0

Revelation 13:

18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.

Does it allude to the following?:

Genesis 1:

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, a and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

31God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Related question:

What is the original Number of the Beast?
My question assumes 666 as the standard text and relates it to Genesis 1:31.

1
  • @user35953 Is it a safe assumption to hold 666 as John's original text? Papyrus 115, perhaps the oldest known to date manuscript, as well as ancient sources like Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, have the number of the beast as χιϛ or χιϲ, or in Arabic numerals as 616 (χιϛ), not 666; and critical editions of Greek text, such as Novum Testamentum Graece, note χιϛ/616 as a variant......IMHO this is to be settled rather than assumed before getting in too far.
    – user59096
    Oct 27, 2023 at 16:02

8 Answers 8

0

There are many "6" numbers associated with mankind in the Bible.

  • Sixth day of creation week
  • Six days of the week belong to man (the seventh is the Lord's day)
  • Six commandments of the Ten relate to dealings with mankind

From biology, we might add a couple more.

  • We have six primary senses (yes, six--most biologists miss one): sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and balance.

  • Having six fingers on each hand is genetically dominant, and was probably the original. The giants in the Bible still had this.

And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant. (2 Samuel 21:20, KJV)

So when the Bible says that the "666" is the number of a man, it might refer to a man who is put or who puts himself/herself in the place of God to be worshiped (see Rev. 13:15).

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. (Revelation 13:18, KJV)

1
  • @Polyhat-It is recommended that one read more modern translations (or the Greek) beyond the KJV. The Beast is representative of a nation or empire in the Bible, not a man. The NIV translated it as "man's number". The Roman Empire of Man was the nemesis at the time of Revelation.
    – ray grant
    Sep 14, 2023 at 0:11
1

The number Six hundred, sixty, six, or 666 is one of the most intriguing numbers in the Bible because it supposedly holds the key to the identity of one of the most fearfully anticipated villains in human history.

Theologians, futurologists, and many brilliant minds over the centuries have endeavored to crack the code of the number. Some Kabbalists have studied the three elements of the number to derive significance from each. Irenaeus, a 2nd c. bishop found significance in the 600 as the age of Noah when God began to destroy the world, with the 60 and 6 referring to Nebuchadnezzar’s image. (Adv.haer 5.29.2). He also tried to get a name out of the numbers 666 but was unsuccessful.

If you add the numbers corresponding to the Greek name Iesous, you get 888. 8 is the number of new beginnings as the 8th day is the first day of a new week. The term Son of Man appears 88 times in the NT. Jesus was the beginning of all creation, he offers a new beginning and newness of life to all who trust in him, and he is the beginning and the end.

6 is the number of man who was created on the 6th day. Does 666 have anything to do with that? The Antichrist is the imitator of Christ and his antithesis. He is a great deceiver but will pretend to be the true Christ preaching truth to the world. He will try to imitate a new beginning on earth, 888 (new creation), with the power of man, 666 (old creation).

The first seal predicts the Antichrist's arrival on a white horse as he goes forth to conquer the world. 666 represents an intensification of man and he will be "super man" with supernatural abilities. He will cause almost all men and women to worship him and he will represent the apex of the hope of humanity for salvation apart from the true God and his Son, 888. Don't fall for the false promises of science or even miraculous signs creating a wonderful new world before the real Messiah returns. The faithful sheep will recognize the true Shepherd.

It may very well be that the name of the Antichrist adds up to 666. There are likely more mysteries to be unlocked from that number as the end approaches and God grants wisdom.

1

"The number of a man" most probably is a reference to Gematria which is an ancient ciphering technique. In plain meaning, it is not obviously a reference to the six days of creation. Because ancient Hebrew and Aramaic (and many other ancient scripts) reused letters for numerals, you can reinterpret a name as being a number. The name of this 'beast' when read as a number will add up to 666.

Reading the Gematria for a name is pretty easy. Just spell the name in Hebrew letters. Each letter corresponds to a number. Then add all the numbers to get the result. For example, "Nero Caesar" written as Hebrew נרון קסר would be 50 + 200 + 6 + 50 + 100 + 60 + 200 = 666 according to Finegan's schedule of ancient Hebrew numerals. (Gematria for other ancient scripts are also possible, as many ancient scripts reused letters as numerals.)

So in plain meaning, the 'number of the beast' is not a reference to the six days of creation. However, one of the most intriguing things about prophecy is that sometimes coincidences are not accidents. In many passages of scripture the plain meaning of the text is supplemented by a deeper prophetic meaning. This could plausibly be one such instance.

If we take six to be the number of man, and of the sins of mankind, and understanding that in the ancient Hebrew Aramaic dialect, repetition was an expression of emphasis, the number 666 would have the semantics of "most human" or even "most fallen" or "most sinful". Rather fitting for someone described in black-letter prophecy as a "man of sin".

1
  • Or "something human or of human origin being worshipped instead of God", which could apply to the beast and also its image. Sep 11, 2023 at 18:29
1

All these are interesting possibilities. There have been many contributions on the subject here, including:

Since the word "calculate" in this verse can also mean "tally," I took on the challenge to see who the 666th person mentioned in the Tanakh would turn out to be! My findings plus additional interesting ideas can be found in the question Significance of Solomon's 666 talents of gold?

Incidentally, it's my understanding that the Gematria didn't come into use in Hebrew until a couple hundred years A.D. I can't find a lot of direct evidence for this, but I did notice that all numeric references in the Tanakh are spelled out. This is unlike the numerological practice of the Greeks, where certain letters had numeric equivalents.

3
  • 1
    @Dieter-There is evidence of Gematria in Jewish writings around 79 B.C. Also, it was common for the Hebrews to write out their numbers in word form. whereas the Greeks used letter equivalents, as you mentioned. The Aland, Black Greek New Testament used the Hebrew method in textualizing Revelation13, not the Greek letters!
    – ray grant
    Sep 14, 2023 at 0:19
  • Thank you again, Ray! Do you have a reference for the earliest use of Gematria in Jewish writings? I vaguely remember one source claiming Gematria wasn't popular until much later. All numeric references in the Tanakh were indeed written out, so if John the Revelator wrote Revelation originally in Greek versus Aramaic or Hebrew, that would add more significance to the letters as numerals.
    – Dieter
    Sep 15, 2023 at 1:35
  • @Dieter-See article in Wikipedia, (ftn. 13); It was 78 BC listed, not 79. BC. {Rosenstock, B. 2017; Transfinite Life: Oscar Goldberg and Vitalist Imagination. Indiana Univ.Press; p. 61.} But as you note, it became popular later in the Talmud and Mishnah, and succeeding centuries.
    – ray grant
    Sep 16, 2023 at 22:58
1

The Sixth Day? There is not the slightest hint that John (or the angel of Revelation) was referring to the Creation Week. The cultural context in which the Revelation was written was the Roman Empire with its occupation of Syro-Phoenicia ( which included Israel).

Knowing that the Early Christian Church was enmeshed in Latin (Roman) culture, and since we are dealing with numbers, it would be interesting to look to the Latin form of numbering for a clue to understanding what John was trying to communicate.

Therefore consider what numerical value the Latin letters stand for:

I = 1
V = 5
X = 10
L = 50
C = 100
D = 500

Add these together and we get a total of 666! Does this gematria indicate that no matter who is intended, it is the adversarial Roman Empire that underlies this mystery? Certainly, this rules out all the speculation that prognosticators have engaged in throughout the millennia, who look for a sinister dude in other countries besides Rome.

Even though within the Roman Empire, there were plenty of emperors who qualified for the adversary of Christianity. Some persecuted Jewry, some attacked both Jew and Christian, and one banned the Bible wholesale (Decius, 3021-304). One Apostate emperor leveled and destroyed all the pilgrimage sites in the "Holy Land" in an effort to erase Christianity and set up his own religion.

Some scholars might contend that enough ambiguity was intentionally portrayed in Revelation so Christians of every era would stay alert to external dangers, yet be encouraged in the struggle of extending the Kingdom of Christ. To this I would concur.

Considerations Although most readers use Revelation 13 as a jumping-off place in search of a man, it should be noted that "beasts" in the prophecies represent empires or nations, and not a single person! (horns represent specific individuals). The first beast mentioned in chapter 13 is pictures as having the same animal characteristics of the four beasts in Daniel's prophecies---and it was "nations" that were intended to be interpreted.

Also note that there is no definite article before "man" in this verse. The translation should/could also read "its" and not "his"...etc. (autou, Gk.) And we must not lose sight of the fact that the word, "antichrist," is nowhere to be found here. Nowhere.

These considerations point to 666 (the addition of the six Roman numerals) as a reference to the dominant Roman empire of man at the time of the writing of this book of Revelation. The Roman Empire of Man that deified its rulers certainly had all the dictatorial powers mentioned here.

2
  • Incidentally, there's also M in the Roman numeral system which equals 1,000.
    – Dieter
    Sep 11, 2023 at 22:42
  • @Dieter- Of course. The origin of the "M" comes from a double form of the "D" so it. technically speaking, is not a new numeric letter. But the existence of this "M" doesn't detract from the interesting gematria of the first six (6) Roman numerals totaled above. (Again, 6 seems to show up here !)
    – ray grant
    Sep 11, 2023 at 22:57
1

Noteworthy is that the number 666 according to the Greek letters is six hundred and sixty six. Because the first Greek letter means six hundred. The second means sixty. And the third means six. If the number was supposed to be 6 6 6 the Greek letters used would be the same number across the board, which would be a repetition of the greek letter that signifies the number 6.

In Rev there are 7 seals, 7 trumpets, and 7 bowls. 777. The 7th seal seems to contain the 7 trumpets. And the 7th trumpet seems to contain the 7 bowls. If that is the case, then there is some kind of hierarchy within the number 777. This phenomenon could be the prototype for the right interpretation of the number 666.

If so, this may mean a global coordinator (600), and a division of the world into ten regions, which each would be supervised by a deputy (60). These regions would then each be divided into ten districts, which in turn each would be led by an agent (6).

But why the number 6? Why not any other number? Rev 13:18 says that the number of the beast is the number of a man, and both beasts and man were, as we all know, created on the 6th day. So yes, the number 6 in 666 might with a bit of deductive reasoning allude to this 6th day of creation; the day both man and beast were made.

2
  • This person would according to Rev not be transformed into a violent beast until half of his elected tenure has passed. One can therefore surmise that his change will be due to non-compliance to his transnational policies; be they what they may. Sep 12, 2023 at 23:15
  • According to Rev 13:4-18, this beast seems to be involved in, or prepare for, war. And the main mission of his seems to be to beat down the true believers in God. Maybe the beast mark on the head means allegiance to him, and the mark on the hand is carrying out his dirty work for him. If so, we should ask ourself which side of the gun we want to be on. In front, or behind? Dec 11, 2023 at 14:04
0

What about Irenaeus assertion that 666 was to be interpreted as "Latteinos", i.e. "latin man"? Seeing as he did, that they who held the world's empire were "latins". (Romans) and of course, at that time, and even now I suppose, the Catholic mass is still performed in Latin, in many places, and I assume, at the Vatican. (lots of assumptions in my statement, but this translation is interesting, and I'd not seen it before, Until I read "History Unveiling Prophecy", by Henry Grattan Guiness. (I had also wondered about the term "Latinos" in reference to peoples of central and south America). Apparently this term was used in reference to anyone who was Roman Catholic, and therefore of the "latin" faith so to speak, not from the Americas per se'.

2
  • Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics! and thank you for your contribution. When you get a chance, please take the tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others. I also recommend going through the Help Center's sections on both asking and answering questions.
    – agarza
    Jun 15, 2023 at 18:44
  • If you have a new question, please ask it by clicking the Ask Question button. Include a link to this question if it helps provide context. - From Review
    – grammaplow
    Jun 18, 2023 at 9:05
-1

There is no mystery to this. The Bible explains clearly who "the man of sin is" The Pope is the antichrist, One of his titles is Vicarius Filii Dei (Vicar of the Son of God) Wich literally means "Substitute of Christ" Using the value of Roman numerals, the sum of the letters in that title is 666.

Here’s how the calculation works. As in Greek and Hebrew, some Latin letters are used for numbers. “I” = 1; “V” = 5; “X” = 10; “L” = 50; “C” = 100; “D” = 500; “M” = 1000. Letters that have no numerical value are to be ignored in calculating the numerical significance of a name. The letter “U” is treated as “V.” Since there is no “W” in Latin, it is rendered as “VV.”

The Latin title Vicarius Filii Dei, then, would be VICARIVS FILII DEI. You get these numbers: 5 (V) + 1 (I) + 100 (C) + 1 (I) + 5 (V) + 1 (I) + 50 (L) + 1 (I); + 1 (I) + 500 (D) + 1 (I). The total is 666.

This is one of MANY proofs of who the antichrist is. Study the book of Daniel along with Revelations & you will see that no other entity fits ALL of the criteria as does the RCC. This was the belief of ALL the Reformist (almost all were burned alive by the RCC) May God give you wisdom in this matter.

2
  • 1
    This calculation regards Roman letters. However, the text was written in Greek. Greek and Hebrew numbering may apply, Roman numerals don't - at least if we suppose that the author of this text knew the meaning.
    – Jeschu
    Oct 13, 2021 at 13:28
  • Vicarius Filii Dei was a title in the forged Donation of Constantine. The historical title is Vicarius Christi.
    – yters
    Nov 22, 2022 at 19:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.