Number of the Beast (numerology)

From Academic Kids

The Number of the Beast is mentioned in the Book of Revelation of the Christian Bible and has long been accepted to be 666, although in early 2005 scholars looking at a very early version of the book suggest the earliest Number of the Beast was 616. It is closely associated with the Mark of the Beast. "This is a very nice piece to find," Dr. Aitken said. "Scholars have argued for a long time over this, and it now seems that 616 was the original number of the beast."

The tiny fragment of 1,500-year-old papyrus is written in Greek, the original language of the New Testament, and contains a key passage from the Book of Revelation.

Where more conventional versions of the Bible give 666 as the "number of the beast," or the sign of the anti-Christ whose coming is predicted in the book's apocalyptic verses, the older version uses the Greek letters signifying 616. "This is very early confirmation of that number, earlier than any other text we've found of that passage," Dr. Aitken said. "It's probably about 100 years before any other version."

The fragment was part of a hoard of previously illegible manuscripts discovered in an ancient garbage dump outside the Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus. Although the papyrus was first excavated in 1895, it was badly discoloured and damaged. Classics scholars at Oxford University were only recently able to read it using new advanced imaging techniques.

Like all numbers, 666 has many mathematical properties, some more interesting than others. See Six hundred sixty-six for more.


References from the Bible

In the King James Version, Revelation 13:18 reads:

Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred three score and six.

In the Good News Bible, the same verse runs:

This calls for wisdom. Whoever is intelligent can figure out the meaning of the number of the beast, because the number stands for the name of someone. Its number is 666.

The Greek manuscripts do not literally render the phrase as six-six-six (three Greek words for six in a row -- εξ εξ εξ or in Greek numerical form ς´ς´ς´) but as six hundred and sixty-six (Greek: εξακοσιοι εξηκοντα εξ):

The Greek text of Codex Alexandrinus of the New Testament reads:

Ὧδε ἡ σοφία ἐστίν· ὁ ἔχων νοῦν ψηφισάτω τὸν ἀριθμὸν τοῦ θηρίου, ἀριθμὸς γὰρ ἀνθρώπου ἐστίν· καὶ ὁ ἀριθμὸς αὐτοῦ ἑξακόσιοι ἑξήκοντα ἕξ.
Hōde hē sophia estin; ho echōn noun psēphisatō ton arithmon tou thēriou, arithmos gar anthrōpou estin; kai ho arithmos autou hexakosioi hexēkonta hex.

Other manuscripts use the numerical form χξς´.

The Vulgate also spells out the Number of the Beast:

Hic sapientia est. Qui habet intellectum, computet numerum bestiae. Numerus enim hominis est, et numerus eius est sescenti sexaginta sex.

The Arabic form of the Beast has KFR on its forehead. [1] (

Mentions outside Revelation

The number 666 is also seen in the Old Testament book of II Chronicles; verse 9:13 reads (KJV) and in its parallel (1Ki 10:14):

Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold....

The number is also in the genealogy (Ezr 2:13, see also Neh 7:18):

The children of Adonikam, six hundred sixty and six.

Theological interpretations

There are various theories about the meaning of this verse, and there have been many attempts to show that a person is the Antichrist by relating his name to the number 666.

One interpretation is simply that 666 represents humankind in general because of the special significance that the number has in the Bible. Six is known as an "imperfect number" because it is one short of seven, the "perfect number" (seven days in the week, seven tongues of flame, seven spiritual gifts...). So three (the number of the Trinity) sixes is seen as extremely imperfect. Therefore, 666 represents imperfect man, while 777 represents God.

The interpetation adopted by Greek Orthodox theologians is that this number signifies an offense against the name of Jesus Christ. In Greek, Christ is spelled Χριστός (often abbreviated χς in the texts), and 666 is written as χξς'. The letter ξ looks a lot like a spike or a bolt in handwriting, so the number can be interpreted as a stab against Christ. The same interpretation can be given for the number 616 (χις'). In fact, a transcription error of ξ instead of ι (or v.v.) is the most likely cause of confusion between these two numbers, as the two look very much alike in handwriting, and both spellings would fit this symbolism. Another possible symbolism for ξ is that of a serpent, the form the Devil took in the Garden of Eden.

Another interpretation is that 666 is actually some kind of code based on the letters of someone's name. This sparks great public interest since it seems to provide some way to identify the antichrist. Numerologists like to devise clever ways of assigning numbers to letters so that the letters of a name will add up to this symbolic number. Probably the best-known scheme has A=100, B=101, and so on. With this code, the name "HITLER" adds up to 666. While these ideas are intriguing, they usually require many odd preconditions (you have to start with 100, you cannot include the first name) and work in a few languages only (in Spanish, for example, "HITLER" adds up to 668.) See also Vicarius Filii Dei.

For example, scholars who believe the Book of Revelation refers to real people and events argue that the number represents the value of Nero or Neron Caesar (נרון קסר, Nrwn Qsr*) in Hebrew letters, which also have numerical values (note that Hebrew is written from right to left):

                r    S    q     n   w    r    n 
        666 = 200 + 60 + 100 + 50 + 6 + 200 + 50

As noted above, some early texts of the Book of Revelation use 616 instead, which would represent the alternative Hebrew spelling נרו קסר, Nrw Qsr (based on the Latin form "Nero Caesar"):

                r    S    q    w    r    n 
        616 = 200 + 60 + 100 + 6 + 200 + 50
*Note: Hebrew נרון קסר, Nrwn Qsr = Greek Νερων Καισαρ, Nern Kaisar, though קסר, qSr, should strictly speaking be כסר, kSr.

See Template:Book reference, p. 145.

In Roman numerals 666 represents all the numbers from 1 to 500 in descending order, namely D (500) + C (100) + L (50) + X (10) + V (5) + I (1), or DCLXVI. Robert Graves suggests in his study of pagan symbolism The White Goddess that this is an acronym for the Latin sentence Domitianus Caesar Legatos Xti Violenter Interfecit, or "The Emperor Domitian violently killed the envoys of Christ".

Another reading in Roman numerals regards DCLXVI as an anagram of DIC LVX, which is then supposed to be an abbreviation of dicit lux, "the light speaks."

In an alternate style of Greek notation for numerals, 6 + 60 + 600 can be expressed as digamma koppa kappa which when superposed into a monogram, form the graffiti form of the labrys very common on roman walls of the time, which is interesting considering what some characterise as misogynist tendencies in the book.

Alternative numbers

While most manuscripts of the Bible read six-hundred-sixty-six or 666 for the Number of the Beast in Revelations 13:18, some early manuscripts contain 616 instead. Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (5th century), Papyrus 115 (3rd or 4th century), and some copies of Irenaeus's works have 616. The minuscule manuscript 2344 (11th century) identifies the Number of the Beast as 665.

In May 2005 it was reported that scholars at Oxford University using advanced imaging techniques had been able to read previously illegible portions of an early (third century) version of the Book of Revelation, part of its Oxyrhynchus collection of papyri. The fragment suggested that the earliest Number of the Beast was 616. Scholars now believe the number in question has very little to do with the devil. It was actually a complicated numerical riddle in Greek, meant to represent someone's name. "It's a number puzzle -- the majority opinion seems to be that it refers to [the Roman emperor] Nero." [2] (

Culture and psychology

Avoiding the number

The number 666 retains a peculiar significance in the culture and psychology of Western societies. Just as many people try to avoid the "unlucky" number 13 (sometimes going to the extent of having a floor "12A" in multi-story buildings, or even to skip the 13th floor entirely so that the floor above the twelfth floor is actually called "The fourteenth floor"), so people find ways to avoid the "Devil's number", even in contexts that would seem on first sight to be far removed from superstition.

For example, when the giant CPU manufacturer Intel introduced the 666 MHz Pentium III in 1999, they chose to market it as the Pentium III 667 on the pretext that, since the actual clock speed was 666.666 MHz, 667 was the more accurate approximation—conveniently ignoring their own usual rounding practice: as examples, consider the earlier 66.666 MHz 486-66, the 466.666 MHz Celeron 466, or the later 866.666 MHz Pentium III 866.

In another instance, U.S. Highway 666 was renumbered in 2003 after controversy over the supposed reference to the Biblical beast. See [3] (

In popular culture

Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange visually represented Alex (Malcolm McDowell) as the Beast during a scene where he is flanked by two prisoners who are identified as 665 and 667.

End of Days, directed by Peter Hyams, supposes as a plot point that the number represented in Revelation was actually seen upside down in a dream and should have actually been 999. This ignores the reality that Arabic numerals were probably not invented until ca. 400 CE, and only reached the Middle East by 670 CE, whereas Revelation is considered to have been written in the first century AD. The Omen and its sequels (a series of horror films about the Antichrist) have the Mark Of The Beast found under the hair as an apparent birthmark on the scalp of the character Damien Thorn. The movie was released on 6 June, 1976 - the sixth day of the sixth month, that is.

While the association is not clearly Satanic in nature, and usually is not construed to promote Satanism, a reference to the number "666" may be the cause for the controversial assignment of the "Parental Advisory" designation to the HIM album Razorblade Romance, generally considered innocuous as it contains no profanity nor sexually explicit language.

In Robert A. Heinlein's book, Number of the Beast, "666" is actually six to the sixth to the sixth power, which in the novel is the number of all possible dimensions/universes.

The British heavy metal band Iron Maiden have made an album titled The Number of the Beast. The title track quotes from the bible and the lyrics refer to "six six six - the number of the beast". Flotsam and Jetsam made a song called "6 Six VI". There exists an Australian band called Destryer 666. Entombed have made an album called DCLXVI - To ride straight and speak the Truth (DCLXVI is the roman number for 666).


It is often quipped that 667 is "the Neighbour of the Beast" although this is possibly country-dependent as 668 (and 664) would be next property on the same side of the street in most, but not all, countries (assuming that the neighbours referred to are next-door neighbours). There are also at least two filk songs on this topic. Additional quips suggest that 1-888-666-6666 is "the Toll-Free Number of the Beast", $665.99 is "the Retail Price of the Beast", 00666 is "the ZIP Code of the Beast", 0.666 is "the Number of the Millibeast", 6.5013 is "the Natural Logarithm of the Beast", Route 666 is "the Highway of the Beast", The root of all evil being square root 666 : 25.8068, etc

6.66, One Hundredth of the Number of the Beast is the name of the only song by the fictional Australian rock band Salmonhater. Adam Spencer and Wil Andersen, hosts of the Triple J radio breakfast show, invented the band as a joke one morning. A fan of the show soon composed this song for the pretend band, and a video clip was also made later. Now with the speculation that the number 616 is the real number of the beast, it has come to light that 616 is the country number and area code of Canberra, the Capital of Australia, and home to the nation's Government.

Speculation and trivia

Former U.S. president Ronald Wilson Reagan had six letters in his first, middle, and last name. He also lived in Bel-Air California, in house number 666 on his block, until wife Nancy Reagan had it changed to 668. Some Rastafarians and others believed he was the Beast. Other Christian groups led by Herb Peters and Constance E. Cumbey point the finger at Javier Solana.

In ancient Dacia, 666 was the number of those who returned to the right faith.

The first Apple Computer, the Apple I was sold for $666.66.

Stanley Kubrick (director of 2001: A Space Odyssey) died 666 days before January 1 2001.

0.666 is approximately two-thirds of one whole, one short of all three thirds. Because three is the number of the trinity, it may be that the number is meant to represent being in communion with God only in the mind and spirit (but not the body). The Catholic church believes that Satan generally attacks the body; a theme recurring throughout the latter chapters of Revelation.

A widespread conspiracy theory concerns the EAN or UPC bar codes, instituted in 1974, and found on most consumer products. The "control codes" in the left, middle, and right of the code appear on initial inspection to represent the number "6". Because of this, all EAN/UPC codes (so the theory goes) contain the number 666. One interpretation of the Book of Revelation indicates that the Number of the Beast is required for all business transactions — a role that the EAN/UPC code certainly fits. Also the inventor of the UPC code, George J. Laurer, has six letters in his first, middle, and last name [4] (, and, as of 2004, exactly 666 prefixes (out of possible 1000) are assigned in the EAN-13 namespace [5] ( (Unfortunately, the control codes only appear to represent the number six if one is unaware that both the black bars and the spaces in between them are used to encode information.)

The anti-impotence drug Viagra has a molecular weight of 666.7 g/mol.

All Garda (police) station phone numbers in Dublin, Ireland start with 666. Although this sounds like an urban myth, it can easily be confirmed by looking at their web site. [6] (

A main road from Manchester to Bolton in Lancashire in England is called the A666. In the 1980's that prompted CB radio users to codename it "The Devil's Highway".


Number 666 is widely used in setting up authorizations in the Unix Operating System. It offers limited access (read and write) as opposed to the all privilege granted by number 777 (read write and execute). This matches the Revelation ('13:17 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. ') in that this could be a way to allow or disallow people to buy anything (the Mark of the Beast as a personal body mark easily readable by automated cashiers in a cashless society).

There are many speculations of that Microsoft and Bill Gates are evil (eg [7] ( Microsoft had the IP for a NT workstation until recently. Bill Gates, evaluated in ASCII, sums up to 663, that added with 3 (his complete name is William Henry Gates III) becomes 666. Counting the space as one, Windows 95 sums up to 666 too. Also, 666-6666666 is a valid CD-key for Microsoft Visual C++ 5.0 Pro.

The sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is "waw" (or "vav"). This is the closest approximation of the English letter "w". Thus the ubiquitous acronym "www" could be the Number of the Beast. Also, the number 6 in Roman numerals is represented as VI. 666= VIVIVI which has been suggested that visions from the past, mistook it for WWW.

As of January 14 2005, the IP address of the Python programming language web site,, is If you add up the 4 octets, you get 666. [8] (

The internet access provider firm Demon Internet has many telephone numbers (voice, and computer dialup) that contain 666, and sometimes sequences of three copies of other digits.

See also

External links

  • Chris Wattie, National Post (Canada), 4 May 2005, "Beast's real mark devalued to '616'" (
  • Tom Anderson, The Independent (UK), 1 May 2005, "Revelation! 666 is not the number of the beast (it's a devilish 616)" (
  • "Mark" (Gk, charagma) of the beast is MONEY: "No one buys or sells without the MONEY = charagma of the beast on/in mind or hand" -- Apocalypse. Link explains that MONEY with Nero-Caesar's (=666/616) picture on it was "Mark of the beast".
  • "Marduk/The Anti-Christ" theory ( An essay by Burak_Eldem, the author of the book "2012:_Appointment_With_Marduk", claiming "666" was originally 3661 in Mesopotamian sexagesimal system, which was the orbital period of the "10th Planet" Marduk in solar years; and this number was written as a "three wedges in a row" in Mesopotamian sexagesimal mathematics. The sign for number 1 was used three times for 3600 (Shar), 60 (Ges) and 1 (As) respectively which made 3661 in total. And the cuneiform sign for "1" was very much alike the Hebrew letter "Vav", which had "6" as numerical value. As Eldem puts the matter in his book, Hebrew priests apparently adopted the "secret number" of Marduk and misinterpreted the sign as "666", or, "three Vav's". Because Marduk was the enemy's god, this number eventually became the "mark for Devil's Servant", and later "Anti-Christ"s sign in Christianity.
  • 666, The Number of the Beast ( "...THE NUMBER 666, PAGAN SUN WORSHIP AND ANCIENT BABYLON..."

ca:Nombre de la bstia da:Dyrets tal de:Sechshundertsechsundsechzig ja:獣の数字 fi:Pedon luku sv:Vilddjurets tal zh:獸名數目


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