Saturday, November 28, 2009

No "buying or selling without the mark" in Rev 13

The mark on the forehead or the hand is a counterfeit of the godly, spiritual marks (Ex 13.9, 16, Is 44.5, etc.). We know that these are not physical marks because you cannot wear the passover on your hand or on your forehead.

While the "buying and the selling" need not be literalized either, I think the reference is a little more pointed than merely the idea that those not marked cannot receive what the beast offers. (In the positive examples, "buying" means receiving what Christ gives us, Is 55.1-3, Rev 3.18, cf., Prov 23.23.)

As with modern communities, ancient communities regulated who could buy and who could sell. It was one indication of who was in the community and who was not. So the returning exiles commit to regulate among themselves when they would buy and sell (Neh 10.31) and turn away foreign buyers and sellers, those who do not belong to the community (Neh 13.15-22). So I take the "no buying or selling" without the mark of the beast to be the exclusion of early Christians (who were Jewish) from the ordinary life of the community and synagogue (Heb 13.11-14, Jn 9.22, 12.42, 16.2).


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