It is a weird fact that the S&P 500 stock index reached its low at 666 in March of 2009. Then yesterday the same index fell 6.66 %. This has led to a lot of grim humor.
Revelation 13:18 says that the number of the beast is 666, although some ancient texts have 616 instead. We don’t know what this means. We don’t even know what this beast represents. It is the second beast, the one introduced in verse 11.
The number may derive from the ancient practice of giving names in numerical form. Gematria is the name of this practice. But we have lost the key to this code. A few folks think that the statement that it is a “human number” means that it is symbolic. Seven is the number of perfection. So the Triune God would be represented by 777, while 666 is the best humans can do.
I think this part of Revelation foretells the fall of the Roman Empire. That prophecy was fulfilled a long time ago, so I doubt that the number has significance for us–except in knowledge that God holds the future while all human governments fall. This might comfort some of the Wall Street folks.
That this number is the number of the end-time anti-Christ is an invention like the Rapture. The word Rapture does not occur anywhere in the Bible, and although 1 John mentions the anti-Christ, Revelation does not.
Still, there has developed a cultural superstition about 666. We see it on Wall Street. And we even see it in Mainline churches. People used to get really nervous when I announced that we were going to sing hymn number 666.