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to render religious reverence and homage to.
the emperor Nero, whose letters add to 666. Nero was the first Roman emperor to persecute the church, and he killed two important apostles in Rome, namely Peter and Paul. So it is likely that John who wrote Revelation meant 666 to represent Nero.
To receive a mark in one's forehead signifies to make an open profession of belonging to that person or party whose mark is said to be received.—A Symbolical Dictionary by Charles DaubuzThe sign of the cross was usually done by the right hand on the body, including the forehead, so it was not on the forehead OR the right hand, it was both, so that could not have been the mark of the beast. Besides, the sign of the cross was done also by many non-Catholic Christians of that time, who were so persecuted by the Catholic Christians.
The mark of the beast is explained in verse 17-18, it is the name of a person, whose number is 666, that according to many Biblical scholars was the number of the emperor Nero. So the mark of the beast was the worship of Nero, and whoever did not want to worship him was not allowed to buy or sell. Nero was the first emperor who persecuted the Christians, killing for example Peter and Paul.