The number 666 is defined in Revelation where it’s brought up. It’s said to be a man’s number, simply meaning the beast is not from God, it’s from man; and no matter what it claims, if claiming that it represents God, that will be a lie. Here in Revelation that number is defined:
This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. Revelation 13:18
The number merely means the beast represents men. That scripture has nothing to do with an idea that an organization will assign numbers to people as its identifying mark showing they follow it, or that it will display that number 666 on something representing itself. I also don’t believe by writing it is a man’s number John meant that the Wild Beast will be only one man, but instead that the beast only represents men, and doesn’t have God’s approval.
I’ve read some Christian teachers are teaching Babylon the Great riding the Wild Beast is a commercial system. Some might believe a political and commercial system. But Bible evidence shows Babylon the Great is not a commercial organization or a political one. Teachers might believe Babylon the Great is commercial because of the merchants that are mentioned in scriptures speaking about it. And remember kings are mentioned in those scriptures also. Let’s look at those.
In these scriptures the merchants are just labeled “the merchants”:
and the merchants of the earth have grown wealthy. Revelation 18:3
The merchants of the world will weep and mourn for her, for there is no one left to buy their goods. Revelation 18:11
Notice that same terminology applies to “the kings of the earth” in chapter 18 vs 3. “The kings of the earth were immoral with her.” In those scriptures we see an article, the word “the”, preceding the subjects, “merchants” and “kings.” However, at Revelation 18:23 merchants are referred to as “your merchants,” or merchants “of you”:
For your merchants were the great ones of the earth,
because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery.
That might be one reason some Bible teachers believe Babylon the Great is some commercial system. But notice that verse 11 of that same chapter shows that “the merchants of the earth” still exist after Babylon the Great is destroyed. And scriptures show these merchants are weeping because Babylon the Great is no longer around to buy their cargo. They could not be Babylon the Great since businesses making up commercial systems buy products from one another. So if they were Babylon the Great they would not still exist and be able to buy from each other after Babylon the Great is destroyed.
Her merchants instead are said to grow rich because she is over many waters, defined as peoples and nations. She influences people in those groups. Some of them are merchants. The phrase “her merchants” has nothing to do with her being a commercial entity. It has to do with some of those people she influences being merchants. It might also mean certain merchants she buys from.
Plus scriptures say merchants stand a distance and woe when Babylon the Great is destroyed, only because they grew rich because of her, not because they are her. If Babylon the Great was a commercial system they would be destroyed with it. But the scripture does not say they are destroyed. And it does not say they woe because they are attacked by the Wild Beast. Scriptures say they stand at a distance away from her. They could not be standing away from her, if they were part of it.
Here is an example showing one of the world’s major religious groups might be part of Babylon the Great, and how it has influenced merchants and kings. Babylon the Great might include other religious groups also. The teachings of Christendom have influenced Western society as a whole, commercially and politically, as well as socially. Its teachings have allowed the Western world to colonize and suppress other nations through political domination. And in that process Western commercial systems have dominated the world allowing their merchants to become rich. That’s why Revelation speaks of “her merchants,” that have grown wealthy.
If you don’t already know this I’ll cite one example to prove it, though there are many more you can look into. Speeches given in the 20th century, in the United States congress, by senators, reveal that senators were claiming on the senate floor that the United States had a God given right, and a God appointed commission and duty, to take over and dominate the Philippines, because Filipino people are a lazy people, who were dominated by dark skinned Spaniards. Christendom’s fornication with kings is that it allows this kind of idea not only to be stated but acted upon in her name. As the speeches reveal senators professed the United States’ God given right and their God given commission to dominate the Philippines. Religions that allow that sort of teaching to be spread by governments is what Babylon the Great’s fornication is all about.
In speaking of Babylon the Great scriptures are not talking about some commercial entity’s fornication with kings. When was God ever concerned about that? He has always been concerned about how groups represent him, not some business interests of theirs. And he has always been concerned about how groups treat his people, and people that will one day follow him. It is because of that God will have Babylon the Great destroyed. To learn more about the identity of Babylon the Great see one more article published on this website about it.