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. (Revelation 13:18, ESV)
As we officially launch “666: The Mark of the Beast Made Simple” today, let’s explore an intriguing concept found in Revelation 13:18—the practice of gematria and its connection to the number 666. Gematria is an ancient practice of assigning numeric values to letters, which was common in biblical times.
In most ancient languages, numbers, as we know them today, did not exist. To accommodate this, numeric values were assigned to letters. This practice was called gematria in Hebrew and isopsephy in Greek. Consequently, every word can be converted to a number by adding the numeric values of each of its letters.
In Revelation 13:18, the term “calculate” likely means to add up digits and calculate a total. John urged the Christians in the seven churches to calculate the number of the beast, which means to add up the numeric values of the letters of the Antichrist’s name. Those in the churches with understanding and knowledge of the name would calculate it and determine it adds up to 666.
Though this idea may seem strange to us today, it was a common practice back then. In fact, the numeric value of Jesus’s name in Hebrew adds up to 888. Your name, too, can be converted to a number, whether in Hebrew or even English! (See calculator below).
However, the focus of Revelation 13:18 is not on Jesus’s name or our names but on the number of the Antichrist—a future political ruler who will lead a global government and breath hell on earth.
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Reflect on the concept of gematria as explained above. How does this ancient practice provide context for Revelation 13:18?
Apply the Word
The Antichrist’s name will add up to 666, though we don’t know if it will be in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, or English. As we live in these uncertain times, concentrate on redeeming the time, walking in holiness, and diligently doing the Lord’s work.
Ask the Father to help you prepare your heart and mind to live faithfully in these challenging times.
- Even so, come, Lord Jesus
- 666: the Mark of The Beast Made Simple
- External Recourse: Gematria Calculator
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