The number 666 symbolizes man exalting himself as God. It is idolatrous humanism. It is what Adam reached for in the garden of Eden, and it is what lies of the heart of all idolatry. Truly, the hearts of humans are idol factories because sinful man desires to be like God. The number 666 perfectly matches the agenda of the beast and the false prophet to worship that which is created instead of the Creator. And chief of all things created is man.
In Revelation 13:16-18 we read the following about “the number of the beast”:
Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. (Rev. 13:16-18)
What is the meaning of “his number is 666” in this passage?
The Number Six Is Related to Man’s Creation on the Sixth Day, and It Has the Biblical Symbolic Value of Imperfection Due to Man’s Fall
The mark that the false prophet places on people is a sign of ownership and loyalty, indicating that the Antichrist beast is their lord and master. Their thoughts and actions are given to the service of the beast. The number six is related to man’s creation on the sixth day. It has the biblical symbolic value of imperfection due to man’s fall, while the number seven symbolizes divine perfection.
Six is repeated three times in Revelation 13:18 because repeating something three times represents the divine superlative (e.g., “‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’” (Rev. 4:8: see also Isa. 6:3).
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By Joe Rigney — 3 months ago
The pleasure of God is revealed from heaven upon all godliness and righteousness of men, who by their righteousness celebrate the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. For because they know God, they honor him as God and give thanks to him.
The late R.C. Sproul was fond of inverting a particular biblical passage in order to bring home a theological truth. For instance, in seeking to press upon his hearers the horrors of God’s wrath, Sproul would turn to the Aaronic blessing:
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24–26)
Sproul turns the blessing inside out, transforming it into a curse:
May the Lord curse you and abandon you. May the Lord keep you in darkness and give you only judgment without grace.May the Lord turn his back upon you and remove his peace from you forever.
His point in doing so was to press home the reality of God’s judgment and the wonders of Christ’s cross, modifying the familiar words so that we marvel at God’s grace in sending Christ to bear the curse in our place. Years ago, inspired by Sproul’s example, I engaged in my own inversion, this time transforming the Bible’s most detailed description of human rebellion into a vision for the Godward life.
The Godless Life
In Romans 1:18–32, Paul paints a picture of the consequences of human idolatry and ingratitude on human life and culture — the wages of a godless life. God’s wrath is revealed against our ungodliness, by which we suppress the truth of his sovereignty, power, and nature. In refusing to honor and thank God, who gives us every good gift, our minds fall into vanity and our hearts are darkened. Our rebellious folly is manifested clearly in the dark exchange that we make — trading away the glory of the immortal God for created things.
As a result of this foundational rebellion and false worship, God gives us over to impurity, lies, dishonorable passions, and a debased mind. The result extends to every area of human life. The individual is corrupted in mind and heart, in thinking and willing. The effects of rebellion extend from the inner man to the outer man, from the soul to the body. Our sexuality is corrupted, as sinful desires reign and ungodly passions distort the relationships between men and women.
From there, our corporate life is affected. “They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless” (Romans 1:29–31). Family, friends, and society are all twisted by our debased minds as loving fellowship and community are torn apart and reoriented by our shared rebellion.
The Godward Life
So then, if this is a horrifying picture of human rebellion and ungodliness, what might the opposite be? Could an inverted Romans 1 give us a renewed vision for the Godward life?
By Tiago Santos — 5 months ago
We are all called to honor the gray hairs, to be grateful for God’s gifts to the church, and to sit at the feet of our elders with reverence, respect, and deference, like the fathers in the faith that they are. This will also teach our children, it will teach our churches, it will teach society outside the church how we deal with things: with the principle of grace, respect, forgiveness, redemption and mercy.
It can be an inglorious task to say anything about the current generation. Some concepts that would have been considered “conventional wisdom” a few years ago and wouldn’t require a lot of explanation are now under scrutiny and being reframed in an impressive and frightening exercise of deconstructing ideas that we see today.
I want to reflect on something that seemed like commonplace knowledge not so long ago, but is now under this sort of re-signification, which is the respect for the elderly.
It seems that we live in a time when the elderly represent a way of thinking and doing things that no longer works in our society (and, to our astonishment, in some churches) and therefore it is necessary to distance oneself from them (or from us). My subject is brief and I want to deal with it in the context of the Christian faith, for my concern is with the state of the church, I mean, the state of those who professes faith in Jesus Christ.
A huge number of young people from the “Z” generation, that is, people born from 1995 and on, seem to be leading a relentless patrol to everything that stands in the way of the new ethics that the so-called “woke” movement established as the immutable clause of our society. This new ethics is comprehensive and incorporates practically all the ideas that have emerged from the progressive narratives of the last 25 years that give new guidelines on what it means to live well in society. The escalation of change in core values was very fast, and, it seems it started to be implemented even more aggressively after the 2020 pandemic. From areas related to the environment to complex issues in medicine, science, politics, sexuality, psychology and religion, in short, for everything there is a new norm that does not accept any discussion. Its imposition becomes violent, whether due to the cancellation culture, very strong in the press and social media environment, or, even more dangerous, as we see in Western governments, due to the creation of new bills and jurisprudence that criminalize public opinion and the discussion of ideas. Thinking in an old-fashioned way in the 2023 can be very dangerous and even get one arrested.
It is curious, however, that the method of this new ethics takes place through the fragmentation of truth, through the end of empiricism and common wisdom and through the use of broken narratives, disconnected of a metanarrative in favor of a broad pluralism. This has been called post-truth and means that each person or social group has its own truth and values, which can never be questioned.
It is very disconcerting to realize that this trend has infiltrated the Christian church as well. Many among God’s people are strongly influenced by this new post-truth ethics and begin to confuse Christian ethics with the new (and suffocating) ideas that regulate the life of Western society in this 21st century. Alisa Childers, American Christian author, addressed this issue in her moving testimony published in book form under the title Another Gospel? A response to progressive Christianity, and also in here more recent title, Live your Truth.
But I digress. Let me get back to the point. Elders are being canceled left and right and it is happening in the church too, right under our nose. So, let me first bring the biblical principle to tackle this issue.
The fifth commandment of the Decalogue, written by God’s own hand (and spoken before His people in the Sinai) says: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you”.
In this commandment, God’s people are called to love and obey their parents. A first and important element that must be highlighted is that the commandment is not addressed to children only, but to all who have living parents (Proverbs 19:26; 23:22). This commandment, in distinction from most commandments in the Decalogue, is put in positive terms and, furthermore, is bound up with a promise. The promise has to do with the effects of obedience. As we see in the wisdom books of the Bible, taking good advice from our parents, listening to and respecting our elders, dealing respectfully with authorities are generally attitudes that will prolong one’s days and make life easier. Add to this the fact that God himself promises to bless those who seek to keep the fifth commandment and preserve its spirit.
The expression “honor” comes from the Hebrew kabod and has a sense of weight, importance, glory and prestige. It is the respect that an inferior offers to a superior. The Westminster Larger Catechism, in question 126, proposes that the scope of the fifth commandment is the performance of those duties which we mutually owe in our several relations, as inferiors, superiors or equals.
The Reformers went even further and expanded the understanding of this commandment to all who are in authority over us—primarily and immediately our parents, but also the elderly, the magistrate, educators, and spiritual fathers. French reformer John Calvin, commenting on the fifth commandment, highlighted three expressions of honor—“reverence, obedience, and recognition”—and demonstrates how the principle of honoring parents can extend to all in position of authority: magistrates, elders, fathers in faith, pedagogues. In his elaboration, Calvin will condition this obedience to obedience “in the Lord” (Ephesians 6.1).
A very important point of the commandment is that honor, respect and consideration begin in the heart. Reverence for our parents and other authority figures should be a reflection and evidence of our honor and reverence for God in the first place.
We also read in Leviticus 19:32: “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.” Proverbs 16:31 and 20:29 reinforce the teaching of Scripture that elders should be honored. This principle is there because normally the elderly are associated with maturity, experience, wisdom, and the accumulation of knowledge and a better sense of realism of life. In the Bible, the elderly are treated as a reservoir of tradition, of family history, as the living archive of a society that lives through oral tradition.
The influence of the Christian faith in the world did a good job of carrying this principle of life forward. Societies that preserve the value of respecting their elders are usually prosperous and very well organized.
By Jim Elliff — 5 months ago
Perhaps more than anything else, just become your pastor’s friend. Friendship has a healing aspect to it. Open your home and care for them. Think of the pastor’s wife and kids. They need you also. I doubt that you could possible know what intentional love can do for those God has, in his providence, put over you in the Lord.
There are plenty of pastors with generous smiles on their faces each Sunday who, deep down, are very disheartened.
Pastoring a church is hard work. For one thing, it is usually thankless. I know there are some churches that seem to remember their pastors with such fanfare, but most do not ever esteem them. They don’t work for just the members ultimately, so they can get over it, but never hearing those words, “Thanks for what you do, pastor,” is discouraging. But you can remedy this one, can’t you? Perhaps right now is the best time to write that email or note, or to make a phone call.
Some pastors get discouraged because their people expect a Dr. Internationally Known Mountain, when what they really are stuck with is only Brother Molehill. Expectations are at an all time high in these days of exceptional media coverage. Every pastor is happy when a member listens to sermons every day, but he knows he doesn’t measure up to the gifted pastors these people hear most of the time.
Some are discouraged because they are physically worn out. It just takes a few sensitive members to help him remedy this problem by pulling him away from normal tasks for a break.