666 - Inversion of the Holy Trinity?

To add to your article regarding 666 - The mark of the beast or “Satan” thereof;

You may have seen the latest mainstream film “The exorcism of Emily Rose” which speaks of the various specifics concerning Satan and his naughty little henchmen (Not a true story however - loosely adapted from an account of events that occured to an early 20’s german woman back in the early 70’s, also an apparant savant of LSD and other mind-expanding platforms).

However, could the following be true, as stated in the film:

Is the number 666 used as an inversion of the holy trinity (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) - due to it being three holy figures, therefore three sixes (I’m aware it’s six hundred and sixty-six, but even so…) - Was there any real reason stated for the number apart from your theory on the number of emperors in rome?

Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Boards, rhitchen1988, we’re glad to have you with us.

When you start a thread, it’s helpful to other readers to provide a link. Yes, it’s on the front page now, but in a few days, it will be buried in the Archives. So, to save search time and avoid confusion, the link is helpful. In this case, it’s What’s up with 666, the “mark of the beast”?.

No biggie, you’ll know for next time, and, as I say, we’re glad you’re here.

To respond to your questions: the bottom line is, no one knows. The whole book of Revelation (as mentioned in the Staff Report) is full of mystic, obscure, confusing, poetic images. Mystic imagery can be interpreted in dozens of ways, depending on where you stand. There is no “real reason” because the author of Revelation doesn’t give us anything more than what was quoted. Most scholars think the gematria explanation (“Nero Caesar” = 666) is the most likely, under the assumption that it would have contemporary meaning to the author.

The number 3 (and three repetitions) is certainly of magic or symbolic significance in the bible, from Noah sending out three doves, three angels visiting Abraham, three calls in the night to Samuel, etc etc etc. down to the Trinity in the New Testament. So, it would not be surprising to find the author of Revelation drawn to three repetitions.

Kinda far down the article are some jokey-jokes about 666. One of which is

Some* have suggested this could be more than just funny. Note there is one of each of the Roman numerals (not including M). If, as some* believe, this is the origin of the number, this could mean anything from “All Romans are bad” to “All numbers are bad,” or maybe “Roman numerals are bad.”

*:Sorry, no cite.

… except that Revelation was written in Greek, of course. Otherwise, a great theory.

Revelation contains plenty of references to Rome despite being written in Greek.
(I didn’t some up with the darn idea, unless it’s right, then yes, I did.)

There is, however, a real difference between alluding to a beast with seven heads (symbolic of the seven hills of Rome) and the use of Latin characters in a Greek manuscript (particularly since no manuscript that we have actually uses the Latin/Roman numbering scheme).

Revelations is all Greek to me. :confused: :eek: