Wednesday, April 16, 2008


For those whose interests lie in numerology, we have this startling report from the International Programs Center: which informs us that on May 10, 2008, this agency of the U.S. Census Bureau projects the population of the world will reach this figure. They did not specify the hour and the minute—or for that matter, the time zone.

Christians have long held the “666” as the mark of the beast and perk up their ears at any mention of the combination. Far less attention is paid to the number of Jesus which is “888.” That’s about par for the course. For man, it is predictable that it is easier to fear Satan than to embrace fully, the Christ. It is of course triangular by nature and therefore an enticing and interesting number. If you compute the ascending progression of numbers, their sum then equates to 666. 1+2+3+4+6+7+ etc. to 36 = 666, defines the process.

Scholars have worn themselves out over the millennia working on various theories about the report of John the Revelator (REV 13:18) concerning the identity of the beast (man.) The most popular seems to be a code for Nero. In Hebrew and other ancient languages it was common to assign a numerical value to the letter. In Aramaic, adding these numerical equivalents results in 666 being Nero. With a despotic ruler or for that matter any marginally unfriendly government it is unwise to make direct reference to individuals by name. Hence, they used the substitute numerical, based on a language that few of their oppressors knew, to refer to Nero. In more modern times we find persons in conflict with the powers that be, resorting to an alias or code to conceal their activities. One that easily comes to mind is Barack Ale. (Ed. note: What a coincidence. We know of a woman who teaches that the number 666 is a counterfeit; that the number is actually a "good" number, because it is Joseph Smith's number. Where we go from there is anybody's guess. Perhaps to the nearest psych ward.)

One of the conflicts in the study of the issue is the assignment of 616 for the number. Upon research and at the risk of over-simplification it boils down to what language you speak. It seems that Nero in Hebrew gematria comes up fifty short of the Aramaic version. This was supported by the discovery of some manuscripts which predate the originals by some hundred years. The opponents of this theory claim that “face to face” records of conversations with the revelator negate this.

The number occurs in the Old Testament as well. In 1 Kings 10:14-22 we find Solomon given his weight in gold to the extent of 666 talents. The Satanic influence becomes apparent in the next chapter (1 Kings 11:4-9) as he builds altars to three different pagan gods, indulges in human sacrifice and completes his apostasy.

So what does this all have to do with anything? In my view, very little is accomplished other than providing employment for researchers and number crunchers. Any middle-schooler can tell you that the number comes up once in any collection of 1000 consecutive figures. Do we really need it to identify the work of the adversary? Our scriptures have assured us of the presence of this dark force and also provided the antidote. Name, number, or inner sense of evil; it makes no difference if one’s life is consistently centered on the Savior. Rather than seek the shallow meanings of diabolic symbolism I believe we are better served relentlessly pursuing the uplifting and exalted message of Jesus Christ.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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