The Hebrew word for “forehead” is mesah, to “shine.”
It was the social practice for women of high character to veil the face in public. For this reason, Rebekah took a veil and covered herself when she saw Isaac coming her way. “And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. 65 For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself” (Gen. 24:64, 65).
An unveiled face suggested a woman of bad moral character. It was called a “whore’s forehead.” “Therefore, the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed” (Jer. 3:3).
The forehead could be stylishly ornated with jewels, though the mentioned of this in Scripture more likely referred to a nose ring. “And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head” (Ezek. 16:12).
When the nation of Israel became disobedient to the known will of God, the Lord called the people “impudent” or “stubborn” (lit. “of a hard forehead). “But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted. 8 Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads” (Ezekiel 3:7, 8).
When a religious person in an oriental nation wanted to display their religious zeal and devotion, they would color their face or make a mark, or place a tattoo on their body. The apostle Paul said of himself, “From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus” (Gal. 6:17).
The marks of Paul were not in the form of a ceremonial religious mark, nor a tattoo but the marks of physical suffering for righteousness sake. “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? 30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities” (2 Cor. 11:21-30).
The prophet Ezekiel was commanded to place a mark on the forehead of those in Israel who sincerely repented of all the abominations in the land. “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).
Bible scholar Merrill Unger notes that the Hebrew letter “t”, made in the form of a cross, would be placed upon the forehead of those who lamented the sins of Israel and pleaded to be spared.
“Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads” (Rev. 7:3).
“And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads” (Rev. 9:4).
“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads” (Rev. 14:1).
“And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads” (Rev. 22:4).
Those who are faithful to Christ shall rule and reign with Him.
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4).
Because he is deceitful, and a counterfeiter, Satan marks those who belong to him. “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: 17 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” (Rev. 13:16, 17).
The consideration for every person is this. “Whose mark do you bear?” “Do you bear the mark of God?” Or, “Do you bear the mark of the Beast?” “Is your life characterized by love, joy, peace, and righteousness?” Or, “Is your life characterized by self-interest, and a desire to fulfill the lusts of the flesh?” “Who has marked your forehead?”
“Heavenly Father, I want to be marked by you. I want to be the world to know that I belong to you, by divine design, and by my own personal choice made possible by way of the new birth, having been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Please set your visible seal upon my life so that others may see Christ living in me. Amen.”