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Revelation 13:18
 It is fairly well known that the New Testament book of Revelation identifies the Antichrist by this cryptic number,
as final world ruler 3½-years before Christ returns to end Armageddon and its threat of human extinction.
— But this is 'the night of the brightest stars'! —
Roman Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar, born in Antium in AD/CE 37, became emperor at the age of 17 in AD/CE 54.
His lifestyle was characterised by a level of self-indulgence unusual at that time. Nero was raised by his aunt as his mother, Agrippina, had been exiled for her behaviour. His mother subsequently married Emperor Claudius, and used her influence for Nero's advancement including his legal adoption by the Emperor in AD/CE 50. Nero's mother fed her husband a dish of poisoned mushrooms with fatal effect and so Nero succeeded to the highest office in AD/CE 54. As indicated below, the number 666 is a cryptic for Nero Caesar as being a moral pre-view of the Antichrist. After Nero had the city of Rome (largely of wooden houses) burnt to the ground in July AD/CE 64, he blamed the devastating fire on the Christians and so began a widespread persecution of them.
In defence of
the writer of the Revelation, it should not be thought that John is here just trying to be mysterious or that he was hiding the number's meaning from less worthy believers. John was in a Roman prison on the island of Patmos when he received this Revelation. The Roman authorities, which at Christianity's beginnings had often protected believers from Jewish persecution, were at this time themselves becoming persecutors of the Christian church. Cryptic thus protected and was wise in the circumstance.
Himself had used cryptic to hide the physical place of His last Passover.
Tracked by His enemies, who sought an opportunity to arrest Him secretly, the Lord Jesus told those whom He sent on ahead to prepare the place for the Passover meal, to follow a man carrying a water-pot (a woman's work at that time and therefore most unusual) and enter that particular home. Judas Iscariot, who was with Him at the time, was a real security risk, and that last supper needed to be an uninterrupted time. (Luke 22:10).
apostle Paul shows the same circumspection when he avoids putting into writing what he personally had told the Thessalonian church, about who and what was holding back the Lawless One, the Antichrist, from coming before the time (2 Thessalonians 2:6,7).
common purpose of these cryptic communications is to avoid unnecessary intervention, disruption, etc., by alert and naturally suspicious authorities, whether in Jerusalem or Thessalonica, and even more so, in the Roman empire as a whole. Thus, John is wisely cautious in the manner of his identification of a Roman leader as the archetype of the Antichrist to come.
of the various interpretations of Antichrist's identity has its own problems in the body of Scripture and, as John says, it is for the "mind which has wisdom" to understand this much argued aspect of prophecy (Revelation 13:18;19:9) in Christian history.
also, past attempts to fix the meaning of every detail of the prophecies of Antichrist is to ignore the lessons to be derived from the prophecies of Christ's first coming, which were not understood in detail until the event itself. This then may further explain the sudden urgency when the Tribulation of Antichrist's reign begins (Matthew 24:15-20). However, John clearly expected wise Christians of his own time to know what he meant by this cryptic number 666. He wrote –
"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."
Revelation 13:18.
extravagances which appear in the history of conjecture show that, if the historical setting of this book is not adequately taken into account, almost any name may be made to give the number 666 (Beckwith 1967:404). Irenaeus believed that John intended the name to be hidden till Antichrist had come, yet the express command, "let him who has understanding calculate the number", shows that the writer expected wise believers to solve the puzzle at that time, and, as Beckwith points out, the phrase "it is the number of a man" means a definite personal name and not a descriptive title of any kind (1967:404).
have tried their hand at interpreting this number and have alternately found Antichrist's number in –
1.  Greek letters as –  "Titan" (Irenaeus);
"Lateinos" or "Roman" (Irenaeus, Bleek, De Wette);
(λατεινος: λ 30; α 1; τ 300; ε 5; ι 10; ν 50; ο 70; ς 200)
"Gaius Caesar" (Spitta, Erbes);
2.  Hebrew letters as –  "Nero Caesar" (Fritzsche, Benary, Hitzig, Reuss);
"Caesar of Rome" (Ewald);
"Caesar of the Romans" (Manchat);
"Trajan" (Walenity);
"Primal Chaos" (Gunkel);
3.  Latin letters as –  "Vicar of the Son of God" (incorrectly alleged as papal title by Seventhday Adventism); and,
4.  English letters as –  "Israel" (an Arab-Israeli tour guide in Jerusalem in 1974).
The Code Motive
Remember! Why would John use a code?
His reason!
the same reason that John, in the same Bible book, refers to the city of Rome as a "mystery" harlot, "Babylon the Great", seated on seven hills (Rev.17:9), and not the least that he was writing from the vulnerability of a Roman prison. (A coin of Roman Emperor Vespasian prior to this time showed Rome as a woman seated on seven hills; Bouquet 1953: 132).
The Code Method
The use of a number to represent a name was quite common at this time among the Greeks and even among Jewish rabbis. Time-frozen graffiti on the walls of ancient Pompeii (buried in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD) illustrate the use of numbers as code for a person's name at the time of John's writing. One wall-scratching in Pompeii reads, "I love her whose number is 545" (Bouquet 1953:117). It is in the Hebrew and Greek alphabets that all letters have a numerical value. Thus the hidden name behind 666 must be found through one or both of these languages, and not through latter developments in European history of the papacy or other convenient target as is often foolishly alleged.
the book of Revelation, even though John is writing in the Greek language, he sometimes writes a significant name in Hebrew first and then gives the Greek equivalent. For instance, 'Abaddon' (Hebrew) is 'Apollyon' (Greek) in Rev. 9:11. We know from Rev. 17:11 and its context that this Antichrist is a previous Roman ruler (caesar) – "was and is not", hence John's wisdom in not deriving the value of the name from its Greek spelling for that would have been too easily recognised and led to suspicion by the authorities of political insurrection. It is the Hebrew background of the Revelation therefore which wisely carries the code.
א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע פּ צ ק ר
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 200
when the Abaddon-clue of its own literary context of this 'Mark of the Beast' is applied to 'Nero Caesar' its seven Hebrew letters (no vowels; transliterated into English as 'NeRON KaiSaR'), give us a value of –
 נ   N
 ר   R
 ו  O
 נ   N
 ק   K
 ס  S
 ר   R

or 666
Hebrew originally had
no written vowels.
is demonstrably the earliest Christian understanding of the code-number, which John said needed sophia or understanding to calculate (Beckwith 1967: 401,402), as the following also indicates.
significant early manuscript variant of the book of Revelation with an obvious error was subsequently widely accepted in the early church without query. Its error gives the number as 616 instead of 666. If the Hebrew spelling of Nero omits the final consonant ('N'), as it is in its common Latin form of Nero (and is so known to us today), the number adds up exactly to 616. The tolerance of this error is best explained by the fact that both numbers meant the same thing to early Christians when used in this way – that particular Roman ruler/caesar whose character and behaviour (see below) best represented the final ruler of this world/age before Christ returns to His people.
as Daniel prophetically used the "little horn" prophecy (Dan.8:23-27) about Antiochus IV of Syria as a foretaste of Antichrist to come (8:23-26), so also John here uses the Christians' contemporary knowledge of Nero Caesar to present him to them as a type/prototype of this coming "Animal", as John refers to him in Revelation. Any reference to Rome, its empire, or its emperors was highly dangerous to anyone associated with this writing prisoner of Rome on Patmos. The wide-spread rumour at the time that the dead Nero would return to conquer the empire made this illustration especially vivid, but even more dangerous. Hence, the use of the Hebrew form of Nero to provide the base for calculating the name rather than the common Greek language equivalent.
Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, on 15 December 37 AD/CE.
early part of Nero's reign was full of promise. His first speech to the Roman Senate (54 AD/CE) heralded the dawn of a new Golden Age. His public image was one of generosity and kindness. He forbade contests involving bloodshed, ended capital punishment, reduced taxes, improved the legal position of slaves, and gave money to help the Jews. He even travelled Greece honouring its ancient cities while dressed as an ascetic, barefoot and with flowing hair.
But soon the theatre mimes and pantomimes began to be used to ridicule Christianity. And very soon thereafter (59 AD/CE), Nero became the monster that history remembers!
erected a colossal gilded image of himself in the awesome 200 acre Golden House palace which he constructed in the area cleared by the terrible fire of Rome which he blamed on the Christians. As his reign crumbled he committed suicide (68 AD), but for years afterwards the stories continued to circulate that Nero would return.
The Flavian amphitheatre of emperors Vespasian and Titus became known as the 'Colloseum' / 'Coliseum' because of it proximity to this colossal image of Nero.
Scripture the actual term Antichrist is only used in the writings of John. John's use of this term indicates that the first Christians expected Antichrist to arise in the "last hour" from nominal Christianity (1 Jn.2:18-19), that is not Jewish. This accords well with –
the early positive aspects of Antichrist's career as a humble world leader in the Nero-analogy above;
the association of an ultimate "apostasy" (rebellion) as background to Antichrist's coming to power (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
is important in the light of the foregoing to note that there is therefore no occult power hidden in the number 666, and that the number does not refer to a commercial or economic system, one-world or otherwise. Although Antichrist's rule is total at the height of his power his economic control does not lie in any mystic number, nor does this number mysteriously identify the system. These ideas have misled the gullible for years and have helped rob Christians of a valuable biblical understanding of John's message.
an understanding of the use of the mark, name, or number of this 'Animal'-person to control humanity as described in Revelation 13, it is essential to refer to its God-given counterpart and background, in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Revelation 7:2-8.
Holy Scripture was never meant to be used as an amuletic talisman phylactery of devotion on foreheads and hands, as it is by some in Judaism today. The Bible's 'forehead' and 'hand' are symbolic of thinking and doing, respectively.
is why we are told in the Revelation that God's people facing this time have the seal of His ownership on their foreheads. It is certainly not speaking of God's angel putting a micro-chip or sign in the skin of their foreheads!
It is against the Bible's own background that the book of Revelation's message about this Satanic end-time's controlling influence is to be understood in its economic implications, not as engineered in the imaginations of religious sensation-seekers.
sadly, there are many without integrity who exploit ignorance of the above to deceive the gullible and the superstitious. This has become easily exploitable (as in Drosnin's fraudulent Bible Code).
instance – the terms 'Holy Bible'; Bill Gates III; and her majesty Queen Elizabeth II, could all be identified as the 'Antichrist', if the manipulative calculations of these foolish deceivers are to be believed, by simply using the ASCII computer alphabet code, where A=65 and Z=90, which is used internationally today.

In addition, the prison cell number in Cape Town's Robben Island Prison (46664), of Nelson Mandela,
South Africa's first president of its post-Apartheid government, also has nothing to do with the Apostle John's use of 666.
It simply meant that he was prisoner number 466 in 1964, hence 466-64.
    and so on . . . and so on . . . and so on . . .   . . .
See: November 2007 in Russia
Mary Stewart
Relfe's deceptive 1982 book "The New Money System 666" created the myth of "666 in the UPC barcode", which has spawned further error and misled many sincerely ignorant people around the world, especially in the territories of the former Soviet Union, without anything like adequate correction of this corrupting myth by leaders of Bible-believing churches in its originating country, the United States of America.
a consequence in some countries, groups of believers withdrew from society because all products commercially available to them were bar-coded.
This lie
has in those places thus eroded the effect of the gospel of Jesus Christ which is, in the believers, as 'salt of the earth' which requires that they therefore necessarily interact with the society within which God has placed them.
Ignorance of this error among Christian leaders where the myth is/has been propagated does not mitigate their culpability for its damage to Christ's work. As leaders of those who 'walk in the light', it is their responsibility to know its misleading effect!

In 2011
it was reported that 8% of Americans actually believed their president Barack Obama was the 'Antichrist' (exposing the extreme ignorance of their churches), and 79% were sure he is not.
In 2012,
Billy E. Hyatt of northern Georgia, USA (fired November 21, 2011, for refusing to wear a '666' tag of his employer celebrating 666-accident-free days in their production line of flexible packing products), sued his employer for religious discrimination claiming (probably very sincerely) –
"Plaintiff['s] sincere religious belief is that
to wear the number 666 would be to accept the Mark of the Beast and be condemned to hell.
(God damns for 'numbers'? Really? This idea actually insults God!!!!!)
Which accident-free days did
For any
'Christian' church to teach such nonsense is more than gross ignorance of the Bible in twisting its words out of their God-given context...
It is also, and even more seriously, an insult to the moral character of the Lord God Himself!

See also:
90 Common
'Christian' Fallacies
The spiritual
stupidity of this conspiratorial thinking is well illustrated by the ridiculous findings of the '' website 'exposing' the 'New World Order' by finding '666' in the trade marks as illustrated below –
And in rebuttal
as a final example of this foolish thinking –
South Africa's democratic struggle icon, Nelson Mandela, had a prison cell number, for the 38-years of his imprisonment, of 4'666'4! Meaning??? It incorporates the year of his sentencing '64' and his prisoner–number!
Understanding the Bible
finally, another example of superstition end-times thinking is the wide-spread story that the symbol of the anti-nuclear peace movement is composed of an upside-down broken cross and is therefore part of the end-times Satanic movement of Antichrist.
This idea is without any merit and rightfully exposes its purveyors to accusations of shameful ignorance.

Nuclear Disarmament
See: Necessary
Nuclear Attack
The symbol is based on the semaphore signals of N and D (flag signals), and was designed in 1958 by Gerald Holtom for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Some at that time had wanted the symbol of the cross used, but it had too many wrong associations to the general public, such as the Crusaders' Middle East wars, with military medals, and with the public blessing by an American chaplain of the plane that flew to destroy the city of Hiroshima with a nuclear device.
February 2016, in the USA – Shawna Cox (59), a key figure in the Oregon militia standoff, who is accused of conspiring against the government, and who says she "suffered damages from the works of the devil" wants federal officials to award her $666bn. Cox, a 59-year-old Kanab, Utah woman facing federal charges for her role in the armed occupation of a wildlife refuge, has filed a "counter criminal complaint" against "federal employees" seeking "six hundred sixty six billion, six hundred sixty six million, six hundred sixty six thousand, six hundred sixty six dollars and sixty six cents".
Cox also listed dozens of criminal offenses that she alleges were committed against her and the other protesters,
adding up to damages "in excess of $666,666,666,666.66".
There is
no magic
in numbers

The Core Concept Darby's Division God Comes
The Antichrist A Chronology of Confusion His Bride's Day

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