Most people will readily associate the number “666” with the scriptural association from end-times prophecy identifying an “anti-Christ”. While this is indeed a specific designation, few people understand why it is and what it means on a much broader scale of proper scripture interpretation.
The number of the BEAST in Revelation is said to be the number of a man.
“Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six” – Rev. 13:16.
Within this passage, not only is the number specific, but the admonishment for a proper interpretatin is also included. The phrase “Let him that has understanding” is an important qualifier.
The number 666 is related here to “the beast” and “a man”. But that does NOT mean that it is literally either beast or man. Instead, a very convincing characteristic that points to this “mark of the beast” as a physical object instead, is its requirement to buy and sell.
“No one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name“ – Rev. 13:17.
To fully understand the significance of 666 and a proper interpretation we must look to the scriptural origin of the number. The sytematic theology law of first mention gives a special significance to the first use of a word or symbol in scripture, a significance that is carried throughout the entire Bible. There’s an important verse in the Old Testament that supports a close connection to money and 666. This is the first scriptural appearance of 666 and it seems to imply a connection to an actual person, King Solomon.
“Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold” – 1 Kings 10:14.
Many interpretations have attempted to link 666 to Solomon but the clear implication is that the direct context of 666 in this verse is an amount of gold, 666 talents.
The number 666 is also presented in some received texts as “600 + 60 + 6”. While scripture usually records numbers small and large in word form (‘six hundred sixty-six’), in this case, the number is recorded in the numeric form (where numbers are used to represent letters).
The number 666 is referred to in 2 other similar biblical passages:
In Ezra 2:13 – 666 persons returned to Jerusalem from Babylon.
In 2 Chronicles 9:13 – 666 talents of gold.
These two passages refer to a fixed annual income received every year by Solomon. The fixed nature of this income suggests a ‘rental income’ and indeed Solomon was the recipient of a significant rental income from many large vineyards.
Song of Solomon 8:11-12 indicates that Solomon had a vineyard at Baal Hamon; he leased the vineyard to keepers; everyone was to bring for its fruit a thousand silver coins.
“My own vineyard is before me. You, O Solomon, have a thousand, and those who tend its fruit two hundred (each)”.
This rental income was also alluded to in Isaiah.
“It shall happen in that day, that wherever there could be a thousand vineyards worth a thousand (mina each) of silver, It will be for briers and thorns” – Isa 7:23.
This indicates that in the time of Solomon 1 million silver mina = 666 gold talents.
From the above verses it appears that Solomon, as king of Israel, had control of Israel’s vineyards and rented them to whom he pleased. In the same way the future BEAST would control who would be permitted to tend the spiritual vineyard of God. In other words, who would be able to ‘trade’ in the wine/teachings of God.
Here is an example of vineyards representing God’s prophets, disciples, and saints preaching and teaching and being murdered for it. So, John declares to “him that has understanding“, that 666 is the number / name of the BEAST. In other words, those who understand scripture’s use of numbers, especially the significance of 666, will rightly comprehend the true meaning.
Now consider this as well. The New Testament was written in Greek and the Old Testament in Hebrew. So the use of English or Latin to calculate the true meaning of 666 is NOT a good choice. Greek and Hewbrew have their own unique numerical values. Since scripture was written in Greek and Hebrew, the number 666 must be decoded individually in both Greek and Hewbrew in the corresponding passages. The wisdom to calculate 666 must be according to the Greek and Hebrew languages, not any others. Whatever language we employ to properly decipher 666 must also work out the SAME in every language. Since this is impossible (because each language has its own numerical values) it is rather unreasonable to accept interpretations based upon such deciphers.
In ancient times most cultures did not have separate symbols for both letters of the alphabet and numbers. Some ancient sources list this number as 616. In both Hebrew and Greek each letter of the alphabet also had a corresponding numerical value; in Latin only six letters had numerical value. In Greek the word ‘gematria’ denoted the letter value of names, words, or phrases. The ‘gematria’ of “Neron Caesar” (an alternating spelling of Nero’s name in the 1st century) in Hebrew is 666, while the sum of the letter-number value of “Nero Caesar” is 616. The sum of the letters of the words “Caesar-god” in Greek is also 616, and all six of the Roman numerals (I=1, V= 5, X=10, L=50, C=100, D=500) add up to 666.
Not only does 666 reveal the “number”, it also signifies the “mark” or “name” of the beast.
Biblically, a name represents one’s character.
This is why God changed the name of his servants because after encountering God, their character changed: (See – Gen. 17:5,15; 32:28; 35:10; 2Sam. 12:25; Acts 13:9).
God told parents what to name their unborn child in anticipation of their destiny: (Genesis 16:11; 17:19; 1 Chronicles 22:9; Isaiah 7:14; Hosea 1:4,6,9; Matthew 1:21,24; Luke 1:13,31).
It is also why men have chosen one name over another for their children: (Judges 6:32; Genesis 35:18; Luke 1:59-60), and why names of cities have been changed: (Genesis 28:19).
These examples show that their name reflects their character.
Translators have interpreted the original Greek word of “arithmon” as “number”, which is only ONE of its literal meanings. But “arithmon” has other meanings such as “worth”, “value”, or “mark of a station”.
A contemporary example of these meanings is when one claims that they are “number 1″. It is clear that this is a reference to one’s worth/value/station and not to a literal “number”.
The Greek words usually translated as “name” and “mark” also have other meanings:
• “onoma” usually translated as “name” is also = title, reputation, or character
• “charagma” is translated as “mark” and also: nature of, characteristic, or quality
Hopefully you can see that all three Greek words (arithmon, onoma, charagma) refer also to one’s character – which develops according to one’s belief / way of life.
When Scripture refers to the NAME of Jesus Christ, the power associated with declaring it is because of the value, character, and quality the name represents. At the NAME of Jesus Christ demons flea and infirmities are healed. Just as a policeman orders, “stop in the name of the law”, it is not his declaration that is feared, but the authority and power the name represents.
In giving the number/name of the BEAST, scripture is revealing the character of this abomination. WHY? It symbolizes the imperfection of man’s overall system that is separated from God and under the constant influence of evil. It signifies abject apostasy and rebellion against God’s revelation, and rejection of His New Covenant.
Throughout, scripture reveals that the worldly system is made up of three parts, each represented by a six. Six represents, by itself, incompleteness or imperfection, because it is one less than seven (which is the number of completeness).
Some have concluded that the first six of 666 represents the false imperfect religion of man. The second six is for the deceptive false government, and the third symbolizes man’s self-centered economic system. They then reason that 666 therefore represents the world system and all that it does to appease and gratify human nature. Of course, such an interpretation is equally true in every generation of man, NOT just the Last one at a supposed end of the ages.
However, this interpretive logic is greatly flawed.The number of the beast is NOT six six six, but six hundred sixty six. The conclusion is that since SIX is the number of man, six six six must represent the beast. But scripture declares the number is NOT three sixes, but a single number six hundred sixty six. Unless we rightly perceive of the number in hundreds, tens, and units we will not understand the prophecy correctly.
Allow me to explain. If you went to the bank to withdraw $666.00 you would not accept $18.00 instead. You know that $6.00 + $6.00 + $6.00 does not amount to $666.00. So do not accept such irroneous math regarding 666. So, this method of Bible interpretation is absolutely flawed.
The apostle John who wrote Revelation uses an overlooked set of three verses which employs a subtle form of 666. This hidden form, found in the total number of times the word ‘world’ is used, warns believers to separate themselves from man’s system which is soon to END.
“Do not love the WORLD, nor the things that are in the WORLD. If anyone loves the WORLD, the love of the Father is not in him because everything that is in the WORLD – the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pretentious pride of physical life – is not from the Father, but is from the WORLD. And the WORLD and its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God abides forever” – 1Jn. 2:15-17
Two other Old Testament figures stand out as special adversaries of God.
Each has the mark of this special numeric value, 666.
• GOLIATH, the giant who fought a very young king David, had a height of 6 cubits, had 6 pieces of armor, and his spear’s head weighed 600 shekels of iron (1Samuel 17:4 – 7).
• NEBUCHADNEZZAR, the great King of Babylon, set up a “golden image” in the plain of Dura. He commanded all to worship it or else be thrown into a furnace of fire. The idol was 600 cubits high and 60 cubits wide The worship was to occur when 6 distinct musical instruments (cornet, dulcimer, flute, harp, psaltery, sackbut) were played. (Daniel 3:1).
Another “image” in Daniel is made of gold and shares similar traits with the mark of the beast and 666. It includes the numbers six and sixty as well as idolatry and punishment for those that refuse to worship the image [Rev. 13:15]. In Daniel, the head of gold belongs to the then current king, Nebuchadnezzar [Dan. 2:37,38]. He was later transformed into something of a beast [Dan. 4:15,16]. Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubit. All subjects were to worship it [Dan. 3:1-20].
Another explanation is that the Bible associates the number six with man. God made him on the sixth day of creation week. The number 666 is a triple repetition of the number of man and emphasizes that this BEAST represents a coalition whose base is human authority, opposed to God’s authority; exalts humanity, not God; is more democratic, rather than theocratic.
The number 666 hasgreatly intrigued believers throughout the centuries. Unfortunately, this has resulted in many false revelations. Various numerical codes have been devised to calculate the name of a future antichrist. The fact is that names have been manipulated in the past. Throughout history several persons have been identified as the beast only to be eventually proven wrong: Nero, every Pope, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Napoleon, Adolph Hitler, and more recently Henry Kissinger.
Some have shown that the English word “computer” adds up to 666 using a secret code. When an attempt to decode 666 fails then a twisting of the spelling or an addition of a title is employed. Such practices are ridiculous and absolutely unscriptural.