Does it mean that the verb "count" in Revelation 13:18 must be ignored? Does it mean that the counting operation in Revelation 13:18 leads to no result at all? I have found that if you assign numeric values to the alphabet from 1 to 26, then Iesvs (74) + Jesus (74) + Joshua (74) + Messiah (74) = 666.
"Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is six hundred and sixty-six" (Revelation 13:18).
Revelation does give a hint as to who the writer is talking about, telling us that calculating his number will give us the value 666. However, just because you came up with a scheme that results in an answer of 666, it doesn't mean that this is the scheme that God had in mind. Note the flaws in your system:
- It is based on the English alphabet, but Revelation was written in Greek. English didn't exist then.
- You had to use four names to come up with those numbers. Why four? Why those particular names?
- The first name is the Old English spelling of Jesus. The second is the modern English spelling of Jesus. Why are you selecting languages? Why are you using languages that didn't exist at the time of Revelation's writing?
- All the names are transliterations from Hebrew; yet, you didn't use a numerical scheme based on the Hebrew alphabet, but the transliteration into English.
The fact of the matter is that you can make numerous names add up to 666, especially when people manipulate the letters, their order, and the substitution scale. Just because you made up one, it doesn't mean you are even close to the truth.
In symbolic language, seven is the number for perfection. Six then becomes the number for something less than perfect, but close (in other words a counterfeit). The number three is associated with the Godhead and religion. Thus, 666 is the number for a counterfeit religion. This is supported in Revelation because this beast is labeled a "false prophet" (Revelation 16:13; 19:20; 20:10). We are also told that this second beast derives its authority from the first beast. "Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast" (Revelation 13:11-12). The second beast also performs signs supporting the first beast. "He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived" (Revelation 13:13-14).
The description of the second beast adds up to a leader of a false religion. Since John records that these were signs that were to take place shortly after Revelation was written (Revelation 1:1, 3; 22:6, 10), then a likely match is the emperor (the first beast) and the emperor worship (the second beast) of ancient Rome. "The patriotic deification of the Roman State became, indeed, in the days of the republic. The word of the 'Dea Roma' may be found in Smyrna as early as B.C. 195. This reverence was strengthened by the popularity of the empire in the provinces as securing them better government than that of the republic. As early as B.C. 29, Pergamum had a temple to Rome and Augustus. This worship, directed to the ruler as the embodiment of the state, or rather to his 'genius' or indwelling spirit, spread rapidly." It soon had an elaborate priesthood under state patronage, divided and organized by provinces, and celebrating not only worship but annual games on a large scale ... But early Christian feeling regarded this worship of the Emperor as utterly irreconcilable with their allegiance to Christ ... Christian refusal to render the worship seemed treasonable, and was the great occasion of the martyrdoms." [A History of the Christian Church, Willston Walker, page 9].