Monday, March 17, 2014

Apple #666: The Mark of the Beast

I could not let Apple #666 go by without talking about the number itself: 666.

(Image from The Daily Cannibal)

I was going to change my template so it was all in red & black with fangs and snarling noises and the like.  But nothing was legible.  I mean, you couldn't read anything.  I had to squint to make out the words.  Very unpleasant.  So, since I was monkeying around with changing templates, I just, picked something I did like.  What do you think?  Keep it or go back to the outdoor picture thing?

Anyway, back to the mark of the beast.  (I'm not half so threatening now, am I?  Rar.)

  • The whole mark of the beast/666 thing comes from the Bible.  Revelation, chapter 13.  (Hah, now there's another numerical coincidence.)
  • John, who is narrating all the things he saw in his vision, says he saw an awful beast.  It's got 10 horns and 7 heads and each head is marked with blasphemous names. It's like a leopard, but it's got paws as big as a bear's and a mouth of fangs like a lion.  This beast is, according to most readings, Satan.
  • The 7-headed beast is given charge of the world, and people are going around awestruck, doing whatever the beast says.  The beast does nothing but say blasphemous things against God, wage wars, conquer people, and generally cause all kinds of havoc and destruction.
  • The beast does have a wound in one head, which the footnotes say means that each head represents a Roman emperor, and the wounded one represents Nero.  More on him in a bit.

One rendering of the 7-headed leopard beast, along with some explication.
(Image from

  • So then John says he saw a second beast emerge from the ground.  This one had only 2 horns like a ram's.  It was in league with the first, 7-headed beast, and it got all the people of the world to worship the first beast, whose wounded head had been healed.
  • The second beast was given its power by the first beast, and it used all those powers to lead people astray, and forced people to worship 7-headed beast #1, and to kill anyone who wouldn't worship beast #1.
  • Now, here we come to the part about the number:
 (16) [The 2nd beast] forced all men, small and great, rich and poor, slave and freee, to accept a stamped image on their right hand or their forehead. (17) Moreover, it did not allow a man to buy or sell anything unless he was first marked with the name of the beast or with the number that stood for its name. (18) A certain wisdom is needed here; with a little ingenuity anyone can calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number that stands for a certain man.  The man's number is six hundred sixty-six.
  • So, 666 is the number of the beast who is going to force all people to worship his more evil and terrible master, Satan.
  • In verse 18, John all but comes right out and says, "Come on, people, it's obvious who this is.  I'll tell you, but in code."  
  • How to beak the code?  It was the custom of the day to assign numbers to each letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  If we were to do the same thing to our alphabet, it would go like this: A=1, B=2, C=3 and so on.  
  • In the Hebrew alphabet, once they got to 10, they counted by tens, and once they got to 100, they counted by 100s.  So it goes like this:
alef = 1; bet = 2; gimel = 3; dalet = 4; hey = 5;
waw = 6; zayin = 7; chet = 8; tet = 9; yod = 10;
kaf = 20; lamed = 30; mem = 40; nun = 50;
samek = 60; ayin = 70; pey = 80; tsadeh = 90;
qof = 100; resh = 200; shin = 300; taw = 400

Pictorial form of the same thing.
(Image from Dial-the-Truth Ministries)

  • How you go from letters to numbers seems pretty clear.  But how you go backwards, from numbers to letters is less clear.  So you get lots and lots of theories.
  • Over the centuries, people have argued, depending on their religion or their politics, that the beast is the person who personifies some focus of their particular hatred.  Catholics have said the number works out to be Martin Luther.  Protestants have said it equates to the Pope, or the Pontiff.  Democrats have argued that it is George W. Bush.  Republicans have said it was John F. Kennedy, or Bill Clinton, or Hillary Clinton.  You see how it goes.
  • But most Biblical scholars think that 666 is code for the Emperor Nero.  In Hebrew, those two words translate to Nun-resh-waw-nun Qof-samek-resh. In numbers that is 50+200+6+50 (306) and 100+60+200 (360).  Add the two together and you get 666.

Nero. The original 666 guy.
(Image from Biography)

  • Revelations was written during the reign of Emperor Domitian.  So why would it be a big deal to say that Nero, who had been dead 13 years, was the handmaid of the devil?
  • Because Domitian had revived various persecutions of Christians and Jews (the Romans regarded Christians and some wacko Jewish cult) which had not been in force in the days of Nero.  So it is possible that, in pointing the devil-finger at Nero, John was thereby also pointing the devil-finger at Domitian.  Naturally, he wouldn't want to come right out and say it so directly or he might get all sorts of people executed for his trouble.
    • I really want to interject some little facts I learned about both those emperors.  They're just too good to let them lie quiet.
    • OK, so Nero was actually kind of normal and helpful at first.  It was his mother who was whacked.  She married her uncle, the then-emperor Claudius.  She talked him into naming her son by a previous marriage as his successor.  This was Nero.  Then she poisoned Claudius and Nero became emperor.  He was 17.
    • Nero fell in love with a slave, his mother didn't like her, they had a falling out, and he spurned his mother. She got pissed, then started telling everyone Claudius's son should have been emperor, not Nero.  Then, mysteriously, Claudius's son turns up dead. Hmm. Wonder how that happened.
    • Nero's mom still went around saying that Nero shouldn't be emperor, so he kicked her out.  Then he decided he was sick of being with the slave whom he had married, he wanted to marry someone else instead, but Nero's mom went around saying he couldn't do that because divorce was bad, so Nero had her killed.
    • That's right, Nero had his mother murdered.
    • After that, he went right off the wagon.  He got drunk all the time, went around performing his own poetry and music, he had wives he was sick of executed and married new ones, he turned tyrannical against all sorts of people, etc etc.

Nero. With the thumbs down, saying someone ought to be killed for sport.
(Image from Listverse)

    • Then came that business of Rome burning that you've heard so much about.  Nero did not stand around fiddling, but the fire did go on for 10 days.  75 percent of the city burned down.
  • Rumor had it that Nero started the fire to make way for the new villa he planned to build.  He couldn't have people saying he burned down the city, so he needed a scapegoat.  Who started the fire?  The Christians, of course!  Those people in that weird new cult, they're the ones responsible for 3/4 of Romans being burned out of their houses.  Thus began the emperor-sanctioned persecution of Christians.  He had them eaten by dogs, nailed to crosses, set on fire, or burned to serve as a light source after sunset.
    • Nero did all sorts of other nefarious things, such as selling political offices to raise money for his new villa, etc., etc.  That's when the Senators began conspiring against him.  Nero found out they were planning on having him beaten to death.  Rather than face that, he decided to kill himself.  He tried to stab himself in the neck but he couldn't finish the job, so he told his secretary to do it, which he did.
  • This is why people think the wounded head on the 7-headed monster is Nero. The wound was Nero's somewhat self-inflicted stab wound to his neck.
    • Domitian, several years & emperors later, came to power, but he was young and inexperienced, and people weren't really accepting of him as emperor.  So he started invoking the whole I'm an emperor and therefore I'm a god thing.  He made people introduce him as the god Domitian, and they had to say certain things in a certain way to indicate that they thought he was a god, etc. etc.
    • The Christians and the Jews, they didn't want to do that.  So Domitian saw them as undermining his efforts to establish his imperial authority.  So he ordered some of them to be put to death, and then after that, people started persecuting the Christians and the Jews in the way they had while Nero was running around getting drunk and shouting at people and setting them on fire and so on.  The John who wrote the book of Revelation lived during the time of Domitian.

Domitian. Later in his rule, "in fits of paranoia, instructed several murderous 'terrors'" which seem to have originated in a deep sense of personal inadequacy in the eyes of his brother & father. Aw, gee.
(Image from Roman Scotland)

  • So, historically, that's what the mark of the beast is most likely about.  Indicating the emperors who were running around killing people left and right.
  • But, since those verses don't come right out and say those emperors' names, and since there's that verse about people not being allowed to buy or sell anything without being marked with the name of the beast, people have read all kinds of things into the number 666.
  • They have claimed that 666 stands for this person and that person, or such and such an economic thing, and so on.  Here is some of the 666-insanity:
    • Barcodes are the mark of the beast

How exactly these lines represent 6s is not clearly explained, but swiping these barcodes means someone is taking money from your bank account, and soon there will be a single bank in control of everyone's money, and then the end days will be upon us.
(Image and extremely vague but exclamation-point-ridden theory from this site)

    • The Beatles bear the mark of the beast

See how Paul is making the OK sign?  That doesn't mean OK.  That's the number 6 three times!  It's 666!  The Beatles are agents of the devil!
(Image and theory from this site)

See? This does not mean sex, but DEVIL!
(Image and theory from 666 hand sign)

From this moment, Michael Jackson's doom was sealed.
(Image and theory from 666 hand sign)

    • The numbers on a roulette wheel add up to 666.  Therefore roulette, or maybe it's casinos, or maybe it's gambling that is the mark of the beast. 
  • The Hebrew letter Vav, or Waw, which might as well be W in English, correlates with the number 6.  So web precursor www = 666, so therefore the entire internet bears the mark of the beast.
    • The Washington Monument measures 55.5 ft on each side.  If you convert that to inches, each side measures 666.  Therefore the Washington Monument is an occult symbol, and a mark of the beast. (In fact, the Monument measures 555 ft. 5-1/8 in. tall.  That is 6,665-1/8 inches.  The base is 55 ft. 1-1/2 in. wide. That is 661-1/2 inches.  Not 666.)
    • The Louvre has 666 panes of glass, or if you converted the doors to glass, it would have 666 panes of glass, therefore it is a mark of the beast. (Actually, the Louvre has 673 panes of glass, excluding the doors.)

VISA's name is the mark of the beast.
(Image from DeusILUSÃO)

Walt Disney's signature bears the mark of the beast.
(Image and a whole other theory I could not even begin to describe from Tricked by the Light)

  • It just goes on and on and on. . . .
  • There are some rather interesting coincidences about the number 666, numerically.
    • The first six Roman numerals add up to 666: I+V+X+L+C+D=666
    • The smallest prime factor of 666 is 37. If you translate the letters IVXLCD in the English alphabet to numbers (like what we did with the Hebrew alphabet) and add them, the largest prime factor of that total is also 37.
    • Take the first 7 prime numbers, square them, and add them up: 22 + 32 + 52 + 72 + 112 + 132 + 172 = 666
  • And many more besides.  But, you know, look at any number long enough, and I'm sure you'll find all sorts of interesting coincidences about it.
  • In response to such extensive 666-fixation, some people have come up with a joke list of 666s, which includes the following:
    • 666 = number of the beast
    • 668 = neighbor of the beast
    • 660 = approximate number of the beast
    • 665 = older brother of the beast
    • 0.666 = number of the millibeast
    • 1010011010 = binary number of the beast
    • 00666 = zip code of the beast
    • $665.95 = retail price of the beast
    • $656.66 = Walmart price of the beast
    • $646.66 = next week's Walmart price of the beast
    • $333.00 = after-Christmas sale price of the beast
    • Phillips 666 = gasoline of the beast
    • Route 666 = way of the beast [actually there is a Highway 666. People keep stealing the road signs.]
    • 666k = retirement plan of the beast
    • 999 = Australian number of the beast
    • Chanel No. 666 = perfume of the beast
    • IAM 666 = license plate of the beast
  • and so on. 
  • Meanwhile, maybe the number of the beast isn't really 666.  Maybe it's actually 616.
  • No, really.  Some people think that the text originally said 616, not 666.  A few translations even say six hundred sixteen, not six hundred sixty-six.
  • In which case, all those people with their special, significant 666s need to do some quick recalculating.  And in which case, the area code for West Michigan is the area code of the beast. 

West Michigan. Den of the beast?
(Image from eachTown)

Catholic Resources, 666: The Number of the Beast
Biography, Nero synopsis, Nero
Donald McFayden, The Occasion of the Domitianic Persecution, American Journal of Theology, Jan 1920
I don't even want to give this site any credence, 666
Rapture Ready, The Number of the Beast
Enchanted Learning, Washington Monument
Prime Curios, 666
Math World, Beast Number

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