The Monstrosity and Evilness of Mankind (6)
The “Put-yourself-into-John-the-Apostle’s-Sandals” Paradox.
When it comes to evil, the book of Revelation is chock-full of strange and mysterious symbolism, imagery and several perplexing references to numbers, such as “666”. O.K. Here is the paradox and the answer to the paradox. The Apostle John is sitting inside, or outside of a cave on the Isle of Patmos, on a nice day. The Holy Spirit floats by him, taps him on the shoulder and says, ‘Come!’ Immediately (boom!), John is in heaven, with the Holy Spirit. He is then given a large number of strange and supernaturally related visions, of both events in heaven and on earth. Fair enough. There is plenty of scripture that indicates that this ‘being in the spirit’ is just one way that God communicates with man. The entirety of Revelation indicates that John’s supernatural visions were the chosen course of communication to him by the Holy Spirit, from God. John is given some really strange (and horrific) things to try to explain in a way that people in his century, and the centuries to follow, would be able to relate to and understand. Some of the visions were straightforward enough, that a relatively simple or basic explanation sufficed to convey God’s point. Other visions were so complex and complicated, that the explanation involved a strange use of symbolism (7 heads, 7 crowns, 7 candlesticks, 10 heads, beast, woman riding a beast, etc.). These strange, symbolic images are the things most people think of, if they have bothered to read the book of Revelation (let alone tried to interpret it). God uses this symbolism to represent extensive worldwide systems that are political, religious, military, governmental, financial, electronic, or communication related. The use of literal descriptions of these worldwide things would take pages and pages and pages of detailed explanation, in a way that would not make any sense to anyone back in John’s day, or since. God is omnipotent and omnipresent. He knows what to say, whom to say it to, when to say it, and what he means by saying it.
Yes, the Holy Spirit prompted John, the Apostle to write. However, John and all the other writers in both the Old and New Testament had to write, using simple enough words, terms and language, in order that folks would understand what they were reading about, so that the meaning wouldn’t be lost on them. “Knowledge shall be increased in the last days.” (Dan. 12:4). It is an understatement to say that things, and the world, have changed greatly and exponentially since the time John received the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Literally, everything has become more ‘systemic’ and complex and global, in nature. Cars (or vehicles) have only been around for a little over 100 years. John had to use the word “chariot” to best describe what he could not possibly have known about of what he saw. Genetic manipulation (CRISPR), biometric scanning technology and population surveillance technology have only been around for an extremely short time (last couple of years). How could John possibly explain these things of today, in a way that folks 2,000 years ago would be able to comprehend? He couldn’t. He used generalized terms to describe the things he saw leading up to and during the end days in the Tribulation period. “In the days of Noah” is a general description to represent rampant, worldwide lawlessness and genetic manipulation (CRISPR), and other problematic issues occurring as of today (2017 & 2018). “Make an image of the beast” is a general description of the use of CGI (computer generated imagery), high definition television technology, global satellite and cable communications systems, and even 3-D manufacturing technology (which has only arrived on the scene in the past year or two). They didn’t have computer digital technology in John’s day, or multi-acre manufacturing plants that use laser technology, etc. They did not have global satellite communications systems. They wouldn’t even have had the means to communicate the size, scope or measurement of any of this. He did not have a point of reference for knowledge of any of these things. Putting it simply, if you were in John’s sandals, how would you describe something supernaturally that you saw 2,000 years from now, to someone today, in a way that would make sense to them? Or, to make sense to the people of the next 2,000 years? This should make it abundantly clear of the challenge that John faced, and the logical reason(s) that symbolism had to be used. So, what does any of this generalized symbolism have to do with Evil?
The infamous, “Mark of the Beast” and “number of his name is 666” imagery is no different than any of the other generalized, descriptive terms that John used, while in his banishment on the Isle of Patmos. Rev. 13:17-18 is probably the most symbolic, well known and most poorly understood two verses in the book of Revelation, and in the entire Bible. “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man: and his number is Six hundred, threescore and six (666).” (Emphasis added). Several things should jump out at you as you read this.
- A person can’t buy or sell (they can’t conduct any financial transactions. . . buy groceries, take a trip, pay their Mortgage or rent, operate business, buy a vehicle, make a sale, make a purchase, etc.).
- In order to be able to do (1.), they have to have a special “Mark” or identification and number in order to participate in the global economy. This almost sounds like a credit card number or a routing / account number for a checking account. (This is a clue!).
- This “Mark” or identification of the beast (worldwide system and leader) is described as being the beast’s “name” and his “number”. These are two extremely important distinctions in global, electronic transaction technology of today. Rev. 13:16, interestingly indicates that this special “Mark” or identification is somehow represented on people, either in their forehead or right hand. This is odd, very odd symbolism, or is it?
- Another interesting detail is that the number is mentioned as that of belonging to ‘man’.
- The number of man, is given as 666.
- The last, and final detail suggests that in order to understand the evilness of number 666, a person should “count.”
At this point, I will attempt to explain what the number of the beast represents, what the number 666 means, who the ‘man’ is that is being referred to, what the ‘Mark’ or identification means . . . in a way, that will hopefully make relatively simple sense to people of today. Please note, that there are six (6) points made in the two verses of Rev. 13:17-18). File my brief comment into the back of your memory for a little while, and then come back to this after you have had a chance to learn what the number six (6) represents and implies! Sixfold (6) denotes imperfection, something not normal, monstrous, evil, something that is short of the glory and perfection of God. This number represents a lesser amount than God’s perfect number seven (7). Anything less than God’s perfection is imperfection. Six (6) is imperfection and is one (1) less than Seven (7) which is perfection. (7-1=6). (A-B=C). (6<7).
more to come in part 2
Categories: Revelation of Jesus Christ