There is likely no number so feared as the dreaded 666. It will probably be linked forever with Lucifer and other Satanic entities. Many people may avoid a parking spot with the number 666 or freak out whenever their McDonald’s order caps out at $6.66, but have you ever wondered the meaning behind the number?
Why is 666 evil? Where did 666 come from? Is it just a brief biblical reference, or is there a deeper reason why 666 has remained in the public consciousness for this long? The possible hidden meanings behind this spooky number go even deeper than you may think – here’s why 666 is associated with the Devil.
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The Number Is Said To Be The Sign Of The Antichrist
Almost everyone is aware that 666 is associated with the Devil from Christian theology, but not many people know the number’s dense history. Society gets its fear of the number from the Bible, specifically in the book of Revelation, chapter 13, verses 16-18. It reads:
Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell who does not have the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. Its number is six hundred sixty-six.
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The Number Is Connected To The Cruelty Of Emperor Nero
Nero was perhaps the cruelest, most vile Roman emperor of them all. He ordered his mother and first wife slain, and he may have killed his pregnant second wife by kicking her in the stomach. He was also notoriously cruel towards Christians.
The biblical passage about 666 could, quite possibly, refer to Nero.
The author of Revelations, John, used a puzzle called gematria, in which numbers are used to represent letters. If you translate Nero’s name into a numerical value, you get 666. Here is a long list of other biblical names and phrases translated into numbers using this method.
• Revelation May Have Used The Number To Mock Rome’s Power
The number 666 may represent not just one man, but the entire Roman Empire. When John wrote Revelation, he may have used 666 to mock the oppressive power of Rome. While many consider Nero to be evil, he was likely no more evil than the Roman establishment, which claimed divine authority with no mandate. By all accounts, it was a hedonistic pagan empire at odds with many Christian beliefs.
In numerology of the time period, seven was considered a pure and holy number, one associated with completeness. By referring to Rome as 666, Christians may have been saying the empire could never be complete or whole.
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The Number Is Tied To The Idolatry Of Money
One of the first references to 666 in the Bible comes in 1 Kings, where it’s written, “Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six  talents of gold.”
After associating the Number of the Beast with currency, the Bible goes on to associate gold with a number of nefarious or immoral things, such as idolatry and hubris. As per this theory, money is the physical manifestation of the Number of the Beast, and is therefore the Mark of the Beast.
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Other Religions View The Number Quite Differently
The number 666 appears in religions and denominations outside of Christianity. For Jehovah’s Witnesses, a unique denomination of non-mainstream Christianity, 666 represents the world’s unified governments in opposition to God. The Witnesses see the number seven as signifying perfection, so 666 represents failings in the eyes of Jehovah.
By contrast, Kabbalistic Judaism claims 666 represents the perfection of the world and its creations: the world was created in six days, there are six cardinal directions, and they see six as the numerical value of one of the letters of God’s name.
• Photo: The Omen / 20th Century Fox
‘The Omen’ Popularized The Connection Between The Number And The Antichrist
Released in 1976, The Omen tells the story of a young boy (Damien) who is eventually revealed to be the Antichrist.
The Omen was one of the most successful horror films of its time, and it even spawned a franchise. The film deals with 666 and the Mark of the Beast, so if you’re looking for something that has kept the fear of 666 alive in popular culture, look no further than The Omen.
• Photo: Cowles Communications, Inc. / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
Conspiracy Theorists Claim The Number Is Connected To The Illuminati
The Illuminati is an organization that many online theorists believe is in control of many powerful pop cultural figures.
One conspiracy theory surrounding the Illuminati claims that they are responsible for the death of famed director Stanley Kubrick, who intentionally associated his own end with the Number of the Beast. Many people believe he used his film Eyes Wide Shut to rat out the secret society, who then had him killed on March 7, 1999.
This date is exactly 666 days before January 1, 2001, which some construe as a link to one of Kubrick’s most famous films, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
While there is no empirical evidence whatsoever to support this story, many online theorists find it quite compelling regardless.
• Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons
Online Theorists Have Claimed To Find The Number In Various Corporate Logos
If conspiracy theorists are to be believed, the Number of the Beast appears in myriad corporate logos, such as those for Monster Energy Drinks, Vodafone, and Google Chrome.
While the intent of these alleged inclusions is unclear, many theorists believe they carry dark societal implications.
• Photo: Lockheed Martin / NASA/JPL-Caltech / Public Domain
Some Theorists Have Connected The Number To The Modern Use Of Microchips
Some people believe there will be a point at which humans are embedded with microchips containing all our personal information, which will place us under governmental control. They believe this advancement will ultimately herald the apocalypse.
Microchips are already in use in animals under scientific observation and in zoos, as well as in pets, which many believe lends credence to this extreme theory.
Another complex theory claims that the Mark of the Beast relates to commerce and will be branded upon people, in the way the government might “brand” its citizens with microchips and use their information to buy and sell people around the world.
Despite these concerning theories, other sources insist these are a misreading of Revelation and should not be taken seriously.