THE TRUTH CONCERNING 666
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter [Isaiah 5:20]!
Why do people say that the number 666 denotes evil, even the acclaimed “beast”? This idea comes from Bible translations and their translation of Revelation 13:18:
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 six hundred and sixty-six.
But a fragment of the oldest surviving copy of the New Testament, as well as other older manuscripts, show that the original number was not 666, but 616. And as you will see, unquestionably the preponderance of evidence is that 666 is in fact a number denoting extraordinary good, and not evil. This is the reason we use it as our PO box.
Let us first ask the question: If 666 is a number that denotes evil, then wouldn’t it have confirming evil significance throughout the Bible? Indeed! But quite revealingly, this is not the case!
What we find instead is that, other than this false and erroneous use of 666 in Revelation 13:18, the number, used only twice in the Bible, in both cases is extraordinarily good! Let us look at these.
The number 666 is first found in the accounting of the amount of gold Solomon received in one year for building the temple: “Now the weight of gold which came in to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold” (1 Kings 10:14).
First, the mere fact that this gold was for the temple tells us that the use of 666 here denotes something exceptionally good! Furthermore, the fact that 666 is identified with gold evidences even further good.
Gold is the element that represents Yahshua, even His kingdom, or something of great value. Jerusalem above was made of "pure gold" (Revelation 21:18), and a gold rod was used to measure it (21:15). Yahshua urged the church to buy from Him "gold refined by fire, that you may become rich" (Revelation 3:18). And if upon the foundation of Yahshua we are told to build with gold (1 Corinthians 3:12), how is it now that this quantity of gold used to build the temple of Yahweh is suddenly some evil beast number? This is nothing less than another dramatic case where good is called evil.
Likewise, in the same account we read that Solomon received 120 talents of gold from Hiram, the King of Tyre whom Solomon commissioned to bring all the gold and cedar and cypress for the temple construction (1 Kings 9:14), as well as 120 talents from the queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:10).
If 666 is an evil dubious number, then what kind of number is 120? Both are specifically enumerated quantities of gold which Solomon received; so one would think that if 666 is an evil quantity, then 120 would be likewise. But of course 120 is not an evil number, even as 666 is not. 120 is the number of government, elevated to the three digit nations level. There were 120 in the upper room on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:15). When the two-part Medo-Persian empire took Babylon, it was placed under the oversight of 120 satraps (Daniel 6:1). Also, Solomon's temple of gold was 120 cubits high (2 Chronicles 3:4).
There is certainly nothing evil regarding 120 talents of gold; therefore, 666 talents of the same precious element for the same temple have the same positive implication.
The second time 666 is used is in Ezra 2:13, where we read: "the sons of Adonikam, 666." Again, if 666 was the number of the beast, then Yahweh would identify this number with something clearly evil as well. Who was Adonikam? He was one of the leaders of those who came out of captivity in Babylon to help rebuild, once again, the temple. These 666 were those of his household who returned to Jerusalem to effect this curse-reversing work. Also, quite revealingly, what does "Adonikam" mean? Adonikam means – "the Lord of rising"! So if you put the phrase together with the number, it says – "the sons of the Lord of rising, 666"! Clearly, it speaks of a people ascending, like unto Elijah.
Therefore, how could a man whose name means "the Lord of rising," and who came out of captivity to rebuild Yahweh’s temple, be some beast? The fact is, as we will continue to see, 666 is never associated with the beast.
So, whether it was Solomon's temple or Zerubbabel's temple, 666 evidenced both something good in these temple constructions, as well as of great value. And certainly, they do not indicate the desolation of the temple by the beast, but rather just the opposite – its construction! Therefore, with full assurance we can say that the assessment of the number 666 as evil is once again calling good evil.
Furthermore, Bible teachers often point out a contrast of 666 with the number 888. They say that Yahshua is identified with the number 888, which speaks of the perfect Son of Man. But then, as if it is evil, they say that 666 is a perfect man, but now taking on the identity of some great charismatic leader who will come and rule the earth for a season and cause an abomination of desolation. But is this truth? Far from it!
One should ask: If three eights makes something good and perfect, then why do three sixes not equally make something good, or at least better? Granted, one is working with sixes here; and that cannot yet be entirely perfect, since six is the number of man. But frankly, flesh man needs a great degree of help in order to be prepared for Yahshua’s return. Let us now go to another account to further understand the truth concerning 666.
In Del Washburn's comprehensive book, Theomatics II, he states at the beginning of Chapter 20 on the subject of 666: "This chapter may be the most revealing chapter of this book." In this expansive 643 page book, indeed the evidence he gives in that chapter supporting 616 to be the number of the beast and not 666, is indeed the most important chapter. And in his own words, the evidence is "overwhelming"!
Dell says regarding his first book he wrote on theomatics: "I have in a certain sense regretted that I ever put the chapter on 666 in my first book. At the time I felt compelled to 'say something' about this number because of its popularity." But he goes on to say: "I found virtually no pattern of 666 in all the references from the Bible that could in any way relate to Revelation chapter 13." To the contrary, he discovered an overwhelming amount of evidence that 616 is the number for the beast. "It is one of the most consistent designs I have ever discovered from the Old Testament," He concludes.
And from the New Testament, there is this striking evidence: "the beast" (Revelation 13:2), "the harlot" (1 Corinthians 6:16), "evil" or "wickedness" (Matthew 12:45), and "deceived" (1 Timothy 2:14), all have numeric values of 616. "Mystery Babylon" has a numeric value of 616 x 3. "The great harlot sitting upon" has a numeric value of 616 x 2. And the impressive list goes on, and is very extensive! Clearly, 616 is the number that identifies the beast, a number Satan has concealed with his deceptive and misleading replacement with the number 666.
Citing further from Theomatics II, we read the following statement from a publication titled, The Book of Revelation, A Key to Christian Origins, published in 1932, confirming what we stated here at the outset:
The figure 616 is given in one of the two best manuscripts., C (Codex Ephraemi Rescripttus, Paris), by the Latin version of Tyconius (DCXVI. Ed. Souter in the Journal of Theo., SE, April, 1913), and by an ancient Armenian version(ed. Conybeare, 1907). Irenaeus knew about it [the 616 reading], but did not adopt it (Haer. V, 30,3); Jerome adopted it (De Monogramm., ed. Dom G. Morin in the Rev. Benedictine, 1903). It is probably original. The number 666 has been substituted for 616 either by analogy with 888, the number of Jesus (Deissmann), or because it is a triangular number, the sum of the first 36 numbers (1+2+3+4+5+6... +36 = 666).
Let us examine a little about these triangle numbers as mentioned here. What is a triangle number? Referencing James Harrison's book, The Pattern & The Prophecy, we find that they are numbers that can be arranged to form a triangle. The number "1" is considered a triangle number. Next would be the number "3," followed by "6," and then "10," and so on. In the following dot pattern, you see that in each case they form a triangle – starting at the top with one, then below it adding two more (1 + 2 = 3), then adding three more below that (1 + 2 + 3 = 6), then adding four more (1 +2 + 3 + 4 = 10), and so on.
What is the significance of this? A triangle number is considered to be a complete unit. One is of course representative of God, who is one. Three attests to the trinity of God. Six is man or the number of days of creation. Ten is also a number of completion – the ten commandments. Other interesting triangle numbers pointed out by Harrison are 45, or "Adam (created in God's triangle image)," and 1,081, "God's Holy Spirit."
There are two other triangle numbers that are most striking – 153 and 666. 153 is the number of fish caught by Yahshua’s disciples when He directed them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat. 153 is also the numeric value of Lazarus's name, who was called out from death by Yahshua.
It is a curious and most revealing thing that Harrison, who believes that 666 is the mark of the beast, points out that 666 is a triangle number, but adds the comment: "Yet perhaps the most bewildering of all such [triangle] numbers is that of the Antichrist, 666." Clearly, it is "bewildering" because he and others have the wrong identification for what that number truly means.
It is equally most interesting that 6 is the only digit that is duplicated as a triangle number. In other words, not only is 6 a triangle number, but so is 66, and of course so is 666. All three of these numbers place it on the triangle number pattern. No other digit does this, making these combinations of 6 most relevant.
Therefore, the evidence concerning 666 is soundly conclusive. Based on:
- The absence of 666 in Revelation 13:18 in the oldest manuscripts,
- Del Washburn’s conclusive study confirming that it is not the number of the beast,
- Its association with the building of both Solomon’s temple and Zerubbabel’s temple,
- Its association with gold,
- Its association as "the sons of the Lord of rising, 666," and
- Its positive placement as a complete triangle number,
we see that 666 is actually an exceptionally good number!
For this reason, despite people’s ill-formed views of 666, we have it for our PO box, quite fittingly, here in Salem. As the RTC in RTC Quest Publications indicates, we endeavor to Reverse The Curse – to restore that which has been used for evil, returning it to its original good. Such needs to be the case with 666. It is exceptionally good, and not evil!