I find all of this so fascinating. I did have a very limited futuristic view of revelation, but I must admit when reading some of Jesus's words from the gospels, they came off very present term. It kind of nagged at me...however I will not lock myself into a set view, but I do have some questions, such as the 7 church 'ages'? Where does this come from, and does it make sense?
It's a tempting view to explore. In Daniel 10, Daniel sees a person described almost precisely like the one (Jesus) that John saw in Revelation 1. The one like a son of man that Daniel saw went on to tell him what would happen to his people in the future (from the Babylonian exile until the days of the Messiah's first advent. One would naturally be led to suppose that the seven churches are the complete history from the days before Jerusalem's destruction until the return of Jesus.
I do agree that revelation doesn't flow sequentially. The assertion that the mark may have something to do with the text in deuteronomy is intriguing. It doesn't seem like just a coincidence. What does it mean? I don't know. It does seem rather strange although I am not sold on how that could affect buying and selling and in revelation there is a clear correlation.
Fair enough observation. It is evident that there is a connection between the mark of the beast and what was mentioned in Deuteronomy. As you said, it's not apparent how it could affect buying and selling. One thing is clear though, it has something to do with religion. I think we can piece this together though.
The seven seals and six trumpets have to do with the destruction of Jerusalem and the scattering of the Jewish Nation. This was the end that Daniel saw; the end of the times of the Jews and the end of the Old Covenant. At chapter 10, Revelation begins talking about the Times of the Gentiles, which began after Jerusalem's destruction. This was the beginning of the New Covenant, which was handed down to the elect to preach among the Gentiles. One could deduce from this point that the rest of the book of Revelation is talking about what would happen after Jerusalem's destruction. The beast that makes war against the saints and conquers them, and the beast that gives it's mark are kingdoms that oppose the righteous among the Gentiles. The fullness of this period would be met with seven plagues that would destroy the beast's dominion, meeting its fullness in Babylon's destruction.
So we're looking at the Roman Empire, which was healed in 800 CE. And then we're looking at the Spanish Empire, which is still progressively falling apart, if not completely ruined years ago. This empire instituted the Roman Catholicism that forced people to convert at the risk of death, went on bloody crusades with even its own people, and created several sorts of doctrines that carry no Scriptural basis. It became a byword in Europe for these things.
If you were a Jew in 15th century, antilabor laws in Europe prohibited you from buying from a Catholic or Catholics from buying your goods in order to persuade you by penalty to convert to Catholicism. The statement at that time was that there was no salvation outside of the Roman Church and shortly earlier it was declared by Pope Boniface VIII that it was necessary for salvation for every creature to submit to the Roman pontiff. These issues, I believe, show some connection between the stringent enforcement of State religion and the refusal to sale to those who didn't embrace it.
One should take note that the trinity, rapture, and 7 church ages were not always accepted, and while common, aren't always today either. Keep in mind the words: Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. This verse leads me to believe that it's not going to be some easy recognizable understanding.
I've maintained that the meaning is simple so long as one can know the precise background behind Revelation's writing. Ever since I questioned the tradition of it's writing, Revelation fits in way better with the Gospels. If you go for a later date, much more of it makes much less sense. Like Isaac Newton did, I now believe that Revelation in the days before Jerusalem was destroyed.
It also could be said that the 'time is at hand' means quite literally the present time, but just as easily it can be said that it was written that way like much in the bible for all of us presently to read and feel it is for us. So...all in all, I'm just as lost as ever.
I think it meant the present time. Jesus' parables in Matthew help with this. The destruction of Jerusalem marked the coming of the seed of faith, the Gentiles. These would be included in Abraham's promises, along with the elect remnant; the apostles and first disciples. The end that was near was the end of the Jewish Nation and the beginning of the kingdom of God among the Gentiles.
"Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them." (Matthew 21:33-45 KJV)
The nation that the kingdom of God was given to was the Roman Empire, where the Gospel was greatly received. Consider another parable:
"And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matthew 22:1-14 KJV)
In the bold, Jerusalem's destruction was captured. The armies of the Romans belonged to Christ. Therefore:
"[i]And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined." (Daniel 9:26 KJV)
The people of the prince to come were the people of the Messiah, the ones to whom God gave the kingdom of God. They came in and destroyed the city and sanctuary. It wasn't Titus (because Daniel 9 would have mentioned him elsewhere before this passage as would all types of literature.) The destruction of Jerusalem was covered in Daniel 12:1 as the greatest tribulation that their kingdom had ever faced. At that time, the remnant was called out, and they brought the Gospel of righteousness to the Roman Empire, where it was greatly received. Afterward, the Romans went to war with Judea and destroyed the nation, scattering the Jews to the four winds.