Once again, statistically the odds are not merely added, but must be multiplied together .... to calculate the rarity of the growing cohesive prediction.
16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
First, don't get side tracked on the "mystery man" or his number, because you've got one too. The real question is, why use this strange clue to begin with? Keep in mind, at the time this prediction was made, men weren't known by their number. Rather, they would have been known as so and so from a place or town, where they or their clan lived; such as, Jesus of Nazareth. So to use a number to represent a man’s name is a clue, in and of itself. The religious eye is looking for THE man, but the artist asks why.
Also, in the ancient world the forehead was considered a third eye of sorts. They didn't understand the brain, but they had sense enough to know that something was processing visual information in addition to the eyes, because even with your eyes closed you could still see. Naturally they reasoned that to see is also to know, and to know is to see, not just believe in. So we're back to the artist's eyes, as opposed to the religious viewpoint. You can't use religious eyes alone, to find these important cryptic clues to the future. So to say that you've got a "mark" or a number on your forehead, amounted to knowing what your own number was, not just believing in it, or this entity that gives it to you. You remember it and you know it, or you don't get a paycheck, and you don't buy or sell goods to anyone else. That's literally THE BOTTOM LINE in this chapter.
As for the right hand, this was known of as the "action hand" in the ancient world. It's what you used when transacting business. Most men shook with their right hands when they agreed on a deal. When you make a deal today, you give your number to determine your credit worthiness, your hiring worthiness, and so on. In essence, your right hand has become your number.
I'm not a poster boy for literal interpretations. I simply look at the work as a piece of cryptographic art. It's a puzzle, and these three big pieces are sitting side by side in two different ways .... historically, and geographically. I don't think that's by accident.
Edited by Raptor Witness, 08 January 2011 - 07:02 AM.