Monday, September 6, 2010

666: The Number of Solomon

The book of Revelation in the Bible is mostly relaying what the writer of the book saw in a vision. Even though this vision seems like an irrational dream, we still need to interpret it using the same method we use to interpret any writing: determine what the author was trying to communicate to the intended audience.

Most all of the images in the book of Revelation are referring to similar images in the Old Testament, so it seems the author of the visions was trying to cause the intended audience to think about each of the old testament visions and what they were referring to. Places where it says things like "to him who has understanding..." seem to indicate that some of the audience would understand the references whereas others would not. Perhaps those who would understand this reference to "666" would be those who knew and understood its reference in the Old Testament.

The "666" quote in Revelation 13 & 14:
"15
And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. 18Here is wisdom Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six."

Note that "666" is "the number of a man", so the question naturally arises: "Who is that man?". While the passage could have more than one intended reference, at very least the passage would evoke in the educated Jewish reader any significant instances of that number in the old testament. So lets take a look at those references.

Old Testament References to "666"
There are two references where "666" is mentioned as part of a list of people returning from Babylon:
Ezra 2:12-14 : ... 12the sons of Azgad, 1,222; 13the sons of Adonikam, 666; 14the sons of Bigvai, 2,056;...
Neh 7:17-19 : ...17the sons of Azgad, 2,322; 18the sons of Adonikam, 667; 19the sons of Bigvai, 2,067;...
Since there is no reference to anything historically significant done by the sons of Adonikam and it is unclear whether 666 or 667 people from this family returned from Babylon, this seems to be a chance instance of where there was a group of 666 or 667 people and that probably doesn't relate to the book of Revelation.
The only other reference to "666" in the Bible is in two passages describing the same events, one in Chronicles and one in Kings:
2 Chr 9:13-14;9:22-28
13
Now the weight of gold which came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold (about 50,000 pounds of gold), 14besides that which the traders and merchants brought; and all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon.... 22So King Solomon became greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. 23And all the kings of the earth were seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart. 24They brought every man his gift, articles of silver and gold, garments, weapons, spices, horses and mules, so much year by year. 25Now Solomon had 4,000 stalls for horses and chariots and 12,000 horsemen, and he stationed them in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. 26He was the ruler over all the kings from the Euphrates River even to the land of the Philistines, and as far as the border of Egypt. 27The king made silver as common as stones in Jerusalem, and he made cedars as plentiful as sycamore trees that are in the lowland. 28And they were bringing horses for Solomon from Egypt and from all countries.
So, Chronicles shows how Solomon gathered gold and horses, but doesn't mention anything about Solomon in a negative light (such as having multiple wives and honoring other gods). To see the full picture of what happened we have to look at the book of Kings:
1 Kings 10:14-15;10:23-27;11:1-13
14Now the weight of gold which came in to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold, 15besides that from the traders and the wares of the merchants and all the kings of the Arabs and the governors of the country.... 23So King Solomon became greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. 24All the earth was seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart. 25They brought every man his gift, articles of silver and gold, garments, weapons, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year. 26Now Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen; and he had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, and he stationed them in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. 27The king made silver as common as stones in Jerusalem, and he made cedars as plentiful as sycamore trees that are in the lowland...

1
Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the sons of Israel, "You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods." Solomon held fast to these in love. 3He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away. 4For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites. 6Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD fully, as David his father had done. 7Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon. 8Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. 9Now the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, 10and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the LORD had commanded. 11So the LORD said to Solomon, "Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. 12"Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13"However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen."

So, it seems that Solomon increased in military might, inter-married with rulers of other countries, gathered up lots of wealth, and he honored other Gods from countries around him rather than exclusively honoring the creator. Interestingly, those are the key things a world ruler would need to do to gain power and maintain peace. But how does that compare to what the Pentateuch says a king of Israel should do?

What the Creator says kings should/should not do
Deut 7:14-20 :
14"When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, 'I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,' 15you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman. 16"Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, 'You shall never again return that way.' 17"He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself. 18"Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. 19"It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, 20that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.
So, Solomon was the wisest and most powerful king of his time, but he disregarded what the Pentateuch said he should not do as king. Basically, he thought he knew a better way to rule than the one given by the designer and creator of the universe, and his methods were seemingly successful. So, that fits very well with as an illustration of a coming set of future world leaders, who believe that they need to use various methods of obtaining power in order to maintain peace.

Why don't students of the Bible see this seemingly obvious connection?
I think people don't focus on this connection because of the common view that "Evil" is the opposite of "Good". Many people would say Solomon is described as wise and good and so he couldn't possibly be the intended reference concerning a coming world leader who is considered by the Bible to be evil. But in fact normally the goal of someone who is "Evil" is actually trying to be better and smarter, not worse and more destructive, than what the creator designed. For example, Hitler thought he was helping the evolution of European races by getting rid of inferior individuals and races. People who kill unborn babies think they are helping young mothers be more successful in the formative years of their lives. Eve thought it would be best to eat the fruit rather than follow God's recommendation. And, most likely, Satan himself thinks he can do better than the creator's way. So, evil normally starts out thinking that

it is working to do better than the method that the creator designed, but very bad things are caused by evil people as the unintended result of their belief system (the "necessary evil" to get to their Utopian system).
Here is a test. Which one of these pictures pictures evil and which one pictures good? The answer is that we can't know by looking. Many times good can look like evil (such as tough law enforcement and capital punishment) and many times evil can look like good (such as government subsidies, which steal from one person to give to another, and interfaith prayer), "for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (2 Cor 11:14)".

Summary
So, if this interpretation of the "666" reference is correct, then apparently it implies that a set of world leaders will arise that will seem to be as wise and respected as Solomon.They will work to bring peace and prosperity to the world. Of necessity, they will amass wealth, build a strong military, and promote inter-religious cooperation (and possibly intermarry with other powerful families). They will also, at some point, limit the ability to buy or sell as yet another means of necessary power and control. In the end they will end up believing that they need to kill those who do not honor the laws of their government above conflicting laws given by the creator.
So, don't be looking for a world leader who looks evil. But rather keep a look out for world leaders with true wisdom, but who value peace and safety more than they value either truth or the one true designer/creator (who is the only one who can actually guide us into truth and peace).

7 comments:

yola said...

thanks for share, it's useful for me and give me a new knowledge

Trona4u said...

The holy spirit has opened this name to me also. I am glad for the confirmation. As it appears the whole world is on some roller coaster ride, they forget to get to the root, requires study of the scripture. The Childern are listening to the Tale of bricks made of stubble. So Sad! If they dont find out what that book that John ate, They are going to weep and wail! They will weep and wail anyway but at least it will give them the Time to REPENT! What is right is wrong, what is wrong is right! Very imprtant stuff. Bless GOD!

Daniel said...

I believe your interpretation is accurate, if you look at the story of Solomon and the story attributed to “Lucifer” (Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28), there are a lot of parallels, but you have to dig a bit more to see it. While Solomon built the temple, he built his palace twice as big. That aside, the other reference to 666 is in this passage:

“Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom.”
‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭10:20‬ ‭NIV‬‬ (also in 2 Chr 9)

6 steps with 6 lions on the left and 6 on the right... there is much more here. Kudos on posting this, as most people would never see this!

By His Grace, For His Glory,

Daniel

Anonymous said...

Interesting summation and I totaling agree. All the pieces now fit. I often wondered why the Freemasons loved Solomon so much? As in the bible I thought he was a good guy building God's temple but the freemasons leave out all the evil. So disguised as good they do evil. So the freemasons are trying to finish what King Solomon has done. Wow. And the Pope is trying to bring together all religions.

We are now in the last stages. The antichrist WILL set in God's holy temple as stated in Revelation. We all must remember that Christ said the temple of God resides in us and not of any brick, mortar, or stone. So... we have a culture that is moving towards a great falling away. That comes first and then the spirit of the antichrist will move into the empty places of people's hearts. The evangelicals keep stating the jews need to rebuild the third temple and they totally disregard what Jesus said. We are the third temple for the holy spirit to dwell in us. Its obvious. Remember to keep the temple holy which means we need to constantly be aware of the daily attacks from the evil ones. Hollywood, MSM, the schools, political correctness... they are intentionally trying to remove the Holy Spirit that dwells inside us so they can replace it with the spirit of the antichrist.

Wake up lukewarm Christians. Evil does not come with a red pitchfork. It comes just as you said under the guise of good then they do evil.

If you are a Mason... get out as fast as you can.

Marshall said...

I like you method, but you conclusion does not go far enough. While it is a world Leader. It is refereeing to God's represenative. Soloman was the first person since Adam to be called "Son of God",

2 Samuel 7:12-16 12When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.'"

The nation of Israel called "Son of God"

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols” (vv. 1–2).
- Hosea 11:1–7
this should give us a clue as to who this person is. It is a son of God, the head of his people and the head of his visible representative on earth. Since John is talking from a New Covenant perspective, we assume that he is speaking of God N.T. represantive the Church. part 1

Marshall said...

1. John 3:1
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

those that call themselves followers of Christ are called Sons of God. They are his representative, they are part of the Christ who is the Son of God.

Matthew 26:63-64
63 But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.
64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Jesus acknowledges that he is the Son of God. He is God official representative on Earth to humanity.

Jesus also says the Church is Him and He is being persecuted when his followers are being persecuted.

Acts 9:3-5
3As Saul drew near to Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” 5“Who are You, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” He replied.

Notice when Paul was persecuting the members of the Church he was persecuting Jesus himself.
So what have we learned that Jesus and his followers are God official representative on earth they are both called son(s)of God.

Marshall said...

In Matthew 16:18-19 18 Christ give his authority on earth to Peter as the Head of the Church.
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Paul would later acknowledge Peter as head by meeting with him and James the brother of Jesus, Gal.1:18,19 and then opposing Peter. Gal. 2:11-21 this meeting an opposition only makes sense if Peter was the Visible Head of the Church on earth.

Later in Matthew 18:18 Christ gave authority to the other disciples, "Truly I say to you, Whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." but Peter was the head on earth. He was the assistant to the High Priest in Heaven.

This giving of the keys established the authority of the apostolic church and set up a plan of succession based on O.T. Law and Custom. In Isahiah 22:15-24, a steward, an administrator vs.15 office, postion vs.19, and authority vs.20, Seat of Honor in the house of His Father. He will be a father (abba) to he people. This position will be given from one person, Sheban, vs. 15 to another, Eliakim vs. 20 establishing succession, offspring.

This can only refer to the Roman Catholic Chruch who can trace it authority to Peter & Paul. Both died in Rome and Peter Had to be replaced. Paul summoned Linus mention by Paul 2. Tim 4:21 to replace Peter as the visible head of the Church.



So it stands to reason that if in the O.T. that 666 point to Solomaon & Israel then the N.T. equilivant i the Church and it's head. Peter (Pope) and the Chruch Solomaon and Isreal fell into apostasy, The head of the church and Church fell into apostasy.

now to be more specific. The prophecy of 666 predicts a time when the Church will fall in to apostasy by making compermise with the world in order to gain power. It will force people to follow it corrupt system or they will not be allowed to prosper.
part 3