Graveyard Shift The Surprising Truth Behind 666, the Devil's Number  

Jacoby Bancroft
174.1k views 10 items

There is no number as feared as the dreaded 666. It will forever be linked with Lucifer and other satanic entities. Although you tend to avoid parking spots with the number 666 or freak out whenever your order at McDonald's caps out at $6.66, do you ever wonder the meaning behind the number? Why is 666 evil? Where did 666 come from? Is it just a brief Biblical reference, or is there a deeper reason why 666 has remained in the public consciousness for this long? Check out the list below to find out why 666 is associated with the Devil and discover the possible hidden meanings behind this spooky number.

Sign of the Antichrist
Sign of the Antichrist is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Surprising Truth Behind 666, the Devil's Number
Photo: Pieter Mortier/Public Domain

Almost everyone is aware that 666 is associated with the Devil, but not many people know the dense history behind it. Society gets its fear of the number from the Bible, in the book of Revelation, chapter 13, verses 16-18. It reads:

Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell who does not have the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. Its number is six hundred sixty-six.

So now you know the basis for people's fear of this otherwise innocent number.

It's Connected to the Cruelty of Emperor Nero
It's Connected to the Cruelty ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Surprising Truth Behind 666, the Devil's Number
Photo: Henryk Siemiradzki/Public Domain

No Roman emperor was more vile than Nero. He ordered his mother killed, his first wife killed, and more than likely killed his second wife, while she was pregnant, with a swift kick to the stomach. He was also notoriously violent against Christians. And, finally, Nero is quite possibly the evil figure to whom the Biblical passage about 666 is referring. 

The author of Revelations, John, used a puzzle called gematria, in which numbers are used to represent letters. If you translate Nero's name into a numerical value, you get 666. Coincidence? You be the judge. Here's a long list of other Biblical names and phrases translated into numbers using this method. 

Rome Itself May Have Been 666
Rome Itself May Have Been 666 is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Surprising Truth Behind 666, the Devil's Number
Photo: Charles W Barlett/Public Domain

It's possible 666 represents not just one man, but the entire Roman Empire. When John wrote Revelation, he may have used 666 to mock the oppressive power of Rome. Sure, Nero was evil, but not any more so than the Roman establishment, which claimed divine authority with no mandate. It was a hedonistic pagan empire at odds with many Christian beliefs.

 In numerology of the time period, seven was considered a pure and holy number, one associated with completeness. By referring to Rome as 666, Christians were saying the empire could never be complete or whole. 

The Mark and Number of the Beast Manifest as Money
The Mark and Number of the Bea... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Surprising Truth Behind 666, the Devil's Number
Photo: Johny SYSEL/Creative Commons

One of the first references to 666 in the Bible comes in 1 Kings, where it's written, "Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six [666] talents of gold."

After associating he Number of the Beast with currency, the Bible goes on to associate gold with a number of nefarious or immoral things, such as idolatry and hubris. As per this theory, money is the physical manifestation of the Number of the Beast, and is, therefore, the Mark of the Beast.