RB doesn’t claim to follow Preterism at all, but I do, although I’m not any kind of Preterist you may have encountered before. (For example, I hold to a literal 1,000-year PAST millennium from 967BC-AD33, and no less than THREE PHYSICAL resurrection events, including a past, literal, physical rapture of all the dead saints up to AD70 when Christ physically returned to the Mount of Olives. Likewise a future, final end to fallen man’s history in AD 3033, but NOT an end to the planet or the universe. The Satanic realm was destroyed in AD70, and we are currently in the NHNE, awaiting Christ’s final return when He will purge this planet of the presence of any human evil forever.)
Like you, I believe scripture teaches about a SINGLE “Man of Lawlessness”. He arose from among the MANY antichrists present back in John’s days, and died in the Temple in the fall of AD 66 after a brief, meteoric rise to power which was snuffed out by one of his fellow Zealot rivals. His name was Menahem; a son or grandson of the Zealot rebel who perished, Judas the Galilean in Acts 5:37, giving Menahem the title of “the son of destruction”.
All that aside, as far as the original theme of this post, there seems to be much confusion manifested above about the “mark” of the Beast. The basic fact is that the “mark” of the Beast is not the same thing as either the NUMBER 666 or the NAME of the Beast, because Rev. 13:17 lists all three as separate and distinct from each other.
The number 666 is NOT the “mark”. The calculated number with the actual, full numerical value of six-hundred-sixty-six (not 66 percent, as proposed) is the AGE IN YEARS of the Sea Beast’s existence as of John’s writing Revelation in AD 59-60. The 666 years started in 607 BC with Nebuchadnezzar’s (the head of the “lion” kingdom) first deportation of the Jews from Jerusalem, which began their 70-year exile period.
Furthermore, there is one salient point in the context of Rev. 13 that each of the views expressed above has not mentioned. That point is one single identifying feature that shows us precisely who this Sea Beast creature is. We are told in Rev. 13:2 that the Dragon (which is Satan) gives his own power AND HIS SEAT to the Sea Beast, along with great authority. Scripture itself tells us exactly what that “SEAT” or “THRONE” of Satan is. In Rev. 2:13, it’s found in THE CITY OF PERGAMOS where Satan was said to dwell.
That means any identity we assign to the Sea Beast MUST include the fact that Satan gave his own SEAT or THRONE in the city of PERGAMOS to that Sea Beast. In addition, this also shows us that Satan Himself CANNOT BE THE BEAST (as RB has proposed) because that would mean Satan gave his own seat in Pergamos to himself, and not to another. This isn’t even a possibility.
The idolatrous city of Pergamos (along with Satan’s seat), as well as the entire Pergamum kingdom in Asia was given to the ROMAN REPUBLIC by King Attalus III in 133 BC, as a dying bequest in his written will, presented and recorded in the Roman Senate. As the last king of the Attalid dynasty, Attalus III had no heir to inherit the Pergamum kingdom, so he handed it over to his ally, the Roman Republic, before he died. This means the Sea Beast is unmistakably connected with Ancient Rome - not a time in our future.
There are a couple more texts proving that Satan cannot possibly be one of the Beasts. That is because Satan was later thrown into the Lake of Fire where the Beast and the False Prophet already were(Rev. 20:10). Each of these is distinct from each other.
Also, Rev. 16:13 lists Satan as separate from the Beast and the False Prophet, because “unclean spirits like frogs came out of the mouth of the Dragon, and out of the mouth of the Beast, and out of the mouth of the False Prophet.” Three separate entities, distinct from each other.
RB’s proposal insists that the mark of the Sea Beast imposed by the Land Beast is HUMAN DEPRAVITY from birth, and that 2/3 of mankind will have this mark, with only God’s 1/3 elect portion who does not have this mark of human depravity, according to the symbolism he is extracting from Zech. 13:8. This CONFLICTS with his own theology saying that we are ALL born with human depravity from birth (which I happen to agree with).
Apparently, RB’s proposal is that 1/3 of humanity is not born with human depravity, or at least no longer has it (after salvation). This would mean that he assigns a total number of only a 1/3 remnant of humankind that will ever be saved. There is a problem with using a 1/3 fraction to quantify how many will be eternally saved; we are told in Rev. 7:9 that the “great multitude” found in heaven are an amount of people “that NO MAN CAN NUMBER”. To assign a fixed number of 1/3 of mankind who will be saved is to ignore the Rev. 7:9 text about the “great multitude” that no one is supposed to be able to number.
Besides, doesn’t it sound odd that the “elect angels” have a 2/3 number who didn’t fall into rebellion (Rev. 12:4) compared to mankind’s proposed 1/3 ? Why would the angels have a better percentage of righteousness than elect humankind?
I think it’s a mistake to apply the Zech. 13:8 numbers of 1/3 and 2/3 to the SALVATION STATUS of ALL mankind. When Zech. 13:8 says that 2/3 will be “cut off and DIE”, it only means that the 2/3 lost their PHYSICAL LIVES in that LOCAL JUDGMENT on the land of Israel and Jerusalem in particular, which are the very locations being spoken of in that Zech. 13:8 context. Bad eisegesis all around on that one point.
As for the “mark” of the Beast that is imposed by the Land Beast on behalf of the Sea Beast, along with the restriction of not being able to buy and sell, there is a picture of this “mark” of the Sea Beast at the
following link: http://www.begedivri.com/shekel/
It’s a coin. You can actually purchase one online for about 700-800 bucks, if you are so inclined. A very particular silver coin called the “Tyrian shekel” which the Jewish priesthood REQUIRED all in Israel to use for paying their annual Temple Tax and for buying and selling any sacrificial animals in the Temple.
This coin, prized for the purity of its high silver content of 94-95%, was minted in the city of Tyre from 127 BC until 19 BC. That year, Rome closed the mint at Tyre, and started importing degraded 80% silver coins from the East instead. It was then that the Jews asked Rome for permission to start minting a purer silver coin themselves, for ceremonial use in the Temple.
Since only an independent nation had the privilege of minting its own currency, Rome agreed to let the Jews do this, as long as they continued to keep the same Tyrian shekel images on their coins of the demi-god Hercules and the Roman eagle with the inscription “Tyre the holy and city of refuge”. They also had the initials “KP” stamped on them, standing for “kraitos Romaion”, which meant “power of the Romans” - a sign that the Jews were only issuing their coins under subjection to Rome’s authorization. These forbidden, pagan images and profane inscription were an abominable affront to God’s laws about this, given to Israel by Moses back in Deuteronomy 7:25-26. However, the Jewish priesthood ignored this point of the law and agreed to keep using the same pagan images on the new coins that Rome allowed them to produce after 19 BC.
All those in Israel who did not cooperate with the Jewish leadership’s insistence on using this coin for religious transactions would have been regarded as a rebel - similar to the Zealots who opposed anything that recognized Roman oversight of their nation. Any rebellious ones disturbing the pro-Roman status quo - like the Zealots - were put under a ban by being cast out of the synagogue. This was a punishment on a par with a death sentence, because such individuals were to be shunned by the entire community, and forbidden any personal sympathy or business support of the person’s livelihood. Such ostracism could literally kill, and kept the people in petrified fear of the Sanhedrin’s power.
We have ample scripture examples proving the widespread extent of this “fear of the Jews” concerning the threat of excommunication from the synagogue by the religious leaders of Israel.
John 19:38 - Joseph of Arimathea’s fear of the Jews
John 9:22 - the parents of the blind man fearing expulsion from the synagogue
John 12:42 - any converted religious leaders were afraid to confess their faith, lest the Pharisees kick them out of the synagogue
John 16:2 - Jesus gave His disciples a warning that they would be put out of the synagogue, and even killed for confessing their faith in Christ
These examples show us that the Land Beast of Rev. 13, (the 2-horned Pharisee and Sadducee leadership of Israel that spoke lies, just like the Dragon/Satan did) could actually cause those not giving homage to the image of the Beast to be killed.
Revelation 13:12 and 14 tells us that the Land Beast “exercises all the power of the first Beast BEFORE IT”. This was done by the delegated powers that the Roman authority allowed the Sanhedrin of Israel to exercise over its own people.
The priesthood were responsible for the “fire from heaven” on the Temple’s altar, which was done by the Land Beast “IN THE SIGHT OF THE SEA BEAST”. That is, in its very presence. The Greek word “ENOPION” in Rev 13:13 and 14 means “before the face of”, or visually in front of it. This was absolutely true in first-century Jerusalem, because the Temple was positioned across from the Roman Antonia fortress and its barracks for
the soldiers which was situated on what we mistakenly call the “Temple Mount” today.
This Antonia fortress was directly in view of the true location of Jerusalem’s Temple sitting across from it on Mount Zion, with the waters of the Gihon Spring channeled through it. So the Land Beast of Israel’s leadership was actually operating from the Temple in the very sight of the Roman Sea Beast who was present at the Antonia fortress.
Rev. 13:16 goes on to indicate that the “mark” imposed on those in Israel by the Land Beast in behalf of the Roman Sea Beast was received in their right HAND or in their FOREHEADS. In spite of a certain symbolism expressed by this (as RB has noted), for the Tyrian shekel, this was literally true. For a fee, the Temple money-changers handed over the required, priesthood-approved Tyrian shekel or half shekel in exchange for any foreign currency brought to the Temple by the worshippers. Or, as scripture calls this coin, the “didrachma”, or the “drachma”.
This “drachma” coin also showed up in the headdress of married women of the time. A row of ten drachma coins was fastened in the FOREHEAD portion of the headdress as a sign of a woman’s married status, serving the same purpose as a wedding ring. This is why the woman who lost one of her 10 drachma coins in Luke 15:8-10 was so perturbed by the loss, just as a married woman today would be upset at losing her wedding ring somewhere in the house.
So, to condense these comments into simple terms of definition:
Sea Beast of Rev. 13:1 - a conglomerate biographical history of Daniel’s world empires ever since Nebuchadnezzar’s “lion” kingdom, ending finally with the Roman empire’s presence in John’s days, sitting on Rome’s 7 hills, with a specified number of 10 horns as crowned emperors. This Sea Beast had been given the seat of Satan in Pergamos in 133 BC.
Land Beast of Rev. 13:11 - the 2-horned Pharisee and Sadducee leadership structure in Israel with a reputation for deceit and speaking lies like Satan, the Dragon. (As Christ described them in John 8:44 and 55, “Ye are of your father the devil...he is a liar, and the father of it....if I should say I know Him not, I should be a liar like unto you...”). It exercised the power delegated to it by the Roman Sea Beast over those in the land of Istael on the behalf of, and in support of the last Roman phase of the Sea Beast.
The “mark” of the Beast - the Tyrian shekel and half-shekel coin (the didrachma and drachma) required by the priesthood Land Beast for use in any buying and selling of sacrificial offerings in the Temple, and for payment of the annual Temple Tax. The Tyrian shekel “mark” was placed in the hands of those exchanging their foreign currency by the money-changers in the Temple, and was also featured as the coins in the forehead of a married woman’s headdress covering.
The 666 number of the Sea Beast - the actual calculation of the number of years the combined world empires of Daniel’s vision had held sway, from 607 BC when Nebuchadnezzar deported Daniel and the first group of Jews from Jerusalem (at the start of the 70-year exile) until the time when John was writing Revelation in AD 59-60; just prior to the AD 60 Laodicean earthquake ( predicted soon to happen in Rev. 3:14-16).
Lots to digest, I know...sorry about that robycop3...and I’m pretty sure you will not agree with any of this Preterist-flavored material, but that’s okay...I won’t be offended. Just hope you realize that not all Preterists “spiritualize” away everything. These were literal, historical, physical events of the first-century times that all line up with fulfilling the WRITTEN prophecies of Revelation, down to the letter in many, many cases. That leaves the UNWRITTEN prophecies of Rev. 10:4 to be fulfilled AFTER AD 70.