Revelation 13:17
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.
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13:11-18 Those who understand the first beast to denote a worldly power, take the second to be also a persecuting and assumed power, which acts under the disguise of religion, and of charity to the souls of men. It is a spiritual dominion, professing to be derived from Christ, and exercised at first in a gentle manner, but soon spake like the dragon. Its speech betrayed it; for it gives forth those false doctrines and cruel decrees, which show it to belong to the dragon, and not to the Lamb. It exercised all the power of the former beast. It pursues the same design, to draw men from worshipping the true God, and to subject the souls of men to the will and control of men. The second beast has carried on its designs, by methods whereby men should be deceived to worship the former beast, in the new shape, or likeness made for it. By lying wonders, pretended miracles. And by severe censures. Also by allowing none to enjoy natural or civil rights, who will not worship that beast which is the image of the pagan beast. It is made a qualification for buying and selling, as well as for places of profit and trust, that they oblige themselves to use all their interest, power, and endeavour, to forward the dominion of the beast, which is meant by receiving his mark. To make an image to the beast, whose deadly wound was healed, would be to give form and power to his worship, or to require obedience to his commands. To worship the image of the beast, implies being subject to those things which stamp the character of the picture, and render it the image of the beast. The number of the beast is given, so as to show the infinite wisdom of God, and to exercise the wisdom of men. The number is the number of a man, computed after the usual manner among men, and it is 666. What or who is intended by this, remains a mystery. To almost every religious dispute this number has yet been applied, and it may reasonably be doubted whether the meaning has yet been discovered. But he who has wisdom and understanding, will see that all the enemies of God are numbered and marked out for destruction; that the term of their power will soon expire, and that all nations shall submit to our King of righteousness and peace.And that no man might buy or sell - That is, this mighty power would claim jurisdiction over the traffic of the world, and endeavor to make it tributary to its own purposes. Compare Revelation 18:11-13, Revelation 18:17-19. This is represented by saying that no one might "buy or sell" except by its permission; and it is clear that where this power exists of determining who may "buy and sell," there is absolute control over the wealth of the world.

Save he that had the mark - To keep it all among its own friends; among those who showed allegiance to this power.

Or the name of the beast - That is, the "mark" referred to was either the name of the beast, or the number of his name. The meaning is, that he had something branded on him that showed that he belonged to the beast - as a slave had the name of his master; in other words, there was something that certainly showed that he was subject to its authority.

Or the number of his name - In regard to what is denoted by the number of the beast, see the notes on Revelation 13:18. The idea here is, that that "number," whatever it was, was so marked on him as to show to whom he belonged. According to the interpretation here proposed, the meaning of this passage is, that the papacy would claim jurisdiction over traffic and commerce; or would endeavor to bring it under its control, and make it subservient to its own ends. Traffic or commerce is one of the principal means by which property is acquired, and he who has the control of this has, to a great degree, the control of the wealth of a nation; and the question now is, whether any such jurisdiction has been set up, or whether any such control has in fact been exercised, so that the wealth of the world has been subject to papal Rome? For a more full illustration of this I may refer to the notes on Revelation 18:11-13, Revelation 18:16-17; but at present it may be sufficient to remark, that the manifest aim of the papacy, in all its history, has been to control the world, and to get dominion over its wealth, in order that it might accomplish its own purposes. But, besides this, there have been numerous specified acts more particularly designed to control the business of "buying and selling." It has been common in Rome to prohibit, by express law, all traffic with heretics. Thus a canon of the Lateran council, under Pope Alexander III., commanded that no man should entertain or cherish them in his house or land, or traffic with them (Hard. vi., 2:1684). The synod of Tours, under the same Pope Alexander, passed the law that no man should presume to receive or assist the heretics, no, not so much as to exercise commerce with them in selling or buying. And so, too, the Constance council as expressed in Pope Martin's bull (Elliott, vol. 3, pp. 220, 221).

17. And—So A, B, and Vulgate read. C, Irenæus, 316, Coptic, and Syriac omit it.

might buy—Greek, "may be able to buy."

the mark, or the name—Greek, "the mark (namely), the name of the beast." The mark may be, as in the case of the sealing of the saints in the forehead, not a visible mark, but symbolical of allegiance. So the sign of the cross in Popery. The Pope's interdict has often shut out the excommunicate from social and commercial intercourse. Under the final Antichrist this shall come to pass in its most violent form.

number of his name—implying that the name has some numerical meaning.

And that no man might buy or sell: this the popish church effects by its excommunications; it was begun in the council of Lateran, anathematizing all who entertained any of the Waldenses, or traded with them; and the late learned bishop of Armagh, in his book Deu Successione Ecclesiae, hath given us an account of such a canon of a synod in France, which in express terms forbade any commerce with heretics in buying or selling. Paraeus tells us Pope Martin the Fifth hath best interpreted this prophecy, in his bull added to the council of Constance, where he prohibits Roman Catholics to suffer any heretics to have any dwellings in their countries, or to make any bargains, or use any trades, or to perform to them any civil offices.

Save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name: there have been great disputes about the name and number of the beast. I must profess myself not able to distinguish between the mark, name, and number of the beast; they may all signify the same thing, viz. the profession of the Romish religion. Some think the number is contained in the name, and that the name is DATEINOS, in which the number six hundred and sixty-six is contained; of which we shall speak more by and by.

And that no man might buy or sell,.... Either in an ecclesiastical sense, as to, be in any church office, or perform any such service, to say Mass, hear confession, give absolution, sell pardons and indulgences, &c. or in a civil sense, as to trade, and exercise merchandise, and this was forbidden by several Popish councils and synods; the Lateran council, under Pope Alexander, decreed against the Waldenses and Albigenses, that no one should presume to retain or encourage them in their houses or countries, or "trade" with them; and the synod of Tours in France forbid any reception of heretics, or protection, and that any communion should be had with them "in buying and selling", as Mr. Mede has observed; and it was ordered by a bull of Pope Martin the Fifth, that no contract should be made with such, and that they should not follow any business and merchandise:

save he that had the mark; took the oath to be true to the pope, or made a public profession of the Popish religion:

or the name of the beast; Papists, so called from the pope; thus the antichristians are called from antichrist, as the Christians from Christ:

or the number of his name; which is either the same with the number of the beast in Revelation 13:18, or is something distinct it; and those who have it may be such persons who neither have the indelible character of the Romish clergy, nor are open professors of the Popish religion, but are in heart inclined to it, and privately and secretly promote it, by their doctrines and practices; and so are numbered, reckoned, esteemed, and accounted of by the Papists, and receive favours from them; or rather such who openly "furnish the drink offering" in the Mass, mixed with wine and water, "for that number", Isaiah 65:11.

And that no man might {25} buy or sell, save he that had the {26} mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

(25) That is, have any trade or dealings with men, but only those who have this annointing and consecration of Clearkely shaving of the head, as they call it, read Gratian de Consecratione, distincione tertia.c.omnes.cap spiritus, etc. of these matters.

(26) Here the false prophets require three things, set down in the order of their greatness, a character, a name, and the number of the name. The meaning is, that man that does not have their first annointing and clerical shaving of the head: secondly holy orders, by which is communicated the name of the beast: or finally has not attained that high degree of pontifical knowledge, and of the law (as they call it) canonical, and has not made up in account and cast the number of the mysteries of it: for in these things consists the number of the name of the beast. This is excellently set forth in the next verse.

The Number of the Name of the Beast, Revelation 13:17-1817. and that] “And” should not improbably be omitted, the construction then, being, he causeth all … that they give them a mark, … that no man may …”

no man might buy or sell] Such disabilities seem to have been actually imposed, at least in the Diocletian persecution, by requiring business transactions to be preceded by pagan formulas.

the mark, or the name] Om. “or:” the true reading is, “the mark—the name of the Beast, or the number of his name.”

the number of his name] In Hebrew and in Greek, letters were used for numerals, every letter having its own proper significance as a number. Among the Jews (and to some extent among early Christians, especially heretics) this suggested the possibility of finding numbers mystically corresponding to any word: the numerical value of all the letters might be added together, and the sum would represent the word. This process was called by the Jews Gematria, a corruption of the Greek Geometria. Ridiculous as were many of the attempts made to find mystical meanings in the words of Scripture by this process, it remains true that a Jew of St John’s time would probably mean, by “the number of a name,” the number formed by Gematria from its letters: and probably the numerous guesses, from St Irenaeus’ time to our own, that have been based on this method are so far on the right track. But there are too many that are plausible for any one to be probable. There are in fact an indefinite number of proper names whose letters will amount to 666 (or 616, see below) either in Hebrew or Greek—at least when the names are neither Hebrew nor Greek, and so have to be arbitrarily transliterated. Thus neither Lateinos, i.e. Latinus (one of several mentioned by St Irenaeus) nor Nerôn Kêsar i.e. Nero Caesar (adopted by many modern interpreters) is convincing: and no other name (Genseric, Mohammed, and even Napoleon have been tried, with more or less violence) has any real chance of being right. The letters of Lateinos must be taken with their numeral value in Greek, those of Neron Kesar as Hebrew. If neither of these be the true one, we may be pretty certain it will not be discovered till Antichrist appears: and then believers will be able to identify him by this token.

Revelation 13:17. Ἵνα) Others, καὶ ἵνα. Wolf approves of this, remarking, however, that καὶ is omitted even by the Coptic Version. In truth the shorter reading is supported by the most ancient authorities. Add to the Latins, Apringius, Ansbert, Etherius.[147] See above, on ch. Revelation 6:4. The construction is this, δῶσι χάραγμα, ἵνα, κ.τ.λ. We have shown, on Revelation 13:1, that there are three Periods of duration. In the last part of the first period arises the most grievous calamity, the length of which can scarcely he defined, unless it be the number of clays agreeing by analogy with the number of the beast, of which we shall speak presently.

[147] AB Vulg. support καί. Ch Iren. 316, Memph. Syr. omit it.—E.

Verse 17. - And that no man might bay or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. "And" is omitted in א, C, some cursives and versions and Fathers: no man should be able to buy, etc. A, B, C, P, and most cursives also omit , "or," before "the name," thus reading, as in the Revised Version: save he that hath the mark, even the name of the beast, or the number of his name. This expressly asserts what we might have gathered from the analogy of the mark of the true Christian (see on ver. 16), viz. that "the mark" was "the name" or "the number of his name." The manner in which this was fulfilled in the early ages of the Church is sufficiently notorious. Then faithfulness to the cause of Christ frequently meant banishment from friends, kindred, and home. St. John himself was feeling the effect of this at the time when he wrote these words in exile at Patmos. So, at the present day, the Jews regard as an utter alien any one of their number who embraces Christianity. So also, at the present day, the faithful Christian is often interdicted the society of the world, is declared a social nuisance, and is shunned by the worldly minded, who pay allegiance to the beast. (On the "number," see on ver. 18.) Revelation 13:17The number

The method of mystic numbering obtained alike among pagan Greeks, Gnostics, Christian Fathers, and Jewish Cabbalists. Jupiter was invoked under the number 717 contained in the letters Ἡ ἉΡΧΗ the beginning. The Gnostics affixed to their gems and amulets the mystic word ἀβρασαξ or ἀβραξας, under the idea of some virtue attaching to its number, 365, as being that of the days of the solar cycle. Barnabas and Clement of Alexandria speak of the virtue of the number 318 as being that of IHT, the common abbreviation for Jesus crucified. In the pseudo-Sybilline verses, written by Christians, about the end probably of the second century, are found versified enigmas giving the number and requiring the name. The translation of one of these on the word Jesus is as follows: "He will come upon earth clothed with flesh like mortal men. His name contains four vowels and two consonants: two of the former being sounded together. And I will declare the entire number. For the name will exhibit to incredulous men eight units, eight tens, and eight hundreds."

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