(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.
In this section of John’s vision, we can see that the mark of the beast can be described in two other ways… “the name of the beast” and “the number of his name”.
Please keep in mind, the symbolic “the mark of the beast” refers to the different inward and outward characteristics of lost mankind. The inward characteristics include the mind, desires, and conscience that are corrupted due to mankind’s fallen nature. The outward characteristics of lost mankind involve living an habitual lifestyle of sin based upon selfishness and moral corruption.
However, according to our text this morning there are two other aspects to this mark of the beast that is placed upon all lost mankind…
- First of all it is described as “the name of the beast”.
Wearing the name of someone implies ownership and usage. For example, if I write my name in a book I am saying I own the book and the book is being used by myself. This is the same basic principle of saying that the mark of the beast involves wearing his name.
In prior verses of this vision, we have seen that “blasphemy” is one of the names that is worn by the beast from the sea (Rev 13:1). And it is a perfect characterization of how the lost are used by Satan and his kingdom to blaspheme the most Holy God. (2 Timothy 3:2).
- Secondly, it is described as “the number of his name.”
Later in this vision, we see that the number referred to is the number 666 (Rev 13:18). This is is a number that symbolizes humanism (more on this in our next devotional). What is humanism? It is the exaltation of man. It is saying that man should be the center of our attention, interest and devotion. Basically, it is giving to man the honor that is due to God alone. In that sense, humanism is making man equal to, or surpassing God Himself.
These are the aspects of the mark of the beast that is seen placed upon all lost mankind. The prefect text that describes this mark of the beast is found in Rom 1:21-32…
“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
These characteristics make up the “mark of the beast” clearly displaying the lost man’s influence by and submission to Satan and His worldly kingdoms.
May we as Christians understand their spiritual blindness and show Christ to them in a very kind and gentle manner, knowing that we were in the same spiritually blind condition before Christ opened our eyes to the truth!
For an in depth look at these sections of the Revelation: