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There are a few reasons why 666 is the number of the beast.
Despite attempts to credit this to the devil, God is the One who is “in the details.” We see this truth clearly on the pages of Scripture. There are no wasted words with “the Word,” including the numbers in the Bible. One of the most unfortunate mistakes we could make would be glossing over those numbers as if they’re merely incidental. No, God is speaking to us in those numerical details.
It’s almost certainly no exaggeration to suggest that the most infamous number in all scripture is “666” (see Rev 13:18). Two foundational points need to be established to reach a deeper understanding of this biblical number. The FIRST issue is the symbolism or meaning of the number six. In Hebraic thought, six is the number of man (Adam was created on the sixth day) specifically, and the number of the whole of the physical realm generally. Man is the pinnacle of God’s creative work. Our physical world has three dimensions (length, width, and height), but each offers two possible directions (forward-backward, right-left, up-down), totaling six dimensions of physical reality.
And the SECOND issue to establish is the significance of repeating something three times. In Jewish thought, a three-fold repetition conveys something in an ultimate or superlative sense. The best example of this principle is found in Isaiah’s encounter with the awesome God. He saw seraphim standing above Adonai, and they called out to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy, is Adonai-Tzva’ot!
The whole earth is full of His glory.” (Isa 6:3)
If that angelic anthem expresses the Almighty’s utter holiness, the triplicate, “6-6-6” conveys that which is thoroughly human—devoid of spirit or any sense of the divine life. The story of creation begins with the words, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1 emphasis added). God designed heaven and earth to be connected, but “666” expresses a reality so thoroughly physical and natural that there is no connection to the life of God.
This connection to God is the quality that sets humans apart from the rest of creation. Unlike mere animals, humans can reflect and contemplate, considering the divine. This distinction exists because when God made mankind, He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7 KJV). Our souls open us up to a meaningful connection to God Himself. This dimension of our existence goes far beyond the merely physical—the imago Dei (“image of God”). Satan disdains God’s image in people and wants to strip it away, reducing us to animals. Hence, the book of Revelation refers to 666 as the “mark of the beast” (Rev 13:16-17).
In our contemporary society, ideologies like Secular Materialism and Atheism advance this beastly agenda, one that reduces human beings to spiritless animals whose existence has no real meaning or purpose. In place of the eternal riches offered by faith in God, 666 offers us a sensual world that pursues material pleasures. King Solomon’s downfall wasn’t just the number of wives he had, but his amassed treasure of gold. Scripture informs us that in one year, he received 666 talents of gold (1 Kings 10:14). His final words in Ecclesiastes are no shock, then:
“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,
“All is vanity.” (Eccl 12:8 NKJV)
We’re image bearers! We have the breath of God in us. The eyes of our spirit have been enlightened to see that there is so much more to this life than physical things. Like Abraham, we are “waiting for the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb 11:10). And in that city, everything associated with 666 is defeated! How do we know this? The street is paved with gold (Rev 21:21). The physical treasure that lured people into violence and greed is mere pavement “under our feet” (Rom 16:20) in that blessed city wherein the Lamb is our light.
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