In these matters one must distinguish between nature and ability. Fallen angels have gone from +999 to +666 as to nature and to -666 as to the motivation of their nature. But as to ability they might very well be a billion. So with Satan himself. I know I am very much speculating, but I wonder whether Solomon at the nadir of his fall attempted to turn his fallen nature of +666 around to +999 and whether he thought he could progress to +1000 to become Messiah. Of course this is conjecture and I do not mean this according to the look of the figures 666 and 999, but according to their symbolical meanings. However it is not possible to go from a 6 to a 9. From a 9 or 7 to a 6 is possible when one's very nature is not an 8. By the grace of God he was restored towards the end of his life and it was granted him to foresee the Messiah, much like the patriarch Abraham saw the Day of Christ (the millennium) and rejoiced about it.
Also ancient cultures like the Greek one understood that +777 meant the fullness of human perfection. It is strange therefore that Nebuchadnezzar did not apply the number 7 to his statue as described in Daniel 3. Unless he was humble and realistic enough to know that fallen man by himself cannot advance to 7. Perhaps he reasoned that it is humanly impossible to turn a 6 into a 7. Or it is because the babylonian number system is sexagesimal! In that case the statue of 6 by 66 is perfect... But not in God's book.
Fortunately for born again Christians it is possible to grow to perfection (as the apostle Paul said:
Let us advance to perfection and this if the grace of God permits it. Unless it should be translated as
completion). And if they do not, then they will reach perfection at any rate at the resurrection; but not perfection in circumstances. For after the Judgment Seat of Christ they still will have to experience the bad done in the body and not just the good. Because the born again nature is +888, perfection is possible. And not only that, to all eternity the saved will continue to grow on in the Lord God. For God is infinite and we are finite and therefore eternal growth is not only possible, it simply will happen. Even in hell there will be advancement in understanding, but often like in an unwilling school and in heaven it will all be playful and natural.
The beast will have a negative motivation of -666, or even -777. But his nature will also have a positive side of +666. This denotes his spirit, soul and body. His abilities will be very advanced, so much that he can perform great miracles. As said before, the triple character of his nature, also points to his claims to divinity. And so the antichrist will be able to make fire descend from heaven.
This study is not complete without zeroing on the word for perfection. One needs spiritual insight to translate it correctly. For instance Paul's word for perfection may be better translated as completion, just as in his verse
Let those that are complete consider this (Philippians 3.15). However in the Lord's words it means perfect:
Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. For God the Father is not just complete. Paul's words in Philippians should run
...not that I have obtained it already, or be perfected. But
perfect Love casts out fear. Apparently in one instance the adjective means complete and in the other perfect, depending on whether it refers to a state in mortality, or immortality respectively. To sum up. We must always seek improvement. Stagnation is the beginning of falling behind and even of tripping over.
Let us be warned. For there are sects with people that claim not just to be perfect, but even sinless. Which is a lie.
He that says he has no sin, lies and makes God a liar, according to John. On this side of the grave only Christ was perfect and sinless. Moreover usually these people think that they are sinless when they do not commit crimes or do not say improper things. Lazarus, when Christ had resurrected him, still had the old nature, the old Adam and therefore died again. (Enoch and Elijah must have eaten from the tree of life, which is in paradise, according to the book of Revelation). On the other hand, let us not worry too much, while fighting sin, for in eternity and in immortality, there will be no sin in us any more; let alone committed!
Others explain the adjective for perfect used by Paul as denoting maturity and might translate it as grown-up, or perphaps full-fledged. And that God sees us as perfect in Christ. But there being a difference between position and practice, we must always strive to live up to our position. Yet, as I am brainstorming here, how could the beloved apostle Paul then reach a state of near perfection!? For he stated:
I am conscious of nothing, but with that I am not justified. Personally I am conscious of many sinful thoughts, wrong attitudes, overeating and so on. Not so Paul. He also stated:
I fight as not beating the air, but I punge my body and lead it around captive; so that not, having preached to others, I myself am disapproved. Let us not fool ourselves.
The heart is more crooked than anything. Yes it is mortally sick. Who will know it!? One could argue here that
With God everything is possible! And
Whom the Lord sets free, is free indeed. Also
By what somebody has been defeated, to it he has been enslaved. Joshua and Kalev tried to encourage the people of Israel and said that with the Lord's help they could overcome the giants and nations of Canaan. And the crowd wanted to stone them! Now if I were to teach that bornagain Christians, with the help of the Lord and through the Holy Spirit, can reach perfection and even immortality (for Paul in Philippians hoped to gain Christ and reach the resurrection now already!), then I would be denounced as a pseudo teacher, as one that drives people crazy and holds out false hope. How I wish that this is true and part of my faith package... At any rate, let us not give up to grow on in Christ and love one another through the Holy Spirit!