a reply to: DaBoogieMan
I did a very relevant thread myself in December- Revelation, pandemic,
But that argues against
identifying the mark of the beast in present events.
In my main series of thread on Revelation, I also included a post (I think) on the uselessness of gematria. I must track that down. Give me a
It was in my "666" thread. I attach an extract;
We can't, unfortunately, work "forwards" from the number itself; we get nothing useful from the letters which represent the number 666.
So that's where the "calculation" comes in- the practice of Gematria. Choosing a possible name and working backwards from it, turning the letters into
numbers and trying to make them add up to 666.
Our real difficulty, in practice, is that the "target number" of 666 can be reached only too easily, giving us multiple solutions.
If we limit the field to the people, and especially the Emperors, who would have been around in John's time, then the choice is manageable.
Nero seems to be the clear favourite amongst scholars. Apparently his name works equally well (in different forms) for 666 and for the variant reading
"616"- which might be the explanation for the other reading...
But once we bring in later candidates, the ambiguity of the process becomes much more problematic. Even if we knew (as we don't know) that the Beast
belonged to our own generation instead of some future generation, the choice would still be overwhelming. I can find even on one site the calculation
being applied to Bush, to Obama, to Arnold Schwarzeneggar, and to Georges Papandreou.
Furthermore, the fact that people are starting from their expected conclusion and working backwards from it gives them a strong temptation to "fudge"
the calculation. The most obvious method is to tinker with the name of the chosen candidate, until they find the form which best suits their purposes.
Leaving out two letters of Buonaparte. Giving his middle initial to "George W.Bush" and taking it away from "Bill Gates III". Allowing "Charles,
Prince of Wales" to have only one of his titles.
The result is that we've got no reason to feel confidence in any of these conclusions.
The process which purports to identify the Beast for us cannot, in fact, identify him with any certainty.
As far as I'm concerned, there's also something problematic about the basic assumption, that God would choose this way to address the later church.
It was a fairly natural way to communicate with the church of John's time. They were using letters to represent numbers as a matter of course, and a
code based on the fact would not be obscure to them- no more obscure than a code based on acronyms would be to us ("...and there was a great king in
the West called UKUSANATO...").
It is NOT a natural way to communicate with the church of later generations. We don't use letters to represent numbers, in daily life, which means
that we've lost the ability to make sense of Gematria. The technique is kept alive for code-breaking purposes, but it's not a language understood by
the people at large.
"In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers..."- Hebrews ch1 v1
My understanding of the Biblical God is that he is a God who wants to communicate.
Which means that he would want his meaning to be reasonably accessible.
I find it difficult to believe that he would deliberately send a message to the later church in a form which nobody would be able to read, leaving his
meaning to be uncovered by code-breakers.
Incidentally, this is not just about Gematria. The same objection applies to each and every interpretation which involves finding 666 in "hidden"
So what we need is a way to interpret "666" which would be reasonably accessible to the church at large- including, ideally, those who were around
when the book was first written.
I can offer three suggestions, all of which point in approximately the same direction.
One option is to apply the Gematria calculation in the usual way, limiting the field to the candidates known to the original church. We can then
regard the identified man as a model for the later Beast. This keeps us obedient to the instruction to "calculate" the number, and it liberates us
from the thankless task of disentangling all the other claims...
edit on 15-8-2021 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)