Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Book of Revelation: Lesson 32 - Chapter 13:11-18

Do you like riddles?
According to the dictionary, a riddle is a mystifying, misleading or puzzling question to be solved or guessed.
Revelation 13:18 has to be one of the greatest mysteries of all time. It reads:
“This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666.”
By way of background, neither the Greek nor the Hebrew tongue used a system of numbers. Actually, the letters of the alphabet had numerical values. For example, A was 1, B=2, C=3, and so on. A name could therefore be converted into its corresponding numbers. In the ancient world this was called gematria.
Today, a guy could be clever and say, “The number of the girl I like is 11325.” Who’s going to know that A=1, M=13 and Y=25 and Amy is his heartthrob?
Some scholars believe this 666 number stands for Nero. If the name of Neron Kaiser (“Nero Caesar” in Greek) is put into Hebrew, the numbers work. Be that as it may, few of the early interpreters of Revelation saw this as the right solution.
The truth is, all kinds of people have worked on this puzzle. During the time of World War II, someone came up with a system where A=100, B=101, C=102, etc. Guess what?
I 108

But John didn’t write Revelation in English. What we have in our Bibles is a translation of the original Greek, which used an alphabet that differs from ours. All of this discourages me from working that much on this given problem.
I assume that when the time is right, someone far wiser than I am will come up with the solution to this mystery.


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