Scripture: Revelation 13:
18 This calls for wisdom. Let those who have insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. [e] That number is 666.
Observation: The number 666 has become an iconic symbol of evil, we have worried about it too much and grown superstitious about it.
Application: Have you ever been in a store and bought something and the register rang up $6.66? What did you do? Did you pay the clerk and go on about your day, or did you maybe put something back, or pick up some other small item to make the amount change? Did you know its almost impossible for the county clerks to pass out license plates that have the numbers 666 in them? People refuse to take those plates because they fear that it will bring about a curse on them. Back when I was younger, after my first reading of the Bible, when I got to this verse it scared me so much that I went back through the bible and all of my books and anywhere that I found a page numbered 666 I put white-out over the number. And I can’t tell you the number of times that I noticed 666 rolling up on an odometer on the last numbers and took extra caution as I passed through that mile, even avoiding looking at the odometer as the numbers actually rolled by.
Many people have come to consider this number as an evil and a bad omen. In reality I believe that this verse it is a code used by John to describe a political figure without coming out and saying his name. He was protecting his readers, for if they were caught with the writing and if he had came out and said the name of the person he was referring to, then the readers might well have been arrested and tortured, or possibly even killed. It was against the law to speak negatively of the Roman rulers, and the punishment was severe, even reading something negative whether you wrote it or not could land you in prison.
I agree with this, I think John originally intended the reference to the beast to be Nero. That of course doesn’t mean that the scripture can not have dual meaning. There may be another beast of a later time, and we may indeed meet him someday. People have related the number to many people of significant influence and malevolence over the years. It has been related to such notable figures as Alexander The Great, Napoleon, Hitler, Aliester Crowley, and even Ronald Wilson Reagan was thought by some to be the "Beast" of Rev 13 because all three of his names has six letters thus – 666.
We shouldn’t fear the number 666. If we study a little about it we may find wisdom that will dispel some of the superstitions we have developed. As our scripture says "Let those who have insight calculate the number" and we can’t gain insight by being afraid or superstitious about the number. You may not agree with who I think the number refers to, but take some time to think about it and decide for yourself. Don’t fear the number! 🙂
Prayer: God Almighty,
Thank you for your wisdom and insight that is available to us all if we ask. Thank you for your grace that guides us even through our own misunderstandings and superstitious ways. Forgive me when I fail to see the truth and cling to my own fears, and draw me into your everlasting presence and peace.