What does the Bible say about 666?
The concept of 666 being the “devils number” is found in many places. We can see this concept being preached in some denominations and we can see this concept being used in movie plots around the world. Even in occult practices, the number 666 is associated with Satan. But what does Scripture say?
Christian quotes about 666
“I know that some are always studying the meaning of the fourth toe of the right foot of some beast in prophecy and have never used either foot to go and bring men to Christ. I do not know who the 666 is in Revelation but I know the world is sick, sick, sick and the best way to speed the Lord’s return is to win more souls for Him.” Vance Havner
“The history of persecution of God’s people shows that the chief persecutor has been false religion. It is the purveyors of error who are the aggressive enemies of truth, and it is therefore inevitable that, as God’s Word predicts, the final world system of the antichrist will be religious, not secular.” John MacArthur
What does 666 mean in the Bible?
The Bible doesn’t elaborate any more on the numbers themselves. This is quite possibly one of the most heavily debated verses in the book of Revelations. Many historians use the Gematria to translate this. The Gematria was used in the ancient world as a way of combining letters and numbers. Numbers all had a letter that they could represent. Letters of the alphabet were often substituted for numbers. This is a foreign concept for us Americans, because our number system is derived from the Arabic numerical system.
There is no clear indication that the number 666 stood for a particular historical figure. Historians will even go so far as to misspell name to try to make it fit. Some have tried to make the term “Nero Caesar” fit, but it doesn’t ultimately. This is because the Hebrew spelling for Caesar is different than the Roman. Johns readers at the time primarily spoke Greek, and he doesn’t use the term “in Hebrew” or “in Greek” as he does in chapters 9 and 16. None of the names even in our modern era fit a literal translation of the Gematria. Not Kaiser, or Hitler, or any of the Kings of Europe.
Another factor to consider is everywhere else in the Book of Revelation, numbers have figurative significance. For example, 10 horns does not mean a literal group of 10 horns sprouting out.
The word number in the Greek is used figuratively to denote a vast multitude – incalculable amount. Other numbers are meant to be understood figuratively like the 144,000 which represents all the Saved, which denotes utter completion – the complete gathering of ALL of Gods people, not one of His own missing or lost. Also we see frequently the usage of the number 7 stands for completeness.
Many theologians believe that the 666 is to stand in stark contrast to the many uses of 7 throughout the book. 6 would be missing the mark, incomplete, imperfect. We can see 6 being used throughout the book in reference to God’s judgement on the followers of the beast, i.e. the 6th trumpet and the 6th seal.
1. Revelations 13:18 “Here is wisdom. Let him who that hath understanding count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred and sixty-six.”
Who is the antichrist?
Revelation 13:8 phrasing also helps us understand who the Antichrist is. “For the number is that of a man.” In Greek, this can be translated as “for the number of humanity” Anthropos, the Greek word for man, is shown here WITHOUT the article we translate “a”, thus it is used as a generic “man” or “mankind/humanity.” This is a number meaning common fallen humanity. Thus the antichrist is not one singular person, but many. The supreme representation of fallen mankind, in total enmity against God.
While this is the primary consensus amongst amillinial believers, many hold to what Francis Turritin said, when claiming the antichrist was the pope, “Therefore the name LATEINOS (in Greek) or (ROMANUS (in Hebrew) is fully consistent with the fulfillment of this prophecy, that it predicts the seat of the Beast to be in Rome, where it remains to this day. The truth is out in the open.”
2. 1 John 2:18 (ESV) “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.”
3. 1 John 4:3 (KJV) “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
4. 1 John 2:22 (NIV) “Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son.”
Characteristics of the antichrist
The spirit of the antichrist is a mindset we are urged to avoid. It can be seen even in our churches. Revelation 13:8 is a warning against the blasphemous, idolatrous, self righteous, and thusly satanic enemy in each generation.
5. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-7 “The man of lawlessness will set himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”
6. 2 John 1:7 “I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.”
What is the mark of the beast?
This is not a literal mark on the forehead but a spiritual reality. The forehead is on the front of the face, leading the way, so to speak. In Revelation 14:1 we can see the saints with Christ and God’s name written on their foreheads. This is not tattoos on everyone. It is not a microchip. This mark is a spiritual reality: it is obvious by the way you live your life whom you serve. It is a description of your allegiance.
7. Revelation 14:1 “Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder.”
Is it possible to get the mark of the beast today?
The short answer is no. The Mark of the beast does not exist today! You can not receive it in the form of a chip, tattoo, bar code, blaspheming God, etc. The mark of the beast will be available only after the beast is in power during the tribulation. No Christian who is living today will have to worry about this.
Satan mimics God out of his hatred for Him. God has sealed with the Holy Spirit all who belong to Him. The mark of the beast is a contrast to the seal the Lord places on those who are His. It is Satan’s way of mimicking the seal of God on Gods own chosen people.
The Jewish custom of wearing tephillim, or phylacteries is also something that needs to be noted. These are leather boxes containing scripture passages. They were worn on the left arm, facing the heart, or on the forehead. The mark of the beast is on the forehead or the right hand – mimicry is obvious,
Beale says “Just as the seal and the divine name on believers connote Gods ownership and spiritual protection of them, so the mark and Satanic name signify those who belong to th Devil and will undergo perdition.”
Thus, the mark is a symbolic way of describing fealty, or utter loyalty. It is a mark of ownership and loyalty. An ideological commitment. Could it eventually become some form of identification or clothing or tattoo? Maybe, but the way in which it is presented is not made evident in scripture. All we can be sure of is, fervent loyalty will be a hallmark.
8. Revelation 7:3 “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God in. Their foreheads.”
9. Revelation 9:4 “They were told to not harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, it only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.”
10. Revelation 14:1 “Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion, stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Fathers name written on their foreheads.”
11. Revelation 22:4 “They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.”
What is the Tribulation?
This is the time of the great tribulation. This is the final persecution of the church. This is a time when all the nations under the leadership of the antichrist will come against God’s people.
We can rejoice knowing that the tribulation will happen just before Christ returns. The satanic forces attempting to squash out believers will not last forever. Christ is already victorious.
12. Revelation 20:7-9 “And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them.” (Satan Bible verses)
13. Matthew 24:29–30 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
14. Matthew 24:9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.”
We are promised that the world will hate us. That much is guaranteed.
Currently, we are living in the millennium. This is the time between Christ ascending into heaven and His return to claim His Bride. This is not a literal thousand year period. It is figurative language just like the cattle on a thousand hills reference in Psalms. This kingdom reign is also a figurative language, as we see in Luke and Romans. Satan is bound already, since he ha been prevented from deceiving the nations. We can see this earlier in the chapter. Also, it needs to be noted that Satan was bound at the cross, when He crushed the head of the serpent. This gives us the guarantee that nothing can stop the spread of the Gospel to all nations.
15. Psalms 50:10 “For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.”
16. Luke 17:20-21 “Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
17. Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Other passages in the Bible where 666 is mentioned?
It’s not. This phrase is only mentioned once in the Bible.
Should Christians focus on the number 666?
Not at all.
Whether this is a code for someones name, or a descriptive way of emphasizing “the completeness of sinful incompleteness” we should not be focused on a trivial detail. Our focus is on Christ and His good gospel.
The eschatological acrostic that some believers infer onto this can vary tremendously. Some people become sinfully obsessed and try to use it to “read the tea leaves” upon every scenario they find themselves in. That is not only living in fear instead of faith, but it is also treating it as a form of divination. Repeatedly in scripture we are told to live in faith and to not live in fear.
Even amongst believers there is serious eschatological debate. This article is written from an Amillinium perspective. But there are lots of strong points for both the Premillennial and Post Millennial views. Eschatology is not a primary doctrine. You would not be considered a heretic for holding a different view than this article is upholding.
18. Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Seeking God Bible verses)
19. Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” (Trusting the Lord verses)
20. Isaiah 41:10 “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Bible verses on fear)
21. 2 Timothy 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”