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.