View Full Version : "666" What does it really mean?

Achán hiNidráne
27th December 2004, 11:04 PM
If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.

--Revelation 13:18 (New International Version)

OK, we all know that the "number" of the so-called Anti-Christ is 666. But what exactly does that mean?

I heard that the Greeks would use numbers the same way we use letters, and that John of Patmos (Who wrote Revelation as Christian propaganda against believers who would worship at the temples of guild gods to keep in the good graces of non-believing neighbors) was using 666 to refer to Emporer Nero, whom early Christians feared would appear again to torment them.

Am I right, or is there another explanation?

28th December 2004, 04:21 AM
Like much of the buy-bull, there is much speculation and no proof of anything. Therefore, it means whatever you want it to mean.

28th December 2004, 04:53 AM
Originally posted by Mark A. Siefert

OK, we all know that the "number" of the so-called Anti-Christ is 666. But what exactly does that mean? Someone who comes in the name of Jesus (http://www.randi.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=41823), but is a fake?

28th December 2004, 05:44 AM
Would John of Patmos have used Roman numerals?

If so, is it a coincidence that 666 is the first 6 Roman numerals put together: DCLXVI? Could he just have intended to mean any large number?

28th December 2004, 05:59 AM
It means a pretty good season for any professional team!

28th December 2004, 07:27 AM
I think it was in Skeptical Inquirer some years ago, but not sure. Anyway, some scholar pointed out that the "number of the beast" was Jewish numerology for Nero, who was no friend of Christians.

Dancing David
28th December 2004, 08:08 AM
Using values from the hebrai kabbalah applied to roman letters we get.

SUM= I am


the romans are the beasts.

28th December 2004, 08:23 AM
But isn't the name of God, as explained to Moses on the Mountain, "I AM"? So God's name is 666???

Hmmm... God IS the Beast. Well, that would certainly explain an awful lot.

28th December 2004, 02:21 PM
I'm leaning toward Nero being the person described on this one. The bit about a giant statue in Revelations reminds me of the 130 foot statue Nero had built of himself, and the bit about seven hills reminds me of the Seven Hills of Rome. Nero also held the Christians responsable for the great fire which, conveniently enough, cleared plenty of room for him to build the Domus Aurea.

I wonder if the heat got turned off during the Flavian dynasty... (http://www.bendigo.latrobe.edu.au/sae/arts/flavians/flavians.htm)

28th December 2004, 04:58 PM
Originally posted by Mark A. Siefert

OK, we all know that the "number" of the so-called Anti-Christ is 666. But what exactly does that mean? Is it the Anti-Christ? Or, is it the false prophet? The book of Revelation refers specifically to the false prophet, and no where does it refer to the Anti-Christ that I'm aware of? In which case maybe it's referring to the false Jesus?

28th December 2004, 10:26 PM
i did a *lot* of research on this in my day. probably more than i should have.

Rev 13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
Rev 13:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Rev 13:18 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.

"666" is the "number of the beast" and also "the number of a man". Note that it is not necessarily the "mark of the beast".

Since numbers were written with letters instead of digits, people have tried to apply this method to come up with people's names. None of this would be recognizable to ancient people. "666" would come out "chi-xi-digamma" in greek or "mem-samadh-vaw" in Hebrew.

I think the strongest case is that "666" refers to the "sigilla solis" or "sign of the sun". It is a "magic square", that is a square in which all the digits are arranged so they have the same sum. The "sigilla solis" is a 6x6 square, (the sum of the digits 1 .. 36 is 666, each row and column adds up to 111). There was a magic square for each planet, and often an attribute that was granted on the wearer of the talisman. The "sigilla solis" often had the greek word for "wisdom" and was valuable among certain coptic sects. Note that Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS (Mormon) faith was wearing the 4x4 jupiter magic square -- and so Mormon shops will often sell replicas of it. I also saw a variation of them being sold on Mexican TV as amulets that bring good fortune.

Here is the "sigilla solis":


"These drawings from photographs taken in 1910, show actual amulets then in the Berlin Museum. They reveal the veneration the ancients had for the sun-god. On the front side of No.1 we see the god of the sun standing on the lion. This indicated the sun's position in the constellation of Leo during the hot days of August. On the back is inscribed "Nachyel," meaning "intelligence of the sun," and in 36 squares are arranged the numerals 1 to 36 (see table 1) in such a way that adding the numbers of any column either horizontally or vertically, and also the two diagonals crossing the square, the total is the same- 111. The sum of the six columns, computed either horizontally or vertically, is 6 x 111, or 666."

Unfortunately, nobody has incorporated any magic squares, as far as I am aware, into any commercial scheme. Some conspiracy theorists noted that one of the UPC bar code has a start, space and end marker that look like the binary for "666". However, the UPC code itself doesn't see those markers as "6" and binary doesn't really apply to UPC scan codes, (they use a different encoding).

29th December 2004, 12:44 AM
In terms of numerology, the Hebrews considered 7 to be perfection, and that 6 was thus imperfect. 8 was too holy to use.

Thus, there is also the connotation that this individual would have only three flaws.

29th December 2004, 01:16 AM
Some early manuscripts contain the number 616 instead of 666.
A websearch using the 616 number will usually yield more scholarly explanations (including photos of at least one early manuscript with 616).

Dorian Gray
29th December 2004, 11:59 PM
Rev 13:18 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. You know, upon further reading of this verse, it is possible to interpret the number 666 as being the number of the man ONLY. Especially if you use the interpretation from the New International version, the word 'calculate'. The way it reads COULD be interpreted like this without violating any logic.

And why does it say you have to have understanding to calculate the number of the beast, only to give the number later? what would we be calculating the number from?

1st January 2005, 06:45 AM
And what about the number 665? Is that the guy that lives across the street from the beast?

1st January 2005, 08:26 PM
I think it refers to the number of times you need to tell a Jehovah's Witness "no" before they get the message and move on to the next door.

Of course I have no direct evidence of this ;)

1st January 2005, 09:55 PM
The short answer is that there is no consensus on what 666 means.

The long answer is that there are many proposed answers, but apparently there aren't enough people "with understanding" to agree as to the answer :p

Back in the day when I was a fundie xian I held to a fairly literalist, innerant view of the bible and the rule of interpretation I held to was that only the bible should be used to interpret the bible. That is to say if there were prophetic portions that were unclear in meaning then one should look elsewhere in the bible to find those prophetic symbols and their meaning.

Much of the symbolic language in Revelation was used in the OT prophecies and the meaning of those symbols is known.

In the case of 666, it is only used one other time in the bible. Unfortunately the biblegateway site isn't working correctly right now (it always defaults to an "any word" search) so I can't find the verse that uses six hundred and sixty six, but it refers to money.

The point being that using this system of interpretation the number 666 should be found to indicate money.

In the context of the verses this fits as this mark is required to buy or sell. This could then indicate that the beast is an entity that would require some sort of loyalty if one wished to be able to engage in commerce. Since the bible elsewhere says that the love of money is the root of all evil this interpretation works even better. The antichrist then will force humans to choose between their love for god and their love for money.

Of course that is just one way to look at it. 6 is also a number the bible uses to express imperfection. 7 is the perfect number and can be used to represent God. 6 then is a human number. Man was created in the image of God, but isn't God so 6 is man's number. Some have held that the New Agers are the antichrist since they hold that man is god. In other words the antichrist is one who asserts than man is god. This goes back to the Adam and Eve story where man, tempted by the serpent, chased after godhood by aquiring the knowledge of good and evil, just as God had such knowledge. The story of the tower of babel would be another example of man chasing after godhood with unfortunate results. The antichrist then is one who teaches that we are gods.

Of course there are still more semi plausible ways to look at it. Using numerology to derive Nero can work (then again numerology can work for anything).

Some schools of though hold that there is no single antichrist. Rather the antichrist is a type of person (or spirit), not an individual person. If you scan the new testament you will find the word antichrist used (this goes back to the idea that only the bible should be used to interpret the bible). 1 John 4:3 says "but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. " So at least the spirit of the antichrist has been present for a long time. We have heard it is coming, but we are also told it is already here.

In the end there are many theories as to what it means, but nobody knows for sure. At least not anyone I know

If you wish you can ascribe any meaning you wish to it. Lots of others have done that. Some explanations fit better than others, but there are many that seem to work about as well as the next one.