Meaning of 666

What is the meaning of 666?

The meaning of 666 - the number often referred to as the Mark of the Beast - is a highly contested concept. The number 666 is found in Revelation 13:16-18: "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, 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. 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."

John MacArthur explains the meaning of 666 this way: "The number represents the essential number of a man. The number 6 falls one short of God's perfect number, 7, and thus points to human imperfection. Antichrist, the most powerful human the world will ever know, will still be a man - a 6. The ultimate in human and demonic power is a 6, not perfect, as God is."1

MacArthur goes on to explain that the three digits emphasizes man's identity. When Antichrist is revealed, he will be identified with this number. The Bible is not clear what the mark will be: an implant, a microchip, a tattoo. It is wise not to speculate since the Bible does not give detailed information regarding this mark.

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