And [the beast] requires everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark: the beast’s name or the number of his name. Here is wisdom: The one who has understanding must calculate the number of the beast, because it is the number of a man. His number is 666.
-Revelation 13:16-18 (HCSB)
Even if you are not familiar with the book of Revelation, you probably at least know of the infamous number 666 — the mark of the beast, part of Satan’s unholy threesome. Whether or not we’ll ever crack the code and know the full identity of the “beast,” I can’t say. But there is some meaning behind the number that we can grasp now.
If you know anything about number symbolism in the Bible, you know that 7 is the number of perfection (creation). The meaning of the number 3 is similar, as it represents completion (Trinity). Therefore, 3 7s, or the number 777, would represent the complete, perfection of God.
And that brings us back to the beast’s number: 666. The point? 6 is less than 7. Things of Satan and not of God will always fall entirely short of perfection! And the fact that it is 666 magnifies the fact that he will never achieve the full, completeness of God.
But here’s why it’s dangerous: 6 looks almost like 7.
Satan loves to try to emulate God’s design and ever-so-slightly distort what God has made good. He is the ultimate copycat and counterfeiter. And then Satan tries to convince us that his imitations are OK… That his way is close enough… That 6 is pretty much 7.
So we must pay attention to the difference. Otherwise, we fall for the lie. Because if we aren’t on guard, instead of striving for an absolute, godly life, we might find ourselves saying things like…
- It’s not wrong to download music/movies/software without paying for them… Those people are rich anyway.
- It is fine to go this far intimately with my boyfriend/girlfriend… That’s technically not considered sex.
- It doesn’t matter if I sleep in this morning and skip out on worship… I will pray and maybe read my Bible later on anyhow.
When Christians settle for less than perfection, Satan wins. And one of his best weapons is tricking you into believing that those shortcomings are OK. Once again, 6 is basically 7.
But the fact of the matter is that 6 is not 7, and never will be 7. In the same vein, Satan will never live up to God’s glorious standard. He is not God, and never will be God. The reasoning is simple arithmetic…
Because 6 will always be less than 7.