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 (Revelation 13:16-17).
Three historical time markers are helpful in understanding the significance of this prophecy. The first one is 2000 years ago when it was written by the apostle John. The context of the passage is an action that will be taken on behalf of the person of the antichrist in the last days. In particular, John was writing about a seven year period of time foretold first by ancient Jewish prophets of the Old Testament and then expanded upon by the Apostles. Commonly called The Tribulation, it is a description of what the Bible teaches of world events immediately after the present Church Age is completed.
Along with many other details, John saw a total control exercised over all financial transactions. Only by submission to the antichrist (“beast”) will anyone buy or sell. This is what it says. In the history and broad scope of Bible prophecy study, many have tried to explain it away, interpret it away, or simply ignore it. How could such a thing as John wrote happen? Yet, that is what is says, as part of a prophecy of the last days.
That was 2000 years ago. This week I have been reading a book written by a Christian Bible teacher 100 years ago. The writer, Clarence Larkin commented on this very passage. In a reference to the mark of the beast (that he called the “BRAND OF HELL”), he offered this insight. “This is what the world is fast coming to. The time is not far distant when the ‘Trusts’ and ‘Combinations of Capital’ will be merged in to a ‘FEDERATION OF TRUSTS,’ … at the head of which will be THE ANTICHRIST, and the producer and consumer will be powerless.” (Capitals his)
He believed John’s prophecy would be literally fulfilled and saw the time approaching. He viewed the financial institutions of his own time as being possible instruments that could be used to facilitate this total control of money transactions by the state.
Now consider the present. We have seen technological advances such as implanting electronic chips in the human hand. It does not take a great leap of imagination to see how this could be used to implement the program of the beast of Revelation. We have also seen the sudden and wanton freezing of funds belonging to freedom protesters. Not only can they not do transactions; they have lost all access to what belongs to them. They have been mugged by political figures for political reasons, and the financial institutions we call “trusts” have themselves betrayed them.
There is a fourth time frame also to consider, the time of the full and literal fulfillment of John’s prophecy of total commerce takeover, as well as the other horrors of the Tribulation. Read the Revelation to get a proper sense of the time that surely cannot be far away. There are two reasons to personally accept Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for sins now. The first reason is to escape the horror of the Tribulation Period that current events suggest is at hand. The second reason is the eternal punishment of the Lake of Fire the Bible warns of for all who die without forgiveness of sins. Being there with no exit for all eternity is horror beyond comprehension and beyond words. One Person alone can secure us, Jesus Christ.
By Ian Kurylyk