Do not fear 06/06/06
My two-year-old son has a toy cash register, and pressing the numbers will make the Sesame Street characters say them aloud. When my son hits that key three times, the number of the beast is revealed as Cookie Monster utters (in almost demonic tone) “Six, six, six”. It’s funny that every time he enters that number, I always am concerned if anyone is listening. I don’t get the same feelings if he entered in the unlucky number 13, yet there is something that gets me about this 666 number.
I’m not alone, either. Many religious people are uptight because this year will bring us June 6th, 2006, which can be shortened to 06/06/06. Twentieth Century Fox has a clever marketing department that plans to release their remake of the horror film The Omen on that date.
So how is it that this number 666 got its reputation? Ironically, it doesn’t come from satanic rock groups, but from the Bible itself, in Revelations 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”.
In this case, the “beast” refers to what many Christians refer to as the Antichrist. Many Christians will tell you that the events in Revelation are those still-to-come, but none will tell you that they are exactly sure of what it means. As a result, there are many theories about what the number of the beast refers to.
The popular Left Behind book series had one theory. In the book, there is a character known as Viv Ivins who is the “aunt” of Antichrist Nicolae Carpathia. As you might have noticed, her name is a repetition of the Roman number six, VI VI VI.
Yet the most popular translation of this numerical reference actually refers to a few verses before it. There is a passage talking about how the beast will give everyone a mark on their right hand, and foreheads. Many people have wrongfully taken the next step, interpreting these verses to say that this mark is some sort of bar code. Others have speculated about an actual tattoo of a number or code on the left hand, right hand, and head. Since this mark is in three places, with three identical numbers, perhaps the beast has a 6 in those places.
Yet the bible does not directly tie this number to this mark, but most Christians do. This is why most Christians wrongfully fear this number, because they actually fear the Mark. After all, considering where commerce is heading, it is almost impossible to do business without some sort of non-cash method. Doesn’t it seem like tattooing our credit card numbers on our hands is the next logical step?
Regardless of what you believe, no one should fear a number. There is nothing inherently evil in this number, yet people have used this number to create attention-getting rumors. For example, it was rumored that the Louvre Pyramid had exactly 666 panes of glass, as explicitly commissioned by President Mitterrand. This rumor was refueled when mentioned by Dan Brown in the best seller The Da Vinci Code.
However, the Pyramid actually has more than 666, and even if it did, so what? Is Mitterrand the Antichrist for asking for this number? No, six-hundred and sixty-six is just another number. It is as only bad as we make it, and we need to stop making it bad.
So this June 6th, celebrate something. After all, it is the 62nd anniversary of D-day.