Our Prophecy Q/A Series continues with these questions from a Prophecy Pros podcast listener.
Q: Are the mark of the beast and the number 666 the same thing? Doesn’t Revelation 13 say it’s the number of the 2nd beast?
A: Revelation 13:17 tells us that the mark is either the name of the future antichrist or the number of his name (presumably using Gematria where a numerical value is assigned to each letter) which will total 666.
So, I believe those taking the mark will be able to essentially choose from 2 insignia tattoos…either antichrist’s name or 666. It will be a visible insignia ON (vs. under) the skin (based on the Greek term used). It will be a visible sign of allegiance similar to what Roman soldiers used to do for their commanding officers.
I do believe it will be a digital tattoo of some sort because global buying/selling will be attached to the mark somehow (presumably with some sort of digital currency as we see emerging now).
Q: – How have people tried to “calculate”/identify this figure in church history and how should we view these figures in the bigger picture of Revelation 13?
A: People have used Gematria to calculate various world leaders’ names, but Scripture is clear that we will not know who the antichrist is until after the Church has been raptured (see 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). Also, Scripture indicates he will come out of obscurity (Daniel 7:8 calls him the little horn that will arise after a 10-leader confederacy is in place) and will appear as a savior-like man of peace at first.
So any attempts to play pin-the-tail on the antichrist prior to the rapture will not be accurate. Although we do see the spirit of antichrist prevalent in our day (see 1 John 4:3), there seems to be a candidate in each generation since Satan does not know the exact timing of the rapture. Hitler for example, was very antichrist-like and was probably the enemy’s attempt to jump start the end-times. Satan can’t wait until it is time for antichrist to rise to power, but God has a particular order and His own timing.
The context of Revelation 13 is pretty clear that the number is related to antichrist, not the false prophet. The false prophet is basically the antichrist’s hype man and minister of propaganda. He (through his religious network/system) will help enforce the mark and point people to worship antichrist.