“He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.” Revelation 13:16-18
What is the name of the beast, and the number of his name? Why does his name also have a number? Ancient languages often did not use separate symbols to denote numerical value, but the same symbols used for phonetic values doubled for numerical values also. Most of us are familiar with Roman numerals. They are an example of this:
I = 1; II = 2; III = 3; IV = 4; V = 5, and so on.
Hebrew and Greek also used their regular alphabet to denote numerical value (although not in the same way the Romans used the Latin alphabet). Now this is not original with me – it has been known for centuries what the name of the beast is. It was known in the time of the apostles. Many times in the New Testament, the writers appear to be referring to something which is known, which they strive to keep cryptic in the letters. This place in Revelation 13 is one, where a name, instead of being told outright, is referred to in code, by the number of the name rather than the name itself.
Another place of mysterious reference is in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-6:
“Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.”
He does not say the name of the man of lawlessness outright in the letter, but reminds them to think of what he explained to them while he was with them in person.
Another instance is here:
““Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),” Matthew 24:15
Why add the cryptic note to the reader, inserted among Jesus’ words? It simply means, let the reader understand what has been spoken to him in person, which we dare not repeat in writing! Now all of these cryptic references have one thing in common: they all appear in passages discussing the end times and the antichrist!
I mentioned that this name has been known for centuries. It is:
The believers who have recorded this name, and shown that its number was 666, include Ireneus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Isaac Newton, and a host of 18th and 19th century theologians and biblical scholars.
The word ‘roman’ in Greek is ‘lateinos;’ when this word is written in the Greek alphabet, and the numerical values of its Greek letters are determined and calculated, it equals 666.
The word ‘roman’ in Hebrew, interestingly enough, is ‘romiith’ (feminine form when modifying an empire or a beast); when this word is written in the Hebrew alphabet, and the numerical values of its Hebrew letters are determined and calculated, it also equals 666.
I suppose there are a great many names which could equal 666 when added up. But how many share the same number when the name is applied in both biblical languages, Greek and Hebrew? It narrows the field considerably. In fact, I know of no other name in which its value remains true to the Scriptural account in Hebrew as well as in Greek, the language of the New Testament.
It becomes clear why the New Testament writers used cryptic language and coded words, rather than clearly naming the beast and the antichrist as “Roman.” If their letters fell into the hands of the Roman authorities, it would have caused a great deal of trouble for the Church.
To be continued …
Update: continued in Revelation 13: buying and selling