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AN EXPOSITION OF THE APOCALYPSE
Section 2 Subsection 35
The Name of the Beast and the Number of His Name (666)
“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath the understanding compute the number of the beast; for it is a man’s number, and the number of it is, ,or Six Hundred and Sixty Six.”
Upon the Seven Heads of the Beast of the Sea is “A NAME OF BLASPHEMY” (ch. 13:1). “This is the Name of the Beast” enthroned upon the Seven Hills, which is the topographic signification of the Seven Heads (ch. 17:9). This name belongs to the Beast and is represented by a man’s number; and a man’s number is significant of the man’s name to which the number belongs. In other words, the name is indicative of the Man himself — the Image of the Sixth Head of the Beast, adored by the Pseudoprophet Hierarchy, by which he was created — quem creant adorant.
The name to be ascertained, then, is the Name of “the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition, who opposeth and exalts himself over every one called a god, or sebasma, worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of the god as a god, publicly showing himself that he is a god.” This Man of Sin is not a single person; but an order of men, ruling imperiously, and imperially, in Rome — the Man-Image set up for worship there. All things have their names, and this Man-Image is no exception to the rule. What then is his Name? — the name of the power represented by the Image? It is evidently not literally revealed, or we should be able to read it plainly in the prophecy. It is like every thing else in this wonderful book. It is revealed in an enigma.
An enigma is a dark saying in which a known thing is obscurely expressed. Wise men in all ages have found satisfaction in presenting some of their choicest ideas in the form of enigma. This was characteristic of the teaching of Solomon, and of Jesus, who was wiser than he. The teaching of the Spirit has also been distinguished from the beginning by the presentation of “wisdom” in this form, which is characteristic of the Apocalypse throughout. How easy it would have been for the Spirit to have told the servants of the Deity plainly the Name of the Man of Sin. But no: “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings to search out a matter:” He has therefore chosen to adapt himself to the genius of the Greek tongue in which He spoke, and to the customs pre valent in society when the Apocalypse was signified to John.
The particular custom in the premises was that of indicating
the names of sevasmata, or objects of veneration, reverence,
or worship, such as gods, emperors, masters, and so forth,
by the numbers of their names; that is by the numerical
values of the letters constituting the name, enigmatically
represented by the sum total expressed in the ordinary way.
This statement will be unintelligible to a mere English reader,
seeing that the letters of the English alphabet of which our
names are composed are destitute of numerical values. We
represent numbers by Arabic figures, not by letters; while
these were the common numerical signs of the Greek. Thus,
a man’s name, or a god’s name, written in Greek, would not
only indicate the man, or the god, but would represent a
sum total when added up, which, when specified in letters,
would not be the name itself, but the symbolic number, or
enigma, of the name. Thus, the mystics of Egypt spoke of “the
messenger of the gods,” or Thouth, under the number 1218 because
the Greek letters composing the name Thouth, computed according
to their numerical value, when added up made that total. The
following example will make the matter plain, and easy to
In this instance, the enigma would be to give the number of the god,, and to require from this total, his name.
Now, in the text before us the Number of the Man’s Name is given as This is the total, and expressed in our figures is equal to 666. In this case the riddle is, the sum total, or Number of the Name, being given, what is the Name of the Man of Sin; or of the Beast’s Name of Blasphemy upon the Seven Heads, or Hills?
There need be no doubt about the correctness of , 666; for Ireneus, who became overseer of the ecclesia in Lyons about 70 years after John received the Apocalypse, testifies to its correctness in the most positive manner; and also says, that the number of the name is according to the cipher of the Greeks through whose letters it is expressed; that is, it is a name in a Greek form, and as such the enigma must be explained.
What then is the solution of the riddle? Ireneus was of opinion that Latinos, was the name. He says, that “the name Latinos contains the number of 666; and it is very likely, because the last kingdom is so called, for they are Latins who now reign; but in this we will not glory.” From this it is evident, that he regarded the subject of the name as a royalty, not a person — the Latin Kingdom. Ireneus living so near the time when the Apocalypse was given, may have received the name through his friend Polycarp from John himself. Ireneus used to attend the expositions of Polycarp, whom he styles “that blessed apostolical presbyter.” He says, “Polycarp related to us his converse with John, and with the rest of those who had seen the Lord;” and in respect to what he told his hearers, Ireneus says, “I wrote them not on paper, but on my heart; and ever since, through the grace of God, I retain a genuine remembrance of them.” It is hardly probable that Polycarp, a member and presbyter of the ecclesia in Smyrna, would converse with John, and not seek to learn from him the probable solution of this enigma of the name of the Antichrist. If John told him Lateinos, it is easy to see how Ireneus came by it. Hippolytus, a brother member and successor to Ireneus in Lyons, urges the probability of the same name Lateinos in his writing concerning the Antichrist, more distinctly and decidedly than he. “The plague of the first beast,” says he, “was healed, and he shall cause the Image to speak, that is, to be powerful: and it is manifest to all, that the rulers are now Latins, Lateinoi: transmuted therefore into the name of one man, it becomes Lateinos.” Hence, Hippolytus plainly regarded Lateinos as the name of the speaking Image made powerful by the Lateinoi, or Latins; which image he regards as “one man,” and that man the Antichrist of whom he was treating.
But an objection has been raised to this name, that the orthography of the Greek word is Latinos, not Lateinos; giving the number 661, , not 666, But this is an objection of no weight; for both Ireneus and Hippolytus spell the word with the diphthong ei, pronounced i long in Latin words; in which the long i at length superseded the ei, as it used to be written in the oldest Latin authors, as appears from the sentence quoted by commentators from Ennius — “Quam primum cascei populei tenuere Lateinei” — At first the ancient people were Latins. It is of no consequence what “fathers” after Ireneus and Hippolytus thought of the word and of other solutions deemed admissible by the worshippers of the Beast. We are better able to judge correctly than they. The two writers upon the subject nearest to John raised no question about the spelling of the word; but adopted Lateinos, in word and orthography, as the least objectionable that could be supposed; and yet more worthy of acceptance by us by its appropriateness to what we have traced out as the Image of the Sixth Latin Head of the Beast, and the Man of Sin. All speculations based upon the Hebrew (though the Jews used their letters for numerals as well as the Greeks) in the solution of the enigma are excluded, because the text is Greek, not Hebrew. If the Hebrew had had anything to do with the solution there would doubtless have been an intimation to that effect, saying, “the number of his name, which in the Hebrew tongue is and in the Greek tongue he hath his number ” after the formula in ch. 9:11. But in the absence of such intimation we need not trouble ourselves about the Hebrew names suggested by commentators whose display of “ripe scholarship,” has embarrassed, without throwing a ray of light upon the subject.
At the time when the Apocalypse was given, the Sixth or Imperial form of government obtained in Rome. This was established by Augustus Caesar, whose native tongue was Latin. All the affairs of state were conducted in Latin; so that, until this language was superseded legislatively and executively by the Greek, it might truly be said in the words of Ireneus, “Latini sunti qui nunc regnant” — the Latins are they who now reign. But in process of time, the supreme power passed from those of the Latin tongue to those whose vernacular was the Greek. Had Irenaeus lived in the days of Justinian, he would have said, “Grieci sunt qui nunc Romanis imperant” — the Greeks are they who now rule over the Romans. The question would not have been of race, but of language. Was the Antichrist, or Man of Sin, to be a Greek or a Latin? Or, was the Image, endowed with the faculty of speech by the Pseudoprophet constituent of the Beast, to speak in Latin or Greek? In other words, was the Image-Man to legislate and promulgate his decrees and blasphemies in the Latin or Greek, as the language of the state? If the language of the Image-monarchy were Greek, then Lateinos could not be the name of the Iconic-power. Its name would then be Hellen, and its enigmatical number , or 123. Thus,
It is evident, then, that the Man of Sin was not to be a Greek Power. Now, we have seen in the course of this exposition, that the Latin Imperial Executive became extinct, when the Western Roman Empire was superseded by the Seventh Head and the Ten Gothic Horns, A.D. 493. Three hundred and six years after, AD. 799, it was revived by Charlemagne, when the Latin language, which by decree of Pope Vitalian, A.D. 666, was made the religious tongue, began again to assert its supremacy in the state. Vitalian’s was an early move towards the ecclesiastical development of the Latinity of the Name. The Centuriator Bale says, “Vitalian sent monk-orators into England about A.D. 666, which from Christ’s birth is the number of the beast, that they might confirm waverers in receiving the papistic faith, and that they might sign their own faithful with the mark of Antichrist. He commanded Latin hours, Latin songs, Latin idolatrous and devotional ceremonies, and other frivolous trumpery, rites, &c., all to be performed in the temples in the Latin tongue, according to the Greek word Lateinos, which by numeral letters fulfills the predicted number of the Beast.”
About four hundred years after Charlemagne, the Latin had become fully established as the language of the Pontifical kingdom and empire of the Man of Sin; or Image of the Imperial Latin Head, revived in the Beast of the Earth. When the empire of the Caesars came to assume the form of Eastern and Western Limbs, as symbolized in Nebuchadnezzar’s Image; and after the Gothic kingdoms had appeared, the Greeks appropriated to themselves the name of Romans: and bestowed upon all the kingdoms, in ecclesiastical fellowship with the See of Rome, the name of Latins. These Western Romans were not averse to the appellation; so that thenceforward it became the recognized name of the second universal monarchy — “a new species of despotism,” says Dr. Geo Campbell truly, “never heard of, or imagined before, whose means of conquest and defence were neither swords nor spears, fortifications nor warlike engines, but definitions and canons, sophisms and imprecations; and that by such weapons, as by a kind of magic, there should actually be reared a second universal monarchy, the most formidable the world ever knew, — will, to latest ages, afford a matter of astonishment to every judicious inquirer.” This universal monarchy of the west pervaded all its kingdoms; and though they legislate in the modern languages of the nations, the officials of the Pontifical despotism, in whatever kingdom or republic they may have established themselves, use not the languages of the worshippers of the Beast; but transact all their swindling traffic in the language of Pagan Rome: and as Dr. Henry More expresses it, they Latinize in every thing. “Mass, prayers, hymns, litanies, canons, decretals, bulls are conceived in Latin. The papal councils speak in Latin. Women themselves pray in Latin. Nor is scripture read in any other language, under popery, than Latin. Wherefore the council of Trent commanded the vulgar Latin to be the only authentic version. Nor do their doctors doubt to prefer it to the Hebrew and Greek text itself, which was written by the prophets and apostles. In short, all things are Latin; the pope having communicated his language to the people under his dominion, as the mark and character of his empire.” If Dr. More, who himself wrote in Latin, instead of saying “as the mark and character,” had written “as the name of his empire,” he would have been correct.
Thus, no power upon the earth has so exclusive a claim to the name of Lateinos as the Iconic Power of the Seven Hills. All that per iains to it is Latin, and names are invented and conferred upon things in view of that most striking characteristic. The names of many modern powers are the names of the languages of their executives and dominant races; as the French power, the Spanish power, the Greek Power, the English power, and, as in the case before us, the Latin Power. Their several languages are characteristic of each; no wonder then that the Latin, the tongue in which the Image speaks, should be selected by the Eternal Spirit as the basis of its name.
But, in conclusion of this chapter, does Lateinos solve the
enigma of 666? Let us see:
Another name, or title, has been suggested by Mr. Clarke, which is equivalent to Lateinos. This is He Lative basileia, or The Latin Kingdom. Thus:
On this suggestion of Clarke’s, Mr. Elliott remarks, “it is indeed so remarkable that, were it but the name of a man, I should have thought that the Divine spirit had it also in view, as an alternative solution involving the word Latin in its more usual, though not the mystical orthography. But that which alone completely answers to every requirement of the sacred enigma, and which I therefore fully believe to be the one intended by the Spirit is Iremeus’ solution Lateinos.” Mr. Elliott and others have searched for the name of the Beast among the names of individuals, supposing that the name was to be some name previously borne by some distinguished man. Hence they have pitched upon Romulus, who is supposed to have founded Rome, the capital of the Latin kingdom. But Romulus is neither Romanus nor Lateinos. They have been thus misled by the words “the number of the beast is the number of a man;” upon which one of them remarks, “the number of his name, or the number of a man, being a Latin name derived from that of Romulus, a man who founded Rome pagan, and so peculiar to a man, viz., the pope, who is the foundation of Rome papal. Hence, their reading in exposition is, “the number of the beast is the number of Romulus!” But the number of Romulus, or Romulos, is or 1446, not 666. is not the enigmatical number of Romulos; and therefore, if the man referred to were a distinguished individual of antiquity, Romulus cannot be the man. But the reference in the text is not to a man existing anterior to the Beast; but one contemporary with the dominion founded by Charlemagne, which still exists in a dilapidated condition. The expository reading of the passage is, “the number of the name of the Image of the Sixth, or Imperial Latin Head, of the healed, or revived, dominion of the West, is the number of the name of the Man-of-Sin power; and that number is six hundred and sixty-six.”
Such is the wisdom enigmatically set forth by the Spirit for the computation of those of his servants, who have the understanding. No other solution of the enigma is so in harmony with historical and still existing facts. There was no Pontiff king reigning in Rome over a kingdom professing Christianity in the days of John, Polycarp, Iremeus, and Hippolytus. But they all expected that there would be such an one; and that a dynasty would rule it, whose name in Greek would be numerically 666. They judged that its most obvious character would cause it to be styled Latin. This they expected as the Antichrist Power, to be revealed when that which hindered its manifestation in their day was taken out of the way. What they expected, we behold — a Latin Pontifical Kingdom, whose Pontiff-King claims to be Christ’s Substitute on earth, and Successor to the Apostle of the Circumcision; the Name of Blasphemy whose pontifical throne has been for ages established on the Seven Hills; and though reigning in a country whose vernacular is the Italian, ignoring this language, and “speaking” only in that of his pagan fathers to whom he was unknown (Dan. 11:38): could any name be more appropriate to such a power than Latin, in the sense of the Latin Power, or the Antichrist? No other, I believe.