What’s in a Number? (Revelation 13)

by Dec 18, 2022

“This calls for wisdom: Let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, because it is the number of a person. Its number is 666.” (Revelation 13:18)

In this chapter, John describes 2 beasts that appear.  The verse in this chapter that calls the most interpretations and theories is verse 18 because of the number 666.  Throughout history, folks have tried to count up the numerical value of a name, to see if this is the beast.  Using this method, many candidates for the antichrist have been mentioned, such as the Pope or the Papacy, John Knox, Napolean, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and even Ronald Reagan.

As we have observed in our study of Revelations, we know the numbers are to be taken symbolically unless the context demands otherwise.  In today’s focus, I want to dwell on the first 4 words of verse 18 — “This calls for wisdom.”  All of this talk about beasts comes down to, who do you worship?  This chapter talks about the danger of false worship.  We need to keep our worship on God, and no one else.  Do not worship other things thinking that through this, you are worshiping God.  How often we can justify ourselves to do things that are not godly because we put it in godly words.  We will pursue wealth because we should “think about all the good that could be done for God.”  There are “get-rich” networking/pyramid plans that use this technique.  You are worshiping God by making money so that you can give to the church.  This is false worship as you are honoring wealth, as a false god.

Some health groups teach the same thing.  By having good health by either eating healthy or using holistic means, you are worshiping God, because God wants you to have good health.  Again, this is false worship.  To worship our bodies and think that we are worshiping God through good health is an idol to a false god that must be destroyed.  Worshiping anything but God directly is idolatry.  We can’t worship God through our possessions, our success, our wealth, or our health.  We need to worship God directly and worship God alone.  What have you been worshiping lately, and do you need to repent and ask God for forgiveness?

During this Christmas season, let’s get back to worshiping our King.