Day 251/260: Read Revelation 13
Context is so important when studying the final book of the New Testament. The symbolic language has been abused by religious leaders throughout the years, and has led to great confusion. This chapter especially, with the “mark of the beast” and the “number of the beast,” has spawned many fanciful theories.
The mark of the beast was not a physical, literal mark. It was an act of submission to the evil authorities by those in the first century, the original audience of this inspired book. Those who submitted were permitted to take part in marketplace activities; those who refused were not allowed to buy and sell.
The number of the beast is also taken out of context, being applied to individuals throughout history such as the Pope, Hitler, and Ronald Reagan. None of those individuals fall under the scope of the message of Revelation.
There is a strong case for the number 666 to be applied to Nero Caesar. He was an early enemy of the church and fits into the historical context of Revelation. Some commentators make the case that the number simply signifies any evil when raised to its highest power.
Be careful when studying, and keep Biblical texts in the proper context.
Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)
Revelation 14:13. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”
Pray for strength when faced with evil authority.