The Book of Revelation Chapter 32 – The Number of the Beast

Chapter 32

The Number of the Beast



In chapter 13 of Revelation, we are given many facts and features, in order to identify the sea beast. Some of these identity markers are more cryptic than others. The most cryptic of all in the number 666. We are expressly exhorted to use wisdom, to calculate the number of the beast:

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.  Rev. 13:18.

The exhortation to use wisdom, in order to understand the number of the beast, brings to recollection something that Daniel was told, when he expressed his confusion over what he was shown, he was told:

Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.  Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.  Dan. 12:8-10.

The first thing we need to note, is that numbers are used symbolically. The Bible is no exception. The number 3 symbolically represents the Godhead, the number 6 symbolically represents mankind, the number 7 symbolically represents perfection, the number 12 symbolically represents God’s Kingdom, etc. etc. Therefore, we should not be surprised to discover that 666 also has a symbolic meaning. Because the beast system described in Revelation 13, 17 & 18, is called Babylon, we should not be surprised to discover, that the truth about the number 666, has its origins in ancient Babylon, and the pagan religion of Babylon.


Babylon and 666

The ancient Babylonians were astrologers. They divided up the cosmos into 12 constellations (aka signs). Each constellation was named after entities (gods) that were thought to be made visible by tracing a line of stars into a pattern. Therefore, each constellation was named after whatever the pattern supposedly revealed. Each of the 12 constellations had 3 rooms. Making a total of 36 rooms. A number was assigned to each room from 1 to 36. If these numbers are counted in the following manner 1 + 2 +3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 + 11 + 12 + 13 + 15 + 16 + 17 + 18 + 19 + 20 + 21 + 22 + 23 + 24 + 25 + 26 + 27 + 28 + 29 + 30 + 31 + 32 + 33 + 34 + 35 + 36. The sum of these numbers = 666.

The reason why each room had a number was because each room was the habitation of a god. Therefore, there were 36 gods in the Babylonian pantheon, and each god was represented by a specific number from 1 to 36. These 36 gods were the supreme gods, and the sun god was supreme over them all. Therefore, the sun god was assigned the number 1, the moon god was assigned the number 2. The sun god was male and the moon god female. The other gods in the pantheon were believed to be the children of the sun god and the moon god.

The 12 constellations eventually merged into the zodiac. The zodiac is a system of tracing the movement of the planets, stars, moon and sun. It represents the yearly cycle. Each constellation in the zodiac roughly corresponded to a month (of 30 days). This means that each room in each constellation was a period of 10 days. Each of the 36 gods were called decans, because they ruled over 10 days. As the year progressed and as each month changed from one to another, this meant that each of the gods would be more influential during that month. The same applied to each room, every ten days another god would become more influential than the previous one. This system is the origin of the division of time into years, months and days. It is also the origin of the circle, the days of the year, being 360 degrees instead of days.

All pantheistic religions have good gods and evil gods. In the Babylonian system the gods were considered mostly evil. Therefore, it was considered much more important to pay attention to the evil gods and worship them, in order to mitigate the harm, they supposedly had power to do. In the mitigation of the harm the numbers were supremely important. They were/are supremely important, because the Babylonians believed, that numbers gave them power over their gods. Therefore, they would wear amulets with numbers and inscriptions in order to protect themselves from fickle gods. These amulets needed to be changed as the yearly cycle progressed from zodiac sign to zodiac sign and room to room, so that the appropriate god was honoured and worshipped.

One amulet, that was a favourite with the Babylonians was the ‘magic square of the sun.’ The magic square of the sun, was a square amulet with all the numbers from 1 to 36. It was ‘magic’ because the numbers were arranged in columns and rows of six. With 6 numbers in each column and row. Each column and row added up to 111. And six columns or rows times 6 = 666. See pictures below:

On the left side of this picture is an original magic square of the sun. On the right side is how the numbers were arranged on this amulet. Each column and row add up to 111 and because there are six columns and or rows 111 times 6 = 666.


Above is a typical amulet for the constellation of Leo. Typically, Leo was/is the hottest time of the year (August in Northern Hemisphere). Therefore, the sun god is depicted standing on Leo the lion (keeping him under control). There are numerous symbols and signs included for reasons that remain speculative, but they do include, an emblazoned sun, stars of David and two pillars. The backside of the amulet has the magic square of the sun.

Knowing all of the above, it should be obvious that the number 666 is the number that represents the whole of the sum. It represents the whole Babylonian system in all its complexity. It serves the same function in the Book of Revelation. The number of the beast is telling us that the sea beast is the modern reincarnation of the ancient Babylonian pagan religion. [Note: this point, namely that the sea beast is Babylonian pagan religion, will be elaborated upon, and more evidence provided as we progress through Revelation].


The Number of a Man

The prophecy tells us, “for it is the number of a man” (Rev. 13:18). In addition, in order to discover ‘the man’ we are instructed to ‘count.’ This has resulted in a plethora of speculation, from the early church until modern times:

Pages might be filled with a list of persons whose names have been proposed as solutions of the problem. Among the persons supposed to be indicated are the emperors Caligula, Trajan, and Julian the Apostate, Genseric the Vandal, Popes Benedict IX. and Paul V., Mahomet, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Beza, and Napoleon Bonaparte. There are three rules by the help of which I believe an ingenious man could find the required sum in any given name. First, if the proper name by itself will not yield it, add a title; secondly, if the sum cannot be found in Greek, try Hebrew, or even Latin; thirdly, do not be too particular about the spelling.  Dr. Salmon, Introduction to the New Testament, p. 300, Quoted in, Pulpit Commentary, art. Rev. 13:18.

One favourite calculation is to count the title ‘vicarious filli dei’ which is a title appropriated by the popes of Rome. When ‘vicarious filli dei’ is added up using the Latin numerology the sum is 666. The problem with this calculation is that there is no biblical justification for calculating in Latin, when we are dealing with Babylonian systems. For example, many prefer the Roman Emperor Nero for the 666 candidacy. When one adds up the name ‘Nero Caesar’ one can come to 666, but this only works if one uses the Hebrew numerology. One would expect that if we are going to calculate something when dealing with Babylon, then we should use Babylonian numerology, however, the problem is the Babylonians used a positional numeral system (not based on their alphabet). Therefore, one cannot count names or titles using the Babylonian numerology.


Solomon and 666

When one encounters a problem of Bible interpretation, it is customary for Bible exegetes to look for other passages in the Bible that might shed light on the problem of interpretation. In addition, we already know that Revelation is built on the principle of type and antitype, therefore it behoves an exegete to ask the question, “are there any references to 666 in the Old Testament”? Yes, there are two references, one of these pertains to King Solomon – just after the conclusion of the account concerning the Queen of Sheba, it is said of Solomon:

 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold… 1 Kings 10:14.

What is interesting, is that this reference to 666 occurs in the later years of Solomon’s reign when his heart is turned away from God (under the influence of his pagan wives), and he “went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites” (1 Kings 11:5, 6). Therefore, it is said of Solomon, “And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father” (1 Kings, 11:6). Not only was Solomon doing evil, in the sight of the Lord, the evil he was doing was introducing paganism into God’s Kingdom and mingling it with the true religion. This is precisely what has occurred all through the history of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. The enemy has many strategies and tactics that he uses against God’s Kingdom, but the strategy most often emphasised in Scripture is his attempts to blend his pagan counterfeit, with God’s true religion. He succeeded even with the man, who was endowed with the heavenly gift of wisdom. The number 666 represents paganism in all its multitude of guises. This is just one of many instances in the history of God’s people that 666 entered into the Kingdom of God and dominated the Kingdom. The beast from the sea and its latter manifestation as a woman riding the beast, are just the latter and last iteration of its many manifestations in the past.


Adonikam and 666

There is a second reference to 666 in the Old Testament. When the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem after their captivity in Babylon, the record states that the returning Jews of the family of Adonikam numbered 666 (see Ezra 2:13). In all probability this is just coincidence and without more information, we should not speculate further (especially since there is other manuscript evidence that records the number to be 667 and not 666).


The Number of a Man

We are left with one last thing to consider. The prophecy says that 666 is the number of a man:

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.  Rev. 13:18.

It is for this reason that innumerable names have been added up, using different languages, attempting to find the ‘man’ – some have even developed a software program to search names of prominent people to find the ‘man.’ As dicussed above one of the most popular candidates for the bearer of the number is the Roman Catholic Pope. However, even if this assertion is true, it does not fully explain the full implications of the number, because the prophecy says that the number is going to be something that the people of God are going to be persecuted by:

And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  Rev. 13:17

It is difficult to understand, how the number of a man, is going to be used to prevent people buying and selling. The prophecy asserts that the number 666 is going to be used to prevent people from buying and selling. This means that whatever system is put in place to prevent people from buying and selling, must be linked somehow to the number 666 and this is also the number of a man. Much of the Book of Revelation has been fulfilled already, however the most fearful apocalyptic aspects of Revelation have not been fulfilled. As the scroll unrolls and the history of this world continues, we will eventually see and understand how 666 and its application to a man, will play a role in the coercion of God’s people, in the last days.



The origins of the number 666, is Babylonian. It is a number that can be understood as expressing the full summation of the Babylonian pagan religion. The Book of Revelation calls the kingdom, that opposes and persecutes the Kingdom of God, Babylon. Therefore, the number 666 becomes a prominent part of the means whereby we can identify the Babylonian kingdom in the last days. As time passes and the veil is drawn aside, we will see how the number will be used, to further persecute God’s people, by preventing them to buy and sell. [This topic will be repeated and expanded upon in the next chapters in this series].

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