Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Number of the Beast: 666

Sam Storms sent out a humorous and helpful article today. He graciously granted me permission to post it in full. Here it is:

June 6, 2006 (or 666!)
Sam Storms

Today is June 6, 2006, or to those who think it is the day on which horrific events will unfold, it is 6-6-6!

The meaning of the number 666 has puzzled students of the Scriptures ever since John first wrote Revelation 13:18 - "This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666." There are essentially three schools of thought on how we should interpret this passage.

According to the chronological view, the number refers to the duration of the life of the beast or his kingdom. William Barclay explains:

"There are some few who have wished to take the number 666 chronologically. In a.d. 1213 Pope Innocent III called for a new crusade because he held that Muhammadan [Islamic] power was destined to last for six hundred and sixty-six years, and at that time that period was near to an end. Certain others have taken it to refer to the six hundred and sixty-six years between Seleucus in 311 b.c. and the emergence of Julian the Apostate in a.d. 355. Finally, it has been suggested that the reference is to the year a.d. 666, in which year, it is said, Pope Vitalian decreed that all public worship should be in Latin" (Evangelical Times, 70 [1958], 295).

Very few, if any, hold this view today.

According to the historical school of thought, the number is believed to refer to some historical individual, power, or kingdom. This is easily the most popular interpretation and is based on a practice in ancient times called Gematria (from the Greek "geomatria", from which we derive our English word "geometry"). This practice, found in both pagan and Jewish circles, assigns a numerical value to each letter of the alphabet. For example, using the English alphabet, the first 9 letters would stand for numbers 1 through 9 (A = 1; B = 2; C = 3; etc.), the next 9 letters for numbers 10 through 90 (J = 10; K = 20; L = 30; etc.) and so on.

If one wished to write the number "23", for example, it would appear as "KC" (K = 20 + C = 3). There is a well-known and oft-cited example from a bit of graffiti found in the ancient city of Pompeii which reads: "I love the girl whose number is 545". Apparently the initials of her name were ph = 500; mu = 40; epsilon = 5.

There is another method, less important to us, called Isopsephism that seeks to establish a connection between two different words or names by showing that their numerical values are the same. One such isopsephism concerns Nero in a verse taken from the historian Seutonius (Nero 39). It reads: "Neopsephon Neron idian metera apekteine" = "a new calculation: Nero killed his own mother." The point is that the numerical value of the name "Nero" is the same as that of the phrase "killed his own mother"!

The name of the Son of God is said to be 888, the sum of the Greek letters of the name Jesus (Iesous). It has then been pointed out that 777 stands for completeness or perfection, 888 stands for more than perfection (i.e., Jesus), and thus 666 stands for imperfection, which is Antichrist. These conclusions, however, are more properly included under the Symbolic view yet to be discussed.

In case you were wondering, Charles Samuel Storms = 1303; Sam Storms = 740; C. Samuel Storms = 1069; Dr. Storms = 684 (we're getting closer!), Pastor Sam = 662, and Pastor C. Sam = 665! Almost!

When gematria is used with Greek letters, we get the following results. Three names were suggested by Irenaeus (@ 200 a.d.), all of which have the numerical value of 666. "Euanthas" (but no one knows who or what "Euanthas" means), "Teitan" (this could refer either to the Titans who rebelled against the gods, of which the Antichrist is thus thought to be an antitype; or Titus, who destroyed Jerusalem in 70 a.d., notwithstanding the fact that Teitan is not the verbal equivalent of Titus), and "Lateinos," (which supposedly stands for the Roman or "Latin" empire itself, understood as collectively opposed to Christ and his Church).

Here are some other random suggestions, all of which add up to 666 - "Arnoume" (the problem again is that there is no such word as "arnoume", although it has been argued that it is somehow related to the verb "arneisthai" which means "to deny", hence, "apostate"); "ho niketes" (which means "the conqueror" or "the victorious one"), "kakos odegos" (would be translated "evil leader"), and "amnos adikos" (translated "evil lamb").

An interesting suggestion is "KSTGKNGO," which contains the initials of the Roman emperors' names in Greek from Julius Caesar to Vespasian. K = 20, S = 200, T = 300, G = 3, K = 20, N = 50, G = 3, O = 70 = 666! But as G. B. Caird has pointed out, "This result . . . is attained by the curious and not obviously justifiable means of including Galba, but omitting Otho and Vitellius" (175).

Those who are inclined to identify the Antichrist and the apostate religious system with the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church have pointed out that "Italika ekklesia" or "Italian Church" = 666. But then the RCC has turned the tables on such reasoning with a suggestion of their own, reminding us that "Loutherana" (supposedly another form of the name "Luther") = 666. The word "Saxoneios" (allegedly the "Saxon") is also supposed to be a reference to Luther and has the numerical value of 666.

Two other attempts to identify the beast with a famous historical person are "Maometis" (supposedly a reference to Muhammad), and "Na Bonapartia" (a rather arbitrary form of Napoleon Bonaparte), again, both of which = 666.

When one uses Latin letters the following results are seen.

(1) A common title for the Pope was Vicarius Generalis Dei in Terris. The problem is that not all Latin letters have numerical equivalents; thus only certain letters can be counted: V = 5, I = 1, C = 100, I = 1, V = 5, L = 50, I = 1, D = 500, I = 1, I = 1, I = 1, = 666 total.

(2) Diocletian, Roman Emperor from 284 to 305 a.d., when given the name Diocles Augustus, yields the following computation: D = 500, I = 1, C = 100, L = 50, V = 5, V = 5, V = 5, = 666 total.

Using English letters yields the following.

(1) If A = 100, B = 101, C = 102, and so on, we get one of the more popular candidates for the Antichrist, Hitler! H = 107, I = 108, T = 119, L = 111, E = 104, R = 117, = 666 total.

(2) If A = 6, B = 12 (i.e., 6x2), C = 18 (i.e., 6x3), and so on, we get Kissinger. K = 66, I = 54, S = 114, S = 114, I = 54, N = 84, G = 42, E = 30, R = 108, = 666 total.

(3) Someone has pointed out that there are six letters in former President Reagan's first, middle, and last names (Ronald Wilson Reagan), hence 6 6 6! This same individual also points to the fact that when Reagan moved to Los Angeles the address of his home had to be changed from 666 to 668 St. Cloud Drive! I wonder, since Reagan and I share the same birthday (February 6), could I be the False Prophet?!

(4) Craig Keener points out that if one adds up the potential Roman numerals in "Cute Purple Dinosaur" (counting "U" as "V", hence as 5), one ends up with 100 + 5 + 5 + 50 + 500 + 1 + 5, for a total of 666! Poor Barney!

(5) Others who have been singled out as potential candidates for Antichrist, even if their names did not add up to 666 include: Benito Mussolini, Anwar Sadat, Yasser Arafat, Ayatollah Khomeini, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Pope John Paul II, Saddam Hussein, Mu'ammar Gadhafi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Jimmy Carter, and other U.S. Presidents!

When one uses Hebrew letters there is an interesting result.

Nero's name in Greek ("Neron Kaisar") yields 1005. But his name in Hebrew letters yields 666. It has been pointed out that if the final letter in "Neron" (n = 50) above is omitted to bring the word into conformity with its Latin form, "Nero", the resultant number is 616, which would explain the alternative reading in the Greek text of Rev. 13:18.

A major problem with this view is that the Hebrew equivalent of Caesar in the name "Nero Caesar" brings the total to 676, not 666. However, Richard Bauckham notes that the defective spelling was in fact used for Nero as seen in a papyrus document dated the second year of his reign. Others have objected to using Hebrew letters by insisting that John was writing in Greek for Greek-speaking readers in the cities of Asia who would not have done gematria in Hebrew. Says Bauckham, "to this it may be replied that he could count on having at least some readers (hearers) who knew some Hebrew in each of the churches, and that if John found special significance in the numerical value of a name he may well, as a Jewish Christian, have expected this significance to inhere in Hebrew rather than Greek letters" (388).

It should also be noted in this regard that the Greek word for "beast" ("therion"), when transliterated into Hebrew letters, yields the numerical equivalent of 666.

Recall that in Rev. 13:18 John said, "Let him who has intelligence calculate the number of the beast ("tou theriou"), for it is the number of a man." It may be that John is telling us that the number of the "word" beast is also the number of a man. If so, says Bauckham, "the gematria does not merely assert that Nero is the beast: it demonstrates that he is. Nero's very name identifies him by its numerical value as the apocalyptic beast of Daniel's prophecy" (389).

The third and final view is the symbolic one. Greg Beale contends that "all the [other] numbers [in Revelation] have figurative significance and symbolize some spiritual reality and never involve any kind of literal gematria calculation" (721). Thus, according to this view, the number refers to the beast as the archetype man who falls short of perfection in every respect. Triple sixes are merely a contrast with the divine sevens in Revelation and signify incompleteness and imperfection. 777 is the number of deity and 666 falls short in every digit. Again, "three sixes are a parody of the divine trinity of three sevens. That is, though the beast attempts to mimic God, Christ, and the prophetic Spirit of truth, he falls short of succeeding" (722).

Thus the number does not identify the beast, but describes him. It refers to his character.

Furthermore, if a particular historical individual were in view, why didn't John use the Greek "aner / andros" instead of "anthropos / anthropon"? The former means "man" as over against woman, child, etc. The latter, however, is generic, i.e., it speaks of "man" as a class over against, say, animals or angels. See also Rev. 21:17 for the use of the generic ("man's measure" / "angel's measure").

Also, if a particular historical person were in view, John could have made that explicit by using "tinos" (a "certain" man) or "henos" ("one" man). If the symbolic view is correct (and I'm inclined to believe it is), we should translate: "for it is man's number." This stresses the character or quality of man as apart from Christ forever short of perfection, completely epitomized in the beast.

O.K. I'll end with this. I have no idea who sent this to me, so if you want to take credit for it you'll have to write me and state your claim.

666.0000: Number of the High Precision Beast
0.666: Number of the Millibeast
6, uh...what? : Number of the Blonde Beast
1-666: Area code of the Beast
00666: Zip code of the Beast
$665.95: Retail price of the Beast
$699.25: Price of the Beast plus 5% state sales tax
$769.95: Price of the Beast with all accessories and replacement soul
$656.66: Wal-Mart price of the Beast
$646.66: Next week's Wal-Mart price of the Beast
Phillips 666: Gasoline of the Beast
Route 666: Way of the Beast
666 F: Oven temperature for roast Beast
666k: Retirement plan of the Beast
666 mg: Recommended Minimum Daily Requirement of Beast
6.66%: 5-year CD interest rate at First Beast of Hell National Bank, $666 minimum deposit
Lotus 6-6-6: Spreadsheet of the Beast
Word 6.66: Word Processor of the Beast
i66686: CPU of the Beast
666i: BMW of the Beast
DSM-666 (revised): Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the Beast
668: Next door neighbor of the Beast
667: Prime Beast
999: Australian Beast


FreeThinker said...

This is fun, but in a make-fun-of-the-superstitious-people kind of way. Of course, there's no such thing as gods, demons, angels, ghosts, et cetera.

justin said...

freethinker, thanks for your thoughts. However, I must respectfully disagree.

You are right about one thing: there's no such thing as "gods." Only ONE TRUE AND LIVING GOD.

WES said...

SAM STORMS is the man...I like.

Subscribe to his stuff at:

Joanna Martens said...

Cool blog...
John Piper rocks. I love how God uses him

Ken Temple said...

How are we suppossed to reconcile these two contradictory statements in Sam Storm's piece?

"Nero's name in Greek ("Neron Kaisar") yields 1005. But his name in Hebrew letters yields 666. . .

"A major problem with this view is that the Hebrew equivalent of Caesar in the name "Nero Caesar" brings the total to 676, not 666."

I don't understand this. Kenneth Gentry, Gary DeMar, and R.C. Sproul hold to the first sentence. (Sproul, The Last Days According to Jesus, p. 187-188, quoting Gentry in "The Beast of Revelation, pp. 31, 34)

Anonymous said...

My inaugural address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead, after I have raptured out billions!
Read My Inaugural Address
My Site=http://www.angelfire.com/crazy/spaceman

Anonymous said...

Secret Rapture. You are a complete looney, arn't you! Evolution gives you a brain and see how you waste it.


FOM said...

Anonymous, you will become a believer after you die, that I'm not doubting one second! Out of a primordial soup you became by chance, going through the stages, & as an infant you were able to feed yourself raise yourself, heck even every species has the opposite sex now to populate with, WOW, what an amazing conicidence, what luck we have had to come out of this soup now to do what.......?

Maybe get yourself a Bible & see for yourself that it's more than a fairytale & lets you know where you came from & where you Could be going.

Till He Comes...
That Would be Jesus...

Anonymous said...

Using thee values A=6 B=12 C=18 etc you can check the examples given for the words and name of Jesus, Cross and Gospel. Each of those three words all totaled 444 using the same alphabet values. What are the odds? Using the same values the words: Witchcraft, Lustful, Sorceries, Digital ID Chip, VeriShield -(company that makes Verichip) Mark of Beast and Bio-Implant will all calculate to 666. What are those odds? Scroll down the page to see all the 666, 444, 906 and 888 word patterns found so far.


Anonymous said...

A=6 B=12 C=18 D=24 E=30 F=36 G=42 H=48 I=54 J=60 K=66 L=72 M=78 N=84 O=90 P=96 Q=102 R=108 S=114 T=120 U=126 V=132 W =138 X=144 Y=150 Z=156

Words that calculate to 666

The below words, compound words and statements will all calculate to 666 using the same calculator above while using the same exact letter values for each word calculated.


Federal Reserve=666
Digital ID Chip=666
VeriShield=666 (Company that makes Verichip)
Mark of Beast=666
Santa Claus=666
Confucius= 666
False Market=666
Book of the Dead=666
Falling Away=666
Fallen Church=666
Hardened Heart = 666

The name Jesus by this alphabet AT TOP has a total value of 444. How do we know? Simple addition of course using the alphabet key above, lets check it to make sure, look at the alphabet above and find the value of J. The value of J is 60, alright what is the value of E? The value of E=30, now find the values of the other letters in Jesus' name. Then add them up to find the total.

J = 060
E = 030
S = 114
U = 126
S = 114
Total 444

Gospel, Cross, Messiah also equals 444 by the same alphabet, TO SEE WEBSITE CLICK URL BELOW


Anonymous said...

there is such thing as angles and demonds and there is only one god his name is jesus christ our lord and savior ...so yew best kno wut yer talking about befor yew run your mouth and cant bakk nun up

Norma Barber said...

Despite the few inconsistencies,whoever wrote it should be awarded a PhD for research. A deep piece indeed!


Nero Caesar fits the gematria code number "666." Using this code, his name would be rendered as "NRWN QSR." (NRWN QSR)

N = 50
R = 200
W = 6
N = 50
Q = 100
S = 60
R = 200
Apocalypse 17:10 says, "And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space." The five "kings" were not ruling at the same time, for the text stated "five are fallen," meaning that five of those kings had come and gone. Then "one is," meaning the "king" who was ruling at the time Apocalypse was written. Here, in this verse, we have one of the clearest proofs for Nero being the beast. If we simply examine the list of Roman Emperors, we will be able to determine who the sixth king was. Flavius Josephus clearly points out that Julius Caesar was the first emperor of Rome, followed by Augustus; Tiberius; Caius (Caligula); Claudius; and the sixth emperor was…Nero (Antiquities, books 18 and 19), who assumed imperial power upon the death of the fifth emperor, Claudius, in October, A.D. 54. The matter is confirmed just a little later in the writings of Roman historians: Suetonius (Lives of the Twelve Caesars and Dio Cassius, Roman History 5). Nero reigned from 54AD to June of 68AD. John informs us that the seventh king was "not yet come." That would be Galba, who assumed power upon Nero's death in June, A.D. 68. But he was only to continue a "short space." As a matter of historical fact, his reign lasted but six months until January 15, A.D. 69.

What about the Beast's death-wound and his subsequent resurrection? Let us now consider John's revelation of the Beast arising from the dead (Apocalypse 13:3-4). At this point we need to reflect upon a most significant series of historical events of the A.D. 60s. First, with the death of Nero, the Roman Empire's founding family vanished from rule. Following the death of Nero was the extinction of the Julian line. Immediately, the Roman Empire was hurled into civil wars of horrible ferocity and dramatic proportions. These civil wars would strike everyone as being the very death throes of Rome, the Beast generically considered. Before the world's startled eyes, the seven-headed Beast (Rome) was toppling to its death as its sixth head (Nero) was mortally wounded with the sword.

Tacitus's detailed account of the ruin wreaked upon Rome almost equals in psychological horror, cultural devastation, and human carnage that which befell Jerusalem during the Jewish War, as recorded by Josephus and Tactius. The Roman civil wars were the first fruits of Nero's death. Josephus records that the destruction was so horrible, that the general Vespasian, "was not able to apply himself further in other wars when his native country was laid waste." Josephus agrees that during this time Rome was brought near to utter "ruin." He notes that "about this time it was that heavy calamities came about Rome on all sides." According to 4 Ezra 12:16-19, written around A.D. 100, the Empire was "in danger of falling": "In the midst of the time of that kingdom great struggles shall arise, and it shall be in danger of falling; nevertheless it shall not fall then, but shall regain its former power."
But what eventually occurred at the end of these death throes? Suetonius informs us that: "The empire, which for a long time had been unsettled and, as it were, drifting through the usurpation and violent death of three emperors, was at last taken in hand given stability by the Flavian family." Josephus sets forth this view of things when he writes: "So upon this confirmation of Vespasian's entire government, which was now settled, and upon the unexpected deliverance of the public affairs of the Romans from ruin, Vespasian turned his thoughts to what remained unsubdued in Judea." Thus, after a time of grievous civil wars, the Empire was revived by the ascending of Vespasian to the purple.