Here (Revelation 13, 11-18) we see that negative power directed towards materialistic constraints ("inherent necessities"). Cf. our chapter "The temptations" and Matthew 4, 1-4.
The idea of marking people on the forehead or on the right hand, as well as the number 666 in these chapters, as a requirement for being able to buy and sell, can already be found very clearly in world events. The possibilities of computer networking with exchange of personal data, cheque cards, an international bank code 666, the barcodes with the three double lines as demarcations = 666 in this code, the devices developed in Canada or already tested in Malaysia for personal identification on the forehead or on the hand, the nick-name "La bęte" = French "the beast", for the old European communities' transaction headquarters at Brussels and so forth show a tendency, however unconsciously or even consciously and possibly wittily meant. The biblical "beast out of the earth" is identical with the "Idol Mammon".
A further tendency, which is not yet completely over is to work on the increasingly dramatic environmental problems, firstly with ineffective technical environmental "cosmetics", and then, the possibly even more deceiving, technocratic eco-dictatorship - instead of letting an effective, intense course correction by democratic means happen, with the support of the people. Mechanisms of manipulation come closer to its end by recognising its nature. This process has a connection with the power mentioned concerning the "crowning with thorns" (our chapter and John 19,2-3)
In the chapters about the dragon and the two animals its reminiscences in occurrences of the present time are possibly not the whole story. Everything plays, as we mentioned, not only on the physical earth. In the following vision of the 144,000 (Revelation 14) several beings and angels again appear one after the other, who "harvest" two different groups from the earth. Those allied with the beast are flung into the "great winepress of God's wrath", which means they are left to the effects of the forces of nature. But finally the revelation teaches no "eternal damnation"; finally everything can find a way to God; and in a higher meaning everything is wrapped in God. Cf. Revelation, 22, and the related chapter in this page about the New Earth ....
Reference to a complete version for print, and Copyright Ways of Christ™