Read Revelation 12:18-13:18
“This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him
calculate the number of the beast, for it is
man’s number. His number is 666.”
Thoughts… Revelation teaches that half way through the seven-year period known as the great tribulation, everybody will be required to take the “mark of the beast” in order to buy and sell. Revelation 13:11-17 says that the beast will force everyone, without exception, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless without the mark.
Verse 18 talks about something that has been speculated on and twisted and contorted more that anything else in the Bible: The beast’s number: 666.
So just what does 666 mean?
Someone pointed out years ago that in the name of the former president, Ronald Wilson Reagan, each name contains 6 characters. Throughout history, this 666-theory has been attributed to various popes, Martin Luther, Napoleon, Hitler, JFK, Kissinger, you name it. Someone once called me to let me know that George Bush, Sr. was the beast.
I’m not sure who now is the beast du jour!
There’s also speculation that the “mark” is your social security number, or credit cards, or the bar codes on products—so people look for 666 imbedded there.
Here’s what I think: In Hebrew, the number 6 simply represents man, while the number 7 represents God. Done in triplicate, these numbers represent completeness. So triple 7 represents the perfection of God; the triple 6 represents the ultimate humanist—man totally without and opposed to God—the Antichrist, no more, no less.
Now the prophecy about the mark of the beast is exceptionally scary because the next chapter, Revelation 14:9-11, says, “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath…”
It will be a time when the wages of sin will be paid out in the currency of God’s wrath. Then this great tribulation will end with the battle of Armageddon, in which Jesus returns to earth to defeat the armies of darkness, and then establish his 1000-year reign.
That’s what the future holds.
Most people think how nice it would be to look into the future to get a glimpse of what’s going to happen? Have you ever wished for that ability? Have you ever thought, “If I had only known what those Microsoft stocks would do…why was I so mean to that nerdy guy, Billy Gates, in high school? Why didn’t I come up with the idea for Ipod?”
Wouldn’t it be nice to see into the future! Or would it? After getting this sneak preview here in Revelation about the great tribulation and the rule of the beast, you may change your mind about knowing what will happen next. This future looks pretty scary.
There’s a story about a frog who went to a fortune-teller. The fortune-teller looked into her crystal ball and said, “You’re going to meet a beautiful young woman. And from the moment she sets eyes on you, she’ll have an insatiable appetite to know all about you…she’ll be compelled to get close to you…you will fascinate her.”
The frog was beside himself with excitement. “Where will I meet her? At the gym…at a single’s bar…where will I meet this beauty?”
The fortune-teller replied, “In a high school biology class.”
Sometimes, it’s better off not knowing the future, especially when you preview the tribulation and the reign of the beast. From a purely human perspective, the future is frightening. But here’s the deal: We don’t have to fear the future—either the prophetic future or the future we’ll wake up to tomorrow.
We don’t have to fear what is going to happen in Washington, or Baghdad, or Teheran, or in he Middle East …or the doctor’s diagnosis or the pink slip at work, or what is going to happen to social security in 20 years.
When we to come to the point of faith that understands God is the God of history—past, present and future, we can place all of our worries and concerns in his hand. He rules over all. Daniel 2:21 reminds us that God changes times and seasons, he controls world rulers, and he is orchestrating the events of the future in order to bring about his plan for the ages…and for my life.
And though we don’t know all the details of the future, nor even agree on the details we do know, we do know the bottom line of the future: God rules!
Prayer… Lord, there are many things about tomorrow I don’t understand. But I know Who holds the future. And I know Who holds my hand!
One More Thing… “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” —Corrie Ten Boom