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That number 666!
Query for the Month
Next up-date: January 1st 2010 (God willing).
Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.
Some perpetual questions ....
Is there really an immortal soul?
Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world? Click here to find out!
Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can share amongst your friends. It's called "Light through Darkness" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read! (when you get to the site just click "cancel" and it will let you in. Then click "order" to obtain a copy. )
In the meantime, try this site. And here's one where you can read it online.
Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.
Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library. No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.
Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
What wisdom is needed to understand the number 666? And who does it apply to?
That number – 666!!
This is an example of a mixture of misreading and mistranslation.
First of all we should be aware that in the Greek text there doesn’t seem to be a word for the “a” in “it is the number of a man”. Although nearly all translations include the “a”, the Concordant Literal of 1966 and a few others are different.
Here is a typical translation of the verse which I found on the net;
Note that it is literally “WILD-BEAST NUMBER for OF-human it-IS”, yet it is translated as “a man”.
I am told that “a man” and “one man” is written like this in Greek - ένα άτομο
So why this addition is made remains a mystery to me. Even the KJV includes it!
But that’s all Greek to me, so let’s concentrate on what we have in English.
Armed with these two points let’s look carefully and prayerfully at the query text and its surrounding verses, for God promises to give us wisdom if we who already have “understanding” ask Him. What does that mean? Only those who “understand” Him and His gospel can really appreciate the message He is giving us regarding the beast and its number.
If we read from verse 11 we have this:
11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon.
12 And he exercises all the power of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
13 And he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 and deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
15 And he had power to give life to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
Matthew Henry, the well-known Bible commentator (1662-1714) whose thoughts are still read, wrote; “The number of the beast is given, so as to show the infinite wisdom of God, and to exercise the wisdom of men. The number is the number of a man, computed after the usual manner among men, and it is 666. What or who is intended by this, remains a mystery. To almost every religious dispute this number has yet been applied, and it may reasonably be doubted whether the meaning has yet been discovered. But he who has wisdom and understanding, will see that all the enemies of God are numbered and marked out for destruction; that the term of their power will soon expire, and that all nations shall submit to our King of righteousness and peace”. See http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/Matthew-Henry/Rev/Those-Faithful-Christ-Praises
So, not until the early 1800’s did this verse even begin to be comprehended by men, and then, amongst some other explanations, it was suggested that it was the number of the Pope through one of his titles! (More on that later.)
However, as the two beasts mentioned in the whole of the 13th chapter, the leopard-like one from the sea (verse 1) and the lamb-like one coming up from the earth (verse 11) were identified as the Papacy and the United States of America respectively, so the number was really studied.
Let’s look at the verses again more carefully, with some explanations:
11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth [the United States in 1776]; and he had two horns like a lamb [with no king (democracy) or established religion (it had freedom for all), it was different from all the former fighting “animals” used as symbols in Bible prophecy], and [yet, as John watched] he spoke as a dragon. [When?]
[From my library:
The “speaking” of the nation is the action of its legislative and judicial authorities. By such action it will give the lie to those liberal and peaceful principles which it has put forth as the foundation of its policy. The prediction that it will speak “as a dragon,” and exercise “all the power of the first beast,” plainly foretells a development of the spirit of intolerance and persecution that was manifested by the nations represented by the dragon and the leopard-like beast.
12 And he [the Federal United States, sometime in the future] exercises all the power of the first beast [the Papacy] before him [in front of it], [enforcing religion by law as the Papacy has in the past] and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship [the ideas of] the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. [So it will be obvious that something has changed in the character of this second beast. The “first” beast was revealed that way, but this one has been altered!]
[At this point we need to recognise that so far we have read about two “beasts”. But there is really only one “beast” in the Bible – it is the “dragon picture” of Satan and his earthly followers (Revelation 12:9). This beast is described as having seven “heads” and “ten horns” with movable “crowns” in Revelation 12:3, and we should constantly think of it as such, for as we read about a “beast” we should ask God, “Which head (or puppet of Satan) is this?” It was Pagan Rome (the fourth head) which tried to devour the “child” Christ at birth; it was the Papacy (the fifth head) which was given the severe wound in 1798. It was the sixth head [the United States of America] which came up out of the earth [a mostly uninhabited area]. Heads 1-3 were Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece.]
13 And he [the sixth head] does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men [as if from God, e.g. 1 Chronicles 21:26], 14 and deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power [from Satan] to do in the sight of the [the fifth head] beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth [the people of the land], that they should make AN IMAGE [a copy, a likeness] to the [fifth head] beast, which had the wound by a sword, and [yet] did live [for that head is back in favour with men today after being rejected so completely during the Reformation times, although it no longer rules the world!]
15 And he [the sixth head, the lamb-like United States] had power to give life to the IMAGE of the beast [the seventh head, the dragon-like United States being led by religious people, a THIRD beast in this chapter], that THE IMAGE [the copy] OF THE [fifth head of the] BEAST should both speak [through United States laws], and cause that as many as would not worship the IMAGE OF THE BEAST should be killed [a death decree].
[When the Federal Government of the United States of America shall so renounce the principles of its founding fathers as to enact Sunday laws, Protestantism will in this act be copying the essence of popery. It will be nothing else than giving life to the tyranny which has long been eagerly watching its opportunity to spring again into active despotism. By the decree enforcing the invention of the Papacy in violation of the law of God, the U.S. as a nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness.
When the leaders of the Protestant churches shall stretch their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, and also when they shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with Spiritualism as fellow-workers (and the process has already begun); when, under the influence of this threefold union [Revelation 16:13-14], the United States shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and Republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions by law, then we may know that the time has come for the marvellous working of Satan, and that the end is near. (Consider 2 Corinthians 11:13-15).]
16 And [before the death decree] he [the image beast, the seventh head] causes all [the whole world], both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 and that no man might buy or sell [through restrictive laws], save he that had the mark, or the name [character] of the beast [the image beast, the seventh head, which will morph into the eighth head], or the number of his [the image beast, the seventh head’s] name. [Yes, there is an eighth head! More on that later.]
“For the mystery of iniquity does already work [this was written in the time when Satan was hatching his master plan]: only He who now lets [allows, or protects] will let [continue to guide anyone], until He be taken out of the way [rejected]. And then shall that “Wicked [beast]” be revealed, whom the LORD shall consume with the spirit of His mouth [by the truth], and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming. Even Him, whose coming [the second advent] is AFTER the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. [They rejected it!] And for this cause God shall send [will have to allow] them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie [Sunday sacredness]: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness”. 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12.]
18 Here is wisdom. [James 1:5.]
Let him that has understanding [of the ways of God] count the number of the [image] beast: for it is the number [description] of man; and his number [description] is Six hundred threescore and six .
God saw all the heads and the horns, even before Satan thought them up!
Let’s look at this newly revealed eighth head:
8 [The angel said] The beast that you saw was [once governing the earth through false religion], and is not [right now, because it’s ruling head was wounded]; and [yet it] shall ascend out of the bottomless pit [it’ll come back through religion again though], and go into perdition [the Lake of Fire]: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder [admire], whose names were NOT written in the Book of Life [see Philippians 4:3] from the foundation of the world [they that “dwell on the earth” are the rejecters of God’s offer], when they behold the [dragon] beast that was, and is not, and yet is [was once in control of the world, is not now, but soon will be again, for that system pleases them].
9 And here is [needed] the mind which has wisdom.
The seven heads are [also] seven mountains, on which the woman [the false religion of the “beast”, the fifth head] sits.
Rome, the capital city of Italy, is historically known as ‘City of Seven Hills.’ According to Roman mythology, the seven hills of early Rome were the Cermalus, Cispius, Fagutal, Oppius, Palatium, Sucusa and Velia. But now the modern ‘City of Seven Hills’ includes Myrtle, Blossom, Clock Tower, Jackson, Lumpkin and Old Shorter hills and Mount Aventine.]
10 And there are seven kings [crowned heads]: five are fallen [Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Pagan Rome, Papal Rome], and one is [lamb-like America, the sixth], and the other [dragon-like America, the seventh] is not yet come; and when he comes, he must continue a short space [not long, for the beast will soon become a world-wide union of religion and state].
[We are told that these “heads of the beast” all remain as identifiable nations until the end of time. Daniel 7:11-12. Today, Babylon = Iraq; Medo-Persia = Iran; Greece is still itself; Pagan Rome is modern Italy; Papal Rome is the Vatican.]
11 And the [final] beast [the world-wide confederacy of religions and states in the last days] that was, and is not, even he is the eighth [head], and is of the seven, and goes into perdition [the Lake of Fire].
The “beast” actually has eight heads!! Eight different manifestations of Satan’s earthly kingdom complete the picture of the rebellion. The first four were ordinary nations with their established religions in the background always striving for power. The fifth was a particular religion controlling a state, while the sixth professes to be religiously neutral, available for ALL religions. (Satan was trying a new tack, one which has worked well so far, for the sixth is driven by the love of money, the “filthy lucre” of the Bible. 1Timothy 6:10. The sixth head, the seemingly non-religious America, has printed on its money, “In God we trust!” It should be, “In [this] god we trust!”). However, the system of organised religion controlling a state has only taken a back seat temporarily, for the seventh head will be one which is religion-driven and has the state enforcing its laws. That union will then be taken up by the whole world to form the eighth head (not a revival of the fifth, but an entirely new one based on it) for every state will have an established religion in the last days and will want to compel ALL, “rich and poor” etc., to bow down to it!
And what better way than to use the well-known symbol of the fifth head – the sun’s day – as their rallying point? Consider this quote from a Roman Catholic catechism (teaching book).
Catechism of the Catholic Church
2175 Sunday is expressly distinguished from the sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the sabbath. In Christ's Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish sabbath and announces man's eternal rest in God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ:
Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the sabbath, but the Lord's Day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death.
So let’s read again: “Let him that has understanding count the number of the [image] beast: for it is the number [description] of man; and his number [description] is Six hundred threescore and six (666)”.
The idea that the number 666 could apply to the Pope through a title written on one of his tiaras, is based on a lie. There is no such tiara in existence, and all tales regarding it are falsehoods. Moreover, to take a LATIN title (when the text is in Greek) and decipher it to find the number goes against all the rules of Bible interpretation. (This can be done with many names in many languages.) Apart from that fact, the words “a man” are not in the verse. Rather the word that is there means “man in the singular” – “mankind” as we say.
And more; the number does NOT apply to the head which had the wound (the fifth) but to the IMAGE beast (the seventh head)! So what does it mean?
The number 6 is the number of sin. In the Bible it is the number assigned to rebellious men just as 5 is the number of the faithful. (See note 2.) When men united in opposition to God and caused the Flood to come on the earth, the first of the 6’s was fulfilled. When they reunited at the cross and chose Caesar (and Barabbas the murderer) as their king and representative (John 19:15 and 8:44), they showed forth the second 6. And in the last days, when the Pope’s false sabbath is accepted in place of God’s throughout the whole world, the totality of evil will be complete – 666 will indeed be the characteristic of mankind. Twice already the Son of God has shown what the ultimate results of sin are, the second time increasing the intensity of the witness. The third will be the crowning act of rebellion! The first time religious men caused the death of a whole world; the second time they openly killed the Son of God, the One who would have saved them; the third time will mean the extinction of all the rebels in the universe.
It is the CHARACTER of the religions of the United States which is being singled out in our query verses! We are to carefully and prayerfully consider that the supposed meekness of the religious leaders in the United States will soon turn into a “dragon” voice, a compelling and fire-breathing roar which will spread throughout the world by force of law.
Therefore, if we have understanding of the character of the Lamb of God we will know that His opposition is the majority of humanity which when not under the influence of the Holy Spirit soon manifests the character of a “beast”! See note 3. A beast, which will be brought into existence by the desire of the religious leaders of the United States under the influence of Satan, and which will soon get out of control and assume a life of its own – a totally destructive force which will bring about the end of the world as we know it, for “clay and iron” cannot mix for long.
[Christ told us:] “Many false prophets shall rise [in the church], and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity [wickedness in the church] shall abound, the love of many [in the church] shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.
15 “When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso reads, let him understand:) 16 then let them which be in Judaea [a symbol of God’s true church] flee into the mountains. 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes [go quickly]”. Matthew 24:11-18.
However, no one has yet received the mark of the beast.
The testing time has not yet come. There are true Christians in every church, even in the Roman Catholic communion, and they must be identified to the universe. In contrast, none will be condemned until they have had the light and have seen the obligation of the fourth commandment. But when the decree shall go forth enforcing the counterfeit sabbath, and the loud [worldwide] cry of the third angel shall warn men against the worship of the beast and his image, the line will be clearly drawn between the false and the true, by their choices.
“And the third angel followed them [the other two], saying with a loud voice, ‘If any man worship the [dragon] beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead [believing it to be true], or in his hand [believing it expedient to accept it], the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture [without grace] into the cup of His indignation; and [in the meantime] he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the [dragon] beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name. [It will not be easy to fight against God and His love! He won’t give up without a struggle! Consider Acts 9:5.]
[Then the angel said], “Here is the patience of the saints [they have an inner peace while this is going on]: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and [have] the faith of Jesus’.” Revelation 14:9-12.
It is those who then continue in transgression (rebellion) who will receive the mark of the beast.
With rapid steps we are approaching this period. When the professed Protestant churches of the United States shall unite with the secular power of the Federal government to sustain a false religion, for opposing which their ancestors endured the fiercest persecution, then will the Papal sabbath be enforced by the combined authority of church and state in that country.
This will be followed by a worldwide apostasy, which will end only in worldwide ruin. “And the [dragon] beast that was [once in control], and is not [right now], even he is the eighth [head], and is of the seven, and goes into perdition [the Lake of Fire]. And the ten horns which you saw [on the beast’s heads] are ten kings [religions], which have received no kingdom as yet [are uncrowned right now]; but receive power as kings one hour [a short time] with the beast [in the future, Revelation 13:1]. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength to the [eighth head of the] beast”. Revelation 17:11-13. Why?
[The crowns show where Satan’s power is currently being manifested.]
“These [crowned religions] shall make war with the Lamb [through His people], and the Lamb shall overcome them [through His people]: for He is LORD of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful [to the end]”. Revelation 17:14.
The “number” of the image beast (666) is a symbol which tells us that the image is the totality of evil! When everyone in the world openly bows to this system of a religion controlling the state and persecuting nonconformists to the death, the great conflict between Christ and Satan will come to an end. No more proof of the evil of sin will be needed. Those who, after the light regarding God's law comes to them, continue to disobey and exalt human laws above the law of God in the great crisis before us, will receive the mark of the dragon beast (Revelation 12:9), and the number of his name. But until they are convicted of the truth, and deliberately trample upon the evidence given to enlighten them, the LORD will not have to withdraw His grace from them. He will fight for them to the bitter end!
Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.
Next query. To be discussed from January 1st, 2010.
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Note 1: Some examples of names and their meanings.
2:19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name [character] thereof.
17:3-5 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. Neither shall your name any more be called Abram [exalted father], but your name shall be Abraham [father of a great multitude]; for a father of many nations have I made you”.
17:15 And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai [my princess, i.e. for one family], but Sarah [our princess, for all families] shall her name be”.
30:13 And Leah said, “Happy am I [over my new-born son], for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name “Asher” [happy]”.
***************(End Quote) Return
Note 2: The numbers of the Bible:
1 = The Father; 2 = the Son; 3 = the Holy Spirit; 4 = the world; 5 = faith and the faithful; 6 = sin and sinners; 7 = completeness; 8 = a new creation/beginning. Return
Note 3: The beast of the Bible:
“A surging, seething, murmuring crowd of beings that are human only in name, for to the eye and ear they seem naught but savage creatures, animated by vile passions and by the lust of vengeance and of hate”.
For more on this subject, check http://ancient-sda.com/beast.html ,
or ask for the booklet “The Beast of the Bible”.
Q. What is the Third
Commandment? ( Remember they
A. The third Commandment is: Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day.
Q. Which is the Sabbath
A. Saturday is the Sabbath day.
Q. Why do we observe Sunday
instead of Saturday?
A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday."
[ The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, 1951 printing, page 50. ]
Q. How prove you that the Church hath power to command feasts and holy days?
A. By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday which Protestants allow of; and therefore THEY FONDLY CONTRADICT THEMSELVES, BY KEEPING SUNDAY STRICTLY, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same church."
[ Henry Tubervill, An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine, 1833, page 58. ]
“You will tell men that Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath, but that the Christian Sabbath has been changed to Sunday. Changed! but by whom? Who has authority to change an express commandment of Almighty God? When God has spoken and said, Thou Shalt keep holy the seventh day, who shall dare say, Nay, thou mayest work and do all manner of worldly business on the seventh day; but thou shalt keep holy the first day in its stead. This is a most important question which I know not how you can answer.
“You are a Protestant, and you profess to go by the Bible and the Bible only; and yet in so important a matter as the observance of one day in seven as a holy day, you go against the plain letter of the Bible, and put another day in the place of the day which the Bible has commanded. The command to keep holy the seventh day is one of the ten commandments; you believe that the other nine are still binding: who gave you authority to tamper with the fourth? If you are consistent with your own principles, if you really follow the Bible and the Bible only, you ought to be able to produce some portion of the New Testament in which this fourth commandment is expressly altered.”
[ Library of Christian Doctrine. Why Don't You Keep Holy the Sabbath Day? page 5. ] Return