Number of the Beast
The Number of the Beast refers to a comment in Revelation that is supposedly a mark of evil. It is commonly associated with the Antichrist, especially in popular culture. Traditionally, the Number or Mark of the Beast is 666, however various translations give 616 as the proper number. 616 is, ironically, the area code of Grand Rapids, Michigan—birthplace of Amway.
- 13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
- 13:17 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.
- 13:18 Here 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.
 666 or 616, and why does it matter?
Most Christians are blissfully unaware that there are no single texts of "The Bible" as "written" just after Jesus's death. Instead, what we have are copies of texts that are themselves translations into Greek and Latin. Commonly, there are 3 different sources for what most Christians accept as "The Bible".
Two of those sources, the Greek Manuscripts and the Byzantium Manuscripts, clearly identify the number as 666 (χξς:). Two Papyrus scraps from untranslated sources state ἑξακόσιοι δέκα ἕξ, hexakosioi deka hex, 616.
And so what? Well, if you are a normal "I go to church now and then but don't really look for a 2nd coming" type of Christian, it's just an interesting fact about the nature of the Bible and how it was translated. If, however, you are trying to predict the End Of The World, or assign Anti-Christhood to particular darker skinned presidents of relevant world power countries, and you believe that the Bible is inerrant, it suddenly matters a lot. All those kids with 666 in their Birth Certificate Numbers might be the wrong kids? We should have been looking at the kid born 50 kids earlier!
Scholars tend to believe the number refers to Roman Emperor Nero or to a different Roman Emperor. In both Hebrew and Greek, each letter of the alphabet also stands for a number; just as Roman numerals are formed by stringing a few specific letters together, so Hebrew and Greek numbers can be formed by stringing together any set of letters and adding their numeric values together. Consequently, any written word or name in Hebrew or Greek is also a number. The Latin for "Caesar Nero" can correspond to the number 666 in Hebrew, while the Greek for the name of "Emperor Caligula" can represent the number 616. The Emperor Domitian's name can also fit into the number 666, and it goes without saying that every word in the name of Ronald Wilson Reagan is 6 letters long.
Nero died in 68 CE and no worldwide cataclysm followed. The other Roman Emperors and Ronald Reagan died similarly without the world falling apart.
 Get your kicks on Route 666
U.S. Highway 666 once ran through all four of the Four Corners states—Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. It ran from the U.S.-Mexico border at Douglas, Arizona, to Monticello, Utah. It was formed by consolidating several state highways into one route.
The highway's new number didn't sit well with the mostly Mormon and fundamentalist Christian right-wing local population that it served. Also, because the even-numbered highway followed a north-south route in a country that tends to assign odd numbers to north-south highways, many locals thought that the U.S. Department of Transportation had gone out of its way to thumb its nose at God. (It didn't help that the individual state highways that formed U.S. 666 were among the most dangerous highways in the Southwest.)
U.S. 666 was quickly nicknamed "The Devil's Highway." In the 1980s, Utah and Arizona successfully petitioned the federal government to reroute U.S. 191—which had once served northern Utah—along several state highways in the eastern sections of their states. This plan included renumbering U.S. 666 as U.S. 191 between Douglas and Sanders, Arizona. This eliminated U.S. 666 in Arizona and moved the highway's southern terminus to Gallup, New Mexico. In 2003, after years of lobbying, the remainder of U.S. 666 was renumbered U.S. 491. Upgrading the highway to meet federal standards for U.S. Highway routes has reduced many of the old dangers, but it can still be a hazardous drive.
 Other sightings
- The prophet Ellen Gould White of the Seventh Day Adventists, using some sleight-of-hand, claimed that the Catholic Church uses "VICARIVS FILII DEI" (Vicar of the Son of God) as the official title of the Pope, and pointed out that the Roman numerals in that title add up to 666. Not to be outdone, the Roman Catholic Church countered that the Roman numerals in ELLEN GOVLD VVHITE also added up to 666, and that the Pope was Vicarius Christi at any rate.
- The Democratic European Union will become the beast of the apocalypse according to some.
- Aleister Crowley is the BEAST of 666 or is connected to the BEAST or something.
- 666 should not be confused with sex sex sex. However, in Latin, 666 would be read as 'sex sex sex', thereby proving that ancient people spoke a better language than you. Also, in the Greek of the original, 666 was written χξϛ—which could, at a stretch, be seen as "sex" spelled backwards. This is very worrying.
- Barcodes are reputed to contain 666. Each barcode has three spacer brackets resembling the bars for the number 6. Visually they do superficially resemble sixes but the spacer bar and the bar for 6 are slightly different in their positioning vis-a-vis blank spaces surrounding them, so bar code readers do not read them as sixes but as spacer brackets. Somebody designing the Universal Product Code probably had a sense of humor in making the spacer brackets look like sixes and including three of them. Further adding to the paranoia is that bar codes could theoretically be required as a mark on one's hand or forehead (there's even a patent for this, apparently) without which one cannot buy or sell, but since they aren't really sixes as far as the bar code reader is concerned, and have no conceivable connection to being the "name of the beast" or "the number of a man", this is just silly.
- "The Number of the Beast" is also a kickass song by Iron Maiden.
- It's also a novel by Robert A. Heinlein, involving alternate universes and some very randy scientists.
- In one year, Solomon received 666 talents of gold.
 See also
- See the Wikipedia article on 616.
- A Fun Collection of Beastly Numbers
- A document claiming a link between the Popes and the Beast
- The Skeptic's Annotated Bible on the BEAST
- The Same Bible Text in Modern English
- The Skeptic's Annotated Bible on the NUMBER of the Beast
- The NUMBER of the Beast in Different Translations
- ↑ The Greek Orthodox Bible, and the Novum Testamentum Graece use 616
- ↑ The better term would be compiled, but most Christians again assume the authors of each book are one person as named
- ↑ Or there is no such thing as wrong kids.
We will get them as wellThey are simply collateral damage.
- ↑ http://www.guam.net/home/wresch/stories/R_Wresch/VicariusFiliiDei.htm
- ↑ 
- ↑ http://www.rawilsonfans.com/articles/GreatBeast.htm
- ↑ Barcodes Equals 666 The Beast!
- ↑ Patent Issued for Mark
- ↑ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsmcDLDw9iw&ob=av3n
- ↑ 1 Kings 10:14