As we journey further through John's vision we find the events being described becoming more troubling. Chapter 13 is on where it is easy to allow the images used to confuse what is being taught. We have established through the previous chapters the dragon is Satan and these beasts are given power by Satan to work against God on earth. What the vision tells us is that it works. the people on earth are deceived and begin to follow the beast, and do what the second beast commands. There is also reference to the saints in this chapter, those who are following Christ. It seems as though not all the faithful have been removed from the struggle.
Here in chapter 13 is where we also find the marking of people with the number of the beast. All those who do not take on the number are closed out of the commerce centers. It was not possible for a person free of the mark to buy or sell. Those who have been deceived by the beasts will take the mark and those who have not will have to find alternative means of gaining the goods and services needed.
In a lot of ways it will be like the great depression of the 1930's in America. People will struggle to get by. The big difference this time around is some people will do just fine while those who follow Christ will struggle. Instead of a Great Depression, it will be a Great Deception. Before we think it will only people weak, or nominal Christ Followers who will be deceived we should be careful. It could be any of us. How do we protect ourselves from deception? Connection. In the Gospel of John chapter 15 we are told to Abide in Christ. This means our primary connection and relationship is with Christ. That we receive our life and breath from him. That our primary source of everything is Jesus. When we look other places for fulfillment, we can more easily be deceived.
I am not sure there is someone waiting in the wings right now ready to place the mark on people. There might be. Either way the question remains, are you ready? How is it with you and Christ? Are you abiding? Are you looking in other places for fulfillment?