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666 Before Revelation

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  • eschaton
    The association of God's created order and 666 is found in this section found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Jesus associated the rebellion of angels before the flood with Sodom and Gomorrah Luke 17:26-30.

    3 1 Be ye, therefore, not eager to corrupt your doings through covetousness or with vain words to beguile your souls; because if ye keep silence in purity of heart, ye shall understand how to hold 2 fast the will of God, and to cast away the will of Beliar. Sun and moon and stars change not their 3 order; so do ye also change not the law of God in the disorderliness of your doings. The Gentiles went astray, and forsook the Lord, and changed their order, and obeyed stocks and stones, spirits of 4 deceit. But ye shall not be so, my children, recognizing in the firmament, in the earth, and in the sea, and in all created things, the Lord who made all things, that ye become not as Sodom, which 5 changed the order of nature. In like manner the Watchers also changed the order of their nature, whom the Lord cursed at the flood, on whose account He made the earth without inhabitants and fruitless.

    666 indicates the name Beliar 2 Corinthians 6:15, 2 Thes 2:4, as in

    Judges 19:22
    Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.

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  • 3 Resurrections
    EXACTLY, eschaton...

    As you said, "These things are a spiritual reality...", but those spiritual realities played out over human history in the physical realm as well. Are you at all familiar with the concept of the "divine council" in scripture? God setting up angelic "Watchers" in oversight of the nation's affairs, in order to bring about His purposes within those nations? Not that God needed "help" in doing this, but the angelic realm was designed by God to serve their Creator in this delegated manner. Some of those "divine council" members fell to the temptation to accept human worship, and thus became "fallen". Satan was their fallen leader. In Daniel 10, we are shown the conflict between some of the righteous members of this "divine council", and some of the evil, fallen members (like the "prince of Persia", and the "prince of Greece" fighting with Michael, "one of the chief princes").

    Satan himself boasted to Christ in the wilderness temptation that "all the kingdoms of the world" were under his power (Luke 4:5-6). That was no lie. "And the devil taking Him up into an high mountain, showed unto Him *all the kingdoms of the world* in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this POWER will I give thee, and the glory of them: *for that is delivered unto me: and to whomsoever I will I give it." Adam's forfeiture of his God-given dominion over the world was handed over to Satan on a silver platter the moment he knowingly obeyed Satan's temptation in the Garden of Eden. "His servants ye are to whom ye yield yourselves to obey", we are told.

    In Revelation 13:2, we are told that Satan gave HIS POWER along with that throne of his in Pergamos, and great authority to that Sea Beast . When the 666-year old power structure behind all those former empires collapsed TOGETHER AT ONE TIME (as pictured in Daniel 2), this was NOT the physical empires themselves that were being destroyed all at one time. That's impossible, because we know that before John was writing Revelation, that the Chaldean empire had passed away long ago back in Belshazzar's day, and the Greek empire had already been subsumed into the Roman one. Likewise, that Roman empire lingered LONG after John's writing of Revelation. So, the "Rock Kingdom" striking Daniel's entire statue with one single blow and destroying ALL of it "TOGETHER" had to be describing a "spiritual reality", as you have hinted at above, eschaton.

    The "Rock" (Christ) destroying Daniel 2's entire statue all at once (and itself growing to gradually fill the earth afterwards) was a depiction of Christ crushing the Satanic realm entirely and exterminating it from this planet. All those evil "divine council" members under Satan who had operated with evil intent behind the scenes in all those ancient kingdoms - these were all going to be destroyed all at once. This happened in AD 70 at Christ's return. We read the promise of this in places like Romans 16:20. "And the God of peace shall crush Satan under your feet SHORTLY." (written around AD 60).

    We read in Ezekiel 28 of the total destruction to ashes of the "anointed cherub" who had been in Eden. Satan's final extinction is pronounced in Ezekiel 28:18-19, among other places in scripture. God said "...I will bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ASHES upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee; thou shalt be a terror, and NEVER SHALT THOU BE ANYMORE." The LXX is even more definite when it translates this "And never shalt thou EXIST anymore." Satan was going to be completely exterminated by God burning him to ashes upon the earth. His "celestial body" (as Paul termed it in I Cor. 15:40) would be totally consumed by the fire of God.

    The Apostle Paul warned his readers of the spiritual conflict the saints were dealing with in THAT generation in Ephesians 6:12. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against POWERS, against the RULERS of the darkness of this world" (the evil members of the divine council), "against SPIRITUAL wickedness in HIGH PLACES." In other words, the spiritual Satanic realm was their great foe at that time, because Satan had been "loosed" to operate in "great wrath" for a "SHORT TIME" in those days (as Rev. 12:12 proves John's generation was experiencing at that time). That "short time" expired in AD 70, when Christ exterminated the entire demonic realm and confiscated all the divine council powers over the nations. That's why we see Christ pictured as wearing "MANY crowns" when He was riding that white horse of victory in Rev. 19:12. He is presently wearing those "many crowns" of the kingdoms of the world in heaven today. Along with His single high priestly crown given to Him at His ascension on His resurrection day.

    Christ's return in AD 70 rid the world of Satan and his noxious demon's presence for all time. What we are left to contend with now is the human "children of the devil" as Christ termed them, and the remaining tendency to sin present in our own hearts. This is bad enough to explain any present manifestations of wickedness in the world since AD 70, without having the actual presence of the Satanic realm around to instigate it.

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  • eschaton
    Originally posted by 3 Resurrections View Post
    EXACTLY, eschaton. I agree. That's why I am emphasizing the CONTEXT of Rev. 13 itself, as it compares to those very same empire kingdoms mentioned in Daniel 2 and 7. Those contexts predate Irenaeus, of course, who was only giving his own thoughts on the subject. Those thoughts are not inspired, nor should they be regarded as infallible. Gematria is NOT the way to go with interpreting this number Six hundred and sixty-six, no matter how early the practice of using gematria may have developed.

    Martyrdom in the first and second centuries cannot be used to put a date stamp on the beginning of the Sea Beast's existence. Persecution and murder of the children of faith has always been and always will be an ongoing reality, ever since Abel was slain, since Christ said that "in the world ye shall have tribulation..." with no time limits given.

    Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
    To truly understand these things you have to go back to creation and nature. Jesus explained that in his parables.

    Mat 13:37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
    38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
    39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
    40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
    The end of the world isn't different from what Jesus taught, whether it is Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, or Revelation. These things are a spiritual reality, not earthly history. Before Revelation was Philo, before Philo was Daniel, before Daniel was Plato, and before Plato there were other wise men. (Prov 1:6) God revealed these things in the creation. Consider Plato. He gave the ages of man.


    Does it sound familiar? He wrote before the king had his dream. We all go through the tribulation of life. The seed is planted and the enemy challenges faith. That's what Jesus said.

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  • 3 Resurrections
    EXACTLY, eschaton. I agree. That's why I am emphasizing the CONTEXT of Rev. 13 itself, as it compares to those very same empire kingdoms mentioned in Daniel 2 and 7. Those contexts predate Irenaeus, of course, who was only giving his own thoughts on the subject. Those thoughts are not inspired, nor should they be regarded as infallible. Gematria is NOT the way to go with interpreting this number Six hundred and sixty-six, no matter how early the practice of using gematria may have developed.

    Martyrdom in the first and second centuries cannot be used to put a date stamp on the beginning of the Sea Beast's existence. Persecution and murder of the children of faith has always been and always will be an ongoing reality, ever since Abel was slain, since Christ said that "in the world ye shall have tribulation..." with no time limits given.

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  • eschaton

    I would guess that Irenaeus is a little more infallible than Jack Lunsford, or at least he was a couple of thousand years closer to the writing. His was the first Christian interpretation of 666. Philo wrote before the book of Revelation was written, in the first century. Irenaeus lived in the second-century soon after the apostolic teaching had gone out in the world. Many first and second-century Christians were martyred for their faith.

    I think it is important to place these writings in context and not concordant with modern readings.

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  • 3 Resurrections
    Hi eschaton,

    The church fathers such as Irenaeus and their "traditions" are not necessarily sacrosanct. The mere fact that they differ so widely should tell you that. Irenaeus was not infallible. And some of today's interpretations of Irenaeus' writings even less so. And Polycarp I believe was NOT the disciple of the APOSTLE JOHN (son of Zebedee), nor even of the "beloved disciple" (which was the beloved Lazarus / John Eleazar). I believe Polycarp was the disciple of "John surnamed Mark". Let's not get all those named "John" in the first century confused with each other. There were several, as you well know.

    And this is not a totally "private" interpretation I've presented. I first encountered the mention of 666 YEARS being the likely interpretation of Rev. 13:18 in a book written by Jack Lunsford, "An Overview of the Book of Revelation". He did not follow through on his point to the extent that I have studied it, but he certainly prompted my thoughts in that direction.

    The most important point is the question, "Does this interpretation of 666 YEARS align with all the scripture context wrapped around the mention of this Six-hundred-and-sixty-six calculated number?" Remember, this Sea Beast was pictured in Rev. 13:2 with the same features that originally came from Daniel's first three Beast empires: Chaldean, Medo-Persian, and Greek; namely, the lion, bear, and leopard empires respectively. Somehow, ALL of these former empires became part and parcel of the Sea Beast that John saw in Rev. 13. In other words, the Sea Beast's entire biography is MUCH OLDER than many consider it to be. Its characteristics coming from the Chaldean (lion) empire should tell you that.

    And there is absolutely no way possible that this Rev. 13 Sea Beast could become a modern-day reality in our future. Remember, Rev. 13:2 said that the Dragon gave his own power, AND THRONE, and great authority to that Sea Beast. That "THRONE" of the Dragon (who is Satan) was IN THE CITY OF PERGAMOS, as Rev. 2:13 already told us. We know from records of the Roman Senate that the entire kingdom of Pergamos (including Satan's throne in the city of Pergamos) was given as a bequest by the dying King Attalus in 133 BC to his ally, the Roman Republic, since the king had no heir to whom he could pass the Pergamos kingdom. That means the Sea Beast's final manifestation in John's days was connected to ancient Rome. All former empirical powers had been "left to other people", as Daniel 2:44 described, and were finally subsumed into that last Roman manifestation of the Sea Beast.

    That was six hundred and sixty-six years of empirical powers that the nation of Israel had been exposed to, as of the time John was writing Revelation, somewhere between late AD 59 and early AD 60. The 666-years number was definitely "the number of A MAN", because Daniel's image beginning with the lion kingdom was "made stand upon the feet AS A MAN, AND A MAN'S HEART WAS GIVEN TO IT." (Dan. 7:4). Daniel's statue of A MAN was meant to represent the collective power behind all those empires, all subsumed into the final phase of that Sea Beast present in John's days, 666 years later.

    Last edited by 3 Resurrections; 03-11-2021, 02:18 PM.

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  • eschaton
    Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of the apostle John. Your private interpretation isn't anything like the one found in the apostolic tradition. The fact is that Irenaeus' explanation is very much like the one given by Philo before the book of Revelation was written. John infers that the explanation is already known when he says:

    13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
    In the ancient world philosophy was the love of wisdom, not historical knowledge.

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  • 3 Resurrections
    The comments above are making this subject waaaay more complicated than it really is. John anticipated that with just a bit of wisdom, his readers would be able to figure this calculation of 666. After all, the book of Revelation was written to SHOW the servants of God something - not to HIDE everything.

    I once thought gematria was the solution. Not any more. This number of the Sea Beast was given so that John’s readers could identify the Sea Beast by calculating by the CALENDAR the actual AGE IN YEARS of the Sea Beast.

    In other words, John’s readers were to count backward in time 666 YEARS PRIOR to the year they were reading Revelation as originally penned by John.

    If one knows the year Revelation was written (by internal evidence anywhere between late AD 59 and early AD 60 before the AD 60 Laodicean earthquake), all one needs to do is count back those 666 years and we arrive at 607 BC, when Nebuchadnezzar deported the first group of Jews, including Daniel and his three young friends. This was the beginning of the 70 year period of exile, a date which would have burned itself into the memory of every Jew who knew even the basic history of their own nation.

    We know that the Sea Beast included features of the lion, bear, and leopard empires, all subsumed into the one dreadful and horrible last beast. This means that the Sea Beasts’s biography had started as early as the first lion kingdom headed by King Nebuchadnezzar.

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  • eschaton
    The book of Revelation says that wisdom is needed to calculate the number of the beast. Not only that, but John also speaks as though the wisdom already existed. Philo of Alexandria wrote before John wrote the book of Revelation. He gave an interpretation of the number 666. It was similar to the first Christian interpretation given by the second-century church father Irenaeus. Both pay more attention to the place of the digits rather than the number treated as a sum. Belial/Beliar is the word in the Old Testament for those worthless, lawless ones. It can be found in the New Testament by simply comparing scripture to scripture. The connection between Belial/Beliar to antichrist has long been known. What is new is how this name is calculated from 666.

    I have summarized my findings in a Kindle ebook, "666 And The Name, by Alan Fuller." I hope everyone will have a chance to give it a look.

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  • eschaton
    Another point I'm trying to make is that the calculation isn't simple isopsephy or gematria. The type of calculation made by Philo and Irenaeus in this instance is done with a combination of mathematics and philosphical logic of the kind Plato used. Mathematics and philosophy were part of wisdom. Philo said:

    ...because instead of the sublime erudition of astronomy he gave him intellect, that is to say, instead of a small part of wisdom, he gave him the whole and perfect blessing of entire wisdom, since a knowledge of things above is included and comprehended in wisdom, as a part is included in the whole; for mathematics are only a part.
    Philo Q&A on Genesis III

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  • eschaton

    Thanks again for your input. I now agree with part of what you are saying.
    "My point was simply that he doesn’t use the same terminology as we do." I agree with you on that. I have to think if most of the original Greek was lost, how can you be sure about the words you are using? I would agree that in Philo's terminology 4 is the fourth power. I understand that he is saying that 8 is the eighth power. Four is the first square and eight is the first cube.

    "the square which is the fourth power, which is an equally equal number. Also, the cube, which is the eighth power,"

    "eight is the first cube,"

    It would seem that if 4 is the fourth power and 8 is the eighth power then the third power would have to be 3. If unity is one, or the number multiplied by 6 to equal 6, then adding and averaging the powers would still equal 2. Then in a series of 6*6*6 as in Plato's number the 2 could still represent the second place. The minor power is first and the third power is third.

    I don't see where you fully explain augmenting or strengthening. Does hurling mean carrying? Do you have anything to back that up? I gather you understand that Philo was fully aware of adding and subtracting exponents.

    My point in the first post that Philo and Irenaeus were not placing importance on a sum. Instead, they were placing importance on the individual 6's that make up the number 666. Irenaeus referred to 66 as in Daniel 3:1.

    "sixty cubits high and six cubits wide" That's his explanation of the second 6.

    You say:

    "so 600 is the third power of 6 in that 6 has been transformed twice in some way."

    Philo says:

    "For the third power of six and the minor power is the number six hundred"

    So he is either saying both the minor power and the third power are 600 or is it a sum? If it is transformed could that indicate 6 and 60?

    I would be interested in a discussion of Philo in relation to Irenaeus.

    Philo - Noah's age at the flood 600, mean(?), 6 days of creation
    Irenaeus - Noah's age at the flood 600, nebuchadnezzar's image 66, 6 days of creation

    You say - "There was no contextual reason to mention 60 "
    Philo says - "and the mean between both is sixty"
    Last edited by eschaton; 06-21-2020, 02:40 PM. Reason: emphasis

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  • Just Passing Through
    My point was simply that he doesn’t use the same terminology as we do. Most of Philo’s original Greek was lost, but as far as I can tell, when he wants to describe a number times itself repeatedly, he doesn’t call it a power. In Greek he uses the word auxeseis, which would literally be translated “augmentation,” not dynamis, which is “power.” When he uses “power” he refers to some strengthened quality of the number. As your final quote shows, since a square is not the fourth power, nor is a cube the 8th power. But the number 4 is a “power,” in that the number 2 is empowered by augmenting it once (squaring it) to become 4, or twice (cubing it) to become the number 8, not the 8th power, but the powerful augmentation of 2 that becomes the number 8. The 8th power does not mean 2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2 but the number 8 as an empowered number by cubing 2.

    That’s why he can say that 600 is a third, “minor” power of 6; it has nothing to do with 6x6x6, but 6 empowered twice, not augmented twice. It was just idle speculation on my part to say that it’s called a minor power because its name, hexakosios, is a diminutive of the name for 60, hexakontos, and both of those suffixes have to do with a minor and major “hurling,” which means throwing a number with force to a distant spot. In the same way that we say you “carry” the one in addition, they might say you “hurl” it. But that was just a guess on why those numbers have those names and why he called 600 a minor power. I see no indication that 60 was mentioned in that first passage for any reason other than to say that there’s a middle ground (not a mathematical mean/average) between 6 and 600. There was no contextual reason to mention 60 or to add 60 to the 6 or 600 to get 666, which he never mentions and has nothing to do with the Flood that he's discussing.

    The wiki article you cited has footnote citations. The first one I checked specifically denies that dynamis, the Greek word that is translated as “power,” means power in the mathematical sense:
    “dynamis is frequently translated as ‘power,’ but this translation is misleading–in fact it is downright false, for Greek mathematicians did not as yet have a general notion of ‘power.’ The Platonic term auxes comes close to our concept of ‘power’ but does not correspond to it, since there was only a second and third auxe in Greek.”

    Reading a little farther in that same source, I see that he suggests "power" just means the value of any number after any transformation, so 600 is the third power of 6 in that 6 has been transformed twice in some way.
    Last edited by Just Passing Through; 06-21-2020, 12:40 PM.

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  • eschaton
    one more

    Here are some similar verses from Philo:

    (Q&A on Genesis I )(91)Thirdly, it is so because it consists of a combination of odd and even numbers, being contained by the power of the faculty of the concurring numbers, sixty-four and fifty-six; for the equal number of sixty-four is compounded of the uniting of these eight odd numbers, one, three, five, seven, nine, eleven, thirteen, fifteen; the reduction of which, by their parts into squares, makes a sum total of sixty-four, and that is a cube, and at the same time a square number. (4*4*4)(8*8)

    (Q&A on Genesis II) (5) For the number three constantly exhibits, as belonging to itself, the first equality of all, having a beginning, and a middle, and an end, all of which are equal to one another; and eight is the first cube, because it again has declared its first equality with the rest. But the number twenty-four has likewise a great number of other virtues, since it is the substance of the number three hundred, as has been already pointed out; this then is its first virtue; and it has another, since it is compounded of twelve quadrangular figures, joined to one another by a continuous unity; and besides of two long figures, and twelve double figures, being forsooth compounded of twos separately increased by two and two.

    (45)Therefore of necessity the evil ceased on the six hundred and first year of his life, since in truth the destruction came with reference to the sixth number, and safety was restored in unity since unity is more a generativeness of the soul, and is the best for giving life, wherefore also a deficiency of water in the sea takes place at the new moon, in order that the units may be preferred in dignity both among months and years, when God saves those things which are upon the earth; since the man who cultivates just habits is called by the Hebrews in their native language Noah, but by the Greeks he is named Dikaios; however, he is not exempted from the laws affecting the body. For although he is not subordinate to the power of others, but is a prince, yet still, because he is nevertheless devoted to death, as he is dead, the principle of that number six is connected with unity; since it was not in one year taken separately that the deluge ceased, but together with the number six (as contained in the number six hundred), which is connected with it according to corporeality and inequality; since the other being a long number is in the first place six (that is to say, six hundred); on which account it is said, in the six hundred and first year.

    One more:

    The Decalogue (28) And the unit, and the decade, and the century, and the thousand, are the four boundaries which generate the decade, which last number, besides what has been already said, displays also other differences of numbers, both the first, which is measured by the unit alone, of which an instance is found in the numbers three, or five, or seven; and the square which is the fourth power, which is an equally equal number. Also the cube, which is the eighth power, which is equally equal equally, and also the perfect number, the number six, which is made equal to its component parts, three, and two, and one.
    Last edited by eschaton; 06-21-2020, 12:48 AM. Reason: addition

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  • eschaton

    Thanks for your helpful comments. Here are some questions.
    What difference does it make if they wrote 666 like we do or in Greek? They still used base ten even though they used Roman or Greek numerals, didn't they? The Babylonians used base 60.
    What does powering up mean? Doesn't powering up mean 6 times itself? In English, we say 6 to the second power or 6 squared. What does Philo mean? What does hurling mean? All I can find about hurling is that it looks like lacrosse.

    He is talking about DCLXVI, ΧΞϚ´ isn't he?

    I think what is important for Philo is what Philo says about the numbers, and as you know he was very familiar with Plato so it is important what Plato says about numbers. Plato's number is understood as 6 cubed by most scholars. That's 6*6*6. 6 is regardless of how it's written, right? Philo and Irenaeus are talking about the same thing, aren't they? If they are talking about the same thing then the must be talking about 666. Both of them use base 10 and are talking about individual 6's regardless of how they are written. Roman numerals are base 10 or decimal, like the numbers we use today.

    I found this from Wikipedia.
    The term power (Latin: potentia, potestas, dignitas) is a mistranslation[1][2] of the ancient Greek δύναμις (dúnamis, here: "amplification"[1]) used by the Greek mathematician Euclid for the square of a line,[3] following Hippocrates of Chios.[4] Archimedes discovered and proved the law of exponents, 10a ⋅ 10b = 10a+b, necessary to manipulate powers of 10.
    Last edited by eschaton; 06-20-2020, 01:39 PM. Reason: addition

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  • Just Passing Through
    Philo is not using “power” as the modern mathematical term, but to mean a strengthening. Sixty was not written as 60 (they didn’t have zeroes), but as a single letter, xi, and it was called hexakontios, from hex-, “six”, and -akontizo, “to hurl a spear.” It’s the hurling of six to a greater factor, a “powering up” of six.
    600 was hexakosios, a diminutive, a lesser hurling of the number 6. I think Philo only mentioned 60 to explain why he thought of 600 as the minor power, the lesser hurling of six. Ten is a greater power than one hundred in his mind because ten is closer to unity, the number one itself. But God chose 600 rather than 60 or 6 because he would never destroy mankind by means of the same number he used in creating mankind if not for man’s rebellion, which deserves the weaker hurling of 6, the minor power, not the major one, in Philo’s way of thinking.
    The number 666 was not in any way relevant to Philo’s musings. Sixty wasn't worth mentioning other than as a midway between the 6th day for man's creation and the 600th year for Noah's life.
    The number 6 was probably chosen in Revelation for its symbolism, and to find the same symbolism in Jewish and Christian writings is not surprising. Nor is it surprising that God might use symbolic numbers repeatedly, the same number in creation, in the Flood, and in the identity of the Antichrist, just as he repeatedly used 40 as a time of testing, for example. But unless God himself tells us when and exactly how any number is used symbolically, we can only guess at all the connections and meanings.

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