Welcome to Revelation of Jesus. In this video we are going to finish our study of Revelation 13, including 666, the number of the beast. If you have not done so already, please check out the other videos in the cosmic conflict series to get the context of what we will study in this video. I will put a link in the description.
The internet is full of ideas about the number of the beast, most of them based on speculation. As I said clear back in the first Revelation of Jesus video, this series uses the Bible itself as the key to the interpretation of Revelation. Symbols, themes, and specific words or phrases provide links to the scriptures and these unlock the meaning of Revelation, not speculation or guessing. Searching for an interpretation in the news or social media, in Christian tradition, or in books about Revelation that do not include serious examination of the scriptures can leave us confused and open to manipulation by the enemy.
In the previous video we saw that the beast from the earth, the United States of America, will create “an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived” (Revelation 13:14). We identified this as an American union of church and state which, like the church/state alliance of the dark ages, will create religious laws and then use the power of the government to enforce them. “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads” (Revelation 13:16). When we looked at the scriptural links in the Old Testament we found that it is God’s law, and more specifically, His memorial celebrations, that are a sign on the hand and forehead. I suggested that this could point to a counterfeit of the seventh day Sabbath, which is a part of God’s law and a memorial celebration of creation and redemption.
The church/state alliance will use coercive economic pressure to enforce the mark: “No one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:17). This verse mentions the name and the number of the beast in addition to the mark.
Let’s notice some other translations. “The mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name” (Revelation 13:17 New Revised Standard). “The mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name” (New American Standard). “That mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name” (New Living Translation). Notice that in these and other versions the mark, name, and number of the beast seem to be very closely related. This is underlined in Revelation 15:2, which pictures those who “have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name”.
This verse mentions “the number of his name;” compare that with Revelation 14:11, which mentions “the mark of his name.” We will want to look at these verses more closely, but for now, we can see that the mark, name, and number are integrally related. Whatever we say about the mark of the beast also has to be relevant to the name and to the number of the beast.
Let us start with the name of the beast. Most references to names in Revelation have to do with God’s name or that of His followers, but there are two that could be relevant to Revelation 13. In chapter 17 a woman riding on a scarlet beast has “on her forehead a name: Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth” (Revelation 17:5). Although the Harlot is closely associated with the scarlet beast, which appears to be nearly identical to the beast from the sea in chapter 13, this “name” seems more like a list of identifying characteristics.
A more likely possibility for the name of the beast is found in the seven trumpets. You may want to review the seven trumpets to get the details and scriptural support; I will include a link in the description. The trumpets are a series of disasters that take place after the sealing of the 144,000. The fiery explosions that take place in the first three trumpets create dark, chaotic conditions that the fifth trumpet calls the opening of the bottomless pit (Revelation 9:1,2). Out of the smoke from the pit emerges some kind of fearsome military technology that John compared to an army of locusts. A comparison of this section with the books of Joel and Daniel reveals that the source of the locust army is an alliance of nations that include Europe and the United States. In the previous video we saw that this is the same alliance that creates the image of the beast.
The alliance has a leader. “The locusts had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek, he has the name Apollyon” (Revelation 9:11). In videos 32 and 40 we saw that the angel of the bottomless pit is the same individual that is called “the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit” in Revelation 11, and he leads the efforts to destroy God’ faithful followers, who are symbolized by “the two witnesses” (Revelation 11:7-9).
We also examined the evidence that this same individual appears in chapter 17 where he leads the alliance of 10 kings to make war with the Lamb. He also appears in chapters 16 and 19 where he gathers and then leads the kings of the earth to make war with Christ at His coming. In these passages he is called “the beast”, and he is the same individual that is described in 2 Thessalonians 2 as the “man of sin”.
Comparing all of these passages we learn that this final antichrist is the personification of Satan, appearing on earth to personally direct the battle against God’s faithful followers in a vain attempt to prove that he is still the ruler over the whole earth. Although his presence is not clearly delineated in chapter 13, it is implied by the reference to “the name of the beast” (Revelation 13:17).
“His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon” (Revelation 9:11). In both languages this name means “destroyer”. We shouldn’t suppose that someday we will see someone running around calling himself Abaddon, Apollyon, or destroyer. The name is a symbol that identifies the beast as a manifestation of Satan, who has come “to steal, to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10). Satan has many names and titles; In Revelation alone, he is called the dragon, the ancient serpent, the devil, and the accuser. But when we look for his name in Revelation 13 we need to remember that it is closely related to the mark and the number of the beast.
In the previous video, we saw that a likely candidate for the mark of the beast is a counterfeit of the seventh day Sabbath. The Sabbath is a memorial of God’s work as the Creator. Satan, personified by the beast, can never claim to be the creator, so he does everything he can to negate God’s authority as our Creator; he “steals, kills, and destroys” in order to show that he can undo God’s perfect creation. And this is the link between the mark and the name of the beast. Just as Satan promotes the alternative Sabbath as a mark of his ability to get the world to follow his laws instead of God’s, his name, the destroyer, shows his hostility and contempt for God the Creator.
“The number of the beast” is also closely related to the mark and the name of the beast. “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666” (Revelation 13:18). There have been many attempts to find numbers associated with the names of particular people or institutions that add up to 666. For example, the numerical values of the letters of various names in Greek, Latin, or Hebrew, such as Nero, Napoleon, or papal titles such as VICARIUS FILII DEI, can be made to add up to 666. As with the mark of the beast, the number 666 has been associated with the universal bar code that is electronically scanned for purchases.
These ideas are based on speculation rather than on a study of God’s word. Some of the confusion comes from the phrase, “for it is the number of a man”. Many of the English versions insert the indefinite article “a” (“the number of a man”), which is not in the original Greek. This makes it seem as if it refers to a particular man. However, Greek often uses the singular “man” to refer to mankind, for example, “Jesus did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man for He Himself knew what was in man” (John 2:25).
The most notable feature of the number of the beast is the triple repetition of the number 6. Six is a very significant number in the Bible. The earth was created in 6 days and humans were created on the sixth day. The creation was memorialized in the fourth commandment, with a mandate to work for six days and the prohibition against working on the seventh day. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work” (Exodus 20:9,10).
Work itself was drastically altered by the entrance of sin, and work became a part of the curse that Adam and Eve brought upon themselves and their descendants; “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it… in the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground” (Genesis 3:17-19). But God in His mercy provided the Sabbath, not only to provide rest from the burden of work but also to symbolize the rest that we have when we live in faith and harmony with God. Even our work is redeemed when we allow the Sabbath rest to invade every day of the week.
This is emphasized by the Deuteronomy version of the fourth commandment in which the Sabbath symbolizes the fact that God rescued us from slavery. The six days symbolize slavery, addiction, oppression, and exploitation, but the seventh day symbolizes the life of freedom that we have in Christ.
The Deuteronomy Sabbath commandment was a reference to the Exodus-from-Egypt story. God did not just rescue His chosen people from slavery and then abandon them in the wilderness. He promised to bring them to a good land that would be their inheritance, and give them rest there from all their enemies. The book of Hebrews calls this “a Sabbath-rest for the people of God” where they could “rest from their labors, just as God did after creating the world” (Hebrews 4:9,10 NLT). But in one of the greatest tragedies of the Old Testament, when the time came for them to enter into the resting place that God had prepared for them, they refused to enter because did not believe God could give them victory over the inhabitants of the land. “They would not enter His rest… they could not enter in because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:18,19). The result was forty years of rebellion and futile wandering in the wilderness until all “who did not obey” were dead (Hebrews 3:17,18). In this example, six symbolizes wandering in the wilderness of futility, boredom, dissatisfaction, and failure. In contrast, Seven symbolizes faith and belief. “We who have believed do enter His rest” (Hebrews 4:3).
Going back to the creation story in Genesis 1, tman was created on the sixth day, and although he was declared “very good,” it was not until the seventh day that creation was complete: “God ended His work… and blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2:2,3). Adam and Eve spent their first full day, the seventh day, resting with their Creator, having done nothing themselves to add to the creative process. Since they were the last creatures to be created, they did not even see the creation taking place, but accepted by faith that God had done everything.
Thus the Sabbath symbolizes our faith and total dependence on God to do what we cannot do—to create and to redeem. In order to experience the completeness that is symbolized by the number seven, we must enter into the Sabbath rest of trusting in His completed work. By refusing to honor the Sabbath, man says “NO!” to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who are inviting him to enter into His rest; perhaps this is why the number of the beast is the triple repetition of 6.
Searching the scriptures for other links to the number of the beast, we find in the history of Solomon the number 666, and it is confirmed as the number of rebellious disobedience. King Solomon was considered one of the greatest kings of Israel, but actually, his disobedience to God’s commandments laid the foundation for Israel’s ruin.
In Deuteronomy 17 God predicted that the people would say, “I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me” (Deuteronomy 17:14). This was not God’s will, but recognizing that this would happen, He gave just three commandments for the king, all of which Solomon broke. “[The king] shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses… neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turns away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself” (Deuteronomy 17:16,17). Ignoring these commandments, “Solomon gathered one thousand four hundred chariots and twelve thousand horsemen… and Solomon had horses imported from Egypt” (1 Kings 10:26-28), “King Solomon loved many foreign women… from the nations of whom the Lord had said, ‘You shall not intermarry with them… He had seven hundred wives… when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart after other gods” (1 Kings 11:1-4).
But perhaps even more than his infatuation with horses and women was his love of gold. King Solomon made an alliance with Hiram, the idolatrous king of Tyre. Solomon built a fleet of ships and Hiram supplied the seamen to help in Solomon’s project of accumulating wealth. “The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold” (1 Kings 10:14). No doubt there was some yearly variation in the amount, but it is significant that the Bible writer used the specific number 666 as a measure of Solomon’s vast yearly accumulation of gold.
Solomon’s father David had also gathered a lot of gold, but he dedicated it to the building of the temple for God’s glory. In contrast, Solomon used his gold to contribute to his own glory—to make shields, a fabulous throne, to make drinking vessels, and to buy horses and chariots from Egypt. The Bible says that “King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches… all the earth sought the presence of Solomon” (1 Kings 10:23,24). The 666 talents of gold Solomon accumulated every year symbolized and epitomized his pride and self-exaltation, and most of all, his disobedience to the explicit commandments God had specifically given for the kings of Israel to follow.
Thus “the number of the beast,” 666, is a symbol of willful disobedience, a declaration that “I’m going to do things my way, regardless of what God says.” It is “the number of man,” symbolizing the irrepressible desire of unconverted humans to glorify themselves. As such it is just the opposite of the Sabbath, which declares that everything I have is a gift from the creator, and even my very life has been redeemed from the slavery of sin.
Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27). Most Christians today have no idea that God has placed a blessing within the seventh day that has never been taken away. They haven’t rejected the Sabbath because they don’t understand it. But when people learn about the Sabbath and then reject it, they are rejecting something that God specifically made for them. That something is the personal Father-child relationship between man and his Creator which the Sabbath is designed to symbolize and safeguard.
Isaiah 58 reveals the rich blessings God has placed within the Sabbath rest, but it also gives an implied warning against rejecting it. “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on My holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please… then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land” (Isaiah 58:13,14).
But the unconverted man doesn’t want to find his “joy in the Lord,” he wants to go “his own way,” to do “as he pleases.” This includes “breaking the Sabbath… [God’s] holy day.” The number 666 gives triple emphasis to what it is not—it is not seven, God’s number of completeness. It symbolizes man as he is without his Creator and Redeemer: a hopeless sinner who is alienated from God and His followers.
This symbol of rebellious independence is the epitome of Satan’s plans, purposes, and kingdom, and goes hand in hand with the mark of the beast. The mark of the beast is the acceptance and honoring of Sunday, the counterfeit Sabbath. The number of the beast, 666, is the rejection of the seventh day, the true Sabbath.
One is the flip side of the other, and both symbolize submission to the beast rather than to God. With economic sanctions and finally with the threat of death, the worship of the image of the beast will be enforced. This will be the climax of Satan’s efforts to get the whole world to worship him.
But Satan’s plans are on a fatal collision course with God’s final initiative to “illuminate the earth with His glory” by bringing “the everlasting gospel… to every nation, tribe, tongue and people,” empowering the people of this world to “fear God, to give glory to him… and worship Him who made heaven and earth” (Revelation 14:6,7).
Check out the extra material that I have linked to in the description, including the article, “Jesus did not establish Sunday”.
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