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: 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. 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.”
‘And he causeth all,’
The false prophet is the one who causes people to take the mark of the beast.
‘both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads’
Verse 16 mentions the mark (of the beast) that will be placed on the people of the world’s right hand or forehead regardless of their age, economic standing, and whether or not they are in bonds. It mentions man being in bonds when slavery has been “done away with” in this current age.
In other verses in the book of Revelation, slavery will be present during the Tribulation. Although hard to believe, slavery still exists today, although not in the form commonly assumed. To identify cases of present-day slavery, we must first define what the Bible considers slavery to be.
The Bible defines slavery as being indebted to others and being their servants by consequence. Another characteristic of slavery is to be deprived of one’s liberty or being held captive. It could be people who are serving, such as waiters, butlers, etc. The second one is being held captive, and that is where prisoners come in. Scripture also mentions that these prisoners would pay back their debt by doing work akin to community service, much like today’s prisoners.
‘And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark,’
Without this mark, a person does not have the ability to buy or sell. If we look at our current system today, we know that barcodes can be divided into numbers and become 666. We are now moving towards a cashless society because of the convenience cards and (more recently) our phones provide. All it takes is one swipe of our cards and one scan of our phone to pay for things. Our foreheads are now scanned to check our temperature under the pretext of safety. In the future, they may use the same excuse.
Technologically, we are getting tracked everywhere. Payments moved from credit cards to mobile phones and watches. One day, this will move to our foreheads. Things like ID 2020, which keeps track of all of personal information, and the idea of a vaccine containing a mark are all in the scope of possibilities for a potential mark system given our current technological advances.
Another possibility for this mark is that it could be something tied to religion. Some religions believe in a spiritual third eye (on the forehead) and physical marks on the forehead (as in the case of ash on the forehead in Hinduism and Roman Catholicism). So it is possible that the mark could be related to this as well.
Another interesting part is that back in verse 15, those who do not worship the beast image are to be killed. Recall that in previous Revelation 13 commentaries, the Antichrist is believed to be a power of the Roman Catholic Church (most likely the Pope) while the False Prophet is another type of religious minister. When considering the wording of verse 15 (killing for not worshiping the beast image), a plausible identity for the False Prophet in terms of religious power would be Muslim.
This is because Islam believes in forceful conversions and beheading those who refuse, which coincides with the beheading of the Tribulation saints in Revelation 20. Interestingly enough, Muslims hold a prophet in high esteem while the Roman Catholics see the Pope as their Shepherd and Christ on earth. These things further support the previously mentioned religious ties/ backgrounds of the Antichrist and the False Prophet.
‘he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.‘
People of the earth can either take a mark, a name, or the number of the beast, meaning that Satan will have more than one way to mark as many as possible. A lot of people think that the mark of the beast is one of the above. But the Bible does not say so. They can be any or all of them.
The word ‘mark’ symbolizes that there will be a physical mark on either the right hand or forehead of the individual. Compare this notion of a mark to verse 2 earlier in the chapter. This verse mentions the beast being likened to a leopard, which we know, has black spots or marks on its body.
Dr. Ruckman gave us an interesting quote about the Antichrist, his mark, name, and number.
“666 XXX. We have his name, it’s Judas Iscariot. We have his mark, it’s a black. We have his sign, it’s a kiss. We have his religion, he’s a Roman Catholic. We have his nationality, Syrian Jew. We have his power, he gets it from the devil. We have his number, 666.”
Judas Iscariot, resurrected in spirit to the body of the Antichrist based on Revelation 17. Further explanation on this resurrection in a future commentary.
What does the mark of the leopard look like? It is a black spot. However, when you look closely, it looks like a kiss spot.
Remember that the Antichrist is supposed to be a man of ‘peace. In biblical times, people used a kiss to greet someone with peace. Roman Catholics also practice this when revering the Pope. Absalom (a type of Antichrist and whose name means man of peace) was kissed himself. Judas also betrays Jesus with a kiss.
It is possible that the Antichrist uses a kiss as a way to place a mark on one’s hand or forehead, much like the Pope does as a sort of blessing.
‘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.‘
If one is wise and have understanding, count the number of the beast, which is also the number of a man (imitating Son of man, Jesus here). This number is 666. Its reference to the mark of man gives us an indication that this idolatry is toward humanism (which is inherently Satanism).