I said in the blog post yesterday that Revelation was intended to make clear to the reader the identity of the beast of Revelation. I suggested the beast was Nero Caesar.
Revelation 13:18 contains another clue as to the identity of the beast:
“Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.”
In Hebrew, every letter has a corresponding number. The Hebrew spelling of Nero Caesar (represented here with English letters) was NRWN QSR.
Now if you take each Hebrew letter and add its corresponding number, here is what you get: N = 50 R = 200 W = 6 N =50 Q = 100 S = 60 R = 200 = Total: 666.
Interestingly, one of the early manuscripts of Revelation actually refers to the number 616 instead of 666. The change appears to be intentional, perhaps by a copyist who wanted to make sure the identity of the beast was clear to Revelation’s non-Hebrew readers because “Nero Caesar” when spelled in Hebrew, after transliterating from the more popular Latin, adds up to 616.
So the good news here is you can quit worrying about the number 666. You don’t have to throw away your credit cards with the number or send back your license plates. The number is that of a man, and that man died nearly 2,000 years ago. GS