It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man.[e] That number is 666. (Revelation 13:16-18)
In the last few passages we looked at we saw how the false prophet was able to win the amazement of humans by calling down fire from heaven and giving life to a statue. Now we see what he will use his power for: to help the antichrist get global denomination. He will allow the Antichrist to appear humble, by rallying the people for him. He will insist that everyone show their loyalty to the beast by taking his mark on their skin in plain sight, either on the forehead or on the hand. Everyone will be told they should take the mark (although it will have to be voluntary. People will not be physically forced to take it; that would defeat the purpose). Those who refuse will not be able buy or sell, except on the black market, which might be a very difficult thing to do.
There has been lots of speculation of what the mark symbolizes, or if it will really be the number 666. I don’t know for sure. I can guess, though at some very basic symbolism in these numbers. Since “7” represents the perfection and judgment of God, than one less than 7, “6” might represent the deficiencies of men. So if 6 us the number of man, then “666” represents a counterfit “trinity.” The members of this false trinity are as follow:
Satan, who seeks to usurp God the Father,
The Antichrist, Who seeks to usurp God the Son,
And the False Prophet, Who seeks to usurp God the Spirit