Reading through the Bible together
Rev 13 introduces us to the rise of a new trinity, a parody of the Godhead. The Dragon is Satan, whose original ambition was to be “like the Most High” (Isa 14:14). The beast from the sea mimics Christ: fatally wounded yet rising again, receiving authority, power and a throne from the Dragon, and given authority over the nations for forty-two months (3½ years). Yet he is none other than the blasphemous antichrist. The beast from the earth mimics the Holy Spirit’s activity, bringing fire from heaven and performing miraculous signs. As the Spirit points to Jesus, this beast points to the antichrist. But in Rev 19:20 he is called the False Prophet, claiming to speak for God but really speaking for another, looking like a lamb but speaking like the Dragon.
Written over this Axis of Evil and on their followers is the number of the beast, the notorious 666. Jewish numerology considered 7 to be the number of perfection and completeness. God’s number triples that to 777, to reflect His absolute perfection and superiority. The 7th day of the week honors the one true God. But here we have a parody of God, a beast with seven heads and a blasphemous name on each head. Six is man’s number (13:18 NIV), as man was created on the 6th day. The beast’s number, triple-6, reflects man’s attempts to rise to the place of God despite his absolute depravity. Both Paul (2 Thess 2:4) and John (1 Jn 2:18-19) speak of this antichrist arising within the church, but religious robes don’t sanctify human pride and unholy ambition. Nor do they grant permission to persecute those who disagree with them.
The antichrist preaches a false gospel and advocates unbiblical laws in the name of God. Every “gospel” that denies or diminishes the central truth of salvation through Jesus alone is a false gospel, and is stamped with the dreaded 666. Anything we might add to the merit of Jesus our Savior, in the hope that God will accept it as our contribution, receives the same mark. To receive God’s stamp of approval, we must live by the hymn that says: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”
Greater Sydney Conference