666 – The Number of the Beast


John Hoole – January 6 & 27, 2013





For two thousand years the number 666 has held a special terror because the apostle John predicted that it would be used by a person known as the Antichrist during a period called the Great Tribulation.  The number 666 has formed the basis of numerous speculations about its meaning and its connection to this mysterious man who becomes the Prince of Darkness.


For many people, just saying the number 666 sends shivers up their spine.  It conjures up ominous images of the cataclysmic final days of Bible prophecy.  Some people have refused to accept phone numbers, license plates, and credit cards containing “666.”


Also, there used to be U.S. Highway 666, running from Gallup, N.M. to Monticello, Utah.  It’s nickname was “the devil’s highway.”  Highway 666 had an unusually high fatality rate, which convinced some people that highway was cursed.  And the problem was compounded because Satanists were continually stealing the signs as souvenirs.  So in 2003, the U.S. highway department decided to renumber the highway as U.S. Route 491.


Here is another story.  We used to receive a monthly check for a total of exactly $666.  And when I went to the Credit Union to deposit it, some of the tellers would say, “Oh, I don’t like that number.”  You immediately knew that person had some idea of the Mark of the Beast.


Mathematicians have had their fun with the number 666.  For instance, the first six components of the Roman Numeral system is I-V-X-L-C-D.  If you were to add those six numbers, they add to 666.


In some puzzle books you find what are called “magic squares.”  For instance, you have a 9 square puzzle – 3 squares up/down by 3 squares across.  The object is to put all numbers 1 – 9 in each of the 9 squares, so that in all directions the total across, down, and diagonal equals 15.  In the magic square that is 6 by 6, you are to place numbers 1-36 in the squares so that the totals equal 111.  If you were to add up each number from 1 through 36, it would total 666.  The word, BEAST, in the evil sense, is found 36 times in the book of Revelation


I have never gambled at the roulette wheel, but I know it also has numbers 1 thru 36, but also has a “0” & “00” pockets.


In this lesson, we will explore the Bible’s prophecies about the Mark of the Beast and its use by the False Prophet to enforce the worship of the Antichrist.  The False Prophet will control mankind through a system using the Mark of the Beast, the name of the beast, or the number of his name.


Revelation 13:16-18 NKJV


16     He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,

17     and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

18     Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.


The term, “Mark of the Beast.” Has held a unique fascination in the minds of many for centuries, and Bible interpreters have offered many suggestions as to the meaning of 666.  And over the years and centuries, many have feared the possibility of taking the Mark accidentally or without their knowledge.


We learned in our last lesson that it will not be possible to take the Mark of the Beast by accident.  People who receive the mark will know precisely what they are doing.  Most assuredly, the mark of the beast is simply a vehicle to force people to declare their allegiance.  During the last half of the 7-year Tribulation, people will have to make a conscious choice for the Antichrist or Christ.  Everyone will be polarized into two camps.  It will be impossible to take a neutral stance.  All classes of humanity will be forced to take sides: “the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the slaves.”


Scripture is very specific:  The false prophet will require a mark of loyalty and devotion to the beast.  Only then will a person receive the mark “on their right hand” – not the left –  or it will be on their forehead” (Revelation 13:16).


The issue for each person alive during the Tribulation will be this:       Will I swear allegiance to the man who claims to be God?  Will I give up ownership of my life to him by taking his mark.  OR, will I bow the knee to the true God and lose my right to buy and sell and maybe even face beheading (Revelation 20:4)Taking the Mark will ultimately be a spiritual decision.


What is the Mark?


Just what is the Mark?  Will it be a literal mark on one’s forehead or right hand?  Or is it a figurative or spiritual mark?


If it is literal, will it be visible or invisible?  Will it actually be the number 666, or something different?  What does 666 mean?  What does the phrase, “the name of the beast” mean?  And how is his name connected to the Mark?  What does the phrase, “the number of his name” mean?


The Mark – Literal or Spiritual?


Let’s try to answer these and other questions.




Some have suggested that the mark of the beast may be Satan’s counterfeit of the seal that God puts on the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 7.  Revelation 7:3 tells us the 144,000 are sealed by God on the foreheads.  But keep in mind that the word used for “seal” is not the same as the word used for “mark.”


Revelation 13:16-18 NKJV


16     He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,

17     and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

18     Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.


The passage we just read provides five key clues as to the interpretation of the Mark of the Beast.


                   1.      The name of the beast


                   2.      The number representing his name


                   3.      The number of the beast


                   4.      The number of a man


                   5.      The number is 666.


When these five clues are followed through their logical progression, especially what we are told in verse 17, the number or mark of the Beast is the number of a man who is the Antichrist or final world ruler.  We will study more about “the number of his name.” later.


Every time the word “mark” appears here and elsewhere in the book of Revelation, it is from the Greek word CHARAGMA  [KHAR-ag-ma].  Using Strong’s Concordance, we find the definition of this Greek word to be: a scratch, a stamp, an impression, something etched.  That sure sounds pretty literal to me.




The old-line Adventists believe worshiping on Sunday is the Mark of the Beast.  To them the Mark of the Beast cannot then be literal.  Some of their younger advocates are not as strong in that belief.


For these Adventist, they have to first put forth an argument for the Mark of the Beast not being literal.  Once they establish that point, they seek to establish that Sunday worship is the Mark.  That means that over a billion Christians – Catholic, Orthodox, most protestants – are in grave danger.  That leaves about 6 million Adventists, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Jews who haven’t taken the Mark of the Beast.  No, I don’t believe that worshiping on Sunday is the Mark of the Beast.


Personally, I believe the Mark of the Beast is a literal mark that the False Prophet will cause every man and woman to receive.  The fact that we are given specific locations in the body where it is to be applied, seems to make it literal.  If the Mark of the Beast is allegorical or figurative, it makes no sense to specify a location.


Among those who believe the Mark is a literal mark, there are three main ideas as to what that mark might be.


1.      The mark is actually the number 666.


2.      The mark consists of a single mark that includes both the number of his name (666) and his name.


3.      The mark will not be the number “666,” but something that  represents his number and name - like a barcode.


That’s a good segue to discussing whether or not the mark is also visible.


The Mark – Visible or Invisible


The fact that the mark is literal doesn’t require it to be visible.  It could be visible, like a tattoo or a barcode stamp, or something like the branding of cattle.  On the other hand, it could be tied to a microchip implanted beneath the skin.  If so, that would make it not visible.  Certainly it would not be easily visible, with the chip the size of a grain of rice.


I am no computer techie, but I do enjoy playing with computers.  I subscribe to a couple of computer magazines.  Listen to a quote from one of them.


Paul Somerson, in PC Computing, Oct. 1999.


         How’d you like to avoid waiting in lines for the rest of your life?  Breeze through everywhere like you owned the place.  Watch lights snap on, doors open automatically, money pop out of ATMs as you approach.  Never have to show an ID, buy a ticket, carry keys, remember a password.  You’d leave stores loaded with packages and waltz right past the cashiers.  You wouldn’t have to carry a wallet, ever.  Family and friends could find you instantly in a crowd.  There’s only one catch – you’d need to have a tiny little chip implanted in your body.  No big deal…..”


CNN conducted a poll on January 14, 1999, and asked this question: Would you consider having microchips implanted in your body?  Here’s the surprising results of the CNN poll – at least they are surprising to me.


                   YES                  47%                   4,663 votes


                   NO                   53%                   5,329 votes


                            Total Votes                        9,992 votes


Bill Cross wanted to try his hand at setting up a website.  For his first project, Bill decided “a spoof website of the company peddling the mark of the beast.”  His web site was called Global Monetary, and the web site was advertising “become an ID chip member and receive $250!”  Not wanting anyone to panic, Bill admittedly laced the web site “with enough clues so that anyone who scrutinized it would know it wasn’t for real and would therefore not panic.”  Bill was surprised  -  “On the first full day of operation, the site had more than 4,200 distinct user session, each averaging 6 minutes.  E-mails began pouring in from hysterical Christians.  But he also got e-mails from privacy enthusiasts and from the media world requesting interviews..”


Realizing that things were getting “out of hand,” after just four days, Bill pulled the plug on Global Monetary.  Bill also made this alarming statement.  “I realized that I was getting another kind of visitor to the site:  People who actually wanted to receive the mark of the beast just to get in on the IPO (Initial Public Offering) when Global Monetary would start selling their shares on the Stock Market.  I was totally blind-sided by that.  I never expected that to happen…..”


I think that for security reasons the United States, and probably the rest of the world, is headed towards a national identification of some sort.  And I also believe that for the same reasons we are headed for a cashless society.  All bills and purchases will be transacted through some electronic means.


If that is indeed where we are headed, then I think that we are headed towards the use of something like an implantable chip.  This chip would have an enormous amount of information about you in its memory.


I believe that if the Antichrist and the False Prophet are going to be able to keep those who do NOT have the Mark of the Beast from selling and buying, something like an implanted chip will be needed.  But even then, the chip or global identification card is not, in and of itself, the Mark of the Beast.


Back to the topic at hand.  Is the Mark of the Beast visible?  I tend to think that the Mark will be visible.  I am not sure, however, that I have much proof for that, but I believe it is inferred.


Matthew 24:9-10 NIV


9       Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.

10     At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other


I know that this verse is probably talking primarily to the Jews, but I think this is what will happen to all who do not take the mark.  Betrayal will become a common occurrence during the last half of the Tribulation.  It will not be safe hiding out with a friend or brother, especially if they have taken the mark.  Hatred will abound.


Matthew 10:21 NIV


21 Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.


For this kind of betrayal to occur, it would almost require the Mark of the Beast to be visible.  If not, how would they know you had or had not received the mark unless you verbally told them.  See also: Mark 13:12 and Luke 21:16


The opinions of prophecy writers concerning the Mark of the Beast have evolved greatly with technology improvements.


In the late 19th  and early 20th century, most of those who believed the Mark of the Beast would be literal, believed the Mark would be tattooed or branded on the recipient’s hand or forehead.


Oliver Green, The Revelation (Page 350) – 1963


“I believe there will be three sixes tattooed on foreheads and right hands…..indeed I do.”


Clarence Larkin, Dispensational Truths (Page 124) - 1918


“The Mark will be branded or burnt on.  It will probably be the number of the beast or 666.”


The popular 1973 Christian movie, A Thief In The Night, went slightly farther, showing the mark as a tattoo depicting a computer readout of the number 666.


That seemed to be the agreed-upon method for the Mark of the Beast until 1974, when a strange new mark began appearing on products you and I buy.  It was called the UPC (Universal Product Code) also known as the bar code.  It didn’t take long for this new technology to be heralded as the mark of the beast by some avid prophecy believers.


Since then, rapid evolution of technology has led to changes in what the Mark of the Beast might look like.  Since the creation of the barcodes, computers have played an increasing role in prophecy writers scenarios.  In the late 80’s and early 90’s, computer technology made some leaps and bounds.


Time Magazine, April 27, 1998, pp. 50, 51


A single electronic card may replace everything in your wallet, including…..


                   …your cash,

                   …your credit cards,

                   …your ATM card,

                   …your ID cards,

                   …your insurance,

                   …and your life.


         The future:  One card, or one chip, with your life on it.


Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, .said about bio-chipping of humans:


“It is inevitable.  Why?  Because there is a level of concern, some based on fact, some based in fear, about the loss of children, about kids being stolen in custody disputes, about terrorism, about kidnapping, that leads people to be frantic about wanting to know where other people they care about are.”


Though I believe that modern technology will make it possible for the Antichrist and False Prophet to bring about a cashless society, and control all commerce on earth, we must differentiate between this technology and the mark of the beast.


Technology itself is not the mark.  The mark itself will identify allegiance to the Antichrist.  But that is separate and distinct from the technology that enable him to enforce his system.


The Number of His Name


Now, what about the connection between the Mark’s number and the name of the Antichrist?  Let’s look again at the Scripture.


Revelation 13:16-18 NIV


16     He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead,

17     so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.

18     This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.


Verse 17 tells us that the Mark is either the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  So we know there is some connection between the Mark and the Antichrist’s name.  Then, in verse 18, God through John seems to challenge his readers.  He says    …..If anyone has wisdom [understanding, insight], let him calculate [or compute] the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666


It is possible that the Antichrist might change the name that was given to him at birth to a new name that will become the “name of the beast.”  The Bible records that God changed the name of many characters in the Bible at a key moment of crisis in their lives.  The new name often reflected the person’s new spiritual condition.  Because names can change, and because the Bible remains silent on the matter, it is futile to speculate about the name or identity of the future Antichrist.


To compute a number from a name, one must devise a system of ascribing numeric values to the letters of the alphabet.  This procedure is known as Gematria.


It is interesting to note that there are only two written languages in the world today that do not have a number system separate from the alphabet.  They are Greek and Hebrew.  We do know that some ancient, but now extinct, languages also used Gematria.  From archaeological discoveries, we know that ancient Sumeria, which was located where southern Iraq is today, used a sexagesimal system of numerics.  That’s a number system that uses 60 as its base, not 10 like our is.  Their alphabet also was not like ours, since they used writing known as cuneiform.


But we do use the number 60 as our base for something else in our daily life.  What is it?  Time!


Let me show you the Greek numbering system.  The Hebrew numbering system is very similar.


As a result of this Greek and Hebrew numeric-language system, every single word in these languages is composed of individual letter that also represent numbers.  For instance, if you add up the numeric value of the six Greek letters that compose the name of Jesus, the total number value equals 888.  The value of the letters in the Greek word “Christos” is equal to 1,480.  In fact, each variation of the name of Jesus: Christos, Savior, Lord, Emmanuel, and Messiah contain letters whose numeric total is a number divisible by eight.  Theologians often associate the number 8 in the Bible with “resurrection.”


It is inevitable that many Greek and Hebrew names will, by random chance, be equivalent to the numeric value 666.


But what happens if the Antichrist has a name that isn’t in Hebrew or Greek?  What if it is English?  Or German?


When you hear someone state that a person’s name equals 666, the numbering system most often used is an English derivative.


Back in the 70’s, some writers were touting the idea that Henry Kissinger might be the Antichrist, with his “shuttle diplomacy,” in trying to gain peace in the Middle East.  Those that carried this view about Kissinger used the following alpha/numeric system


This Alpha/numeric system is based on multiplying 6 time each letters position in the English alphabet.  For instance, a=6, b=12, c=18, ….. z=156.  And, indeed, when applied to Kissinger, the sum of the values in his last name is 666.


Using this numbering system, here are some examples that total 666.


Lucifer hades

Devil Sheol

Devil dragon

Mark of the beast

People sin

A Satanic mark

Fallen Church

Islamic Lies

Allah Wrong



World Net

Bio Implant

Digital ID Chip

New York



He is Anti-God


Using the same numbering system, we have two people in our class whose names add up to 666.


                    •  Bill Dolleman

                    •  S. Hamilton

                    •  Wallace Hardin


We also have one of our pastors whose last name adds up to 666.


                   •  PORTMANN


Others in our class not quite 666


Rick Ross              = 672

John E. Hoole        = 642

Ralph Shaw           = 660

John O’Brien         = 660

Ernie Gaudet         = 654

Stan Abbott          = 680

Doug Holman        = 660

LeeAnn Holman    = 684

Paul Yokers          = 654


I hope this shows the futility of trying to come up with who the Antichrist is by using these computations.  Prophecy believers have developed scenarios for the mark of the beast for almost 2,000 years.  Exactly what that mark is and how it will be implemented is still not fully known.  Attempting to identify the Antichrist before he appears is as futile as trying to pick the date for the Rapture.  The 666 identification of the Antichrist’s name will be relevant only for the people living during the 7-year Tribulation.


As we have seen, the technology is certainly in place for fulfilling Revelation 13:16-18.  The fact that the world is headed towards a global economy, with a cashless society, is on its way – soon.


Everyday, Bible prophecy affirms continuously that the God of heaven is the One True God.  No one but God would dare stake His reputation on foretelling the future.  No other world religion includes such detailed prophecies in its sacred writings.  Yet the one true God has precisely and unmistakably shown us the exact condition of the world just prior to the return of Christ.


What is God’s purpose in prophesying the future Antichrist will possess a name whose numeric value will be equal to 666?  The Lord was providing a warning to the future Jewish and Gentile Tribulation saints, giving them a means to identify the Antichrist.


Today, advanced computer technology, laser scanning devices and widespread electronic surveillance have made the fulfillment of the 666 Mark of the Beast control system possible for the first time in human history.




It is clear that the world is ripe for a universal economic strategy and a charismatic leader who can bring the people of the world together.  Now and then we hear news that the leading economic countries of the world are meeting.  Currently, the designation for that group is, “The G-20.”


The G-20 is made up of the world’s 19 largest economies plus the EU.  These twenty nations control 85% of the world’s wealth, so the meeting of these particular nations is a harbinger of a one-world economy.


As prophecy teacher Phillip Goodman notes,


“The political winds of our time are full speed ahead to take America’s economy – and that of all nations – and force-fit them into a global economic framework which will provide yet another sign that the world stage is being set for the arrival of the ultimate political, military, religious and economic czar, the Antichrist.”


We have certainly seen in the last decade how economic chaos in one part of the world has an effect on the economies of the rest of the world.  The current financial mess has exponentially accelerated calls for an entirely new global financial infrastructure and even a one-world currency.


Economic globalization and the technology to support it could be one of the most important signs of the end-times.  Amazingly, the Bible predicted over 1900 years ago that one man, the coming Antichrist, will ultimately take control of the entire world’s economy.  Many have wondered how this could ever happen precisely and literally as the Bible says.  This, in part, is why many theologians in past generation, were prone to interpret end-time passages in an allegorical manner.  But, today, we see the economies of the world coming under an umbrella of a central authority.  We may now have the answers and the technology to support them.  The prerequisites to make this prophecy possible are here today.


Make no mistake:  If the Antichrist is to gain control of every sale or purchase, it appears that cash must be eliminated so there is a record of every transaction.  The future final method of exchange will not be money (cash).


Does all this mean we should resist the cashless trend and avoid services like direct deposit, electronic toll-road passes, or smart cards?  Not necessarily.  None of these uses are inherently evil in themselves.  Often new technologies are very convenient and make sense.


But we do need to be aware of what is going on in our world all around us.  We need to recognize the implication of these movements, and consider how they may be setting the stage for what is coming.


The bottom line of what has been said is this:  The coming cashless society is not in itself immoral or evil, but it is a sign we are approaching the end times, and point toward the days when people will be required to have the mark of the beast.


We can certainly expect more twists and turns before the final dust settles and the final financial system takes shape.  No one knows the exact processes that will bring it to life.  But, make no mistake, it will come.  The literal fulfillment of the astonishing prophecy of Revelation 13:16-18 is just as certain  as the literal fulfillment of the hundreds of biblical prophecies that have already come to pass.