666 – The Number of the Beast
Throughout this book I have endeavored to focus on the spiritual understanding of the abundant symbolism relating to the beast. There has been much debate about the significance of the number which is given to represent the beast, and I believe God would have us to understand this number and not be in doubt about it. That God desires that we should have understanding is revealed in the following Scripture:
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.
John declares that it is possible to understand this symbolism. This is not one of those things that God told John to seal up. Instead, we are told that those who have understanding can arrive at the meaning of this number. The number is specifically related to a man, and the number of this man is 666.
Many have set out to decipher this riddle, and they have used various means to do so. One of the most common methods in days past and present is through the study of Gematria. In Hebrew and Greek, as well as some other languages, each alphabetic character has a corresponding numeric value. By summing up the value of each alphabetic character in a name, or title, one can arrive at a numeric value. In this manner many have demonstrated that various persons throughout history, from ancient Nimrod to present day Popes, as well as various world political figures, have borne names and titles whose corresponding numerical value has added up to the number 666.
It is not my intent to disprove any of these associations between individuals and the number 666. In fact, I believe that many of them are valid and correct. Yet, just because we can say that the Roman Pontiffs have borne this number, or we can link it to some other figure past or present, we cannot declare that this is sufficient proof that they are THE Beast. These individuals may be ones who have manifested the beast nature, as have multitudes of men and women down through the ages, they may have even been key instruments of Satan in his warfare against the elect of God, but in this book we want to delve down deeper to the fullest understanding of this symbolism and, with the help of God and the anointing that He has given to His elect, we hope to do so.
One problem I see in declaring that the Popes, or some other individual(s), are the person to whom this number points is that the influence of these men upon mankind has not been universal. I believe that John is speaking of that which is a threat to all men, and which all saints have an opportunity to overcome. There have been ages when the Popes held tremendous power over a large portion of the “civilized world,” but even at their zenith they did not have power over all men. With the advent of the Reformation the power of the Popes began to wane, and though they still have considerable influence in the world today, they are not someone, or something, that all men universally strive with.
We have already seen that from the very first chapter of the Bible, both the man and the woman were commanded to subdue and rule over all the beasts. Since Adam and Eve were at the head of the race of mankind, this command was universal and has applied to all those who have been born of woman. Ruling over the beasts is a universal injunction, and no man, woman, or child is exempted from this command of God. Therefore, when we read of the beast, his image, and the number of his name in the book of Revelations, and when we also read that there is a group of overcomers who have achieved victory over these things, what is being declared is something that is universal and in which all the saints must enter into battle and seek the victory.
The struggle against the beast nature began with Adam and Eve when they were met by the serpent, the most cunning of all beasts, while still in the Garden of Eden. This struggle has continued throughout all the ages of man. Because of the universality of this struggle, and in light of God’s injunction for all mankind to subdue and rule over the beasts, I believe that those who are seeking to identify a particular man as the beast are on the wrong track.
You may ask, “Didn’t we read that the number of the beast is the number of a man?” Yes, we did. But we must ask, “What man?” The Scriptures tell us that there have only been two men who have ever lived. These are the first Adam, and the Second Adam, who is also called the Last Adam. The name Adam literally means “man” and it occurs 552 times in the Old Testament. In the majority of instances it is translated as “man,” and only when it is used as a name of a person or town is it rendered as “Adam.” The corresponding word in the New Testament is the Greek word “anthropos” and we find this word occurring 561 times.
It is in the following Bible passage that we read of these two men:
I Corinthians 15:45-49
So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
The apostle Paul writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit identifies the first Adam as the first man. He identifies Christ as the Last Adam, and he also calls Him “the second man.” Paul further states that, though we have all borne the image of the first man, we are now called to bear the image of the second man. As we have already discussed in this book, not all men attain to the image and likeness of God in this age. Some stubbornly cling to the image of the earthy.
I believe it is these two men that John has in view when he states that the number 666 is the number of a man. This makes the determination of which man it is relatively simple, for instead of billions of men to select from, we have only two. It is very evident from the Scriptures that the beast and His number cannot refer to the Second Man, who is Christ Yahshua, for Christ completely ruled over the beast nature. Christ always lived to do the will of the Father, and the Scriptures do further testify that Yahshua was the very expression of the Father.
This leaves us only the first man, Adam, whom Paul describes as being of the earth, earthy. How does this number 666 point to this first Adam? I believe that we can find testimonies of this everywhere throughout both the Scriptures and nature, for God is the architect of both of them and He has set this seal upon the flesh man. However, I will focus upon just a couple of these testimonies.
Let us begin with the opening chapter of Scripture. We read here that the first man, Adam, was created on the sixth day from the dust of the earth. It is generally accepted that the number six is representative of man, and particularly of the flesh man. The number six is a very interesting number. When we multiply the number six by itself we arrive at the number thirty-six. If we add up the sum of all the numbers from one to thirty-six we find that the sum of these numbers is 666.
In verse 28 of Genesis chapter 1 we read God’s command to the man and woman to “multiply.” This multiplication is done through the union of the man and the woman. Since both Adam and Eve were of the earth, earthy, they could only produce offspring who were also of the earth. They could produce living souls, but their union could not produce life giving spirits. Therefore, the multiplication of Adam and Eve, flesh man (6) multiplying with flesh woman (6), can only produce more of the same (36). If we are to calculate the value of their offspring by summing them all up we arrive at 666.
Because Adam and Eve bowed to the beast, all of their offspring were subject to the beast nature. They were marked, or engraved, with this nature and became subjected to futility and wrath. It would take the divine seed of God being united with woman to produce a man that was wholly man and wholly God. This man was Christ, who being in the image of sinful flesh was Himself without sin. This Second Man was not earthy (beastly), but heavenly. We must experience a second birth, a spiritual birth that arises from the seed of Christ, in order that we might escape the bondage to the flesh and live as heavenly creations.
I Peter 1:23
For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring Word of God.
Let us return to the flesh man and his relation to the number 666. God is the Author of all creation and He has revealed His marvelous truths through the creation. As modern science has advanced, that which is true science has only served to confirm the marvelous design of God in the creation.
Today, scientists understand that there are certain elements that are found abundantly throughout the universe. One element that is essential to all life, and which is found in all organic life forms is carbon. No other element is linked to life to the extent to which carbon is so linked. Therefore we often hear the phrase “carbon based life forms.” The life forms that are dependent upon carbon are of the earth, earthy. Therefore, we should not be surprised if we find in the element carbon a witness of the beast, and even the number of the beast.
All elements are classified by the number of protons, electrons and neutrons that are present within them. No two elements are the same. Only in the element carbon do we find six protons, six electrons, and six neutrons. Thus, the life of all flesh is marked with the numbers 666. Could God have engraved any deeper this stamp upon earthbound life forms? Consider now the following words of the apostle Paul:
I Corinthians 15:50-53
Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raise imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.
Flesh cannot inherit the kingdom of God. That which is stamped with the number 666 cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Even after men have been born again of the Spirit they still walk around in bodies of sinful flesh. Therefore, these bodies must be put off before the saints can enter into the presence of God. All that pertains to the beast must be slain.
Is it any wonder that throughout the Old Testament we see ordinances established and practiced whereby a beast has to be slain in order for men to enter into the presence of God in the Temple? These things are a symbol of man’s need to slay the beast that dwells in his flesh in order to enter into God’s presence. These carnal ordinances of the Old Testament were unable to free men from their slavery to sin, and they had to be repeated year after year. Only in Christ has sin been totally atoned for, once for all, that we might be freed from sin and made slaves to righteousness.
At this time, those who are born again are a divided house. The flesh wars against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh, and these two are contrary to one another. Flesh cannot inherit the kingdom of God and therefore it must be crucified. Those who walk according to the Spirit have crucified the flesh with its affections and desires, and one day they will lay aside the sinful flesh and take upon themselves glorified spiritual bodies after the image of Christ.
It is 666, the flesh, the beast nature, that must be overcome, and all saints are called to subdue and rule over it. In our flesh dwells no good thing, and we must buffet our bodies and keep them under subjection to the Spirit. It is not a Pope, or some political world ruler, that the saints must overcome, though there be men in abundance who bear the imprint of the beast, and many who are enemies of the saints of God. The greater, deeper, and more universal understanding of the number of the beast’s identity is that it points to the first man, Adam, and his sinful nature which became the inheritance of all his children. This number is the number of a man, and all men have been called to put off the old man and put on Christ.
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
The universal struggle of mankind is to put off the old man, the first Adam, that is marked with the number 666, and to put on the New Man, even the Last Adam, who is the Lord Yahshua the Messiah. We have dealt much with the beast nature thus far in this book, and in one type presented in Scripture we have seen that God has commanded the man and woman to subdue and rule over the beasts. In another type, we now see God depicting this as a struggle between two men, the first Adam and the Last Adam. One of these men is of the earth, earthy, and one of the men is from heaven. All men will bow to one of them.
When we read in the book of Revelation that some men will have victory over the beast, his image, and the number of his name, we are reading the same thing that the apostle Paul spoke of when he contrasted the old man and the new man. Paul wrote further of this struggle to the saints in Ephesus.
So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Yahshua, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old man, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Paul declares that the new man has been created in the likeness of God in righteousness and holiness and truth. We know these words are descriptive of Christ, and they are descriptive of all those who are being conformed to the image of Christ. We must lay aside the old man who bears the mark 666, who is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and put on Christ. Only those who subdue and rule over the old man with his bestial desires can be said to have attained victory over the beast, his image and the number of his name.
Is it not apparent that a man could resist the influence of a pope, or an emperor, or of some other evil despot, while still falling short of ruling over the beast nature within themselves? It is the old man that all saints are called to lay aside and to have victory over, with all of its evil lusts and desires. None can attain to the image of God who have not overcome the image of the beastly man. I believe this is the deeper understanding of the symbolism of the number 666 and the man whom it represents.
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