Six-Six-Six.

All people were forced to put a mark on their right hand or forehead. Whether they were powerful or weak, rich or poor, free people or slaves, Revelation 13:16

I woke up with the bridge of an ’80s song echoing in my head. The name of the band eluded me, but the words were crystal clear.

“He will give you six-six-six.”

The sound seemed so real, and my heart raced as I laid there in the not-yet-dawn of the morning. I thought back on sermons about the Mark of the Beast, that damning tattoo talked about in the book of Revelation that would be the only door for survival when all turned upside down in this world. When evil took over. I remembered the conversation back in the day my friend Diane’s parents had with us as we prepared for a night of partying. Her dad walked us over to a pantry full of food and water, and said, “This is for you. Because they are going to demand that you take the mark or die. They’ll threaten to kill your loved ones if you don’t take it. We won’t be here anymore, but you will – so this is for you. Whatever you do, don’t take the mark.” To him, a night of drinking was all the evidence he needed that evil had already come, and we were cursed. To us, the pantry meant there was no hope the evil could be overcome.

Six-six-six.

As long as I can remember, it’s symbolized the greatest deception. There would be a person who would convince everyone to brand themselves with a mark that would give him ultimate power over their very lives. Their behavior would be manipulated, their appetites controlled. They would be enslaved to a destroyer.

But in the dream, the destroyer had already come.

And the mark was being given freely to those who didn’t even realize its power.

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On the sixth day, God worked. He created His masterpiece – a powerful portrait of Himself. He created people in His image and likeness. He molded them and shaped them and gave them personality, passion, hunger, drive, emotion, desire, imagination. He made them magnificent.

On the seventh day, God rested. He reflected on the work, He celebrated it, and He saw it as good. He rested from it it so He could truly see and enjoy its worth. And throughout scripture, He’s invited us into that rest with Him – not to be slothful but to let our hearts not get so caught up in the creating that we forget our own purpose in it all and forget too the One who gave all things to us for our good and for His glory.

In the dream, the destroyer was laughing.

Because he had trapped us in the six-six-six.

Even those who knew better were wearing the mark – striving to become and to be better and to be significant and to make a better life than the one they had been given so they could pass that better life onto a new generation that would strive to make a better life than the one they’d been given. The mark pit us against each other in a battle to be known and be first – even those who knew the words, “Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.” (Luke 22:26) And rest – sweet rest – had been warped by the mark, contentment graffitied over with “laziness” and enough made incomplete by “never.”

In the dream, the destroyer had blinded us to the seven.

My chest tightened as I thought about the song and the dream. The mark was always supposed to be a physical thing, stamped like henna on our hands and head. It was going to be evident, so evident. It was supposed to be forced upon us.

But what if we would never notice it being stamped on our bodies because six-six-six had already been stamped on our hearts? What if we willingly allowed our thoughts and actions to be overcome by the need to keep creating? What if we sold our own divine worth for the hunger to be counted as worthy by those around us? What if we forgot what it means to do good with our hands instead of doing more?

Without the help of the Lord
    it is useless to build a home
    or to guard a city.
It is useless to get up early
and stay up late
    in order to earn a living.
God takes care of his own,
    even while they sleep.

~Psalm 127:1-2

The sound woke me like an alarm. “He will give you six-six-six.”

I whispered, “Please let us see the seven.”

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I want you to be honest with me now. Do you find yourself trapped in the six? I’ll shoot straight with you – it’s something I still battle. But I’m learning to embrace Sabbath. And I want to pray for you if rest is something hard for you to see, if your vision is blurred when it comes to seeing things as good and enough and worthy of celebration. 

This entry was posted in Faith, Musings and Thoughts and tagged , , , , by Ronne Rock. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ronne Rock

Ronne Rock’s heart finds its strongest beat where beauty and pain collide – because hope always finds us in the shattered places. There’s more than 30 years of marketing and communications experience in her bones, and she finds great joy in sharing leadership wisdom as a regular contributor to Orange Leaders and QARA. But more often than not these days, she's with the vulnerable in difficult places around the world, gathering stories that change stories. Find Ronne's words in "For You, Love" the prayer journal that invites you to respond, and in Everbloom, a collection of stories from the Redbud Writers Guild. She is currently writing, "Building Eden: Principles of a Grace-Filled Leadership that Restores and Redeems." 

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Comments

10 thoughts on “Six-Six-Six.”

  1. This may be my favorite post yet, and I love every single one. The restorative power of rest is so often overlooked. I have learned to rest, I. Spite of my flesh fighting against it. Illness (mono after a surgery) taught me the importance of Sabbath. It is there, and only there, my soul finds peace in the midst of whatever life has brought.
    Powerful post my friend, so glad you sat down to type out these words.

  2. I agree that this is powerful, Ronne. The rest that not only our bodies need but our minds and souls. We are so overcome with noise, activity and ‘have to dos’ that we have forgot how to rest. I often think that we don’t rest because it hard to be with ourselves in rest. That would mean that we allow ourselves to calm which is good but it also means that we review us–sometimes hard to face. Rest–thank you for reminding us to do so.

  3. One brilliant observation that struck me in this post is that the mark might not be visible at all, but is written on our hearts. Jesus consistently made it clear that He cares about our hearts more than He cares about outward signs of obedience. The heart is the true indicator of the state of our soul. If we are hustling so hard that we lose sight of Him, we’ve already lost before we’ve begun. We say “I’m not a murderer” to which He replies “Ah… but look at your heart dear child. I see what’s there, and you’ve murdered with your heart.”

    So we’ve now been running around for centuries prepared to fight an enemy with a branding iron or tattoo needle (or RFID chip). All this time we never realized we’re opening our heart to so much “other than” and allowing all sorts of crazy stuff to be written there.

    Ah… but He is the redeemer. He is the healer. And so we still have hope. But let’s cling to Him. Abide in Him. The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath, right? So let’s write a bit more Sabbath on our heart and a little less hustle.

    Thanks, sis. I sure appreciate your words, insight, heart, and courage.

  4. I love this, Ronne. So good for my heart to hear. And feel. Because, yes, I do struggle to rest. Too much striving, I just need to “be.” Thank you for your words. They beckon me to Him. My rest in Him. Bless.

  5. The spirit of anti-Christ focuses on “me.” I am more important than Christ’s will for my life. My plans are more important. I am more than everyone else. Putting down me and taking up the cross is the battle we fight everyday. We do it because our strength is in Him. He is all we need. His grace is sufficient. His Love is greater than the anti-Christ spirit. He has already conquered it. I rest in that truth. Thanks for reminding us that we have to refocus daily and pick up our cross daily. But forgiveness is eternal.

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