“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 and sixty-six.” Revelation 13:18 states that if one is wise and has an understanding to count the number of the beast, which is also the number of a man, the number comes to 666.
By Sanjoo Thangjam
Rock and heavy metal bands have also used the numbers in their lyrics and songs. In 1968, Deep Purple listed the play time of one of the songs on their album The Book of Taliesyn as 6:66, though the track is actually seven minutes and six seconds long. Later, the British metal band – Iron Maiden released an album and a song titled “The Number of the Beast” in 1982. In the chorus of the song, singer Bruce Dickinson chants: “666, the number of the Beast/666, the one for you and me.”
The number 666 evokes strong feelings in many people. Some Christians, for instance, might go out of their way to avoid the number. Others may use the number to evoke an air of darkness or find amusement in coincidental appearances of the number in popular culture or everyday occurrences.
For Chinese gamers, 666 has an altogether different meaning. Liù, the pinyin for the Chinese word for six, is a homophone for the word for skilled. 6 or a string of 6s can be used by Chinese gamers to show respect for an instance of highly skilled gameplay.
WHAT DOES 666 MEAN?
The number 666 has been normally used to signify the “devil, the antichrist, or evil in general”. It should not be confused with 666, used by Chinese gamers to commend skillful play.
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 (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.
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 (e.g., aleph=1, bet=2, etc.), and words and names correspond to the sums of these numbers.
Using gematria, scholars have variously decoded 666 to learn the biblical beast’s 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 Nero’s persecution of early Christians, though this theory has historical problems.
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.
The Meaning of 666 – The Mark of the Beast
The mark of the beast is “666.” The symbolism here cannot be missed. In fact, the number seven in Hebrew and the word for the Lord’s day, of the Sabbath, is the same word: Shabbat. God rested on the seventh day and therefore the seventh day is the name for the Sabbath.
Throughout the book of Revelation, the number seven is associated with completeness, perfection, a Sabbath rest. It is therefore the number of God or the divine number. Thus, we might say that the mark of the beast, “666,” means “never God, never God, never God.”
There will come a time as evil continues to multiply, and grace by the way also multiplies, that you and I or our descendants will be faced with the choice of bowing to the one who seeks to replace God. But in another sense, those times are already happening today, which is always important in apocalyptic literature. You and I take the mark of the beast whenever we deny God and sell out our faith to follow a lesser being, replacing God and his gifts of eternal life.
Where is 666 in the Bible?
Revelation 13:16-18 sounds as if it could be the script for one of those remarkable films about secret codes or fantastic beasts.
“It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. 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”
Why Does the Number 666 Matter Today?
Many believe that 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. It is said that 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 believe that the number shows the mark of faithlessness and choosing the fleeting safety of the world rather than the loving embrace of the Almighty. Many of us will be tempted to take on the mark, as the Beast will bar those who do not have it from food and other basic needs.
(The writer is a journalist based in Manipur)