The part of the face above the eyes. One Hebrew expression rendered ‘forehead’ (De 14:1) and the Greek word for “forehead” (meʹto·pon) literally mean “between the eyes.” As a very prominent and readily seen feature of an individual, the forehead was, in ancient times, a place for marking slaves so that all could see to what master they belonged. Also, the devotees of certain pagan gods were thus marked. Even today some follow the practice of putting religious marks on the forehead, so that all others can be aware of their devotion to their religious beliefs.
Mark in the Forehead. Bearing a mark in the “forehead” is similarly used in a figurative way in the Bible to signify that one is a slave to the true God or to another. At Revelation 7:2-4, reference is made to angelic sealing of 144,000 persons in their foreheads. (See SEAL.) In another part of the vision of Revelation, the 144,000 are represented as having the name of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and the name of his Father written on their foreheads. As the bride of the Lamb, they would properly take his name. (Re 14:1; 22:3, 4) Since the Hebrew language is twice mentioned in the book of Revelation (9:11; 16:16) and since the apostle John was a Hebrew, it may have been the sacred Tetragrammaton that was written on the foreheads of the 144,000, identifying them as Jehovah’s servants and witnesses.
As described at Ezekiel 9:3-6, a class of persons are marked in their forehead for protection from destruction by God’s executional forces, not being marked by angels in this instance, nor with a “seal,” but by a man who has “a secretary’s inkhorn.” Pictured as “sighing and groaning over all the detestable things that are being done,” these, when ‘marked,’ show themselves to be slaves and devotees of Jehovah; their actions, practices, and personalities evidently give evidence of this before all, as if written ‘on their foreheads.’
In branding slaves for the world political “wild beast” (see BEASTS, SYMBOLIC [The seven-headed wild beast out of the sea]), a symbolic mark is put on the foreheads or the right hands of persons, even by compulsion, as depicted at Revelation 13:16, 17. Those receiving that mark identify themselves as being against God and are due to receive his anger in undiluted form.—Re 14:9-11; see MARK, II.
Israel’s High Priest. In Israel the high priest’s turban had on its front, over the priest’s forehead, a gold plate, “the holy sign of dedication,” upon which were inscribed “with the engravings of a seal” the words “Holiness belongs to Jehovah.” (Ex 28:36-38; 39:30) As Israel’s chief representative of Jehovah’s worship, it was fitting that the high priest keep his office holy, and this inscription would also serve as a reminder to all Israel of the need of constant holiness in the service of Jehovah. It also served as a suitable picture of the great High Priest, Jesus Christ, and his being dedicated by Jehovah to this priestly service that upholds God’s holiness.—Heb 7:26.
Babylon the Great. Conversely, the symbolic great harlot has the name “Babylon the Great” on her forehead. Ancient Babylon long represented that which was unholy and in opposition to God.—Re 17:1-6; see BABYLON THE GREAT.
Other Uses of Term. Another figurative use of the word “forehead” is found at Isaiah 48:4, where Jehovah stated that Israel’s forehead was copper, evidently because her stubbornness and rebelliousness were so great. At Jeremiah 3:3, the brazen and shameless apostasy of unfaithful Jerusalem is metaphorically described as “the forehead of a wife committing prostitution.” Also, at Ezekiel 3:7-9, God told Ezekiel, who prophesied to hardheaded (literally, “strong of forehead”), hardhearted Israelites, that he had made the prophet’s forehead “like a diamond,” in that he had given him the resolution, determination, and boldness to deliver God’s message to them.
When King Uzziah presumptuously and illegally usurped a priest’s duties in attempting to offer incense upon the altar of incense in the temple of Jehovah, his sin and Jehovah’s judgment were plainly and immediately made manifest by leprosy flashing up in his forehead.—2Ch 26:16, 19, 20.