In Revelation we have hit the jackpot. In chapter 12, we meet the great Dragon – who is Satan. Then in chapter 13 we discover two Beasts; the first is identified with the Anti-Christ and the second with his High Priest. To top it off, we have a secret code, the number 666. Oh what fun we can have with this!
Let me start with a quote. This is written by a man whose last name is Boring. He is Eugene Boring. Yes, that makes this a boring book, by a boring author. I will leave the rest of the jokes to you. I do not agree with everything that he says, but this is true.
“…this text about the ‘mark of the beast’ has through the centuries been a happy hunting ground for religious quacks and sensationalizers…[so] it is important to give some clear guidance for preaching and teaching.” (M. Eugene Boring, Revelation, WJK, 1989, p. 161)
I have heard lots of speculation: the anti-Christ was Michael Gorbachev., because of his birthmark that looked like a wound to his head. I’ve heard many theories like that. The number 666 could be a tattoo. Maybe it is three rows of 6 numbers. Maybe it is a microchip inserted beneath the skin. We actually do have that technology. People tried to change the name of State Highway 666 in New Mexico, but I think it is good for tourism. In the Reformation era, Lutherans said the Anti-Christ was the Pope. The Pope returned to say it was Luther. So there are many ideas, and little information.
I believe the best way to understand Biblical teaching is that there will be one anti-Christ with a Capitol A. That term does not come from Revelation, but from I John 2:18
Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.
There will be one Anti-Christ with a capital A in the last hour. However, even in the early church, there were many little a anti-Christs.
Big A will have all the worst characteristics of the worlds despots and dictators – wrap up Nero, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, and Kim Il Jung into one and you get the idea.
But in the meantime, the spirit of anti-Christ is in the world. There have and there will appear again those with the marks of anti-Christ.
Today I do pretend to solve the mystery of the number 666 I want to talk of the things that define all of the anti Christs, the ones with the small a and the one with the big A. These are the Marks of the beast – marks are plural on purpose.
(Note: there is a prediction that the world will end with a wandering planet tomorrow, September 23. This is based on Revelation 12 and some star charts. So you better read quick!)