Clues on Mark of the Beast
Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six. (Revelation 13:18)
Something riveted my attention this morning and caused me to take a much closer look at this mysterious idea of the 'mark of the beast' again. I know that there are thousands of ideas already being promoted about the meaning of this, but that does not give me reason to not be responsible for personally investigating this and listening to the Spirit's guidance on what may be true about this most important subject. Complacently relying on what some particular church or popular teacher has decided about this topic without bothering to dig for truth actively for myself is an abortion of integrity. I am accountable personally to God for what I believe above any other loyalty to anyone else.
What got my attention was the text chosen to go along with today's reading in My Utmost For His Highest. The verse was John 6:66. At first I found it simply a little humorous, but when I thought about the content of that verse and the general concept of what I already know of the mark of the beast, I began to wonder if there was not something more significant here. I realize that many would discount any significance whatsoever to the numbering system artificially created by translators in dividing the Bible up into chapters and verses. They would insist that there is no inspiration in how these numbers line up because God didn't have anything to do with that. But I would remind them that God already knew from the beginning how those numbers would line up and could have easily arranged certain truths to line up with certain numbers maybe to get our attention.
Here is the verse that got me started on this. As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. (John 6:66) And from my understanding so far of the basic truth associated with the mark of the beast and its function and role in the closing events of this earth's history, that mark is imposed primarily to differentiate between those who are going to comply with the demands of the gods of this world and those who are disloyal to them. This separation is done for the purpose of marginalizing these dissenters, isolating them and finally eliminating them so that the forces opposed to God can consolidate their way of life over the entire planet.
Many people have been led to believe that this mark is directly connected with a specific person that is called the 'antichrist'. Popular teachers have promoted this idea through extensive means such as a movie series that has taken the Christian community by storm over the past few years. But unfortunately this has led to the sad condition of great ignorance on the part of many because they have not taken seriously their personal responsibility to study and flush out the truth about this for themselves. They have assumed that others are more expert and capable of figuring out truth and they can trust their eternal salvation to the thoughts and conclusions of someone else. But nothing could be more dangerous.
In the above verse from John, Jesus was Himself had created a situation of division and separation. He knew that many were following Him primarily from a sense of adventure, excitement and because they were caught up with watching miracles. Their religious beliefs had predisposed them to believe many false ideas about the work and nature of the Messiah just as many teachings today have done in regard to His second coming. Their focus had been centered around their external hopes for political advantage, of increasing their ability to control others and to be exalted in the earth and have dominance over their enemies. Because of these many false ideas mingled into the motives of many of His followers, Jesus made some statements that came across as downright abrasive and offensive to most of them.
These words of Jesus that caused such a dramatic turn in His popularity forced people to begin to realize that the kingdom Jesus planned to bring into being was almost totally opposite from the kind of kingdom that they were longing to experience. They were ready to give their loyalty and invest their efforts into supporting a Messiah who would operate using the methods that appealed to their pride and self-interests. But Jesus came as a self-denying servant to set an example of a kind of kingdom based on selfless love to others at any cost to one's self. This sort of life was so anti-typical to the kind of life they wanted that they could not accept that Jesus was the teacher of truth, the valid Son of God. They rejected Him as being the true Messiah because joining His kingdom involved humility, challenging the motives of their hearts and exposing all the selfishness and ugliness hiding inside.
The light came into the world but the world, and even those who claimed to be the most religious, God's chosen people on this earth, refused and resented the light because it exposed what was hidden inside. They longed for a kingdom of power and force and control and even oppression over their enemies if necessary. But Jesus offered a kingdom involving submission, humility, disgrace, loss of face and seeming weakness. Jesus came to expose the extreme contrast between the style of living that God designed for the universe and the counterfeit way of life promoted by His enemy, the father of lies.
This system of living that has been developed for thousands of years now on this planet since sin came into our lives is often referred to in the Bible as the ways of man. Especially in the book of Revelation I have noticed that there is a repeating phrase used almost as a code term for this way of thinking and living. It is termed, 'those who dwell on the earth'. I believe that this is God's way of distinguishing heaven's kind of kingdom from the way of living using fear, force, shame and control that has been perfecting itself over the history of this planet in the experiment of sin. God is allowing the principles proposed by Satan as the alternative way of living supposedly superior to submission to God, to mature to its full stage. Only by allowing the full maturation of the experiment of sin can God fully expose its ugliness and its false claims and inherently self-destructive nature.
When I carefully examined the original words in this verse from Revelation I found some compelling insights. In essence, what I see more clearly in this verse now goes something like this:
If you want to know what is really true and how heaven perceives reality, then the person who truly desires to think clearly and see things from God's perspective can enter into that by considering or thinking the way heaven thinks. Using that way of thinking they will see that what is represented here called 'the beast' can be seen as an external focus of living represented by a number. This number is that of a man, or represents the way men think and live in contrast with the way the unfallen universe thinks and lives; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six. (Revelation 13:18)
There are many related contributing clues that help us perceive better the significance of this number. In the Bible 6 is just less than 7 which is the number of wholeness, completeness, perfection, God-likeness. 3 is also a number of fullness and so three sixes make up the fullness of imperfection or a reference to the completion of the counterfeit system of government invented by Lucifer/Satan.
The beast referred to here is the amalgamation of demonic forces combined with humanity's cooperation and synchronization of those concepts worked out in human governments reflective of Satan's principles. This whole system is deceptive, counterfeit and opposes the ways of Jesus while claiming to represent God. This mark that is forced on everyone on the earth through economic deprivation and intimidation is representative of the methods used by the system of counterfeit government modeled on Satan's system of living.
When I see the division taking place in the verse in John 6:66 I see a strong parallel to what is going to take place in the near future as prophesied in Revelation. And interestingly enough when I took a look at book 66 in the Bible (Revelation) and looked at the 6th chapter I found a description of the first 6 seals minus the following description of the true sealing with a true mark of the people of God as presented in chapter 7. I really don't think this is totally a coincidence even though I don't generally put a lot of weight on discovering truth from artificial number assignments. However as I mentioned above, God knew hundreds of years in advance how our chapters and verses would be numbered and could have just as easily arranged things to give us yet more clues to emphasize to those who are observant what is really important from heaven's perspective about this mark and number.