17 And [kai] that no [hina me] man [tis] might [dunamai] buy [agorazo] or [e] sell, [poleo] save he [ei
me] that had [echo]
the mark, [charagma] or [e] the name [onoma] of the
beast, [therion] or [e] the number [arithmos] of
his [autos] name. [onoma] KJV-Interlinear
17 and he
provides that no one should be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has
the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. NASB
In the future, not only will people be placed under religious duress, but they will be placed under economic duress as well.
Remember that we are studying the Tribulation. The Tribulation is a seven year period that is still future. When in the future it will occur, is anyone's guess.
The Tribulation is also called 'the time of Jacob's trouble,' 'Daniels seventieth week,' and the latter half is called the 'great tribulation.'
The Tribulation is the final seven years of the dispensation of the Age of Israel. That dispensation was interrupted by our current dispensation, the Church Age, which we are living in right now. Our Church age will end when the Rapture occurs, and then the Age of Israel will resume and conclude with its last seven years of history.
The Rapture is still future and is the only event whose date of occurrence has been left unknown to us. Our Church Age began at the Feast of Pentecost, which occurred fifty days after the Feast of Passover, on which date Christ was crucified. That occurred in approximately 30 A.D.
So if you subtract 30 A.D. from our current year, 2010, then our dispensation has lasted 1,980 years thus far and still counting.
Our dispensation is one of trends. There are no specific prophesies within our dispensation except the terminating event of the Rapture. There are however many 'signs' specified in the Bible which will help us identify that we are nearing the end of our dispensation, but none of them specifically state the date of the termination of our era.
These signs are spelled out in the Special Studies segment of the study library online, but some of them are the formation of the nation of Israel, accelerated knowledge, accelerated earthquakes, accelerated travel, accelerated population growth, the formation of identifiable powers in the four directions relative to Israel (north, south, east, and west), an increased great apostasy, and so forth.
There are many signs, which we call trends, but probably one of the most notable signs is the evolving political climate of liberalism or progressivism as it is called today, where we have seen the attempt at forming a government controlled economy, intended to control all aspects of our lives.
In spite of the failed systems of socialism in Europe, the world seems bent on adopting their model and going even further in controlling health care, insurance, the financial industry, the auto industry, employment and so forth.
And when you consider the fact that there is a huge population worldwide that wants to embrace this type of government control, and even riots occur when their benefits are reduced or taken away (France, Greece, Spain, etc.), and when you consider the trend of increased apostasy at the end of our Church Age, then you should see how easily it will be for the anti-christ to come along and impose the most stringent government regulation system ever in history.
In World War 2, the Jews were forced to wear signs and identifying marks. In communist Bulgaria, ration cards were issued, of which it as said, the government, with this little card, could decide who would eat and who would starve.
With the recent health care laws, the government will have the right to impose penalties on anyone who does not have the health plan they authorize. They will have the right to regulate what health care each person can receive. They will have the right to take money out of your bank account if fees are charged for your health care, and if you do not have a bank account, your health care will be cancelled.
The direction of more and more government control is apparent and inevitable. And when the tribulation begins, then the most abusive government control in all of history, will begin and people will suffer like never before.
People will not only be forced to worship evil, but if they do not, then they will not be allowed any economic activity (jobs, food, shelter, clothing, etc.).
People will be forced to comply, or starve and die, or go underground into black market arrangements. And in that last regard, when people are forced into helpless situations then gangs and unruly types will take advantage.
The description of the identification of the beast is expanded here in explanation as to the mark, the name, or the number. This does not mean there are three separate identifiers, but what this is intended to do it to make it very clear, that this is the anti-christ and Satan and evil that is driving the world into disaster.
The number is not a number for it refers to the number of 'his name.' The name of the anti-christ is emphasized here, not a number per se. The number is going to identify or clarify the name and therefore the person of the anti-christ.
The next verse will explain a number, and we will get to that tomorrow, but nowhere in the scriptures is the beast or his name or the identification mechanism identified. Only those who will live in that future time, will be the only ones who will be able to know these things.
And that is the purpose of these two verses, this one and the next verse. For this will give those future folks the means of identifying the beast (the anti-christ), and the second beast (the false prophet).
And it gives us, who live in the Church Age, a little insight as to how these things will come to be. We can see the trends of politics developing right before our eyes. And even though we can fight them as best we can, sooner or later, evil will be triumphant as Satan establishes his hold on the world - for a short time anyway.