Neron Kaiser – The Calculated Beast
On this day, June the 6th in the year 2006 (6/06/06) many are grabbing their pitch fork radars and scanning the landscape for the Beast. I would like to propose today that we already know who the Beast was and that we should abandon our radar screens and trade them in for gospel preaching megaphones. Here is a mini-argument for the identity of Mr. 666.
“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.” Revelation 13:18
The apostle John gave the numerical concealment of the Beast as 666 in order to disguise the identity during a time of intense persecution. This was not an uncommon practice as we know of many examples of this technique in both Jewish and Greek society. Cryptograms have even been excavated in ancient cities including graffiti love notes such as this one – “philo es anthmos phi mu epsilon" (I love her whose number is 545.) found in the ruins of Pompeii.
So we know that encrypting identities was a well known practice in John’s time when he wrote the Book of Revelation and we know that John wrote the book to the contemporary audience of his day – Rev. 1:1 – “… the things which must soon take place”; Rev. 1:3 – “…for the time is near.” John’s cryptic reference was written to those churches of his day.
Also, the identity of the Beast is a real man. An actual person of history for his number concealment is “that of a man “ (Rev. 13:18). So we know that he is a human and not a system of evil or a political movement. And we know that this person must be someone of evil, a person of blasphemy and he must be a powerful political figure. (Rev. 13:2,7) Given what the text tells us we have a limited number of candidates particularly when we examine the alpha-numeric possibilities combined with those character traits.
A Hebrew spelling of the Roman Emperor Nero’s name is Nrwn Qsr (Neron Kaiser). This name’s numerical value is 666.16 according to Jastrow’s lexicon of the Talmud. Even those who bring up the textual variants of 616 being listed in verse 18 as the number of the Beast (eg. Metzger) have noted that 616 is the numerical value of Nero Ceasar in Latin. It makes sense that perhaps this change was done by certain copyists as to aid in the broader understanding of his identity beyond a purely Jewish reading.
So on this day of the Beast I would draw your gaze away from Bush and Madonna and Ellen and Rush and set your gaze upon the real Beast.
Be wise and calculate the number of the Beast. His legacy lives on.