(Rev 13:16-18 NIV) He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, {17} so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. {18} This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666.
Long held in superstitious dread, the number 666 has been the subject of movies, books and rock ‘n roll lyrics. Today, 6/6/6 marked the release of The Omen, as well as the latest book in the Left Behind series, The Rapture. But as far as the date being a portent of evil, that appears to have been the fictional stuff that scary movies are made of.
I am sure there were atrocities committed today: murders, bombings, infanticide, war, rape and child abuse. But these are not the consequences of a string of numbers. Rather, they are the result of sin taking root, growing, and then bearing its evil fruit in the human heart.
The sexual nature God gave each of us turns to lust, and if not dealt with, that turns to adultery, rape and pedophilia.
The pride we feel in our accomplishments turns to greed for more things or more power.
The admiration we feel for a neighbor’s property or spouse turns to envy, and that in turn can lead to theft, divorce or even murder as we seek to take what is not ours.
Our inner struggle to fight the evil in our hearts is something the apostle Paul was all too familiar with. Paul says:
(Rom. 7:14-20) I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it (NIV).

So what was Paul’s answer to his own struggle with evil?
(Rom. 7:24-25) What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
There is only one answer to evil – Jesus Christ. If we know Jesus, through His power (not our own) we can be set free from the sin that seeks to take root and flourish in our hearts. And in the day of the Beast when the number 666 is revealed, the Beast will be defeated the same way – through Jesus Christ.
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