The "mark of the beast" that has been the subject of much speculation by Christians.
He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name (Rev 13:16.17).
To understand this we must remember that:
Mark = Brand
The key to the success of a multinational corporation is its brand name or trademark. These brands or trademarks are the most valuable assets of most large corporations. Coca Cola's brand is more valuable than the Coke recipe or the company's physical assets. If something gave Coca Cola a negative image in the minds of consumers, so it was no longer "cool", the profits of the company could be destroyed. Companies based in the United States control most of the important brands.
The Beast of Revelation manifests in various ways. One of manifestion is the Economic Empire.
The economic empire persuades or forces people all over the world to buy goods that carry its brands or marks. People everywhere, whether rich or poor, are buying or wearing the same American brands or labels. Young people, even in the poorest countries, wear Rip Curl shirts and Nike shoes. The same makes of car are seen in every city in the world. The same television programs are watched all over the world. This uniformity has sometimes been called as McDonaldisation.
The forehead symbolises thinking. The hand symbolises doing. Therefore a mark on the forehead or on the hands means that all thinking and doing will be done in terms of the marks or brand's of the economic empire . The whole of life will be dominated by a number of brands or labels. In his vision, John saw a time when it would not be possible to buy anything that does not have the brand or trademark of a large American multinational corporation on it.
A great irony is that churches have also established brands like pentecostal, evangelical or "in the river". Many of these brands are elitist and manifest self-righteousness.
The number of the beast is 666.
This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666 (Rev 13:18).
This could be the number of brands or labels that will dominate human activity.
We also need to understand that the mark of the beast is a pyramid. It is really three numbers: 600, 60 and 6. This tells us something about the American economic empire. It will start as a large number of independent corporations (600). Gradually the number of corporations will reduce to a smaller number, as the powerful ones take over those that are weaker (60). At the end there will be just a few (6).
Christians are always looking for a conspiracy, but the emergence of this economic beast is not a conspiracy. This Beast does not use force or conspiracy to gain control. It gets control because people want the benefits that economic globalisation brings. We have elected the beast. We vote for the virtual beast every time we spend a dollar. Every dollar spent on a Reebok shirt, Nike shoes, a car from one of the big carmakers, is a vote for the economic beast. This is not being forced on us. We are choosing the Beast, because it gives us what we want.
Christians are often afraid of this beast, but they expect it to come in the future. However, it is already among us, and we have submitted to it. Anyone who wears a hat with Nike on the forehead, or a shirt with Reebok on the arm, or sends and email that says "sent by IPhone", already has the mark of the beast.
The economic beast does not need to seize power; it is given power. The people of the world trust this beast to provide them with what they want. They are glad to submit to it, for what it will give them. The authority of the beast will come from below, because people or nations will surrender to it freely. There will be no force. Yet there will be a tremendous exercising of authority that will eventually cause the nations and peoples to hate the beast and rebel.
Return to American Beast.