head is not just limited to the mark of the beast

The mark of the beast, as described in the Book of Revelation, is often associated with a symbol placed on the forehead. However, not all markings on the forehead necessarily signify this prophesied mark. Why is this? Because the mark on the forehead carries dual significance—it can symbolize both a curse and total obedience to God’s law.

IDF soldier put on tefillin as a symbol of Judaism

In the Old Testament, there’s a precedent for marks on the forehead representing adherence to God’s commandments. One example of this is found in Deuteronomy 6:6-9:

6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. 

You can also read the same thought in Deuteronomy 11:18:

18 “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes

Thus, you see Jews today wear what they call Tefillin (תפילין), which are small boxes containing biblical texts on their hands and foreheads.

Deuteronomy 6:6,8 and 11:18 emphasize the importance of inscribing God’s commandments on one’s heart and teaching them to future generations. The text suggests tying symbols of God’s law on one’s hands and binding them on foreheads, indicating a visible expression of commitment.

Moreover, the mark on the forehead can symbolize service to the Lord. In Exodus 28:36-38, we read:

36 “You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet:


37 And you shall put it on a blue cord, that it may be on the turban; it shall be on the front of the turban. 38 So it shall be on Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.

As we can read here,  a golden plate engraved with the words “holy to the Lord” is attached to the turban worn by Aaron, symbolizing his consecration to God’s service. This mark represents Aaron’s role in bearing the guilt of the Israelites’ sacred gifts, ensuring their acceptability to the Lord.

While the mark of the beast in Revelation signifies allegiance to evil forces, not all marks on the forehead bear this meaning. Some marks can denote faithful obedience to God’s law and service to Him, as seen in Old Testament scripture.

In the end time, the people of God will also receive a mark on their foreheads as opposed to the mark of the beast:

Saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”

Revelation 7:3

3. The Mark of the Beast could be literal or symbolic

a man with a cross on the head written with ash while a beast is at the background.

The Bible is not completely clear what this mark would be. Perhaps, the most important fact that we should realize is that it can also be a symbolic or figurative mark.

But one thing is for sure: the mark of the beast is a mark of disobedience and rebellion to God. The mark of the beast signifies allegiance to the beast as one’s lord and master, forsaking God. Those bearing this mark have prioritized loyalty to the beast over devotion to God.

In Revelation 13, those who receive the mark of the beast are portrayed as being deceived by the beast. They accept the mark to evade persecution or death, driven by a love for self and a desire for wealth within the beast’s economic and political system.

The placement of the mark on the right hand or forehead holds symbolic significance. The right hand, representing strength and dominance, suggests that actions align with the beast’s will and commandments.

Similarly, the forehead, associated with intellect and thought, implies that those marked in this manner have adopted the mindset of the beast. Instead of filling their minds with God’s teachings, they embrace the ideologies of the beast, influenced by the principles of Satan.

Having the mark on both forehead and hand indicates complete submission to the beast’s rule, where both thoughts and actions are dictated by the beast’s ideology or conform to Satan’s way of life and thinking.

Is the cross the mark of God?

Now, we come to an important question we all should not ignore when talking about Ash Wednesday. Is the cross the mark of God?

Some argue that the mark of God’s people mentioned in the Bible is actually the cross ash, which is FALSE and diabolically deceptive.

crucifixion of jesus christ

These people use Ezekiel 9:3-4 as proof. Let’s read:

3 Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side; 4 and the LORD said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.”

If you look into the Hebrew word for mark here, it is Tav, which is the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet. They claim that the earliest way of writing Tav or Tau is x or t-shaped cross. If this is true, you can’t simply conclude that the mark Ezekiel mentioned here is the x or t-shaped cross because the mark could be anything that serves as a mark!

Not only that, but the cross is actually a KNOWN pagan religious symbol throughout Europe and Asia. Moreover, the letter T is the initial name of Tammuz, which is a Babylonian God. In fact, about 300 years after the death of Jesus Christ (Yahshua), Christians don’t use the cross as a symbol of their religion. It was only later adopted when the corrupt church started to meld together Christianity and paganism.

Moreover, scholars agree that we don’t know the shape of Christ’s torture apparatus since the Romans used different types of upright beams to crucify their victims.

Why we should not use the cross as a sign of Christianity

If you check the Greek word of the term “cross” in the Bible, it is actually “stauros.” It denotes the upright or stake portion of an execution instrument, prevalent across various historical contexts. The configuration of this instrument varied; sometimes, it featured a crosspiece, while in other instances, it did not.

Yes, it is true that the death of our Savior holds a profound meaning and significance to us. However, viewing the cross as an object of worship or should serve as a symbol of our faith can be misleading. Do you know why? For the following reasons:

  1. It is an instrument of torture.
  2. We don’t know exactly what the cross used in Christ’s crucifixion actually looks like.
  3. The cross is a pagan symbol used in abominable religious rites.

Recognizing the cross’s original purpose underscores the inappropriateness of adorning it as religious adornment or venerating it. Rather than glorifying the instrument of Christ’s suffering, Christians should focus on the spiritual significance of His sacrifice and teachings.

What is the Mark of God?

So far, we have discussed the mark of the beast is not the cross on people’s forehead during Ash Wednesday. We have also discussed that we should not use the cross as a symbol of our faith.

How to pray psalm 35

Now, if the cross is not God’s mark, then what is it? We read in Revelation 14:1:

1 Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads

Now, again this can be literal or figurative. However, this one thing is sure. The mark or seal of God is definitely NOT the cross. This passage tells us that it is God’s TRUE name, which I believe is Yahweh.

Should you keep Ash Wednesday?

If you’re going to live by the Word of God, it is clear that Christians should NOT keep Ash Wednesday. The Bible doesn’t command it rather it’s a humanly devised tradition. Not only that but the symbolism and origin of the cross are questionable.

Instead, Christians should obey the commands of God to not mix paganism with true worship (Deuteronomy 12:30). We should follow the instruction of Christ to worship God in spirit and in TRUTH (John 4:24).

With that, I hope I have given you a deep and easy-to-understand explanation of the relationship with Ash Wednesday and the Mark of the Beast.

How about you? What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!

Joshua Infantado Author's Bio Image

About the Author

Joshua Infantado is the founder of the Becoming Christians website and the Becoming Christians Academy, an online course. Since 2013, he has been writing Christian articles, and he launched his own YouTube channel. Joshua is deeply passionate about sharing the Word of God and supporting people in their Christian journey.

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