The book of Revelation is known as the revelation about the end of the universe. At the end times, the antichrist, dragon, beast, and prostitute will appear; and 666, one of the popular items relating to the end times, too.
He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, 17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. 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.
A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, 10 he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name. 12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.
666 is generally known as the number of the devil. Omen, the old movie concerning the evil spirit, displays a shot in which the number 666 is engraved on the head of a newborn baby. The film maker thought that 666 was some sign that belonged to the devil.
The Bible says that whoever receives this mark will have no rest day and night and will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb, and the smoke of their torment will go up forever and ever. Nobody who believes in Jesus and reads the Bible will ever hope for this mark.
Nevertheless, the problem is that we do not know what this mark of 666 is. If we have no idea about what this mark designates; there is no way to reject it at all. Therefore, we first have to know what the mark of 666 is before we make a firm decision to reject it. A lot of scholars have made a ceaseless, but vain, effort to discover its meaning.
Based on their strenuous work, some say that 666 is Emperor Nero on the basis that his name Neron Kaisar is analyzed to derive that number according to the Gematria system. Others suggest that 666 is Adolph Hitler, or the computer chip may be 666 because it robs us of our heart.
One recent attractive assertion is that the ‘barcode’ attached to the products signifies 666. That is, at the end times, the antichrist will appear and assume the reign of government, and he will force people to bear the barcode on the foreheads or right hands, sounding like imaginary science fiction.
Those who agreed to this explanation desperately handed out flyers to passersby and placed advertisements in the newspapers as if they discovered something great. The ‘barcode hypothesis’ has been substantially spread because of the connection with the word of ‘no man might buy or sell.’
But, now the barcode hypothesis is now somehow submerged; instead Verichip is emerging as 666.
I say 666 is none of these above. After this discussion, you have to decide what the truth is concerning the true identity of 666.
First of all, 666 is not clearly defined in Scripture. Fortunately, however, Scripture records the symptoms that are manifested by those who bore the mark of 666.
So I will expose what the mark really is by describing its symptoms. This is like the case of a doctor who finds out the cause of the patient’s illness through studying his symptoms. For example, if the patient had seroperitoneum, the white of his eyes becomes yellowish, or his skin looks yellow when he scratches it, the doctor diagnoses that the patient has a liver disease. And that is right.
If a person bears the mark, he will show following three main features:
first, he can buy or sell,
second, the smoke of his torment goes up forever and ever, and
finally, it is the number of the beast, the number of a man.
I will explain one by one.
World of Buy or Sell
[Revelation 13: 16-17]
He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, 17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.
Without this mark of 666, nobody can buy or sell, and reversely speaking, anybody bearing this mark will buy or sell. We initially guess when we read the above passage, imagining it this way:
At the end time, the antichrist will surface. He will place 666 before us, and will say, “Hey, you! Come here. Are you Christian? You have the option to receive 666 in your right hand or forehead, or to reject it. However, if you reject it, it is okay but you can never buy or sell. Without this mark, you cannot be considered for medical care. You cannot buy any food and will finally starve to death!”
We, as pious believers, have already decided in our minds and are ready to answer boldly when such a thing happens: “I will never receive the mark of 666 even if I starve to death.” And we will say in our minds, “I love you, Lord! I really do.” We have got ourselves all psyched up for it after a long period of hard thinking.
Sorry about that, brothers and sisters! We do not need to do so because such a thing will not happen.
The word of Scripture, including Genesis to Revelation, and all the books between the two, relates to our salvation. And the salvation signifies the change of us who are of ‘this world’ into those who are of the ‘kingdom of God, which is our entering the kingdom of God. Therefore, 666 is also connected to our true salvation and entering the kingdom.
To start with the conclusion, 666 indicates a mark that is symbolic of those who are of the world; that is, those who are not saved and so remain sinful since birth. If someone bears the mark, it means that he belongs to this world, so he buys or sells.
What does “buy or sell” mean? In this instance, to buy or sell signifies the characteristics of our natural life before being born again. This sinful life in this world operates on the principle of bargaining. You will recall that Job’s righteousness was challenged by Satan’s question, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” It is revealed Job did righteous works to get a reward, which means Job was in the world of bargaining at that time.
In this world, before we act, we will first calculate what we can get in return. We live and maintain a relationship with others according to the idea that “I will do this for you, so you do something good for me in return.” As we know, all our methods of having a relationship with our neighbors are grounded on this bargaining concept. In the workplace, with friends, and between man and wife, we build our relationship on bargaining.
What will it be like if we who are living in this principle believe in Jesus? Of course, we will consider Jesus as our counterpart with whom we bargain. So if we do our best to join church activities, regularly attend the service, and give a tithe to believe in Jesus, we think that Jesus will, in return, give us heaven and bless us to make good money in this world. We diligently believe in Jesus and we think Jesus is obligated to bless us for our works (Ro 4:4). This is the perfect form of bargaining.
The Parable of the Lost Son in Luke 15 also reveals the bargaining mindset of the 666 bearer. The older son worked hard at home but he grumbled when the father killed the fattened calf for his brother who had returned. He said as below.
But he answered his father, Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!
The older son worked hard in observance of the father’s order. And in return for his hard work, he wanted to receive a young goat, minimum. This is his obvious bargaining with his father, which should not define the relationship between father and the son, who are connected with the same life. In fact, anything that is of life is not bargaining.
To think about ourselves, we believe in Jesus in the paradigm of bargaining in this world. We belong to a buy-or-sell world by birth, so we are already wearing the mark of 666, as we are. Not recognizing this, we brace ourselves by saying, “I will never receive the mark of 666 even if I am dying.” If we fail to notice it shortly, we will keep on saying the vain repetition of “I will never receive 666,” and we will finally die due to the mark. This is the second call of Jesus to wake you up.
On the other hand, they who did not receive 666 cannot buy or sell, which has a positive meaning. They represent those who are born again and so have new true life, which is different from the previous sinful life. They do not live in expectation of any benefits in return, but live as their life leads.
Unconditional love will flow out of their hearts naturally. They are the free men who have believed in Jesus in the correct way and are saved from the bargaining world into the kingdom of God. They are those who have Jesus and His Father’s name on their foreheads instead of the mark of 666 (Rev 14:1, 4-5).
In summary, we live according to the bargaining mind; it means that we already wear 666. Consequently, we have to hope to remove the 666 we have worn, rather than making an effort not to receive it. That will be the proper order.
Nevertheless, we are never able to get out of such trap by ourselves, because it is our life itself. Therefore, we need to meet Jesus who will fulfill this work for us by destroying our old self on the cross and giving us a resurrected life.
No Rest Day Nor Night
A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, 10 he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.
Other features of those who have the mark of 666 include “the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever and they have no rest day and night.” This does not mean that they will have no rest because at the Day of Judgment God will banish them to the slavery farm to work day and night.
We are already living this life, such as having pains, having a hard job, and having no rest because each of us left Eden as Adam and entered the world of iniquity. So, in sorrow and woe we will eat all the days of our lives, and by the sweat of our face we will eat bread according to the curse sentenced to Adam. And finally, we will die in the emptiness and futility of life.
If we are unsure whether we bear 666, then won’t the aforesaid life be the life of those who have the mark of 666? Yes it is. We are born sinners, the wearers of the 666 by birth already. We have it on our right hand, which signifies all our actions, and on our forehead, which signifies all our thinking in life. The mark of 666 is the mark of sin which all those who are not yet born again have.
For the believers’ case, feeling such hardship in life somehow, we come to church. And we attend Sunday services, join church activities, pray, fast, give offerings, study the Bible, try to love and show meekness and humbleness to others.
On top of that, we have to watch out all the time so that we may not receive the mark of 666. All these works never seem easy. And the blessing and rest still looks far away. Even so, we cannot give up because we might go to hell if we not do so. In this way, to believe in Jesus is a really heavy burden, having no rest day and night.
Why must it be so hard even though we believe in Jesus? Because up to this stage our mark of sin, the 666, is not removed from us yet. Why? Because we have believed misguidedly. Jesus invites such believers again, the second call.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Maybe we can think, “Jesus must be calling others who are lazy in faith. We are with Jesus and on His side already. Why would He call us?” Or we consider, “Yes, we still are weary and burdened while believing in Jesus. So Jesus is giving us consolation saying that He is with us always and will give us a reward and rest after the death.”
We are mistaken in this respect. If we ponder deep we cannot deny that we were following the order of Jesus by ourselves without Him, as we have never been yoked together with Him and not burdened with Him.
Therefore, Jesus is calling again those of us who are burdened. Those who can hear will follow Jesus, taking the yoke together with Him. Only this time they will know the meaning of ‘yoked together with Jesus.’ During this process, Jesus will at last destroy the evil in us on the cross. This is our death in Christ, and then, true peace and rest will be given to us.
Then I heard a voice from heaven say, Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.
In the text, the ‘dead who die in the Lord’ does not refer to those who believed and physically died, but those whose old self died in the Lord. ‘In the Lord’ shall mean ‘by following Jesus to the cross.’ They will be born again into the new world of rest.
The Scripture says that they have entered rest because of their works. ‘Their deeds’ does not indicate the law-based deeds, but represent ‘obedience to Jesus’ while following Him to the cross. In other words, if we obey Jesus who leads us to the crucifixion of our old self, then, immediately upon resurrection, we enter rest.
Only Jesus can do this for us. So, if we have not yet seen Jesus, our rest is far off yet. Every believer thinks he hears Jesus and obeys. But that Jesus we know is only knowledge about Him, so we need to meet an apostle, whoever he may be, who has the spirit of Christ in him. He will direct us to rest, and our marks of 666 will then be taken off.
The Number of A Man
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.
666 is the number of a man. The man in Scripture has two meanings. First, it represents the man who is born again in the image of God compared to the beast or fish, and second, it is the man who is fallen compared to God. The man in the current verse signifies the fallen man.
When Peter heard Jesus saying that He would go to suffer crucifixion, Peter rebuked Jesus not to do so. At this, Jesus rebuked Peter in Matthew 16:23 by saying, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
As we can see ‘Man’ is compared to ‘God,’ and in the context ‘man’ means ‘Satan.’ Therefore, 666 is both the number of a man and the number of Satan, and it is found in all mankind who have left God by birth. So 666 is a ‘born sinful’ mark of all humankind.
I heard a testimony of a believer. He said that he earnestly prayed to the Lord and asked what 666 would be, and the Lord moved him to read the book of John 6:66. It reads, “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” Yes, it is true that the mark of 666 is worn by those who left Jesus and God. The answer of the Lord he received is quite enlightening.
We left God in Eden, who is Truth, and are born into this world without Truth in us. So we live in falsehood, hypocrisy and emptiness arising from a life of non-truth. Even though we try to believe in Jesus to receive Truth we are misguided in initial faith due to the deceitfulness of sin in us. As a consequence, we have to let the smoke of our torment go up forever and ever.
We are the bearers of the mark of 666 since birth. We cannot remove this mark whatever we do (Jer 13:23). That which is of birth will only be corrected by re-birth. Jesus will remove this mark from us by making us born again.
Let us pray hard for God to send Jesus to take off our 666 mark.
Taken from “The Second Call of Jesus”