REVELATION 13Revelation of Jesus | Revelation of JohnT: REVELATION 13:1-1813: 1,2 THE BEAST FROM THE SEATHE SEA BEAST AND THE WILD ANIMALS OF DANIEL 7THE LITTLE HORN AND THE SEA BEASTTHE BEAST’S AGENDA—TO CHANGE GOD’S LAW13:3 THE DEADLY WOUNDTHE FRENCH REVOLUTIONTHE DEADLY WOUND HEALED13:11,12 THE BEAST FROM THE EARTH13:11 A LAMB OR A DRAGON?13:13,14 FIRE FROM HEAVEN13:15 THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST13:16,17 THE MARK OF THE BEASTOF MAN’S DEVISINGATTACK ON THE EVERLASTING COVENANT13:18 THE NAME AND NUMBER OF THE BEAST666, THE NUMBER OF DISOBEDIENCE


13:18 THE NAME AND NUMBER OF THE BEAST

“Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man; and his number is 666” (Revelation 13:18). The mark of the beast, the number of the beast and the name of the beast are all closely related. The mark of the beast is called the mark or name of the beast” and “the mark of his name” (Revelation 13:17, 14:11). The number of the beast is also called the number of his name” (Revelation 13:17). Those “who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” will “have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark, and over the number of his name” (Revelation 14:12, 15:2).

The beast from the sea has been shown to be the Roman Catholic Church of the Middle Ages. However, as we will see in chapters 16 and 17, the final manifestation of the beast will be both a religio-political entity and a person, the final antichrist, and it is his name that is linked to the mark and the number of the beast. “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition…the beast…is himself also the eighth [of a series of kings]” (Revelation 17:8,11). The last-days appearance of the antichrist beast will be explained in detail in 17:6-8, but he is mentioned in a number of passages in Revelation. He is a part of the unholy trinity in chapter 16. In chapter 11 “the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them [the two witnesses], overcome them, and kill them” (Revelation 11:7).

The first mention of this beast in chapter 9 reveals his name. “And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon” (Revelation 9:11). This is Satan, the fallen angel who was cast out of heaven, who will appear on earth at the end of time as “the beast.” His name in this role is Abaddon in Hebrew and Apollyon in Greek. Both of these names mean "destroyer.”[1] There are several names for Satan that are used in the Bible, such as the accuser, the serpent, the devil, father of lies and the dragon, but as the final antichrist his name is “Destroyer.” As such he is the exact opposite of the true God who is the “Creator.” This is the link between the name, mark and number of the beast. God is the Creator, and He is identified by the Sabbath—“In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” (Exodus 20: 11). The beast, on the other hand, can never claim to be the creator, and in fact he is the destroyer. His mark and number have to do with the anti-sabbath.

The close relationship between the mark, the name and the number of the beast shows that the meaning of the number of the beast” must be closely related to the meaning of “the mark or the name of the beast.” When we are commanded to count the number of the beast” we must keep in mind the mark, which was shown to be the false sabbath of the papal system, and the name, Destroyer, which shows hostility towards the Creator.

There have been numerous attempts to find numbers associated with the names of particular people or institutions that add up to 666. For example, the application of the numerical values of the letters of various names in Greek, Latin or Hebrew (Nero, Napoleon, various popes or papal titles such as VICARIUS FILII DEI and many others)[2] can be made to add up to 666. More recently interest has focused on the universal bar code that is electronically scanned for purchases, with the idea being that this could be used to determine if people could “buy or sell.” These suggestions are based on speculation rather than on a study of God’s word. Whatever the number of the beast is, it would have to be comprehensible to the Christians of the first century to whom Revelation was originally written, as they were admonished to “count [calculate, determine] the number.”[3]

There may be confusion concerning the phrase, “for it is the number of a man.” Several English versions insert the article “a” (“the number of a man”), which is not in the original Greek. This makes it seem as if it refers to a particular man. However, Greek often uses the singular “man” to refer to mankind,[4] (the NIV translates, “for it is man’s number”). Man was created to be a dependent unity of the human and the divine, but with sin man declares his rebellious independence, rejecting the submission, dependence and unity with God he was designed for; 666 symbolizes man as he became after sin.

Going back to the creation story in Genesis 1, man was created on the sixth day, and although he was declared “very good,” it was not until the seventh day that creation was complete. Adam and Eve spent their first full day, the seventh day, resting with their Creator, having done nothing themselves to add to the creative process; they did not even see the creation taking place. The rest they experienced still remains: “There remains therefore a rest[5] for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9). This is the rest of faith, believing that God has completed the work of creation (“Remember the Sabbath day…for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth…”)[6] and that He has completed the work of redemption (“You were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand”)[7] The Sabbath symbolizes our faith and total dependence on God to do what we cannot do— to create and to redeem. But sinful man wants to remain in the sixth day, not entering into the seventh day experience of acknowledging his Creator and his need for a Redeemer. In order to be whole he must enter into the Sabbath rest on the seventh day that God blessed. By refusing man says "NO!" to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; perhaps this is why the triple repetition of 6 is the nmber of the beast.

“The Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27). This means that without the seventh-day Sabbath, man is lacking something that was designed for him. That something is the personal Father-child relationship between man and his Creator, which the Sabbath is designed to symbolize and safeguard. "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on My holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob” (Isaiah 58:13,14 NIV). But the unconverted man, rather than finding his “joy in the Lord,” wants to go his “own way”, to do “as [he] pleases.” This includes “breaking the Sabbath…My holy day.”

When man rejects the Sabbath he asserts his independence, siding with Satan who not only declared himself independent but actually sought to take God’s place (“I will be like the Most High” Isaiah 14:14). The number 666 gives triple emphasis to what it is not—it is not seven,[8] God’s number of completeness. It symbolizes man as he is without his Creator and Redeemer—incomplete and therefore evil, a hopeless sinner who lives as an enemy of God and His people.[9] As such it is “man’s number,” and represents the religion of the beast that wars against God and His people.

Continue to next section: 666, THE NUMBER OF DISOBEDIENCE



[1] The Hebrew word Abaddon is found in Job 26:6, 28:22, Psalms 88:11 and Proverbs 15;11, 27:20. It is translated destruction and is associated with death and the grave. The Greek name Apollyon is only found in this passage but the root verb is used many times, for example Matthew 2:13, 10:28, 12:14, 22:7.

[2] The context of the mark and number of the beast is the end of time, which rules out specific individuals from the past. Moreover, true believers will “have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark, and over the number of his name” (Revelation 15:2). This indicates that the number (along with the mark) will be some kind of a trial or temptation that must be overcome, not a title.

[3] The Greek word for calculate, psifizi, does not have the primary meaning of performing mathematical calculations, but most commonly in other Greek literature refers to making a decision by voting.

[4] Examples of this usage include John 2:25, 5:34, Hebrews 2:6, 1 Peter 1:24.

[5] The Greek word for rest is Sabbatismos, which means the keeping of the Sabbath day of rest.

[6] Exodus 20:8-11

[7] Deuteronomy 5:12-15 The Sabbath command is the only one which has a significant change in the second recitation of the Ten Commandments. The change is the reason given for the Sabbath—in Exodus 20 the Sabbath symbolizes God’s creation, in Deuteronomy 5 it symbolizes his redemption. This shows the broadness of the meaning of the Sabbath and its appropriateness as an eternal demonstration of faith.

[8] The number seven is the most frequent number in the book of Revelation, used 51 times. This compares with four, (19 times), twelve (14 times), ten (11 times) three (9 times), twenty-four (7 times) and six (2 times).

[9] “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior” (Colossians 1:21). See also Romans 5:10, Matthew 10:36.