666 Or The Mark Of The Beast

W. Terry Varner
December 3, 2017

While standing at a cash register waiting for the clerk to decide how much I owed for some items, the register totaled $6.66. As the total appeared, I thought amusingly to myself, “The Mark of the Beast.” The clerk turned and asked a nearby clerk “Is he?” Jokingly, I said, “I am.” Of course, neither knew what to say. She took my money, packaged my items, and I left the store as the two clerks whispered between themselves.

One of the more controversial texts in the Bible is: “Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six” (Rev. 13:18). Consider:

  1. “Here is wisdom” is a simple clause of which “wisdom” is the subject. It is preceded by the definite article “the” and emphasizes, in light of what has been taught, the need to apply common sense to understand what follows.
  2. “Let him that has understanding” means let him that has a mind to use, use it.
  3. “Count the number of the beast.” Count means “to count, to calculate, reckon” (Arndt and Gingrich, Lexicon 900).
  4. “For it is the number of a man.” Man is a genitive case noun and serves as the object of the preposition “of’ and does not refer to a specific man or individual, but to humanity or man in general.
  5. “And his number is six hundred threescore and six” or 666. John writes 666 in Greek letters and not in words—“Chi’” = 600. “Z” = 60. “S” = 6, therefore 666.

Are we to understand 666 literally or symbolically? Numbers in the Bible have different meanings and value. The study is known as numerology. For instance, the number “7” symbolizes completeness or perfection, especially when applied to the members of the Godhead. “7” minus “1” equals “6” which symbolizes imperfection or failure.

In interpretation, when a word or number is tripled, it is raised to the third power thereby intensifying its meaning. For example: the flying angel cried, “Woe, woe, woe” (Rev. 8:13) symbolizing the intensity of the last three woes (Rev. 9:-12, 13-21; 11:15-19) over the first four woes (Rev. 8:7, 8, 9-11,12). In the call of Isaiah, the angels cried, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY” (Isa. 6:3) as did the “living creatures” in John’s vision of the throne of God (Rev. 4:8). “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY” intensifies the perfection and holiness if God. In Jewish thought, the number “6” was the number for an omen of dread, doom, and failure. But, we ask dread, doom, and failure of WHAT? Examine the context of Revelation 13:18).

In Revelation 12, a great war arose between God and the Dragon. The Dragon is defeated and is called by a series of names: (1) “the old serpent,” (2) “the Devil,” (3) “Satan” (Rev. 12:9). In his defeat, Satan turned to “make war with the saints” (12:17; 13:7). In Satan’s war on the saints (God’s children), he enlists two allies: (1) "The Sea Beast” which symbolizes the worldly, ungodly, and anti-Christian governments and their rulers (13:1-10). (2) “The Earth Beast” symbolizing all systems of false religion. Behind both is Satan! What powerful foes to mount and use against God’s faithful children through the centuries dating from Adam and Eve.

Earlier, the saints are spoken of as having “seal of God in their foreheads” (7:3) meaning their actions, attitudes, and thoughts demonstrate God in their life. In Revelation 13:16-17, John speaks of those who receive “the mark of the beast.” The mark is not literal, but symbolical and describes the followers of the - beast as having the traits, attitudes, and thoughts of Satan.

Saints are commanded to be “faithful to death” (Rev. 2:10) by “keeping His works to the end” (Rev. 2:26). When we compromise our faith and devotion to God, we will fail and be eternally doomed. “666” symbolizes the complete and total failure of all human systems, governments of the world, and false religions in their opposition to God. Such destroys man in general and is a threat to the saints of God in particular.