666: The Beast and His Mark in Revelation 13 -- By: Hal Harless

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 07:22 (Dec 2003)
Article: 666: The Beast and His Mark in Revelation 13
Author: Hal Harless

The Beast and His Mark in Revelation 13

Hal Harless

Calvary Chapel Bible College, Garland, TX

Editor’s Note: Not all CTJ readers will agree on the details of this article but overall it provides good information and insights.

John Calvin once remarked that “the study of prophecy either finds a man crazy or it leaves him so.”1 While I cannot agree with Calvin completely, Revelation 13 and the theme of the mark of the beast have certainly been the occasion for wild speculation throughout the history of the Church.2 Nevertheless, John the Apostle pronounces a blessing upon those who pay close attention to the “words of the prophecy.”3 The problem has not been with the Revelation, but with the Church’s hermeneutics. With a sound literal grammatical-historical hermeneutic, even this difficult passage can be understood.

Text and Context

The Context of Revelation 13

Revelation 13 falls in the future section of Revelation “after these things” and under the heading of the seventh trumpet. Following the sixth trumpet, the career, death, and resurrection of the two witnesses has taken place (Rev. 11:1–14.). Revelation 11:3 gives the time that the witnesses have to minister as one thousand two hundred sixty days. Given a prophetic lunar year of three hundred and sixty days, this is three and one half years. Revelation 11:2 indicates that the length of the time of Gentile desecration of the temple will be forty-two months. Again, this is three and one half years. This correlates well with Daniel’s Seventieth Week, the Tribulation (Dan. 9:27).4

Therefore, the chronology appears to be:

1) The two witnesses minister for three and one half years to the middle of the Tribulation (Rev. 11:3–6).

2) They are martyred and put on display in Jerusalem for three and a half days (Rev. 11:7–11).

3) They are then resurrected and translated into heaven (Rev. 11:12–13...

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