What Does 666 Mean? A Bible Study

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

What does the number 666 in Revelation mean?  Who is the dragon?  Who is the Beast and what is the mark of the beast?

The book of Revelation is an enigma to many.  In the first place it is not the Revelation of the Apostle John.  It is Jesus Christ’s revelation to John who in turn recorded it for our sakes.  Revelation 1:1-2 says that it is “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him [John] to show his servants [the church] what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.” So the book of Revelation is not of human origin and this includes the Apostle John – it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ given to John. But what is this mark of the beast and the number 666 speaking about in Revelation chapter 13?

The Dragon

Revelation 13:1 says that “The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.”  The dragon is none other than Satan himself.  He is called a dragon many times in the Bible.  In Revelation 20:2 this is made clear: “He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.”

The Beast

The beast combines features from four beasts (Dan. 7:1-8, 17-27) and represents idolatrous kingdoms.  The beast could also represent the Antichrist.  Now several antichrists are mentioned by John in his letters (1 John 2:18, 2 John 1:7).  But there is a difference between antichrists (small “a”) and the Antichrist (capital “A”).  The antichrist (small “a”) is anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ and is God as John says in 2 John 1:7, “I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.”  And in 1 John 2:18, “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.”  Since there are “many antichrists” coming, this means that this is not the antichrist John mentions in Revelation 13.  This is understood to be true because many antichrists had already come in John’s day (2 John 2:18).

The Antichrist has also been called the “man of lawlessness” or sin and is mentioned by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-11 where he speaks of the last days just before Christ‘s return, “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters,  not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come.  Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness [sin] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God [see Revelation 13:4 & 8].  Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 1and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.”

The “one who now holds it back” I believe is the Holy Spirit and the Spirit must be taken out of the way, with what most believe will be the church’s rapture, before the man of sin (or the Antichrist) is revealed.  Satan is the power behind this beast which could be an end-times ruler of evil and darkness (Rev 13:2).  This beast will have such power that he will control the world’s market and the ability for anyone to purchase or sell anything (Rev 13:17).

666 – The Mark of the Beast

The beast apparently can control who can and cannot buy and sell.  If they do not have the beast’s mark, then they have no power to buy or sell since “It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads” (Rev 13:16).   This mark was “so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man [literally the number of humanity]. That number is 666” (Rev 13:17-18).   The number 666 falls one short of God’s number of perfection which is 7.  This number is like a false trinity of sinful origin and reflects an imperfection times three.

Many people have falsely had the number 666 assigned to someone or others by using the old Roman Numerals system where X = 10, V = 5 and so on.  Over the years many have tried to take the letters of human leader’s names and total their numbers to six hundred and sixty-six. These attempts have obviously been wrong.  They ascribed this mark or number to various Popes, to Hitler, and to Rome itself (in the manner using “Latin Man”) but to no avail.  The number 666 may simply be a number like everyone has for their Social Security card or their driver’s license and this same number will need to be memorized (thus on their forehead) or be implanted in their hand somewhere (Rev 13:16).  No one is certain about this but the number is of human origin.  The main thing is that the number 666 is anti-Christ or anti-God and is supremely carnal and sinful.  The source of this number and all evil in the world is Satan or the Devil (Rev 12:9).

Because the Bible reveals so little about the number 666 it is unwise for me to speculate.  The important thing is that anyone who is not Christ’s is susceptible to this beast and the Antichrist but those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life have nothing to fear from the beast nor anything to worry about the number 666 and having the mark of the beast be on them (Rev 13:8).

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What Are the Gifts of the Spirit?

Does the Bible Say What Satan Looks Like?

Should Christians Get Tattoos?


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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Ngohnai June 12, 2016 at 1:52 pm

I am really confuse and worried… What exactly is 666 today? Is it the social security card or unique identity card?


Jack Wellman June 12, 2016 at 3:29 pm

It is the number of man but the bottom line is for all who have turned to God and trusted in Christ will be saved. Those who fear God have no need to fear man. It is not the Soc. Security number, no.


lucky patcher apk July 25, 2016 at 10:15 pm

I really really love your writing style. keep moving bro.


John Owoniyi August 27, 2016 at 10:25 am

Yeah!….. You may be right to some extent; but what i think and feel about it has to do with our individual phone and it’s number. Because everyone is addicted to it . It’s make us far away from family and God.
We can buy, sell, banking, booking and through our phone our location can be detected by Google and other devices.


imelda August 27, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Jack, will God’s children be alrdy rapture by the time 666 is imposed for buying and selling? Else plenty will die of hunger because we refuse the mark right ?


Jack Wellman August 27, 2016 at 1:53 pm

Hello Imelda and thank you for your question. God has not appointed us unto wrath and we know that the Bible says that our children are sanctified, so I can’t see children going through this. I think Jesus comes for all who believe in Him, and since children may not be at the age of accountability (whatever that age is), they will not have to face this tribulation.


jeff schon August 27, 2016 at 4:04 pm

These are scary times for the unsaved. But for the believers we should not be scared, but be a light in the dark.


SPD August 27, 2016 at 9:35 pm

things seem to be really tough for the believers to be survived…
well what do you mean by big “A” then ?


MasterChief August 28, 2016 at 2:37 am

Heywell I got a ? That I will ask who gave the devil the number 666 because I’m trying to understand who gave him that number and I know that God is the only one who knows why they gave the devil the number 666


subhash k.r August 28, 2016 at 2:51 am

Praise the Lord God Bless You
In the name of JESUS
Thank you for your Explaination we learn more about 666.


John C. Brooks August 28, 2016 at 1:28 pm

But the number is not 666. It is six hundred, three score, and six. You CAN add them up to a total of 666, but nowhere does it tell you to do so. If the number is an identification number, it is unlikely it would be a 3 digit number. That could only acomodate 999 people, and no population on earth is that small. Consider six hundred, three score, and six as a social security number:
600-60-0006. Whatever ID system is in place at the time, the Biblical number will probably fit better than 666. God knows what He is doing.


Walter August 28, 2016 at 2:01 pm

Focusing on prophecy mostly produces Fear (wrong kind), and weird theology. Been there, done that. Keeping it simple, judgment will be about: if we know & are walking with Jesus.
The “antichrist” is not mentioned in Revelation anywhere, big or little “A”, only in the letters of John. Besides, there are are no capital letters in the Greek NT. Popular prophecy theology does not make accurate Biblical interpretation.


Becky August 28, 2016 at 9:50 pm

Hello Mr. Wellman!
I had a brief question concerning the last paragraph of this article. What do you mean by “those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life have nothing to fear from the beast nor anything to worry about the number 666 and having the mark of the beast be on them (Rev 13:8).” I’m just seeking some clarification, because I like I’m misunderstanding what you mean by saying “having the mark on them”. Thank you for your time!



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