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Today, gematria is well-known as a Jewish interpretive method that assigns the numerical values of Hebrew letters to words, phrases, and/or sentences. Then, by adding those values together, it seeks to determine the “deeper meaning” of the text. Sometimes that connection is far-fetched, but sometimes it is quite clear. Surprisingly in some way it is traceable even to the NT times.

In Matthew’s genealogy (which shows that Jesus was a descendant of King David) we read:

“Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.” (Mathew 1:17).

The numerical value of the Hebrew characters forming the name of the great King of Israel – David (דוד) is 14.

This is how it works 14 = (4) ד (4) + ו (6) + ד

Matthew uses genealogy to intentionally tie Jesus to David numerically (through a gematria of 14) three times. His point is that Jesus is the son of David, i.e. the Messiah.

In the Book of Revelation, we read, “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.” (Rev. 13:18). The author clearly says that the number of the beast can be calculated, which is a clear hint to do exactly that.

Although the beast of Revelation is almost certainly not limited to the first-century, near the time of Revelation’s composition there was a blood-thirsty persecutor of the early Christ-followers – Nero.  His name and title in Hebrew (Nero Ceasar – נרונקסר) has a numeric value of 666. According to tradition, both Peter and Paul were martyred during his reign.

It is likely that Nero was a symbolic figure of all future government-sponsored persecutions (people like Hitler, Stalin, Al Bagdadi, among many others). If the original identification of the beast as Emperor Nero is correct, this would explain why some early manuscripts of the Book of Revelation have 616 instead of 666 as the number of the beast. The difference likely arose from spelling Nero’s name as it was pronounced in Latin instead of Hebrew. In its Latin pronunciation, the “nun” (which has a numerical value of 50) was dropped in seeking to help readers not to confuse the identity of the godless Roman emperor with someone else. Hence we get 616 in some later manuscripts rather than 666 in earlier (original) ones. There are even more hidden treasures just waiting for you to unearth when you begin to read the scriptures from a Jewish perspective.

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118 COMMENTS

  1. You indicated it is likely but this does not mean your 100% sure. I have read revelations and it appears to mean the end of the times (world) If you look around us you see what in the past no one could have believed, we have credit cards that serve as cash, animals can now get a chip installed in their body to keep track of them. Revelations talks about a world currency and Rev states: no one could buy or sell without this mark. So it is not inconceivable that the mark could be a chip or other item

  2. I agree with the words above me. Of all the stuff going on in the world, you have to be blind not to see what is going on .

  3. maybe I’m wrong, but prophecy and stories can be cyclical and can happen at different levels over and over in time with different characters. Do you apply biblical stories to your personal life experience, national experience, or spiritual experience? There’s nothing new under the sun.

  4. Well we already have companies demanding that their workers have chips in them for payroll purposes (clocking and out), insurance information and personal data. There are stores that have chip readers where you can scan your chip to purchase. They used to have a commercial touting the arrival of this technology showing a man stuffing meat packages in his pants and then walking out of the store through the security scanners without any of the store employees blinking. But it was quickly pulled a month into the campaign.

    • Cyn, hi. I think this is missing the point. The issue is not the technology, but the rule of God’s Law/Word. Making a purchase via credit card with or without a chip is not ungodly, making a purchase with cash that used child or underpaid workers in China is.

  5. Sir your course is superb but one small request .If possible plz provide that course with no cost even for few students. Thank you very much. Really I am enjoying with your explainations.

  6. This is a very interesting perspective and I agree that it is possible (I’m not God, I don’t know for certain either!) that Nero could have served as a symbol, much in the way many first occurrences in biblical history serve as symbols for greater atrocities that came or are coming later. Prophecy is difficult to interpret; we should all approach it with humility as I believe you did in this article. Thank you for sharing your unique and fresh perspective on this challenging piece of spiritually-inspired literature.

  7. Persecution should be viewed in Revelation as within the history of Jewish and Christian persecution by not only pagan Rome, but by its offspring namely the Papacy and the Roman Catholic Church as well as those who are the daughters of Babylon. It’s very interesting to see the reference of Nero to 666, but it doesn’t stop there. One of the titles of the Pope also counts to 666. Your point about Sunday worship not being an issue is not completely correct, since it is related to the papal change of the Torah of God and the Shabbat.

  8. Thanks Dr. Eli for helping me to understand things much better. Learning to look at things from an historical Jewish setting really brightens the room. I look forward to getting your new book.

  9. To say St. John wrote The Book Of Revelation being a letter written to the early Christians who were suffering at the hands of Nero, & his number was the equivalent of 616/666 is untrue. It wasn’t possible to link the number of the beast to Nero for the simple reason. Nero ruled Rome & persecuted the Christians from 37 AD to 68 AD. Domitian, ruled from 81 AD to 96 AD. The Book Of Revelation was written during the rule of Domitian (circa 90 AD).

  10. Okay, what is strange to me is why 616 didn’t give me a deeper meaning. I see you calculated 4 + 6 + 4. I need to understand what 4 means. 4= creation – separate day from night? The original problem does reemerge. There was both dark and light, but I learned to identify with the darkness. Or 4=Sabbath rest? Yes, I was resting because His Victory (the foundation) is different than my work (what is being built upon the foundation). I am glad you do this!!!!!!!! #ItsVeryComplicated

  11. i believe that things are.. and will continue-to get better. according to the the statue dream that King Nebuchadnezzar saw, into which the little rock (jesus) crashed into and destroyed, and then grew and spread until it filled the whole earth – to me that does not indicate that times would be worse. in Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. – to me it seems inconceivable that the knowledge of the glory of the Lord would bring worse rather than better.

  12. I think the chip is the mark of the beast, and It will be inserted into people’s body, if you refuse the mark you can’t buy or sell. In a cashless society this is what will happen. The Jews in the Holocaust were tatoed with a number..black slaves were branded with hot iron..so modern day technology will have a modern branding system..but this end of the age will be worse for mankind because we have polluted the earth, we have not protected our children ,sexual abuse is rife, knowledge has increased and a great falling away from churches

  13. Very interesting discussion, though I ‘m not sure I’d use gematria for the purpose of proposing exoteric, as opposed to esoteric, interpretations. (Also, I believe the canonical New Testament came to us in Greek, hence the utility of, say, James Pryse’s “Apocalypse Unsealed” and Lea and Bond’s “Apostolic Gnosis.”) Along those lines, I’d be most interested in a discussion of Revelation as Merkabah.

  14. Could the mark be in the spirit as the forehead as we think and the hand as what we do! Our thoughts and actions in worshipping our God or following the beast!

  15. I would say to those end of the world assumptions that there are many things yet to take place before the end of the world, including the 1000 year reign of our God and King Jesus.

  16. Subject: 666 or 616 Message: I agree that Revelation had to make sense to the original readers; therefore, the book cannot be referring only to events far into the future. That is not to say it does not also apply to a distant future fulfillment also. My question relates to identifying 666 (also 616) with Nero. Doing so would seem to require a date for Revelation much earlier than the generally accepted 95 CE date. Do you hold to an earlier date for Revelation? If so, why?

  17. I invite you to see my proposals for 666 and 616 regarding revelation 13:18 on the online hermetic library website. I am a ‘fellow’ of the Hermetic Library. Thank you for the opportunity to share my opinion! Walter C. Cambra

  18. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg: Greetings once again! I am Walter C. Cambra and I left a brief message on my opinion for 666 and 616 mentioned on the Hermetic Library website. In my haste I forgot to mention the title of my article for your scrutiny . . . ENIGMA. Thanks for your attention. Walter C. Cambra. [note: Nebekednesser and Ewil Marduk . . . using Greek numerical values. Click onto Google the following: Hermetic Library 666 / 6l6 / Cambra

  19. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg: There is a manuscript numbered 2344 that dates from the 11th century a.d. that cites revelation 13:18 for the number of the beast as “665”. This is apparently the only manuscript that cites 665 for the beast. Generally, scholars suggest that 665 is based upon a faulty spelling for Nero Ceasar. However, this deviant number is ACTUALLY an example of the kabbalistic “RULE OF COLEL” which states, essentially, that the numerical value of any word or phrase may have one unit of its value either added to / substracted without altering its symbolic meaning! WALTER C. CAMBRA

  20. Hi Dr. Eli. I’d like to learn about the genealogy of Jesus. Do you have some article about that issue? Thanks.

  21. The numerals surely represent the Roman Empire and everything that was and is the Roman religions but all man made religion carry this mark. The mark of Yehovah’s people are his Sabbaths. Interesting that there are 3 types. The 7th day weekly Sabbath, the 7 annual Sabbaths and the 7th year Sabbath to the land= 777. So seemly the mark of Yehovah’s people is 7. Man was created on 6th day. So the number of beast said to be number of man. Man’s ideas of worshiping their gods’s as opposed to Yehovah’s way. The bible interprets itself!!!! Simply put.

  22. Putting gematria aside, Revelation was written in Koin’e Greek. John’s Vision was written in such, except for about five Hebrew words (Armageddon; WW,; Amen; etc.) , for clarity and meaning. Seeing WWW. in a vision, WW. in ancient Hebrew was the closest mark John knew. That meant shah; shishshah- 6; 16; 66; 666. Subsequent translations of 616 and 666 were both correct. For reference charts of these, “Revelation WWW. is 666” Breese 2005 IUniverse. Includes Vatican emails, two copies of this book are in the Segreto de Archivio. Amen?

  23. Wow….!!!!!!! Now that I am totally confused after reading all of these comments, Dr. Ely can you please make a final clarification about the beast and the number? Was the beast and the number Nero or is the event still to take place into the end times. Quite frankly, I have not heard it explained by other scholars to be Nero nor an event that has already taken place in the person of Nero.

    Thank you.

  24. Dear Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg: Greetings once again! An article I wrote titled “TWILIGHT OF AN IDOL” (AN ADVENTURE IN SCRIBAL MISCHIEF) has been published in the Sept/Oct issue of THE CRYPTOGRAM ( jounal of the American cryptogram association) [my pen name in the journal is DLUX] 2018 issue. The article calls into question the pristine meaning of the ‘statue’, suggesting that it was originally a reference to the passage of the following neo-Babylonian kings, nebekednesser, ewil marduk, neriglissar, nabonidus, and Balthasar. The prisinte meaning is tied to the enigmatic numbers until “the time of the end” found in Daniel and Revelation. The canonical books of Daniel and Revelation are redactions that appear in historical eras later than the time of the substratum that was woven into these canonical works! The original meaning of the ‘statute’ is tied to the substratum of the meaning of the ‘time of the end’ regarding
    the triad of numbers found in Daniel l2 and Revelation ll. These triad of enigmatic numbers are occultly referring to the fulfilment of the Lord’s prophesy through Jeremiah that l) Babylon would fall and 2) the jews in Babylon would be repatriated . Walter C. Cambra.

  25. Dear Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg: Regarding the ‘statue’ in Daniel that ostensibly refers to the passage of world empires ‘until the time of the end’: See the scholar P. R. Davies work DANIEL, p. 48. See, also, the scholar G. K. Beale’s work THE USE OF DANIEL IN JEWISH APOCALYPTIC AND IN THE REVELATION OF ST. JOHN,

  26. Dear Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg: Regarding my comments and article titled TWILIGHT OF AN IDOL, see the scholar P. R. Davies work titled DANIEL, p. 48. Also, see the scholar G. K. Beale’s work titled THE USE OF DANIEL IN JEWISH APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE AND IN THE REVELATION OF ST. JOHN, p. 310 [“Indeed, the observation that these Danielic patternsappearrepeatedly in Jewish and Christian apcalyptic literaturewould seem to point, not to a mere general apocalyptic tradition, but to a specific, circulating Daniel tradition.” p. 3l0

  27. Have you considered Walid Shoebat message on the mark of the beast? He postulated that the mark in the original text were not Latin words but Arabic, and they are directly related to Islam.

  28. [39. Fifty.–The letter N, here denoting Nero, and Nerva in line 58. 45. Mountain of two seas.–Isthmus of Corinth, which Nero attempted to open to the two adjoining bodies of water. 50. Three kings.–Galba, Otho, and Vitellius. 52. Seven times ten.–This number is denoted by the Greek {Greek O}, initial of the Greek form of the name of Vespasian ({Greek Ou?espasiano’s}). 54. Three hundred.–Here denoting Titus. 56. Four.–The letter A, initial of Domitian 60. Three hundred.–Here denoting Trajan, who was of Spanish origin, and so reckoned by the Sibyl as a “Celtic mountaineer,” not accurately, but in a loose, general

  29. I believe the Nero Interpretation is correct. I have been taught that for 40 years. BUT I think it was just for their time. It was to give them encouragment. I am sure the Christians of that age understood it completley. Basically, it is good will win over evil. They were being told to be faithful in the face of death and they would receive a crown of life. Jesus said his kingdom is NOT OF THIS WORLD. People still expect that just like the Jews of his time did; even the apsotles did till corrected.

  30. I’m confused just reading the Holy Bible. All these comments and articles do for me is confuse and frustrate me further.

    • The Bible is from a time and context far removed from today’s, so without a good backdrop (and translation) it can be very difficult to understand many parts. For context and clarity, Marion, sign up for our Jewish Insights into Scripture course. It is designed for students like you.

    • How do you propose we understand “calculate the number of his name” if not by the methods that existed in Yehsua’s day? Context, context, context…

  31. Dr. Eli,
    The other night I saw a show on History vault and it was about a code called”God Code” have you ever seen this show? If not it s very interesting, mainly if you have seen it I would be interested in your views on this.

  32. God used symbols in the OT to represent kingdoms, e.g., Daniel 2. The golden head of the statue represented Babylon; the breast and arms of silver MedoPersia; the bronze thighs Greece, legs of iron Rome; and the feet of iron and clay divided Rome. There was to be no ruling kingdom of the world after Rome. The cloud that smashes the statue represents the return of Christ. All these symbols are repeated in Daniel 7, 8 and also throughout Revelation. We must read and understand the OT in order to interpret the NT, particularly Rev.Daniel was told to seal up the book till the end.
    The mark in the forehead is not literal nor is the seal. They refer to spiritual things – our actions and faith in Jesus Christ. In the OT the God told the Jews to write His words in their forehead, meaning to absorb His words in their minds. Some Jews took it literally and wire scrolls tied to their heads. In the same way the seal of God is spiritual, we won’t receive a big stamp. There is so much to understand in the OT and I am still learning but this I know – unless you use the OT to understand the imagery (particularly Daniel) you will be very lost with your understanding. I would equate it to understanding the imagery in The Temple and The Temple service, it all related to Christ, his atonement, his 3 days in the grave etc. Amazing really! I think we will study The Bible even in heaven to come to a full understanding. I am continually amazed by the scriptures and their accuracy. The Jewish interpretation is adding another dimension to my understanding and I am loving it!

  33. There are comments from some who see in the book of Revelation a futuristic scenario. The book of Daniel proves that there was always talk of the “Final time.” But not from the end of the world, but for the beginning of the Messiah’s reign and the destruction of the Temple … Almost all Revelation is History.

  34. Dear Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg: Greetings once again! The National Library of Israel has accessioned my works on DANIEL and REVELATION. Best Wishes! WALTER C. CAMBRA

  35. Professor Masomeh Noor Mohammadi of The University of Tehran, IRAN translated my works on DANIEL and REVELATION into Farsi and the work was published in IRAN as “Two Essays on The Bible”. Walter C. Cambra

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