666…the “Mark of the Beast”…what does it mean?
Well, here in chapter 13 we are going to find out what this number 666 means.
Now, remember, what John speaks of here is a vision.
Also, we need to remember that this is a book of prophecy…that means it is dealing with the problems of the time.
Rev 13:1 And he…
And he stood on the sand of the seashore. And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.
Now, who or what is this beast.
Well, to help us answer this we need to look at chapter 17 starting in verse 7.
7 And the angel said to me, “Why do you wonder? I shall tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns.
Now, here again is the beast “that has 7 heads and 10 horns.”
Well, we are not left to wonder…look at verse 9:
“Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, 10 and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. 11 “And the beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. 12 “And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. 13 “These have one purpose and they give their power and authority to the beast.
Notice first of all in verse 10 that the seven heads are “seven kings.”
Now, there is no doubt that the 7 heads here represent 7 kings.
Now, the first thing that you might notice is, Julius Caesar is not listed here.
Second thing you probably noticed is there are 11 kings or Emperors listed here, not 7.
Now, remember what John said: “5 have fallen.”
In verse 10 he says: “One is”…that would be Vespasian.
Then John says, “…the other has not come.”
And then John says, “…and the beast which was, and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction.”
The reason John says that “he is the beast which was, and is not” is because after Nero died the persecution of the saints was not as severe until Domitian came back on the scene.
And that may be another thing significant about Domitian being the “eighth.”
And notice, John says he “is of the seven.”
So these are the 7 kings and the 8th: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Titus, Domitian.
Then John says in verse 12: “And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour.
And in verse 13 we are told that these 10 kings: “… have one purpose and they give their power and authority to the beast. 14 “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”
So, this seems to be who the beast with 7 heads and 10 horns is.
Now, keep in mind that Daniel was written about 535 B.C…or nearly 600 years before Revelation.
“After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed, and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 8 “While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth uttering great boasts.
Now, if you look at verse 23 you will find that there is no doubt that this beast is a fourth kingdom. (“Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth…)
So here is how it looks as presented by Daniel.
But then Daniel says that “while he was contemplating the horns…behold another horn, a little one, came up among them.”
Then Daniel says: “…and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it.”
So, from Daniel 7 and Rev. 17 we get a pretty good indication of who the beast is with its 7 heads and 10 horns.
But there is more evidence as to who the beast is. Go back to Rev. 17 and look at verse 9. In verse 9 John says that “the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.”
Look at this map. Notice the Roman numerals…these are the 7 hills of Rome.
And just in case that is not enough evidence John tells us more…look at verse 18 of chapter 17.
18 “And the woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.”
There is no need to speculate about who the beast of Rev. 13 is.
But there is more…go back to Rev. 13 and look at verse 2:
2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.
The only other place in all the Bible you find this type of beast is back in Daniel 7 again. Here is what it says starting in verse 3: “And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another. 4 “The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it. 5 “And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much meat!’ 6 “After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. 7 “After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed, and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.
Notice the lion, bear, and leopard are in reverse order to what Rev. 13: 2 says.
Now, once again, Dan. 7: 23 tells us that these beasts are kingdoms.
And that fact parallels this vision with Daniel 2 where Daniel tells us who the nations are.
And now back to Rev. 13: 2 if you will look at the verse…you will see who it is that is working through these kings of Rome…and that is the dragon.
With all of this combined, we can know when the book of Revelation was written (during the days of Vespasian 79A.D), and we can know who the beast is, and what the situation is.
Now, let’s go back to Rev. 13 and let’s read the chapter and we will see what the number 666 means.
Rev 13 And he stood on the sand of the seashore.
And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. 2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. 3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed.
And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; 4 and they worshiped the dragon, because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?”
5 And there was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies; and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.
6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given to him(his authority is great but it is only given to him.) to make war with the saints and to overcome them;(satan’s goal is to gain souls.) and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.
8 And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10 If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes(If this is what you want…if you choose to follow the beast, this is what you will get); if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.
11 And I saw 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 authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13 And he performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. (He gives the appearance of being a god.) 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. 15 And there was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast might even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand, or on their forehead, (Satan seals those who are his also.) 17 and he provides that no one should be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.
18 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.
The beast would want you to think he is a god…but the truth of the matter is…he is human to the core.
But God wants all to know, that Domitian is not just a six…he is not just a 66…he is 666…