Today is the big day. June 6, 2006 is being noticed because you can make 666 out of it if you leave out some zeros. Most superstitious people do not have a problem leaving out a few zeros, or other numbers or facts, to get the mystery factor working for them.
The Genesis of the interest in this number is in Revelation. Revelation 13:18 says "This calls for wisdom: let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six."
Most writers of apocalyptic literature today believe the Beast is the Antichrist and that he is a specific person. Many scholars believe 666 is a code based on the use of numbers to represent Hebrew letters. In English, for example, such a code would use “1” for “A”, “2” for “B” and so on.
Many think the number therefore stands for Nero, one of the Roman emperors who persecuted Christians. That, of course, is not nearly as sexy as believing it really applies to someone in our time or in the future who will take over the world as in the cartoon “Pinky and the Brain”. Every night Pinky would say “what will we do tonight, Brain?” And Brain would say “the same thing we do every night; "try and take over the world”.
Maybe if you wrote “Pinky” in “Greek” and counted the letters it would be 666. Now that would be exciting.
Further dampening the eerie factor is that later manuscripts changed the number to 616.
Lots of people are observing and using the phenomenon. Many folks are fearful or superstitious. Women are asking their doctors to keep them from delivering on that date for fear they will have a devil child or be cursed in some way. It is fruitless to point out to them that the Apostle John, who wrote about the 666 business, did not use the same calendar we do today. Raptureready.com raised its "rapture index" at 156, and says to "fasten your seatbelts".
Felix Just, a professor of theology at the University of San Francisco, and a Jesuit priest, has a website called "666-Numbers of the Beast" that has a lot of information on 666. I hope to look at it tonight.
Tim LaHaye, who has made more money and sold more books based on interest in the end of the world is taking full advantage by publishing yet another book that will come out tomorrow. His web site promotes his new book "The Rapture" by saying "06.06.06 Will You Be Ready." I guess he read the Rapture Index to. Tinny Tim says that the signs in our society of the approach of the 666 antichrist are worrisome. So many books, so little time, I guess.
LaHaye also said "I don't think that people understand that 666 is not a good time." Well, it was certainly a good time for you to market your book!
LaHaye probably wouldn’t like this comment applied to him either, but heh. American University astronomer Richard Berendzen said "What it really does is use some coincidence of some numbers for commercial gain. It's superstition and money when it comes down to it. And that's about as satanic as you can get." Ouch.
Ann Coulter is also using the date to release her book, "Godless: The Church of Liberalism", but I suspect the choice of date is more to take a jab at liberal democrats (ok, oxymoron I know) than anything else.
The counter-weight to LaHaye’s book is probably the release of the movie remake "The Omen" tomorrow.
The most creative and enthusiastic might be the leaders of the town of Hell, Michigan. They are having a big celebration. The mayor, who just happens to own a souvenir shop, is the biggest promoter.
Nobody is more fired up than John Colone, the town's self-styled mayor and owner of a souvenir shop. He is selling 666 T-shirts and mugs. He has stocked 666 of them. Colone is selling them for $6.66. He is giving away certificates to show you've celebrated June 6, 2006, in Hell. There is a children’s play area in town cordoned off by the Gates of Hell. They are 8 feet tall and look like flames. When they close, they form a devil’s head.
Maybe the best advice is this from Jack Horkheimer of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium. He said "If it really spooks you, you can stand on your head, and it'll be 999."