According to dispensationalists, many end times events are literally laid out in the book of Revelation. Specifically about the Anti-Christ and his motive. And we do know what is 666 and why it will be used for. So why should Satan follow the Bible to do everything mentioned in it? There is no need to follow the Bible and hence he acts against Jesus. Why should Satan follow the same number and same process? It is well written how Satan is going to fall. He should go for alternate way right? Like not using 666 or not revealing himself as a Anti-Christ or something?


4 Answers 4


My understanding is that dispensationalists broadly speaking subscribe to a futurist interpretation of the end of the age, Parousia and thousand years - as opposed to preterist, historicist, or idealist. Regarding the timing of the Parousia and thousand years, premillennial dispensationalism places the Parousia before the thousand years, and the thousand years reflects a temporal reign of the saints on earth.

One of the implications of dispensational theology could be to regard the fulfilment of God's promises in the church itself, not in the Parousia of Jesus Christ. Therefore, dispensational theology may regard the idea of Satan's failing to act as spoken of in the bible as an impossibility, since the focus is on the progressive fulfilment of God's word as seen in the church: the church cannot help but defeat Satan (according to the view that history is the story of God's progressive fulfilment of His word as seen in the church).

I find the following view quite disturbing, because I believe it necessarily entails anti-Semitism, but Darby, one of the early proponents of dispensational theology, wrote that:

The government of the fourth monarchy will be still in existence, but under the influence and direction of the Antichrist; and the Jews will unite themselves to him, in a state of rebellion, to make war with the Lamb... Satan will then be displayed, who will unite the Jews with this apostate prince against heaven... a remnant of the Jews is delivered and Antichrist destroyed

(from this page: Christian Zionism: Dispensationalism And The Roots Of Sectarian Theology)

So, extrapolating from the passage above, this is my understanding of how Darby in particular might answer your question:

"God has not yet defeated Satan's power to operate in the world through historical actors, but the anti-Christ (who is not Satan) operates independently of Satan, albeit according to pure wickedness, whereas Satan is the agent who will "join" the Jewish people with the anti-Christ - he controls the Jewish people, not the anti-Christ, and so effectively Satan is taking advantage of the fact that he no longer has any potential to destroy the church, only to pervert the Jewish people ...

"If he did not take advantage of this opportunity to pervert the Jewish people, he would not be who he is, Satan: since what he is imagined to do is pervert the Jewish people and join them with the anti-Christ, and this lies in his very character (that is what he has been doing from the beginning), he cannot really do anything otherwise than what is written - regardless of whether or not he knows (or is able to know) what is said in Revelation about the end of the age, the Parousia and the thousand years."

  • Thanks for the update! Now, I'm still not sure that your answer is actually correct – one way to make readers more confident would be to find dispensational sources that more directly deal with the question. But your efforts to ground your answer in actual dispensational theology is appreciated. Jul 27, 2017 at 2:15
  • This seems reasonable. I would suggest removing the personal commentary and, if possible, provide a link or reference to Darby's wirings.
    – bradimus
    Jul 27, 2017 at 3:17

My guess is, Satan knows God will do it, but doesn't know exactly HOW. I can tell you two examples:

1) Satan know about about Jesus passion, but he is unable to entirely stop it... Satan tries Jesus on desert 3 times, and "enter in Jude" to betray Jesus, start storms on sea, etc... Look at these verses:

And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. (Mar 1:23-24)

The devil know about Jesus and the task of Jesus, but cannot do anything to stop it.

2) Look at this prophecy:

Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the LORD, Tomorrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria. Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof. (2Kings 7:1-2)

and finally:

And the people went out, and spoiled the tents of the Syrians. So a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD. And the king appointed the lord on whose hand he leaned to have the charge of the gate: and the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died, as the man of God had said, who spake when the king came down to him. (2Rs 7:16-17)

How interesting! The lord on whose hand the king leaned knows about the prophecy, and it happened in the next day, and he cannot avoid it at all. So, probably will be something like that.

  • But bible clearly said if they have knew it, they would not crucified Him, how can you reconcile it with your answer? Feb 9, 2019 at 23:46

From Merriam Webster On-line

1 a : a general state or ordering of things; specifically : a system of revealed commands and promises regulating human affairs (a privilege maintained under the new dispensation

b : a particular arrangement or provision especially of providence or nature involving special dispensation by the Church

From the Wikipedia entry on dispensationalism:

It considers Biblical history as divided deliberately by God into defined periods or ages to each of which God has allotted distinctive administrative principles.


The system was embraced by early fundamentalist Christianity as a defense of the Bible against liberalism and modernism and became the majority position within fundamentalism.

I do not think "dispensationalism" should be conflated with fundamentalism, however. Continuing,

Ultimately, dispensationalism demonstrates the progress of God's revelation to man and God's sovereignty through history.


Numerous purposes for this cycle of administrations have been suggested. God is seen to be testing humanity under varying conditions, while vindicating His ways with humanity in originally granting them free will.

Wikipedia also has a page on dispensationalist theology

I'll note in those pages a hyperdispensationalism and ultradispensationalism, both of which are said to believe that the present Church began with Paul. They seem also to believe that the only baptism that counts is the spiritual baptism, but I'm not sure I got that right.

Noting that the LDS/Mormon point of view shares somewhat in the philosophy called dispensationalist, (see the notes in the wikipedia page on dispensation) but is not formally considered part of the dispensationalist movement, I'll try to give a more reasoned outsider opinion than my first try.

I want to start by noticing that Daniel had an Apocalyptic revelation, and there are many parallels between the one given to Daniel and the one given to John.

The LDS point of view on dispensations would be that each dispensation has seen apocalyptic revelation in which the works of the devil are revealed through symbolism. And the works of the devil tend to be repeated in each dispensation. I don't believe we are entirely unique in this point of view.

So the warnings in Daniel applied to Israel then and to us now. Likewise, the warnings in the Revelation given to John applied to the believers of that time and apply to us now.

Let's start with the number six hundred sixty-six. As the question states, Satan, whom we understand to be a deceiver at heart (so to speak), would naturally try to avoid the literal number 666, at least as long as there were any recourse for humans to rebel against the mark.

Thinking as a social engineer, we might suppose he would use it if he felt that revealing his influence would help him strengthen his power, but by then it would be too late.

Therefore, while instances of the literal number are interesting, they should be considered red herrings. Especially, historical instances should not be extrapolated to the present.

One such instance is reading (or attempting to read) "Viarius Filidei", a title associated with the Pope, as a Roman Numeral. I have watched people add it up that way, but I have never been able to remember the reasons for the gadgetry that is used to get there.

I am not going to say that the Catholic Church has not done things in its history that were despicable. I could be persuaded that certain Catholic Popes fulfilled the prophecies here on an occasion or two.

But we have to remember that apostasy is something that happens regularly throughout history (in every dispensation). Apostates who decided to repent have been allowed to do so, not just by man, but by God. Good popes have followed bad popes, so we should make the mistake of identifying the Church itself with the beast or the associates of the beast.

If we get hung up on this particular interpretation and those instances, we may miss other things that the Revelation is trying to tell us. Many others outside the Catholic Church, and, in fact, outside of Christianity, have similarly fulfilled the symbolism found in John's Revelation.

And we do not want to separate ourselves from the fellowship of good and faithful Catholics who are most definitely not included among those who have accepted or worshiped the spiritual mark of the beast.

Remember the parable of the wheat and the tares. There will be apostates in every Church, and there will be, even among those who are nominally not religious, who believe the essential principles of the gospel, even if they have not yet recognized and understood the Name of the Savior.

Works cannot in and of themselves save us, but James tells us, in chapter 2 of his letter, how works do derive from faith. If a nominal non-Christian behaves like a Christian, we should assume that his internal faith is correct even if he can't seem to agree about the words we use.

(Think about how a non-Christian whose family was brutalized and killed by nominal Christians during, say, the Crusades would have a hard time hearing the name of our Lord for what it means.)

For another example of how easy it is to misinterpret literal symbolism, some have pointed to the certain file permissions in the Unix family of operating systems, asserting that the computer itself is the mark of the beast.

To help explain why we should be careful, I will note what those permissions mean: "6" is the permission to both read and write files. The three positions are owner, group, and other. "666" means the files can be altered by anyone who can get access to the computer and knows which files are where.

We could compare the mark in the forehead to permissions on the OS kernel files, and the mark on the hand to permissions on the driver files. If I had a computer with such settings on-line, anyone who logged in as guest (or accessed a web page and was able to get a shell from it) could change the kernel and drivers and essentially control my presence and actions on the Internet.

Microsoft Windows does not use this owner-group-other scheme, and the codes are set up differently. So "666" there does not mean much. But MSWindows 95, when the first "Internet enabled" versions were brought to market, had its permissions configured in a way that allowed anyone who could access the machine from the network, if he know which files to access, to change files in all parts of the operating system.

That mistake took a little too long to fix.

Of course, there have been other OSses (including some Unix family OSses) with default configurations like this. We think it was assumed that the engineers who set the computers up would take care of that along with a lot of other customizations.

And we would hope that Microsoft's engineering had just missed this point.

But we can see here a sort of pattern. The mark is not the literal number, it is in what the number means.

Computers are presently used in many nefarious schemes to rob us of our freedom of conscience. But they have many good uses, as well. We just need to be careful how we use them, whatever OS we use.

Another way of interpreting the mark which I think is more helpful is this, that three is the number of God and six is the number of man, so we see man trying to make himself into God by his own declarations, or by his own strength. Essentially, this is about the abuse of power. But, again, we should not focus on the mark alone. We should go to the scriptures.

Chapter 13, v. 11, another beast comes. Proceeding to the end of the chapter, he does miracles by the power of the devil, or by deception. He sets up a new version of the old idolatry. He sets up power so that he can abuse it.

Don't take my word for it, get your scriptures out and read for yourself. These are all things that have happened before in history, and people who get into power and forget the reason why they are there tend to repeat these things, all the time.

Why does God allow people to get into positions of power? What is the true purpose of power?

Matthew 23 has a lot of clues, starting from v. 1. Looking at v. 11, power is to be used for serving others, not for making them serve you.

Mark 10 tells us about the sons of Zebedee asking to sit on the right hand and left hand of Jesus. We might stop at v. 40, where he tells them they are asking too much. We should read on, because v. 42 tells us something I think is important in interpreting the mark of the beast, and the following verses tell us something that is important in interpreting the name mentioned in Revelation 14: 1.

This is not entirely a dispensationalist point of view, but I don't think it matters. Satan will fulfill those prophecies because of who he is, despite all his efforts at deception. We need to understand the symbolism and be watching, or we will be caught off guard.


First things first, did Jezebel, one of the most infamous Biblical villains, stop and "chill" when she realised that Jehu was about to kill her, as per divine judgement? So why would this be any different from Satan? Pride corrupts, in every aspect.

It is well written how Satan is going to fall. He should go for alternate way right? Like not using 666 or not revealing himself as a Anti-Christ or something?

Funnily enough that is exactly HOW the Antichrist will reveal himself to the world (btw Satan and the Antichrist are not the same person).

The Antichrist will promise to bring peace and progress to a world ravaged by war, poverty, disease, persecution etc. He will genuinely convince people that he is the Messiah by controlling the upcoming Third Temple and replicating His miracles, even deceiving the elect. The latter is important to note because you mentioned how people could possibly call him out due to his "666" move. Considering how deceptive and intelligent the Antichrist is, he will create conditions where people are desperate to try anything. Do you really think Germans or Russians in the 21st century genuinely loved having their freedoms crushed by brutal dictators? Did they genuinely love being tortured and executed? Did they genuinely love hearing the screams and blood streaming down the roads?

Also, in our increasingly secular context, the Antichrist will also dismiss the evils behind taking the Mark of the Beast as a religious superstition that endangers people. And considering the state of the Church today, most supposed Christians would even lick this up.

What an averge tweet looks like in the times of the Antichrist:

"Why are Christians against people buying food and clothes to survive? Jesus would be ashamed. Taking the 666 mark is the only way to #progress."

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