Revelation 13:18 This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.
I can remember a time in my youth when the number 666 both scared and fascinated me. It was also a season in my life when I was into Ouija boards and communing with dead spirits. I guess that as a teenager, I didn't really have any fear or trepidation that I was dabbling with things beyond my knowledge. It was a dark time in my young days and I am just so glad that I have come away from those negative forces; instead, I have turned towards the light of God and His Son has reclaimed me.
666 is still a fearful number to many people, but what I've discovered is this: numbers, signs, and symbols only have the power that we place upon them. If that number or, for instance, a swastika, makes us fearful, it’s only because we allow our fear to be maintained by the symbol. If we loathe them instead of fearing them, then both numbers and symbols will have no power over us. Also, if we re-read the Bible verse for today, we will soon realize that 666 represents human evil, or what we call man’s inhumanity to man.
Love counters fear and hope overcomes despair. If there is a symbol that encapsulates this, then surely it must be the Cross of Christ. Evil, sin, and death were all nailed to that dreadful tree along with Jesus – but He was the only One to come back! This conveys to us the real power of God that is still in the world today – the holy, almighty Spirit of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
Perhaps you are presently undergoing a time of uncertainty, worry, fearfulness, or despair. Maybe your problems and issues seem insurmountable and threaten to overwhelm your heart, mind, body, and soul. As Jesus would often say, “Fear not, for I am with you to the very end.” In Him, you will find comfort and assurance, courage and hope. Signs and symbols, numbers and beasts will come and go, but, as the old hymn plainly states, the Cross of Christ will tower above the wrecks of Time itself. Through it, we are completely rescued, restored, and renewed, for Jesus will never abandon, forsake, or let go of us, both now and forever.
Questions for personal reflection
What does the number 666 mean to me? What does it mean to Jesus?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, because we are totally human, we are still fearful of things that we do not understand and of symbols that we cannot accept. Help us to know that You are the Lord of All creation and the King of all the Earth, so who or what can make us afraid. Your loving presence is our strength; Your holy Cross preserves and protects us. Be with us this day and grant the reassurance of Your abiding love. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message or ask questions, please send him an email to Traqair@aol.com.
Today’s image is one of John’s Cross drawings called “First Dawn,” which shows the empty Cross silhouetted against the dawning of the Day of Resurrection. If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: First Dawn.