Satan and the Number 666 in the Book of Revelation

Many people think that the number 666 represents Satan, but it’s not exactly a mysterious code. Revelation is a book that was written in a specific time and place, and it was meant to be understood as it was originally intended.

The number is found in the name of a man who was alive during the time that Revelation was written: the Roman Emperor Nero. His name adds up to 666.

The First Seal

Some interpreters link the number 666 with the emperor of Rome who inflicted horrific persecution upon first century Christians. The number seven in Scripture often symbolizes perfection and holiness, but Nero’s name (which equates to 666 when added together) represented the fullness of mankind’s sinful nature. His governmental system was ‘like the beast’ and he inflicted ‘Antichrist-like’ horror on those who worshipped Christ and followed His teachings.

Other proposals use gematria, which is based on the numerical value of letters in names, to identify Nero as the Antichrist. However, no clear identification can be made using this method. For example, one option uses a Hebrew transliteration of Nero’s title, but this floats on confusion regarding the correct spelling and fails to account for the fact that John’s audience was largely Greek-speaking.

Other scholars believe the number represents the sum of man’s idolatry enforced by the endtime triune Antichrist. It will be a time when people will try to find salvation in anything other than God and His Son.

The Second Seal

For centuries, scholars have sought to interpret the symbolism of 666. One view links it to the Roman Emperor Nero. The hatred of Nero by first century Christians caused them to link his name and number to the Antichrist. They saw him as the beast that enslaves the world and demands worship of itself (Revelation 13:1-2).

Another view is that since the number seven is associated with completeness, six is inherently incomplete and could symbolize mankind’s imperfection. The three sixes of 666 could thus represent the perfectly flawed false religions and governments of man under Satan’s control.

Idealists, however, argue that numbers are used figuratively in Scripture and that John uses them to help us grasp realities that transcend human definition. Thus they reject gematria as an interpretation of this verse. They also believe that the sixes of 666 represent the failure of mankind to progress from six to seven, which would be God.

The Third Seal

Some people avoid 666 because of its bad rap, but others playfully revel in it. The number has become personified as evil over the centuries, thanks to apocalyptic visions such as those in the Book of Revelation.

Many scholars, using gematria to decode letters into numbers, have found that 666 equates with the name of Nero Caesar, the Roman emperor when some say Revelation was written. This leads to a number of problematic theories.

Some see this as a sign that we should not expect another Antichrist, but that the number 666 refers to Nero’s persecution of early Christians. Others believe that the third seal predicts a global famine, in which basic food staples are meted out in small rations while luxuries such as rapeseed oil and Chardonnay wine will be available to the wealthy. One silver denarius coin – worth about a day’s wages – could buy a single quart of wheat. This would be a severe economic hardship for the world’s population.

The Fourth Seal

The fourth seal opens to reveal a dreadful scene that will afflict humanity. The horsemen will inflict death and destruction upon the earth.

This will include wars, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, cosmic debris contaminating the atmosphere, and meteor showers (the sun and moon will be blood red and black).

In this seal the rider on the pale horse has power over one-fourth of the population. This will include those who die in wars, famines, natural disasters, and from the plagues of disease.

Some people have tried to identify this person using gematria, which equates names with numbers. There have been many proposed names that equal 666, but none of them have proven to be accurate. Other people have rejected gematria and treated the number as a symbol to be understood. This view has led to some interesting interpretations of the mark of the beast. These include a comparison with the name of Nero, who was in power around the time some scholars believe that Revelation was written.