You’ve probably heard of the “mark of the beast” or the number 666 which many consider to be the devil’s number. Although many people associate 666 with satan, the Book of Revelation explains what the number really means.
Revelation 13:15-18 is the main passage in Scripture that mentions the mark of the beast. The passage says, “And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.”
In addition to Revelation 13:15-18, other references can be found in Revelation 14:9. 11, 15:2, 16:2 and 20:4. So what exactly is the mark? The mark of the beast acts as a seal for the followers of Antichrist and the false prophet who serves the Antichrist. The false prophet, recognized as the second beast, is the one who causes people to take this mark.
This mark is placed directly on the hand or forehead. It’s not a card that is simply carried around. The recent breakthroughs in medical implant chip and RFID technologies have increased interest in the mark of the beast referenced in chapter 13 of the Book of Revelation. It is important to realize that a medical implant chip isn’t the mark of the beast. The mark of the beast will be something only given to those who worship the Antichrist.
You may be wondering what the meaning of 666 is. Well, this remains a mystery though many have speculated that there is a connection to specific dates. However, we are told in Revelation that the number references a person, not a date. Ultimately, the number identifies the Antichrist.
Jesus warned us that in the last days false prophets would arise who would masquerade as the Messiah and claim to be the Savior of the world. “Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you.' For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5). This false prophet is the second beast referenced in Revelation. Shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus preached His great message regarding profound events that would occur at the end of the age just prior to His Second Coming. Among those events, He said, would be false prophets and false Christs. Jesus also emphasized that these false christs will perform great signs and miracles and deceive man. Many Christians believe that as long as they believe in Jesus, they are shielded from these false prophets or shielded from the deceptions of the last day, when in fact, these false prophets are not easy to identify. Jesus says that the deceptions of these false christs are so carefully planned and so skillfully carried out, that even God’s chosen ones would be deceived. The only time this isn’t possible is when we keep our focus on the real Jesus.
In order to recognize the false prophet, the Bible tells us to stay on guard and to pay attention to these things. First, pay attention to where the person’s message is coming from. Is the message they are delivering to the people from their head or from God through the power of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Peter says, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:16). And then he says the false teachers exploit you “with stories they have made up” (2 Peter 3:4). The true teacher sources what He says from the Bible. The false teacher relies on his own creativity. Their message is contrary to the teachings we’ve learned. These figures will promote a way to salvation by works that detracts from God’s glory through the cross of Christ. All false teachers undermine core values and teachings of Jesus Christ.
Another thing to look at is their character. Ask yourself what kind of people does the message produce? Instead of pursuing goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness and love, the false prophet is marked by arrogance and slander. They are also marked by greed. False prophets love to be seen and heard. This is indicated by the fact that they keep putting themselves at the center of attention by continually prophesying day by day. Scripture is very clear that the Holy Spirit is in Earth to draw attention to Jesus. Jesus Himself said to the Holy Spirit in John 16:14. “He will glorify Me, for He will receive from Me and will declare it to you.” Revelation 19:10 says. “Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Beware of those who use prophecy to thrust themselves in the limelight.
Finally, you can pay attention to their message. Listen to the substance. The message for Christ is always central. “We have everything we need for life and godliness in Him” (2 Peter 1:3). For the false teacher, “They will secretly introduce destructive heresies" (2 Peter 2:1). Pay attention to the word secretly here. Movement away from the centrality of Christ is subtle. The false prophet will speak about how other people can change your life, but if you listen closely to what they’re saying, you will see that Christ is not central to the message. However, something very corruptive likely is at the center of their message. Their messages are not aligned with scripture, but their own warped version of it.