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Let’s start by reading Revelation 13:11-18, “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth 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. And he had power to give life unto 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.  And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:  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. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”  I strongly suggest that you read this entire chapter.  It begins with the announcement of a beast that comes out of the sea and describes that beast.  We began reading at verse 11, which starts with the announcement of another beast, and this beast comes out of the earth.  This would suggest that the first beast came out of a chaotic or unsettled state, while the second beast came from that which is more settled and stable.  The first beast would represent political power while the second beast represents religious power.  This beast has two horns like a lamb, but speaks with the fierceness of a dragon.  His lamb-like appearance and dragon voice expose him to us as the false Messiah or Christ.  In Revelation 16:13, he is identified as the false prophet.

This false prophet, or beast, performs many great miracles and deceives many people as to who he really is.  He uses his power as spiritual leader to cause all to worship the image of the first beast.  Any who refuse are killed.  Then, we read in Revelation 13:16-17, “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:  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.”  This beast institutes a system that requires all to get a mark put on their foreheads or their right hands in order to buy or sell.  Why is this mark in the forehead or right hand?  Our forehead would indicate our thoughts and our right hand would represent our strength.  So, all thoughts and actions are brought into submission to this miracle working beast.  To receive these marks would show that the people had submitted themselves to the authority of the beast or false prophet.

What exactly is this mark?  We are told that the number of the beast is threescore, six hundred and six, or as most people pronounce it: 666.  What is the significance of this number?  Six is the number of man.  Reading Genesis 1:26-31, we learn that man was created on the sixth day.  We read in Exodus 20:9, “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work.”  We’re told that a Hebrew slave was to serve six years in Deuteronomy 15:12 which says, “And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.”  We have many examples throughout the scriptures showing that the number that represents man is the number six.  The number that represents perfection is seven, and man always falls short of that.

So what is the significance of three sixes?  As Walter Scott says in his book, Exposition of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, “It is the fullest, highest development of man under direct satanic control.  It is the combination of civil, religious, and political power satanically inspired.” The number of the beast, threescore, six hundred and six is probably a metaphor for this system controlled by the beast.  It could be a chip placed under the skin; it could be a tattoo.  We cannot be certain because scripture doesn’t elaborate on it.  We can be sure that all this takes place during the seven year tribulation period.  Before the tribulation period, the church is raptured out by the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds as we read in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Afterwards begins that terrible period that is written about in Matthew 24:21 which says, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”  My dear friend, I hope that you have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior so that you can avoid this terrible time.