666: Of Men, Marks, Beasts, and the Sealing Power

An investigation into the number "666" and the "Mark of the Beast" from an LDS and Biblical perspective.
By Steven Ray Montgomery

 

One of the overarching themes of the Book of Revelation deals with the victory that Jesus Christ and the righteous have over Satan, Babylon and mankind's twin nemesis, Spiritual and Physical Death. The righteous, we are informed by Revelation 15:2 are those who gain victory over the "Beast" and thus qualify to live on this earth in its Celestial Glory.

John informs us in Revelation that that those who accept Christ and overcome Satan are sealed up unto eternal life by having Christ's name written on their foreheads (see Rev. 7:3 and 22:4). Under the law of Moses the Israelites were commanded to wear phylacteries on their hands or frontlets upon their foreheads which were little boxes that contained certain scriptures written inside them as a "sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the Lord's law may be in thy mouth" or in other words that the righteous were to treasure up the words of Christ in their heart and soul and to physically bind these items on their hands or foreheads as a sign of this fact (see Exodus 13:9,16; Deut. 6:8; 11:18).

Satan, as the great counterfeiter, also "seals" his followers with a mark in their hand or forehead. But what is this mark and what does it represent? Is it an actual physical mark or merely symbolic? Is it, as some Christian evangelicals claim, a biochip or some other device inserted into the hand or forehead of individuals by the agents of a New World Order, in order to control people economically? Or does it represent something entirely different? Further, what characterizes those who have the mark?

As fellow Latter-day Saints perhaps the first thing we should do is examine what the Prophets and Apostles might have written or said about the subject. Surprisingly, very little has been said or written. And what is written, such as this from the Kirtland Diary of Wilford Woodruff, takes an entirely different tangent than those who believe the "Mark of the Beast" is the institution of an economic arm of the New World Order:

"O ye Priest of Baal. O, ye gentile religionest O. ye inhabitants of Babylon possessing the Mark of the Beast What knowledge have ye of the ordinances or blessings or virtues of the house & Church of God" -----The Kirtland Diary of Wilford Woodruff

Wilford Woodruff was referring to those outside the Church and who were partakers of spiritual Babylon's fruits and glories. If the "Mark of the Beast" was some sort of economic control, and was important to warn us about, don't you think a Prophet or Apostle might have written or said something regarding the subject? Especially since it is prophetic pattern for God to give his children plenty of warning notice?

Let me offer then a different explanation. As a result of the fall of Adam and without the atonement of Jesus Christ, man is carnal sensual and devilish. Thus Satan causes "ALL, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond" to receive his mark" in their right hand or in their forehead. Since this is a "mark" which affects all mankind it clearly cannot be an actual physical one. It is symbolic. Thus It represents man in his fallen mortal state and without the atonement of Jesus Christ, who truly cannot "buy or sell" without the mark of Satan (see Rev. 13:16-18; 14:1, 9-11; 17:5).

It is also significant to note in Rev. 14:9-11, that those who thus follow Satan and receive his mark on their forehead or hand, suffer the "wrath of God", are "tormented with fire and brimstone", and the "smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever"--quite a punishment just for accepting a "mark" for food, as some Christian fundamentalists believe, especially if one did so without knowledge or innocently! Reading these scriptures in context just doesn't bear this viewpoint up. It should be obvious that the "punishment" mentioned here is the "hell" that all of Satan's followers receive after the last judgment.

Also of note is the mention in Rev. 17:5 that spiritual Babylon will have the words "MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" written on her forehead. Do the Christian fundamentalists really believe that there will be a great Babylon arise up with these literal words on her forehead?

Well, what about the number of the beasts name, 666? Consistent with Moses 6:63, which states that "all things are created and made to bear record of" Christ, or in some manner testifying of the gospel plan, the number 6 to the Jews represented Man under sin. For example man was created on the 6th day. Cain's descendants are listed to the 6th generation. There are 66 generations listed from King David to Joseph. The "Man of Sin" or Satan is represented by the number 666. The 6th letter of the Hebrew Alphabet is the letter "vav" which is the sign of the nail.

The number 7, on the other hand, represented God's seal, often called the perfect number by the ancients. For example, god sanctified the 7th day and blessed it. The week has 7 days. The 7th day was the Old Testament Holy Day or Sabbath. Joshua ordered his people to march around Jericho 7 days with 7 priests, and 7 times on the 7th day. 7 is also significant in the natural creation. The musical scale has 7 full notes. Pure light is broken into 7 colors by a prism or rainbow. Jesus Christ received 7 wounds on his body.

 Furthermore, in connection with the number 666, It's interesting to consider that the jewish cabalistic magic square (those square mathematical puzzles which when added up either horizontally or vertically add up to the same number) of the sun (or Son!) when totaled adds up to 666. Additionally when the 12 (symbolic of the twelve disciples) diagonal squares (the letter x or sign of Christ) are added they each total 111 which when both are added to 666 become 888 (111 + 111 + 666 = 888), one of the gematria values of Jesus. In addition a circle can fit in the magic square whose circumference is exactly 1480, another gematria value of Christ.

So it seems that the magic square serves as a perfect symbolism of Jesus Christ overcoming the Natural Man, the man of sin or 666, through the atonement (the x or cross) and of Revelations 15:2 or those who like Christ attain the "victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, [and] over the number of his name." Again, the symbolism involved in Revelation concerning the "Mark of the Beast" hardly seems like biochips or the like to me.

Interestingly enough "six hundred threescore and six" in also mentioned in four places in the Old Testament. In 1 Kings 10:14 and 2 Chronicles 9:13, King Solomon, the archetype of "WORLDLY WISDOM" and possessing the knack for solving "RIDDLES", receives according to these verses exactly "six hundred threescore and six" talents of gold yet we understand that this is only part of the total amount that Solomon received. Why is "Six hundred threescore and six" singled out for special attention? Is the Lord trying to tell us something, challenging us or taunting us?

Additionally Ezra Chapter 2 gives an account of the "children of the province" who return out of captivity of Babylon. Then verse 13 mentions that the children of "ADONIKAM" number six hundred three score and six! But this is not all, Nehemiah 7:18 parallels Ezra 2:13 but the number in the King James Version is mentioned as six hundred threescore and seven! Why the difference? Is the Lord trying to get our attention? Or did a scribe deliberatly change it to six hundred three score and seven hoping to avoid the stigma associated with six hundred threescore and six? To make things even more peculiar Joseph Smith in the Joseph Smith translation (You'll need the full Joseph Smith Translation, as the complete translation is not in the appendix of the official church edition) corrects Nehemiah 7:18 to read as Ezra 2:13, six hundred threescore and six! Something strange seems to be going on here! To further peculiarize things the word ADONIKAM in Hebrew means "Risen Lord" (Strong's number 140) as if to symbolize to us that we need to make a similar exit out of Babylon to truly become children of the "Risen Lord"!

Finally, when "searching " the scriptures, the jewish rabbinical literature states (and in keeping with the tenet of seeking to understand after the manner of the Jews, see 2 Nephi 25) that when one encounters a number in the scriptures this serves as a marker or flag to highlight a message of importance within the text. I find it interesting therefore to consider Alma 11: 22-25 in light of our current consideration of the number 6 or 666. In these verses Zeezrom tempts Amulek to deny God by offering him 6 Onties of silver (Remember that the number 6 to the Jews represented man under sin). Amulek responds by stating to Zeezrom, in effect, don't you know that "the righteous yieldeth to no such temptations?" Then he exposes Zeezrom's deception by revealing that he, Zeezrom, had it in his heart to get Amulek to "deny the true and living God." Amulek's controversy with Zeezrom, it seems to me, serve as a further witness of the verses we read about in Revelation and further emphasizes our need to resist Satan's power and "mark" by living righteous lives. Thus we see that both Christ and Satan seal up their followers either to eternal life on one hand or spiritual death on the other.

In conclusion,  most fundamental Christians believe that the Mark of the Beast is some sort of economic control over the person getting the mark. I can find NOTHING in LDS belief, either from the scriptures or the words of the Prophets and Apostles which agree with fundamental Christianity in that understanding. Nothing.

But maybe this lack of commentary by LDS Leadership on the number "666" or the "Mark of the Beast" is indicative of the Lord not commanding in all things? I don't buy that. I don't belive the Lord operates that way, especially in such an important matter affecting so many in their eternal destiny.




 

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