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A Bit of Fun with 666!

As I hope you know, I try to keep my personal politics out of the blog.  I also hope I succeed, but some of you may think not…  But I do try.    It’s not that I do not have strong political convictions.  On the contrary, I am passionately political and will go to the mat for my views.   BUT, I want the blog to be open and welcoming to all people, whatever their political views (or religious views or any other kinds of views).  We can all be interested in early Christianity, and our politics don’t need to enter into it.

And unlike most of the people I know who have strong political views, I really do try to see “the other side,” and to realize that there are very, very good people with views different from mine.   Also unlike most people, I often appreciate and get a very good laugh out of jokes poked at views that I actually take very seriously.  But it’s always good to laugh, even at ourselves.

I say that as a preface to this request for humorous suggestions – or serious ones, if you prefer – about how to construe the number of the beast, 666.   As many of you noticed, I received a rather naughty suggestion last week, and I was even naughtier for posting it.  But it was too good to turn down.  It simply said:

F: 6th letter = 6
O: 15th letter = 1+5 = 6
X: 24th letter = 2+4 = 6
So I guess Fox News is Antichrist’s own Network !

Ha!  I think that’s a good one.   Here’s another one.  My students who take my Introduction to the New Testament course sometimes tell me that they don’t think it’s an accident that the phone number for the Department of Religious Studies at UNC  — famous (or infamous) for teaching historical and philosophical views that many students find challenging – is 962-5666.   What does that say about our nefarious existence as a department?!?  🙂

So, I’m interest in any humorous (or serious, OK!) suggestions about 666.  When I was teaching at Rutgers in the mid-80s, some liberal democrats suggested that it was not by chance that the president at the time had six letters in each of his three names, Ronald Wilson Reagan, 6-6-6,!  My students tended to be Republican, but they thought that was pretty funny.

So, do you have any good ones?  Let us know.  All political and religious positions are welcome, so long as they are not abusive and meant to harm anyone.  Those that are, I won’t post.

And I make this request realizing that it may end up being a big mistake!!!   But it may be good!  We’ll see.


Expecting the Apocalypse: My Idea for the Book
Who Wrote the Book of Revelation?



  1. Chris_Hansen
    Chris_Hansen  October 7, 2018

    I have a few in mind now (my New Testament class at University of Michigan-Flint had a fun in class exercise where we all decided to come up with a bunch, not all the most appropriate).

    DCLXVI — I give you the Roman Numeral of the Beast
    6, ugh I forget — The Number of the Blonde Beast
    666-999-HELL — The Fun Time of the Beasts (the lesser known sequel to the classic Disney film)
    999 — the number of the Aussie Beast
    Apologizing in advance for this one lol:

    696 — The Beast of the Erotic Sea

    My devout Christian computer programmer father just suggested “1010011010” The Binary Number of the Beast.

    Got more, but I think those are my favorites.

    • Avatar
      nichael  October 8, 2018

      Likewise I think probably every math/compsci/physics geek-oriented mailing list I’ve every been on has, at one time or another, gone through a round of 666-play. A few examples that come to mind are:

      6.50128967… = The Natural Log of the Beast

      25.806975.. = The Square Root of the Beast (Although, I suppose, since this is the root of all evil, this would more accurately be “The Number of the Love of Money”)

      0.666 = The number of the millibeast

      666i = The number of the Imaginary Beast

      1232 = the number of the OctalBeast

      1/666 = the denominator of the beast

      665.99 = The number of the Retail Beast

      Although my favorite is probably:
      -2*SIN(666) = [1 + sqrt(5)] / 2 (i.e. The Golden Ratio or Mean )

      (But then, as St Augustine wrote, in De Genesi ad Litteram:
      “The good Christian should beware of mathematicians. The danger already exists that mathematicians have made a covenant with the Devil to darken the spirit and confine man in the bonds of Hell.” 😉 )

  2. Avatar
    Bewilderbeast  October 7, 2018

    If Satan’s a snake he probly says ssssssix.sssssix.ssssssixsssss. – Or maybe he was simply going about his business hissing and that’s what his critics THOUGHT he was saying?

    • Avatar
      nichael  October 8, 2018

      If Satan is a snake, could “6-6-6” be the “Measurements of the Snake”?

  3. Avatar
    godspell  October 7, 2018

    Donald. Six letters.

    Drumpf (the true name). Six letters.

    I can’t find any arithmetical legerdemain to turn his middle name into a six.

    But please note, his middle name is John.

    Truly, the End Times are upon us. 😐

    • Avatar
      godspell  October 8, 2018

      Ah, should have thought of this–his family name is Germanic. And there are variant forms of John in that language family. Hannes. Johann.

      Donald Johann Drumpf. 666.

      We having fun yet?

    • Avatar
      Scott.nelles@gmail.com  November 13, 2018

      Good try…good try.

      What’s his tupee’s name?

  4. Avatar
    SelfAwarePatterns  October 7, 2018

    Internet applications connect to destination addresses with TCP/IP port numbers to indicate which application on the destination host they’re connecting to. For example, the port for secured web communications is 443.

    With that in mind, the developers of the video game Doom at id Software knew which port they wanted to be known for.
    666 UDP Doom, First online FPS

  5. Avatar
    gavriel  October 7, 2018

    Donald Trump was elected in 2016 = 666+666+666+6+6+6

    • Bart
      Bart  October 8, 2018

      Wow. That must’ve taken a while to figure out. That’s a prize-winner!

  6. Avatar
    nichael  October 7, 2018

    I just want to make a brief (but, I hope, possibly helpful) footnote here. And I *certainly* realize I’m not telling Dr Ehrman anything he not perfectly well aware of…

    …but the “Number of the Beast” is not “[six][six][six]”. In the first place, in all Greek manuscripts the number is written out in full: e.g. “six-hundred-and-sixty-six”.

    Moreover, even if the number were written out in “digits”, it wouldn’t be “666” in that, in Greek, the symbols for “six-hundred”, “sixty” and “six” are all different.

    I mention this in the hope that anyone who finds themselves arguing with someone who is *sure* they know the “real meaning of 666”, you might find it useful to point this out.

    (This is similar to pointing out to someone who is *sure* they know “the true location of Noah’s Ark”, that there is no “Mt Ararat” mentioned in the Bible. Rather, the Ark is described as landing “among the mountains of Ararat” which is basically the same as saying something like “among the Canadian Rockies”. 😉 )

  7. Robert
    Robert  October 7, 2018

    דונאלד י טרמף המלך העוון

    Donald J Trump, the Evil King

    ד4ו6נ50א1ל30ד4 = 95
    10 =10י
    ט9ר200מ40ף80 = 329
    ה5מ40ל30ך20 = 95
    ה5ע70ו6ו6ן50 = 137

    95 + 10 + 329 + 95 + 137 = 666

    Quod erat demonstrandum

    • Bart
      Bart  October 8, 2018

      Wow. Did you do this one yourself? You certainly win a prize!!

      • Robert
        Robert  October 8, 2018

        Yes, the trick is the creative use of matres lectionis.

    • Avatar
      godspell  October 8, 2018

      This is wayyyyy out of my league, mathematically speaking.

      And so far out of Trump’s league, he wouldn’t even know you were insulting him. 😉

    • Avatar
      bradseggie  October 9, 2018

      666 is like The Bible Code. It says everything!

  8. talmoore
    talmoore  October 7, 2018

    Dr. Ehrman, I believe that I have already pointed out that 666 is (coincidentally?) the sum of all the Roman numerals up to D.

    I = 1
    V = 5
    X = 10
    L = 50
    C = 100
    D = 500
    I + V + X + L + C + D = 666

    Odd coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

    But from the context of Revelation 13, it’s quite clear that the Beasts represent Rome and/or the Emperors, and the “heads” of the beasts represent Rome’s legions. For instance, the head that “had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed” probably represents Legio XII Fulminata, which was effectively annihilated at the battle of Beth Horon in 66 CE, but a fully reconstituted Fulminata took part in the later siege and destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE.

    The first Beast, therefore, probably represents Nero and the second Beast represents Vespasian. For the Jewish rebels they probably saw the events of 66 to 69 in apocalyptic terms. Their victory at Beth Horon, followed by the assassination of Nero and the subsequent war of succession in the Year of the Four Emperors in 69 CE, that put it into the minds of the Jews (and, therefore, the early Christians) that this was the great eschatological battle that they had been anxiously awaiting and that Rome’s setbacks were God intervening in history to bring about Jewish victory. They probably anticipated that at some point soon the Messiah was going to arrive, accompanied by the heavenly host, to help finally destroy the enemy’s of God, i.e. Rome.

    In this context, we might be able to work it backwards. The number of the Beast is calculated to be 666. The number is the number of a man. And the value of this number is also the “name” of the Beast. And this name was a mark that was put onto the right hands and foreheads of those who wanted to do business. Well, how do you do business? With money. And what kind of money did they use back then? Coins. And what was on the coins? Images and letters. And where did people place coins when doing business? Into each others hands. And, finally, what was the coin that rankled the Jews after their defeat? The Judaea Capta coin issued by Vespasian.

    Iudaea or Imperator = I
    Capta or Caesar = C
    Vespasian = V
    Devicta (defeated) or Denarius = D

    Just a coincidence? Maybe.

  9. Avatar
    gbsinkers  October 7, 2018

    One of the guys in my men’s small group has never been a fan of cell phones, calling them “evil”, but has had to carry one for work. Recently we were discussing the fact that the newer iPhones are much heavier than they used to be. The host had a food scale handy so we started weighing our phones. My old iPhone 6 came in the lightest at 4.84 ounces. The other guys all had Android phones and all weighed over 6 ounces. The guy who thinks of cell phones as evil weighed his and found that it weighed 6.66 ounces. Now he had proof that his cell phone is evil! It was a good laugh!

  10. Avatar
    caesar  October 7, 2018

    This isn’t 666, but I read some people discussing ‘Trump Pence’ because it sounds like ‘trumpets’ as in the 7 Trumpets.

  11. Avatar
    caesar  October 7, 2018

    My former church teaches that the mark of the beast is a literal number, like an alphanumeric coded chip they’ll put on you. I imagine you’ve seen that. Of course, the ‘666’ or the name of the beast are taken figuratively. And Revelation 14:1 with God’s name on people’s foreheads isn’t an alphanumeric code.

    • Avatar
      WLFobe  October 8, 2018

      Would there be barcoding involved?

  12. Avatar
    4Erudite  October 7, 2018

    Just interesting, not necessarily meaning anything here, but 6+6+6=18 and 1+8=9 …those who know the significance of the numbers 3, 6, and 9 can appreciate this math…it is about reducing the single digits of a number to one of these three numbers, but especially the number 9…the number 9, I think, represents the universe (been a long time since reading Nikola Tesla’s work and don’t always understand everything I know)…again, just, maybe, interesting for math and science folks.

  13. Avatar
    MiBa  October 7, 2018

    If Ronald Wilson Reagan is an example, take this. An ever growing part of the german population looks at Angela Merkel, née Kasner …

  14. Liam Foley
    Liam Foley  October 8, 2018

    My ex-wife, a Fundamentalist Christian, was convinced Obama was the Anti-Christ. I recently saw some videos on YouTube where some believe that Obama still is the anti-Christ and will soon be appointed Secretary General of the United Nations before he springs into action. To me that’s just as silly as those that believe Trump is God’s anointed one.

    The one that made me laugh the most came back in the mid-80s when I was married to my Fundamentalist Christian wife; I heard a Christian Radio program (can’t remember which one it was) that was convinced that King Juan-Carlos of Spain was the anti-Christ. The only thing I can remember why the radio host was convinced the King of Spain was the Beast with the number 666 is that through some mathematical gymnastics he felt his name added to 666 and also given the fact that the King was born in Rome. As a Royal Historian I found that one pretty funny.

    This topic always made me scratch my head as otherwise well adjusted and rational human beings can be so easily given over to irrationality and superstition. Oh, I don’t mean what I said about about my ex-wife to reflect any ill will about her because to this day she is stil actually a close and dear friend.

    • Avatar
      doug  October 8, 2018

      What I wanna know is – who’s the Uncle Christ?

  15. Avatar
    flcombs  October 8, 2018

    I had a revelation in a dream and it was proven true!!!
    Using numbers for letters (A=1, B=2, etc.):

    Hillary Rodham Clinton = 231, add the digits 6!

    Russia = 87, add the digits 15, add the digits 6!

    Vladimir Putin = 168, add the digits 15, add the digits 6!

    Proof of Hillary and Putin working together as the beast with the number 666!

  16. Avatar
    WLFobe  October 8, 2018

    A bit off topic, but years ago I read the Baburnama. It recounts the conquest of India by Babur, the founder of the Mughal empire.

    As Babur and his lieutenants ride across India, leading the army, they repeatedly stop for picnics under handy trees. As part of these picnics, they drink wine, chew khat, and play number games with each other’s names.

    And I’m thinking that these stoners founded one of the great military empires.

  17. Avatar
    gwayersdds  October 8, 2018

    It is a well known “fact” that religion is much to serious to be taken seriously. It is meant to be enjoyed and be a source of joy. Humor can only improve belief. And I seriously believe that.

  18. Avatar
    J.J.  October 8, 2018


    Convert the U’s to V’s to use Latin letters:

    Extract the Roman numerals:
    C V V L D I V
    100 + 5 + 5 + 50 + 500 + 1 + 5 = 666

    Barney is the beast.

  19. talmoore
    talmoore  October 9, 2018

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner own’s a building in NYC with the address 666 Fifth avenue. You don’t even have to play number games with that one. The number is literally right there.

  20. Avatar
    rburos  October 10, 2018

    Wow. The level of nerd just went way up lol. I love this blog even more.

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