Q&A on the Book of Revelation (2): The Number of the Beast 666

 

Q

 In Revelation, St. John wrote, “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666” (Rev. 13:18). Why “wisdom” is mentioned here? In Revelation, what does the number 666?

A

John calls for wisdom: “Here is wisdom,” it belongs to the heavenly Father and the Lamb of God (Rev. 5:12; 7:12). Twice in the Book of Revelation, John calls for wisdom (Rev. 13:18; 17:9): “Here is the mind that has wisdom.”

God’s revelation can be understood only when the reader receives wisdom from the heavenly Father, through the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:30): “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

John calls anyone who has a mind to calculate the number of the beast (Rev. 13:18). Persons who have intelligence enlightened by the Spirit will be able to understand. Speaking of the importance of wisdom does not mean that only intelligent people have the mental capacity to interpret this passage. Everyone with the Spirit’s aid will readily see its meaning in Christ.

John puts the entire chapter in the framework of symbolism, so the reader should figuratively understand the beast’s number (Rev. 13:18). While the number seven signifies completeness, the number six signifies incompleteness. Thus, the heavenly Father fulfilled his work of creation in seven days (Gen. 2:2). He decreed that a Hebrew servant be set free in the seventh year (Ex. 21:2; Deut. 15:12; Jer. 34:14). 

The number “six” points to incompleteness in the Book of Revelation. The corrupted human nature’s work always fails. Therefore the number of the beast, which is 666, expresses incompleteness three times! Revelation stated that the number 666 is “the number of a man”; it symbolizes the first Adam’s sinful nature after the fall. This man is the first man Adam, from whom we inherited the old corrupted human nature.

Against the dark background of sin and fallen human nature, the gospel comes as the good news of the deliverance that the heavenly Father has provided through the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 2:14-15). The Lord Jesus Christ bore the curse of sin in our place (Mark 10:45). He also redeems us from lawlessness to serve the heavenly Father and others (Titus 2:14). The heavenly Father has destroyed our old man, the body of sin with the mark 666, through Christ’s crucifixion.

NB. This post is quoted from “Revealing the Father through the Book of Revelation,” by Hegumen Abraam Sleman.  The book is available on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B099BZWX6Y/

Blessing to you!  

 

 

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