Revelation 13:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Revelation 13:18, NIV: "This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666."

Revelation 13:18, ESV: "This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666."

Revelation 13:18, KJV: "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 threescore and six."

Revelation 13:18, NASB: "Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six."

Revelation 13:18, NLT: "Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666."

Revelation 13:18, CSB: "This calls for wisdom: Let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, because it is the number of a person. Its number is 666."

What does Revelation 13:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Speculation about the meaning of the number 666, the number of the beast, has been intriguing but futile. Some individuals have assigned a numeric value to the letters of the alphabet and applied the values to names. Political figures, popes, and dictators have been subject to such a numeric system. It's important to remember that there are only so many numerals—only ten, in fact—and only so many letters in any given alphabet. Given enough time and creativity, almost any name can be connected or manipulated into some connection with 666.

Other possibilities abound. Some are more obscure, and unlikely, than others. Ezra 2:13 gives the number of descendants of Adonikam as 666. Because "Adonikam" means "the lord who rises up" or "lord of the enemy," a few interpreters suggest the beast who rises from the earth will bear the name Adonikam. The mathematical value of 6x6x6 is 216, leading some to believe that this number, not "six hundred and sixty six" will be the "number of the name" of the beast.

In reality, no one knows exactly what 666 means. We can only draw on basic concepts to understand some of its implications. For example, 6 is one short of 7, which is the biblical number of perfection. The number 6 represents imperfection and is therefore man's number. God is perfectly holy—thrice holy—as the seraphim of Isaiah's vision proclaim. They called to one another, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts" (Isaiah 6:3). Repeating this three times emphasizes its absolute nature. By contrast, imperfect man is unholy, unholy, unholy: 6-6-6.