6-6-06 Devil’s Date Creates Jitters

Today is the 6th day of the 6th month of the year ought-six. Is this the 666 of Revelations yore? Some seem to think so.

THE calendar has clicked over to the sixth day of the sixth month, 2006 and hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia — the fear of the number 666 — is taking hold. Will the world end? Will someone give birth to the antichrist? Will Satan reclaim control?

Thirteen may be an unlucky number, but the Book of Revelation claims 666 is the number of the beast.

And not since the Y2K computer scare of December 31, 1999 has a date received so much attention.

They’re not taking any chances in Holland:

A Netherlands-based Evangelical organisation has called on Christians in 21 countries to hold a 24-hour prayer vigil against Satanic forces to mark so-called Devil’s Day. Some fear the date 06/06/06, which falls on Tuesday, signifies 666, the Biblical number of the Devil, and will usher in calamities and even the end of the world.

The Dutch-based organisation Ambassadors Ministries called its 24-hour prayer vigil from 6:00 pm (1600 GMT) Monday, saying it hoped some 2,000 Dutch Christians, mainly Protestants, would take part. “We believe that the plans the enemy has for this date (June 6, 2006) will be destroyed through violent worship and praise. We are inviting the entire world to be part of this huge unity project,” it says on its website www.ambasmin.org. “The forces of evil are using this day,” Mathijs Piet of the organisation told AFP.

Scholars and holy men debate the significance of the number:

Many scholars, such as Father Just, say the beast is really a coded reference — using Hebrew letters for numbers — for the despotic Roman emperor Nero, and 616 appears instead of 666 in some ancient manuscripts. The Book of Revelation isn’t prophesying a specific end of times but “is about the overall cosmic struggle of good versus evil,” Father Just said.

But for some more apocalyptic theologians, the end of times is coming, even if not specifically tomorrow. The evangelical Raptureready.com Web site puts its “rapture index” at 156, calling that “fasten your seat belts” time. It’s not the date June 6 that’s worrisome, but the signs in our society of the approach of the 666 Antichrist, said the Rev. Tim LaHaye, founder of a self-named ministry and co-author of the best-selling “Left Behind” series of apocalyptic novels. “I don’t think that people understand that 666 is not a good time,” Mr. LaHaye said. He said he sees signs of an upcoming “tribulation period” that leads to the Antichrist’s arrival in a movement toward one-world government, a single economic system and single religion.

Apocalyptic culture and theology, especially those surrounding 666, “is especially appealing for people in an underdog situation,” said Father Just. So people have looked for — and found — 666 in all sorts of places. Believers in the number’s power have used a biblical letter-numeric code to convert the names of countless political leaders, including many popes, to come out 666, marking them as that generation’s Antichrist. That includes Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

UVA’s Michael Covington says there’s no reason to worry:

Today is 06/06/06 whether you write the date forward or backward. Is there anything evil about this date?

No.

The Bible predicts an ungodly dictator (the Antichrist) whose “mark” will be the number 666. This is part of a very allegorical description given in Revelation 13, which describes a “beast” and starts out, “It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon” (ESV).

Christians agree that this is a warning about a future earthly ruler, not a giant horned reptile. It is part of St. John’s vision, in which various spiritual forces are represented by dramatic visual images. The number 666 is given in verse 18: “This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.” Not six-six-six, but six hundred sixty-six, which in Roman, Greek, or Hebrew numerals is not written as three sixes. (For example, in Roman numerals, 6 = VI and 666 = DCLXVI.)

We’ll know by midnight–assuming the Devil’s watch is right.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. lexy says:
  2. McGehee says:

    this is quite obscene

    Because it’s totally off-topic?

  3. LJD says:

    I was wondering if this would come up today…

    Numbers are unique. 6 is different than 2006, 206, 26. 2006 is no more 6 than 157 is 7. 2006 is just 2006.

    What significance does 6-6-2006 have for the devil? Nothing. People concerned about this need to find something else to freak out about.

  4. Yo says:

    If we made it past June 6, 1006, I’m not gonna’ sweat this one too much.

  5. Rodney Dill says:

    Residents of Hell, Michigan are celebrating the day. You can even buy a square inch of Hell for $6.66. I live close enough to visit there today if I so desired, but contrary to the wishes of some I have not intent of going there today.

  6. A school in Carrol County, Maryland, is being cautious today – taking it a bit far, me thinks. When the principal says “we think its safer to come to school today than to stay at home” . . . well, that’s not very confidence inspiring.

  7. Elaine says:

    I just read this hilarious 666 post — about the Devil and his bad spelling…

    http://www.citizenofthemonth.com/2006/06/06/the-joy-of-666/

    Elaine

  8. floyd says:

    the devil’s watch? of course the damned thing wouldn’t keep accurate time![lol]