Number of the Beast
The Number of the Beast, or Mark of the Beast, is a mysterious phrase used in Revelation:
|“||This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.||”|
Meaning of the Number
According to the Futurist interpretation of the Book of Revelation it is a mark that will be forced upon the citizens of the world by the government of the Antichrist. The penalty for not accepting the number is either death, persecution, or a lack of financial security. Those who do accept it however, will suffer eternal damnation (Revelation 20:4 "the second death"). According to the Book of Revelation:
|“||And it will cause all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the bond, to have a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and it will bring it about that no one may be able to buy or sell, except him who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of its name.||”|
The Number of the Beast has been commonly used in popular culture, for example in The Omen series of movies. Some people interested in Bible prophecy have pointed to many parallels between the modern economy (such as the use of bar codes and RFID tags) and the potential for a system such as the one described in the book of Revelation.
Many prophecy teachers regard the meaning of the number to represent the timing of when the identity of the Antichrist is revealed. Since most scholars regard the Abomination of Desolation as the point in time in which the Antichrist is revealed, they postulate that Isaiah 66:6 could denote the Abomination of Desolation, since the verse denotes the commotion within the Temple in Jerusalem. The number 666 refers to the numerical denotion of the verse. The verse reads:
"Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple! It is the sound of the LORD repaying his enemies all they deserve."(Isaiah 66:6)
Starting with Isaiah 66:1 and reading through the chapter, one might consider the reason behind the Abomination of Desolation: The Jews are reverting to the old practice of sacrificing animals- when in actuality, the Mosaic Law was fulfilled in the Atonement of Christ. The Jews have denied Christ and are worshiping in the newly rebuilt temple. In other words, God is using the Antichrist to punish the people for denying his Son, Jesus Christ.
Interestingly, Arabic numbers (1,2,3,4,5,6...) were not added in the Bible until the invention of the printing press, but the letters of Roman numerals were the standard form of numbers in hand copied western manuscripts (I,II,III,IV,V, VI.../ i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi...), and later for chapter number headings in printed books, for example in older King James Bibles printed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and in tables of content in books and for designating major headings in outlines of written material. In Hebrew and Greek Bibles, all the letters of the alphabet−which also have numerical values−are used as chapter and verse numbers.
VICARIUS FILII DEI
According to the Seventh-Day Adventist author of the article, "False Religions: List of Catholic Heresies and Human Traditions Adopted and Perpetuated by the Roman Catholic Church in the course of 1600 years", compiled by Rev. Stephen L. Testa, the number of the Beast 666 is the number of the title VICARIUS FILII DEI "Vicar of the Son of God".
However, the name of the woman who started Seventh-Day Adventism, Ellen Gould White, in Latin characters, calculated by the value of Latin characters as Roman numerals, also adds up to 666:
- E = 0 — L = 50 — L = 50 — E = 0 — N = 0: = 100
G = 0 — O = 0 — U = 5 — L = 50 — D = 500: = 555 (Latin V is U as in DIVS JVLIVS CÆSAR Dios Julius Caesar)
W = 10 — H = 0 — I = 1 — T = 0 — E = 0: = 11 (Latin W is "double-U" UU - VV = 5+5 = 10)
100 + 555 + 11 = 666 — Ellen=100, Gould=555, White=11.
Many names and titles total 666. The identity of the Beast of Revelation cannot be established or proven with any certainty by gematria alone. Revelation 13:18 was written in Greek, not Latin, and the numerical value of the Greek letters of the transliterated Latin NRWN QSR (NiRoN QaiSaR), or Neron Caesar, also totals 666, but the Greek letter equivalent transliteration of VICARIUS FILII DEI does not (it totals 1723).
- “This famous number  has been made to yield almost all the historical names of the past eighteen centuries: Titus, Vespasian, and Simon Giroas; Julian the Apostate and Genseric; Mohamet and Luther; Benedict IX and Louis XV; Napoleon I and the Duke of Reichstadt; and it would not be difficult, on the same principles to read in it one another’s names” (Vincent, Word Studies, vol.11, p.531)—Reuss, "The Secret of the Number 666"
This raises the question of which (if any!) of the more than 200 popes was or is in fact the "man of sin", the "antichrist" and the "beast of Revelation" whose number is the number of a man (one man)—666. And since according to the text of the Bible it is a man, one man, a particular individual, it cannot be an organization or institution represented or headed by a multiplicity of men, or an indefinite succession of men. (See multiple versions of Revelation 13:18 and interlinear text of Revelation 13:18.)
However, the Revised Standard Version reads Revelation 13:18 as "...it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six." The Greek grammar of the chapter allows such a reading.
Compare commentaries on 1 John 2:18, 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and Revelation 13:18.
- Revelation 13:18, ESV.
- In some translations the number is 616 rather than 666.
- Crossway Bibles. ESV Study Bible (Kindle Locations 330753-330754). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
- Revelation 13: 16-18
- Relfe, Mary S. When Your Money Fails, 1981
- Relfe, Mary S. The New Money System, 1982.
- The first heresy that Pastor Testa lists is "Wax candles introduced into the church" in the year 320. The selective use of Proof texts in the article is a classic example of Confirmation bias for the purpose of Polemic.
- VICARIUS — V upsilon Υ = 400 — I iota Ι = 10 — C kappa Κ = 20 — A alpha Α = 1 — R rho Ρ = 100 — I iota Ι = 10 — U upsilon Υ = 400 — S sigma Σ = 200: = 1141
FILII — F phi/fee Φ = 500 — I iota Ι = 10 — L lambda Λ = 30 — I iota Ι = 10 — I iota Ι = 10: = 560
DEI — D delta Δ = 4 — E eta Η = 8 — I iota Ι = 10: = 22
1141 + 560 + 22 = 1723
- Greek and Hebrew Alphabets with Numeric Equivalents by Matt Slick - CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (carm.org)
- False Religions: List of Catholic Heresies and Human Traditions Adopted and Perpetuated by the Roman Catholic Church in the course of 1600 years, By Rev. Stephen L. Testa (jesus-is-savior.com).
- What is the Meaning of 666? - CRI Christian Research Institute (equip.org) This article is from Hank Hanegraaff, The Complete Bible Answer Book—Collector’s Edition (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004)
- John Tng (21 May 2009) Revelation 13:18 Decoded: The 666 riddle solved! The author's demonstration by numbers that the Beast is Barack Hussein Obama.
- Gematria in Scripture - Agape Bible Study (agapebiblestudy.com) The author's demonstration by numbers that the Beast is Nero.
- Sickle of Truth - Revelation 17 (sickleoftruth.com) A demonstration by the author that no one individual could possibly be the Beast 666, but rather that the Beast is instead the whole of the Roman Catholic Church. — "The following view of Chapter 17 is one which I personally believe to be the most scripturally sound; it is taken primarily from the “New Albany Notes on Revelation” along with excerpts from Brother Frank Shallieu’s work “The Keys to Revelation” ... Note also that this is NOT Papacy riding the beast."
VICARIUS FILII DEI 666, The Number of the Beast (biblelight.net) In this article, Greek Paradosis "Tradition" also adds up to 666—which makes Paul's word in 2 Thessalonians 2:17 a command to us to "stand firm and hold to the" Beast! (See 2 Peter 3:15-18)
- The So-called "Great Apostasy" Has Already Come to Pass! But it did not happen when non-Catholics claim it happened. And Holy Scripture teaches that it could not be the Church which Jesus Christ founded. (thecatholictreasurechest.com) The author's demonstration from scripture and the history of the Reformation that the "man of sin" was Martin Luther, who set himself above God's authority. — "Apostates in criticizing the Word of GOD are in fact setting themselves up as critics of GOD Himself. Martin Luther is guilty of criticizing the Word of GOD by removing Old Testament books from the Bible and writing against several New Testament books such as James, and Revelation."