“Some believe that every word and letter of Scriptures was divinely directed. This has led to a method of reading Scripture called “Gematria.” This is a method of adding the numeric value of each Hebrew or Greek letter in a text to determine a clue to some extended meaning of the text. Here we must be very careful not to use some value to insert a private interpretation or to fanaticize with the many mystical interpretations of the Cabalistic branch of Judaism. Any teaching must have a firm basis in the written word.
Yet there are some texts that invite our pursuit to a level deeper than the surface. And some uses of numbers do not relate to time at all. One of these is Revelation 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.”
This follows the prophetic symbols of the seven-headed beast, a two-horned beast and an image of the beast. Finally this “image of the beast” receives power to mark both small and great in the hands or forehead and to control certain commerce.
We understand the beast to represent Papacy, the Man of Sin, a most beastly church-state government. The other images are extensions of the ideology of the first beast, and even of the dragon, pagan Rome, who fostered the whole system.
In this verse we are asked to “count” the number of the beast. The word “count” means to calculate compute or sum. It is remarkable that the Romans did not use all the letters of their alphabet for numbers, as did the Hebrews and Greeks. They used only six letters, D, C, L, X, V, and I. (M appears to have evolved from the original use of two adjacent D‘s to represent their sum of 1000.) It is even more remarkable, and perhaps significant, that the sum of these amounts to 666, and that each pair sum to the three component parts of the 666 prophetic number. Also the sum of the highest unit in each pair is 6.
D = 500
C = 100
L = 50
X = 10
V = 5
I = 1
666 is the characteristic feature of the Roman numeral system, and perhaps is a reason this number was chosen to mark the whole Roman politico-religious system in this prophecy.
We think the meaning of the words “wisdom” and “understanding” in Revelation 13:18 do not refer to a cleverness to understand the formula of the number, but to the spiritual perception and wisdom in identifying the Man of Sin system and keeping separate in spirit from it. These are identified in Revelation 20:4 as those who “had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, nor in their hands” Let us be free from the spirit of antitypical Babylon.” (Beauties of the Truth, “Two Secret Numbers”, November 1994 Page 11)
Of all the professing church, only those who are able to truly identify the Man of Sin (and who have separated themselves both from it and its associates) are found to be without this mark, all others regardless of whether they understand (or believe) it or not have been marked.
Revelation 13:18 “Here is wisdom (Here is a feature that contains much divine wisdom and foreknowledge) Let him that hath understanding count (‘compute,’ Diaglott. -divine the significance of) the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man (a number that identifies it with a man). As the ‘one new man,’ Christ, Head and body (Eph 2:15) cannot be the one here referred to, that organization being perfect and complete from the divine standpoint, the reference must be to the other symbolic man brought to our attention in the Scriptures-the ‘ man of sin’; the Antichrist; and his number is Six hundred, three score and six.” The literal rendering of the Greek is 6oo, 6o, 6.
The Weymouth translation, however, suggests a little different thought: “Here is scope for ingenuity: Let people of shrewd intelligence calculate the number of the wild beast: for it indicates the number of a certain man and his number is 666.”.
“Jesus, who gave this revelation to us (Rev 1:1), well knew that this symbol could not be properly understood until about the present time, for the reason that the Image of the Beast was only made in 1846. Jesus also knew, of course, that English would be the language used by probably four- fifths of his earnest truth-seeking children, in the “time of the end.” He likewise knew that not many wise, not many great, not many learned in all languages (specifically Greek and Hebrew) would be of the chosen “little flock”. Moreover, it was his custom to adapt his teachings to the “common people,” and of this sort his Jewels have been from, the twelve disciples and since.
Therefore it would appear that the number 666, should be open to the comprehension of us all–we being the ones told to count—as much so as were the other symbolic numbers of (Daniel and Revelation) Let us try, then, to apply these figures in English.
First, then, the number is that of the [first] BEAST. Let us see whether it will apply to some of its names, that system which Paul calls the “Man of Sin” is the,
“Roman Catholic Power”
Count the Letters in the Name or Title, R-1, O-2, M-3, A-4, N-5, C-6, A-1, T-2, H-3, O-4, L-5, I -6, C-1, P-2, O-3, W-4, E-5, R-6 = 666
He is in Revelation likewise called a BEAST (once again count the letters in the name or title)
Roman Catholic “Beast” = 666
The system is also called the “woman” (Rev 17:18)
Roman Catholic “women” = 666
She calls herself the
“Holy Catholic Church” = 666
In reality she is (Rev 17:5)
“The Mother of Harlots” = 666
Thus we see that the number fits the BEAST well.
The second BEAST was anxious likewise to have exactly the same NAME, and in fact it claimed to have pre-eminent right to the name-
“Holy Catholic Church” = 666
Other names, by which it is known, are-
“English State Church” = 666
“The Episcopal Church” = 666
“Episcopalian Church” = 666
“The Church of England” = 666
This application of the number, will doubtless appear to some too simple to be accepted, but thus God ever deals with us–hiding truth under the vail of its own simplicity, so that it may appear to the Greek (worldly wise) foolishness, but unto them which believe (not to those who believe without evidence, but who believe on the strongest kind of evidence –the harmony of His Word) the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (1 Cor 1:23)
The Image causes all who claim relationship, or whom it recognizes, as having a right to buy or sell– teach–to have as a creed, that which shall mark them as having either “the name” of the BEAST, or the “number” of his name–666. Many take the name and in their creeds recite, “I believe in the Holy Catholic Church” = 666.
Among those who thus openly mark themselves in their forehead (by their creeds) are Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians and others. But others give a seeming support (mark in their hand) to the general principal by organizing under various sectarian names. After these are blended in the IMAGE, (and no one would be admitted to membership in the Evangelical Alliance, unless he be a member of some such sect), they all are collectively known as the “Protestant Churches,” = 666.
If we ourselves for instance were to organize, though we protest more than all others against the errors of Rome, and also against the errors of the Image and second BEAST, yet we would not be reckoned one of the “Protestant churches,” because we would not be recognized as upholding the common or orthodox doctrines–They would not count our organization a church. (R323)
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