A 777 Experience versus a 666 Experience
In the Bible one of the most feared numbers is 666. It is a sign of rebellion against God and God spends some time discussing it in the book of Revelation and in especially Revelation 13:11-18. It is again mentioned in Revelation 15:2 where the saints of God have victory over the beast, his image, over his mark, and the number of his name. Most everyone has an idea of what 666 means but in this study I want to discuss the opposite of 666, and its experience, and see what a 777 experience is.
In Revelation 13:18 we are to “count” or calculate, or process, or decide about the number of the beast and we will use the Bible’s assessment process, or evaluate, the 777 experience using many of the same criteria. In Revelation 13:16 the beast from the earth causes all to receive a mark in their hands and in their foreheads. When we study the Bible God uses this same process to identify His people. In Exodus 13:1-9 the experience of Passover shall be “…for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the Lord’s law shall be in thy mouth…”. Passover was an event in the past which testified of the power of God to deliver Israel from their enemies. The Passover is also connected to the victory of Jesus over sin which He offers to each one of us. Patriarchs and Prophets page277. In Exodus 13:9 the experience of Passover is also connected to the laws of God – “…that the Lord’s law shall be in thy mouth…”. This connection to the laws of God is restated in Deuteronomy 6:4-8 “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is One Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thus halt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thus sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.” This principle is repeated in Deuteronomy 11:18-20.
Since Passover is so important as to be a sign on the hand and forehead of God’s people, and that His law/teachings should have the same experience of being attached to the hand and the forehead, is there a sign of God’s laws that He wants to display to the world that we are His and that we understand, obey, and worship Him? In Ezekiel 20:11-12 “And I gave them My statutes, and shewed them My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.” Again God is establishing His laws as a sign of their relationship with Him a specifically the Sabbaths as that sign. When we surrender to Him and are willing to obey Him regarding His laws and His Sabbaths it is a sign that He is our Sanctifier.
In Ezekiel 20:19-20 God restates this experience with a slight variance – He says “I Am the Lord your God; walk in My statutes and keep My judgments, and do them; and hallow My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord you God.” When in right relationship with God it is a benevolent blessing and when we keep His laws we are recognizing Him that He is our God as well as our Sanctifier.
On the other hand God speaks in the same chapter of what will happen if we do not obey Him nor write His laws on our hands, foreheads, and hearts. In Ezekiel 20:24-26 God says “Because they had not executed My judgments, but had despised My statutes, and had polluted My Sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers’ idols. Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live; and I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the Lord.” This state of desolation is the 666 experience and only comes when people rebel against the Lord. See Matthew 23:34-39.
In the above texts we can see some of the information about the fact that idol worship, and abandonment of the will of God brings spiritual desolation, that which is described in Revelation 13:13-18 and which is warned against in Revelation 14:9-11 and victory over is commended in Revelation 15:1-2. On the other side of the question God states that obedience to Him, and obedience and worship, bring peace and joy and a blessed relationship with Him and is displayed by keeping the Sabbath of the Lord – the sign/mark/token of our acceptance of God as our Creator, Sanctifier, and Redeemer
To further develop these thoughts I would like to share several Bible stories to amplify these points. In Joshua 6 we have the wonderful story of the overthrow of Jericho by Israel in the land of Canaan. God performed His mighty signs and wonders and displayed His power to the Israelites and to the watching world. One of the signs of God’s pleasure and power was in Joshua 6:4 “And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of ram’s horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.” Notice the number of sevens in this text. This text indicates that Israel was in right relationship with God, they were obedient to His will, and they accomplished what God had empowered them to do. They were victorious in the task assigned to them by God. God instructed, empowered, and they obeyed. He overthrew the walls and they then performed the tasks assigned to them. They had a 7777 experience with God.
In II Chronicles 15 we have the prophecy of Azariah given to king Asa. He told them about God and their need to surrender to Him and the blessings that would come from their surrender and the love that God had for them. When King Asa heard these things he started a reformation in Judah and many God-fearing people came to Judah from Israel. When they worshipped God they brought special sacrifices and entered into covenant relationship with God. The Bible reads as follows: “And they offered unto the Lord the same time, of the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep. And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul…” When Israel was surrendered and submissive to God their testimony was with multiple 7s of sacrifices.
In II Chronicles 17:3-11 we are told a story of Jehoshaphat’s rule. When he was right with God, God granted him many blessings. In II Chronicles 17:9-10 we see the 777 experience again. The text reads as follows: “And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the Lord with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people. And the fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat. Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver; and the Arabians brought him flocks, seven thousand and seven hundred rams, and seven thousand seven hundred he goats.” Notice again that when Israel is right with God He often uses multiples of 7s to express their submission to Him.
In II Chronicles 29:20-21 we see the same 7777 experience with King Hezekia. In II Chronicles 29:20-21 it says: “Then Hezekiah the king rose early, and gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the house of the Lord. And they brought seven bullocks, and seven rams, and seven lambs, and seven he goats, for a sin offering for the kingdom and for the sanctuary and for Judah. And he commanded the priests the sons of Aaron to offer them on the altar of the Lord.” Notice that this display of 7777 activity was also in the context of making a covenant with God (II Chronicles 29:10) and in the cleansing the temple (II Chronicles 29:12-19) from the abuse of the former ruler his father Ahaz. A 7777 experience is a sign, token, mark, symbol of our relationship with God.
A final display of multiple 7s is the book of Revelation. This book is about the revealing of Jesus through truth and through the development of God’s people. In this book the number 7 is mentioned 44 times. There are many groups of 7s in the book of Revelation – there are 7 churches, 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 eyes, 7 horns, 7 thunders, and 7 plagues. God’s people, who surrender to Him have a multiple 7 experience and are that group that will be with God forever.
On the contrary side of the picture is the number 666. So if the above theory is true 666 should be a sign of not being in a right relationship with God. For example in the story of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel chapter 3 we have an incident where the king builds a golden image and commands that all worship it and if they do not they will be killed. This command, and the intent behind it, reveals an attitude of the absence of God and therefore we should find some evidences of a 666 experience. In Daniel 3:1 the image of gold was 60 cubits high and 6 cubits wide. So this sign of rebellion against the commandments of God, and the prophet of God – Daniel, shows at least a 66 experience, and clearly not a 777 experience. However, in the case of Nebuchadnezzar at the end of Daniel chapter 3 Nebuchadnezzar is praising God for the display of His power in delivering the three Hebrew worthies. By the end of chapter 4 Nebuchadnezzar is a converted man, and even though no numbers testify of his change his experience is that he has had the heart of the beast removed from him and the heart of a converted man given to him so that he can praise, worship, and obey the Creator. Daniel 4:34-37; Daniel 7:4.
Perhaps the most distinctive story, describing the 666 experience, is that of King Solomon. God raised up Solomon to reign on the throne of David and at his beginning Solomon displayed great wisdom and devotion to God. Solomon was chosen of God to build God a temple and at that time it was one of the wonders of the world. The whole world sought out Solomon for the wisdom that God had given to him and Solomon honored God in all that he did. However, as with every sad story, there was starting point in the changes seen in the story of King Solomon. In Deuteronomy 17:14-20 God had prophesied about the future kings of Israel and He gave them distinct warnings. He warned each and every king not to develop relationships with Egypt and not to go in the ways of the kings of Egypt. He also warned the kings of Israel not to gather chariots and horses lest they depend on military arms and not on the power of God to protect Israel. God warned the kings not to gather gold, and not to gather wives for these things would turn their hearts away from God. We all know the history of King Solomon, he gathered horses and chariots, he developed a relationship with the king of Egypt, and he gathered wives and gold. In virtually every thing that God had warned him about Solomon, at least for awhile, ignored and disobeyed God. In one of the more interesting texts of the Bible God recorded that Solomon received a shipment of gold that numbered 666 talents. This testimony of God declared that while Solomon was in rebellion against the revealed will of God Solomon was in a 666 state of desolation and rebellion symbolized by his worship of false gods in I Kings 11:1-9. Praise God Solomon repented and returned to the true worship of God but his rebellion set many things into motion which still testify to us to this very day.
The above examples display for us the 777 experience and the 666 experience. God contrasted these two experiences in Revelation 13 with the 666 experience and it is followed by the testimony of God that there will be a group of people in the end who will have victory over “…the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name…” Revelation 15:2. It is the purpose of this article to encourage us to study the Bible for ourselves, and to see whether these things are so and what God will have us to do. My prayer is that we may have a 777 experience with Him.