1. Revelation 13:18 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Why is the beast’s number “666” the number of a man?

Revelation 13:18 (ESV)

18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.

God created mankind with an exalted position in his world (Genesis 1:26), “and crowned him with glory and honor,” with “all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:5–6). Throughout his Revelation John repeatedly associates the number seven with God (Revelation 1:4). That the number six, then, is given as “the number of a man” is no surprise. The surprise lies in the triple six: 666. Through the encouragement of the second beast, the human race keeps trying to rise above his exalted six level to reach the “seven” level, that is, be like God himself (see Genesis 3:5). Throughout history there is fullness (“three”) of trying—hence the triple 666—but never an attaining to Godness. Wisdom calls upon people to know their history and see for ourselves how our race has repeatedly been discontent to be “only” exalted people and yet never succeeded in becoming God—no matter how hard we bullied and pushed and shoved (i.e., acted like the first beast whose number is 666).