666 and Mark of the Beast: Bridging Past, Present, and Future (Part 13)

1 – Introduction
2 – How in the World will the World Ever Accept Being “Marked”?
3 – From the Ancient Point of View
4 - “Mark” Counterfeits “Seal
5 – Modern Secular Worship Service
6 – Surveillance and Persecution
7 – What’s in a Name?
8 – Ancient Business Model and Today’s
9 – Birth of the Barcode
10 – Re-calibrating Revelation 13:17-18
11 – The Riddle of 666
12 – Symbolic Significance of the “Number
13 – 666: A Key Sign of the Times
14 – Conclusion 

13 – 666: A Key Sign of the Times

The existence of the 666-encoded barcodes in the world of commercial exchange presents us with a startling sign that the long-awaited End Time period of history is upon us. In times past, researchers have tried to identify this number with the events of their own day. And indeed, there are numerous 666-type of numerological configurations to be found in various words, names, and events – especially those that pertain to things of an anti-God nature. In ages past, no one could possibly have understood this usage of a 666-number in a worldwide computerized market system. But we, having the benefit of a little hindsight, can see that the “mark” and the 666 “number” will be linked in a very practical way with the buying and selling operations of the modern world. And to some extent, in fact, that has already come to pass. And this we could acknowledge as the literal, primary fulfillment of the ancient prophecy. Or if not that, it is certainly close to it and leading towards its fulfillment. 

Nowadays, we see 666 splashed around quite a bit; and it’s puzzling why the forces of Darkness would want to advertise it so much. Likely, it’s a tactic designed to create confusion and to keep the world from taking seriously this remarkable warning sign and fulfillment of this ancient prediction. Evidently, since they can’t deny the existence of the number, the forces of Darkness are doing all they can to confuse and prevent people from recognizing the warning signals. The last thing the Devil wants is for the world to realize that the present economic system will eventually turn into a giant trap – one that is meant to herd them into his control and worship system. Thus he throws out a bewildering array of 666 variations to muddle the picture, while the real 666-number is swept away under the rug of doubt and disbelief. This camouflage of advertising of other versions of 666 acts as a sort of decoy to avoid clueing people into noticing this sign and understanding where the course of history is headed.

Jesus warned of this kind of confusing tactic of the Enemy in Matthew 24. Referring to His Coming, He said, “Wherefore if they shall say unto you, ‘Behold, He is in the desert;’ go not forth; ‘behold, He is in the secret chambers;’ believe it not.” (24:26, KJV) The Devil knows he can’t deny the Second Coming to many Christians, but he does try to confuse them, in order to disarm them by coming to premature conclusions about it. But we have only to read and believe what the Scriptures say. There’s nothing mysterious about His Coming; it won’t be “in the secret chambers”, or out “in the desert”. But the Scripture says plainly His Coming shall be as the “lightning shining from east to west.” (24:27) Likewise, there’s nothing so mysterious or hidden about the “number” (except perhaps for John’s elaborate, 1st century, riddle-like description). In spite of the sinister spin one often hears about “666”, in reality it’s nothing more than a number that is needed for the everyday business of shopping.

But without giving heed to what the Scriptures say, then a maze of decoys can distract us into thinking this “man’s number” is some weird kind of thing, not related to ourselves or the real world in any way. As a result people get inoculated against the shocking realization that 666 has actually become an indispensable part of their everyday life for quite some time now. The forces of Darkness prefer that the world drift along without getting wise to their plans.

Once, when teaching about conditions prior to His Second Coming, Jesus made a comparison to how it was prior to the Great Flood: “For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:38-39) In spite of the signs, the world has become oblivious to the reality to which the signs are pointing: the soon-coming end of the Age and the Return of the Savior to rescue mankind from self-destruction.

Regarding the advent of the “number”, it is easy to see that an astounding set of factors have come together with the arrival of these mysterious barcodes. (And when mysterious coincidences like these occur, we often see them as pointing towards the hand of Divine Guidance.) Following is a summary then of how our modern bar codes seem to fulfill that mysterious, ancient prediction about the 666-number:

1)     The “mark” is for “everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave… so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark… or the number.” The “number” is included along with the “mark” and, like the “mark”, is intended for worldwide use. As its name, Universal Product Code, implies, barcodes are being used all over the world. And most of the barcodes used in retail stores have 666 encoded in them; they are in general use internationally for most shopping items, even in less technologically advanced nations. In olden days, to have such a universal application of a means of exchange, would have been impossible. Each nation, each district, had its own way of buying and selling things.

2)     As John’s revelation suggests, the “number” is something tangible that has a very practical use in the buying and selling operation. Without this 666-number in the bar codes, point-of-sale computers could not read the information, and buying or selling would become difficult. So the “number” has become a vital aspect nowadays in shopping – without which “no one can buy or sell”, exactly as John predicted. It’s not an overnight fad, but an engrained and permanent feature in the supermarkets of the world. The number 666 may show up elsewhere in our computerized world; but as far as buying or selling goes, there doesn’t seem to be any better fulfillment other than the 666 patterns found in the product barcodes. Maybe something new or better will come up, but it doesn’t have to. For all intents and purposes, this aspect of John the apostle’s prediction can be taken as already fulfilled.

3)     The 666-encoded barcodes fit nicely with the wording; the phrase “mark… or number” parallels the phrase “buy or sell”. The words “sell” and ”number” should correspond with each other. And indeed they do. The bar code number pertains more to the selling side in commercial transactions.

4)     Although the unnumbered guard-bars in the barcodes are not read by a shop’s computer as a number, yet as far as we are concerned, they resemble the bar-space-bar pattern of a 6 repeated three times. The fact that it takes a little “wisdom” to “calculate the number” suggests that it is not supposed to be very obvious. And this is true; one has to do some searching or figuring to find it in those bar codes. The “number” is hidden so that you cannot see it at a casual glance. And this hidden feature of the “number” seems to be why John posed this last verse 18 as a challenge or riddle; and as a riddle, the answer should be something unexpected and not in accordance with a rigid standard of adherence to reality. That is, just because the computers don’t read the guard-bars as 6-6-6, that doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Our human eyes do read them as 6-6-6. And as far as riddles are concerned, that’s good enough.

5)     The bar codes are something that people have to use nowadays; it’s been forced on the world, but in a rather subtle way. The Scripture suggests this too, that the False Prophet Beast “causes” the world to accept the “mark” and the “number”. The approach is gradual enough so that people have time to get familiar with the new system and rather oblivious to where it is all heading.

Once upon a time these barcodes with their hidden 666-numbers were thought of in mysterious terms and as a dreaded forewarning of things to come. But isn’t it remarkable that nowadays, 40-plus years since their inception, here they are and we hardly give them a second thought?

Continue to Part 14 – Conclusion


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