The Image & Mark Of The Beast – Revelation 13

And it was given unto him to give breath to it, even to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as should not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

And he causeth all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the bond, that there be given them a mark on their right hand, or upon their forehead; and that no man should be able to buy or to sell, save he that hath the mark, even the name of the beast or the number of his name.

Revelation 13:15-‬17 ASV

That little thumbnail image of a worldwide empire is very much alive, and it carries an incredible clout with every national government on earth, even our own.

This is not a reference to some clown of a pagan priest pulling some kind of a shenanigan to make a crass literal statue utter a few words.

No! The deception in view in this passage deceived the whole world.

Can you think of any world wide deception going on today? In 2021 & 2022?

The image should speak

First, there was the relevance of this for John’s generation. The pagan temples were full of idols that, by various ingenious devices were made to speak, the purpose of the perpetrators of such deceptions being that of compelling Christians to worship the image of Caesar; and all of the scholars stress this; but that is certainly not all that this passage means. If so, Revelation, in large part, is irrelevant to this age, a proposition which we cannot accept. What is the “speaking image” today?

Tune in any of the papal encyclicals broadcast on world radio and TV regarding economics, politics, morals, etc. But this “image,” the little copy of the big state, is itself worshipped.

As many as should not worship the image should be killed

The first application of this was the sentence of death executed upon Christians who would not worship Caesar’s image; but the relevance of this did not perish with the Edict of Theodosius banning paganism.

The relevance of it to the martyrs of the Middle Ages was that the persons who would not bow before the rules of the papacy were put to death, a fact well attested by the long bloody record of the Medieval Church which slaughtered thousands who would not worship them and their little image of the beast, with its “Throne of St. Peter,” and its universal apparatus culminating in the Spanish Inquisition and a hundred other horrors.

That is all prophesied in this verse whether some scholars are able to see it or not!And he causeth all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the bond, that there be given them a mark on their right hand, or upon their forehead;

The language of this and the following verses is that of economic sanctions and boycotts, the universality of their enforcement being indicated by’

And he causeth all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the bond, that there be given them a mark on their right hand, or upon their forehead;

The language of this and the following verses is that of economic sanctions and boycotts, the universality of their enforcement being indicated by’

Small and great, rich and poor

This means that all people everywhere were to be subjected to the most serious economic sanctions unless they were recognized as servants of the persecuting power, and as supporters both intellectually and physically (head and hand) of the wicked establishment.

A mark on their right hand, or upon their forehead … The obvious meaning of this “head and hand” identification is that both mental and physical cooperation was the price of “belonging.”

There is no likelihood that anything literal is meant by this “mark.” It is true, of course, that some of the pagan gods were worshipped by their devotees having themselves branded with an ivy leaf, or some other symbol of the god’s religion; and that pagan custom probably colored the language which John adopted here in a figurative sense, as Paul did in Galatians 6:17.

No Christian of John’s times, however, could have failed to read this “head and hand,” “heart and hand” compliance with the persecutor’s will, through confessions or deeds.

Christians could prove themselves worshippers of Caesar, either by denouncing Christ, or by offering incense upon Caesar’s altar, or by both. The point is, that if they were unwilling to do this they were boycotted, or even put to death.

But is this no longer true? Organized false religion in many guises still exercises this merciless and unchristian device against nonconformists, as for example, in the following:

An advertisement in Salt Lake City’s leading newspaper carries an offer of an apartment to LDS only.

A Catholic priest who was baptized in Italy could not find employment in the entire nation.

The Amish cult of Pennsylvania consistently “shuns” those who disobey them or renounce any tenet of the cult.

Buying and selling is the world’s big operation. The world has set up the game, defined the rules, and is manning the tables; and never forget it, the beast is “the lord of this world.”

You won’t get very far at these tables, then, John is saying, unless you can show proof that the boss has okayed you. You’ll never win unless you play according to the ways of the world.

Despite Eller’s view, we believe that there are many great merchants and businessmen who have played the game by Christian rules, and yet have won. Yet there is much truth in what Eller said.

That no man should be able to buy … sell … save he have the mark

We cannot believe that there is any reference whatever here to any physical mark. The only thing indicated is that a victorious economic boycott will be launched against all who do not “belong” to the beast. The description here regards the method of his enforcing his will; and that method would no doubt vary according to times and circumstances.

The very use of such a device defines the wickedness of the boycotting powers. An economic boycott says, “Do as we say, or we will starve you to death.”

That an alleged “church of God” should do such a thing defines it as a church of Satan.

Even the name of the beast, or the number of his name

The consistent use of “or” both here and in Revelation 13:16 is interesting. Either the name of the beast or the number of his name would suffice; and it might be either in the forehead or in the right hand. It must be confessed that no fully satisfactory explanation of this has been encountered by this writer. Perhaps it indicates the diversity and variableness of the manner of the beast’s exercising his sanctions.

The purpose of the mark, however, is clear enough; it is that of distinguishing between the beast’s followers and those who are not his followers. “Probably the passage is a figurative and unqualified expression for conspicuous loyalty.

Anything, therefore, that would indicate such conspicuous loyalty would fill the bill of what is meant.

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