What Is the Meaning of 666?

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What are some of the differing beliefs concerning 666 and its Biblical meaning? Whom or what is the number referencing?

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" (HBFV).

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 (Revelation 13:17).

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 (130 - 202 A.D.), 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 (30 + 1 + 330 + 5 + 10 + 50 + 70 + 200), equals 666. The word itself means "Latin man."

Satan before the Lord
Satan before the Lord
Corrado Giaquinto, c. 1750

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 (the letter M was not assigned a value in Roman times).

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.

Here is something to consider. God is the Being who assigns a human number, 666, as an identifier on the Beast. Biblically, the number 6 represents man's incompleteness or imperfection, as it is one less than seven, which represents God's wholeness and perfection. So, why wasn't a single 6 used to denote the Beast? It could be that 666 was used to mark something that is far more than just humanly imperfect. They are used to signal something that is exponentially evil.

The one-world system set up in the End Time will be both terrifying and breathtaking. For true Christians, meaning those who have faith, obey God and keep his commandments (Revelation 14:11 - 12), it will be a time of martyrdom. For the rest of humanity (at least for a short time) the world will experience its greatest prosperity (read Revelation 18:9 - 19).

Make no mistake, however, the Beast will be the unchallenged head (Revelation 13:4) of a world-ruling system meant to exalt and worship him. Obedience to him will be enforced on an unprecedented scale. It is such a system, ruled with the attitude of a ravenous wild animal, which God seeks to warn us about through 666 in the Bible.

666 Trivia

Highway 666 in the United States was renumbered to Highway 491. This was done because it was suggested that the high rate of accidents on the street was due to Satan. Others conjectured, however, that the high accident rate was likely due to people trying to steal the highway signs and sell them online at places like EBay.

An American city in the state of Louisiana petitioned, and had changed, their phone area code from 666 to 749. Three sixes, however, are considered lucky in China, where they are commonly displayed in shop windows. The pronunciation of the number 6, in Chinese, sounds like the word used for "easy" and "smooth." It is usually repeated three times for maximum effect.

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1913 Catholic Encyclopedia
Easy as Pi, the countless ways we use numbers
Holy Bible, a Faithful Version
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

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