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Count the Number of the Beast: His Number Is 666

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Does the Bible Say the Number of the Antichrist Is 666?


One key element to understanding the biblical book of Revelation is dismissing popular messages put forth in movies and “Christian” fiction that might or might not be in agreement with what the Bible says. Unfortunately, some of those messages have led to erroneous popular beliefs such as the thought that the one man known as the antichrist is who will rise to set up an evil worldwide government. The Bible reveals that “antichrist” refers to a spirit (1 John 2:22, 4:3, 2 John 7). That spirit can be, and is in a multitude of people...not just one man. First John 2:18 says, “Ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there MANY antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” The international evil ruler will certainly have the spirit of antichrist just like the masses who will follow him. However, unlike the masses, the Bible reveals that he is actually a beast. In the spirit realm he is an actual beast. In the natural realm he is a man. The Bible tells us to count the number of the beast, not the number of the antichrist. Yes, there is a difference, because anyone can be an antichrist. But that does not make him or her a beast--with an identifying number of 666.

There Are Two Beasts, Not Just One


Now that we know the man with the spirit of antichrist who will persecute saints worldwide is actually a beast, we must also keep in mind that he's not the only beast to have international dominion and power. The Bible says there is a second beast. But to which one does the Bible refer when it speaks of the mark of the beast? When we're told to count the number of the beast, which one has the number six hundred threescore and six (666)? Before answering these questions, let's take a brief look at the harrowing description of the first beast.

“I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” (Revelation 13:1-2).

“Seat” refers to the throne the dragon will give him. To sit on the throne is to be in power. And this first beast will have great authority over all the earth. Now the Bible tells us there is a second beast who also has great power. But he is not called a ruler, nor are we told that he seeks worship of himself. He works very closely with the first beast. And like the first beast, he is a man also. The Bible calls him a false prophet. Just like there are many people with the spirit of antichrist, yet they are not beasts; there are many false prophets (2 Peter 2:1, 1 John 4:1). However, they're not beasts like the false prophet of Revelation is.

“I beheld ANOTHER beast coming up out of the earth. And he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the FIRST beast before him, and causeth the earth...to worship the first beast... And he does great wonders...and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles... And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads. And that no man might buy or sell save he that had the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Revelation 13:11-17).

God's Word tells us that the second beast is the false prophet. We read, “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him.” (Revelation 19:20). Remember, it is the second beast who worked miracles--demonic miracles to deceive the earth. He is called the false prophet. We just read that he causes the masses to take the mark of the beast. Therefore, when we speak of the mark of the beast, we're referring to the FIRST beast, not to the second one. This is important, because it is the first beast of whom it is written, “count the number of the beast...his number is 666).

What Could the Bible Mean By “Count the Number of the Beast”?


We know that so-called Bible scholars and practitioners of numerology have attempted to count the number of the beast by calculating the numerical value of the letters in a person's name. More than once they have arrived at 666, yet that person, though antichrist, was not the beast of Revelation--a figure who has not yet been revealed. Following instructions from God's Word should not lead to guessing games like the “predictions” of who the Antichrist, or more accurately the first beast, is. Should we as Christians preoccupy ourselves with numerical values of letters for the purpose of predicting who the beast is through mathematical calculations to arrive at 666? The book of Revelation contains prophecies yet to be fulfilled. Therefore, we do not believe that anyone understands one hundred percent of the entire book. Nevertheless, we do believe understanding of the Scripture that tells us to count the number of the beast has been misunderstood as evidenced by the repeated failed attempts to identify the son of perdition, also known as the man of sin (the beast).

Yes, letters have numerical value. Those of us educated in the West were taught Roman numerals. For example, X has a value of ten. The Roman empire was a superpower during the time the New Testament was written, so it's natural to think that “count the number of the beast” is telling us to calculate the numerical value of his name. And when it adds up to 666, you have your man. But, more than one evil ruler and antichrist can have a name that equals 666. Our Savior was not the only One named Jesus. There were other men named Jesus in His day, and there are millions with that name today. The name a person has obviously does not tell us who he or she really is.

Revelation 13:18 says, “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.” Notice that the scripture says two things:

1. “Here is WISDOM.”
2. “Let him that hath UNDERSTANDING...”

We do not need wisdom to do simple calculations. We need only know arithmetic. And why does scripture say “let him that hath understanding count the number”? If we are to do mathematical calculations to arrive at 666, why does scripture not say, “Let him that hath understanding of alphabets with letters to which numerical values have been assigned count the number of the beast”? Are we to think that the Bible is telling us to study Roman numerals, Hebrew, Latin, and Greek just to figure out who the beast is? We do not believe so. We do not believe the Bible is telling us to literally start calculating the numerical value of various names of evil men to see if one might be the beast. Let us explain why.

The Spirit of God moved upon His prophets of the Old Testament to foretell the birth of Israel's Messiah, and Savior for the rest of the world. The Bible lets us know these prophets, though they had the Spirit of the Messiah in them, did not understand the grace He would usher in, nor could they figure out what His name would be. We read, “...Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you; searching what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:10-11).

And we read, “Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and WHAT IS HIS SON'S NAME, IF THOU CANST TELL?” (Proverbs 30:4)

If the name of the unknown beast has a number, wouldn't the name of the then unknown Messiah have also had a number...maybe something like 777? And if John in Revelation 13:17-18 is telling us to calculate the numerical value of the beast's name, why weren't Old Testaments saints told to calculate the name of the Messiah before He was born? In the scriptures we never see God's people being told to use calculations to arrive at important answers. We do not see them using numerology to decode predictions. God's people are given prophecies, which serve as the signs we must watch. Only a very short time before the Messiah was born did the world learn that His name is Jesus. However, the prophecies had already identified Him. Those with wisdom and understanding could confidently say something like, “I've taken into account all the prophecies surrounding the Messiah. And in this baby named JESUS are they all fulfilled to the letter.” The people could even continue to watch Jesus as an adult from the onset of His ministry to His death on the cross, and watch the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning Him. Using wisdom and understanding as they watched allowed them to count up all the prophecies of the prophesied Messiah, and attribute them to Christ.

Revelation 13:18 speaks of using wisdom and understanding, not calculations, to count the number of the beast. God's Word has given us prophecies concerning the beast, mistakenly referred to as the Antichrist. Add up the prophecies and you will know when the beast is on the scene, regardless of his name. As we mentioned earlier, many men were named Jesus. But only in One Jesus were the Old Testament prophecies fulfilled. Likewise, there have been and will be many evil men with the spirit of antichrist, but only in one man will all of the following prophecies be fulfilled:

1. He will be miraculously healed (Rev. 13:3).

2. He'll blaspheme God, God's name, and God's tabernacle (Rev. 13:6).

3. He'll make war against the saints, and he'll overcome them (Rev. 13:7).

4. Everyone on earth whose names are not written in the Book of life will worship him (Rev. 13:8).

5. He has an image unto which life will be given. And the image will speak
and order the death of those who won't worship him (Rev. 13:15).

6. He has a mark and a number of his name (Rev. 13:17).

7. There's a false prophet who causes the earth to worship him, and does great demonic signs and wonders (Rev, 13:12-13, 16:13-14).

8. No one can buy or sell without his mark, name, or number on their forehead or right hand (Rev. 13:16).
Note: Some teach that the mark of the beast is not a visible mark, but rather the figurative mark of being in league with the beast. This does not sound logical in light of the fact that the mark will allow or disallow a person from doing financial transactions. In a world with a steadily growing population who's going to take the time to ask every one, “Do you serve the beast or Jesus?” Showing some type of visible mark will be the most efficient way of handling transactions in a speedy manner--much like we show identification.

Numbers are often used in a figurative sense to refer to using wisdom and understanding. We often COUNT UP the cost of something. We put TWO and TWO together. We say, “add it up, and what do you get?” Well, the Bible is not void of such use of words. Jesus said, “Which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” (Luke 14:28).

But What about the Specific Number of Six Hundred Threescore and Six?


We might legitimately ask why the specific number of 666 was supplied if we're not supposed to literally count the number of the beast. We're plainly told, “It is the number of a man. And his number is six hundred threescore and six.” (Rev. 13:18).

Numbers and the calculation of numbers played, and still play an important role in astrology, numerology, and all forms of the occult and paganism. It has been discovered that pagans assigned numbers to their gods, and used numbers to represent them. For example, the “magic square” of the sun god, or the god of the sky was a square used in antiquity. It contained six columns and six rows. Each box contained a number from 1 to 36. The square is "magic" because the sum of any row, column, or diagonal equals 111. The number 111 multiplied by 6 is 666. So, the sum of the “magic” square represented the god of the sky, or the sun god whose number is/was 666. The sun god was the supreme god, and those who worshiped him did not necessarily think of him as the devil, but as the supreme god. Is this not exactly what the beast will do? He will demand worship as the only supreme god. The symbolism behind 666 in representation of the supreme god is not a very familiar concept to many of us who are not well learned in the ways the dark arts use numbers to point to gods. Who is the supreme god of this world? The Bible says that Satan is the god of the present world (2 Corinthians 4:4).

What does the Bible call Satan? He is called the dragon. It's interesting to note that dragons are considered supreme power in mythology. What's more is that supreme forces and gods, such as the Aztec sun god Quetzalcoatl, are depicted as dragons that often appear in the sky. In the occult world, they can be represented by 666--supreme idol god. And in the book of Revelation, where does the dragon appear? In the sky.

“And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.” (Rev. 12:3-4).

Remember, we learned that the beast, whose number is 666, received his power from the dragon--the supreme god of evil who opposes the Lord Jesus and His saints. We believe John is simply telling us to count up the facts and the prophecies. They add up to the worship of the supreme god of this world to whom many pagans assigned the number 666.

Note: Some teach that the mark of the beast is not a visible mark, but rather the figurative mark of being an ally to the beast. This does not sound logical in light of the fact that the mark will permit or disallow someone from carrying out financial transactions. In a world where the population is continually growing, who's going to take the time to ask everyone, “Do you serve the beast or Jesus?” Only a VISIBLE mark would be the most efficient way of handling financial transactions quickly, as is the case when we show our ID.


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