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:
It is indeed remarkable that the seer should speak at all of "the number" of the name of the beast. Why not be content with the name itself?
1. St. John may not himself have known the name. He may have been acquainted only with the character of the beast, and with the fact, too often overlooked by inquirers, that to that character its name, when made known, must correspond. No reader of St. John's writings can have failed to notice that to him the word "nam" is far more than a mere appellative. It expresses the inner nature of the person to whom it is applied. No man could know the new name written upon the white stone given to him that overcometh "but he that receiveth it." In other words, no one but a Christian indeed could have that Christian experience which would enable him to understand the "new name." In like manner now, St. John may have felt that it was not possible for the followers of Christ to know the name of antichrist. But this need not hinder him from giving the number. The "number" spoke only of general character and fate; and knowledge of it did not imply, like knowledge of the "name," communion of spirit with him to whom the name belonged.
(W. Milligan, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: