Revelation Chapter 13
VERSE 17 “…and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark; the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
AND THAT NO ONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO BUY OF TO SELL: in the spiritual marketplace of ideas (i.e., with respects to writing, preaching, teaching and etc., as in regards to teaching and interpretation of scripture). This HAS already begun. Those who have the truth have been systematically excluded from the spiritual marketplace of orthodoxy and confederated Protestantism.
Visit any Christian book store and you will be hard pressed to find any Bible Student literature there even though the Pastor’s sermons were once published in more newspapers than any other minister living during his time (1874-1916). The Bible Student movement has been classified by orthodoxy as similar to that of the Jehovah’s Witnesses as a fringe group, a cult, because they do not conform to orthodoxy’s teachings, but most importantly because they have pointed out the numerous errors of the professing church. It strange though in these same so-called “Christian” book stores you will find books on Christian Science, Theosophy, evolution and etc. Hypocrites indeed.
Can it get worse?
Possibly; even probably. But it need not do so to fulfill this verse.
EXCEPT THE ONE WHO HAS THE MARK: A mark is a characteristic. The characteristic is probably willingness to help (to render service in some capacity), or at least not to oppose, the accepted religious way of doing things. (Compare Rev 13:5).
THE NAME OF THE BEAST: -- possibly the TITLE of the beast (i. e., membership in it.) Or, since the word name means character, it possibly means that you are not only willing to cooperate, but you are inherently LIKE the beast.
We also use the word NAME to represent authority -- as when we ask in Jesus’ NAME.
OR THE NUMBER OF HIS NAME: This phrase raises a question which the next verse helps to answer.
Number means VALUE. When people say, “I’ve got your number,” it means they know what you are LIKE. They know your VALUES. The number of a name means the VALUE OF ONES CHARACTER. Perhaps this means that, if you have value to this system, you are safe. They will USE you as long as you remain of value to them. Throughout history, the ten-horned beast has operated on the philosophy that the end justifies the means. This is their value system.
(Verse 17 as it is explained in The Keys of Revelation)
“This verse should more properly be rendered “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark: either 52 the name of the beast, or 52 the number of his name.”
As it is found in the original Greek text:
“And that no one may be able to buy or to sell, if not the one having the mark, [the name of the wild beast,] or the number of the name of him.”
In other words, the mark (itself) consists of either the name or the number of the first beast.
Those who have “the name of the beast” will be Catholics themselves who reside in Protestant lands. Since they belong to the papal system, they already have the name of the beast. However, it will be deemed necessary to somehow identify Protestants as ecumenists, (conformist), as belonging to the orthodoxy of that day, in order to separate them from those considered as “cultists.”
Protestants and Catholics will maintain their separate identities, but they will cooperate in this joint enterprise as the two ends of a scroll (Isa. 34:4).
“All the host of heaven (the ecclesiastical systems, the nominal church) shall be dissolved (in the end), and the heavens (Catholicism and Protestantism) shall be rolled up like a scroll (united; rolled together for mutual protection, sympathy and co-operation); All their host shall fall down (Fall off, drop out; not all at once, but gradually, yet rapidly) As the leaf falls from the vine, and as fruit falling from a fig tree.”
Each group, under the respective symbols of the image and the beast, will keep its own identity, but both will come together into a close agreement.
Some literal, visible mark of identification will be employed to inform those to whom it may concern whether or not the individual is supportive of the rigid controls to be imposed in the future. An example of a tactic that might be used would be the mandatory wearing of a badge, such as the Republican or Democratic Party badges or pins some have worn to distinguish the political party they belong to. Jews in Nazi Germany were required to wear yellow arm bands to distinguish their race. The mark, perhaps supplemented by a carrying card, would thus indicate or certify the individual as a Catholic or a “proper” Christian Protestant.
It appears to have been common, both before and after John’s time, for three classes of persons to have certain stigmata or marks of appropriation—a kind of tattooing—imprinted on them; viz., slaves, soldiers, and devotees of some god or cult. This mark was generally upon the forehead or the hand, and sometimes it was simply the name or characteristic emblem of the master or the god. Moreover, the devotees of a god might bear a mystical or hieroglyphic number, which usually consisted of the numerical values of the constituent letters of a particular name. Roman soldiers often bore the emperor’s name or mark imprinted on their hand.
“That no man might buy or sell” without “the mark” is indicating, without question, that in a religious sense one will not be permitted to preach the Gospel unless duly sanctioned by the authorities. But it appears very likely that there will also be a literal application pertaining to procuring the daily necessities of life: food, employment, etc.
Many will not be in agreement with the implementation of these methods in the future, but since their consciences may not be sufficiently tender or instructed from the true scriptural standpoint, they may grudgingly comply with the requirements for their own protection and that of their families. Satan knows that the Lord’s people cannot hide behind a lie. If any do, they will have to suffer later for their actions. Perhaps some will give in momentarily under pressure, as Peter did, and then repent and possibly be saved. Admonition is given to the Great Company, the remaining Lot class: “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (Luke 17:33).
52. H, the uncial form of eta, is frequently used as a disjunctive to subjoin one or more correlative clauses comparative to the first (namely, those that had the mark). In this instance both clauses refer to the same subject; therefore, H.., H.., should more properly be translated either..., or..., instead of or..., or... (Sinaitic MS, see Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon under “H A2 and B2,” p. 639).
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