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666 - The Mark of Man

Countless generations have conjectured what 666, the mark of man, means in the Book of Revelation. Some say it refers to the registration marks on bar codes, which can be interpreted as three binary sizes, and the whole system of buying and selling by means of such codes; after all, the passage does say that nobody will be able to buy or sell without the mark. Others, focussing on the number standing for a name, suggest it was a code for the emperor Nero.

Maybe. But these seemed too inconsequential for the large matters that the Book of Revelation covers. Then my old minister, Rev. Ken Furlong told of another preacher who cast another light on 666. In the Greek, there is no 'a' before 'man' in 'the mark of (a) man'; 666 is the Mark of Man, of Humankind, not just of a single man. Just what is this Mark of Man is explained below. But how it manifests itself can be found elsewhere:

What is 666, the Mark of Man?

Six is the Jewish unlucky number, and represents Man. Just as six is eternally short of seven, the perfect number, so Man is always short of perfection. Triple something and you take it to the limit. 777 would represent God, eternally perfect, complete. So 666 represents not just Man's imperfection, but the whole cosmic theme of human imperfection. And not just a mere happening to fall short (as 6 happens to fall short of 7), but of a deliberate distancing of ourselves from God.

That is the Mark of Man, of Humankind. So 666 restates in different words one of the grand themes found throughout the whole Bible, and links right back to the first Book - Humankind deliberately distances itself from God, in attempts at self dependence, desire for self dependence and assumption of self dependence.

Until the Renaissance and Enlightenment there was little possibility of Humankind as a whole trying to distance itself from God. In spite of a few rebellious souls, the bulk of us was caught up in the web of living, which was intimately tied to God. But Science and Reason gave us power of knowledge (the forehead of Revelation?), Technology and the State gave us power (the right hand?). We could now out-grow our so-called 'need' for God. The possibility of independence fed the desire for it. And today God is largely irrelevant, both as a source of right knowledge and as a power to right achievement.

So, the 666 'Mark of Man' is our assertion of independence from God. Those of us who have this mark proudly assume or assert our independence from God, those who truly acknowledge their dependence on him do not have this Mark. The passage in Revelation says, of those who don't have the Mark:

These are becoming true. How far will you get in your career if at every turn you assert your utter dependence upon God? You will remain economically disadvantaged and ridiculed.

These are the exploratory thoughts of Andrew Basden.

Offered to God as on-going work, this page is designed to stimulate discussion on various topics, as part of Andrew Basden's pages that open up various things from one of the Christian perspectives. Discussion, comments, queries are very welcome.

Copyright (c) Andrew Basden 2009. But you may use this material subject to certain conditions.

Number of visitors to these pages: Counter. Written on the Amiga with Protext.

Created: 8 September 1996, and not finished. Last updated: 1 January 2009 added .end, .nav, moved to /discussion/, but incomplete text not changed.