Happy Day of the Beast to everyone from Satan's Little Helper!
Like most bits of ancient mythology, I don't put too much stock into the significance of 666. I do, however, get a cynical laugh at the expense of those who really think they know the Bible for truth.
(The following is excerpt from an article that appeared last year in The Independent):
Revelation! 666 is not the number of the beast (it's a devilish 616)
By Tom Anderson
01 May 2005
A newly discovered fragment of the oldest surviving copy of the New Testament indicates that, as far as the Antichrist goes, theologians, scholars, heavy metal groups, and television evangelists have got the wrong number. Instead of 666, it's actually the far less ominous 616.
The new fragment from the Book of Revelation, written in ancient Greek and dating from the late third century, is part of a hoard of previously unintelligible manuscripts discovered in historic dumps outside Oxyrhynchus in Egypt. Now a team of expert classicists, using new photographic techniques, are finally deciphering the original writing.
Professor David Parker, Professor of New Testament Textual Criticism and Paleography at the University of Birmingham, thinks that 616, although less memorable than 666, is the original. He said: "This is an example of gematria, where numbers are based on the numerical values of letters in people's names. Early Christians would use numbers to hide the identity of people who they were attacking: 616 refers to the Emperor Caligula."
Well, so they got that whole number thing wrong. It rather pales in comparison to their mistakes about life, the universe and everything. Personally, I don't think any numbers are evil, though 30 certainly has some bad intentions for me...