Here is where wisdom comes in: Let the one that has intelligence calculate the number of the wild beast, for it is a man’s number; and its number is six hundred and sixty-six. Revelation 13:18
There are probably more explanations concerning the meaning of this number than the value of the number itself. No doubt, the explanation offered in this article will included in that mix. However, I feel that it is the best and Scripturally sound explanation given to be found to date and anywhere.
The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society – for example – identifies this number with the United Nations; who they claim are the "Image of the Beast. I believe that they are in error like the many others. They say that the number 6 is emphasized to a third degree, namely, 6 plus 60 plus 600. They site scriptures at 1 Chron 20:6 and Dan 3:1 to show that the number six represents something unusual such as Goliath "whose fingers and toes were in sixes" and the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had built "had a height of which was sixty cubits and the breadth was six cubits." In neither case do we see the use of six used to the sixth degree.
There are others who have devised 666 calculators using the English alphabet where each letter of the alphabet is assigned a number incremented by six. For example, A = 6, B = 12, C = 18 … Z = 156. Actually this is a system that I devised back in the early 1970's that others are making claim of. That system, I humbly admit, was an error on my part. There is no way anyone should attempt to assign an English alphanumeric system to something like this. The calculation of 666 is something far beyond human wisdom and intelligence. In fact, revelation of 666 cannot be attained under human steam.
To Occur After The Lord's Day
A careful reading of Revelation 1:9-11 shows that what the Apostle John saw and wrote down was not to occur within the Lord's Day, but after the Lord's day ended. Notice how Revelation 1:9-11 (NIV) reads:
I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.
Notice that John is telling us that while he was in the Lord's Day, he heard a voice like a trumpet behind him and he was told to write. That the voice was behind him indicates that the voice like a trumpet was telling him to write down the things that would occur forward or after the Lord's Day would end, not during the Lord's Day, and not before it would begin.
If the Lord's Day is indeed Christs' future one thousand year reign over the earth – as the Watchtower Society claims – then Satan would be locked up for it's duration; and the events such as the ascension of the Beast and the war in heaven – for example – would not have occurred. So, we can easily dismiss what John was seeing and told to write down were events of today or in a during the future Lord's Day. What about before the Lord's Day?
If we look at Revelation 1:1, 1:5 and 5:10, it is plain to see that Jesus was telling John that the events that would "soon take place" would be the events that would occur after his future 1000 year kingdom ends. Revelation 1:5 and 5:10 show Jesus as ruler over the "Kings of the Earth." These are not the political kings or rulers of today. They and all of the nations will have been long destroyed when Christ begins his 1000 year reign over the earth. These Kings of the Earth are the ones Jesus promised would be kings with him over the earth during his 1000 year reign. (Rev 20:6).
So the reference here to kings and kingdoms point to a future time period after Jesus 1000 rule over the earth ends, not before. Jesus is telling his future faithful followers (actually those kings left over in the earth after his 1000 reign ends), what must shortly take place from that future reference point. It is from a future standpoint of what must soon take place.
The Apostle John died almost 2000 years ago; so to say what must soon take place could not have applied to him and the others at that time in the past. What must soon take place only makes sense if it is referring to a time period where John and the other ones Jesus promised a kingdom with him were resurrected as he promised (The First Resurrection), and reigned with him for the entire duration of the 1000 years. What must soon take place would only make sense only at the end of Christs 1000 year reign over the earth when The Great Dragon ascends out of the Abyss. THIS is what Jesus is warning about!
Jesus is essentially saying of that future time period: "My 1000 year kingdom is about to end and I will no longer be earth's king. I will have completed my mission, resurrected all of YOU (all of mankind), and restored YOU (all of mankind) to The Most High God. I can no longer intercede in your behalf. After my rule ends, The Great Dragon is going to be released from his 1000 year imprisonment. This is what is going to happen when he ascends out of that abyss."
That, Dear reader, is the subject of all of The Book of Revelation.
The Book of Revelation is about what will happen after Christ's 1000 year reign ends and when Satan is unabyssed and his beastly system is established upon the earth.
Six-six-six (666) is something that pops up after Christs 1000 year reign ends and Satan's beastly system begins. Not before or during his reign as King over the earth. So what is 666?
What is 666?
Six-six-six (666) is mentioned only once in Scripture and only in The Book of Revelation . To associate it with Antichrist, a person, or any organization – past or present – is an error and something concocted by men.
Scripture associates 666 with only one entity: The Wild Beast. And, the Wild Beast is not seen until after Christ's 1000 year reign ends as it ascends up out of the Abyss with it's creator, Satan the devil. So 666 can only be associated with that future time period. (See my article entitled, He Sits Upon An Ass, She Sits Upon A Scarlet-Colored Beast)
Revelation 13:18 reads:
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.
The wisdom or intelligence called for is not puny human wisdom, but God's wisdom. All of the explanations one reads about 666 and the movies created about them stem from debased human wisdom which is foolishness to God. (1 Cor 1:20)
Therefore, in order to understand what 666 is, it is necessary to know what the beast will prove to be. Take a look at the second half of Revelation 13:2:
The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.
If we look at what the Dragon gives the Beast, tells us what the Beast is. The Dragon gives the Beast his power, his throne, and his great authority. That the Dragon gives the Beast his throne means, then, that the Beast is a system of governance (a throne) over that future world of restored mankind after Christ's 1000 kingdom ends.
This system of governance over restored mankind will act with great power and authority (Satan's power and authority). This also tells us that when Satan ascends up out of his abyssing of 1000 years, he ascends with a throne, power and great authority. This also means that he had all of those things before he was abyssed! Therefore, right now … as I am typing this … Satan has a throne, power and great authority.
Jesus referred to Satan as being the ruler of the world at John 14:30 even back in his day! In our time today, he is still this worlds ruler and he has power, and a throne and great authority. Do not be lulled into the thinking that teaches "God is in control" as if this negates Satan's power, throne and authority. One must remember that God rested from His creative works (He did not finish them) and God has taken a hands-off stance with regard this defiant angel.
Think: Did God interfere with the Serpent deceiving Eve? Did he interfere when Satan touched Jobs life? Did God interfere when the Devil tempted His Son in the wilderness? Did God interfere when His Son was put to death? No! God allowed these things to happen for a grand purpose.
So likewise today and after Christs 1000 year kingdom ends, God will not interfere with Satan establishing a kingdom (a beast) over the earth. These prophetic events must occur before God's Kingdom comes down to the earth. (You might be interested to know that "the earth" is not a part of the heavens. It only becomes a part of the heavens when God's Kingdom comes down to it and engulfs it. Stay tuned for an article on that subject)
Moving on …
This beast (throne) will have an image. That is, something that reflects, represents, or images what it is all about; something that all of the people will subscribe to and agree to be governed by. A real time analogy will be useful at this point to assist the reader in visualizing what the image of the beast is.
Today, the United States government is an entity of governance. All American citizens are protected and governed by The Constitution of the United States. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. Its articles establish the rules by which America's system of government and it's people are governed. The Constitution guides American society in law and political culture.
This Constitution reflects or images what the United States of America is all about. If one chooses to disobey the Constitution, punishment could be meted out to that one. One who abides or supports (worships) the Constitution, will be viewed as law-abiding, patriotic Americans. Those who are patriotic loyal law-abiding Americans are "marked" as such by virtue of their loyalty. Those who rebel against the Constitution or parts of it are "marked" as unpatriotic and disloyal dissenters … or even traitors.
In the future, the Beast will have an image that reflects it. This image is not some flag or emblem that the world will bow down to. Those things are too obvious and Satan that is not Satan's nature. He is subtle, cunning, and cautious.
This image will be a man-made Constitution that the entire future world – who will have been united as a result of Christs 1000 year reign – will be deceived into to living by. This Constitution will be a man-made hand-written document by which all supporting and accepting it will flourish within Satan's beastly system of rulership. Those who do not support and accept it, will not be able to flourish (buy and sell) within that beastly system of governance.
The "mark" itself will not be some visibly implanted computer chip or visible marking on the hand or forehead. The "mark" is simply ones acceptance and loyal support of the Beast (Throne) and it's image. It will become apparent by ones actions in those days who are supporters (worshipers of the image) and who are not.
Jesus said the mark of true discipleship to him would be the love we would have for one another at John 13:35:
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
So supporters and worshipers of the Beast and its image will be identified NOT by a visible mark, but by what their mental and heart conditions are. They will be marked by where their loyalties lie.
That the number of the beast has to be calculated implies a process in it's creation. How so? If the Image of the Beast proves to be a document of rules and regulations (laws), it will not, at the outset, contain 666 Articles; it will build up to that number.
The very idea of something being calculated implies, as stated earlier, a process. If one-plus-one is calculated, it equals two. Yet, simple addition is not what what is called for when determining the number of the beast; it requires, according to Revelation 13:18, Wisdom and Intelligence.
Notice that Revelation 13:18 says that the beast has a number, a mans number. Nothing else but an entity that reflects, represents, or images the beast could be that number. In other words, the Image of the Beast comprises or makes up that number. The Scripture does not say that the number of the Beast is Satan's number, no, it says that it is a man's number.
When Jesus' 1000 year definite reign over the earth ends, he will have restored all of mankind to their Creator. Jesus will have left behind on earth, in those future days, a perfect human society that will live without the need of rules, regulations and laws to make them conform and do what is good. Each one will know for himself what is good and bad. During Jesus' righteous 1000 reign, rules, regulations and laws will not be something written down on paper. The knowing of good and bad and the knowing of what is pleasing to The Most High God will be etched in the hearts and minds of mankind in those futures days. Mankind, after Jesus' 1000 reign ends, will know.
Hebrews 10:16 reads:
This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.
When the Great Dragon ascends out of his abyss at the end of Jesus' 1000 year reign over the earth, he brings up with him his Beastly system of rule over what Jesus leaves behind. Whereas Jesus' reign over the earth for the 1000 years was one without hand-written law (man's number), the Great Dragon's beastly system of rule over the earth will be a re-institution of such laws.
The Apostle Paul informs us at Romans 10:4:
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
He also tells us at Col 2:14 that Jesus blotted …
Out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.
The Image of the beast, I believe, will prove to be a subtle and gradual building up (creation) of a hand-written Constitution containing a number of rules and regulations (Articles of Law) by which the "restored" world of mankind will be made to adopt and support (worship). Those persons in those future days who remain faithful and do not let themselves to be re-enslaved by human laws (man's number), knowing what Jesus' left them with (the law of love etched their minds and hearts), will fair badly for the duration of the Dragon's beastly system of rulership. (Revelation 13:16-17) It will be men – many who were kings with Jesus during his 1000 reign – who will be the mouthpiece who will encourage support of this Constitution.
Scripture indicates that these kings will give their kingdoms (authority as kings inherited from Christ during his rule) to the Beast. We know that these cannot be the political kings we see today because these events occur after Jesus' 1000 year reign has ran it's course. Any of the political kings or kingdoms we see today will have long been destroyed when Jesus takes over rulership of the earth. So these Kings of the Earth we see mentioned in the Book of Revelation, will be those left over in the earth after Jesus' 1000 ends. They were kings with Jesus for 1000. The Book of Revelation shows that these kings will become kings with the Beast after Jesus' reign ends. Notice how Revelation 17:12-13:
And the ten horns that you saw mean ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but they do receive authority as kings one hour with the wild beast. These have one thought, and so they give their power and authority to the wild beast.
Since the entire world will have been restored by Christ by the time his 1000 year reign ends, it stands to reason that it will be "perfect" people who will be misled by the unabyssed Satan who will establish this beast and draft and put into law it's image. It will be those who were formerly kings over the earth with Jesus for the 1000 years who will act as false prophets, spreading and teaching something Jesus did not commission them to teach.
These former kings will be left over on the earth when Satan is released from the abyss. These kings will – no doubt – be highly respected by the rest of restored mankind as that restored mankind will have full knowledge of them as being the first to be resurrected among them and the ones Jesus chose as being co-kings with him in his 1000 year reign.
When Satan is released, he misleads these former kings and uses them to "speak" to the rest of the population and get them to buy into supporting The Beast and it's image (Constitution). The world at that time will not know that it is the Beast or it's image that it is being sold to them as needing to be established and supported. Satan knows that there is no reason why the world would not listen to these former kings since they had a direct and active part in ruling over them along with Christ.
That these former kings of Jesus speak as a collective to the entire world, they act collectively as a False Prophet. We see them in that role at Revelation 13:11-17.
It is uncertain whether this Image of the Beast (Constitution) will contain 666 articles. But whatever 666 will prove to be in association the Beast, this 666 is a man's number that represents the beasts name or what it stands for. This number will not be something obvious or in plain view to everyone; it must be ascertained or calculated.
The calculation of this number can only he accomplished by the wisdom and intelligence that God will have given to his servants who are wise and intelligent enough NOT be be taken along by the world's thinking in this matter.
So all of the discussion about the past and present empires being those seven heads on the Beast of Revelation 13:1: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the current United States and Great Britain is not true. The numbers do not add up anyway. This is error being taught as truth.
The arrival of this Beast and the other things in The Book of Revelation have not arrived yet. As of this writing, nothing in The Book of Revelation has had a fulfillment. But they will.
What the Apostle John saw was to occur after a time period he was privileged to see in vision called The Lord's Day. We are currently in the time period Scriptures call "The Appointed Times of the Nations or Gentile Times." (Luke 21:24) (For an interesting article that identifies who the Gentiles are see Who Are The Gentiles)
The Gentile nations today are doing their own thing. It is their day that we are in. Look around you. If we were in the Lord's Day nothing that is occurring now would be occurring. Jesus would put a stop to it.
At Matthew 24:3-29: Jesus is explaining events that would occur during this time period of the "Times of the Nations." Jesus even mentions nations rising against nations within these "Appointed Times of the Nations" or "Gentile Times."
At Matthew 24:6 Jesus even said that "The end is not yet."
It will not be until his sign is seen in heaven immediately after the future Great tribulation, that the "Times of the Nations" end and the Lord's Time or Day – that John saw in The Book of Revelation – begins.
All of the discussion about being in the Last Days is also false. The Last Days in Scripture is associated only with the ending of The Lord's Day. Nothing in The Book of Revelation has had a start at being fulfilled. That means that Satan has not been kicked out of heaven yet; The Beasts of Revelation are not in existence; and no 666 can be ascertained. It will only be after the Lord's Day, when the Beasts of Revelation come out of the earth and sea, will certain ones be able to understand, ascertain and identify the entity that bears the number-name – a man's number, 666.
It is important that one recognizes Where We Now Stand in the Stream of Bible Prophecy. If you get this wrong – as many religious organizations already know and some will not admit to – you will end up looking foolish and having to put foot-in-mouth.
We must not try to bring Bible prophecy to us; it must happen on God's time table. When we seek to establish an place dates on events, we are not exercising patience and waiting on Jehovah our God. We imitate the conduct of the Evil Slave class in Jesus parable at Matthew 24:48-51.
It was the Evil Slave who wanted to push the agenda and it was the Evil Slave who felt that his Master was delaying. For this slave to feel that his master was delaying implies that he was expecting him within a certain time frame. This Evil Slave proved to be impatient and began to treat his masters house and belongings as if his own. This Evil Slave even began to beat his fellow slaves.
Those "other" slaves occupying the same household – the Faithful ones – were not looking for their Master to return on a certain date or time period. They knew he would one day return, but they did not concern themselves with dates. They simply remained faithful and watchful of their Master's arrival.
Jesus in that parable says this:
The master of that slave will come on a day that he does not expect and in an hour that he does not know. (Matthew 24:50)
Keep on the watch, therefore, because YOU know neither the day nor the hour. (Matthew 25:13)