What Does 666 Mean? A Bible Study

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

What does the number 666 in Revelation mean?  Who is the dragon?  Who is the Beast and what is the mark of the beast?

The book of Revelation is an enigma to many.  In the first place it is not the Revelation of the Apostle John.  It is Jesus Christ’s revelation to John who in turn recorded it for our sakes.  Revelation 1:1-2 says that it is “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him [John] to show his servants [the church] what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.” So the book of Revelation is not of human origin and this includes the Apostle John – it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ given to John. But what is this mark of the beast and the number 666 speaking about in Revelation chapter 13?

The Dragon

Revelation 13:1 says that “The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.”  The dragon is none other than Satan himself.  He is called a dragon many times in the Bible.  In Revelation 20:2 this is made clear: “He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.”

The Beast

The beast combines features from four beasts (Dan. 7:1-8, 17-27) and represents idolatrous kingdoms.  The beast could also represent the Antichrist.  Now several antichrists are mentioned by John in his letters (1 John 2:18, 2 John 1:7).  But there is a difference between antichrists (small “a”) and the Antichrist (capital “A”).  The antichrist (small “a”) is anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ and is God as John says in 2 John 1:7, “I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.”  And in 1 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.”  Since there are “many antichrists” coming, this means that this is not the antichrist John mentions in Revelation 13.  This is understood to be true because many antichrists had already come in John’s day (2 John 2:18).

The Antichrist has also been called the “man of lawlessness” or sin and is mentioned by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-11 where he speaks of the last days just before Christ‘s return, “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters,  not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come.  Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness [sin] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God [see Revelation 13:4 & 8].  Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 1and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.”

The “one who now holds it back” I believe is the Holy Spirit and the Spirit must be taken out of the way, with what most believe will be the church’s rapture, before the man of sin (or the Antichrist) is revealed.  Satan is the power behind this beast which could be an end-times ruler of evil and darkness (Rev 13:2).  This beast will have such power that he will control the world’s market and the ability for anyone to purchase or sell anything (Rev 13:17).

666 – The Mark of the Beast

The beast apparently can control who can and cannot buy and sell.  If they do not have the beast’s mark, then they have no power to buy or sell since “It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads” (Rev 13:16).   This mark was “so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man [literally the number of humanity]. That number is 666” (Rev 13:17-18).   The number 666 falls one short of God’s number of perfection which is 7.  This number is like a false trinity of sinful origin and reflects an imperfection times three.

Many people have falsely had the number 666 assigned to someone or others by using the old Roman Numerals system where X = 10, V = 5 and so on.  Over the years many have tried to take the letters of human leader’s names and total their numbers to six hundred and sixty-six. These attempts have obviously been wrong.  They ascribed this mark or number to various Popes, to Hitler, and to Rome itself (in the manner using “Latin Man”) but to no avail.  The number 666 may simply be a number like everyone has for their Social Security card or their driver’s license and this same number will need to be memorized (thus on their forehead) or be implanted in their hand somewhere (Rev 13:16).  No one is certain about this but the number is of human origin.  The main thing is that the number 666 is anti-Christ or anti-God and is supremely carnal and sinful.  The source of this number and all evil in the world is Satan or the Devil (Rev 12:9).

Because the Bible reveals so little about the number 666 it is unwise for me to speculate.  The important thing is that anyone who is not Christ’s is susceptible to this beast and the Antichrist but those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life have nothing to fear from the beast nor anything to worry about the number 666 and having the mark of the beast be on them (Rev 13:8).

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If this article was helpful to you, please consider linking this article to your own blog or sharing this through the social buttons to the left. You might also find some of these other good Christian Answer articles helpful:

What Are the Gifts of the Spirit?

Does the Bible Say What Satan Looks Like?

Should Christians Get Tattoos?

Sources

The Holy Bible, New International Version

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Ngohnai June 12, 2016 at 1:52 pm

I am really confuse and worried… What exactly is 666 today? Is it the social security card or unique identity card?

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Jack Wellman June 12, 2016 at 3:29 pm

It is the number of man but the bottom line is for all who have turned to God and trusted in Christ will be saved. Those who fear God have no need to fear man. It is not the Soc. Security number, no.

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lucky patcher apk July 25, 2016 at 10:15 pm

I really really love your writing style. keep moving bro.

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John Owoniyi August 27, 2016 at 10:25 am

Yeah!….. You may be right to some extent; but what i think and feel about it has to do with our individual phone and it’s number. Because everyone is addicted to it . It’s make us far away from family and God.
We can buy, sell, banking, booking and through our phone our location can be detected by Google and other devices.

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imelda August 27, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Jack, will God’s children be alrdy rapture by the time 666 is imposed for buying and selling? Else plenty will die of hunger because we refuse the mark right ?

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Jack Wellman August 27, 2016 at 1:53 pm

Hello Imelda and thank you for your question. God has not appointed us unto wrath and we know that the Bible says that our children are sanctified, so I can’t see children going through this. I think Jesus comes for all who believe in Him, and since children may not be at the age of accountability (whatever that age is), they will not have to face this tribulation.

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jeff schon August 27, 2016 at 4:04 pm

These are scary times for the unsaved. But for the believers we should not be scared, but be a light in the dark.

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SPD August 27, 2016 at 9:35 pm

things seem to be really tough for the believers to be survived…
well what do you mean by big “A” then ?

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MasterChief August 28, 2016 at 2:37 am

Heywell I got a ? That I will ask who gave the devil the number 666 because I’m trying to understand who gave him that number and I know that God is the only one who knows why they gave the devil the number 666

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subhash k.r August 28, 2016 at 2:51 am

Praise the Lord God Bless You
In the name of JESUS
Thank you for your Explaination we learn more about 666.

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John C. Brooks August 28, 2016 at 1:28 pm

But the number is not 666. It is six hundred, three score, and six. You CAN add them up to a total of 666, but nowhere does it tell you to do so. If the number is an identification number, it is unlikely it would be a 3 digit number. That could only acomodate 999 people, and no population on earth is that small. Consider six hundred, three score, and six as a social security number:
600-60-0006. Whatever ID system is in place at the time, the Biblical number will probably fit better than 666. God knows what He is doing.

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Walter August 28, 2016 at 2:01 pm

Focusing on prophecy mostly produces Fear (wrong kind), and weird theology. Been there, done that. Keeping it simple, judgment will be about: if we know & are walking with Jesus.
The “antichrist” is not mentioned in Revelation anywhere, big or little “A”, only in the letters of John. Besides, there are are no capital letters in the Greek NT. Popular prophecy theology does not make accurate Biblical interpretation.

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Becky August 28, 2016 at 9:50 pm

Hello Mr. Wellman!
I had a brief question concerning the last paragraph of this article. What do you mean by “those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life have nothing to fear from the beast nor anything to worry about the number 666 and having the mark of the beast be on them (Rev 13:8).” I’m just seeking some clarification, because I like I’m misunderstanding what you mean by saying “having the mark on them”. Thank you for your time!

Sincerely,
Becky

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tapani annila November 26, 2016 at 8:54 am

Number 666 contents 18 times 37 – corresponding with 111, 222, and so on. 666 is emphasized 6. Number 7 is correspondingly 777, the number of Jesus, perfection. Bible says that 666 is number of man, and satan affects in him/her finally bad works. Jesus rescues us from the coming wrath. 1 Ths.letter 1:10.

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Randall Williams November 26, 2016 at 9:26 am

I failed to find AntiChrist in Rev 13. I really hate that people add “The AntiChrist” into revelation. AntiChrist is only found in 1 and 2 John. Its addition into Revelation is much like the adding of 3 wise men, when the number of wise men is never mentioned.

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Jack Wellman November 26, 2016 at 9:56 am

There are dozens of references to the small “a” anti-Christ in 1st and 2nd John but not “the” anti-Christ, with a capital “A.” Yes, you are right about the wise men. There numbers are more likely than just 3…the Bible never mentions how many. Thank you Mr. Williams.

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Alex November 26, 2016 at 9:54 am

So people who trust in God will not have to put the mark ? Or what will happen to them ? What is being saved from this ??

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Jack Wellman November 26, 2016 at 10:02 am

I don’t believe anyone that God saves will be lost and those who have the “mark” have a mindset in their minds to do what the Devil wants. If you trust in Christ, you won’t trust in man or the marks that the enemy wants to put on all people. Those who have trusted in Christ, even though they die, will yet live again (says Jesus).

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August November 26, 2016 at 10:30 am

This one scares me. My Social Security Number ends with that number. But i trust Jesus to take control of my life.

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Jack Wellman November 26, 2016 at 10:43 am

There is no fear for the child of God. I suggest you read John chapter 10 and 11 and chapter 6 as well as (most of all) Romans 8. I think this will give you peace of mind.

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Zurry November 26, 2016 at 10:33 am

I totally believe this and always have. I come from the deep south where the Bible is your life line. GOD sending you to Hell for taking a number for I’D purposes contradicts God’s intelligence and wisdom. remember’ God wants you to live and thrive not refuse a number or Mark on your body so you can starve to death..that doesn’t make any sense.as long as you are 100% a believer in him and his great works and his kingdom and walk with God in your heart and soul it doesn’t matter about this Mark..if your Saved and you believe you shall have everlasting life in his kingdom . I truley believe that if they Mark your hand or forehead it will be your Birth certificate number..GOD Bless, not let your heart be troubled, for God is the way to Eternal life in his Kingdom..

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Jack Wellman November 26, 2016 at 10:41 am

Spot on the mark Zurry. You said it perfectly. Thank you.

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Eme November 26, 2016 at 3:17 pm

I am confused my license has three sixes NOT together but non the less they are on my license.
Should I be concerned? Should be worried at all?

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Jack Wellman November 26, 2016 at 3:25 pm

It doesn’t mean anything my friend. Please don’t worry about it.

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Kathryn November 26, 2016 at 3:35 pm

My Birth date is 4/6/66. People said I was cursed to have that date. I was scared for years. I am a Christian an I am not scared anymore. I have Christ in my life so I have nothing to fear. I still get a little confused…

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mark bellar November 26, 2016 at 5:15 pm

If God rained down manna for 40 years for Moses people, would he not take care of Abrahams decendents? Would he not do for you as well? Matthew 6:25-34New International Version (NIV)

Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

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Jack Wellman November 26, 2016 at 6:20 pm

Spot on Mr. Bellar. Thank you sir.

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Hilary December 9, 2016 at 1:03 am

There is this ponzi scheme called mmm going on in my country right now and some other countries too and it’s been really helpful cos things are really tough in Nigeria. In the scheme, you register and provide financial assistance to other participant(s) depending on the amount you can afford and after 30 days, you get 30% of the amount you provided from other participants too. Am a Christian by religion, I know I haven’t really measured up lately. I stumbled upon another site “MMM United” and this time, MMM United unites participants from different countries. My concern is
1. the resemblance between “MMM” and “666” digit.
2. The global nature of the scheme.
3. And its relationship with money.

Do you feel its a concern?

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Tubemate April 13, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Vicarivs Filiis Dei
using Roman number
i=1 v=5 x=10 L=50 c=100 D=500 M=1000

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/what-does-666-mean-a-bible-study/#ixzz4e9sm7f11

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Wayne Lewis July 8, 2017 at 1:46 pm

Sharia Law
Daniel 7:1-8 ( KJV )
Great Beasts

In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.

Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.
And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
Daniel 7
The first was like a lion,(lion of Justice symbol of England) and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, (Uncle Sam and the eagle) and a man’s heart was given to it. (England and the USA)

Revelation 6
And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. (Christian Nations)

Daniel 7
And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, (symbol of Russia red bear) and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. (Russia or communist)

Revelation 6
And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth,(cold war) and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword (Red Communist)

Daniel 7
After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. (China or Asian descent )

Revelation 6
And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.
And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. (Trade)

Daniel 7
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. (Middle East)

Revelation 6
And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.
And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
(Muslims)

Dan 2
{And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, (5 on each foot not together as yet) part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.
And as the toes of the feet (10 Nations not fully together yet) were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, (Muslims are all over the world) even as iron is not mixed with clay. (Now you know why the Muslims can’t get along with each other)
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, (Jesus) and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.}

Dan 7
I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.
Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
And the ten horns (10 toes(10 Nations not fully together yet) out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: (Sharia law) and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. (3-1/2 years)

Revelation 12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, (3-1/2 years) from the face of the serpent.
And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Dan 7
But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.
And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.

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Joe Holder July 8, 2017 at 3:14 pm

I believe that the study of numbers dates back to Egyptians as they were first to believe in them. They were also known as Masons whose order still is a great power today.
In earlier scripture when Christ put his hand to his forehead as meaning into the mind and as to the hand could that not be taking money or reward into the hand. It is a symbolic taking and not a physical mark.

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Jack Wellman July 8, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Hello Mr. Holder. Can you tell me what chapter and verse it says that Jesus put His had to His forehead? I think the context of the chapter will tell us what this was about, if it was in Scripture (for I can’t find it) but I agree, I don’t think it’s a physical mark or a micro chip but the person’s hand intentionally doing it. Thank you sir. Very insightful.

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Stephen Rajan July 8, 2017 at 7:02 pm

We the humans are losing our identity very soon and will be known by numbers only. We will be known to our own Kith and Kin , and also to the strangers at large by our identifiable number. We will be doing everything in our life based only on that number. Bible is being preached almost all over the world. Once the Word of God reaches everyone and with the smartphone in the hands of all of us, Sin will creep in our minds inviting Satan to come in. Then Jesus will come again to set the world right. Praise the Lord.

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A July 9, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Just wondering if 666 meant 666th descendant of somebody and the mark is his/her insignia or logo…can this be considered even possible?

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Jonah July 25, 2017 at 6:56 pm

666 is real! Spiritual gifts is real! Because I already saw it! I saw it! I saw a three scars in my daughters forehead and the 6 in my feet! That’s the time I speak in tongues then Tammy blood pressure is high!

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Jack Wellman July 25, 2017 at 7:42 pm

Thank you John. I think the greatest mark someone could receive is to reject Jesus Christ. John writes in John 6:66 ” After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.” Other than that, I don’t believe the scars on your daughter’s forehead mean anything according to Scripture. The 6 scars on your feet do not indicate anything from the Bible.

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Alan Peters July 29, 2017 at 2:53 pm

The Beast with the number 666 arose as a result of the UN Resolution of the same number during the Gulf War in 1990.

There were 10 Resolutions in total passed by the United Nations Security Council between August and October 1990. The first, number 661, imposed a complete embargo on all imports from and exports to, Iraq and Kuwait, with minor exceptions for certain medical supplies.

Resolution 666, passed on 13 September 1990, modified 661 to allow other trading, in particular, food and medical supplies for humanitarian reasons, because 1000’s of civilians, including children were dying of starvation and illness. Therefore it was certainly the case that “no one could buy or sell” at that time, in Iraq or Kuwait, unless they had the “number of the Beast” (666) on their trading documents.

So the number of the beast is the number of a resolution made by the second beast which we have identified as the United Nations. The only discrepancy is that John says that they, (the traders) had to have the mark on their forehead or their right hand, but the mark was actually required on the trading documents.

The mark 666 would have obviously been placed at the top, (head) or on the right hand side of the documents, for maximum visibility and not on the forehead or right hand of the trader!

A natural slip of the pen, in the process of making many copies over the centuries! But good news that this is yet another apparently frightening beast which has appeared, done what he had to do and disappeared into obscurity! He will definitely not be bothering us in “the Last Days” and causing us to have implants in our hands or in our heads!

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