It is written in the Bible “and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six” Revelation 13 17-18. The beast here is a associated with the Antichrist, a coming world ruler under the control of Satan. Like much of the Book of Revelation (a prophecy given to the Apostle John when he was an old man), coming up with a complete understanding is a challenge (to put it mildly) and has been a cause of controversy, dubious interpretation and divided opinion since it was written nigh on 2000 years ago.
Before returning to the subject of “666”, I would like to re-visit another subject, one I blogged about a couple of days back – to do with China and the British relationship with China. The every closer ties narrative continues with more trade deals being signed. There continues to be various reaction to the visit – from the Greens and other environmental campaigners because of the energy deals would seem to be taking the UK in the wrong direction, as a sell out of national sovereignty by all sorts of groups, especially right leaning, and also all sorts of groups, often left leaning, because of the string of human rights abuses caused by the Chinese authorities. One person involved in supporting the often persecuted Chinese church has stated: “that inviting the Chinese President Xi Jinping to Britain is choosing trade over human rights”. One strange story was China awarding a peace prize to Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, which left me and others astounded and wondering at the type of people that would want to honour a tyrant in this way. Then there was the story titled: “The Largest Behavioral Conditioning Experiment In History Has Begun” where it went into detail concerning the measures taken by Chinese authorities for gauging “acceptable” behavior by its citizens and thereby using the scores to determine how acceptable individuals are to the regime and the rights and privileges they can be afforded based on the scores.
Ever since I was a youngster, I have heard speculation on the significance of “666”, with many theories being advanced. What is happening today in China (and in other places too) is consistent with the biblical narrative, although the text points to something the one world leader (the Antichrist) will use to be able to maintain his iron grip. What has changed is that the technology for doing the control, relating to the “666” Bible narrative, is now available in a way that was hardly dreamed off in my youth and the move toward globalization and calls for a “new world order” have advanced significantly. Regarding China, there is perhaps no reason to single China out any more than any other great power, led by the USA and Russia (perhaps), in the parts each play in bringing about the “final” events before the return of Jesus and when the new heavens and new earth will become manifest. As for trying to make specific interpretations, ever since eschatology and interpreting yet to be fulfilled prophecy became a popular subject from around the early 1800’s, with notions like Napoleon being the Antichrist being put forward, “experts” have got it wrong and I don’t intend to add to the list. Yet I do look at world events with a degree of consternation and do what Billy Graham once suggested – read the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other. Seeing things as I do has caused me to recognize even more the need to walk close to God, to serve the many who are in great need, and to look forward to the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ to this world. As for China, and despite my reservations I have concerning this and many other regimes, I recognize there is a need to do trade and foster good relationships wherever we can. My concern is over the way our leaders continue to sacrifice our national interest and soul.
The point of this blog is not to alarm unduly or propagate yet another set of wacky ideas, but rather to do the work of a watchman, to alert and encourage people to “watch and pray” and prepare for and live in the light of the soon return of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no question that we live in a deeply troubled world, where much that is wrong abounds and it is so easy to lose heart and feel disempowered. We may try to live in a cocoon, oblivious to what is happening, and for the pleasures of the moment, and ignore some of these troubles (which for some cannot be avoided), arguing perhaps that there is little we can do to change matters (although there is if we live God’s way) and dismiss some of the things described above as mere speculation, but these things are real and cannot be ignored. While another approach is to live in fear, yet for those who do believe and believing in Jesus is something I would urge on all and sundry, I leave you with the words of Jesus: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”. John 14:27