|Number of the Beast
Powerful Supernatural Entity that is the Personification of Evil and the Enemy of God and Humankind
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.
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
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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
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.
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 the
mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
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
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.
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".