Revelation has made a lot of Christians superstitious. (I’m not superstitious, I’m just a little stitious - Michael Scott)
And I was one of them.
Gosh, to have a phone number or license plate with the number 666 on them…
I hated that number. The number of the beast. It was as if the number itself had some power in it.
That’s what’s funny, I started to fear a number rather than what the number represents.
This chapter is about who we worship.
I would sum up the book of revelation as pitting two things we worship against each other. 1. The beasts of the empire. Power. Domination. Empire.
2. The lamb that was slain. Jesus. Humility. Love. Sacrifice.
There’s a lot of symbolism in this chapter telling us what Christians were facing. To shop in the markets you had to pay honor to Caesar. To avoid persecution you would have to declare “Caesar is Lord”
Rome had put Herod into power of the Temple.
Two beasts. Two blasphemous beasts.
Oh, and 666, this is something interesting too. In Hebrew the alphabet had numerical value as well. They didn’t use numbers and letters like we do, they just had letters. So, for example this is how it would work.
A = 1
B = 2
C = 3
And so on.
Well, what happens when you add together Emperor Nero’s name? It equals 666.
Which is why it says: “it is the number of a man”.
666 is code for Nero.
Which means this chapter isn’t about fearing a number, it’s about not worshiping the emperor.
This is a chapter about being people of the Lamb and not people of the empire.
This is a chapter about not putting a nation before your allegiance to the lamb.
This is a chapter about facing persecution instead of falling in line with the culture.
This is a chapter about being faithful to the lamb even when it means we can’t shop in the malls.
Revelation may be the most relevant book for us today because we live in a time when nationalism and faith are mixed together as one.
We’ve been afraid of a number, instead we need to be afraid that we are worshipping an empire instead of the lamb.
Because in the end it is a slain lamb that wins over the empire.
We shouldn’t be afraid of a number, we should be afraid that we’re worshipping an empire instead of Jesus.