The number 6 holds special significance in the Bible. If you’re wondering what the number 6 represents in the Bible, here’s a quick answer: it is often associated with mankind, imperfection, evil, and the devil.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the meaning and symbolism of the number 6 throughout the scriptures. We’ll look at key instances where the number 6 appears, analyzing the context and themes associated with it.
By the end, you’ll have a thorough understanding of the biblical meaning and significance of the number 6.
Six Days of Creation
God Creates the World in Six Days
The Bible opens with the majestic story of God creating the heavens and the earth in six days. On each day, God brought a new aspect of creation into being by simply speaking it into existence. This account can be found in the first chapter of Genesis.
On the first day, God created light and separated it from the darkness, calling the light “day” and the darkness “night.” On the second day, God made the sky, which He called “heaven.” On the third day, God gathered the waters together so that dry land appeared.
He called the land “earth” and the waters “seas.” God also created all plant life on this day.
On the fourth day, God made the sun, moon, and stars to give light to the earth and to govern day and night. On the fifth day, God created birds to fly in the sky and sea creatures to fill the waters. Finally, on the sixth day, God made all the land animals, including livestock, wild animals, and creeping things.
His crowning achievement was the creation of human beings – Adam and Eve – in His own image. God gave humans authority over the earth and all living creatures.
The writer emphasizes God’s limitless power and sovereignty in simply speaking creation into being. As biblestudytools.com notes, “It is so like the ease and readiness of infinite Power to say, ‘Let there be light, and there was light.'”
After making the heavens, earth, and all living creatures in six days, God rested on the seventh day. This set an example for humans to rest on the Sabbath after six days of work.
The Seventh Day of Rest
According to Genesis 2:2-3, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”
This passage highlights two important truths. First, it shows that the cycle of six days of work followed by one day of rest is rooted in God’s creation order. Second, God made the seventh day holy and blessed it as a gift for all humanity to enjoy.
Setting aside the Sabbath each week reminds people that God is the Creator of all things, including time itself.
A 2020 Pew Research survey found that 25% of U.S. Christians say they observe a formal Sabbath, while close to half (48 percent) say they rest from work on Sundays or engage in other Sabbath-like activities.
Honoring the Sabbath allows people to refocus their priorities, renew their spiritual vitality, and enjoy sacred time with God, family, and community.
The six days of creation reveal the infinite power and divine order behind the universe. As the old hymn says, “All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful: the Lord God made them all.”
The seventh day of rest reminds people of their Creator and their need to regularly disengage from work in order to reconnect with God.
Number of Man/Imperfection
Man Was Created on the Sixth Day
According to the Genesis creation narrative, God created man on the sixth day after creating the heavens, earth, light, sky, land, vegetation, sun, moon, stars, creatures of the water, birds, and land animals. The number six is thus associated with man and imperfection in the Bible.
On the sixth day, God declares “Let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26). This marks the pinnacle of creation, with God making man “a little lower than the angels” (Psalm 8:5). Yet six falls short of the perfect number seven, so man is imperfect compared to God’s flawless creation.
The number six is tied to man’s weakness and frailty. Man gives in to the temptation of sin and falls short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). The limitations and faults of humankind are apparent when contrasted with God’s supreme authority and righteousness.
Six Falls Short of Seven, Perfection
In the Bible, the number seven symbolizes completeness, perfection, and holiness. It is the number of God. The number six falls just short of seven, which could represent man’s imperfection compared to God.
God’s creative work was complete and ended on the seventh day. The Sabbath day of rest on the seventh day was blessed and made holy (Genesis 2:2-3). Here we see the Biblical pattern of six days of work followed by one day of rest.
The Ten Commandments were written with the “finger of God” on two stone tablets (Exodus 31:18). The seventh commandment prohibits adultery. Breaking any of God’s perfect commandments is a sin.
In Revelation, there are seven churches, seven spirits, seven golden lampstands, seven stars, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven angels, and seven bowls of God’s wrath. The number seven symbolizes the perfection of God’s truth and judgment.
The number six repeatedly falls short of perfection. Man is created on day six, not on the seventh day when God rested. The “number of the beast” 666 is tied to evil and the Antichrist in Revelation 13:18. The repetitious use of six highlights imperfection, weakness, and evil.
666 – Number of the Beast
666 Symbolizes the Antichrist
The number 666 is well known as the symbolic number of the antichrist or beast in the Book of Revelation. This number is first mentioned in chapter 13 verse 18, where it refers to the number of the beast’s name.
The passage describes the mark of the beast as “the number of a man” and tells readers to “count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666”.
Many scholars believe 666 is used to represent humankind’s imperfection, as 7 is considered the number of divine perfection and 3 represents divinity. The number 666 is thus meant to signify the unholy trinity of Satan, the antichrist and the false prophet.
The repetition of 6 three times in a row emphasizes the powerful meaning. 666 is an emblem of evil, rebellion against God and corruption.
The antichrist has been associated with figures such as the Roman Emperor Nero, the Pope, Napoleon, Hitler, and world leaders. The number 666 conjures images both metaphorical and literal – from the mark of Satan imprinted on one’s forehead or hand, to the composition of the antichrist’s name, to concealed identification codes.
It is viewed as a warning to avoid customary norms and earthly powers that seek to undermine divine authority.
Contrast Between 666 and 777
Whereas 666 has negative connotations, the number 777 carries positive symbolism. In numerology, 7 is considered holy, lucky and mystical. It resonates with intuition, mysticism, spirituality and divine intervention.
777 represents an angelic or godly number, in contrast to the satanic associations of 666.
777 is used in the Bible to signify spiritual perfection and being touched by God. It first appears in Genesis 2:2-3 when God rested on the seventh day after creating the world. Revelations 3:12 also references the number 777, promising believers the status of pillars in God’s temple if they prevail strong in faith.
Thus, 777 denotes triumph over evil and everlasting life in paradise, while 666 marks those ensnared by the allure of sin and temptation. Numerologically, 7 is a magic number reflecting divine wholeness, whereas 6 represents the flaws of man.
777 signals that one is on God’s path, whereas 666 signifies the corruption of human nature.
Examples of Evil Associated with Six
Goliath’s Height and Armor
The giant Philistine warrior Goliath stood “six cubits and a span” tall according to 1 Samuel 17:4. This translates to roughly 9 feet 9 inches tall. Goliath’s massive height was likely intended to inspire fear and demonstrate his status as a mighty warrior.
His armor was elaborate as well, with a bronze helmet, coat of scale armor weighing 125 pounds, bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders (1 Samuel 17:4-7). This larger-than-life armor further sets Goliath apart as an imposing figure that epitomized strength and evil from the Israelite perspective.
Nebuchadnezzar’s Golden Statue
In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar constructed a massive golden statue that was 60 cubits high and 6 cubits wide (likely around 90 feet tall and 9 feet wide). He then commanded all the officials in his kingdom to bow down and worship the statue or be thrown into a blazing furnace (Daniel 3:1-6).
This act represented the epitome of evil and idolatry to the Hebrew exiles. The number six features prominently, symbolizing imperfection, fallibility, and evil. According to Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, the dimensions suggest “a sort of proportion” that implied the statue “was well shaped” to impress and intimidate beholders to worship it.
Other Key Instances of the Number Six
Six Days of Manna Provided in the Wilderness
After the Israelites escaped Egypt, God provided manna from heaven for 40 years while they wandered in the wilderness (Exodus 16:35). For six days a week, God miraculously made manna appear each morning for the Israelites to gather and eat.
On the sixth day, God told them to gather twice as much so they would have enough for the Sabbath when none would appear. This provision of manna for six days and then rest on the seventh prefigured the weekly cycle God established at creation (Exodus 20:11).
Six Cities of Refuge in the Old Testament
Six cities were set aside as places of refuge for those who committed unintentional manslaughter (Joshua 20:7-8). The six cities—Golan, Ramoth, Bosor, Kedesh, Shechem, Hebron—were spread throughout the territories of Israel.
These cities served as asylum to protect the accused from vengeance until they received a trial. If found innocent, they could safely remain there until the death of the current high priest. The six cities speak of God’s provision of grace, protection, and justice.
In summary, while the number 6 carries positive connotations of creation and physicality, it more commonly symbolizes imperfection, evil, and the satanic in the Bible. Studying key instances where the number 6 appears throughout Scripture gives insight into its significant, multilayered biblical meaning.
The next time you come across the number 6 in the Bible, consider the context to interpret its intended symbolism. But the predominant association is clear: 6 falls short of divine perfection represented by 7, and is often tied to sin, evil, and the devil.