Revelation 13
1
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
2
And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
3
And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
4
And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
5
And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
6
And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
7
And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
8
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
9
If any man have an ear, let him hear.
10
He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
11
And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
12
And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
13
And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
14
And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
15
And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16
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.
18
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.


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Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Revelation
Book: Revelation
Chapter: 13

Overview:
A wild Beast rises out of The Sea, to whom the Dragon gives
his power. (1-10) Another Beast, which has two horns like a
Lamb, but speaks as a Dragon. (11-15) It obliges all to Worship
its image, and receive its Mark, as persons devoted to it.
(16-18)

1-10 The Apostle, standing On the shore, saw a savage Beast
rise out of The Sea; a tyrannical, idolatrous, persecuting
power, springing up out of the troubles which took place. It was
a frightful monster! It appears to mean that worldly, oppressing
dominion, which for many ages, even from the times of the
Babylonish Captivity, had been hostile to the Church. The first
Beast then began to oppress and persecute the righteous for
Righteousness' sake, but they suffered most under the fourth
Beast of Daniel, (the Roman empire,) which has afflicted the
saints with many cruel persecutions. The source of its power was
the Dragon. It was set up By the Devil, and supported By him.
The wounding the head may be the abolishing pagan Idolatry; and
the healing of the wound, introducing popish Idolatry, the same
in substance, only in a new Dress, but which as effectually
answers the Devil's design. The world admired its power, policy
and success. They paid honour and subjection to the Devil and
his instruments. It exercised infernal power and policy,
requiring men to render that honour to creatures which belongs
to God alone. Yet the Devil's power and success are limited.
Christ has a Chosen remnant, redeemed By his Blood, recorded in
his Book, sealed By his Spirit; and though the Devil and
Antichrist may overcome the body, and take away the natural
Life, they cannot conquer the soul, nor prevail with true
believers to forsake their Saviour, and join his enemies.
Perseverance in the Faith of the Gospel and true Worship of God,
in this great Hour of trial and Temptation, which would deceive
all but the elect, is the character of those registered in the
Book of Life. This powerful motive and encouragement to
constancy, is the great design of the whole Revelation.

11-18 Those who understand the first Beast to denote a worldly
power, take the second to be also a persecuting and assumed
power, which Acts under the disguise of religion, and of Charity
to the souls of men. It is a spiritual dominion, professing to
be derived from Christ, and exercised at first in a gentle
manner, but soon spake like the Dragon. Its speech betrayed it;
for it gives forth those false doctrines and cruel decrees,
which show it to belong to the Dragon, and not to the Lamb. It
exercised all the power of the former Beast. It pursues the same
design, to draw men from worshipping the true God, and to
subject the souls of men to the will and control of men. The
second Beast has carried On its designs, By methods whereby men
should be deceived to Worship the former Beast, in the new
shape, or likeness made for it. By lying wonders, pretended
miracles. And By severe censures. Also By allowing none to enjoy
natural or civil rights, who will not Worship that Beast which
is the image of the pagan Beast. It is made a qualification for
buying and selling, as Well as for places of profit and trust,
that they oblige themselves to use all their interest, power,
and endeavour, to forward the dominion of the Beast, which is
meant By receiving his Mark. To make an image to the Beast,
whose deadly wound was healed, would be to give form and power
to his Worship, or to require obedience to his commands. To
Worship the image of the Beast, implies being subject to those
things which stamp the character of the picture, and render it
the image of the Beast. The number of the Beast is given, So as
to show the infinite Wisdom of God, and to Exercise the Wisdom
of men. The number is the number of a Man, computed after the
usual manner among men, and it is 666. What or who is intended
By this, remains a Mystery. To almost every religious dispute
this number has yet been applied, and it may reasonably be
doubted whether the meaning has yet been discovered. But he who
has Wisdom and understanding, will see that all the enemies of
God are numbered and marked out for Destruction; that the term
of their power will soon expire, and that all nations shall
submit to our King of Righteousness and peace.

According to James M. Pryse, author of the book "The Apocalypse Unsealed", the Revelation of St. John is a carefully formulated, symbolic, personal account of John's enlightenment, as well as a guide for those who are initiated into the secrets of mysticism.

In Rev. 13:18 John uses the Greek word "'o Nous", which is translated as "understanding", but actually means as much as elevated or higher thinking. Jesus Christ is associated with this "'o Nous", as he is generally accepted as an enlightened person. Jesus, or Iesous in Greek has the numerical value of: I = 10 Eta = 8 S = 200 Omicron = 70 U = 400 S = 200, which amounts to 888. This is the key to the riddle, for the Greek word for the lower or non-inspired thinking of mortal men is "'e Phren". Eta = 8 Phi = 500 R = 100 Eta = 8 N = 50, which amounts to 666. Thus the Beast that has to be overcome is a metaphor for the lower thinking that one has to rise above in order to become enlightened

John uses the symbolic numbers 333 to 999 and 1,000. 1,000, for example, is the numerical value of "'o Nikon" (the victorious), represented by Jesus in his final manifestation as the rider of the white horse, who defeats the beast and the kings of the earth in Revelation 19:11 and onward.

The Mark of the Beast

Well, you know how surfing goes. You are on one page reading an interesting news story. Someone comments upon it and points you towards another page and soon you are on a completely new topic!
So, today I was reading some news at SlashDot about these theives who ripped off Walmart over a million dollars by switching barcodes on items with ones they had printed. There's a comment about how easy it is to decode barcodes. This commentor includes a link to his site that describes how barcodes are written. On his own site, he makes reference to a second site that has decoded barcodes. BUT, this second barcode site is a site exploring the relationship between the barcodes and the mark of the beast (666). So, I check it out too because I'm a Christian. Also because I am a Christian, I decide to look up the relevant verses in my handy Bible. (Amazing how few people do this). At this point I am ready to scream: Context! Context! Context!

So, here is my treatment on the mark of the beast.

First, let's deal with the appropriate scripture. I know, I know, it's a lot longer than just one little soundbyte snippet of a verse.

Revelation 13 (NKJV)
Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 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. 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.

Many people are concerned about the mark of the beast. This is because they recall only a "soundbyte" verse. The verse most people recall about the mark of the beast is: he causes all . . . to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark. . .of the beast. The way people have remembered this verse itself is incorrect and misleading (remember how the serpent deceived Eve in the garden by rewording God's word). Let alone how misleading it is removed from its context!
There is more criteria to determining the mark of the beast other than "people can't buy or sell without it".

Here is some of that criteria:

1. The First Beast must come - rev13:1
2. The First Beast must be terribly wounded and "miraculously" healed - rev13:2
3. The whole world will marvel and follow the beast. - rev13:3
4. The First Beast will blaspheme God, His Name, His heavenly tent and everyone sheltered there - rev13:6
5. The First Beast will make war against the saints and conquer them - rev13:7
6. The Second Beast must come - rev13:11
7. The Second Beast will force everyone to worship the First Beast. rev13:12
8. The Second Beast will set up a memorial statue for the First Beast's injury and healing. rev13:14
9. The Second Beast will breathe life into the statue so it can speak rev13:15

Now all this stuff has to take place, including the conquering of the saints and a talking statue made by a miracle worker. Here's the real meat of it:

10. The Second Beast will have anyone who refuses to worship the statue to be put to death(this is how many saints will die during the Tribulation).rev13:15
11. The Second Beast will compell everyone to receive a mark/be branded. rev13:16
12. The Second Beast will make it illegal to buy or sell without the mark rev13:17

Although it does not come straight from scripture, I have a feeling that receiving the mark of the beast will be related to the statue. People will be forced to come before the beast and worship. If they do, they receive a mark. If they don't, they are killed. When people go to the store, they will have to display their mark in order to buy and it will be illegal to buy or sell without it. Credit cards, SSN/SIN, debit cards, and barcodes don't meet the criteria.

The biggest problem? The First Beast everyone worships has not comeand it has certainly not conquered teh saints in war. Let alone that there is no talking statue. Another problem? It is not illegal (in any country that i know of) to not have a credit card. As far as I know, it isn't illegal to set up a store that sells without using barcodes.

Some people claim that these economical devises are setting us up for the coming of the mark of the beast. Maybe. But, I don't think so. The mark of the beast is going to be a big deal. People are going to die if they don't take it. Remember the soundbyte version of rev13:16-17? People seem to believe that the buying and selling is the most important aspect of the mark. But, it isn't. It is more like another punishment. Its like a personal embargo. People get up in arms every time something small and popular is invented that could possibly or is being used to buy or sell. But, it isn't about convienient shopping - its about worshipping an idol.

Just remember the beginning of the ten commandments and you will be fine:

Exodus 20:2-6
"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

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