Accept No Imitation
I have been thinking about what to write about this evening – especially with all the recent trials and tribulations that our family has had. The trip to Hawaii, cut short by Nancy’s death; the wonder of 40 years of marriage with Janet and the bittersweet celebration with the other things going on in the family. And how, no matter what the circumstance, neither Janet not I would change a thing in our marriage and our lives together. Through it all, it is the love of Jesus and the fact that He has conquered death that is the hope of the world.
Of course, I want to share all the things that have happened in one monumental post, but the truth of the matter is that I have enough material for quite some time. So some of the event stuff will have to wait while we discuss a much more important topic this evening. That is, that tonight marks post #666 – and for those of you who have read the Bible, you know that this number is the mark, or name, of the beast – sometimes referred to as the antichrist.
There is a tremendous amount of confusion about what the mark of the beast actually is. Some people believe that the numbers are part of a numerical code and if you add the letters of certain names, such as Nero or Caesar, you arrive at 666. Some modern day people also believe that former presidents, the Pope and others are actually the antichrist. Of course, this is all conjecture and there is no biblical support of these allegations.
From the ancient Greek, we do know that the word “anti” means “instead of” or “against”. So regardless of which usage you prefer, the fact remains that an antichrist is someone who is against Christ, or is an impostor and wants to take the place of Christ. Either way, any believer can clearly see that nothing should take the place of Christ.
Another school of thought refers to the old practice of using numbers to explain certain things in the Bible. It was generally believed that the number “7” was a sign of perfection or completion. Therefore, 777 would be the “perfect number” – the perfection of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. And while the antichrist (some would say Satan) imitates God, he always falls a little short of the real thing – hence the reference to 666.
The verse for this evening is the verse from Revelation 13:16-18 that mentions the number of the beast – the warning that there is an impostor to the throne. We are told, “He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666.”
My encouragement this evening is that Christ expects us to believe in Him – not the antichrist. And while at times, we may suffer hurt, or even wonder where God is in our lives, we have His blessed assurance that He is the real deal – forever. My prayer is that you will always commit your life to the Triune God – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And someday, we have God’s promise that we will meet Him in person – in heaven. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…