The Number of the Beast!

1 Kings 10:14
Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold.

The number “666” is fraught with grim significance in Scripture.  Most famously, 666 is the “number of the beast” placed on the hand and forehead in the book of Revelation (13:18).  There are lots of theories about what that number might mean and nobody can really be sure.  But it is interesting to note that the number does turn up elsewhere in that favorite book of the author of Revelation – the Old Testament.  It appears in 1 Kings at the moment that marks Solomon’s corruption from a righteous son of David to a king who disobeys God’s law.  The Old Testament king was under three prohibitions: not to pile up wives, horses—or gold.  Right here, with the ominous number 666, Solomon begins to systematically violate that prohibition.  Now it may be that Revelation’s warning about the “mark of the beast” will be fulfilled in a manner foreseen by popular (and rather implausible) theories about barcodes tattooed on our foreheads and hands.  But it might also be argued that anybody who worships Mammon and turns from obedience to God is already a slave to the mark in their minds (symbolized by the forehead) and their work (symbolized by the hand).  Whatever the case, Jesus warned clearly of the danger of worshipping Mammon and the impossibility of serving both it and God.  Today, find ways to avoid Solomon’s mistake.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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