The Mark of the Wild Beast
John now sees how Satan maneuvers the political parts of his visible organization to cause the maximum suffering for the remaining ones of the seed of God’s woman.(Genesis 3:15) He returns to describing “the
wild beast” itself:
“And it puts under compulsion all persons,the small and the great,and the rich and the poor, and the free and the slaves, that they should give these a mark in their right hand or upon their forehead, and that nobody might be able to buy or sell except a person having the mark,the name of the wild beast or the number of its name. Here is where wisdom comes in: Let the one that has intelligence calculate the number of the wild beast,for it is a man’s number;and its number is six hundred and sixty-six.”—Revelation 13:16-18.
The wild beast has a name, and this name is a number: 666. Six, as a number, is associated with Jehovah’s enemies. A Philis-
tine man of the Rephaim was of “extraordinary size,” and his “fingers and toes were in sixes.” (1 Chronicles 20:6) King Nebuchadnezzar erected a golden image 6 cubits in breadth and 60 cubits high, to unify his political officials in one worship. When God’s
servants refused to worship the image of gold, the king had them thrown into a fiery furnace. (Daniel 3:1-23) The number six falls
short of seven, which stands for completeness from God’s standpoint. Therefore, a triple six represents gross imperfection.
A name identifies a person. So how does this number identify the beast? John says that it“is a man’s number,”not that of a spirit person, so the name helps to confirm that the wild beast is earthly, symbolizing human government. Just as six fails to measure up to seven, so 666—six to the third degree is a fitting name for the world’s gigantic political system that fails so miserably to measure up to God’s standard of perfection.
The world’s political wild beast rules supreme under the name-number 666, while big politics, big religion, and big business keep that wild beast functioning as an oppressor of mankind and a persecutor of God’s people.
What does it mean to be marked on the forehead or in the right hand with the name of the wild beast? When Jehovah gave Israel the Law, he told them: “You must apply these words of mine to your heart and your
soul and bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they must serve as a front-let band between your eyes.” (Deuteronomy 11:18)This meant that the Israelites had to keep that Law constantly before them, so that it influenced all their actions and thoughts. The 144,000 anointed ones are said to have the Father’s name and that of Jesus written
on their foreheads. This identifies them as belonging to Jehovah God and Jesus Christ.(Revelation 14:1) In imitation, Satan uses the demonic mark of the wild beast. Anybody engaged in everyday activities such as buying and selling is pressured to do things the
way the wild beast does,as,for example,in celebrating holidays. They are expected to worship the wild beast, letting it rule their
lives, so as to receive its mark.
Those who refuse to accept the mark of the wild beast have had constant problems. Starting in the 1930’s, for example,they had to fight many court battles and endure violent mobbing’s and other persecutions. In the totalitarian countries, they were thrown into concentration camps, where many died. Since the second world war, countless young men have suffered lengthy imprisonments, some even being tortured and killed, because of their refusal to compromise their Christian neutrality. In other lands Christians are literally unable to buy or sell; some are unable to own property; others are raped, murdered, or chased from their native land. Why? Because in good conscience they refuse to buy a political party card.—John 17:16.
In some areas of the earth, religion is so ingrained in community life that anyone who stands for Bible truth is ostracized by family and former friends. It takes great faith to endure. (Matthew 10:36-38; 17:22) In a world where the majority worship material wealth and where dishonesty is rampant,the true Christian often has to trust implicitly in Jehovah that He will uphold him in pursuing an upright course. (Psalm 11:7; Hebrews 13:18) In a world awash with immorality, it takes great determination to remain clean and pure. Christians who fall sick are often pressured by doctors and nurses to break God’s law on the sanctity of blood;they even have to resist court orders that conflict with their faith. (Acts 15:28, 29; 1 Peter 4:3, 4) And in these days of rising unemployment, it is becoming increasingly difficult for a true Christian to avoid work that would mean compromising his integrity before God.—Micah 4:3,5.
Yes, the world is a difficult place for those who do not have the mark of the wild beast. It is an outstanding demonstration of Jehovah’s power and blessing that the remaining ones of the seed of the woman, as well as more than six million of the great crowd, are keeping integrity despite all the pressures to break God’s laws. (Revelation7:9) Unitedly, throughout the earth, may all of us continue to magnify Jehovah and his righteous ways, as we refuse to receive the mark of the wild beast.—Psalm 34:1-3.