Things to Come, Lesson 33, The Seven Personages of Revelation, The Beast of the Earth, Chapter 13, Part VIII
We continue our study of the second beast of Revelation 13 who is also known as the False Prophet.
This man is given the same power of the first beast but his mission is to see that all of the dwellers of the earth worship the first beast, whom we know as the Antichrist.
The relationship between the two beasts is like that between the state and a state church.
The beast from the sea is a secular political power, while the beast from the earth is the head of a religious institution fostering worship of the first beast.
It is an historical fact, in case after case, that the state with the help of religious institutions tries to make itself the object of worship or to claim for itself, allegiance that belongs to God alone.
And to do this during this great climax of history the False Prophet is given power to do great wonders so that he is able to call down fire from heaven in the sight of men.
This power of miracles is enough to deceive men into making a speaking image of the first beast, an image that the false prophet then brings to life.
And the living image will be endowed with power to kill those who will not worship the image.
The false prophet, with a mission to have all men bow down to the image of the Antichrist, also demands that all worshippers be identified by an approved mark on their forehead or on their right hand.
We read of this in Revelation 13:16-18, 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: 17And 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. 18Here 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.
Again we see an act on the part of the false prophet which he copies from the sealing of God’s servants.
For God’s selection of 144,000 “Gospel of the Kingdom” preachers, chosen from the tribes of Israel, was accompanied by them being sealed.
In Revelation 7 God sealed each of these men in their foreheads identifying them as the protected ones of God, sent into all the world to preach that Jesus Christ was coming to govern the earth.
However in the case of the mark of the False Prophet we will find that this mark is given, not for any high purpose, but mainly to identify those who are followers of the evil trinity, and therefore those who are allowed to engage in buying and selling.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, told us in Matthew 4:4, that: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
As I have said before Satan’s goal is to overturn every command of God.
Satan’s goal is to deny the existence of God and every word of God.
God tells us that bread is necessary for physical life but Jesus Christ tells us there is much more to life than physical life.
Satan says that all of life is about bread, all of life is about physical life.
He says, Man shall live by bread alone!
This of course is what the world tells men and women, boys and girls, that life is only about bread.
Isn’t this what we see today where the pursuit of the material is supreme.
What drives the world but the economy?
What drives people today but the accumulation of goods?
What moves people to serve masters in commerce as their highest priority neglecting the home, marriage, church, and community and most of all, any relationship with their maker.
What drives men and women to make sure their children have every conceivable gadget while neglecting the important things of life?
What drives people to get an education, not for the purpose of being a knowledgeable and well rounded person, but only to gain financial success?
Education, for the most part, today is vocation motivated.
Education, for the most part, is motivated by the love of money.
What moves men and women to sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate?
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy of his concern in I Timothy 6:6-10, But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
So what does Satan do?
What system is he in charge of but this world system, and since the love of money is the root of all evil, he glories in the love of money and desires all of his children to do likewise.
He is EVIL personified and therefore his system demands materialism, around which this world system revolves.
This is what our ears are filled with daily as the world’s attention is focused on money while the important things are in last place.
President Clinton, said in emphasizing what is important, “It’s the economy stupid” and President Bush said after 9/11 “Go shopping” in hopes that the economy would not suffer one iota.
In all this, Satan is broadcasting that indeed “Man shall live by bread alone.”
Now Christ used bread as an example of all things physical that are used to support physical life.
Bread means all things that we need to keep living in this world but when Christ brought the subject of life into the conversation He spoke of eternal life and all its fulness.
Satan will have none of that for eternal life speaks of God.
So in keeping with Satan’s whole purpose for man the False Prophet commands that no one may have bread without identifying with him through his Antichrist.
17And 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.
Jesus taught his disciples to whom they should go for their daily bread as he taught them to pray. 11
Give us this day our daily bread, was to be asked of God.
That is the principle, so Satan takes this principle and uses it to bring worship to the man-god called Antichrist.
Satan knowing, to whom you ask your daily bread is your God, therefore demands his followers to be marked in order to receive their daily bread from him, through his Antichrist.
In other words Antichrist is God to those who are marked.
Take a moment to reflect on this command of the False Prophet.
John received the word of this on the isle of Patmos almost two thousand years ago.
Ever since the writing about the mark of the beast there has been conjecture as to what it means.
But if a prophet speaks from God that which he speaks will come about regardless of how difficult it is to understand.
We are in a time when light is making this passage alive to our understanding in ways that previous generations did not have.
Just the fact that the beast has a number identifies with men of today and with men of his time.
All of us were given names by our parents.
All of us who believe, have our names written down in the book of life of the Lamb.
Our names our personal and they recognize our individuality.
But Satan’s world system cannot use our name and instead we all are identified by numbers.
Driver’s license number, Social security number, Taxpayer identification number, military id number, credit card numbers, and now our key chains are filled with store reward card numbers so the merchant will know our every buying habit.
He couldn’t care less about us or our welfare but only cares about what will bring him profit.
But our God knows us individually even though we may share our name with others but Satan knows us by numbers only and he takes that pattern and glorifies in it by giving his Antichrist a number and that number is 666.
Six of course is the number of man, for man was created on the sixth day.
God told man to labor for six days.
Goliath, the one opposed to God’s people was 6 cubits high, and his spearhead weighed 600 shekels.
Nebuchadnezzar’s image, to whom all were commanded to bow, was 60 cubits high and 6 cubits wide.
Goliath and Nebuchadnezzar were forerunners of the Antichrist who not only has the number of man but he has that number tripled, three sixes.
In this, he therefore claims the godhead, for the number three is the number of the trinity.
So the one who rules the earth at this time, the one who rules the earth full of numbered men and women, boys and girls takes for himself a number that identifies him as the man-god.
So 666 means that he, as a man, identifies himself as God.
He claims for himself that which only belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ whose name is far above every name and at his name every knee shall bow.
16And 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: 17And 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.
Now this requirement for buyers and sellers to be identified is a very modern requirement and is connected to a technological age.
This is not a requirement for cash societies but a requirement that pertains to modern advanced societies.
We are headed for a cashless society for with the decline of morality, integrity and honesty, evil shall wax worse and worse and cash will not fit into financial transactions in the kingdom of Antichrist.
In addition the present method of using identity and credit cards to verify a buyer or seller’s identity is a very weak system, for physical objects such a IDs and credit cards can be stolen or counterfeited.
Finger printing and eye scanning only provide identity and do not provide financial or medical information.
So there will be a natural evolution to connecting a person’s identity with that person’s financial capability and that evolution requires some marking of the buyer/seller’s body.
Hence a mark on or in the body.
The word mark used in verse 14 is from a Greek word which means a scratch or etching.
The King James Bible says the mark is in the right hand or in the forehead.
It uses the word “in” however other versions use the word “on”
The False Prophet places that mark, which I believe could be the mark caused by the injection of a computer chip into the right hand or the forehead.
Its placement not only conforms a man or woman to the financial requirements of modern life, but it will be part of the religion of materialism, the religion of Satan who has always desired men to reject God and to yield to Satan’s rule.
Modern technology is capable of embedding what are called radio frequency identification chips, which at this time are as small as a grain of rice with the expectation of even being smaller.
Proponents advance this for storing identification, medical information, location, financial capability, and crime reduction, in other words not only for identity but for much additional information.
This chip will be able to be read by scanners which will identify the buyer/seller and immediately transfer money from and to his account.
Scanners can be placed everywhere so everyone’s location can be known at all times.
Medical information can be easily gotten from anyone, conscious or unconscious.
These chips will be used for anything, living or non living, any product or any human being.
There will come a day when you will go into a store, place your purchases in bags, walk out of the door, having been scanned, both body and product without benefit of human labor.
Peter in 2nd Peter speaks of, false prophets who through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
We are getting deeper in the age of the perfection of materialism and we hear false prophets all day long desiring to make merchandise of us.
The ultimate false prophet will reach that goal by marking human beings as merchandise is marked.
Man shall live by bread alone is the siren call of the merchants and the head merchant will be the Antichrist who is against the cry of God that man shall live by every word out of the mouth of God.
Ask for your daily bread from God.
But Satan will put in place the requirement to trust in him and to ask of him your daily bread.
Think about how Satan tempted Jesus in the desert.
First it was though his need for bread, then it was to use his power for show instead of for God’s glory, then it was a promise of Christ for him to rule all the kingdoms if Christ would fall down and worship him.
He tempted him with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, all marks of the material, all marks of his world system.
Without faith it is impossible to please God.
Jesus asked the question in Luke 18:8, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
This question moves us to believe that faith will be hard to find and in the absence of faith you always find fear.
And this is the world of the Tribulation, a world of fear where men and women without faith will flock to the one who will promise to give them their daily bread and will gladly take the mark which will put them into the fold.
But those of faith, those who die daily for Christ, those whose names are written in God’s book of life, those will flee from this mark, surrendering to God, trusting that He will provide for their needs.
And as we have learned in previous lessons, many will have fled to the mountains where God will feed them.
Oh, how greatly the need will be for leaning not to their own understanding, but instead acknowledging God, knowing that He shall direct their paths.