Today’s passage: Revelation 13:11-18
- A second beast appears on the scene. This beast is later called “the false prophet” (16:13, 19:20).
- As the Holy Spirit does for Christ, the false prophet will point people to worship the beast (The antichrist). In some ways, it appears the devil has put together a false trinity (Satan, the antichrist, the false prophet).
- The threat of death for refusing to worship is not new. This was the threat of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3) and that of Roman emperors during the time the first Christians read this letter of revelation.
- God commanded the people of Israel to “bind” the Word of God (the law) to their foreheads and on their hands (Deuteronomy 6:8). This was not a literal physically natured command, but an illustration for having the Word around them, in front of their eyes and in their hearts and minds, consistently. It would not be wild to consider this depiction of the mark of the beast in the same way (figuratively). It could be a literal marking, it could be figurative.
- The number “666” has been interpreted to mean different things, such as: The number of man (meaning, he is inferior to God…as if God would be “777”), the word “beast” in numbers, the name for “Nero Caesar” in numbers. There is no consensus as to its meaning.
- People do not need to fear every new technology that comes on the scene because of this passage. For a computer chip (even an implant) to be the mark of the beast (if we want to take this passage literally) the tribulation would already need to have begun, the antichrist and his false prophet would need to be on the scene and doing the things described in Revelation, and the whole world would have to be required to take the “mark” to buy or sell anything, anywhere. If all those conditions haven’t been met, it’s not the mark.
Questions to consider:
- What is most shocking from what you read today? In what ways does your mind try to make sense of it all, to imagine it? Why should we be careful in putting (with our imagination) things in that aren’t in the text?
- How does the Holy Spirit point people to Jesus Christ (John 16:5-15 – esp. verse 14)?
- Many have feared and stirred up fear in others through what we read in this passage. What is truly the answer we need for our rest and security? Do we need to be specialists in potential marks of the beast, or do we need to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior (John 10:27-28)?