No one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark
Revelation 13 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore.
Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. 2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. 3 I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; 4 they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” 5 There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.
7 It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10 If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.
11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. 12 He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. 15 And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.
In today’s text it says: And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Surely identifying the beast and discerning what the mark of the beast might be has been prominent to people since the revelation was given to John. Even now there are renewed speculations about the mark of the beast. Will it be a chip implanted or injected into everyone? Will it be tied to other technology that could not even have been imagined 100 years ago, let alone 2000 years ago? Might the mark be tied to vaccinations that would be required to travel, to work, to attend school or to participate in any form of society? Some are concerned with and question every possibility, while others dismiss the warnings of Revelation as fantasy. Those who dismiss or disregard the warnings of prophecy, do it in spite of the record of prophetic accuracy in scripture. The birth, the life and the death of Jesus fulfilled over 300 Messianic prophecies in scripture. It would be foolish to disregard that kind of track record.
While we should acknowledge that what the Bible says will indeed happen, we should not allow fear to control how we respond. The text gives us a reason not to worry, saying: It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. Rather than focusing on the identity of the beast and the mark of the beast, rather than trying to identify the antichrist, we should be sure to know Christ and be known by Him. Rather than worrying that we might unknowingly take the mark of the beast, we should be intentional about having our name written in the Lamb’s book of life. In Matthew 12:30 Jesus says: He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. Our efforts to recognize the beast and his mark are meaningless if we are not for Christ.
Look again at what the text says: All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. In Exodus 20:2-5 the first of the Ten Commandments says: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. It is not the mark of the beast that should concern us, it is worshipping the beast; putting anyone or anything before God. James 4:4 says: Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. We will have a difficult time recognizing the beast if we have made him our friend. First and foremost we should instead do as Jesus says in Matthew 22:37-38: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.” Our love for God is the best and only defense against the beast. To know truth is the only way not to be deceived by a lie. In Matthew 28:20 Jesus says: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
May the words of the psalmist in Psalm 37 be our declaration and prayer: Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm. For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, They shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Amen.