As I have stated many times before, the word “antichrist” does not appear anywhere at all in The Revelation, and this prophecy in chapter 13 concerning the domination of a series of “beasts” refers to a successive line of Roman Emperors who ruled the known ancient world, and was literally fulfilled in the first century, before or around 70 A.D. John’s letter to the seven churches of Asia Minor not only warned the early Christians of imminent persecution by the Roman Empire, it also confronted, prophetically, a culture which had been greatly affected by the cult of Emperor worship.
Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants WORSHIP THE FIRST BEAST, whose fatal wound had been healed. And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of everyone. Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. It was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to WORSHIP THE IMAGE to be killed. 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, 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 those who have insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man.** That number is 666. (Revelation 13:11-18 – TNIV)
(*Greek “charagma”: stamp or impress)
(**or is humanity’s number)
Most progressive Bible historians agree that the beast whose number added up to 666 was actually Nero Caesar, which is most likely true, but there is a larger meaning expressed here, one that is a word for us in the now. The Greek actually calls 666 “the number of humanity” (6 is the number of man, who was created on the 6th day; 666 is man – spirit, soul and body, out from under the authority of God and His Christ). “Beast” in the Greek is therion, a wild, untamed animal. You could even say that 666 is the Adamic nature, which carries with it a certain mindset (a mark on the forehead), and a way of doing things (a mark in the hand), that has basically caused the whole world to buy into the idea that they can only succeed (buy or sell) through natural, carnal means and methods. But when man stops worshipping the beast and its system and begins to worship and submit to the Lordship of the Lamb, he becomes something higher . . . he becomes man flowing in the image of God (and prospering through the ways of God), or "777"!
Jesus said that the Kingdom is entered through repentance. The Greek word metanoia, which is tranlated into our English as “repentance,” simply means “to change the mind or mindset,” or more literally, “to change one’s life by changing one’s mind.” Through repentance, every individual has the ability to have the Mark of the Beast replaced with the Mark of the Lamb. Actually, much more is said in The Revelation about the Mark of the Lamb being on or in the foreheads of people than is said about a Mark of the Beast . . .
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we PUT A SEAL ON THE FOREHEADS OF THE SERVANTS OF OUR GOD.” Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel. (Revelation 7:1-3 – TNIV)
Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had His name and HIS FATHER’S NAME WRITTEN ON THEIR FOREHEADS. (Revelation 14:1 – TNIV)
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. They will see His face, and HIS NAME WILL BE ON THEIR FOREHEADS. (Revelation 22:1-4 – TNIV)
. . . In fact, the theme of God’s “mark” or “seal” being on the head and/or the hand runs all through the Bible, beginning as far back as Genesis, and it has nothing at all to do with microchips being implanted into human foreheads, or bar-codes being tattood into human hands! Consider this passage from another of the Books of Moses:
Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so THAT IT MAY GO WELL WITH YOU AND THAT YOU MAY INCREASE GREATLY IN A LAND FLOWING WITH MILK AND HONEY, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as SYMBOLS ON YOUR HANDS AND BIND THEM ON YOUR FOREHEADS. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, TO GIVE YOU – A LAND WITH LARGE, FLOURISHING CITIES you did not build, HOUSES FILLED WITH ALL KINDS OF GOOD THINGS you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then WHEN YOU EAT AND ARE SATISFIED, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. (Deuteronomy 6:3-12)
Notice that Moses talks about a mark on the head or the hand within the context of receiving supernatural provision and prosperity. It is interesting to compare Deuteronomy 6 with Revelation 13, because in both passages we see the concepts of worship and marked heads and hands and attitudes towards money discussed. In chapter 13, the “whole world” believes that they must have the mark of the beast to buy or sell anything, but in chapter 22, those who had the Lamb’s mark—those who were not conformed to this world system but were transformed by the renewing of their minds—heard these words:
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let those who hear say, “Come!” Let those who are thirsty come; and let all who wish take the FREE GIFT of the water of life. (Revelation 22:17 – TNIV)
Compare this concept of freedom, and the ability to purchase something without money, with Isaiah’s words:
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and YOU WHO HAVE NO MONEY, COME, BUY AND EAT! COME, BUY WINE AND MILK WITHOUT MONEY AND WITHOUT COST. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and YOU WILL DELIGHT IN THE RICHEST OF FARE. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. INSTEAD OF THE THORNBUSH WILL GROW THE JUNIPER, AND INSTEAD OF BRIERS THE MYRTLE WILL GROW. This will be for the Lord's renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.” (Isaiah 55:1, 2, 8-13 – TNIV)
Here God says that His thoughts (the Lamb’s mark in the forehead) and His ways (the Lamb’s mark in the hand) are higher than our natural thoughts and ways, which have been marked by the beast system. Repentance enables us to cease worship of the beast, which limits us to a numbers system (666) or the idea that we can only survive and flourish through our natural logic or intellect. Now we can understand that our God shall supply all our need, not according to the rules of the material world but according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. We can then begin a lifestyle of Lamb-worship which will ultimately perfect our hearts and purify our minds and will bring us into a land that supernaturally flows with milk and honey!
Worthy is the Lamb!!!