There was a time that this number scared me, having been raised in a religious household which believed in demons and the end of the world. People really shouldn't teach their children that crap. I haven't been afraid of the devil for years.
But I don't know now. I found a site that makes a case that the Popes are the Antichrist, if another definition of anti is used. Apparently, anti means replacement or substitute, such as in "anti-pope," those popes who tried to substitute their authority for the real pope. So the Antichrist is not the opposite of Christ, he is one who substitutes himself for Christ.
The Catholic church has long referred to the Popes as Vicarius Filii Dei, or Vicar of the Son of God, and claim the authority of Christ. And, interestingly, in Latin, the numerical values of those words equal 666. The site goes further to explain how the church is the Whore of Babylon.
But a Catholic apologist rebuts these assertions, starting off with these arguments:
- SD Adventism was founded by William Miller (1781-1849), who predicted the world to end by October 22, 1844
- Ellen Gould White (author of The Great Controversy) was a false prophetess
- Ellen G. White's own name adds up to 666 according to a certain mathematical technique.
(The author of the 666 site is a Seventh Day Adventist.) Yep, you can get 666 from all sorts of words and phrases.
The NY Times offers more info on the number of the beast.
Speaking of number mythology, my second son was born on Friday the 13th. We didn't name him Jason, and he doesn't suffer inordinately from bad luck.