Beast Options and the Number 666
Revelation 13, Verses 17, 18


13:17, note a
Three bad choices

   "And he causeth all . . . to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 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." (Rev. 13:16, 17)

   We see that we must have one of three characteristics to avoid the consequences threatened by the image and the earth beast.
   1.  beast's mark (in hand or forehead)
   2.  beast's name
   3.  number of beast's name

   I don't altogether understand this, but I have some ideas for you to think about. Some things we will not understand until they happen (John 14:29). Ahead in Revelation we will find related passages. Note particularly the events of the 6th plague.

The kings go forth to enforce the demands of the image
   "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty." (Rev. 16:13, 14; the same three are seen in 19:20 and 20:10)

   So the image, through the military might of world governments, will try to force all people, under the most severe penalties, to accept 1 the name of the beast, 2 its mark, or 3 the number of its name. As I see it now, the three choices will be set up to accommodate followers of the three false powers.

Three bad choices - > Name of the beast Mark of the beast Number of beast's name
For followers of - > The beast (from the sea) The beast from the earth The dragon
Literal groups - > Followers of the church of the early apostasy Followers of churches from the Reformation which later fell into apostasy Non-Christians (followers of paganism such as New Age and Eastern religions)

   I am concerned that the fast erosion of the walls protecting freedom of conscience is preparing the way for these prophecies to be fulfilled. Right now (9/97) the US congress is pushing toward state money for parochial education and eventually toward rewriting our first amendment to the constitution which guarantees separation between church and state. What they call "freedom" is freedom only for the majority. God has never put truth up to a majority vote! This could all happen very fast. May we each remain as faithful servants.
    "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching. . . ." (Luke 12:35-37)

Forbidden to buy or sell
   Find this discussion on another page, 1317b.

Threats against God's people in summary

   We have seen the challenge of the apostate religious power in verses 15-17:
   "And he [the beast from the earth] had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 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." Thus we may expect two threats. The first is death for refusing to worship the sea beast who appears with a new mask. The second is prohibiting economic transactions considered necessary to sustain life. The Earth beast is the political power behind both. Thus the ideas of the world religious power are supported by the world political power in the end-time church-state union.

Two Threats
Death Refusing to worship the beast's image The beast's image (new religious power)
Being cut off from life support Refusing the beast's mark The earth beast (economic power)

13:18 a
The wise will understand 666

   "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." (Rev. 13:18)

   This code number of the beast is intriguing. Caution is in order, however. Anyone can come up with an appealing interpretation of an isolated verse. Whatever we say with any confidence must agree with other passages. We must look to the context and to other parts of the inspired word.
   Let's begin with the first part of our verse. "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number. . . ." Those with understanding do not necessarily have fancy degrees in theology, nor are they a special body, like the Catholic Magisterium, charged with deciding what is truth to be submissively accepted by everyone else.
   "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not [does not reproach]; and it shall be given him." (James 1:5; also, jn0539, jn0717).

   Our verse in Revelation seems to respond by saying, "Here is wisdom. . . ." The actual command of God in the verse is to "count the number of the beast." I see the challenge not so much in cracking the code as in understanding the beast. We are also impressed with this challenge to understand the beast by the large amount of information God has given in the books of Daniel and Revelation about this special enemy.

   Let's look at the call to understand given through Daniel. The same glorified Christ who speaks in the book of Revelation (1:10-19), appeared to Daniel and explained how God's people at the end of time needed to understand.
   "And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand (Dan. 12:7-10)  See also Dan. 10:5, da1132-35 describing those who understood during the Protestant Reformation, and Dan. 12:3 for the wise who shine eternally.

   Here Daniel was told that he would not understand the fearful prophecy of the 3½ times (also da0725). As predicted, the righteous who studied after the time of the French Revolution, during which I believe the 3½ times ended, did understand the prophecies about the long years of persecution and control by the apostate church ps119130.
   Notice a couple of points made by the Man in linen which apply to our call to understanding here in Revelation: (a) The purified ones understand, but the wicked don't. Understanding is more than being able to explain the key to the code of the 666. It is also understanding in the light of a personal relationship with the Man in linen above the waters. (b) God withheld understanding of this evil force until the time appointed.
   He has not sealed the book of Revelation re2210. We need to purify our hearts and probe the word. But we must avoid speculation going beyond the divine revelation de2929. As we continue, I'll share, for your consideration, what I feel I understand on the topic. May we humble our hearts before our Creator responding to His call, through James, to ask for wisdom.


13:18 b
A clue count the number

     "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." (Rev. 13:18)

   As you are aware, our approach to interpretation is to study the context and to search for implications the terms would have for people who understand the sacred Scriptures. For example, when we read about calling fire down from heaven in verse 13 we thought of Elijah and recognized that perhaps the earth beast was trying to counterfeit the end-time promise of the prophet's return (Mal. 4:5, 6). We checked our idea and found it reasonable. At first, this verse about the number of the beast doesn't seem to offer much to tie to. On closer study, however, we do find links. Let's see what we can learn.
   Looking at the meaning of the Greek word for "understanding" helps us make a connection. The word is nous and primarily means "mind" although "understanding" is not a bad translation. Using "mind," we could translate the first part of the verse, "Here is wisdom. Let him who has a mind count the number. . . ." What other passage does this construction lead you to think of? How about, "Here is patience. If anyone has an ear, let him hear"? Where have we read something like that? The Bible doesn't say exactly what I suggested, but the phrases help us know what to look for. How about this?
   "If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints." (verses 9 and 10 in our chapter).

   Do you see another parallel between the two passages? They appear as conclusions to the two parts of the chapter conclusions calling us to faithfulness. And they express the decisions faced by the people experiencing the actions of the beast of each era. Let me show with a chart how I see the picture.

Conclusions to the Two Parts
Part of Chapter 13
Activities of the religious power
Qualities of the remnant
 I - Apostasy of the early church (Rev. 2:4, 5; 13:8; Acts 20:28-30) verses 1-10 Beast speaks blasphemy, 42 mo. (v.5); earth dwellers worship (v.8) Let those with ears listen, v.9 Patience and faith, v.10
II - Apostasy of the end-time church (Rev. 3:1; 13:12) verses 
Earth beast does deceptive miracles (v.13, 14); beast's image demands worship (v.15) Let those with minds count, v.18 Wisdom and patience, 13:18; 14:12

   When we come back we will see why the challenges of the two periods are different. For now we may pray for minds to count the number, not to satisfy curiosity but to seek the wisdom promised.

13:18 c
Meaning for our time - apostasy

     "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." (Rev. 13:18)

   We have already recognized this final verse of Revelation 13 as a conclusion or culmination statement including a challenge for those living in the second era described in the chapter. To understand the symbols in our verse we need to recall the issues in both eras of the chapter. Let's summarize a bit.
   As we studied, we discovered that the beast from the sea dominated the middle ages for 42 symbolic months (13:5), then was mortally wounded appeared to have died. In the second part of the chapter, we saw a beast with horns like a lamb arise and assume the authoritarian power of the first beast (13:12) then promote the making of an image to the first beast (13:14). In describing the image, John was impressed to identify the first beast as the one "which had the wound by a sword and did live." This helps confirm that the two parts of the chapter describe successive eras of oppression separated by a period of respite while the beast was decreasing in power and while he was increasing again during the healing of the wound. The relative peace (cf. 11:14) would be from near the end of the first era (Mark 13:20) and continuing for a time into the second.
   To draw reality from the symbols, I'd like to share how I see them relating to our time. Any such interpretations must agree with the whole picture, not be an isolated phrase or passage, so hold me to a "thus saith the Lord." I believe we are near the end of this peace. Political power, religious power, and financial power are coming under tight control. People and people groups everywhere are boiling with anger, a sign of the very end (See on Rev. 11:18). Also natural and human disasters are increasing.
   Remember that the earth beast does miracles. The symbol of calling fire from heaven (13:13), helped us see him as pretending to be the end-time prophet Elijah (1 Kings 18; Mal. 4:5) Elijah called the people from wickedness to true worship and God answered by fire. The false Elijah makes fire come down from heaven (13:13), rather than God sending it. He also directs worship to the first beast (13:12) who exercises the power of the dragon. (13:2; 12:9). What an opportunity for the false prophet Elijah (Rev. 19:20) who, along with the beast and the dragon, demand worship for themselves! This would be enforced through the strength of the state and the control of financial interests death threat for not worshipping the image (13:15) and the threat of totally cutting off livelihood (meaning nothing to eat) without bowing to the beast (13:17). The call will be to unite in bringing our countries back to God so that He will stop the disasters and bring peace for the coming millennium. Views which differ from the majority will be prohibited.
   I have no doubt that the conditions in our world are a result of wickedness. God is allowing the four winds of strife to blow (7:1-3). Remember, however, what we have learned in this chapter about the end-time forces of evil. (a) The major religious powers will be false ones. (b) The big player at the end is the earth beast who unites political and religious powers church and state. This must be the current dominant world political power which is fast becoming controlled by religious powers. And (c) this end-time power will perform miracles to deceive the whole earth (Rev 13:13, 14; Matt. 24:24; 2 Thess. 2:8-10).
   Will God punish the increasing wickedness? The Bible has an answer. "For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity. . . ." (Isa. 26:21) "It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law." (Ps. 119:126).

   God defines wickedness as violation of His law (Ezek. 18:21; 1 John 3:4; also see Dan. 7:25; 2 Thess. 2:7). The idea popular today is that being "not under the law" (Rom 6:14, 15) means the moral law is no longer binding. Instead, the term means that the law has no power to condemn us when we are obedient (next two verses). God's ten commandments (all ten) are then the law of liberty (James 2:10-12), not freeing us to continue in rebellion but pointing us to the One who has power to free us from sin! (Rom. 6:1, 2; Gal. 3:24, 25; Jude 24, 25; Matt. 1:21).

   So how is the challenge for those in the early era of apostasy (13:9, 10) different from our challenge in the latter era (13:18)? Let's recall the appeal by God and the characteristics of the faithful of each age.
      § During the apostasy of the Middle Ages, those with ears were to listen (13:9). The Word had been withheld from the people and they had much to learn. God's true people were found to have patience and faith (13:9, 10). Faith is mentioned because Luther's discovery that the just live by faith characterizes the Protestants' turning directly to God for salvation instead of depending on the rites of the church. Patience (or endurance) tells of their resistance to the attempt of the beast power to force their conscience.
      § During the end-time apostasy, those with minds are to count the number of the beast. Their problem isn't so much that Bible truth is unavailable, but that they need to calculate from it to identify the beast. We will come back to this idea. The saints are characterized by the words, "Here is wisdom." The great hazard of the final apostasy will be deception (13:14). Those who choose to love the truth and not be deceived (2 Thess. 2:9-12) thus have wisdom. (Their patience is described in 14:12.) And how do we get wisdom? Through dependence on the word of God (Ps. 119:105; John 17:17; Isa. 8:20) rather than on what is popular (Matt. 7:13) and sounds right (Prov. 14:12).
   May we each experience the joy of discovering true wisdom and the fellowship of our Lord Jesus Christ.

   The word, "understanding," in our verse (13:18) is from the Greek nous (Strong's number 3563). We saw that nous generally means "mind." However, it is not the only Greek word translated "mind." To get a feel for nous Let's look at some verses which use it.
   "Then opened he their understanding [nous], that they might understand the scriptures." (Luke 24:45)
   "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Rom. 12:2)
   "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." (2 Thess. 2:1-3)

Word meaning
   The word nous "denotes, speaking generally, the seat of reflective consciousness, comprising the faculties of perception and understanding, and those of feeling, judging and determining." (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical words)


13:18 d
Count the number 3 choices

    "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." (Rev. 13:18)

   The purpose of counting or calculating is to achieve wisdom. The divine request is a call to study and figure out what the beast is, in order to escape deception and the wrath of God for those who have chosen to reject His peace. The beast (which I understand to be equivalent to the horn power and the antichrist and the man of sin) is mentioned so often in symbolic prophecy that we must conclude that God wants us to understand. The messages in symbols are like the parables of Jesus. For several reasons, the direct meaning is not given: (a) to allow those who prefer deception (2 Thess. 2:9-11) to not understand (Matt. 13:11-15), (b) to keep the truths until the times when they were needed (Dan. 12:4), and (c) to preserve the original Bible text relating to apostasy from being destroyed or contaminated (See. John 17:17-21).
   I'm quite excited in discovering what I feel is an essential link in solving the puzzle of the 666 (although we aren't ready to arrive at the specific number). I believe the number we are to count is connected with the three ways to escape the wrath of the beast described in the verse just before the one we are focused on.
   "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." (Rev. 13:17)

   To expand my interpretation of that verse, here are the ways to recognize the three groups who will follow the beast:
    § Mark of the beast: Those who accept the mark of identity of the Roman church. You recall that it proves its authority by claiming to have changed the day of worship. It has not yet (1997-2007) demanded its followers to accept a mark.
    § Name of the beast: Those who are not directly the beast but who have taken its name as is done is marriage. They become the beast's partners, supporting it (Rev. 13:12). This group would include apostate Protestants, Jews who have not accepted the Messiah, and Muslims. These claim belief in the creator God but historically have chosen to protest rather than to follow the church of Rome.
    § Number of his name: Pagans or animists, followers of Eastern religions, atheists, and others who do not claim to worship the creator God. Note that "the number of his name" is different from the number of the beast itself in our current verse. The name, or character, of papal Rome came from the church's reinterpretation of Christian ideas casting them in the mold of pagan principles and symbols. This was done to accommodate the pagan world, drawing them into the fellowship of the Roman church. The number of that name would be its accessed value or its judgment. More on this later.
   The three groups are a coalition opposing God at the end of time. In chapter 12 we saw the drama in terms of the dragon and the woman. In our chapter 13, we saw the beast (backed by the dragon; 13:2) then the second beast the false Elijah (backed by the first beast who is backed by the dragon). Let's turn ahead to see the three working together in the final conflict.

   "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty." (Rev. 16:13, 14; also see 16:19)
   "And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. . . . And I saw an angel come down from heaven. . . . And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years." (Rev. 19:20; 20:1, 2)

    To understand better, we need to jump ahead in Revelation to chapters 17 and 18 for a brief look. We will link an evil character there to the end-time apostasy as described in our current chapter.
   We have looked at three evil groups. Remember that there is a fourth group the righteous. That is where you and I want to be. We want to be the wise ones who count the number and choose to be safe in the arms of Jesus.

The three-part woman who is a city

   To understand the numbered beast of 13:18, we look at somewhat the same situation in chapters 17 and 18.

   "And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials [of punishment for the wicked], and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication [union of church and state], and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication [deceptive doctrines]. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY [or 'a mystery'], BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. . . . And the woman which thou sawest is that great city ['Babylon' in 18:2], which reigneth over the kings of the earth." (Rev. 17:1-6, 18)

   Not counting the word, "mystery," which I take to describe the name rather than being a part of it, the woman has (A) three marks of identification corresponding to (B) three general classes of false worship at the end of time and (C) the partners in the evil coalition as follows:

Understanding the Woman on the Beast
Parts of the name
Ways to escape wrath of coalition (13:17)
Evil partners
Babylon the great
mark of the beast
beast from the sea
mother of harlots
name of the beast
beast from the earth
abominations of the earth
number of the name

   So I see the woman as the evil coalition or the image to the beast which is formed for the final conflict (See 17:13, 14). Babylon, in a sense, includes in the other two. This complicates the picture but shows the complexity of the end-time apostasy. The woman is the coalition, (A) led by the dominant church of the middle ages with (B) daughters (churches split off as a result of the Reformation) who, themselves, have fallen into apostasy, and (C) operating on pagan principles.

So why is she called Babylon?
   Just ahead of us in chapter 14 we will find a call to come out of Babylon, and a similar call in chapter 18 which continues the story of the prostitute on the beast. We turn to Daniel to see why these terms are used. See footnote.

   Significant in this passage is that Babylon fell because of defiance to the true God who "numbered" the kingdom. It was weighed in the balances, then divided. The imagery surrounding the term, Babylon, in Revelation is drawn mostly from this scene in Daniel. We are particularly interested in the numbering. People facing the end-time rebellion are called to count the number of the beast. In other words, God has numbered the end-time apostate power. In 13:18, we are called to read the number, recognizing the evil leading, and to come out.
   The Hebrew word (sawphar) for the verb, to number, has the broader meaning of "to take account of." In the numbering we may see God as reviewing the deeds of the evil city to see whether they had reached the limit of its defiance that the cup of its iniquity was full (cf. Gen. 15:16; 6:3). Our call to count the number of the beast is to see that its wickedness has gone far enough and to pray "It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law" (Ps. 119:126). I believe that time is soon to come. Receiving the mark, as we have said before, has not yet (2003) been a test of loyalty.
   With this perspective on the counting the number we should be ready, next time, to discuss the composition of the 666.

   Let's determine to stand with Daniel, loyal to the God of heaven!

Whence 666?

    ". . . count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."

  As I see it, deriving the actual number 666 is not the important part of the verse. To get a balanced picture, please read through all the comments on this verse unless you already have. And always, when considering God's Word, pray. From what I understand, the Latin words are probably not actually on the crown as shown in the illustration.
   The number of the beast is the number of a man (literally, "a human number") human in contrast to divine (cf. Dan. 7:8). We may understand this to imply that this beast who demands worship is a human entity pretending to be divine. Because man was created on the 6th day (although I have not seen evidence of the 6 coming from this time), the emphasis could well be that the coalition of dragon, beast, and false prophet, the triple enemy of God which will have double punishment having a double fall (1802, 1806) . Hence 666.
   Since the time of the Reformation, a significant title of the pope has been numbered as 666. The process of adding up the Roman numeral values of the letters in names was popular in John's time. The Latin title, Vicarius Filii Dei (Vicar of the Son of God), adds to 666 with I = 1, U = V = 5, L = 50, C = 100, and D = 500. Other letters do not count. Although this letter count is not a conclusive identification in itself, it points to the papacy. (1) Many names will add up to this number. We have already identified the beast in this commentary by looking at his time of arising in history (1301) and by comparing his behavior to the prophecies. The counting of this phrase reinforces our identification. (2) Although we have seen the papacy, not specifically the pope, as the beast, this man is its visible head.
   The title itself, without counting numbers, is evidence of the character of the system that supports it. Jesus clearly identified His vicar or substitute or representative as the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-18). Peter identified Christ, not himself, as the cornerstone of the church (1 Peter 2:4-6).

   This is an occult practice known from antiquity. Pythagoras, a Greek mathematician who lived 500 years before Christ developed many ideas about it. Numerology is practiced even today where all the letters of a person's name are given numbers and are added up and interpreted to mean something about the person. Of course all forms of astrology or "fortune telling" are deceptions of Satan whose evil angels know things about individuals and can thus manipulate them by convincing them that they, the evil ones, have special powers to know the future. God does not promote these practices but He here takes counting the number of the beast as a symbol to show its pagan or occult nature.

Evidence of occultic meaning of 666
   In the illustration are two coins with what are called, even in today's terms, magic squares. In the grid of numbers, the total of any column, any row, or either diagonal, adds to 111. It would take three to make 666 apparently the three ways of counting. The coins pcitured do not come from Babylonian times. One coin has Latin words and the other might be Latin. Notice on one of the coins, the hexagon, the numbers 111 at the top and 666 at the bottom, the Greek omega, and perhaps a 6 at the top. I have not seen the actual coins so will let you judge for yourself. Below the photo in the book is this explanation: "In 133 B.C. the Babylonian solar cult was bequeathed to Rome by Attalus, III. There its symbols and forms were incorporated into the cult of Caesar and later into Roman Catholicism." The coin photos are from The (New, Illustrated) Great Controversy. It isused by permission from Lux Lucet in Tenebris.

A calculation
   I have an idea for a mathematical solution. I share it with caution because endless theories can divert our attention from this chapter's clear message for our time. With this in mind, here is my best explanation. The three individuals in the coalition come to this number by their behavior. The beast arises supported by the dragon, then the earth beast unites with those two (13:12) to form the image to the beast which we have called the coalition. Thus we have increasing apostasy, 3 + 30 + 300, as forces unite in opposing the true trinity. Their behavior, as with the Babylon of Belshazzar, is thus numbered or identified as 333. In chapter 18, the command in punishing the wicked woman (the coalition) is "For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double" (Rev. 18:5, 6). The double is 666.

Vicar of Christ
   According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994, the Roman pontiff, "by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered." Pg. 234, #882   Note that this does not come from the Bible.

   I have explained before, members and even clergy in the Roman communion are often dedicated people who love Jesus. Identification of the beast is not to condemn but to encourage them to study God's word for themselves and to follow the Lamb of Calvary. Why do the prophecies emphasize these evil forces so much? To help those of us who love our Lord (including Catholics) to avoid being swept into the massive end-time movement. As the crisis develops Christ will be calling, "Come out of her, my people." (18:4)

   I want always to be one of His sheep who hear His voice (John 10:27) and follow Him. I expect you feel that way, too. Praise God!

   PS: Many names and phrases obviously add up to 666. I got an e-mail from someone who explained ideas about who and what the number means. I shared with her some principles for interpreting Bible prophecies like this. Click to see an amplified version of my response.

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