Number of the Beast
Powerful Supernatural Entity that is the Personification of Evil
and the Enemy of God and Humankind




 
Number of the Beast
Powerful Supernatural Entity that is the Personification of Evil and the Enemy of God and Humankind

The Gates of Hell are various locations on the surface of Earth that have acquired a legendary reputation for being entrances to the underworld. Often they are found in regions of unusual geological activity, particularly volcanic areas, or sometimes at lakes, caves or mountains.

Legends from both ancient Greece and Rome record stories of mortals who entered or were abducted into the netherworld through such gates. The god Hades kidnapped Persephone from a field in Sicily and led her to the underworld through a cleft in the earth. Orpheus traveled to Hades in search of Eurydice by entering a cave at Taenarum or Cape Tenaron on the southern tip of the Peloponnese.

Hercules entered Hades from this same spot. Both Aeneas and Odysseus also visited the underworld. The former entered the region through a cave at the edge of Lake Avernus on the Bay of Naples; the latter through Lake Acheron in northwest Greece.


Located in the middle of the Roman Forum is another entrance, Lacus Curtius, where according to a medieval legend, a Roman soldier, named Curtius, bravely rode his horse into the lake in a successful effort to close it, although both he and his horse perished in the deed.

Into the medieval period Mount Etna on Sicily was considered to be an entryway to hell, and during this period Icelanders believed their own Mount Hekla was also a gateway. The most famous of medieval gateways, however, was St Patrick's Purgatory in Lough Derg, County Donegal, Ireland.


In China, Fengdu has a long history in the Taoist tradition of being a portal to hell. In Nicaragua there are two sites with this reputation. Hellam township near York, Pennsylvania, has the problematic reputation of being the home of the Seven Gates of Hell.


 
Satan is believed in many religions and cultures to be a powerful, supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind.


Satan, in the Christian religion, is a former angel that left God and took many other angels with him. He did this because he wanted to be better than God.

According to the Bible, he will be punished in eternal Hell fire, along with all those who join to him. He is sometimes called the devil or Beelzebub. Christians believe he tempts people to do bad things.

Some also call him Lucifer, but this name is from Roman belief, not the Bible. Satan may be referred to as "The Devil".

Originally the name means the accuser, the enemy. In abrahamitic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) his role is to question and tempt the faith of humans. Many times, he is also seen as a demon.

The Number of the Beast is a concept from the Book of Revelation of the New Testament of the Christian Bible, relating to the figure of "The Beast".

The number is 666 in most manuscripts of the New Testament and in modern translations while critical editions of the Greek text (such as the Novum Testamentum Graece) also note 616 as a variant.



666

The Number of the Beast is described in the Book of Revelation 13:17–18. The original Greek reads: καὶ ἵνα μή τις δύνηται ἀγοράσαι ἢ πωλῆσαι εἰ μὴ ὁ ἔχων τὸ χάραγμα, τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ θηρίου ἢ τὸν ἀριθμὸν τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ.  ὧδε ἡ σοφία ἐστίν· ὁ ἔχων νοῦν ψηφισάτω τὸν ἀριθμὸν τοῦ θηρίου, ἀριθμὸς γὰρ ἀνθρώπου ἐστίν· καὶ ὁ ἀριθμὸς αὐτοῦ ἑξακόσιοι ἑξήκοντα ἕξ.

The number is the final 3 words (transliterated: hexakósioi hexēkonta héx), meaning "six hundred sixty-six".

The King James Version of the Bible translates: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had th
e mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. In the Old Testament, both 1 Kings 10:14 and 2 Chronicles 9:13 state that Solomon collected "six hundred threescore and six" talents of gold each year.

John's reference to "wisdom" and "understanding" might also point toward Proverbs 1 and 2, where understanding, discernment, wisdom and insight are explained and advised by King Solomon.

In the Greek manuscripts, the number is rendered in Greek numerical form as χξϛʹ, or sometimes literally as ἑξακόσιοι ἑξήκοντα ἕξ, hexakósioi hexēkonta héx, "six hundred and sixty-six".

There are several interpretations-translations for the meaning of the phrase "Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast" where the peculiar Greek word ψηφισάτω (psefisato) is used. Possible translations include not only "to count", "to reckon" but also "to vote" or "to decide".

Although Irenaeus (2nd century AD) affirmed the number to be 666 and reported several scribal errors of the number, there is still doubt by a minority of theologians about the original reading.



616

In May 2005, it was reported that scholars at Oxford University using advanced imaging techniques had been able to read previously illegible portions of a manuscript which stated 616 instead of the majority of texts which state 666.

However, the existence of manuscripts attesting to 616 has been known long before this finding, the other early witness Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (C) has it written in full: ἑξακόσιοι δέκα ἕξ, hexakosiai deka hex (lit. "six hundred sixteen").

This, along with the translation of P115, has led some scholars to conclude that 616 is the original number of the beast. The NRSV translation for Rev 13:18 includes this translation note: "Other ancient authorities read six hundred and sixteen".



666: Searching for Satan
Evidence for the presence of Satan and his offspring on Earth.


Some scholars contend that the number 666 is a code for the Roman Emperor Nero. Charagma is well attested to have been an imperial seal of the Roman Empire used on official documents during the 1st and 2nd centuries.

In the reign of Emperor Decius (249–251 AD), those who did not possess the certificate of sacrifice (libellus) to Caesar could not pursue trades, a prohibition that conceivably goes back to Nero, reminding one of Revelation 13:17.

However, others believe the Book
of Revelation was written after Nero committed suicide in AD 68.

The Catholic Encyclopedia has noted that the book of Revelation was "written during the latter part of the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian, probably in A.D. 95 or 96". Additional Protestant scholars are in agreement.

Because Revelation 13 speaks of a future prophetic event, "All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Revelation 13:8 NKJV), critics have noted that the interpretation of Nero meeting the fulfillment is an impossibility as Revelation was written around 30 years after the death of Nero.

The Greek spelling, "Nerōn Kaisar", transliterates into Aramaic as "נרון קסר" or nrwn qsr. The Aramaic spelling is attested in a scroll from Murabba'at dated to "the second year of emperor Nero."


Some Protestant Bible commentators and some Protestant Reformers have equated the "beast" of Revelation chapter 13 with the Papacy. To this end, the letters of a title of the Pope, Vicarius Filii Dei (Vicar of The Son of God), are summed to total 666 in Roman numerals. The earliest extant record of a Protestant writer on this subject is Andreas Helwig in 1612 in his work Antichristus Romanus.

The title was contained in the Donation of Constantine, by which large privileges and rich possessions were conferred on the pope and the Roman Church. Seventh Day Adventists have interpreted the number of the beast, 666, as corresponding to the title Vicarius Filii Dei of the Pope. The number 666 is calculated by using gematria.


The Mark of the Beast

What is the mark of the beast? Is it real or just pure fiction?


Some researchers have reportedly found the number of the Beast in the Greek word Maometis. In Quia Maior, the encyclical calling for the Fifth Crusade, Pope Innocent III identifies Muhammad with the beast of Revelation (however newer popes do not).

A leading exponent of the Maometis interpretation was Charles Walmesley, the Roman Catholic bishop of Rama. He observed that the name Muhammad was spelled Maometis or Moametis by Euthymius Zygabenus and the Greek historians Zonaras and Cedrenus.

Those who hold to Futurist Christian eschatology believe that the rise of a supranational currency could be a hallmark of the End Times. Religious difficulties with a supranational currency currently exist.

According to the Futurist view, to overcome the extant difficulties the Antichrist will use forced religious syncretism (i.e. in the name of counterterrorism and world economic stability) to enable the creation of the supranational currency. Some interpret the mark as a requirement for all commerce to mean that the mark might actually be an object with the function of a credit card.

Seventh-day Adventists believe that the "mark of the beast" (but not the number 666) refers to a future, universal, legally enforced Sunday-worship. "Those who reject God's memorial of creatorship — the Bible Sabbath — choosing to worship and honor Sunday in the full knowledge that it is not God's appointed day of worship, will receive the 'mark of the beast.'" "The Sunday Sabbath is purely a child of the Papacy. It is the mark of the beast."

Some who take a preterist view of the Book of Revelation identify the Mark of the Beast with the stamped image of the emperor's head on every coin of the Roman Empire: the stamp on the hand or in the mind of all, without which no one could buy or sell.

Hell: The Devil's Domain


Our in-depth history of Hades begins with the story of a negative near-death experience, in which a man thinks he went to Hell after being declared clinically dead and before resuscitation.

Following Lucifer’s trail from cave paintings in France circa 6,000BC to current portrayals in popular culture, our 2-hour exploration shows how Hell and the Devil remain powerful forces at a church in Texas, where souls are delivered from Satan’s grip.


We also talk with a survivor of the 1980s recovered memory craze, who recalled attending Witches’ Sabbaths that practiced cannibalism; and at the modern Church of Satan.


We review literary land marks that expanded our ideas of the Underworld, from Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost to Mark Twain’s anti-hero, and trace development of Christian, Moslem, Jewish, and Buddhist conceptions of the afterlife.


New Testament scholar Craig C. Hill says, "It is far more probable that the mark symbolizes the all-embracing economic power of Rome, who's very coinage bore the emperor's image and conveyed his claims to divinity (e.g., by including the sun's rays in the ruler's portrait)."

"It had become increasingly difficult for Christians to function in a world in which public life, including the economic life of the trade guilds, required participation in idolatry."

A similar view is offered by Craig R. Koester. "As sales were made, people used coins that bore the images of Rome's gods and emperors.

Thus each transaction that used such coins was a reminder that people were advancing themselves economically by relying on political powers that did not recognize the true God."

The verse is also seen as making a pointed ironical contrast with the Jewish institution of tefillin – bible texts worn bound to the arm and the forehead during daily prayer.

Instead of binding their allegiance to God to their arm and head, the place is instead taken with people's allegiance to The Beast.

In Kabbalistic Judaism the number 666 represents the creation and perfection of the world. The world was created in 6 days, and there are 6 cardinal directions (North, South, East, West, Up, Down). 6 is also the numerical value of one of the letters of God's name.

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that The Beast for which 666 stands symbolizes many unified governments, harmonizing with the symbolic depiction of past governments (denoted as "kings") in the Book of Daniel as wild beasts.

The Beast is said to have "a human number" in that the governments that the beast symbolizes are all of a human origin, they aren't made up of spirit or demon entities.

Furthermore, the number 666 "itself all point to one unmistakable conclusion—gross shortcoming and failure in the eyes of Jehovah," thus imperfection (7 is used by God in many ways to indicate perfection such as days in the week, hence 6 is the number of imperfection, falling short of 7).

Aleister Crowley (1875–1947) claimed that he was The Beast prophesied in the Book of Revelation and took the name "Το μεγα θηριον" (To Mega Therion), Greek for "The Great Beast", which adds up to 666 by isopsephy, the Greek form of gematria.

In the writings of the Bahá'í Faith, `Abdu'l-Bahá states that the numerical value given to the beast referred to the year when the Umayyad ruler Muawiyah I, who opposed the Imamate, according to the beliefs of the Shi'ites, took office as Caliph in 661 AD – the scholarly accepted year of birth of Jesus about 666 years before as well as the concept of Mawali who were non-Arab Muslims but not treated as other Muslims – who continued to pay the tax required of nonbelievers and were excluded from government and the military, and thus bore a social "mark".