"And 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, and he provides that no one should be able to buy or sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here 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" (Rev. 13:16-18 NASB).
According to E.W. Bullinger's book, "Number in Scripture", the number three signifies God and the number six signifies man, so the logical conclusion is man (i.e., the beast) trying to be God. But this number has still a further meaning. In 2 Chronicles 9:13 we find that gold is an economic standard because "the weight of gold which came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold. This number, 666, in the bible is not a coincidence. This confirms the economic importance of this number that the Antichrist (beast) "provides that no one should buy or sell , except the one who has the mark."
Now there's been much speculation as to what appearance this mark will be. Some have suggested an electronic IC chip that is implanted just under the skin. Or possibly an invisible "tattoo" of the bar code that can be scanned with a special ultraviolet or infra red light. Veterinarians already employ this as an identification and as a safeguard for lost or stolen pets. The same procedure is seriously being considered for children and the elderly. I just received my "check card" (debit card) from my bank in the mail last year (1996); now I no longer need to carry cash or to write a check! The convenience of this card and the safeguard against stolen cash makes it desirable. U.S.News & World Report, October 27, 1997 issue reports in the article, "The End of Cash and Carry," that Smart Cards are already being used in part of Manhattan as an experiment. This form of "electronic money" is already popular in Europe. These cards differ from the debit card in that they have no magnetic strip, but instead contain a micro-processor chip that can literally hold electronic "money" as well as unlimited information about the person carrying the card! Mondex is already "test" marketing this smart card in several areas of the U.S. Will the next step of a cashless society require a "mark on the right hand or on the forehead?"
Here's a couple of interesting facts to consider. If you closely examine each bar code on your grocery items you'll notice that with most bar codes they begin, end and are divided in the middle with the bar representing the number six. This is to make it so bar codes could be read both ways, so they added a beginning and ending code. This is easy to do by first finding a bar with the number six associated with it to familiarize yourself with that particular bar(s) in the bar code (see graphic at bottom of page). You'll soon discover that almost every grocery bar code already contains the numbers 666! Also of interest is if you add: 1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6 +7 +8 +9 +10 +11 +12 +13 +14 +15 +16 +17 +18 +19 +20 +21 +22 +23 +24 +25 +26 +27 +28 +29 +30 +31 +32 +33 +34 +35 +36 = 666. Something to contemplate. Finally, the first six Roman numerals interestingly add up to exactly 666 (see: graphic just below). This numbering system was being used at the time of the writing of the book of Revelation by John.
There are two warnings for "the perseverance of the saints" (true believing Christians). One is to not cause anyone to be taken into captivity or to kill to save oneself or a loved one from being taken captive (Rev. 13:10 NASB; note: look at the Greek text here for a clearer translation); the other warning is not to take the mark (Rev. 14:11, 12 NASB). The mark is the number of the Antichrist or his name.
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years" (Rev. 20:4 NASB).
Special thanks to Russ Montney for the above graphic.