The Number of the "Beast" — 666 — Whose Number Is It?
By Herbert Armstrong
Where shall we find that mysterious number 666? Does the pope, as some claim, wear it on his crown, identifying him as the beast of Revelation 13? Or must we look for it elsewhere?
Here are all the scriptures speaking directly of this number:
"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. 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. 13:17-18).
"And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God" (Rev. 15:2).
Note These Points
From these scriptures, we have the following definite points:
1. The beast has a number and may be identified, if we have wisdom, by this number.
2. The number is 666.
3. We are told to count this number — that is, add it up. The same Greek word is used elsewhere only in Luke 14:28: "count the cost."
4. This number, 666, is the number of the beast. The only Bible interpretation of this symbol, "beast," is a kingdom or the king who rules it and, therefore, really is the kingdom (Dan. 7:17-18, 22-24, 27). Therefore 666 must be the number of the KINGDOM, or GOVERNMENT, or EMPIRE, as well as that of the king who founds or rules it.
5. The expression "the name of the beast, or the number of his name" makes plain that the number 666 is the number of the name of the kingdom or empire.
6. The expression "it is the number of a man" shows we must also count this number in the name of the king, or ruler, over the kingdom identified as the "beast."
The Beast Is Not the Woman
In the 17th chapter of Revelation we find a beast, and a woman — a great, wealthy but fallen woman who was riding the beast. The Bible describes the symbol "woman" to mean a church (see II Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19:7; Eph. 5:22-27). On the other hand, "beast" is a symbol of a kingdom, or empire.
Let us be consistent. The beast of Revelation 13 is not the woman who rode the beast — the beast is the government, and the woman is a church.
The beast of Revelation 13 is the Roman Empire!
This beast had a deadly wound (Rev. 13:3). That means the beast ceased altogether to exist or function as it had since 31 B.C. Yet its deadly wound was later healed, after which (verse 5) it continued to exist another 1260 years!
Those who believe a church is the beast say this deadly wound came in 1798. But the church did not cease to function in that year. Napoleon's abuse of the Pope in 1798 could in no sense be called a wound to death. And those who teach this do not expect that church to continue on another 1260 years.
The Founder of Rome
The founder and first king of Rome was Romulus. The Roman Empire was named after him. His name, the name of a man, also is the name of the kingdom. And every citizen in the kingdom bears the same name — a Roman. When John wrote this Revelation, telling us to count the number of the beast, he wrote in the Greek language. Consequently, we should look for this name, and the number 666, in this language recognized in the Bible, not in the Latin.
We are all familiar with the Roman numerals, where letters are used for numbers. All understand that I is 1, V is 5, X is 10, etc. But many do not know that the Greek language, in which the book of Revelation was written, also uses letters for numbers.
In the Greek, the language in which Revelation was written, this name was understood in the second century A.D. to have originally been spelled Lateinos. It signifies "Latin man" or "the name of Latium," from which region the Romans derived their origin and their language. This word, too, signifies "Roman." In the Greek, L is 30, A is 1, T is 300, E is 5, I is 10, N is 50, O is 70, S is 200. Count these figures. They count to exactly 666!
It is indeed no coincidence that the name of the kingdom, its founder and first king, and of each man in the kingdom, counts to exactly 666!
Certainly the beast stands identified!
And Mussolini, Too
But the same numbers also branded in Latin on the man who dominated the puny sixth head of the symbolic beast.
Mussolini called himself "Il Duce." Italians shouted "Viva Il Duce!" which means "long live the chief." Everywhere in Italy was the printed sign, "vv il duce." The "VV" is the abbreviation used for "Viva." A "V" is used instead of the "U" as is very commonly done. While this is a greeting, or title, Mussolini actually employed "Il Duce" as a name. It is in Latin. Count it.
V is 5, V is 5, I is 1, L is 50, D is 500, V is 5, C is 100, E has no number. Now count them, and you have exactly 666!
Thus this number 666 is indelibly branded upon the Roman Empire!
But, some will ask, does not this number apply to the Pope? Some teach "the words 'Vicarius Filii Dei' are on the Pope's triple crown." The Pope does, on some occasions, wear a triple crown, but these words are not on it! We should be careful to prove all things.
Furthermore, these words are in the Latin, not a Bible language. This is not a name, but a title, and it is the name of the beast, and the number of the name of the man of the beast we are told to count. Further, this Latin title does not apply to a kingdom, or empire, but alone to a man.
And so the number 666 is branded on the Roman Empire, on the founder and first king of the Latins, on every Roman, and even on Mussolini. Could anything be more conclusive?