GOD’S GOT MAN’S NUMBER
Jesus, my heart is Yours; speak to me now.
Read Revelation 13:11–18
The Beast out of the Earth
11 Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13 And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. 14 Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16 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, 17 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.
18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man.[a] That number is 666.
a Revelation 13:18 Or is humanity’s number
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat evidence do you see of human greed and selfishness messing up the world?
It’s a master class on how to wield malevolent power. Spin the truth to influence the populace, wow the masses by spectacle, use terror, and control life via money and a visible mark. The passage reads like an introduction to Orwell’s dystopian 1984 and to the horrors of Nazi Germany for the Jews and others.
To the first readers it might have suggested “Nero Caesar” which, because of the way letters are used as numbers in Hebrew (and Greek; neither language had numerals), adds up to 666. Insanely cruel in his hatred of Christians, Nero exemplified the claim to divine power and status by Roman emperors, a trend made more explicit by Domitian, the emperor in John’s time. Below the seven of perfection but tripled up to indicate power, Nero and all the other 666s since are described here.
Chillingly, the passage doesn’t attribute the characteristics of antichrist behavior only to Caesars. Don’t fixate on a few super-evil individuals. The passage says that this is “man’s number.” This antichrist spirit is in all. It is writ abnormally large from time to time but, as many commented about the holocaust war crime trials, the accused looked so… ordinary.
The Bible tells us that man’s heart is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). Are you allowing your heart to deceive you into believing or acting contrary to God’s Word? Search your heart.
O God, search my heart, show me Your truth and lead me in Your ways. Help me to stand firm in my faith in You.
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