Who are Notsrim? "Watchmen" of the Torah

The commandments of the Torah and Prophets have not been abolished or changed by Yehoshua the Son of YeHoVaH, as it is written, "Think not that I come to annul the Torah, but to perfect it. Truly I say to you until heaven and earth (depart) not one letter or dot shall be abloshed from the Torah or Prophets, because all will be established" (Heb. Matt. 5:17-18).

Who is mystery Babylon?  Who are the beasts?  What is the mark, number, and name of the beast? 

The identity of Revelation 17's "mystery Babylon" is a much-debated point of end-times prophecy.  The interpretations of this prophecy are diverse.  Some say Babylon is America (New York City), others say Rome is Babylon, and still others Iraq (ancient Babylon), the Middle-East, or the military industrial complex in general.  

Let's start with the Scriptures the pertain to "her":

“And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sits upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration... 

And the angel said unto me, why did thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carries her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

The beast that thou saw was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he comes, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goes into perdition. And the ten horns which thou saw are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

And he said unto me, the waters which thou saw, where the whore sits, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.  And the ten horns which thou saw upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou saw is that great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth (Revelations 17).  

Ok, mystery Babylon IS "that great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth."  Some have tried to interpret the word city allegorically or in a wider sense that the word allows.  I'm going to stick to the LITERAL interpretation that the angel gives.  Mystery Babylon is a CITY, defined below by the Strong's Concordance: 

4172 polis - a town (properly with walls, of greater of lesser size) -- city.

3073 - megas - big, large.  

Now, the verb "is" used in the verse is estin, which is a PRESENT tense form of the verb eimi, "to be."  *Note, much of the confusion concerning this prophecy comes in whether we consider the angels' statements as being contextual to John's day and age, or being applied in the future day of judgement.  Because this prophecy would be delivered to disciples living in the 1st/2nd century, the plain and simple meaning of the prophecy is for that period.  Otherwise, we have to employ a more comlicated method of interpretation that contradicts the immediecy of the prophecy states in the first verse of the Revelation:   

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must SHORTLY come to pass" (Rev. 1:1). 

5034 táxos – swiftness (speed), i.e. done as quickly (speedily) as is appropriate to the particular situation. [This root (tax-) emphasizes the idea "promptly" (without unjustified time-lapse). Immediacy is conveyed by 2112 /euthéos ("straightway, right away").

“Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: FOR THE TIME IS AT HAND” (Rev. 1:3).  

In light of these two witnesses, it is inconsistent to apply prophecies of the book exclusively to a future time or from a futurist perspective.  

Now, if this "great city" were a past or future city, why wouldn't this be indicated?  Therefore, it was a city in existence at the time of John (approximately 70 A.D.).  I was able to find statistics for the year 100 A.D., and the largest city in the world was Rome, with a population of 450,000 (http://geography.about.com/library/weekly/aa011201b.htm). This number was 200,000 more people than any city in the Middle-East where John was from.  Therefore, THE "big city" could only have been Rome.  In fact, the other three big-city candidates in the area, Selucia, Alexandria, and Antioch, were all under Roman control at this time.  

It's also important to know that Rome was what's know as a city-state.  A city-state is a sovereign state that consists of a city and its depedent territories.  

..."which reigns over the kings of the earth" (Rev. 17:18).  This was also true of the city of Rome.  It was from this city that the Roman Emperor ruled over his subordinates. 

935 baseleus - “leader of the people, prince, commander, lord of the land, king.  

This term was not excusive of "kings", but was also used of rulers such as tetrarchs in the Roman empire.  

Now we can go back to the beginning of the chapter and understand more about Mystery Babylon.  It says, "I will show you the judgement of the great whore that sits upon many waters" (Rev. 17:1). 

We are told that 'waters' are "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues (verse 15).  This makes sense, when we consider the extent of the Roman empire.  There were more than 14 trans-national regions and 45 million people included therein at 14 CE.  Tongues/Languages included Latin, Greek, Aramaic, Syriac, Coptic, Punic, Celtic, Germanic, and numereous Afro-asiatic languages.  Also, the water symbolism makes sense literally:  Looking at a map of the Roman empire at the time of the Apostle John, we see that Rome controlled all of the Mediterranean Sea, most of the Black sea, the Atlantic coast of western Europe, and the various seas surrounding Britain, also including numerous lakes and rivers.  This made control of subjegated peoples easier, as well as trade.     

..."With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication" (Rev. 17:2).  

We've already defined "kings" as more generally "rulers" and "leaders", but now must define "fornication":

4202 porneía (the root of the English terms "pornography, pornographic"; cf. 4205 /pornos) which is derived from pernao, "to sell off") – properly, a selling off (surrendering) of sexual purity; promiscuity of any (every) type. Helps word-studies © 

Strongs Concordance: harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively, idolatry -- fornication.  

The figurative use of this term in the Old Testament is very common. It refers to idolatry, as in this example: “Do not rejoice, O Israel, with exultation like the nations! For you have played the harlot, forsaking your Elohim" (Hos. 9:1). It is also contextually fitting because pagan idolatry often involved temple prostitutes. Indeed, Roman paganism employed cult prostitution, but it was more of a business than anything.  In fact, prostitution was legal in ancient Rome to maximize profits/revenue, and it was not considered immoral for a Roman man to sleep with a prostitute from time to time (*note, the Scripture says this IS A SIN).   

In this way, the use of the term "fornication", which goes uninterpreted, can be taken both literally and figuratively within the pagan context:  

“One way that Rome incorporated diverse peoples was by supporting their religious heritage, building temples to local deities that framed their theology within the hierarchy of Roman religion. Inscriptions throughout the Empire record the side-by-side worship of local and Roman deities, including dedications made by Romans to local gods...” 

Emperor worship: In the wake of the collapse of the Republic’s collapse (27 BC), the “Imperial cult became one of the major ways in which Rome advertised its presence in the provinces and cultivated shared cultural identity and loyalty throughout the Empire. Rejection of the state religion was tantamount to treason.” 

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_ancient_Rome

We see the widespread adoption of many pagan gods and practices all over the empire, even as far as the British isles.  Here we have the "inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication" aspect of this phrase in Rev. 17.  In essence, these peoples became attracted, and hence, drunk, with paganism promulgated by the Roman empire (often with literal fornication involved).   

Moving on:

"So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication" (Rev. 17:3-4).  

“during the Roman Empire, purple was more and more associated exclusively with the emperors and their officers. The Emperor Caligula had the King of Mauritania murdered for wearing a purple mantle better than his own. Nero made it punishable by death for anyone else to wear the color.” - source: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple#In_prehistory_and_the_ancient_world:_Tyrian_purple

Scarlet/red: “During the Roman Empire, [red] was second in prestige only to the purple worn by the Emperors. Roman officers wore scarlet cloaks, and persons of high rank were referring to as the coccinati, the people of red." source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarlet_(color)#Ancient_world

“The invention and widespread application of hydraulic mining, namely hushing and ground-sluicing, aided by the ability of the Romans to plan and execute mining operations on a large scale, allowed various base and precious metals to be extracted on a proto-industrial scale only rarely, if ever, matched until the Industrial Revolution.” source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_economy

Goldsmiths seem to have been organized in guild like organisations much like their Medieval successors. The main production centres in the Roman world were Rome itself, Antioch and Alexandria.”

“The use of jewelry in Roman society became popular fast with most of their items resembling that of the Hellenistic style.”

source: http://university.langantiques.com/index.php/Roman_Jewelry

"And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" (Rev. 17:5).  

Some have interpreted "mystery" to indicate that Babylon the great (lit. large) will be one that is secret or hidden. 

"Mystery" - mysterion, From a derivative of muo (to shut the mouth); a secret or "mystery" (through the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites) -- mystery. (STRONGS definition). 

I want to draw attention to the use of the term in the context.  As I've stated, there were many, many religious cults in the Roman empire, many of which required initiation.  Almost all of these can be traced directly back to ancient Babylon.  Because ancient Babylon was long since gone out of power, reading Iraq/Baghdad (the site of anceint Babylon" as the "great city" is clearly a stretch.  Rather, it is the cultic religious practices that the Roman empire  adopted- its mystery religions- that makes it "mystery Babylon", not a secret status (many who preach that America is Babylon use this word to try to back it up).  In fact, the comparison between Babylon and Rome would have made perfect sense to worshippers of the One True Elohim who can not be represented and commanded no statues to be made or forms to be worshipped/served. Those same statues, images, and pagan gods from ancient Babylon were readily set up by the Romans. This is why the mystery religions of Babylon make her the "mother of harlots and abominations of the earth." Rome is merely her new central hub.

"And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus" (Rev. 17:6).  

This doesn't need much explanation- the high degree of persecution of followers of the Messiah by the Romans at the time of Revelation's writing is well known, and can be easily researched.  However, Ancient Babylon actually preserved the lives of certain holy men such as Jeremiah and Daniel.  Rome is the prime suspect, here, using adherence to its Babylonian mystery religions/emperor worship as the legal charge against followers of Messiah.  Those who practiced Judaism were granted excemptions from partaking in pagan cults, but disciples of Messiah were seemingly granted no such immunity and were often forced to either sacrifice to pagan gods/curse Messiah, or die. Most chose death, halleluYah!  

Moving on to the Beast:

"The beast that thou saw was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is" (Rev. 17:8).

"Beast" - 2342 theríon – the generic term for wild animal ("beast"); (figuratively) a brutal ("bestial") nature. A monster. 

[2342 (theríon) never refers to animals used for sacrifice.] from thera, a hunting of wild beasts to destroy them; hence, figuratively, of preparing destruction for men (A. V. a trap),

In order to understand the identity of the Beast(s), we need to go back to Revelations 13:

“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority" (Rev. 13:1-2).

This hearkens back to the book of Daniel:

“In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made to stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it. And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns” (Daniel 7:1-7).

Here is the interpretation: 

“These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever” (Dan. 7:17-18).

Clearly, what we have in Revelations 13 is an empire that combines the four kingdoms of Daniel 7.  These four kingdoms/kings are generally considered to be as follows:

The lion is Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who starts off as a bestial pagan, but develops heart to serve the Elohim of Israel.  The bear represents the Persian king, Cyrus, the three ribs being the three kingdoms of Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt, that his empire conquered.   The Leopard represents the Greek king Alexander.  This beast has four wings (regions) and four heads, representing the four generals who split up Alexander's empire after his death.  Their names are Cassander, Ptolmey, Seleucus, and Lysimachus.  The fourth beast is recognized to be the Roman Empire, whose first emperor was Augustus Caesar.  The Romans were known for using iron weapons, which gave them a military edge over their enemies.  

Now we come to the all important questions concerning the seven mountains/seven heads.

"And here is the mind which hath wisdom.  The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he comes, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goes into perdition. And the ten horns which thou saw are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast" (Rev. 17:9-13).  

In allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture, associating the 7 kings with seven rulers of seven empires is sound Biblical interpretation.  It will also lead us directly back to Ancient Babylon who's been hitching a ride amongst these empires/with these kings all along.  

This leads us to look for 5 initial kings ruling 5 empires, post Nimrod's Babylon, prior to John's day and age.  

Here's the list I compiled, which is NOT SCRIPTURE, just research: 

1. Ahmose I, first ruler of the Egyptian Empire (1539 BC approx).  

2. Adad-Nirari II (911 BC), a conquering ruler/emperor of the (neo)-Assyrian Empire (1307 BC).  

3. Nebuchadnezzar II (605 BC), Babylonian Emperor. 

4. Cyrus II of Persia (559 BC), first Emperor of Medes/Persia. 

5. Alexander the "Great" (336 BC), Emperor of Grecia/Macedon.  

So here we have 5 kings who had fallen at the time of John.  

Who was the king "who is"?  

The next empire is the Roman empire, whose first Emperor was Augustus Caesar (27 BC), though the emperor at the time of John's writing this may have been Nero.  King/Kingdom is thought by some to be used interchangeably. Anyways, Nero was part of the same dynasty as Augustus, so whether its Augustus, Nero, or another is not really important.  This was simply the emperor alive at the time of John.   

The 7th empire is often associated with the "Holy" Roman Empire, of which Otto I would be considered the first emperor.  However, Constantine is perhaps a more likely candidate, for it was he that first brought the Roman empire into its first Papal form, specifically by moving the Roman capital to Byzantium (Constantinople) in 326 AD.  This opened up the door for the Pope to rule from Rome, freeing him from "temporal subjection." It is said the 7th king would rule for but a short time ("a short space"), which seems to literally mean just that.  In effect, Constantine only ruled Rome for a short time before power began to be transferred to the Pope over Rome and Western Rome, while Constantine ruled in the East.  Thus begins the "Holy" Roman Empire (really still pagan).  

This is also the ushering in of the Beast's kingdom via Roman Catholicism, i.e. the 8th king/the Beast, which is "of the seven". The conflation of paganism with the One True God is what is truly demonic about this occult religion.    

Finally, we have this: "And the ten horns which thou saw are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast" (Rev. 17:13).  

History seems to fit this prophecy of ten horns well, both in ancient and modern history.  These ten kings in ancient times seem to be the 10 Germanic/teutonic tribes/tribal kings of the Herules, Ostrogoths, and Lombards, Vandals, Sueves, Visigoths, Franks, Burgundians, Alemans, and Anglo-Saxons.  These groups/kings ruled over 10 regions of the Roman empire.  It is also true that these kings/tribes gave their power to the Roman Empire/vica versa.  

These tribes would develop into what are the 10 nations of Europe that have full member status/veto power in the European union: France, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, the United Kingdom, Greece, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and Portugal.  The "give their power and strength unto the beast" part seems to be a future event, though there is speculation about this.  

Revelations 13 clearly references the Book of Daniel, as does the Messiah when he's teaching about the end times. 

"And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leads into captivity shall go into captivity: he that kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exercises all the power of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 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. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six” (Rev. 13).

Now we arrive at the question of what the mark, the name, and the number of the beast, 666, signifies.  For the answer to this question, we must go back deeper and deeper into history.  

Let's start with the mark.  In ancient times, a mark or seal was a sign of ownership.  A king would seal his property with a mark from an impression making device that would mark it as his own.  Yahweh Himself is seen to seal His servants with His seal, which is His Name: 

"And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Tsion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads" (Rev. 14:1).

"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name" (Rev. 3:12).  

"And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads" (Rev. 22:3-4).  

Note that His Name is in their foreheads, which is also where the mark of the beast could go (hand or forehead).  Having Yahweh's Name one you means you're His Servant and Property.  Having the mark of the beast means you are the beast's property, which actually mean's your Satan's property because he is over the beast kingdom. Satan and his messengers end up in the lake of fire, and so do his servants who receive the mark of the beast.

Now we need to know how these marks/seals are impressed upon people.  The question is, are these phsycial marks, or are they spiritual marks?  

The only place we see the physcial Name put on someone's forehead is on the front of the high priest's turban:

"And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, 'Set-apart to Yahweh.' And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the turban; upon the forefront of the turban it shall be" (Ex. 28:36-37).  

It's interesting that this object was passed down from high-preist to high priest, usually from father to son.  Because Yeshua is a High preist after the order of the Righteous King (Melchizedek), He is also the one who "passes down" His Father's Name to His servants who also serve as priests on the earth in the earthly temple (their bodies):

"I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me...Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are" (John 17:6-8,11).  

This is Yeshua's final prayer for his disciples, and it serves to show that it is the Name of Yahweh which brings eternal protection from death, and also that it is the Word of Yahweh which manifests the Name of Yahweh to those who recieve His Word(s).  The point I'm making is that if we wanted to be sealed with the Name of Yahweh, we need to recieve and keep/obey His Word/Commandments/Torah/Messiah.  This is Spiritual sealing.  The Sabbath is a part of this:

"And Yahweh spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am Yahweh that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to Yahweh: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed" (Ex. 31:12-17).  

For more on the Sabbath, see this page: The Sabbath.

The reason I mention this is because the mark of the beast (the Roman Empire) is also connected to who and how one worships, and what commandments one keeps (Yahweh's or the beast's).  

"Of course the change (from Sabbath to Sunday) was her act .... and the act is a MARK of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters." (signed by H.F.Thomas, Chancellor for Cardinal Gibbons, in a letter dated Nov. 11, 1895)

"The church is above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact." (Catholic record of London, Ontario, Sept. 1, 1923)

"Sunday is a time when all Christians discover the Eucharist form that their life is called to have ... the Cardinal stressed how the way in which we celebrate Sunday determines the way in which we live the rest of the week, since it is THE MARK of Christian identity." (Cardinal O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, Sanctifying celebration, the family in the Lord’s Day, 1st June 2012).

Notice how the term "mark" is used in these statements.  In a wider context, the Catholic Church has declared itself to be above the Scripture, able to change God's commandments (something He forbids).  This includes the dogma of Papal infallability, which positions the Pope as having god-like authority.

Something that has troubled me about interpreting Revelations 13 is whether the battle with the beast and his mark is just for the end-times, or not.  Many assume that the mark/name/number of the Beast has not been implemented, especially in terms of the prohibition on buying and selling. But if this is so, it would seem to me that certain righteous people would be missing out on the 1st Resurrection, because it says this: 

"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Yeshua, and for the word of God, and those which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Messiah a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Rev. 20:4-6). 

My question has been, if an righteous man is not beheaded for his witness, and doesn't have an oppurtunity to to resist the mark, wouldn't many be holy people like Moses be missing from the 1st resurrection?  Or, if the mark/name/image/number of the beast hasn't existed in the past, wouldn't a whole lot of unrighteous people be eligible simply by not having had worshipped the beast? Or course, I think it's an error to interpret the Scriptures too narrowly or too broadly, and this verse does allow for others to be included.  However, this question prompted me to do some research into the mark/number/name/and image of the beast, and into what "buying and selling" might mean in light of prophecy.  My conclusion is that this mark has been around for a long, long time.  

One interesting thing that I discovered was that the number 666 has been used for many millenia as a magical, secret number that denotes the sun/sun-god.  The reason for this is because in Babylonian antiquity, there were 36 well-known constellations, and it was believed that the sun/sun-god ruled over all of them.  Each of these constellations was associated with a god.  It was believed that most of these gods were evil.  In order to get protection and control over these malevolent gods in the heavens, initiates would wear an amulet with something known in modern times as a magical square.  In this 6 X 6 grid, the numbers 1-36 were arranged in such a way that each of the rows added up to 111, and these sums were added to get 666, which was printed at the bottom of the square, representing the sun.  

Here is a photo of one such medallion: 666 medallion

This is important because of who became the chief priest of the Babylonian sun-god cult: the Roman emperor.  Because Rome was open to any mystery cult that served its purposes, this particular cult became particularly popular in Rome, especially because it was uniquely suited to the Roman emperor's purpose: to be worshipped as a god on the earth as his Babylonian precursor Nimrod and son Tammuz had been.  This cult is very ancient, having been popular with the Israelites in certain dark periods.  In fact, because the people had even begun sacrificing their children to a sun/fire god, and in the Book of Ezekiel, we see the priests with their backs to the temple worshipping the sun.  This was a major reason Elohim sent them into exile.  The supposedly first Christian emperor was in fact worshipping the sun when he was converted, and would continue to worship the sun to the day of his death, as his coins indicate.  He also retained Sun-day worship/day of rest on the 1st day of the week and rejected the Hebrew Sabbath (remember how Sunday worship is the MARK of Catholic authority).  The Latin title of the pope, pontifex maximus, meaning "chief bridge-builder", orginially referred to the head of the college of cultic priests in Rome.  The office became subsumed by the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar, and was then transferred to the pope. It basically means, "head pagan."  

It should be noted that this individual was tasked with buildling bridges (religious, political, and economic) between the various temples and religions that populated Rome and its empire (the beast).  This is exactly was the pope does in allowing all those statues of pagan gods to be worshipped under Christian names.   Masquerading as a sun-god/the representative of "the Son of God" (swapped out for sun-god apollo) was an ideal way to do this.  After all, everyone can agree that the sun is important to life.  To the majority of pagans, it was the main thing worshipped.  

Indeed, in the words of many Catholic historians, leads, and commentators, this adoption of paganism is found to be true.  Here are a few examples: 

“It is interesting to note how often our Church has availed herself of practices which were in common use among pagans…Thus it is true, in a certain sense, that some Catholic rites and ceremonies are a reproduction of those of pagan creeds….” (The Externals of the Catholic Church, Her Government, Ceremonies, Festivals, Sacramentals and Devotions, by John F. Sullivan, p 156, published by P.J. Kennedy, NY, 1942)

“It has often been charged… that Catholicism is overlaid with many pagan incrustations. Catholicism is ready to accept that accusation – and even to make it her boast… the great god Pan is not really dead, he is baptized” -The Story of Catholicism p 37

“The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees; incense, lamps, and candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; holy water; asylums; holydays and seasons, use of calendars, processions, blessings on the fields; sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure, the ring in marriage, turning to the East, images at a later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant, and the Kyrie Eleison [Note 17], are all of pagan origin, and sanctified by their adoption into the Church. {374}” -An Essay on the The Development of the Christian Doctrine John Henry “Cardinal Newman” p.359

“In order to attach to Christianity great attraction in the eyes of the nobility, the priests adopted the outer garments and adornments which were used in pagan cults.“ -Life of Constantine, Eusabius, cited in Altai-Nimalaya, p. 94. 

This brings us to the fact that all throughout history, unrighteous religious and political rulers have been trying to create a state-religion based in paganism, usary, and oppression of the people.  They attempt to rule over the religious and civic, private and public, lives of their subjects.  The use of religion has been a major way to control people.  Note: Yahweh sets His people free from this type of bondage.  His Law is called, "the perfect law of liberty" (James 1:25) and His commandments are not grevious (1 John 5:3). 

I believe that recieving the mark of the beast is connected to recieving the mark of authority of the chief pagan, pontifex maximus, the pope, meaning that this mark may not be only literal.