11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. 13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, 14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. 16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.
The key to understanding the nature of the second beast is the famous number 666. The Greek language used letters to represent numbers. Using a practice known as gematria, this meant that the number 666 could represent any word where the individual letters added to this total. Early interpreters discovered that the Roman emperor, Nero, added to 666, so perhaps he was the beast. During the course of 2000 years other names, including Napoleon, were identified with the number. The number 666, however, does not refer to a person, it refers to human nature as a whole.
The Greek language does not have a word for the English indefinite article “a”. Verse 18 should really be understood to say, “... it is the number of man...” meaning humanity as a whole. The number 666 represents a quality that has been imprinted upon the soul. This quality is called in Greek, “He phren.”
He phren, which adds up to 666 translates as the mind. But it is a specific form of mind, because it also means heart. In other words, the beast is a spiritual power that has entered into the heart.
Revelation tells us that this energy has two horns, like the Lamb. It masquerades as the divine self. It speaks like the dragon. That is, it lies to us. It makes us worship the first beast, the Luciferic powers. It is, in fact, an agent of these powers.
The Luciferic energies reside in the brain. They form and develop our thinking and this thinking is about living more and more in a mental understanding. The second beast however lives within the heart. It wants to control us on the feeling level. If it is successful then we would be emotional beings. We would replace love with nice gestures and sentimentality. We would represent ourselves as caring for others when in fact we become capable of only caring for ourselves.
The energy of the second beast manifests in different ways in our world. We see it in the words of leaders who say on the one hand that they care for the people, but actually are only capable of caring for themselves and their own self-interest. We see it in the actions of religious groups and organisations who look after the homeless, the orphaned, the disadvantaged, but commit sexual and other abuse upon those who come under their care. We see it in the policies of nations who systematically rape and pollute the earth. These are the results of the second beast, the heart has become hardened.
Like the first beast and the dragon, the second beast is about control. The more we listen to its voice which murmurs to us about how we should look after our own interests before anything else, the more we become blind to the larger picture and the needs of other souls.
To counteract the beast, we need to stop listening to its words. We first need to become silent. In silence we can allow a different knowledge to flow into us. This spiritual knowledge or gnosis, is the gift of Pentecost. As we walk the path to Pentecost we need to become quiet within self. We need to communicate with the divine - this is the practice of prayer. We need to listen to the divine - this is the practice of meditation.
We are beings in transition. We are beings in transformation. If we allow the power of Christ to manifest through this inner transformation, then every year we will experience the renewal of the gifts given at the first Pentecost. These are the gifts of spirit: the renewal, strengthening and communication with the Christ self within, and the vision of our future, the hope of glory.
This is the fourth of Blake’s images on this section of the Book of Revelation. As a unique visionary he was very aware of the powerful energies operating within his own culture. He was also powerfully gifted with that great gift of the artist and the poet, the ability to proclaim the truth.
If we decide to counteract the beast, then we can become Michael War-Farers. That is, we allow Michael to work within our consciousness.
Today let us focus on the first attribute of the work of Archangel Michael: Truth. Today let us speak truth for ourselves, and listen for the truth in others.
The Michael War-Farer
The first quality that identifies them is their love for truth. Today we live in a very untruthful world and there are situations in life in which you either have to lie or you will suffer. So we do not dare to speak the truth anymore. I am not speaking of spiritual truth but truth ... period.
The Michael war-farer of today takes life and spiritualises it; he doesn’t fight life.
Feeling With the Heart
Apart from a spiritual intellect, the Michael war-farer also needs imagination, spiritual feeling and intuition.
Rev Mario Schoenmaker, The Book of Revelation, 1984 Lecture Series