Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Yesterday, I intentionally avoided any and all references in my blog to the fact that it was 6-6-6, as in June 6, 2006. Didn't want any of you rearranging your life around something as baseless as say, the daily horoscope, to which I compare the craze that surrounded yesterday's date.

But the fact that yesterday was 6-6-06 didn't stop others from drastic measures. Seton Hospital in Austin had 5 inductions and 2 c-section births cancelled yesterday by the soon-to-be parents for fear of some impending evil or doom in the life of their child.

And just to allay your superstitious fears, the clincher might have actually occured last night during the Rangers' game at Kansas City. In the top of the 2nd, Brad Wilkerson, wearing uniform number 6 and batting in the number 6 hole in the batting order on 6-6-06, hit a home run. That will forever seal the deal for me!


Seriously, what do you make of all the 6-6-6 fanaticism? And how is that mysterious symbol to be understood?

In the recent past, world leaders such as Hitler (6 letters in his last name) and Ronald Wilson Reagan (6 letters in each of his 3 names) have been earmarked as possible carriers of the 6-6-6 brand.

I take an Amillenial Preterist interpretation of the book of Revelation. Basically, that is a scholastic way to say: I believe the prophetic events in Revelation, with the exception of the final two chapters, have already been fulfilled in the fall of the Roman empire and I do not believe in a literal 1000-year of Jesus Christ on this earth, contrary to much popular Christian fiction on the market today.

Fee and Stuart in their landmark book How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth are unequivocal that the first rule of good Biblical interpretation is this: A text cannot mean something to us that it could not have meant to the writer and his original readers (64). I think people generally accept that hermeneutical rule, except when it comes to Revelation. But I cannot subscribe to an interpretation of Revelation that is incongruent with the reading of the rest of Scripture.

The driving question in reading Revelation is this: What was John (the writer) attempting to convey through apocalyptic language to his original readers?

When that question is not asked of the text, a whole host of wild conclusions are reached that John's original readers would have never envisioned.

For example, they mysterious mark of the beast (666) in Revelation 13.18. Let me take a stab at it and you feel free to share your insights with me via email (

Throughout scripture, the number "7" is used as a holy number. A perfect number. God's number. But "6" is an apocalyptic symbol for evil. For unholiness. Opposed to God, it is man's number. Because "6" falls short of "7" it is representative of evil.

Now whenever scripture wants to speak of the ultimate expression of something, it often does so in a series of three. For example, we sing "Holy, Holy, Holy" taken from the song of the seraphs around the throne of God in Isaiah 6.3. The seraphs' song, singing of the holiness of God in trinitarian fashion, is meant to elevate the absolute holiness of God.

In the same way, to use the number "6" in trinitarian fashion is to raise the bar that this beast in Revelation 13 is not literally branded with "666" but is, rather, the ultimate expression of evil. The ultimate expression of rebellion against the holiness and will of God.

I hope that simple explanation puts to rest any superstitious fears you might have faced yesterday in the face of what, I believe, to be a wholly unfounded interpretation of scripture. I know this interpretation is not as engaging as some of the more popular contemporary views, but it is a view that is, nonetheless, coherent with the whole of scripture.