“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
Whatever this verse means, it will happen near the very end of earth’s history. Everyone will be marked and no one will be able to buy or sell unless they have the mark of the beast. Sounds a little scary doesn’t it?
If you read all the way to the end of the page and I think you’ll be less scared about this verse. You might even be relieved!
Looking at Clues
This Bible verse has gotten a lot of attention from grown-ups. There’s some crazy ideas about what it might mean. Instead of debating which crazy idea sounds best, let’s look at what the Bible has to say about buying and selling. Maybe we can find some clues to unlock this mystery. In our next post we’ll look at the mark, name and number of the beast.
The Bible talks a lot about buying and selling. Sometimes it’s called “trafficking, trade, or merchandising”. Take a look.
- Lucifer (aka Satan) was a trader. What was he trafficking or selling? Lies. He also defiled his sanctuary or holy place. Remember you are a sanctuary too. (1 Cor. 3:16)
“By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned.” Ezek. 28:16 NKJV
“You defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your traffick.” Ezek. 28:18
- Proverbs tell us to buy the truth and sell it not. Maybe it’s a good thing – to not be able to buy and sell at the end of earth’s history! No more “buying into” Satan’s lies. What do you think?
“Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.” Proverbs 23:23
- Jesus teaches us to buy gold tried in the fire, white raiment, and eyesalve. He urges us to do this right away. Why? Because we won’t be able to later. It will be too late. Gold tried in the fire represents purity, white raiment is Christ’s righteousness and eyesalve means having spiritual eyes and hearts to see and understand the truth from God’s word.
“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 eye-salve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Rev. 3:18-19
What We Have Learned So Far
So far we have learned:
- We do not want to buy Satan’s lies.
- We do want to buy truth.
- We do want to buy purity, Christ’s righteousness and spiritual understanding.
- We don’t want to wait too long, because at some point it will be too late. There will be no more buying and selling of these good things.
Wait a minute? Isn’t salvation a free gift? We shouldn’t have to buy it – right?! What does this mean? And furthermore, what should we be selling? So many questions! Questions are good! Let’s keep digging.
Three Parables about Buying and Selling
Did you know Jesus told some parables about buying and selling. We might want to know what He had to say on this subject. In these stories he tells us what the price is for entering God’s kingdom.
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. One day a man found the treasure and hid it to keep it safe. Then with joy he went and sold all that he had and with the money bought the field where the treasure was. (Matthew 13:44 paraphrased)
How much did he sell to make sure he got this treasure? Everything that he had!
The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant man looking for wonderful pearls. One day he found a pearl that was very, very valuable; the best he had ever seen. He quickly went out and sold all that he had so he could buy this valuable pearl. (Matthew 13:45-46)
How much did he sell to get the valuable pearl? All that he had!
The kingdom of heaven will be like ten bridesmaids, who took their oil lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were wise and five were foolish. The foolish ones took no extra oil with them. The wise ones took extra oil for their lamps.
The bridegroom took a little longer that expected. It was getting so late, the bridesmaids all went to sleep. At midnight they heard a cry, “The bridegroom is coming, go out and meet him!”
Then all the bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. But the foolish bridesmaids couldn’t light their lamps because they had no more oil. They begged the wise bridesmaids to give them some oil. But the wise ones said, “Go to those who sell, and buy oil for yourselves.”
While the foolish bridesmaids went to buy more oil, the bridegroom came. The wise ones were ready to meet him and went in to the wedding. The door shut behind them.
When the other bridesmaids came back they said, “Please open the door and let us in!”
But the bridegroom answered and said, “I don’t know you.”
Then Jesus said, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of man cometh.”
What is Oil?
Oil was used in the Old Testament tabernacle to anoint things indicating that they were holy. Oil was also used to keep the lamps always burning in the tabernacle, providing light. In the New Testament, light equals truth and John connects anointing with truth (1 John 2:27). The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16:13).
So what does this all mean?
Let’s put it together.
Near the end of this world’s history, no one will be able to buy or sell unless they have the mark of the beast, the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
The Bible tells us about buying and selling. We are advised to stock up on the truth. We should put on Christ’s righteousness – that means to accept Jesus into your heart, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit and the truth he leads us too. We are also told that those who value heaven will give up everything they have to get there. Nothing will be more important in their lives than Jesus.
Some grown-ups think they won’t be able to go out and buy groceries or gasoline because of some terrible laws or disasters and it scares them. This could happen. It has happened to other people in other countries at various times. But I don’t think that’s what the Bible is talking about here. Jesus is telling us that those who are sealed with the Holy Spirit and have the truth of God’s word in their hearts at the end of time, will not “buy” into Satan’s lies. They will not be deceived by his clever tricks (aka merchandise). They will not love the things of this world. They will already have given up (sold) anything that would keep them away from following Jesus.
Wow, that’s good news! There will come a time when Satan’s lies will no longer be able to touch me. I will not be able to buy and sell because I will already have the truth that sets me free! Now that’s something to get excited about!
Now is the time to pray for God’s Holy Spirit to direct your Bible study, your thoughts and your actions. Pray for God to show you the truth found in his word. Ask Jesus into your heart and tell Him you are ready to give it all up to follow Him. You’ll be so glad you did!
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