Beast~7)Number~What Lies Ahead?
The Number of His Name
What of the mysterious number 666? Many ingenious solutions have been devised to label desired individuals with that number. But what does the Bible mean when it tells us that this is the number of a man?
Before Arabic numerals became accepted in the western world in the 13th century, letters of the alphabet doubled as numerals. Thus all names had numeric value. Most of us are familiar with Roman numerals, where the letters of the Latin alphabet have numeric value. In this system I=1, V=5, X=10, and so on. Greek and Hebrew are the languages in which the Bible was written, and both use a similar system.
The earliest proposed solution to the meaning of 666 is a tradition attributed to Polycarp, the disciple of the same Apostle John who wrote Revelation. This tradition is preserved in the second century writings of Irenaeus. The number 666 is “…contained in the Greek letters of Lateinos (L=30; A=1; T=300; E=5; I=10; N=50; O=70; S=200)” (Commentary on the Whole Bible, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown). Lateinos is a Greek term referring to the Romans. Interestingly, the Greek expression meaning “the Latin kingdom” (h Latine Basileia) also has a numeric value of 666. Greek writers commonly referred to the Roman Empire in this way. The book of Revelation was originally written in Greek, as it was written to Greek-speaking churches in ancient Asia Minor.
Another interesting explanation involves the name of the emperor Nero, who died about 25 years before John wrote Revelation. Though Nero was dead, his rule was nevertheless a type of the end-time Roman system. He was brought to power promising constitutional reforms and a return to the “golden age” of Augustus, but became increasingly cruel and despotic after achieving power. Living in an atmosphere of intrigue and conspiracy, he abused his power and was responsible for the Roman state’s first official persecution of Christians. During his reign most of the Apostles, including both Peter and Paul, were martyred. His name in Greek was spelled Neron Kaesar (Nero Caesar). When the Greek form of his name is spelled out in Hebrew characters, their numeric value also adds up to 666.
The founder of ancient Rome was Romulus, from whose name Rome and Roman are derived. The Latin name Romvlvs is written in Hebrew as Romiith. In the Hebrew language this also adds up to 666 (resh=200, vau=6, mem=40, yod=10, yod=10, tau=400). Thus, in both Greek and Hebrew, the two languages of the Bible, the number 666 is stamped upon the kingdom that derived from Rome.
The years ahead of us will bring the seventh and final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire. There will most likely be special numeric significance to either the name, or perhaps a special title, of the end-time leader of the Beast power. However, it is important to realize that the Roman system is already stamped with 666. That system-and its end-time resurrection-is identified as the Beast.
A Tale of Two Cities-Past and Future
The tale of two dramatically contrasting cities is a thread that runs from beginning to end throughout the Bible. Genesis 10 introduces us to Babylon, or Babel, the city that Nimrod built. In Genesis 11, we meet Abraham, a man born in Ur of the Chaldees, an adjacent town and part of Babylon’s ancient kingdom. Genesis 12 tells of Abraham’s departure, at God’s command, from the vicinity of Babylon. In Genesis 14, Abraham comes to Jerusalem, anciently called simply Salem, to meet with Melchizedek, “the priest of the Most High God,” who both blessed Abraham and received his tithes.
In the last book of the Bible, we read of Babylon once again. Revelation 18 speaks of “Babylon the Great” and of its final and total destruction. Just as was Abraham of old, God’s end-time people are told, “Come out of her my people” (Revelation 18:4). Revelation 21 records the arrival on earth of the New Jerusalem, the city “whose maker and builder is God” (Revelation 21:2).
Babylon and Jerusalem are two ancient cities, which represent two completely opposite systems of government and ways of life. One is derived from Nimrod, the first post-flood tyrant who rebelled against God and His laws. Nimrod introduced a system of human tyrannical government and sought to build a one-world government the devil’s way. Babylon is Satan’s historic counterfeit of, and alternative to, God’s kingdom.
After God’s intervention at the Tower of Babel, Babylon’s prominence rose and fell over the following centuries. Finally in the seventh century bc, the Assyrian capital Nineveh fell to invaders, and Babylon once again came to prominence as the chief city of Mesopotamia. Nebuchadnezzar became king of Babylon and launched an expansion drive that gave Babylon dominance over the entire Middle East. His conquests included Judah and its capital, Jerusalem. About 586bc, the invading Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and the temple of God located there. Nearly 20 years before that, a number of young Jewish captives had been taken to Babylon. Among those captives was Daniel.
On the evening that began the Feast of Trumpets in 539bc, 66 years after Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom had begun, Daniel stood in a hushed banquet hall and read “the handwriting on the wall” to one of Nebuchadnezzar’s successors, Belshazzar. Babylon was weighed in the balance, found wanting, and would that very night give way to a successor kingdom.
The city of Babylon fell, and after centuries became a desolate and uninhabited location, but the system that originated there did not end. It continued through its successors, just as Daniel recorded so many centuries ago.
Genesis 10:10 explains that the beginning of Nimrod’s kingdom was Babel. In the years just ahead of us, the end-time embodiment of that ancient kingdom is destined to once again rise. The ancient city built by Nimrod has long ago been reduced to dust and ruin, but the governmental, religious and economic system that began there has continued. Ancient Babylon has been succeeded by a modern Babylon, called by the prophet Isaiah the “daughter of Babylon” (Isaiah 47:1).
What Lies Ahead?
We are living in a turbulent world. There is fear and apprehension about the future. On the one hand, science and technology promise a world of dazzling prosperity. Yet on the other hand, nuclear war and biological and chemical terrorism threaten the very existence of our world. A great charismatic leader in Europe will arise, responding to this crisis. He will enter into an alliance of church and state that will offer peace, security and prosperity to a desperate world.
Using duplicity and intrigue, he will induce ten European leaders, representing the end-time successors to both the eastern and western parts of the Roman Empire, to unite temporarily and give their power to him as leader. As we saw in the 1930s, when people become genuinely frightened about their future, they are often willing to trade freedom for security.
A period of growing peace and prosperity will ensue. A great worldwide trading combine will seem to offer incredible profits to international cartels. Later, responding to crises involving both the Middle East and the English-speaking nations, this leader will move with lightning speed and iron determination. Annulling a treaty previously made with the Jewish state, his armies will overwhelm Jerusalem and will take half of the city into captivity (Zechariah 14:2). At the same time, an attack of overwhelming force will be launched on America, Britain, Canada and related nations (for details of the prophecies relating to this event, write for our free booklet, The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy).
The end-time manifestation of Babylon will promise what Nimrod promised the human family at the Tower of Babel: unity, security and prosperity. This is what Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus the Great, Alexander the Great and Caesar Augustus, each in turn, also promised.
The intensifying problems of global fracturing will be countered by a scheme designed to impose both political and religious unity on a worldwide scale. The coming European superpower may actually co-opt existing global institutions to use as a political structure for its own ends. Though important developments will occur in the political sphere, it is in the area of religion that we will see events unprecedented in modern times. Religion will be considered the key to bringing about the common identity required for political unity.
By this time, millions all over the globe will have been caught up in a religious frenzy fed by a charismatic leader working what are apparently great signs and wonders. More concerned with “feeling good” than with true doctrines, they will respond to this leader’s false promise that he is ushering in a golden age.
A powerful war-making apparatus marshaled by the coming European superpower will be billed as the cornerstone of world peace and security. Modern technology will be used to create a police-state that Hitler and Stalin could only have dreamed about. People will be induced to accept such draconian measures as the price of getting rid of terrorism and violent crime.
At first, this system will bring an upsurge in the world economy. A worldwide trading combine, prophesied in Ezekiel 27 and Revelation 18, will be hailed as the key to universal prosperity. Those at the helm of this system will, for a short time, enjoy unparalleled wealth.
Yet fatal flaws in this system, inherent from its beginning, will in time produce widening disparities. The Arab world will be displeased by attempts to coerce it into religious unity with Europe. A powerful leader-called in Daniel 11 the “king of the South”-will then arise, able to bring about temporary unity of much of the Islamic world. Provoked by this leader, Europe will launch a “blitzkrieg” resulting in European occupation of much of the Arab world (Daniel 11:40-43).
This European occupation will deepen suspicion among the eastern nations-already wary of the German-led Europeans. Rumors from the eastern capitals will ultimately cause the Europeans to launch what is intended as a preemptive attack to intimidate the East into submission (Daniel 11:44). Things will not go as well as planned, and the resulting warfare will ultimately cause the nuclear destruction of much of Europe, including Rome itself (Revelation 18:10, 17), by the alliance of eastern powers (Revelation 9:13-18).
As eastern armies cross the Euphrates River to launch an invasion of the European-controlled Middle East, events will spin totally out of control. The ten European rulers who gave power to launch this system will bitterly turn on the church and religious system which failed them (Revelation 17:16-17). Horrifying weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons as well as biological and chemical weapons (Revelation 9:5-6, 18), will be unleashed. Just when it appears that humanity will destroy itself as a result of the confrontation in the Middle East, the living, glorified Christ will return from heaven (Matthew 24:22).
In the context of this most hellish period in the history of mankind’s violent and bloody existence, the real solution to humanity’s problems will be inaugurated. Jesus Christ’s return to this earth is not a fantasy-it is mankind’s only hope.
Transported in vision into that future Day of the Lord, John recorded a marvelous event yet ahead of us, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen” (Revelation 18:2). In the aftermath of that event, Jesus Christ will stand on the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem with all of the resurrected saints. The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be removed (Daniel 2:44). The law will go forth from Jerusalem, and all nations will be brought under the government of God (Isaiah 2:2-3).
The Bible records a tale of two cities, Babylon and Jerusalem. One will be destroyed forever. The other will be created anew as the New Jerusalem which will come down from heaven after the 1,000-year reign of the Messiah, providing the dwelling place for the Father, for Christ and for the “firstfruits” for all eternity (Revelation 21).
The end-time events described in this booklet are real-and will occur within the lifetime of many reading it. Yet Christ offers protection to those who are truly, zealously walking with Him and doing His Work (Luke 21:36; Revelation 3:10).
What about you? Does your “citizenship”-your loyalty and allegiance-reside in Babylon below or in Jerusalem above? Your future depends upon your answer to that question! “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6). The God of heaven will soon set up an enduring kingdom. He now offers us not only His protection and help in the terrible times ahead, but also an entrance into His glorious kingdom and an inheritance that will last forever!
As you watch the world around you increasingly unravel in the years ahead, do not become discouraged. Rather, Jesus Christ exhorts His true followers, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28).
In spite of calamities on the horizon, always remember that the best news lies yet ahead! “For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37, KJV).
By John H. Ogwyn
Copyright © 2007 Tomorrow’s World