Mysteries of the Bible

"Unanswered Questions of the Bible"

Was Nero the “Beast” of Revelation?

Posted by foryourfaith on May 29, 2010


The famous “number of the beast,” 666, in Revelation 13:18 can be understood in reference to the violent Roman ruler Nero. In Hebrew and other ancient languages, the letters of the alphabet were used as numbers, and thus every letter had a numerical value. The number of the beast is best explained as code for “Neron Caesar.” If this name is written in Hebrew, the sum of the letters equals 666. If the Latin form, Nero Caesar, is used, the result is 616 – a variant number actually found in some manuscripts of the Greek text of Revelation.

The Book of Revelation contains a description of a beast. “One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed” (13:3). This gruesome image may be another veiled reference to Nero. After the emperor committed suicide by stabbing himself, some believed that he had not really died, but had gone into hiding. It was feared that he would one day reappear to resume his bloody career. A later variation of this belief was that he had indeed died but would come to life again. An allusion to this resurrected Nero, identified with the Antichrist, occurs in 17:8: “the beast . . . was and is not and is to come.”

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