Posted by Murray Smith

“This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.” Rev 13:18.

The dragon and the two beasts of Revelation 13, one from the sea and the other from the land are a demonic distortion of the Trinity, and describe a composite picture of evil, still aggressively active on earth. It’s no wonder then that we often feel like an athlete boxed in, coming up against daily obstacles and also often find it very difficult to make inroads into reaching the hearts and minds of our unbelieving friends and family. The book of Revelation continues the ancient theme of two life pathways – the way of light and the way of darkness, the way of truth and way of deception, the way of 777 and way of 666.

In the previous two verses the Spirit enlightened John to reveal a further theme that Jesus spent much time teaching on, 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, 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,” Rev 13:16-17. Our relationship with our limited or abundant resources reveals much about what is going on in our hearts.  Unrelenting anxiety about the South African macro-economy and our own family’s micro-economy uncovers much of what is going in our minds. Jesus put it this way, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money,” Mat 6:24.

There are still only two ways to live which Revelation clarifies – the way of the Lamb and the way of the beast, the way of 777 and the way of 666. John uses numbers in Revelation less in the methodology of a calculator and more as a means to invoke our spiritual imagination with the purpose of waking us up from our slumber. Rome offered many seductive economic options to ease economic pressure, but never without the cost of new allegiance to the emperor. You could be captured then, you can be captured today. We will have missed the purpose of John’s writing though, if we too like our previous president say, “But what have I done wrong.” Revelation is primarily a letter to the church, which since its inception and until the return of Jesus, struggles with compromise and complacency. 777 people are complete and content in Christ. 666 people are incomplete and discontent and therefore susceptible to the following …

  • Wanting more than they need (unchecked consumerism)
  • Separating themselves from the poor (unconstrained capitalism)
  • Desiring a sensational church (commercialized religion)

Reflection:

What do you think Paul meant us to understand in his teaching in Phil 4:12? Why is this critical?

What are the dangers of thinking 666 is a one day in the future only reality?

How will you and your friends equip and support one another so that you are not seduced by the illusive, seductive evil of the unholy trinity? Is there anything you and I need to repent of?