WWW = 666: Is the Web the Antichrist?
I get this question a lot. The argument, apparently being propounded
by some mass-media preachers and picked up by no small number of "regular"
Christians, goes something like this:
This idea has scared a lot of people; I get an average of one query
about this every 2-3 weeks. So let's settle this once and for all.
The Hebrew Letter waw/vav is commonly pronounced "w."
In antiquity and in modern Hebrew, letters also represent numbers.
In Hebrew, the letter waw is used to represent the number 6.
The common abbreviation for "World Wide Web" is www.
In Hebrew, this abbreviation would be spelled waw waw waw.
Numerically, this Hebrew abbreviation would be 6-6-6.
Therefore, since it represents the number of the beast described in Revelation
13, the World Wide Web is a subtle tool of the coming Antichrist, or repesents
Antichrist himself directly.
All of the above points are correct - except the last one.
Why? Because the number in Revelation 13 is not six-six-six,
it is six hundred sixty-six. In Hebrew, this number would
be represented most commonly as the Hebrew equivalent of TRSW.
That pretty well settles it, doesn't it? I often find myself
wishing that these public figures would check their facts before they start
offering sensationalistic stuff like this. In any case, to
answer the question, no, the Hebrew equivalent of "www" does
not equal the number of the beast. and no, the Web is not
the Antichrist. Hey, you found this page on the Web, now didn't
Afterthought: just to demonstrate what a tenuous business this
whole "number of the beast" thing is, consider the following:
Think about it.
It was common in the atmosphere of persecution in which John wrote Revelation,
to couch the names of major figures in codes of various times to avoid
getting into trouble while still calling them names.
One method, used by many first-century Christians as we know from the papyri,
was to couch a name in its numeric equivalent. Sometimes this was
even done using the numeric equivalent in a different script such
The ancient manuscripts of Revelation have a variation among themselves
with regard to this number. Most read six hundred sixty-six, but
a significant number read six hundred sixteen.
Only one name that anybody has been able to find was written in two forms,
one of which works out numerically to six hundred sixty-six and the other
of which works out numerically to six hundred sixteen.
That name, much to the chagrin of professional eschatologists, is Nero
Caesar. Spelled the Greek way in Hebrew letters, NRWN KSR,
the numeric values of the letters add up to six hundred sixty-six.
Spelled the Latin way in Hebrew letters, NRW KSR, the numeric values
of the letters add up to six hundred sixteen.
Therefore, we need to consider the very real possibility that John wasn't
looking to some far future time at all; he was looking backward to the
persecution under Nero that claimed the lives of both Paul and Peter, the
leading apostles of the early church.
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