Tag Archives: Revelation

Edification From Revelation: What Does “666” Really Mean?? (Part 3)

Yesterday I wrote Part 1 of a study on the biblical meaning of 666, and earlier today I wrote Part 2 which delved into the biblical meaning behind the symbolism of the two beasts mentioned in Revelation 13.  This final article will focus on determining the meaning behind the symbolic number itself.  Before starting it I highly advise you to read Parts 1 and 2 first, as they bring up biblical facts and principles which are needed to properly understand the true meaning behind 666.

To understand the meaning behind 666, it’s important to first understand how numbers are used in Revelation.  Remember that Revelation announces itself as “signified” from the get-go (Rev. 1:1), a book filled with signs and symbolism.  Thus, it must be understood that the numbers found within the book have figurative meanings and should not be taken literally.

Most of the numbers in Revelation are figuratively used as a description of something rather than as having an absolute numerical value.  We can determine the proper usage of many of the numbers by studying how they were used elsewhere in the Bible.  For example, a biblical study of how “12” was used symbolically throughout the Bible helps us understand that the 144,000 of Revelation 7 is not talking about a literal 144,000 people, but rather symbolically was used to describe the entire population of the redeemed from the earth.

We understand that this means Republican vs. Democrat...but would people understand that 2,000 years from now?
We understand that this means Republican vs. Democrat…but would people understand that 2,000 years from now?

The Christians of the first century A.D. probably had a better understanding of these numbers than we do some 2,000 years later.  Today, many Americans who follow politics can see a comic strip on the editorial page of any newspaper depicting a donkey and an elephant in a boxing match and immediately know that the picture symbolizes the political war between the Democratic Party and Republican Party.  Yet, imagine if God grants us another two thousand years and some archaeologist comes along and discovers that same cartoon.  Without doing research into what the donkey and the elephant commonly symbolized in 20th-21st century America, any deductions he would make about the picture would undoubtedly be erroneous, especially if he took it literally.  In like manner, we would be wise to research how the people of John’s day looked at numbers.

In those ancient times, language was primitive and the vocabulary was not nearly as extensive as it is today.  Thus, one word or term sometimes had many diverse meanings.  Under these types of conditions, men naturally came to use numbers like we use words today.  As a result, numbers came to have a certain descriptive meaning just as words do.  We do this today to a certain extent in our language.  For example, how many tend to associate the number 13 with being unlucky?

How did they look at 666?  Breaking it down even more, how did they look at the number “6” back then?

To answer this, let’s first recognize that 6 falls short of 7.  It’s 7 minus 1.  Why is this significant?

Back then, “7” was the number that symbolized perfection, purity, and completeness.  The Word of God was called “pure” while being compared to “silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times” (Ps. 12:6).  God rested on the seventh day, which was after he had completed the creation of the world and universe (Gen. 2:1-2).  Jesus commanded that forgiveness was to be done “seventy times seven” times (Matt. 18:21-22), which was his way of saying that we are to completely and perfectly forgive each other.

6 falls short of 7.  With this in mind, let me ask you something.

What is the literal definition of the word “sin”?  Answer: it literally means “to fall short, to miss the mark.”

Who sins?  Answer:  men sin (Rom. 3:23).

When was man created?  Answer:  on the sixth day (Gen. 1:26-31).

Look at this passage from Proverbs:

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him.”

Proverbs 6:16

Does God hate only six sins, only seven sins?  No, he’s using the numbers symbolically here.  He’s purposefully associating the number 6 with sin and the number 7 with completeness to signify how he completely hates all sin.

What does all this show us?  The Christians of John’s day, the original readers of Revelation, would have considered the number 6 to be evil, to be associated with sin, to be associated with man.  When they encountered this number, they would associate evil with whatever that number was represented with.

That’s why John says that 666 is “the number of a man” (Rev. 13:18).  Yet, let’s get even more specific.  In the original Greek, it doesn’t say “the number of A man.”  It actually says, “the number of man,” as in mankindArithmos (number) anthropos (man).  The Greek word anthropos literally defines humanity, not a specific male person.

Therefore, 666 is the number of mankind, humanity.  Why?  Because 6 was symbolic of man.  It was biblically symbolic of the sin and evil of man.

It’s very important that we remember this, because it changes the whole way people interpret 666.  People read in their English Bibles that 666 is the number of A man,” and so they begin trying to figure out WHICH man it is.  Is it Nero?  Is it another Roman emperor?  Is it Napoleon?  Is it Hitler?  Is it bin Laden?

But that’s not what the verse was actually saying.  The verse was actually saying that 666 was the number that symbolized mankind in general.  It symbolized humanity and the evil of humanity.

Do you see how this changes the entire way one goes about interpreting the verse?  No longer are we looking for a specific person, but now we see that God is figuratively talking about all of humanity when he mentions 666.

When the early Christians first read Revelation 13:18, they would have seen that number 6, the number they associated with evil, used three times.  666.  Why is 6 used 3 times in this verse?

Revelation 13:18 calls 666 the number of man, true.  Yet, it’s also called the number of the beast…but this number is not used to identify the beast.  Verses 11-17 already identified the beast rising out of the earth as false religious governmental powers.  We saw that in Part 2.

No, rather than identify the beast, 666 is used just like most of the other symbolic numbers in Revelation…in a descriptive manner.  It’s used to describe the beast, to give certain information about this beast.  Kind of like how we use the number 13 today to describe or associate it with someone or something which is unlucky or superstitious.

Thus, it’s our task to understand what information is being given by associating this beast with the number 666.  What about the beast is 666 describing?  What about mankind in general is 666 describing?

The way for us to figure it out is to examine how the number 6 is used in other passages of Revelation and apply that meaning to Revelation 13:18.  That’s why verse 18 says, “…let the one who has understanding calculate (or count) the number of the beast…”  The “understanding” we must have is an understanding of the rest of Revelation, which is what we will use to determine the meaning of the number of the beast.

No wonder the first part of verse 18 says, “This calls for wisdom”

This is why it’s important for us to figure out why the descriptive, symbolic number “6” is used 3 times in verse 18 to form the number “666.”  Even though Revelation 13:18 is the only place in the entire book where we find the number “666,” the number “6” is used in other places in Revelation.

In fact, it’s interesting to note that the number “6” is used three other times in the book.  The first time “6” is used is when the sixth seal is opened (Rev. 6:12-17).  To sum up what this passage is talking about, this is a reference to the end of all things, Judgment Day, when Christ comes again.  At the second coming of Christ, all physical things on this earth will be destroyed.  Those who have not obeyed God will seek in vain to hide from him in any way possible to avoid his wrath.

The second time “6” is used is when the sixth trumpet is blown (Rev. 9:13-21).  This passage symbolically describes the terrible situation people who are not spiritual and who do not worship God will find themselves in when Christ comes again.  All things which claim to be spiritual but in reality follow the doctrines of men (false prophets, false religions like those represented by the beast rising up out of the earth) will be destroyed.

The third time “6” is used is when the sixth plague is poured out (Rev. 16:12-16).  This passage symbolically describes how God will gather together all who have not been obedient to him on the day Christ comes again, Judgment Day.  This gathering will be a time of unimaginable sorrow for these people.

So we see that each of the three times “6” is used in Revelation, it symbolically talks about the terrible destruction that will come upon the enemies of God on Judgment Day.

What does this tell us?

“666” is the number 6 used 3 times.  Elsewhere in Revelation, the number 6 was used 3 different times: the sixth seal, the sixth trumpet, and the sixth bowl of plagues.  Each of these cases figuratively describes how the enemies of God will be destroyed on Judgment Day when Christ comes again.

That tells us what 666 means.  It is the number of the beast (Rev. 13:18).  Specifically, the verse say that the one who has wisdom and understanding is to “count” or “calculate” the number of the beast which is 666.

The word “count” or “calculate” means in the original Greek to add up, to find out the end sum, the end result, the end equation, the final vote, the final tally.  Jesus uses this same word when he tells us to “count the cost” (Luke 14:28), the only other time this Greek word is used in the New Testament.

What will ultimately happen to those governments who persecute Christians and those false religions who use government to persecute Christians?

What will happen to them when “their number’s up,” as it were?

God’s basically telling us that when we look ahead — count up, calculate — to see what will be the end result, the final equation, the ultimate destiny of the beasts of Revelation 13, we will see that at the end of all things…

…on Judgment Day, the day which each of these three “6’s” describes in Revelation, the day described by the sixth seal, the sixth trumpet, and the sixth bowl of plagues…

…what will happen to these persecutors of Christianity symbolized by the beasts is the same thing that will happen to all evil, sinful mankind in general.

What is the ultimate destiny of evil mankind?

They and the beasts will be completely destroyed at Christ’s second coming.

The physical and spiritual power and influence of these beasts will come to an end.  Those governments who persecute Christianity both with and without the help of false religions will be destroyed.  There will be no powers in existence except God’s.

“Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.  For he must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet.”

1 Corinthians 15:24-25

On that day, the only people who will have any spiritual hope will be faithful Christians, those who have trusted in Christ rather than the beast.

On that day, what will happen to the first beast, governments who are hostile to Christianity?  What will happen to the false prophet, the second beast which symbolizes false religions proclaiming to be godly but who use government to persecute true Christianity?

“And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image.  These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.”

Revelation 19:20

“and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

Revelation 20:10

Remember, though, that 666 is not only the number of the final destiny of the beast.  It is also the number of the final destiny of sinful man.

666 — the Judgment Day described by the sixth seal, sixth trumpet, and sixth bowl of plagues — will be the counted, calculated, added up, end result and final tally of any man or woman, any member of mankind, any human being who puts his trust in something other than God.

“And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Revelation 20:15

“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Revelation 21:8

Back in Part 1, I introduced this study by talking about how people are scared of 666.

Well, the unrighteous and ungodly among us should be scared of 666, because it is the symbolic description of the judgment of wrath and destruction which awaits them.

What’s sad is that the unrighteous are not scared of this number for that reason.  Most of them are not scared of the number at all due to being atheists, agnostics, or people of religions that do not claim to follow Christ.  The unrighteous who ARE scared of 666 are scared of it for the wrong reasons, due to believing the lies that say the number describes Hillary Clinton, barcodes, credit cards, or microchips.

666 is a warning which must be heeded, not ignored or misconstrued.

Christians, you and I do not need to be afraid of this number, nor should we be afraid of it.  Instead, 666 should give US encouragement and hope because it is a symbolic promise from God that our enemies, those who persecute us and malign us because of our faith and loyalty to Christ, will not win in the end.  They will lose.

WE will win, and we will win because we stand with God.

That’s the promise of 666 to us.

Edification From Revelation: What Does “666” Really Mean?? (Part 2)

Yesterday I wrote Part 1 of an article that studies the biblical meaning of the infamous symbol “666” in Revelation.  That article focused mainly on how people view the number, the various erroneous interpretations commonly given to it, and biblical principles we need to keep in mind in order to come to the correct conclusions about it and the rest of the symbolism found in Revelation.

Let’s now start examining what 666 really means.  It is called the number of the beast (Rev. 13:18), so it’s probably best to first come to understand what the Bible says about the beast of Revelation 13.

There are actually two beasts in chapter 13.  The first beast mentioned is the one which rises out of the sea (Rev. 13:1-10).  Space doesn’t permit us to examine in great detail all the symbolism surrounding this beast, but the best way to sum up what this beast represents is to study Daniel 7:1-7, 15-18.

Daniel, like John, had a vision of beasts, four of them rising out of the sea.  He then specifies that these beasts each represented four kingdoms or governments.  If we allow the Bible to be its own best interpreter (which is what God wants us to do; compare Ephesians 4:15, John 17:17, and 2 Timothy 4:2), we will apply this same interpretation to the beast rising up out of the sea in Revelation 13.

Thus, the “beast” in Revelation is a symbolic term used to represent governmental forces which rule in this world.

This beast which rises out of the sea in Revelation 13 was a servant of the dragon whom Revelation 12:9 identifies as Satan, and those who followed the beast would worship both the dragon and the beast (Rev. 13:2, 4).  This beast would blaspheme against God, his name, and his dwelling, and would make war on the saints and conquer them (Rev. 13:5-8).  All who dwell on the earth, specifically “everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain” — i.e., those who aren’t Christians — would worship the beast (v. 8).

This tells us that the first beast rising up out of the sea represents governmental forces which rule in this world who are hostile to Christianity.  During John’s day, this would have been the Jewish ruling class in Jerusalem and the Roman Empire, both of whom severely persecuted Christians.  Throughout history, including today, we see many governments showing various degrees of hostility towards Christianity.  America’s government and society is becoming increasingly hostile to the Christian faith as well, as seen in the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage and how florists and bakers who profess the Christian faith concerning same-sex marriage are being persecuted by governmental authorities.

It’s very clear that the first beast of Revelation 13 is still alive and well today, and will always be until Christ comes again.

Let’s now turn our focus to the second beast, the one which rose out of the earth (Rev. 13:11-18).  Again, space does not permit a detailed examination of all the symbolism surrounding this second beast, so we’ll hit the highlights.

To sum up, we know from our study of the first beast and also the beasts of Daniel 7 that this beast would symbolize an entity that has the power of civil government.  Additionally, this beast apparently had the power to force people to make an image to the beast and worship it (v. 15).  This tells us that this second beast controlled not only the physical actions and freedom of man the way civil governments would, but it would also control his spiritual worship.  This is the meaning of the two horns (v. 11).  Horns symbolize power, and this beast had two horns.  Its power was twofold.  It possessed civil powers and spiritual powers.

Elsewhere in Revelation this second beast is called a false prophet (Rev. 16:13; 19:20).  This shows that the beast was a false religious power which caused or forced many people to worship in ways other than those designed by God.  This is why the Bible says it had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon (Rev. 13:11).  It acts like a lamb of God but speaks the message of Satan the dragon.  It represents the wolves in sheep’s clothing, the false teachers and prophets which Jesus and Paul warned us about (Matt. 7:15; Acts 20:29).

Think back over history since the church of Christ was founded on Pentecost after Jesus’ death and resurrection?.  Are there any false religions which profess to have allegiance to Christ?  Of course there are.  We call them denominations.  Where did these denominations come from?  History shows us that the Protestant denominations (the Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, etc.), all of which teach and practice doctrines contradictory to New Testament teaching, originally split off from the Roman Catholic Church.  The Roman Catholic Church, also infamous for adding to and taking away from the Word of God, used to be known as simply the Catholic Church before it had a split one thousand years ago which formed the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, an entity which continued to add to and ignore biblical doctrine.  Both the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church are more than just religions and churches.  Historically and all the way up to today, they are both churches AND governments.

Catholicism’s headquarters is in the Vatican.  The Vatican is its own country, having its own form of government.  Throughout Catholic history, the Catholic Church has been very closely aligned with various governments in the countries that have been predominately Catholic.  Over the past one thousand years, the Eastern Orthodox Church has split into various Orthodox Churches, all defining themselves by the countries and governments with which they are aligned.  That’s why we have Greek Orthodox Churches, Russian Orthodox Churches, etc.

In like manner, the religion of Islam claims to follow the God of Abraham and Jesus and is closely aligned with many Middle Eastern governments.  Yet it has always persecuted Christians and continues to do so, and its doctrine and tenets blatantly go against the teachings of the God of the Bible.

Thus, history shows us the existence of false religions which are closely aligned with governmental powers that look on the surface to the uninformed like they follow the Lamb of God while in reality speaking the message of Satan the dragon.  The second beast of Revelation 13 which rose out of the earth, has two horns like a lamb, speaks like a dragon, and makes people worship the first beast is clearly seen in the false religions, specifically the denominations of Christendom and the various sects of Islam that are closely aligned with governmental powers hostile to true New Testament Christianity over the years.

To sum up what we know about the two beasts of Revelation 13:

  • The first beast symbolizes any governmental power throughout history that is hostile to Christianity.
  • The second beast symbolizes any false religion aligned with governmental authorities which is hostile to Christianity, false religions who profess to follow God but in reality serve Satan.

The next article will continue our study of Revelation 13 in order to understand the meaning of 666, but for now let’s end with some encouragement, some real “edification from Revelation.”  I’d like to call your attention to a few passages from Revelation:

“And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army.  And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.  These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.”

Revelation 19:19-20

“And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

Revelation 20:9-10

Take heart, Christians.  What you just read is the ultimate destiny of the two beasts and Satan the dragon whom they serve.  We may be persecuted in varying ways by the government or by false churches and religions, but in the end Christ will conquer over all!

Will we be conquering with him?

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it.  From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.  Then another book was opened, which is the book of life.  And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.  And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.  Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.  This is the second death, the lake of fire.  And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Revelation 20:11-15

Do you want to spend eternity with the two beasts and the dragon in the lake of fire?  If your name is not written in the Book of Life, that’s what will happen.

Is your name written there?  Contact me to find out what the Bible says about being saved.

Edification From Revelation: What Does “666” Really Mean?? (Part 1)

666.  The number of the beast.

A while back I wrote on Facebook that I was going to preach about 666, and the first thing my mother-in-law wrote in response was, “Scary number!”  To a lot of people, the number 666 IS a scary number.

The Reagans - not a fan of 666
The Reagans – not a fan of 666

In fact, 666 even has its own clinical phobia.  Hexakosiohexekontahexaphobia.  “Fear of the number 666.”  (What I’m more afraid of is trying to pronounce that word.)  Believe it or not, President Reagan and his wife Nancy were known to have this phobia.  They changed the address of their Bel Air, California home from 666 St. Cloud Road to 669 St. Cloud Road.

It’s probably the most infamous number in the world.  Just about every person who professes to be a Christian associates some negative connotation with that number.  Even people who are very secular in their worldview think negatively of 666.

I’ve known song leaders in the church whose consciences would not allow them to lead any song whose number in the book was 666.  There are reports of people who were born on June 6, 1966 or June 6, 2006 getting all kinds of grief for being born on 6/6/66 or 6/6/06.

Gematria
Gematria

There are all kinds of interpretations out there as to what 666 represents.  Some use gematria, the assigning of a numerical value to certain letters of the alphabet, as a way to attempt to determine its meaning.  Some people, seeing that Revelation 13:18 says that 666 is the number of a man, will take the names of people who are evil or whom they consider to be evil, and they’ll try to use gematria to fit their names to spell out 666 in Greek, Latin, or Hebrew.  Some will go back to notorious evil people of biblical times like Roman emperors Julius Caesar, Nero, or Domitian and try to fit their names to 666.  Others will go to more recent historical figures like Martin Luther, Napoleon, Hitler, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Bill or Hillary Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, George W. Bush, or Barack Obama and try to fit their names to 666.

The problem with using gematria to interpret 666 was summed up by Bible scholar F.F. Bruce in the following way:

The three rules for making any name yield the desired 666 are: (1) if the proper name itself will not yield it, add a title; (2) if the sum cannot be found in Greek, try Latin, or Hebrew; (3) if that does not work, misspell it!

Bible commentator James Coffman told of a Bible scholar who tried to use gematria to make “Nero” come up to mean 666.  He first tried adding it up in Greek or Latin, and when that wouldn’t work he switched to Hebrew.  That meant he couldn’t use the vowels in Nero’s name since there are no vowels in the Hebrew language, but that didn’t add up either.  So he then added the title Caesar to Nero’s name, and found that wouldn’t work either unless he misspelled Caesar.  Only then could he finally make “Nero” add up to 666!

The other problem which is easily apparent with using gematria to interpret 666 is that there are many possible answers.  Thus, it soon becomes a matter of opinion as to which one we accept as the correct interpretation.  For these and other reasons, we must reject gematria as the proper method of determining the meaning of 666.

barcodesThere are other interpretations of 666 that are out there (and by “out there,” I really mean out there.)  Some believe barcodes are the mark of the beast because Revelation 13:17 says, “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.”  Barcodes work by assigning shapes or lines of different widths to each number.  Some sources maintain that the “guard bars” (the lines on the ends and the middle of the standard Universal Product Code, or UPC, barcode) are the code for the number 6.  Hence, every barcode supposedly contains 666.

Others believe that the Internet, the World Wide Web, or computers in general are what Revelation’s 666 refers to.  Some look at “www” and say it means “666.”  Technology has frequently been viewed suspiciously by those searching for the meaning of 666.  For example, I read that the first Apple computer, Apple I, sold for $666.66 and Intel’s Pentium III had a clock speed of 666.666 megahertz.  This has caused some to denounce computers as a tool of the beast.

Credit cards were apparently evil even back when Revelation was written...
Credit cards were apparently evil even back when Revelation was written…

Some have determined that the VISA credit card is the meaning of 666.  Using gematria, the letters V-I-S-A spell out 666…if you combine Roman, Greek, and Babylonian languages, that is.  In fact, many look at credit cards, debit cards, and smart cards in general as the proper interpretation of 666, again considering that Revelation 13:17 associates buying and selling with 666.

And then there is the notion that 666 refers to microchips.  A microchip is a passive RFID (radio frequency identification) device that contains a unique identification number which can be read with a scanner.  Some sources believe that, besides being used for identification, microchips will be used to store information, as tracking devices, and required for commerce transactions.  Some people react to this by taking Revelation 13:17 and concluding that 666 is a prophecy about microchips and all other RFID devices.  (Incidentally, all kinds of brands in general have also been suggested as the meaning of 666.  Unlike microchips, however, they have been around for centuries.)

The problem with all of the above interpretations of 666, and indeed the mistake most people make when they try to interpret what any part of Revelation means, is that they ignore the very first verse of Revelation.

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and SIGNIFIED by his angel unto his servant John.” 

Revelation 1:1

Revelation was signified.  In other words, it is a book written using signs and symbols.  Symbolism.  Symbolic language.  The overwhelming majority of it is not meant to be taken literally.  666, literally in the original Greek six hundred sixty-six, is not meant to be interpreted as a literal number.  It’s symbolic of something.  Most people recognize this, although some don’t.

But what does 666 symbolize?  This leads to the next mistake many make.

When it comes to Revelation, a lot of Christians forget that God told them to always “speak the truth” (Eph. 4:15).  The truth is defined by God as his Word (John 17:17), which is why we are also told to “preach the Word” (2 Tim. 4:2).

People go to barcodes, gematria, historical figures and credit cards to figure out what 666 means instead of going to where they should have gone first:  the Word of God.

I want to take us first and foremost to God’s Word to interpret 666 and some of the other symbolism of Revelation.  That’s how we will have the truth, because God’s Word is truth and we are to speak the truth.

Let’s also remember a couple of other important items as we continue this study.  First, Revelation was originally written two thousand years ago to a people who would have had no idea what VISA cards, the Internet, Barack Obama, Napoleon, Nixon, or Hitler were.  Therefore, does it make sense to ascribe these meanings to 666?  Would the first century A.D. Christians of Laodicea and Ephesus have had a clue what a barcode or a microchip were if John had told them 666 stood for those things?  How could knowing about the invention of the Internet two thousand years after they lived have helped them to become better Christians?  Obviously it wouldn’t have.  So when we try to figure out what 666 or anything else in Revelation means, let’s ask ourselves if our theory would in any way be relevant to the first century Christians.

In like manner, remember 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Revelation is part of “all Scripture.”  So are the verses about 666.  “The man of God” referred to in the passage would not only be the Christians of two thousand years ago but also you and me today.

Thus, the true, scriptural interpretation of 666 would have helped those Christians in John’s day to be better servants of God.  It likewise will help us to be better servants of God.  The true interpretation would apply to them and us equally.

Want to know if you’re on the right track in trying to figure out what 666 means?  It’s when you come to a conclusion about 666 that would spiritually benefit all Christians from John’s time up to today and until Christ comes again.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this study, coming later today or tomorrow if God wills…