What the Early Christians Believed
666 and the Mark of the Beast
John, who penned the Book of Revelation, wrote this about the Beast: "He
causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive
a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy
or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number
of his name. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the
beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666" (Rev. 13:18).
There are all sorts of nonsensical speculations being thrown out nowadays
on how to identify the number of the beast, i.e., 666. In contrast, the
writings of the early Christians make it crystal clear that the phrase, "the
number of his name," had a concrete meaning to John's readers—it was not
something strange or speculative to them.
The key to the correct understanding of the number 666 is the phrase in
Revelation 13:18 that refers to "the number of his name." You
see, neither the Greeks nor the Romans had numbers as we know them today.
Rather, their letters of the alphabet were also their numbers. (In contrast,
today we use Arabic numerals.)
The writings of the early Christians make it quite clear what John meant
by the "number of his name" and the mark of the beast. We don't have to
do speculative guessing. If you would like to learn more, we encourage
you to listen to the following message about the number 666 and the mark
of the beast:
666 and the Antichrist
D. Bercot. 70 min. audio CD
In this disc, David Bercot allows the listener to go back in time and learn
how the Christians closest in time to the apostles understood the various
prophecies about the Antichrist. The number of the beast, 666, meant something
very specific to them.