The first mention of the “number of the beast” is found in the “Revelation” of John the Theologian – perhaps the only officially recognized prophecy by the Christian church. John describes in detail the appearance of the beast, more powerful than all the demons of hell:
“And I stood on the sand of the sea, and I saw a beast emerging out of the sea with seven heads and ten horns: on its horns there were ten diadems, and on its heads its names are blasphemous” (Apocalypse, ch 13).
This beast will have a leopard body, bear claws and lion fangs. He will rule the Earth for three and a half years, and before that the Antichrist will join him, who will make many worship the beast. Then will come the time of the great battle at Armageddon, the devil’s power will be broken, and Satan along with the Antichrist will be imprisoned for a thousand years, and the kingdom of Christ will be established on Earth …
On the mysterious “number of the beast” in the “Revelation” is said, as it were, in passing: “Here is wisdom. He who has a mind, consider the number of the beast, for this is a human number; His number is six hundred and sixty-six. ” This short phrase gave rise to a great many interpretations.
The simplest, which generates the most panic, can be called “calendar.” Every time, as the sinister three sixes appeared in the calendar, especially impressionable people began to wait for the appearance of the predicted beast. But neither in 666 nor in 1666 did anything similar happen.
The last wave swept the world on June 6, 2006. Future mothers were afraid to give birth on that day (especially after watching the film “Omen”), many believers closed themselves in their homes and prayed, and the mystics glanced stealthily at the sky.
The deputy head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, was even forced to make an official statement to the press in which he warned Christians against superstition:
“Unlike a heathen who is afraid of everything, including eclipses, numbers and signs, a Christian should not fear anything and no one but God … When the last times come, it depends not on the coincidence of numbers, but on how people will be Evade evil and fulfill the commandments of God. ”
The “calendar” decoding of the “number of the beast” can hardly be considered correct, because the text of the “Apocalypse” is deeply symbolic. In addition, it has direct “tips”, as, for example, the words of one of the angels:
“The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will come out of the abyss, and go to perdition … And the seven kings, of which five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come, and when he comes, not long to him be”.
So John the Evangelist speaks about wisdom not by chance – most likely, it is a hint, a clue to the clue, accessible only to those who “have a mind”.
For centuries, many attempts have been made to decipher the “number of the beast” – that is, to know his name. One of the most common methods was kabbalistic. He relied on the fact that during the time of John the Theologian, figures were often replaced by letters of the alphabet. Thus, the sum of the letters of the name of the beast should have been 666. But there can be several such combinations, how to choose from them what the prophet had in mind?
To decipher the “number of the beast” it is important to compare the words “Revelations” with real historical events. The fact is that in the early Christian tradition “beasts” were called Roman emperors. In the work “On the history of primitive Christianity” Friedrich Engels attempted to determine the time of writing the “Apocalypse” and counted: Augustus was the first “beast”, Tiberius the second, Caligula the third, Claudius the fourth, Nero the fifth, Galba the sixth, And the seventh – Oton. Othon rules only three months. Engels made quite a logical conclusion: John the Theologian wrote “Apocalypse” during the reign of Galba, that is, from June 9, 68 to January 15, 69 AD.
German orientalist Ferdinand Benari suggested in his time such a hypothesis: under the number 666, the name of the Roman emperor Nero – the very beast that “was and is not his” – is hidden. The fact is that on Roman coins that were minted for the eastern part of the Roman Empire, the inscriptions were made in Hebrew. At the same time, the vowels went down, and instead of “Nero Caesar” the inscription read “Nron ksr”. If we add the numerical values of these letters, we get just 666. But why exactly was Nero declared “a beast”?
If we turn to historical documents, it becomes clear that the hatred of Christians for Nero was based on many grounds. Ancient Roman writer-historian Gaius Suetonius Tranquill left the life-story of Nero. It was an extremely unbalanced, cruel and immoral person.
According to Suetonius, Nero executed Antony, the daughter of Claudius, who, after the death of Poppey, refused to marry him, killed his mother and stepchild. He forced his teacher, Seneca, to commit suicide, although he often vowed not to harm him. When a tailed comet appeared in the sky, he learned from the astrologer Balbilla that she portends death to the supreme rulers.
Nero was seriously worried, but the astrologer told him that this disaster could be paid off with a brilliant execution. And the Roman emperor condemned to death all the nobles of the state – the pretext was the disclosure of two conspiracies at once.
If Nero treated all his subjects with incredible cruelty, then with respect to Christians he devised truly diabolical mockeries. Most of all, the emperor liked to observe how Christians were thrown into the cage to predatory animals, and they tore them apart. Soon during the conspiracy, Nero ordered one of his associates to kill himself, Christians sighed calmly. But not for long.
Came to replace Nero Servius Sulpicius Galba was a weak ruler. He failed to bring order to the empire. In remote provinces, internecine strife broke out. It’s no wonder that under these conditions there was a man who declared himself Nero, who was allegedly just wounded during the coup and managed to escape to the east.
Christians from these rumors were horrified. Still: one of the most terrible enemies rose from the dead. They attributed the resurrection of Nero to Satan himself and in horror waited for the end of the world. Christian faith at that time was not yet strengthened. In Roman cities there were closed communities, leading a semi-legal existence. If at the time of the appearance of the false Neron their members abandoned their faith, this would mean the collapse of Christianity. Therefore the shepherds took measures to strengthen the will of their wards.
It was at this difficult time that various “revelations” appeared. All of them were devoted to one topic: the end of the world and the day of judgment will soon come, after which all the enemies of Christians will be destroyed, and the Christians themselves will attain eternal life.
All the authors of the “revelations” (later the Church canonized only one – the “Apocalypse” that has come down to us) used similar symbols: seven kings, forty two months of the power of the beast, the number of antichrist. And all of them, including John the Theologian, talked about the end of the world as something inevitable and very close in time. However, the end of the world did not follow, and Nero’s name was forgotten in the course of time.
It would seem that the Church was supposed to put the “Apocalypse” in oblivion – like a prophecy that had not come true. But the pastors of Christians were wise people. Therefore, they left the doctrine of the end of the world and the impending judgment. It turned out to be a very effective argument, creating a powerful motivation: our cause is right, one day all enemies will be destroyed, and on Earth the Kingdom of Christ will come.
Over time, the conventional interpretation of the number 666 was forgotten, and it began to “try on” the next tyrants that could be found in every era. For example, during the time of Peter the Great, the Old Believers regarded him as the antichrist. First, it was the “king of the axes” – as predicted in the “Revelation.”
Secondly, his reforms affected the interests of the Orthodox Church. Of course, he took the land from the monks, abolished the post in the army, and made customs at the court absolutely strangers – assemblies, smoking tobacco, unusual clothes … The next “Antichrist,” according to the same monks, was Napoleon. Through a variety of permutations and combinations, it was possible to fit his name to the famous “666”. Later, “beast” was called Hitler …
But back to the very number 666. From the point of view of numerical symbols of the Pythagoreans, this is the so-called triangular number. It expresses the sum of consecutive digits from 1 to 36. Its constituent sixes are no less unusual. The number six is the first of the so-called perfect numbers, the sum of whose divisors (including one and excluding the number itself) is equal to the number itself: 6 = 1 + 2 + 3.
And here is another interesting fact from the world of numbers: 666 is the sum of the squares of the first seven prime numbers. If we consider the number of beasts in the framework of the theory of stability of binary systems, as the candidate of technical sciences Andrey Osipov did, then we get a rather interesting picture. The point is that binary systems are stable in the range from one third to two third (in decimal form – from 33.3% to 66.6%). So if the number of people enticed by the beast reaches 66.6%, humanity as a system will begin to collapse …
According to biblical symbols, the six is a human figure. First of all, man was created on the sixth day. But this is not the main thing: if the seven are closely connected with God and the higher world, then the six symbolizes human perfection (which is an order of magnitude lower than the divine), wealth and power.
In the East there are entire lines of documents with six – it is considered a real talisman, bringing happiness to the owner. But what just did not find in the number of 666 (or in connection with its use) researchers from different parts of the world!
The beast was trying to declare the world web – the Internet (on the grounds that www when translating into Hebrew and the corresponding calculation is 666) and dollar bills (they have a width of 66.6 mm)! And in 1997, the Greek computer technician Foma Psaras said that three secret double strokes are used in barcodes, which are simply separators for the computer, but the will of the case is the number 6.
Thomas, apparently, was a fan of the Apocalypse, and concluded: barcode on goods and documents is nothing more than a seal of Satan. As proof, he cited words from the same prophecy: those who do not have the seal of Satan can not buy or sell. Of course, journalists immediately picked up another sensation.
The number 666 has a strange effect on people. Christians do their best to avoid it, which generates a lot of curiosities. In some cities of the world in the skyscrapers there is no 66th floor, that is, after the 65th, 67 immediately follows. And on the US map you will not find roads 666 – apparently, the Americans decided not to take risks.
Moscow Orthodox in the ornament on the new Russian passport saw three sixes. They came to receive new documents only after consulting the priest. Before the elections to the Russian parliament in 2003, in the Tambov region, they decided not to do section 666 due to the numerous appeals of believing voters.
In 2002, a sensation was the trial that took place in the town of Priozersk in the Leningrad region and was later called “a trial against the devil”. The city court officially recognized that the bar code of each taxpayer identification number (TIN) contains three sixes.
Despite the fact that the number of interpretations of 666 exceeded one hundred, new hypotheses are constantly being put forward. Increasingly, they relate to no longer specific historical figures, but abstractions. For example, the rector of the Church of St. John the Divine in Toronto, Oleg Molenko believes:
“The number 666 itself does not mean anything, except the actual number. But, I think, the name of the beast is not accidentally expressed by three sixes. God created the universe within six days, and on the seventh day he rested from His works. From here people have a seven-day week. If you take away the rest day, there remains work, work, work. In this sense, the number six means deprivation of peace. And in triple form – deprivation of eternal peace. ”
The history of the “number of the beast” and related superstitions is a classic example of the influence of myths on human consciousness. The number 666 is really a human number. His dark symbolism was invented by people. But, as often happens, the symbol is out of control of its creators. And now thousands of people consciously or unconsciously shy away from the number that is considered diabolical. And hundreds – they try to unravel the name of the beast and calculate the date of the end of the world.