The number of a man or of man?

Revelation Bible Background

12.22.2018 – New Testament: Rev 13.18

To read the Bible in a year, read Revelation 13 on December 22, In the year of our Lord Christ 2018

By Don Ruhl

You have undoubtedly heard much talk about the number 666 and who it represents. Most interpretations focus on an individual man, but consider that the Greek in which John originally wrote the Book of Revelation, the indefinite article does not appear, because Greek does not have an indefinite article. In English the indefinite articles are: a, an, some, and any. However, sometimes in translating, the workers want us to understand the passage and they have to supply an indefinite article.

This means that they have to do some interpreting and their personal theology might get in the way of translating. Now think about Revelation 13.18:

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).

Read the passage again, this time without the indefinite article and see how it affects your understanding of the passage:

Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of man: His number is 666 (Revelation 13.18).

In the first instance, although “a” is an indefinite article, it made you think of a specific man as having that number, but in the second instance, you thought of man being that number. The number 7, the number of perfection, fills the Book of Revelation. However, as Satan marshalls forces against Christ and His people, the beast, whether the land beast or the sea beast, though claiming Godhood is still just man, falling short of perfection, even if you triple the number, it still comes up short of the perfect 7.

Questions:

  • Do you believe that Christians will win in the end?
  • Are you willing to suffer for the name of Christ?

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