Morning Prayer: 18 Oct – Revelation 13:16-18 ~ the mark of the beast

Morning Prayer

+ In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening sentences

Lord, open my lips and my mouth will proclaim your praise.

I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to secure me: against snares of devils,
against temptations of vices, against inclinations of nature,
against everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.

Revelation 13:16-18 (ESV) – to be read aloud

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Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.

Reflection

THE SECOND VISION – THE SEVEN TRUMPETS (8:2-14:20)

Interlude (12:1-14:20)

The mark of the beast (13:16-18)

The second beast requires all people to receive the mark of the first beast on their right hand or forehead.

Its significance in the present passage is to parody the sealing of the servants of God in chapter 7. As the elect are sealed upon their foreheads to escape the destruction about to fall upon the earth, so the followers of the beast are to escape his wrath against the church by bearing his mark…. In the final days of Antichrist it will represent the ultimate test of religious loyalty. Only those who would rather die than compromise their faith will resist the mark of the beast. (Mounce, p.259-60)

The mark of the beast served both a religious and economic purpose…. John expects the beast, aided by the false prophet, to achieve a totalitarian rule in which he has complete control over politics, religion, and economics with the purpose of compelling the worship of all men. (Ladd, p.185-6)

The number of the beast (13:18)

No verse in Revelation has received more attention than this one with its cryptic reference to the number of the beast…. The history of interpretation demonstrates that no consensus has been reached on whom or what John had in mind. (Mounce, p.261)

The most we can say is that the number of the beast is a prophecy of a future situation, no one has yet solved the meaning of the number, but its meaning will be plain when the time comes. (Ladd, p.187)

In summary (chapters 12 & 13)

Chapter 12 introduced us to the great dragon, the primary adversary of God. In chapter 13 we met the two great forces used by Satan to accomplish his nefarious plans. The stage is set for the final encounter. What is crucial at this point is to recognize the true nature of the struggle. While the Lamb was victorious on the cross, the full and public acknowledgment of that victory awaits a final moment. Believers live in the already/not yet tension of a battle won but not quite over. While the victory as been achieved, the defeated enemy must still be permanently removed from the field of battle. That will take place when the conquering Messiah returns to establish his eternal rule. (Mounce, p.263)

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Canticle

Christ, as a light – illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield – overshadow me.
Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me – on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me – on my left and my right.

Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you.
May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm.
May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you.
May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
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Peanut Gallery: In September, we will begin reading through the Book of Revelation (ESV). Our purpose will be devotional, i.e. to discover the word of blessing that God has for us in these troubled times… to find hope and help for our daily lives.

This will not be a Bible Study per se: we will not attempt to unravel the “mysteries” of Revelation… that is far beyond our abilities and is not our interest here. However, so as not to get too far afield, we will rely on three study resources: primary – A Commentary on the Revelation of John (George Elton Ladd); supplemental Revelation (Leon Morris) and  The Book of Revelation (Robert H. Mounce).

The general format for Morning Prayer is adapted from the Northumbrian Community‘s Daily Office, as found in Celtic Daily Prayer (see online resources here.) On Sundays, we’ll return to the USCCB readings (see online resources here) and various liturgical resources in order to reflect the Church’s worship and concerns throughout the world. Photo illustrations and music videos, available online, are included as they illustrate or illuminate the readings. I will try to give credit and link to sources as best I can.



Categories: Life around the World, Life in America, Life in Christ

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1 reply

  1. Ephesians 6:13-18 makes me know the horrible power of Satan. His power is the same now as it will be in the time this passage refers to. Men don’t understand the awful danger around us always. May we remain faithful always, Lord.

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