How To Understand 666
“The mark of the beast” or “666” is one of those enigmatic matters that persist through every generation of the Christian church. What does it mean? There been a variety of responses ranging from dismissal to bazaar. Applying the context, genre, and interpretive key leads us to the answer to the question.
1. Biblical Context
The context of this passage is very clear. The mark of the beast is taken by those who value personal safety over fidelity to Christ. These are poor, weak believers who yield to the seducingly sinful powers of the apocalyptic beast.
This beast is surely not heinously mutated like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, physically distorted by its own sin. Rather, it is the mutated, sin-saturated beastly power of government, hypocritical religious conspiracy, or another ruling authority .
These beasts have existed since the beginning of time. The beasts were certainly harassing the saints in Johns day. Apocalyptic literature draws on the fact that the events continue until the end of time, escalating in their significance and in their worldwide reach. Sin abounds. But thank God, where sin abounded, grace abounded much more .
2. Apocalyptic Literature
666, the mark of the beast, is part of apocalyptic literature. As I said previously, It is important to determine the genre because it helps us interpret, understand, and apply any portion of Gods word.
3. Interpretive Key
Letter To The Churches
First, we must remember that Revelation is a first-century letter to seven churches in Asia Minor . Letters in antiquity are much like modern letterssituational, personal, and contextual. To understand a letter between two people , you really need to know a thing or two about what necessitated the sending of the letter in the first place. In other words, you need context. In order to rightly interpret the letter of Revelation, we need to investigate these churches historical situation.
Many evangelicals tend to skip over this step and jump straight to application. This is a grave mistake. If we completely detach our modern-day applications from a texts original, historical context, we risk misapplying the textsometimes in embarrassing ways. Revelation 13:17 is one such text. In order to interpret it rightly, we need to know its context. We need some historical data from the letters time period in order to gain clarity into its meaning. Is there any such data that might shed some light on this passage? As it turns out, there is.
The Vicarius Filii Dei Controversy
Our Sunday Visitor
One of the official titles of the Pope, Vicarius Filii Dei or “Vicar of the Son of God,” is at times disputed by Catholic theologians, but can be verified in papal canons and other Catholic publications.
Catholic F. Lucii Ferraris, in his Latin encyclopedia called Prompta Bibliotheca canonica juridica moralis theologica said this:
Ut sicut Beatus Petrus in terris vicarius Filii Dei fuit constitutus, ita et Potifices eius successores in terris principatus potestatem amplius, quam terrence imperialis nostræ serenitatis mansuetudo habere videtur .ii
The English translation is as follows:
As the blessed Peter was constituted Vicar of the Son of God on earth, so it is seen that the Pontiffs, his successors, hold for us and our empire the power of a supremacy on the earth greater than the clemency of our earthly imperial serenity.iii
Our Sunday Visitor, a Jesuit publication, published two admissions that Vicarius Filii Dei is in fact a title for the popeon November 15, 1914, and April 18, 1915. The November 15, 1914, issue, as shown in the picture, tells us this:
The title of the Pope of Rome is Vicarius Filii Dei. This is inscribed on his mitre and if you take the letters of his title and add them together they come to 666…add these together and the total will be 666.
Note what our Protestant forefathers had to say about Vicarius Filii Dei:
Dr. Henry Grattan Guinness, in Babylon and the Beast, said this:
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What Is The Meaning Of 666
The link between 666 and what it means in relation to the global power found in Revelation is undeniable, even though it is only found once in the entirety of Scripture. In Revelation 13:18 it states, “Here is wisdom. Let the one who has understanding count the number of the beast for it is a man’s number, and his number is 666” .
In the end time, those who are not easily identifiable as obeying the devil’s rule over the earth will not have the power to buy goods or make a living .
There are many speculations, almost as old as the Bible text itself, regarding the meaning of 666 or to whom it is referencing. The Catholic Church states that Irenaeus , an early church “father,” wrote about whom this number might reference. He stated that the Greek word “Lateinos,” when given their corresponding Greek values and added up , equals 666. The word itself means “Latin man.”
Bullinger, in his monumental book entitled “Number in Scripture,” has another theory regarding the symbolism of 666. He states that the ancient Romans used only six letters of their alphabet in their numeric system. The letters they used were I, V, X, L, C and D .
If we add up the value assigned to all these letters we arrive at the number 666. Another theory, discussed by the IBSE, states that many scholars believed that this number referenced Nero Caesar.
Some Modern Versions Of The Bible As Well As Recent News Articles Call The Accepted Reading Of Revelation 1: 18 Into Question Do These Claims Have Merit
Pick up almost any English version of the Bible, and turn to Revelation 13:18. It will read something like, Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. While this Biblical verse may not be the best known, the number six hundred and sixty six contained within it is recognized by most. This numbers association with the last days character known as the antichrist has caused it to be popularized, sometimes glamorized, and often feared by religious and non-religious people alike. However, some have cast doubt on the authenticity of this reading, and asked the question, Is 666 really the number of the beast? For example, the margin of the New Revised Standard Version reads, Other ancient authorities read six hundred sixteen. The notes in the New American Standard Bible say, One early manuscript reads 616. Furthermore, news articles have appeared with such ominous titles as, Beasts Real Mark Devalued to 616 and 666 Wrong Number of Prophetic Beast? All of these things raise the question, What is the real number of the beast as recorded in Revelation 13:18?
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The Beasts Opposition To God
The beast is full of himself, uttering haughty and blasphemous words against God, just as Antiochus IV Epiphanes did in his day, functioning as a type of the coming beast . Such activity fits also with the man of lawlessness, who exalts himself as divine . The beast is allowed to exercise his authority for forty-two months. Some understand this to be a literal three and one-half years before Jesus returns. But John is more likely describing the entire period between Jesus first and second coming John wrote not of days far removed from his readers but of the impact of the Roman Empire on them. All totalitarian governments arrogating to themselves divine authority reveal that they too are the beast.
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 Gods 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 Fathers 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.
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How Is 666 Used
On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average plummeted 666 points. And while that news might be disturbing in a financial way, to people with an interest in, say, money and American markets, that fact was overshadowed on Twitter by the shadow of the beast, the Lord of the Underworld, the Devil himself. Because, you know, 666 is the mark of the beast, which, no big deal, identifies followers of the Antichrist. Lizzy Acker, OregonLive.com, 2 Feb. 2018
Words We’re Watching talks about words we are increasingly seeing in use but that have not yet met our criteria for entry.
You Are About To Have A Spiritual Experience
When you see angel number 666 this is a message from your guardian angel that you will soon go through a spiritual transformation.
Something recently happened in your life that has put you back on a spiritual path. You are open to the idea of letting God guide you in the right direction.
Seeing angel number 666 was a wake up call. What youve been trying to accomplish on your own has not been working as you had hoped. Now, its time to ask for help from above.
During this time of transition, you may start to see angel numbers more frequently and be more in tune with Gods presence in your life.
You will soon find out that the true meaning of 666 is actually a positive sign. From now on, it will be a reminder that even though you have made mistakes in the past, God will always be there to forgive your sins if you put your trust in Him.
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What Do Religious Leaders Say
Harvest Christian Fellowship Pastor Greg Laurie said COVID-19 vaccines are not “the mark of the beast,” but many Christians may believe they are, thinking the world is in what the Bible calls “the last days.”
“The Bible speaks of someone identified as the ‘Antichrist’ and he will require people have a ‘mark’ that people will receive to buy and sell,” Laurie told USA TODAY in an email. “The COVID-19 vaccine or any vaccines have nothing to do with any of this.”
Laurie, who has been vaccinated, said the mark will be a pledge of loyalty to the Antichrist, and no one would take the mark unknowingly.
“In Revelation 14, we learn that those who take the mark are doomed,” he said. “God will not doom people for taking something unwittingly.”
Misinterpretations of Revelation 13:16-18 can stem from social media where people can spread unreliable information, according to Laurie.
“People read erroneous comments and believe they are true,” he said.
“Sometimes these statements are packaged to look like Bible Prophecy,” he said, “but they are false and misapplied because many people do not understand what the Bible actually says about these things.”
What Does 666 Mean In Revelation
6 is the number of man.
Triple 6 speaks not only of falling short, but being in outright rebellion against God.
Its like saying, Im going to do it My Way, and its better than Gods way.
Its a sign of a satanic spiritual revolt against God.
Tripling the 6 is a way of adding emphasis to a declaration.
Just as the angels cry out in worship to God by saying Holy, Holy, Holy and Worthy, Worthy, Worthy God is saying to the Antichrist, you are just 6, 6 and 6. A man who thinks hes a god.
Rather than confession and repentance and begging forreconciliation with God, its telling God his way is wrong and the rebels wayis right.
There are multiple prototypes of Antichrist in history:
Antiochus Epiphanes is the prototype of this character from antiquity.
Hes the ruler who desecrated the holy place by sacrificing a pig on the altar of the sacred temple in ~167 BC.
This brought about the three-year Maccabean rebellion that threw out his forces, purified the temple in the very first Hanukkah on 25 Kislev of 164 BC and restored Israel until the time of Roman rule.
And Antiochus Epiphanes claimed to be God.
Another prototype from antiquity is the Roman Emperor Nero,who presided over the gladiator extravaganzas, during which many innocent liveswere brutally ended for the pleasure of a crowd.
Nero deliberately caused the fires of Rome and then blamedit on the Christians. He then had the Christians rounded up and cruelly killedin various monstrous acts.
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Why Does The Number 666 Matter Today
As we approach End Times, it’s important that we have an understanding of how the Beast operates and what will come, in terms of his mark. By knowing the number 666 and its associations with the Beast we can remain vigilant. So when the Beast demands that people put the mark on themselves, we avoid doing so.
Many so-called Christians will take the mark of the Beast, barring themselves from the good reward of heaven. Accepting the mark shows faithlessness and choosing the fleeting safety of the world rather than the loving embrace of the Father. Many of us will be tempted to take on the mark, as the Beast will bar those who don’t have it from food and other basic needs. Trust in the Lord and avoid the mark. The eternal award is far greater and far too much to risk.
This article is part of our Bible resource for understanding the significance and meaning of biblical phrases and ideas. Here are our most popular Bible articles to grow in your knowledge of God’s Word:
Be Content With What You Have
Scripture says we cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve God and money .
Seeing 666 could be a message from your guardian angel about your desires for wealth. This message usually appears if you have been thinking about how your life might change if you lived in a different place or drove a different car.
You know deep in your heart that money wont buy happiness, but it still might be nice to have a little extra at the end of the month. You work hard, but no matter how hard you try it seems impossible to get ahead.
Lately youve been thinking about a certain person in your life that does not work as hard as you do, yet receives more of Gods blessings. Angel number 666 is a message from God that He sees your hard work and will always be by your side.
When you see the devils number avoid any temptation to take shortcuts to get ahead financially. Your reward will be waiting for you in heaven.
Hebrews 13:5 says Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Angel number 666 is a simple reminder to be content with what you have.
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How Many Times Is 666 Mentioned In The Bible
666 is directly mentioned twice in the Bible. The most well-known instance is in Revelation 13:18 as the number of the beast or Antichrist.
The other famous mention is Solomons annual salary of 666talents of gold in the book of 1 Kings 10:14-15.
A more subtle reference to 666 is made in regard to Goliath, who defied the armies of Israel and was defeated by David. Goliath stood a full 6 cubits in height.
He had 6 pieces of armor, and his spears head weighed 600 shekels. See 1 Samuel 17:4-7.
Where Does 666 Come From
The association of 666 with evil originates from a passage in the Book of Revelations in the New Testament of the Bible. As it reads in the King James Version :
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
The idea of the number of a man or beast may refer to the practice of gematria in Jewish numerology, where every letter of the Hebrew alphabet corresponds to a number , and words and names correspond to the sums of these numbers.
This is the moth baphomet RT to win 666 years of good luck
Using gematria, scholars have variously decoded 666 to learn the biblical beasts name. A leading theory deciphers 666 as Nron Qsr or Nro Qsr, taken as the Greek and Latin, respectively, for Nero Caesar. The beastly 666, then, may refer to Neros persecution of early Christians, though this theory has historical problems. Another similarly problematic theory identifies 666 as Muhammed, the founding Islamic prophet viewed as a false prophet in medieval Christianity.
Regardless of whether it refers to any historical entity, 666 came to stand for the personification of evil over the centuries, thanks to the apocalyptic visions of the Book of Revelations. Some avoid the number out of fear of its evil associations, but others playfully revel in it.
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And : The Unholy And Holy Trinity
666 is thus a number that consistently falls short of triple perfection: 777. The number also refers to the unholy trinity, Satan, the Beast, and the False Prophet.
One day I got to wondering what Jesus number might happen to be. So I added up the Greek letter-numbers in Jesus name . What a shame. 887 is only one digit short of 888 which would symbolize Jesus as consistently one better than perfection.
As I am writing my answer I wonder what Christ adds up to? Lets find out . Well, I dont find any symbolism in 1480, but it was worth a try.
I hope my answer to what 666 means is both interesting and informative. Thanks for the question.
This article is part of our larger End Times Resource Library. Learn more about the rapture, the anti-christ, bible prophecy and the tribulation with articles that explain Biblical truths. You do not need to fear or worry about the future!