What is the meaning of the number 666?

Q: I’m a teenager, 14 years old, and I live in Mexico City. My question is: What exactly is the meaning of the number 666? I’m asking because the number doesn’t mean anything bad. — Carylen

A: Dear Carylen, you’re right that the number 666 in and of itself doesn’t mean anything bad. Sometimes something might cost 666 pesos, or someone’s address or phone number might contain the numbers “666.” I’m sure you can think of many more examples.

In the Bible however, we find a place where “666” does have significance. In Revelation chapter 13, we read about two interesting beasts. It’s important to keep in mind that Revelation is a book filled with symbols, so when it’s talking about beasts here, the “beasts” symbolize something, rather than being actual animals. So Revelation 13:1 describes a strange-looking beast with seven heads and ten horns. Verses 2-8 continue describing this beast and tells about some of the terrible things that it does.

Then in verse 11 we read about another beast that comes up out of the earth (rather than the sea), and has two horns like a lamb, but speaks like a dragon. Of course, just like the first beast, this isn’t a real animal. It’s a symbol for something. Verses 12-17 describe the terrible things that this lamb-like beast will do.

It’s interesting that in the final verse of Revelation 13 we find an identifying clue for the first beast: “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 sixty and six” (vs. 18).

So the Bible tells us that this number — 666 — is the number of a man, symbolized by the first beast. Notice that “666” is not the “mark of the beast,” but is an identifier — something that helps us to identify who or what that beast is.

To learn more about this very important topic I recommend that you visit the It Is Written Bible studies at https://studies.itiswritten.com/certainty/. There you can find easy to follow Bible studies, including one specifically about the number 666 (Lesson #26).

Remember that God gives a wonderful blessing to those who read the book of Revelation. “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near” (Rev. 1:3, NKJV).