The Number of the Beast

(Revelation 13:18)

In Revelation 13:18, John gives us the number of the name of the beast, saying, “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man, and the number is 666.”1Rev 13:18

In the Greek language, every letter is a number. John asked his readers to add up the letters of the name of a man. The Greek word that John used for “man” was anthropos, from which we get “anthropology,” meaning race or species. The Greek word aner refers to a particular male person.

Many have tried to come up with a response to John’s challenge with English or Latin letters, but John was writing to Greek-speaking readers in the seven churches of Asia. He expected them to add the name using Greek letters, and they did.

The anthropos or race that John was describing was the Latienos, the Latins. The letters of the Latienos add up to 666. The Latienos was the solution given by Bishop Irenaeus in A.D. 180. He was born in A.D. 130 in Smyrna, one of the seven churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

Bishop Irenaeus said, “Then also ‘Lateinos’ has the number six hundred and sixty-six; and it is a very probable [solution], this being the name of the last kingdom [of the four seen by Daniel]. For the Latins are they who at present bear rule: I will not, however, make any boast over this.”2Against Heresies, Book 5, Chapter 30, paragraph 2

Lateinos can describe the pope, Latin Christianity, and the three Latin-speaking states of France, Spain, and Italy, which were “subdued” by the little horn, as described in Daniel 7:8.