Rev 13:16-18 KJV
(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.
In chapter 12, we saw a defeated Satan’s continuing opposition against the Lord and His people. Throughout the ages, Satan has used the political kingdoms of this fallen world as tools in an attempt to abuse, persecute and even martyr the people of God.
We have looked at the POLITICAL and RELIGIOUS powers of the world and how Satan has used them throughout history to afflict the people of God. We saw these aspects of Satan’s kingdom in vs 1-15.
In the middle portion of chapter 13 (vs 11-15), we will learn more about the SPIRITUAL kingdoms of this world as they afflict the people of God. Then, in the following portion of chapter 13, we will be introduced the “mark” (major characteristic) of those who join the beast in its stand against the people of God.
- The Beast of the Sea – The Political Kingdoms of This World (13:1-10)
- The Beast of the Earth – The False Religious Kingdoms of This World (13:11-15)
- The Mark of the Beast – The Number of Humanism (13:16-18)
THE EXPOSITORY STUDY:
Rev 13:16-18 KJV
(16) And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark
The false religions of the world cause men of all social and economic status to receive their mark (an outward indication of their relationship with that religion.
It includes men that:
- “small and great” – those that hold little or much authority, fear and respect of others.
- “rich or poor” – those that are wealthy or poverty stricken
- “free or bond” – those who are freemen and those who are slaves
They are to receive a “mark” (ie an impress or scratch or etching). In other words, the mark is an outward declaration of the man’s affiliation with this false religion (Rev 13:16, 14:9, 17:15, 20:4). Much like baptism in water is a public declaration of the Christian’s faith in Christ and membership in a local assembly.
What is this mark that the lost of the world will receive? It will not be a literal mark but it is their outward testimony of allegiance to these kingdoms (Matt 7:15-20). It shows forth in what they live for, what they are committed to, what their actions proclaim and what their mouths testify. It is very much like the Christian’s testimony (their baptism, lifestyle, and speech) that reveal to others that they are one of Christ’s. Lost mankind “receives” this mark but submitting to the teachings and commands of these kingdoms. In doing so, their life begins to testify to their allegiance to the beasts.
in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
This mark is said to be placed on their right hand or their forehead. Keep in mind, in the days of the Roman empire, Servants were given marks on their hand or forehead that would show their ownership.
Also the forehead and hand represent the two great areas of a servants dedication to their master. The forehead represents their inward parts being dedicated to their master (their love, desires and thoughts). The right hand represents their outward acts of service (their labor and works) done in obedience to their master.
Keep in mind, this mark of the beast ( was to mimic the people of God who are said to be marked by God for protection and declaration of ownership (Exo 28:36-38, Ezek 9:4-6, 16:8-13, Rev 9:4, 14:1, 22:4)
(17) And that no man might buy or sell,
Throughout history, the areas of worldly power and wealth are found in the political and religious arenas of this world. If men are a part of these kingdoms they can receive the favor, wealth and power of this world. Those who have kept themselves separate from these are in danger of ostracism, persecution, or even martyrdom. These very acts are predicted to take place in the lives of Christians throughout the ages (2 Tim 3:12, Matt 10:22-25, John 16:2, 1 Thess 3:3-4 etc).
save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
The identifying characteristics of those dedicated to the kingdoms of Satan are described in three ways:
- The mark – the graven mark… an outward identifying mark. This mark reveals to others to whom there is allegiance
- The name of the beast – The identifying title of the beast. This mark shows us who the beast is. Just like a Christians’ testimony reveals Christ to the world.
- The number of his name – The identifying number of the beast…. “666”
(18) Here is wisdom.
Here is the wise way to understand these things. Here is a revealing of the true nature of this mark. This is the way to understand this mark when you apply God’s Word to the explanation of the mark. This is how a wise man will come to understand this mark.
Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast:
To come to an proper identity of the mark you must “count” the number of the beast. To “count” is translated form a word that means carries with it the idea of “counting stones”, “examining stones”, “touching stones”.
In those days, stones were used as: a ballot to vote, as a ticket to gain entrance, or as stones used to count up sums.
In all three of these examples you have stones being examined (or counted) to come to a conclusion….
- count the stones used as a ballot to understand the verdict that has been rendered
- examine the existence of a stone to allow admission to an event
- count up stones to find a sum
To “count the number of the beast” – means to examine the number of the beast to come to a proper understanding of it. Much like “counting the cost” (examine by adding up the costs involved – Lk 14:28), you would count individual stones to find a verdict or prove possession of a stone to all admission. In other words, by examining the number that is associated with this mark, will reveal the true nature and identity of the beasts and the person that is marked.
for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
The mark is described in two complimentary ways…
- it is the number of a man (as compared to the number of a God or an angel or another part of creation)
- it is the number 666 – six throughout the bible is the number of man, imperfection and labor
- man made on sixth day
- man falls short of perfection (7 number of perfection)
- man consigned to 6 days of labor (day 7 is day set aside for God and rest)
- Goliath is symbolic of sinful rebellious mankind (6 linked closely to Goliath – (see 1 Sam 17:1-7)
- 666 as “The Imperfect Trinity” (Satan, The Beast from the Sea, The Beast from the Earth) stands in stark contrast to 777 “The Perfect Trinity” (God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit).
This mark is the number 666. This is the mark of a man (mankind). “a” is used here not to speak of a specific man, but to speak of a man in comparison to other parts of God’s creation. It is not the number of an animal, a planet, or a sun…. it is the number of “a man”. This is the true interpretation of this mark.
Here are some of the truths about Satan, the two beasts, and lost mankind can learn from this number:
- as the number of man, we can learn that humanism is the core philosophy of Satan, the beasts and lost man. They all seek to exalt man, using man’s pride and arrogance to appeal to them attracting them to become followers. Although they claim perfection, they always fail as a part of fallen creation. None are perfect, nor can become perfect based upon their own efforts and works.
- as the number of imperfection, we can learn that all of these fall far short of pleasing the Lord and securing peace with God.
- as the number of labor, we can see that their labor is fruitless, their attempts to overthrow God are wasted, they have already been defeated and sentenced to the Lake of Fire.
- as the number of sinful rebellion against God, we can see that all of these (Satan, his kingdoms and lost mankind) exhibit a rebellious attitude towards the Lord.
- as the “Imperfect Trinity” (666) Satan and the two beasts, although they claim perfection, fall far short of the perfection of the Lord Most High. Mankind is also an imperfect trinity (body, soul, and spirit), all mankind have been touched by sin and alienated from God.
Truly, the mark 666 has fallen upon all who have become a part of the powers of darkness in the spiritual warfare about us. Whether it be fallen mankind, the political and religious powers of the world or Satan himself, they all wear the name of blasphemy and carry with them the mark of imperfect, prideful, fallen mankind and the powers of darkness… 666.
In this lesson about the mark of the beast, we find a very valuable lesson about Christ. In the simple mark of 666, we can see that everything that Satan, his beasts, and lost mankind are not… Christ IS!
As we looked at this mark and saw the imperfection, sinfulness and separation from God that is experienced by them, we find Christ standing in great contrast as the Perfect, Sinless, One who enjoyed perfect unity with His Father in heaven…
Php 2:5-11 KJV –
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
May we all praise the Lord for being who we are not. If he were simply another man, we all would be faced with eternal doom, however, because He was far greater than fallen man, He could be our perfect sacrifice for sin and become our Lord and Savior.
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION (SUMMARY)
Folks, the exaltation of man and the debasement of Christ are two hallmarks of Satan and his kingdoms. Anytime, we find man given praise or honor at the expense of Christ’s greatness is certain to be rooted in humanism and the kingdoms of Satan. May we always be on guard against giving man credit for things that only God deserves all the praise. May we always remember that Christ alone is the One to be glorified and honored with our lives.
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SYMBOLS EMPLOYED IN THIS TEXT:
1, a mark
- in their right hand
- in their foreheads:
- might buy or sell,
- the name of the beast
- the number of his name.
- Six hundred threescore and six.
THE RELATED SCRIPTURES: