What Does 666 (six hundred sixty-six) Mean? That is an important question. Let’s see what the Bible has to say. Six hundred and sixty-six is notorious as a symbol of evil, and superstitions have elevated it even more. But what does the Bible teach about this ominous number?
666 is the Number of a Person
A person called “the Beast” is associated with this number, and he is the Satanically empowered person who will appear after the rapture of the church and during the beginning of the tribulation. The tribulation is a future seven-year period when God’s wrath is poured out on earthdwellers (those who don’t believe in Jesus). He will oppose God and His people. The Holy Spirit’s presence with the Church is currently delaying his appearance: You can read Who is the Holy Spirit here.
“Only He (the Holy Spirit) who is now restraining him (the Beast) will do so until He (the Holy Spirit) is taken out of the way (at the rapture of the church). Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth, and destroy with the brightness of His presence, even him, whose coming is in accordance with the working of Satan with all power and signs and false wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:6-9).”
Numbers Like 666 in the Bible Often Have Symbolic Meanings
For example, the number seven signifies completeness. So, some Bible interpreters understand the number six to symbolize man not measuring up to God’s standards. These symbolic measurements hint at a tie-in with the number 666 from Revelation.
The Beast will also make a statue of gold in his image and place it in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem (Revelation 13:14-18).
The connection with history
Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image in Daniel 2 & 3 helps us understand the number 666 in Revelation (Rev 13:18). Nebuchadnezzar’s (King of Babylon circa 600 BC) dream in Daniel 2 revealed the pride in his heart–he ruled the known world! After his vision, Nebuchadnezzar had a golden statue made in his image (Dan 3:1). In the original Aramaic language, the Bible lists the statue’s measurements as 60 cubits (90 feet) in height and 6 cubits (9 feet) wide. He required all to bow down and pay homage to the image; if they did not, they were slain (Dan 3:5).
The call for wisdom
The Bible Links the Number 666 to the Image of the Beast
“This calls for wisdom: let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the Beast, for it is the number of a person. Its number is six hundred sixty-six (13:18).”
The connection with gold
God gave the following warnings to Israel’s future kings when they entered their Promised Land, Canaan:
“You shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman. … “He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself (Deuteronomy 17:15-17).”
Compare this passage to the account of Solomon’s (a king of Israel, King David’s son, who ruled about a thousand years before Jesus appeared) wealth in 1 Kings 10:14. Obviously, Solomon disobeyed God’s commands against accumulating wives and gold:
“Now the weight of gold which came in to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold” (1 Kgs 10:14).”
And the following eleven verses in 1 Kings detail even more of Solomon’s riches in gold.
The connection with wisdom
Notice that the number of talents is not a rounded number. It seems too specific and coincidental; it was meant to attract attention. Maybe the Holy Spirit meant us to notice this and use wisdom when He used the same number again?
Remember, the number of the man, the Beast, in Revelation 13:18 is six hundred sixty-six (666).
The correspondence between Solomon’s gold, Nebuchadnezzar’s statue of gold, its measurements, and its worship is intriguing. This will be important for God’s people to know in the tribulation.
The connection with worship
This future Beast is also known as the Antichrist. Revelation thirteen tells us that all except God’s people will worship the Beast. People won’t be able to buy or sell unless they have his mark, his name, or his number on their right hand or forehead. The Beast places this mark where it’s difficult to hide. Without this mark, “No one was allowed to buy or sell things unless he bore the mark of the beast—that is, his name or his number” (Rev 13:17).“
If a person doesn’t have this mark, the authorities will deny them what they need to survive.
Note: As with salvation, people only receive this mark willingly.
God Warns His People Not to Take His Mark nor Worship the Beast
And taking his mark is giving him worship. In the middle of the tribulation the Beast will set up a golden image of himself in the rebuilt temple. When he does that, he profanes the temple, and people can no longer worship the true God until it’s cleansed and rededicated.
Note: The Jews will reintroduce temple sacrifices and a Jewish religious system during the seven year tribulation, after Jesus raptures His Church (He takes His church home).
“If anyone worships the Beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the Beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus (Revelation 17:9-12).“
The connection with the tribulation years
The Beast and his number won’t be revealed until after the Church is raptured to heaven. But, in the future, God’s people will need to know these teachings about the Beast and his number to help them stay faithful.
Meanwhile, Jesus commands Christians to stay alert and look and praying for Jesus to return (Mark 13:32-37):
“He (Jesus) who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20).”
If you are an “earthdweller,” please know, Jesus satisfied God’s wrath by sacrificing Himself, by dying on the cross. He promises that the person who believes in Him has eternal life. And God—who cannot lie—promises to never take it away.
We invite you to learn more about Jesus and his sacrifice for you by watching the GREAT NEWS FOR YOU Video on this page.