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What is the Meaning of the Number "666?"

Timothy Paul Jones

It's one of those things that the number 666, that's been so much speculation throughout history. Everybody from Adolf Hitler to Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama to Barney the dinosaur have been identified as that. If you take cute purple dinosaur, write it in Latin letters, pull out all the roman numerals and add it up, it equals 666. I ran across something that said Barney the dinosaur might be the anti Christ. Obviously it's some fun and some serious speculation throughout history that, that has caused. I think it's important for us to look at that. It says in Revelation chapter 13, "let the one who has understanding calculate this number for it's the number of a man and the number is 666." Some people have believed that it's some future individual at the very end of time who is going to arise this beast, arise as a world ruler toward the end of time. But there have been other views of this throughout history. For example, some people have believed that it is one particular person in the past. Often that's identified with Nero, is often the one that's identified with. To understand that, we have to recognize this concept of Gematria, which is the use of letters to signify numbers.



If you were to take the word Nero, Nero's name, and spell it in a Latinized spelling of Neron. If you were to spell it that way, put it in Hebrew letters, add it all up, you get 666 is what you end up with, with Nero. It's very clear that some Christians at different points in history have thought that it was Nero. A particular person back in the first century. You've got to remember that Nero was indeed the first individual to have persecuted the church on behalf of the Roman Empire. Then he systematic persecution. Nero begins this is in the 60s AD. This is somebody who, from the perspective of Christians, was indeed an evil individual, a beast we might say. We also know that some Christians seem to have done that because in some manuscripts of revelation it says, not 666 but 616 is what it says. The way you can get 616 is if you take an alternative spelling of Nero, put it in Hebrew letters, add it up, you get 616 rather than 666. It's very clear that somebody copying that text at some point thought that it was likely Nero that was being referred to in Revelation chapter 13. Another possibility is that it's simply an expression of falling short completely of God's glory.

Remembering that seven is often representative of God's perfection and God's plan. The number seven is. Often, especially in Hebrew to emphasis something is to take it to the third power we might say or do it three times. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty as our most familiar example of just pushing something to the superlative by repeating it three times. If we think that six, think of it as falling one short of seven and repeat it three times, that's a way of expressing absolutely and utterly falling short of who God is, falling short of the perfections of God. One of the wisest ways to look at this might be that it's the powers, the place themselves against God's people and attempt to usurp God's place in every age. Is there a possibility that may intensify toward the end of time and may even take the form of a particular individual at some point? Perhaps so. It seems that at some level that this seems to signify, this beast seems to signify are those powers that array themselves against God in every age and the attempt to usurp the power and the place of God much like Nero and other emperors and other persons we can think of throughout history have done.

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