“He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of man: his number is 666.” Revelation 13:16-18
First of all, notice the mention here of the “Name of the Beast”, the theme of Wellspring 18. But now we are presented with three things, the MARK, the NAME, and the NUMBER.
Much has been written about these verses, but few have majored on the spiritual meaning. See how often people have referred to the growing tendency to implant people with tiny electronic devices in place of smart cards. They tell us that if anyone allows this to happen, he is automatically bound for the lake of fire. But is there really any difference between a coin, a cheque, a smart card or an implant? All are man-made devices for commercial transactions. The spiritual principle behind the MARK is found in the words “right hand or forehead”, based on the verse in Deuteronomy quoted yesterday. Just as the Jews, with their phylacteries and leather thongs round their hand, so it is with today’s devices. Neither has any significance in the eyes of the Lord. God sees what is in our hearts, and the hidden motives behind our thoughts, not whether we have used an implant, a thumb, voice or iris check, or a smart card.
The next point relates to the matter of commerce. No one goes out of the house without first ensuring he has his smart card for shopping, neither in the spiritual sphere is one is able to receive from the Lord, (buying) or preach to others (selling) unless they truly belong to Him. These are the ones who “follow the Lamb wherever He goes.” The Lord knows those who are His.
Now we turn our thoughts to the NUMBER of the Beast’s name. Most translations speak about “the number of A man”, but it should read “the number of man”. Six has always been man’s number from his creation on the 6th day. There is no single individual to act as the antichrist, but a company of people. Leaders there may be, with a top echelon, but always corporate. The gematria of the name JESUS in Greek is 888. And from Paul’s writings we come to learn that “the Christ” also is corporate, consisting of all the members of His body. There are two groups of people in the world, those who have the Father’s name on their foreheads, and those who have the mark of the Beast on their foreheads. There is no middle ground. Jesus said, “Those who are not for me, are against me.” Whether they appreciate that or not.
The Laodiceans said they were rich and had need of nothing. But the Lord said they were poor, blind and naked. He asked them to buy gold tried in the fire (spiritual riches), eye-salve to appreciate their true condition, and white robes, clean and bright. These items can only be understood spiritually, as with most of the figurative language of Revelation. Let us “turn our eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”