Revelation 13:18 Meaning of the Number of the Beast

Revelation 13:18
“This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.”

Explanation and Commentary of Revelation 13:18

There is a great deal of scholarship on the themes of this verse, but nothing is conclusive, because the keys to total understanding lie in the future. At the end of time, there will arise an antichrist, and he will be ultimately defeated. The Church is hotly divided on the issue of whether-or-not those of us who are in Christ will ever see this. Will Christ rapture his bride before these things take place, or will the Church need to suffer the tribulation first? Others claim that all this has already taken place, that the man was Nero. But it is unlikely.

This calls for wisdom, yes, but it also seems to call for prophetic insight that God has so far kept from his people. The entire book of Revelation, while being just that, a revelation, clearly leaves more to be revealed. This is by design. It is profitable to hope in what can be known from the book—Jesus Christ will return, death and Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire, there will be a great Judgment, and a New Heaven and a New Earth will descend for us to live with God and Christ forever (Rev 21:1).

The ultimate lesson of any end times scholarship is to be ready. Whether one is a premillennialist, postmillennialist, or amillennialist, or one believes in a rapture pre- or post-tribulation, the goal is to wait well, serving and loving God with all one’s heart, continuing the ministry of Jesus according to his great commission until the very end, no matter the nature of that end. It culminates with resurrection and glory.

Breaking Down the Key Parts of Revelation 13:18

#1 “This calls for wisdom.”
An understatement that either refers to the previous text, or the following. Both would be true. It seems that the wisest thing would be to wait for a definitive interpretation until the events begin to take place. This seems to be John’s aim, that the reader would know the antichrist when he comes. Though there have been many candidates in history, none has lived up to the title.

#2 “Let the person has insight calculate the number of the beast,”
Many have attempted to be this person, the one with insight, and there have been many methods of calculating, but none has proved conclusive.

#3 “for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.”
Some scholars claim the grammar indicates the rendering should be, “for is the number of man,” without the article, indicating that mankind is in view. There is disagreement about this. The number 666 is now synonymous with Satan and evil, causing superstitious people to avoid the number.

Expert Overview of Revelation Ch. 12-22

Biblical Translations of Revelation 13:18

NIV
This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.

NLT
Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.

ESV
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.

KJV
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.

NKJV
Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

Revelation 13:18 Meaning and Commentary

Author Bio
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.