What About 666?

The book of Revelation is not intended to drive us to charts--it's intended to drive us to Christ.

The significance of the number 666 has confused people studying the Scriptures since John wrote Revelation 13:18. There are three main ideas about this issue.

# 1 - Chronological View

Some people have suggested that the number signifies the length of the beast's life or the duration of his kingdom. However, very few, if any, support this idea nowadays.

#2 - Historical View

According to this viewpoint, the number is thought to represent a historical power, kingdom, or individual. This interpretation is the most widely accepted and is based on an ancient practice known as Gematria. Gematria, derived from the Greek "geomatria" (which gave us the English word "geometry"), was a practice in both secular and religious (Jewish) circles to give each letter of the alphabet a number.

As an illustration, consider the English alphabet where the first 9 letters correspond to numbers 1 through 9 (A = 1; B = 2; C = 3; and so on), the next 9 letters represent numbers 10 through 90 (J = 10; K = 20; L = 30; and so forth). To express the number "23," one would write it as "KC" (K = 20 + C = 3 -- for our Kansas City).

Attempts have been made to identify the Beast of Revelation through various forms of Gematria. For instance, the name of Jesus is claimed to be 888, which is the sum of the Greek letters in the name Jesus (Iesous). Some have noted that if 777 represents completeness or perfection, then 888 would signify more than perfection, representing Jesus. Consequently, by this reasoning, 666 is considered to represent imperfection and the number of man (Rev. 13:18), symbolizing the Antichrist.

Using English letters, where A = 100, B = 101, C = 102, and so forth, some intriguing connections emerge. Consider Adolph Hitler:

H = 107, I = 108, T = 119, L = 111, E = 104, R = 117. When added together, the sum is 666!

Similarly, if we assign values such that A = 6, B = 12 (i.e., 6x2), C = 18 (i.e., 6x3), and so on, and apply this to the name of [Henry] Kissinger, Secretary of State under President Richard Nixon, the total also turns out to be 666. I mean, in my research, various individuals, including Benito Mussolini, Anwar Sadat, Yasser Arafat, Ayatollah Khomeini, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Pope John Paul II, Saddam Hussein, Mu’ammar Gadhafi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Jimmy Carter, and certain U.S. Presidents, have been suggested as potential candidates for the Antichrist, even if their names do not add up to 666.

#3 - Symbolic View

In the book of Revelation, nearly all other numbers are considered symbolic, representing spiritual or theological realities. There is no indication that Gematria calculations are involved.

According to this interpretation, the number is symbolic and points to the beast as the embodiment of imperfect humanity. The triple "666" serve as a contrast to the divine sevens in Revelation, symbolizing incompleteness and imperfection. In this context, 777 is associated with deity, while 666 falls short in each digit.

In other words: 666 (three 6s) is a parody of the divine trinity of 777 (three 7s). Although the beast attempts to imitate God, Christ, and the prophetic Spirit of truth, he falls short of success.

Finding hidden precise meanings in numbers is not the way that numbers work in the rest of Revelation. Think about it: All throughout Revelation, you have this time and time again. You have first a picture and then a number. 

—So the church is symbolized with 24 elders (Rev. 4).

—Then the two witnesses (Rev. 11) and then the woman (Rev. 12). 

—And then the church is given a number, 144,000 (Rev. 7)

—The church age is symbolized with pictures. 

—You have the measured temple (Rev. 11:1-2)

—You have the witnesses being trampled (Rev. 11)

—You have the woman protected in the wilderness (Rev. 12). 

—And then the church age is given a number. 42 months, 1,260 days, three and a half years. 

Likewise, false religion here is given a picture. The beast from the earth. And then it's given a number, 666. Therefore, the number doesn't identify the Beast but describes his character, conveying not who he is but what he is like.


Remember: Revelation tells the story of the Devil trying to defeat the church. However, the church wins because it belongs to the Lord, who has already secured victory for us (Rev. 5:5; 17:14). The book guides us on how to conquer, triumph, and be overcomers instead of being overcome or defeated. Each letter to the seven churches ends with "to the one who conquers." Giving in to persecution, worldliness, or Devil's temptations leads to loss, but overcoming through trials and suffering results in victory (Rev. 21:6-7). This is the main idea of Revelation and where history is heading.

Bottom-line: The book of Revelation is not intended to drive us to charts--it's intended to drive us to Christ. God wins!

The point of "666," then, is not to figure out a specific person using numbers. Instead, it's about being aware of how Satan tries to harm the church through pressure, persecution, and deceptive tactics. Our actions and words show where our loyalty lies — either with the passing world system or the enduring kingdom being built by faith. It's not as exciting as decoding 666, but it's practical. Every word and action is a declaration of our allegiance to King Jesus--and that's what truly matters!