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 says Paul Haarman. Revelation 13:18 (KJV)
The Book of Revelation’s Number of the Beast, “Six hundred threescore and six” (666)
What Does “Number Of The Beast” Mean?
As we saw in previous articles, much has been written about what this curious verse from the New Testament’s Book of Revelation means without any consensus being reached. Even so, there are certain things we can say with confidence about this enigmatic verse from John’s vision. The first point to note is that the beast represents a person. In fact, both The Book of Revelation and Daniel’s prophecies state this. This means that “Number of the Beast” refers to his name or personal number rather than a license plate number or public social security number as some have mistakenly thought.
Different Views on What These Numbers Mean
Some believe this verse indicates a date, with 666 being the year 1666 which was an important year in human history for reasons we explain below. Still others suggest that it is actually the square root of the decimal value of pi (3.141 592 653 5897…). Yet another interpretation sees 666 as representing a Roman Emperor who ruled from December 25th, 800 A D until October 4th, 814 A D (i.e., the year 1666 in the Julian Calendar) because he was believed to be the anti-Christ by many Catholics at that time.
Some claim 666 is the number of a man’s name. Some say this man’s name is Nero Caesar, while others say it refers to the infamous Roman Emperor known as Caligula (reigned 37-41 AD). And still others believe that 666 are actually the Hebrew gematria (a system of assigning numerical value to words) for Nero Redivivus; that is, “Nero who has come back” or “revived.”
There are other explanations too, but one thing seems certain: what John saw was not related to taxes, credit cards or computer codes since the beast stands for a person and his personal number or name says Paul Haarman. The Number 6 symbolizes Man in opposition to God because when Adam sinned he brought death into the world. For this reason, God’s people are symbolized by seven (the number that symbolizes perfection and completeness). Understandably then, six is use to describe the man in his state because of Adam’s sin—and it forms part of “Number of the Beast.”
The Number 6 Symbolizes Satan
Why would John use 666, which was commonly to represent Nero, when the much more obvious reference would have been to call him 588? This is not an idle question since he clearly knew about Nero. If so, why didn’t he say Nero instead of using a mysterious number? The answer lies in understanding what number 6 represents spiritually since it is mention repeatedly in Scripture especially with regards to Satan says Paul Haarman. We see this in the fact that six is one less than seven which completes our understanding of God’s perfect will.
Six is also use to symbolize rebellion against God just as five is use to symbolize grace and favor from God. For example, we see this when Moses struck a rock with his staff instead of speaking to it in Numbers 20:11. Hence, the Lord told him that “because you have not believed me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” In other words, because he failed to show faith and obey Him by simply speaking to the rock (which represented His Holy Spirit), so too would they lack faith and be unable to inherit the Promised Land.
The Beast is a Person
A person would be the one to bring God’s people into bondage because he desired glory for himself instead of submitting to God says Paul Haarman. Indeed, this was true since “Little Horn” came along and persecuted God’s people in an attempt to obtain ultimate supremacy over them by leading everyone astray with false teachings (Dan 7). And while he did not succeed at this end, he did get others to worship him during his reign over the holy land through his many deceptions—which John likely knew. Hence why he used 666 when referring to “the beast.” The number 6 represents man without faith or grace, which shows us that this word refers to a power antithetical to Christ i.e., against His will and purpose.