And he requires everyone…to be given a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark: the beast’s name or the number of his name. […] His number is 666 (Rev. 13:16-18).
666 has reared its ugly head in the popular imagination again. Numerous viral videos allege that the Monster energy drink logo is the mark of the beast. How? Well…
…the Old Testament was written in Hebrew. Hebrew letters are also numerals. Aleph is the first letter in the alphabet as well as the number 1. Bet is the second letter and number 2. You get the drift. The sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Vav. The claim is that the Monster logo is actually 3 Vavs in a row or 666. (See photo comparison below).
Those drawing attention to this parallel are raising an alarm: Joe Public has no idea he is bringing satanic influence home a 666-pack at a time.
Is it true? If I purchase or drink Monster products, am I opening myself to spiritual darkness?
A good question for starters is: Does 666 occur in the Old Testament? There are a least two places in the Old Testament where 666 occurs—1 Kings 10:14 and Ezra 2:13. In neither verse is 666 represented by three vavs. Both verses have 666 written as “shaysh mayot shisheem veshishah.” (See picture below and 1 Kings 10:14 in Biblos’s interlinear).
A second question is: What is the mark of the beast, and how does one receive it? “Charagma” is the Greek word from Revelation 13 that we translate as “mark.” “Charagma” has a variety of meanings: 1) A scar as from something carved into the skin; 2) A brand used on an animal; 3) An artistic representation like a sculpture; 4) The imprint on coin.
The mark shows we’ve been sculpted by the beast. We are his property, scarred by his brand. We were once uncoined silver but we’ve been minted with the beast’s image. Receiving the mark of the beast is a process through which we conform to the beast’s character and nature. None of this suggests anything so casual as buying a drink. Strike two.
Self-righteous people ascribe evil to things outside themselves. It’s about the speck in someone else’s eye or the label on someone else’s energy drink (Matt. 7:3-5). Jesus said, “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man….” (Matt. 15:19-20).
If we want to find the mark of the beast, we need look no further than our own hearts. The beast is the corporate expression of our fallen nature. It is our governments, morning grumpiness, predatory banking, temper tantrums, gambling addictions, sex trafficking, and more. The energy drink going into us won’t defile us. What might defile us is the self-righteousness and fear-mongering coming out of us as we decry a marketing campaign. Strike three.
The way Christians are reacting to Monster products forces me to admit a sad fact: Sometimes we deserve the stereotype of witch-hunting prigs. Peter says there’s no shame in suffering as a Christian; there is shame in suffering as a meddler, however (1 Peter 4:15-16). If our faith can’t survive advertising, we need to dig deeper and know Christ as our Rock (Luke 6:46-48). Attacking a drink label seems more like those who shouted “Crucify Him!” than the One who laid down His life for all of us monsters.