A favorite past time for many, especially in the past century, has been to figure out who the antichrist will be before he appears and to figure out when he will appear before he does.
The fuss over tomorrow's date of 6-06-06 is just the lattest of many examples. Let us not forget the best selling book, "88 Reasons Why the Rapture Could Be in 1988." Sales of that book fell off rather sharply in 1989.
Christ told the Apostles "And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power" (Act 1:7).
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only" (Matthew 24:36).
This, however, has not stopped people from trying. Many have infact made a living off doing so. Hal Lindsey, for example, has made a rather comfortable living off of reading Biblical Prophecies into the headlines, and developing senarios that put the end in the not too distant future... distant enough for him not to give his books away, charge them all to his own Credit Cards, and leave the bill for the Anti-Christ... but not too distant for people to think they don't need to buy a copy and read his lattest predictions.
A particular focus of facination has long been the number 666.
"He [the antichrist] causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 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 666" (Revelation 13:16-18).
In the movie "The Omen", the antichrist is known by a birth mark in the shape of "666". Other movies and book see this as being a bar-code tatoo, or even a computer chip that the servent of the beast have implanted in their right hands and foreheads.
The problem for modern readers is that most people do not realize that Greek and Hebrew Numerals are made from the letters of their respective alphabets, and so each letter has a numerical value... and hence, every name can be calculated.
For example, the numerical value of William J. Clinton (if transliterated as `illiam i kleinton) adds up to 666. In Hebrew, Nero Ceasar adds up to 666.
Here are the Greek numerals:
St. Irenaeus wisely commented in the early 2nd Century:
"It is therefore more certain and less hazardous to await the fulfilment of the prophecy than to be making surmises and casting about for any names that may present themselves, inasmuch as many names can be found possessing the number mentioned: and the same question will, after all, remain unsolved. For if there are many names found possessing this number, it will be asked which among them shall the coming man bear. It is not through a want of names containing the number of that name that I say this, but on account of the fear of God, and zeal for the the truth. For the name Euanthas contains the required number, but I make no allegation regarding it. Then also Lateinos [the Greek word for "Latins" (i.e., the Romans) or one might say "Latinos" if they wanted to be cute] has the number 666; and it is a very probable solution, this being the name of the last kingdom [of the four seen by Daniel]. For the Latins are they who at present bear rule; I will not, however, make any boast over this [coincidence].... We will not, however, incur the rick of pronouncing positively as to the name of the anti-christ; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by the one who beheld the apocalyptic vision" (Against Heresies 5:30:3].
So it is not our job to pin the tail on the antichrist. When the antichrist comes, those who know the real Christ will have no trouble figuring out who he is, and in fact St. John tells us elsewhere (1 John 2:18) that many antichrists had already come in his own time. Nero was an antichrist. Hitler was an antichrist. Stalin was an antichrist. And one could name a few in our own time who stand against the real Christ, and persecute those who follow him. A final antichrist will come before the end... this we know, but we just need to make sure that we are following the Lamb, and not riding the goat, and we'll be OK.
Devil Day To-do List
"Other Marks of