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a hex on 29a

19 October 2008 2 comments

So I’m looking at all things prime – I’m fascinated by prime numbers – and I run across one of the most interesting things, especially given my penchant for apocalyptic information.  I don’t know why I feel the need to throw a Photoshop piece together.  I guess I wanted the drama of seeing it to hit you, The Viewer, rather than reading it in a simple non-serif font (but now I’m thinking of this for a tattoo).  I’ve also been playing Doom 3.  Anyway, I’ve grown up with legions of uninformed and questionably-educated people trying to define this number and associate it with a particular human.  I’ve heard everything from the Pope to Ronald Reagan to Hitler to both (either?) John McCain and Barack Obama.  I’ve known for a long time that numerology was rampant throughout the Bible.  But even knowing that there was distinct representation behind each of the other numbers one runs across (four being a conjunction of completeness, with roots in the Zodiac; seven being a “divine” number – one fourth the duration of a lunar cycle, or the number of bright stars in the Pleiades or the Big Dipper) , I never thought there was more to it than “it is the number of a man” – or the more accurate reading of “the number of Man” (anthropou).  Turns out it’s a pretty fascinating number, and one that merits much more analysis than the shoddy theology that has been applied to it, especially since Hal Lindsey came along.

Here’s a list of some of the cooler aspects of this number (all from Wikipedia):

  • It is the sum of the first thirty-six natural numbers
  • The number of prime numbers up to 666 is 121, the square of the number of prime numbers up to 36
  • 666 is the sum of the squares of the first seven prime numbers
  • (this is a complex one, but unquestionably cool) The Roman numeral representation of the number (DCLXVI) uses each of the Roman numeral symbols with values under 1,000, occurring in descending order of their respective values (it’s also a six-character number)

The last one brings up an interesting point that has changed for me over the years.  I used to want desperately to read the Catholic Church into the Book of the Revelation.  Everywhere I read: Rome, I thought “Vatican.”  That’s where the Vatican is, right?  Where else are you “commanded” to worship a person as if he were a god?  What else could those “seven heads” be, but the Seven Hills of Rome, and therefore, the Church?  Well, turns out my knowledge of things Roman was sadly lacking (and this was aided by my denomination’s avoidance of explaining what John was getting at in the book).  Turns out when you want to go to Rome for the answers, that’s where you find them.

An Episcopalian priest was on a show (History Channel?) about the Antichrist, and she wisely stated “Prophecy does not mean Prediction.”  If there was a John, and he was exiled to a nowhere island off the coast of Greece, and he was freed by the abrogation of a dictum handed down from a Christian-hating dictator, then he might have been a little bitter in his old age.  There isn’t anything in the book that can’t be explained by merely being the words of a man angry that (a) he had been thrown onto an island away from the people he knew and loved (b) many of his fellow Christians had been crucified, thrown to wild animals in arenas, or killed outright (c) the city where he spent a good portion of his adult life – the city that was the symbol of his people – had been mercilessly and gruesomely brought low due to the frustration and greed of one of the Roman emperors.

So what was John’s point in telling the people of the New Church about that which he was writing?  Since it’s simple nonsense to think that he was writing to an audience two thousand years into the future (or is God indeed the author of the confusion at the seven churches when they got this letter – “Um, okay, John.. Whaaatever you say…”), John was clearly making the statement that he had seen all this before, there was nothing new under the sun, and Christians across the realm could expect to see the same treatment they had seen from Nero to Domitian.  Of course, the guy who freed him was Nerva, who was the first of the Five Good Emperors.  It followed that for nearly another hundred years, Christians weren’t being hunted down by the Seven-Headed Beast.  Even the children of the people John wrote to wouldn’t really understand what he was talking about.  Granted, he was still correct, though it took until almost the fourth century before Christians would be sought out.  A century later, however, it would be the Christians who did the seeking.

So, back to the bastard (potentially literally) who likely raised John’s ire.  The emperor who really got things going on the Christians was Nero.  It appears that when a good chunk of the city burned, Nero looked for a scapegoat and the name of the sect of Christians popped into his head.  However it happened, soon crucified Christians were burning as torches in Nero’s gardens.  Furthermore, Nero said, “hey, now that there’s all this land free where the fire happened, what say I build a great big memorial… to ME!”  However, it wasn’t even six years before Nero was dead, the people had grown sick of the Domus Aurea, and the new Emperor, Vespasian, had it all torn down – for the people of Rome, of course.  That’s why he would build a huge Colosseum, and call it the “Flavian Amphitheater.”  But where would he come up with all the money for this?  Travertine and concrete weren’t cheap.  Where had he seen literal piles of gold?  Why the Temple in Jerusalem, of course!  It didn’t hurt that the Jews were in the midst of a full-scale revolt.  Plus, he needed labor.  There were a million Jews in Jerusalem.  Train them to build?  No, that would take too long.  Better to sell them as slaves – the ones that didn’t resist, of course – those that did got thrown, lifeless, into the ever-burning valley of Hinnom: the garbage pits of the Holy City.  So Titus (Vespasian’s son and heir to both the Judean conflict and the Empire) sacked the city and helped dear old Dad pay for the new sports complex.

Damned Romans.  And it all started with Nero.  Emperor Nero – Kaisar Neron in Greek, which transliterated into Hebrew, becomes numerically 100+60+200+50+200+6+50.  Do the math, and you might just have calculated the number of the Beast.


  • Linda Fryer said:

    I know I said I wouldn’t comment again but here I am. Per the info about Nero “Emperor Nero – Kaisar Neron in Greek, which transliterated into Hebrew, becomes numerically 100+60+200+50+200+6+50”. This is what, in recent times, I have been taught at church. Nothing new to me my baby brother! I love you and am hoping and praying that you get your energy and spunk back. Love you!

  • dan (author) said:

    Feeling much better.

    It’s about time the non-Premillennialists broached the subject of the last book of the Bible. For years, I think we acted as if it consisted only of the letters to the Seven Churches, the “behold I come quickly” verses, and (our favorite part) the “if anyone adds to” or “takes from” bits that we wielded like swords.