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Revelations 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 important point being that it's not the number of satan, as most people believe. It's the number of a man.
The number 666 is one of many codes included in the Apocalypse of Saint John or Revelation.

In Jewish apocalyptic literature, 7 is the number of God that represents perfection. The number 6, one less then 7, is used to stand for evil, the devil, or some kind of evil force. The number 3 or the tripling of something stands for completion or consummation; thus, 666--a tripled 6--represents the consummate evil.

But the use of 666 in Revelation is not coincidental. Classical Greek used letters to stand for numbers, but each letter corresponds to a number. Thus, one could take any Greek word and easily interpret its numerical value. Apparently, the name "Nero Caesar," when written in Greek characters, adds up to the number 666. The beast of Revelation is none other than Emperor Nero, whose persecution of Christians was so severe that it was condemned by writers who were not at all sympathetic to Christianity itself.

In biblical prophesy it is said that when The Beast appears he will order every soul on earth to receive his mark, his identifying sign or signature in their foreheads or right hands. No one will be able to buy and sell without first accepting the mark. That will be economic sanctions on a scale the world has never known. There is speculation that the mark - 666 - will come in the form of:

  • An invisible, coded tattoo, discernible only by high-tech equipment or some kind of X-ray.
  • The diabolic brand mark of an evil spirit.
  • A computerized society in which all business transactions will be done by credit cards.
  • A silicon identity chip inserted under the skin. etc. etc.
Those people who accept the mark will be in major trouble with God.

This is my 666th writeup, so I thought the topic appropriate. I found this info at http://webhome.idirect.com/~maderm/sermon28.html after a quick search on google.

hexakosioi hexekonta hex. - Rev 13:18

That is, 666. This is the way I was taught the numerology of it:

Six is man's number. (Man was created on the sixth day according to Genesis 1.) Seven is God's number. (God rested on the seventh day, Gen 2; plus a whole lot of "seven" references since then.) Because man is fallen and God is perfect, six and seven also become references to imperfection and perfection respectively. (But that's not important here.) Three is also a number related to God: it means the Trinity, for one.

Three sixes, "666", are said to represent a man (six) trying to be God (three). This goes with the context of the passage:

I saw another Beast rising out of the ground. It had two horns like a lamb but sounded like a dragon when it spoke. It was a puppet of the first Beast, made earth and everyone in it worship the first Beast, which had been healed of its deathblow.

This second Beast worked magical signs, dazzling people by making fire come down from Heaven. It used the magic it got from the Beast to dupe earth dwellers, getting them to make an image of the Beast that received the deathblow and lived. It was able to animate the image of the Beast so that it talked, and then arrange that anyone not worshiping the Beast would be killed. It forced all people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to have a mark on the right hand or forehead. Without the mark of the name of the Beast or the number of its name, it was impossible to buy or sell anything.

Solve a riddle: Put your heads together and figure out the meaning of the number of the Beast. It's a human number: six hundred sixty-six.

Rev 13:11-18, the Message translation

The idea of 666 as meaning a man trying to be God is also visible in the "anti" in Antichrist, from Greek anti meaning "against" or "in place of".

Some, mostly Protestants, associate the first beast ("the" beast) with the papacy. For example, the pope's title, "Vicarius Christi", which means vicar of Christ, "vicar" from Latin vicarius meaning "substitute". Some point to fulfillments of prophecies in Revelation, and some add up one of the pope's archaic, unofficial titles: "Vicarius Filii Dei" (vicar of the Son of God) which, in Roman numerals adds up to the number of the beast, 666.

I think the argument about the origin of the number 666 being DCLXVI in Roman numerals would make a certain amount of sense if it weren't for one thing: the book of Revelation was written in Greek, not Latin.

The oldest decryption of this verse takes a similar approach, though. It dates back to the second century, when Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp who was in turn a disciple of John the Apostle (the author of Revelation), used the Greek system of using letters to stand for numbers to decode 666 as Lateinos:

  L =  30
  A =   1
  T = 300
  E =   5
  I =  10
  N =  50
  O =  70
  S = 200
...Lateinos being the Greek spelling of Latinus, the reputed founder of the Latin race. Since Latin was, of course, the official language of the Roman Church, Irenaeus took this to mean that the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church was to be the mysterious beast.

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