Tuesday, January 28, 2014
a number and a name
Good evening friends,
Today's reading gives us one of the familiar symbols for demonic power, the number 666, which John says is the number of a man. Many scholars think the number 666 refers to Nero since if you give each letter a number based on its alphabetic position, Nero Caesar totals 666. Nero was an occasional persecutor of Christians and had died before John's Revelation was written, but some thought he had returned to life in the person of the Emperor Domitian. (New Interpreters' Study Bible) The lesson for today is that no matter what power stands behind evil, we are still called to do the right thing.
11Then I saw another beast that rose out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. 12It exercises all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and it makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed.
13It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of all;14and by the signs that it is allowed to perform on behalf of the beast, it deceives the inhabitants of earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that had been wounded by the sword and yet lived; 15and it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast so that the image of the beast could even speak and cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
16Also 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, 17so that no one can buy or sell who does not have the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18This calls for wisdom: let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. Its number is six hundred sixty-six.