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Dr. Gentry writes: "sometimes the Beast seems to picture a kingdom, sometimes a particular, individual leader of that kingdom. Nevertheless, the number 666 is itself applied to a particular individual king in that kingdom (Rev.13:18)." He feels he is justified in making this claim based upon the wording of Rev. 13:18, which reads: "count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."
Now Dr. Gentry explains this phraseology by suggesting a shift in assignment of the beast within Revelation 13, from generic in earlier verses of the chapter, to particular at least in Revelation 13:18. He sets forth as an example Revelation 17:10. (Regarding Dr. Gentry’s supposed proof in the example of Revelation 17:10, refer to Fallacy #6 below.)
But this interpretation is incorrect. Rev 13:18 is not saying that the beast now in view is a man, and this man's number is 666. Rather, it is saying that the number assigned to the beast is a human number, and that number is 666. So Matthew Henry renders it, "the number is the number of a man, computed after the usual manner among men, and it is 666." And so the Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David BrownCommentary Critical and Explanatoryon the Whole Bible (1871)comments: “the number of a man--that is, counted as men generally count. So the phrase is used in Rev 21:17 .”
This becomes more obvious when we compare Revelation 13:18 with 21:17, which uses similar phraseology: "...he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, the measure of a man..." Now this verse is certainly not saying that the wall was a man of 144 cubits, which would be analogous to the way Dr. Gentry interpreted Rev 13:18. No! Rev. 21:17 is saying that the human measure of the wall was 144 cubits. So the Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1871) comments regarding Rev. 21:17:
“hundred . . . forty . . . four cubits--twelve times twelve: the Church-number squared. The wall is far beneath the height of the city. measure of a man, that is, of the angel--The ordinary measure used by men is the measure here used by the angel, distinct from "the measure of the sanctuary." Men shall then be equal to the angels.”
It is also evidenced by the fact that in Revelation 13:17 it says that he (the lamb-like beast of Rev. 13:11) required all men in his kingdom to have "the number of his name". So the number (666) designates the name of the lamb-like beast of Rev. 13:11, and there is no indication it simply designates one representative manifestation of that beast. In other words, in order to buy or sell one had to have that (the number 666) which identified oneself as a citizen of the beast's kingdom. Citizenship is to kingdom, and not to an individual king, when a kingdom consists of a succession of kings. Therefore we must assign this number 666 to the beast, understood as a kingdom.
Finally, it is evidenced by the fact that there is no indication within the section Revelation 13:11-18 that there has been a shift from the generic to the particular, and it is obviously the case that Revelation 13:11 references the generic kingdom and not just a particular king.
So the number ‘666’ is not assigned to one particular king within the beastial kingdom, but rather the human number ‘666’ is assigned to the beastial kingdom of the land beast of Revelation 13. (I will address this number ‘666’ as it relates to the Beast later.