Revelation 13:17 Is A Blessed Promise and a Fearful Warning
Christians Should Not Desire To Buy Or Sell, But To Buy Only
Revelation 13:11-18 “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by [the means of] those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 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: 17 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. 18 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.”
I. THE MARK OF THE BEAST
The mark of the beast isn’t a physical mark; it isn’t a bar code, or a chip, or a social security number, or any other such thing. The mark of the beast is symbolic language of ownership; like a stamp, a brand, an engraving, this mark evidences that you belong to the beast, you are owned and controlled by it [see charagma/G5480]. However, this mark isn’t a literal one but spiritual; it is applied to all who are eternally outside of Christ, those who were never chosen in Him, by the God the Father, from before the world was [Ephesians 1:4]. This mark in the forehead of the reprobate represents the opposite of what we read in:
Revelations 3:12 “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I WILL WRITE UPON HIM THE NAME OF MY GOD, and the name of the city of my God, [which is] new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and [I will write upon him] my new name.
Revelations 22:3-4 “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4 And they shall see his face; and HIS NAME [SHALL BE] IN THEIR FOREHEADS.
Revelations 14:1 “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty [and] four thousand, HAVING HIS FATHER’S NAME WRITTEN IN THEIR FOREHEADS.”
Therefore, the promise 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” [Revelation 13:17] is a blessed one for the Christian, when you understand, by comparing scripture with scripture, what it means to buy and sell. For the reprobate, it is a fearful declaration, a fearful warning.
II. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BUY AND SELL
To buy and sell is to make (1) merchandise of men and (2) a cheap commodity of the word of God, subjectively speaking. It is to both promote and embrace a false gospel, thus bringing people into bondage from which they cannot, of their own strength, escape. It represents that which is performed in the name of God, by those who profess to know and love God, but do not. They follow after their own will, their own lusts, their own greed, and their own material and social gain, all at the expense of those who need to hear the Gospel Truth. They are mercenaries, hirelings, thieves, fraudsters, false brethren, false prophets, and false teachers.
III. THE WICKED BUY AND SELL
Matthew 21:12 “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that SOLD and BOUGHT in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,”
Matthew 25:6-12 “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying, [Not so]; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that SELL, and BUY for yourselves. 10 And while they went to BUY, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
Mark 11:15 “And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that SOLD and BOUGHT in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves…”
Luke 17:28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they BOUGHT, they SOLD, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed [them] all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
Luke 19:45 “And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that SOLD therein, and them that BOUGHT…”
John 2:13-17 “And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, 14 And found in the temple those that SOLD oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; 16 And said unto them that SOLD doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of MERCHANDISE. 17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
2 Peter 2:1-3 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words MAKE MERCHANDISE of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not…”
Revelations 18:9-16 “And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, 10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. 11 And THE MERCHANTS of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man BUYETH THEIR MERCHANDISE any more: 12 THE MERCHANDISE of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, 13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. 14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. 15 THE MERCHANTS of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, 16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!”
Amos 8:5-6 “Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may SELL corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? 6 That we may BUY the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; [yea], and SELL the refuse of the wheat?”
IV. GOD’S PEOPLE ARE INSTRUCTED TO BUY (WITHOUT MONEY) BUT THEY ARE NOT INSTRUCTED TO SELL
Proverbs 23:23 “BUY the truth, and SELL [IT] NOT; [also] wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.”
Isaiah 55:1-2 “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, BUY, and eat; yea, come, BUY wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Wherefore do ye spend money for [that which is] not bread? and your labour for [that which] satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye [that which is] good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.”
Revelations 3:18 “I counsel thee to BUY of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”
V. WHAT IS THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST?
The number of the beast, is the number of man; it is two-thirds, or .666, or simply 666. It represents the reprobate, those who were never chosen in Christ, and who therefore never became saved. They are the ones left in their sins (the most frightening thing imaginable), having never been appointed unto salvation. The one-third, however, represents the elect, the sons of God, the bride of Christ. Consider,
Revelations 13:18 “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.”
Zechariah 13:7-9 “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man [that is] my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. 8 And it shall come to pass, [that] in all the land, saith the LORD, TWO PARTS therein shall be cut off [and] die; but THE THIRD shall be left therein. 9 And I will bring THE THIRD PART through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It [is] my people: and they shall say, The LORD [is] my God.”
2 Kings 1:9-14 “Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down. 10 And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I [be] a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty. 11 Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly. 12 And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I [be] a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty. 13 And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight. 14 Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight.”
So much more can be said about this issue; Revelation 13:11-18 can be developed far more deeply than I have here. My intent was to simply create a quick rebuttal, or a quick reference (relatively speaking) to counter the common fear-mongering associated with this passage, especially as it relates to the political world.