By Rob Vest

*
“Woe to you O earth and sea, for the Devil sends the Beast with wrath,
because he knows the time is short. Let him who hath understanding
reckon the Number of the Beast, for it is a human number. Its number
is six-hundred and sixty-six.” ^{1}*

For centuries, man has been mystified and fascinated by the above passage
from the Book of Revelation. “The Beast” refers to the Antichrist,
who during Earth’s last days, will unite the world in peace and harmony.
However, in order to take part in this prosperity, everyone is required
to receive the “Mark of the Beast,” presumably the number 666, on their
forehead or right hand, in order to engage in commerce.^{2}
All of this is actually a plot to convert everyone to the worship of Satan,
so that he may triumph over God in the battle between good and evil.
To make a long and complicated story short and sweet, Jesus comes down
with a horde of angels, a great battle takes place, and Good wins the day.
Satan and the Beast are cast into the Lake of Fire for eternity, and all
their followers are slain.^{3}

Just what is so intriguing about the number 666, and who could the author
of Revelation have been referring to? This paper is not intended
to be a treatise on either the Antichrist or the Book of Revelation, nor
will it attempt to convince the reader that the Antichrist is coming tomorrow
and the end of the world is imminent. However, what this paper will
do is examine some of the interesting mathematical properties of the Number
of the Beast, as well as take a look at some of those people who have been
identified as the Beast, and how their identities were deduced.

Beastly Mathematics

Despite its association with numerologists, evangelists, psychics, and
the like, the number 666 has many interesting mathematical qualities that
are firmly rooted in science, rather than superstition.

First off, the number 666 contains three sixes. Numerologists consider
six to be the first “perfect” number, as it is equal to the sum of its
divisors other than itself (1 + 2 + 3 = 6).^{4}
The Bible mentions that man was created on the sixth day.^{5}
Perhaps the Antichrist is meant to be seen as a “perfect man?”

Next, we see a relation between the Number of the Beast and primes.
The Beast is described in Revelation as having seven heads.^{6}
Curiously, the squares of the first seven prime numbers - 2, 3, 5, 7, 11,
13, and 17, when added together, total 666!^{7}

The most famous Biblical quotation regarding the Number of the Beast is
Revelation 13:18.^{8}
Revelation, in most versions of the Bible, is the twenty-first book of
the New Testament. Oddly enough, one looking in the right places
can find many examples of 13, 18, and 21 hidden in 666. For example: 666
is equal to 18 multiplied by 37, and 3 multiplied by 7 is equal to 21.
Also, 1 divided by 37 is equal to .021021021... and -(1 * 8) + (3 * 7)
= 13!^{9}

The following verse, Revelation 14:1, mentions the number 144,000.^{10}
When 144,000 is divided by the Number of the Beast, the resulting number
is 216.216.216.... As luck would have it, 216 also happens to be
the cube of six -- 6 * 6 * 6!^{11}

In addition, 666 = 6^{3} + 6^{3}
+ 6^{3} + 6 + 6 + 6. The Number of the
Beast is one of only six integers which are equal to the sum of their digits
and the cubes of their digits. The other five are 12, 30, 870, 960,
and 1998. Interestingly, 1998 is equal to 666 + 666 + 666!^{12}
Oddly enough, 1998 came and went without any kind of apocalyptic happenings.
But it’s possible that 1998 was the year of the Antichrist’s birth.
Just to be on the safe side, it would probably be best for anyone with
a two year old to check their child for strange birthmarks!

Another interesting coincidence takes place when six is used as an exponent:
1^{6} - 2^{6}
+ 3^{6} = 666! Furthermore, 1
+ 2 +3 = 6, 1 * 2 * 3 = 6, and the square root of the sum of the cubes
of one, two, and three is also equal to six! There’s even a curious
connection between the Number of the Beast and pi, in that the 666th, 667th,
and 668th digits after the decimal point of pi are 343 - which is equal
to 7 * 7 * 7!^{13}

But wait! There’s more! 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 567 + 89 = 123 + 456
+ 78 + 9 = 9 + 87 + 6 + 543 + 21 = 666!^{14}

Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of mathematics is the concept
of the magic square, the simplest of which looks like this:

4 9
2

3 5
7

8 1
6

The “magic” in this square is that the sum of numbers in every row, column,
and along the two main diagonals is fifteen.^{15}
Let’s look at one where the sum is 666:

232 313
121

111
222 333

323
131 212

This one, credited to Rudolf Ondrejka, is interesting because the only numbers used in the square are combinations of one, two, and three. However, this square is not near as fascinating as this four-by-four example, also attributed to Ondrejka:

320
169 138
39

26 151
208 281

195 294
13 164

125
52 307
182

As we can see here, the rows, columns, and two main diagonals all add up
to 666. In addition, so do all the broken diagonals (169 + 26 + 164
+ 307), each of the nine two-by-two subsquares (151 + 208 + 13 + 294),
and the four corners of the three-by-three subsquares (320 + 138 + 13 +
195), of the four-by-two rectangles (195 + 164 + 182 +125), and of the
four-by-four square itself (320 + 39 + 182 + 125)!^{16}
This is one magic square that definitely lives up to the name!

Lastly, if we create a six-by-six magic square, with entries of one through
thirty-six, we find that the sum of all its entries is equal to - that’s
right - 666!^{17}

Building the Perfect Beast

As fun as Beastly squares are, identifying the Antichrist can be even more
entertaining. People can be quite creative when determining the Beast’s
identity. By simply manipulating a few numbers and making a few adjustments
and associations, anyone can be an Antichrist. (Warning: The following
identifications are provided solely as entertainment, and are under no
circumstances meant to be taken seriously.)

Ronald Reagan. This former US president’s full name is RONALD WILSON
REAGAN. Each of his names has six letters, thus three sixes = 666!^{18}

Nero Caesar, fifth emperor of Rome. Nero is one of the more popular
suspects, as many Bible scholars believe that Revelation was written sometime
during or after Nero’s reign (54-68 CE), and many Christians believed he
had faked his death and would return to continue his religious persecution.^{19}
However, in order to derive 666 from Nero’s name, we must first convert
the Greek version of his name, “NERON KAISAR,” into its Hebrew (or Aramaic)
equivalent, which reads something like “NRWN QSR.” Now, if we take
the Hebrew numeric values for each letter^{20}
- N = 50, R = 200, W = 6, Q = 100, and S = 60, the result is 50 + 200 +
6 + 50 + 100 + 60 + 200 = 666!^{21}

Let’s try another notorious tyrant - Adolph Hitler. If we assign
an increasing numerical value to each letter of the alphabet, such as A
= 100, B = 101, ... Z = 125, and assign those numbers to “HITLER,” we get
107 + 108 + 119 + 111 + 104 + 117 = 666! Curiously, if we use the
first twenty-six primes instead (A = 2, B = 3, C = 5, etc), the result
is 19 +23 +71 + 37+ 11 + 61 = 222!^{22}

William Henry Gates III. By converting the letters of “BILL GATES”
into ASCII (A = 65, B = 66, etc) values, we get the following: 66 + 73
+ 76 + 76 + 71 + 65 + 84 + 69 + 83 = 663. Almost, but not quite enough.
However, by adding the suffix “III” (3), we get the desired result of 666!^{23}

Barney the Dinosaur. Everyone knows Barney is a cute purple dinosaur.
However, by converting “CUte pUrpLe DInosaUr,” to Roman numerals (making
sure to convert “U” to “V,” as Romans had no “U” in their alphabet), we
get C + V + V + L + D + I + V = 100 + 5 + 5 + 50 + 500 + 1 + 5 = 666!^{24}

The Pope. We can use the same method to “prove” that the Pope is the Beast.
The Pope’s official title is “VICarIUs fILII DeI,” or “vicar of the Son
of God.” The Roman numerals of this title are 5 + 1 + 100 + 1 + 5
+ 1 + 50 + 1 + 1 + 500 + 1 = 666!^{25}

But the Catholics aren’t the only religion with an Antichrist. Take
fundamentalist televangelist Pat Robertson. His organization is called
the “700 Club.” By using a system of A = 0, B = 1, etc, “CLUB” =
2 + 11 + 20 + 1 = 34, and 700 - 34 = 666!^{26}

I’d like to close with a few Beastly calculations of my own: via the system
of A = 202, B = 203, etc, my initials, “RWV” are equal to 219 + 224 + 223
= 666. Furthermore, I discovered that by using the first twenty-six
even numbers (A = 2, B = 4, C = 6, etc) my entire name - ROBERT WASHINGTON
VEST (the) THIRD = 36 + 30 + 4 + 10 + 36 + 40 + 46 + 2 + 38 + 16 + 18 +
28 + 14 + 40 + 30 + 28 + 44 + 10 + 38 + 40 + 40 + 16 + 18 + 36 + 8 = 666!

I also thought it would be fun to see if the person who told me about this
class in the first place, IUS history professor Dr Frank W Thackeray, was
the Antichrist. I found that if A = 120, B = 121, etc, then Dr Thackeray’s
title and initals, “DR FWT” = 123 + 137 + 125 + 142 + 139 = 666!

Finally, I found that if A = 37, B = 38, etc, then 666 = 40 + 54 + 46 +
37 + 49 + 41 + 55 + 59 + 51 + 41 + 52 + 52 + 41 + 48 = DR JAMES WOEPPEL!

Endnotes:

^{1}Steve
Harris, “The Number of the Beast,” The Number of the Beast: Music of Iron
Maiden, (Hollywood: EMI, 1982) CD. The quote is paraphrased from
the Biblical Book of Revelation, 12:12 and 13:18.

^{2}
“He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave,
to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one
could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast
or the number of his name.” [Holy Bible, New International Version (Grand
Rapids, MI: Zondervan Bible Publishers, 1984) Rev 13:16-17]

^{3}
A very simplified account of the Book of Revelation, which has been confounding
even learned scholars for centuries!

^{4}
Richard Cavendish, “Numerology,” Man, Myth, and Magic, the Illustrated
Encyclopedia of Mythology, Religion, and the Unknown, Ed. Richard
Cavendish (New York, London, Toronto, Sydney: Marshall Cavendish
Corporation, 1995), 1894.

^{6}
“And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads...”
[Rev 13:1]

^{7}
Underwood Dudley, Numerology or, What Pythagoras Wrought (Washington: Mathematical
Association of America, 1997), 70.

^{8}
“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.” [Holy Bible,
NIV]

^{10}
“Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion,
and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on
their foreheads.” [Holy Bible, NIV]

^{14}
Jeff Berkeley, “Mathematics Fun, Fact, Fiction, Function, Fantasy,” n.d.,
<http://www.lifesmith.com/mathfun.html>
(19 April 2000).

^{19}
Cavendish, “Great Beast,” Man, Myth, and Magic, (1985), 1157.

^{20}
The ancient Hebrews did not have separate characters for numbers.
Like the Romans, they would assign numerical values to letters of their
alphabet.

^{21}
Dudley, 56; Michael Scheifler, “666, the Number of the Beast,” n. d., <http://www.aloha.net/~mikesch/666.htm>
(18 April 2000).

^{24}
“Scientific Proof That Barney is Satan,” n.d., <http://www.mwm.org/barney.html>
(20 April 2000).

BEASTLY BIBLIOGRAPHY

Berkeley, Jeff.
“Mathematics Fun, Fact, Fiction, Function, Fantasy,” N.d. <http://www.lifesmith.com/mathfun.html>
(19 April

2000).

Cavendish,
Richard, ed. Man, Myth, and Magic, the Illustrated Encyclopedia of
Mythology, Religion, and the Unknown. 1985 ed.

New York, London, Toronto, Sydney: Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 1985.

Cavendish,
Richard, ed. Man, Myth, and Magic, the Illustrated Encyclopedia of
Mythology, Religion, and the Unknown. 1995 ed.

New York, London, Toronto, Sydney: Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 1995.

Dudley, Underwood.
Numerology or, What Pythagoras Wrought. Washington: Mathematical Association
of America, 1997.

The Holy Bible.
New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Bible Publishers,
1984.

Iron Maiden.
The Number of the Beast. Hollywood: EMI, 1982. Compact disc.

Scheifler,
Michael. “666, the Number of the Beast.” N. d. <http://www.aloha.net/~mikesch/666.htm>
(18 April 2000).

“Scientific
Proof That Barney is Satan.” N.d. <http://www.mwm.org/barney.html>
(20 April 2000)

Related Links:

Book
of Revelation

Dr
Frank Thackeray's Home Page

Dr
James Woeppel's Home Page

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