666 Meaning: Angel Number or the Devil's Digits?

By: Dave Roos  | 
Is 666 really "the devil's number," or is there a more down-to-earth explanation for these three digits? juvonse/Pixabay

Would you buy a used car with a license plate ending in 666? Or take a job at an office tower in New York City with the address 666 Fifth Avenue? After all, 666 is the infamous "number of the beast," allegedly Satan's secret code for evil.

The Bible's Book of Revelation 13:18 reads:


"Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is 666."

From that Bible prophecy, it sure sounds like 666 is Lucifer's lucky number. But when you dig deeper into the Bible and its historical context, there's evidence that the author of Revelation was using numbers to send his early Christian readers a coded message.


Who Is “the Beast” in the Bible?

In the Bible, "the beast" refers to an evil-looking creature that the author of Revelation saw rising out of the earth in an apocalyptic vision (Revelation 13:11-18). This creature could perform miraculous things, demand that everyone be "marked" with its name or number to buy and sell anything, and kill those who did not worship it. Over the centuries, scholars have wondered whether this beast referred to someone who has come and gone, has yet to come, or to no person in particular.


Numbers in Greek

The book of Revelation was written in Greek, the language of the Christian world in the first and second century C.E. There were no numbers in Greek, at least not the numbers we would recognize today. (Our so-called "Arabic numerals" — 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on — came centuries later.)

Instead, each letter of the Greek (and Hebrew) alphabet has a numeric value. For example, alpha equals 1, beta equals 2, pi equals 80, and psi equals 700.


The Greek-speaking Christians reading Revelation would have been very comfortable reading letters as numbers. They also would have been comfortable turning numbers back into letters thanks to a practice called isopsephy.

Word Games With Numbers

Isopsephy, in Greek, means "equal in numeric value" and was a popular way of playing with words in the first century. The trick was to add up the numeric value of one word and then find a second word or phrase that added up to the same number. Numerically equal words had a special connection.

One of the best-known first-century isopsephies comes from Roman historian Seutonius:


"A calculation new: Nero his mother slew."

In this case, the emperor's name "Nero" equals 1,005, the exact value of the phrase "his mother slew." For Romans who suspected that the ruthless emperor had murdered his mother, this isopsephy was the proof. According to Thomas Wayment, a classics professor at Brigham Young University, archaeologists have even discovered ancient Roman graffiti that substituted numbers for names.

"There's graffiti at Smyrna and Pompeii that says, 'I love her whose number is 1,308,'" says Wayment. "That's pretty common. And hopefully, everybody did their math correctly and could make the connections."


666 as a Coded Message

Some biblical scholars believe the author of Revelation intended 666 to be an isopsephy solved by his first-century readers. "The author says, this is the number of a man, which is a classic isopsephy formula," Professor Thomas Wayment argues in an article on Revelation 13:18 and early Christian isopsephies. "Christians would have known right away, this is a coded message."

Revelation is famously cryptic. Wayment says that in apocalyptic writings, an angel or other heavenly messenger often reveals their meaning through coded speech. "As a reader, you're seeing something through the eyes of the visionary and he's telling you, 'You need to make sense of this,'" Wayment says. "That's part of your experience and participation in the vision."


According to most scholars, 666 was a coded reference to Nero, a "beastly" emperor who brutally persecuted early Christians in the Roman Empire. To solve the isopsephy and equate Nero to 666, you must use the full name "Caesar Nero" in Greek. The transliteration of “Caesar Nero” to Hebrew is “nrwn qsr” or "Neron Kesar.” These letters add up to 666.

Interestingly, some early manuscripts of Revelation have the number written as 616 instead of 666. The standard explanation is that "Caesar Nero" is written differently in Greek and Latin, another language spoken by early Christians. In the Latin version, the letters only add up to 616.


666 as Satan's Perfect Imperfection

James M. Hamilton, a professor of biblical theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and author of Revelation: The Spirit Speaks to the Churches, sees powerful symbolism in the repetition of the number 6 for a person on a spiritual journey.

In biblical symbolism, Hamilton says, seven represents "completeness" or "perfection." Only Jesus Christ achieved true perfection. If Jesus had a symbolic number, it would be 777.


Hamilton sees the "number of the beast" as a warning sign for Christians to beware of Satan's "cheap imitation of Christ.” According to Hamilton: "That's the best Satan can do, one short of perfection."

For Hamilton, those "false Christs" raised by Satan could take the form of a corrupt emperor like Nero or even modern cultural norms that rebel against God in God's sight. "If participating in that culture entails worshipping false gods or denying something that the Bible teaches, Christians need to say, 'I'm not going to take the number or name of the beast,'" says Hamilton.


666 Angel Number Meaning

666 is also an angel number — repeated single digits that have spiritual meaning for those who believe in guardian angels or spirit guides. In the world of angel numbers, 666 isn't a bad omen. Depending on the interpretation, it can be a good sign.

Angel number 666 may be a sign that your focus on the problems of daily life overshadows what's truly important. 666 is a gentle reminder to sit with your inner voice so you don't lose sight of the bigger picture—your life purpose. Taking note of where you see this angel number could lend insight into which parts of your life need refocusing to achieve balance.


Regarding your love life, 666 might mean investing in your relationships, self-love, family members or other aspects of domestic life rather than material possessions. However, if your focus on your twin flame relationship takes up all your energy and overwhelms other elements of your life, 666 may be a sign to deprioritize your romantic life. The true meaning of this angel number is to bring balance to your life.

If you're unhappy in your current career, 666 might be a positive sign. 666 encourages you to let go of self-doubt, take stock of your career path and set goals for personal growth. Find balance between your career and your well-being by taking time to practice self-care.


666 FAQs

What is the value of 666?
In the Bible and popular culture, 666 symbolizes the number of the devil or "beast." Many scholars believe it is a coded reference to the Roman emperor Nero.
What is the number of the beast in the Bible?
In the Book of Revelation, 666 is the number of the beast. According to scripture, this beast will rise out of the earth and oppress the world during the end times.
What does DCLXVI mean?
The Roman numeral DCLXVI translates to 666 in Arabic numberals.
What is the number of a man?
In the New Testament's Book of Revelation, 666 is the number of the man associated with the beast. Rev. 13:18 says, "Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is 666."