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The sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the letter waw (also known as vav to Jews of Eastern European descent), has the numerical value of 6, and transliterates into the modern Latin alphabet as the letter w. So the numerical value of the letters www in Hebrew is three sixes – six-six-six. While these letters do not total up to the cardinal number 666 (six hundred and sixty six), they are each individually represented by the number six - which gives us three sixes.
...the triple repetition of sixes connotes the intensification of incompleteness and failure that is summed up in the beast more than anywhere else among fallen humanity. In the Bible the number three signifies completeness, as, for example in the completeness of the Godhead in Rev. 1:4-5, which is parodied by the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet here in ch. 13 (and in 16:13). Therefore, six repeated three times indicates the completeness of sinful incompleteness found in the beast. The beast epitomizes imperfection, while appearing to achieve divine perfection. Three sixes are a parody of the divine trinity of three sevens. That is, though the beast attempts to mimic God, Christ, and the prophetic Spirit of truth (cf.19:10), he falls short of succeeding." (Beale p722)
It is generally recognized that the "mark" of the Beast described in Rev 13:17 is an antithetical parallelism of the ancient Jewish practice of wearing tefillin (also known as phylacteries). Tefillin are small leather boxes containing pieces of Scripture which are temporarily worn on the arm and forehead during prayer services in accordance with Deut 6:4-8:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
This Jewish custom is of great antiquity, and was widely practiced in the 1st century AD. Phylactery cases were among the Dead Sea scroll discoveries at Qumran. As observant Jews, Jesus and the apostles would undoubtedly have kept this tradition themselves.
So the mark of the Beast described in Rev 13:17 is actually a parody of temporarily wearing a small square-shaped box in the hand or forehead, rather than a brand or tattoo.
If we transpose this situation to the modern day, this imagery evokes the now ubiquitous use of mobile phones. And if we are to answer the above question as to how www (which is really just an abbreviation for the world wide web or Internet) is worn in the hand, this would provide the perfect answer. According to market analysts, mobile phones are set to replace the use of credit cards as a means of commerce through the integration of near field communications (NFC) technology. It is currently possible to pay for small transactions using NFC technology at various locations throughout the Western world, and there are already plans for this payment method to replace cash by the year 2050
the fact that mobile phones are set to replace the use of the credit card in the not-too-distant future through the use of NFC technology, and that all such sales will be conducted over the worldwide web - www, which in turn is the numerical equivalent of three sixes in Hebrew, all further suggests we are living in the age of the prophecy of the mark of the Beast.
- Rain fell for "forty days and forty nights" during the flood
- Spies explored the land of Israel for "forty days."
- The Hebrew people lived in the Sinai desert for "forty years". This period of years represents the time it takes for a new generation to arise.
- Moses' life is divided into three 40-year segments, separated by his fleeing from Egypt, and his return to lead his people out.
- Several Jewish leaders and kings are said to have ruled for "forty years", that is, a generation. (Examples: Eli, Saul, David, Solomon.)
- Goliath challenged the Israelites twice a day for forty days before David defeated him.
- Moses spent three consecutive periods of "forty days and forty nights" on Mount Sinai.
- A mikvah consists of 40 se'ah (approximately 200 gallons) of water.
- 40 lashes is one of the punishments meted out by the Sanhedrin, though in actual practice only 39 lashes were administered.
- One of the prerequisites for a man to study Kabbalah is that he is forty years old.