The image above is from WikiMedia Commons — “Beast from the earth makes people adore the image of the beast from the sea” — by Shakko, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.
We see in these verses the continuation of the message about the Beast from the Land —
The triple alliance between Satan (Dragon), the state (Beast from the Sea), and false religion (Beast from the Land) results in fruitless opposition to God but furious persecution of His people.
Let’s see further results of worshiping the Beast from the Sea—
II. The State/Civil-Religion union desires conformity of its citizens and will punish those who dare to think otherwise.
Vss. 16 Also it [the beast from the land] causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.
Our media-saturated world is a tool for group-think in the extreme. “The medium is the message” is a phrase coined by the Canadian communication theorist Marshall McLuhan. It means that the nature of a medium (the channel through which a message is transmitted) is more important than the meaning or content of the message. McLuhan frequently punned on the word “message,” changing it to “mass age”, “mess age”, and “massage”. (see The medium is the message article from Wikipedia for a summary of McLuhan’s still timely thinking).
The mark (charagma in Greek) is a leveling instrument. It tears down all of the distinctions in society. (It is a counterfeit to the mark placed upon God’s people in Revelation seven.) The mark on the hand affects humans’ work. The mark on the forehead affects humans’ thinking. Unless a person thinks like those around him/her, they will not be able to get a job.
Persecution Stories from Open Doors USA
The mark is a sign of loyalty to the Beast’s worship cult. It has as its background the following possibilities —
1. The branding of slaves;
2. The branding of soldiers as a sign of loyalty to the commander;
3. The sealing of contracts;
4. The stamping of coins;
5. The certificate of sacrifice to the gods given to those loyal to the imperial cult.
*6. A thing carved, a sculpture, a graven work of idolatrous images
The idol is the statue of the Beast from the Sea. The mark on a human says, “I follow the government/false religious way of thinking.” Wearing the mark of a particular person means giving allegiance to that person. Whatever the background, the reference is to an invisible mark, like the invisible mark the saints bear (cf. Rev. 7). Even though the mark is invisible to the eye, it is nevertheless idolatry.
18 Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? 19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons.
“Theology is the study of that which concerns each of us ultimately and its bearing on everything else… . With the preceding point in mind, it is worth noting that some people’s ultimate concern is money. For others, it is sex, drugs, etc. For others, it is their family, nation, or job.” (see Patheos, below.)
III. The State/Civil-Religion union always falls short of perfection, try as it may.
Vs. 18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.
“His number is 666” — “This is a summons to “work out a number for the Beast’s name” (see Michael Wilcox, p. 128-131, below).
The enigmatic numbers are to be a code or a stock symbol to stand for the Beast. John then proceeds to offer a suggestion — 666. Since 7 is the number of perfection, 6 falls short of that perfection three times. The satanic trifecta attempts to attain perfection but always falls short no matter how many times it tries [cradle to grave care of the citizens]. Three attempts mean three failures. There is no reference to numerical equivalency of names of persons alive at that time or in the future — [Gematria is is an alphanumeric code of assigning a numerical value to a name, word or phrase based on its letters, e.g. some in the 1970s said Henry Kissinger’s name added up to 666.]
Later, Mikhail Gorbachev’s birth mark was the mark of the beast. My mother told me Hitler or Mussolini was the public choice during WWII. Six-six-six is simply a crypto-graph for the Beast.
I have shared the chart above earlier. I re-post it in this blog post to show the link between the three Chapters in Revelation.
The beast from the [land], called in later visions “the false prophet” (16:13; 19:20; 20:10), is in no way a rival or a competitor of the beast from the sea, but on the contrary is strictly subordinate to the first beast. Its mission is not to exalt itself or to demand worship for itself, but solely to make sure that the earth’s inhabitants worship the beast from the sea (vv. 14-15). Possibly John’s readers noticed here a kind of twisted parallel to the Christian [Trinity] — Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (see Michaels, below.)
False religion is a tool of the dragon to further persecute the Church. In our day, secular humanism is false religion that dominates the West’s thinking and actions. Religions that accept secular humanism’s ideas, get along well with evil governments. Those who do not conform are ostracized and persecuted.
Churches today must return to affirmation of the crown rights of King Jesus, no matter what the cost! God give us strength to be the church instead of going to a church building.
Next time on to Chapter Fourteen!
Notes (Commentaries on which I rely sometimes without direct quotation.)
Beale, G. K. (2015). Revelation: a Shorter Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Kindle Edition.
Death of an Age. (2013). Faith for all of Life May issue. Accessed 5 November 2020 from https://chalcedon.edu/resources/articles/the-death-of-an-age-and-its-faith
ESV. (2001). Accessed 24 June 2020 from https://www.biblegateway.com
Hendriksen, William. More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (p. 125).
Johnson, A. F. (1982). Revelation in Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Gaebelein. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Johnson, D. E. (2001). Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Kenner, C. (2000). The NIV Application Commentary: Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic.
Michaels, J. R. (1997). The IVP New Testament Commentary Series – Revelation. Accessed 29 October 2020 from https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/ivp-nt/Beast-Earth
Morris, Leon. (1987). Revelation in Tyndale New Testament Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
National Park Service. (2016). “A New Version of Making America Great (Again).” Accessed 10 November 2020 from https://chalcedon.edu/magazine/save-this-page-add-my-notes-a-new-version-of-making-america-great-again
NIV. (2001). Accessed 24 June 2020 from https://www.biblegateway.com
Patheos. (2014). “Your Ultimate Concern Is Your God.” Accessed 19 November 2020 from https://www.patheos.com/blogs/uncommongodcommongood/2014/09/your-ultimate-concern-is-your-god/
Weaver, R. M. (1948). “Ideas Have Consequences” article from Wikipedia. Accessed 20 November 2020 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideas_Have_Consequences
WikiMedia Commons for Images
Wilcox, M. (1984). The Message of Revelation. Bible Speaks Today series. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic. © 2020 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved