Number of the Beast
Being Karaite has its advantages. One being that as a Karaite, I read everything that pertains to the Judeo-Christian heritage since there are no restrictions on what we read. In fact the opposite is true. My ancestor and progenitor of Karaism, Anan ibn David Kahana, instructed us to read all of the available religious documentation in order to establish our own relationship with the Creator. It was necessary for us as individuals to find the keys to that relationship as long as they were within the boundaries set by the Old Testament. It explains why we were so tolerant of Rabbinic Judaism, even though we constantly disagreed, but also explains why they were and still are so intolerant of us.
I knew that the answers I sought about life were contained within the combined library of books of the Great Religions. That the actual pathway was the common denominator that existed between all of them. Not unexpectedly, when you strip away all the extraneous literature of these religions until you have nothing but the bare bones you are actually left with the tenants and beliefs of Karaism. But that's another story for another day.
Being able to find the values and keys in religious doctrines also held very true for the book of Revelations. As John says about the number of the beast, "those that are meant to understand (approach it simply) will understand. It is the number of man." And when I read about the number of the beast it was crystal clear. No hidden meanings, no fantastic extrapolations. John provided a single number that was key to the entire book and had it been approached with a Karaite perspective, very simple to understand. But his private little joke was that he knew the majority of his readers wouldn't be able to do so. They would look for answers in the realm of the fantastic, the mystical, and even the demonical. He obviously had left it there as a tempting signpost for those that were meant to come later. In his ability to perceive and understand the human psyche he knew they would come. Those that were meant to restore the faith that he had shared with Jesus and which had been lost under a sea of overwhelming interpolation, confusion and suspect political and self gratifying motivation.
So by now you're probably wondering what and who is the beast. It is both a what and a who but you may be surprised to find out it has nothing to do with current idealogies. Those are nothing more than the fabrications that John anticipated. As he said, the truth was much simpler.
The First Key
What you must understand is this! John provided a number that would have meaning from his time until the final days. It was a number revealing specific points about mankind's present and future. He identified the enemies to true believers throughout those epochs. Like everything from his time period, there were multiple meanings. The prophets spoke with multiple meanings, John was to be no different. As a Jew, John could write in Hebrew or Aramaic. He acknowledges in Revelations that he used Hebrew. Because it was a prophecy, he chose to use the Hebrew for those that were close to him, those within his circle. He knew that those outside his immediate circel would have difficulty deciphering his meaning and he intended it to be so for his own personal protection.
Only our civilization could be so callous and egocentric to think that the number could only be written as 666. This is evidence of ignorance because we fail to realize that Arabic numerals weren't even in use then. The only time this became written as such was when John's original documents were translated and in particualar the time of the King James Bible. That being the case, the Beast of 666 has only existed for the past four hundred years. Prior to that he was a completely different beast and written in a completely different fasion.
So John provides the first key which is about his time; his present. In Hebrew the number is (wusrt), using letters to represent numbers. Unfortunately the Hub Editing software won't let me insert Hebrew letters but just remember the word in brackets would be read backwards from right to left. As such, the number also spells out a word, Tarsu, or Tarsus in the Roman world, much as Jeshua becomes Jesus. The man from Tarsus was his greatest threat. He who proclaims himself to be a Jew, his followers to be considered Jews, inheritors of the promise to the Jews, but who are not Jews. As far as John was concerned, they were the enemy. John says it clearly, but the meaning is lost by those that refuse to accept the obvious. John bore witness to the lasting effects of the apostle who claimed he was no less than the superlative apostles whom had actually known Jesus. He recognized that the followers of the teachings of the Jerusalem Church were threatened. And with the fall of the Jerusalem Church John had to escape to Epheseus for his own protection. He was a hunted man, but not only by the forces of the Empire.
The Second Key
The second key is even more obvious. It was the Roman world he lived in. Once again a revelation of the beast in his own time. In Roman numerals, it would be DCLXVI, which is a very unique number in all of the Roman counting system. It is the only number which uses all of the common Roman numerals, only once and in their proper descending order. The number 1000 or M was rarely used and was often an implied number, similar to the dropping of of the thousandth letter in Hebrew when giving the calendar year. The uniqueness of this number is a clear indication that he wished us to recognize Rome as the beast too. It's ordered, regimented systems; even its attempt to conquer the world in order to give it order, is symbolized by this uniquely ordered number. Not to mention one of the prime reasons for his hiding in exile being the fact that he was a wanted man by Roman justice. Again, that is another story but I will give you a hint in that John and the Beloved Disciple were one in the same and that boy was also known as Lazarus with sisters Martha and Mary. They were not a simple peasant family living in Jerusalem. Their home, possession of anointing oil, and the fact they had their own family tomb in Jerusalem all indicate they were very special indeed. Playing with a simple number, John believed it would have been extremely simple to decode. How was he to know that the world would shift away from using Roman numerals.
The Third Key
The third key was an actual prophecy of the future. A number to be measured from the time of his spiritual founder's birth to a timepoint in the distant future. John would have had no idea what was going to happen in the world six hundred and sixty-six years after the birth of Jesus (Born in 6 or 7 BC, which is now the accepted date). He would not have even contemplated the Empire of Islam establishing itself as a dominant power because the Arab world of his time could never be seen as unifying over anything. From the time of its origin, for the next two decades it was tearing itself apart through rival claims to the Caliphate. But in 660-661 AD, Ali was assassinated and Islam was finally ruled by a single unifying Caliph. Had this not happened, it was most definitely on a path of self destruction. It would have completely disappeared due to the greed and power-lust of those that attempted to rule it. By eliminating the intense rivalry from within, it transformed itself into the next beast, threatening the survival of the Judeo-Christian heritage for the next fourteen hundred years.
The Fourth Key
The fourth key was also a prophecy of the future. It is actually our time. The number is not a number but a symbol. It's a symbol we've seen thousands of times in our everyday lives. Picture the belly of the sixes overlapped, the stems pointing to 12 o'clock, 4 o'clock, and 8 o'clock. You will recognize the beat and it is the most terrifying of all, as it does harness the power to obliterate civilization as we know it. See it, recognize it, and you will know it.
The symbol is used repeatedly, with only minor modifications with each use. In one case we see it as the symbol for radiation. Look closesly at the symbol and you will visualize the sixes. Then take a look at the symbol for biohazardous substances. Once again if you look carefully you will see the sixes buried in its design. Then there is the Trilateral Organization, a group of world banking organizations that it is said dominate the world economy and will eventually dominate us all. How interesting that they too designed their logo on the the same structure of the sixes seen for both radiation and biological hazards. Coincidence? Nothing in this world is coincidence!
Four Is A Significant Number
Why four keys to the number of the beast, because once again John tells us it is four. He talks of the four beasts that serve the angels. They are not in anyway representing the evils of the number of the beast but they do serve to tell us the number of times or keys that we as mankind have and will experience the tyrrany. Four is actually an unusual number in ancient times. It held no special significance like 3, 7 or 12. These were mystical numbers, numbers handed down by God. So choosing four was deliberate and John wanted to ensure that his followers would know it.
To reinforce this number four, John tells us there will be four horsemen. The first horse is white, under the guise of purity. It represents a false holiness, armed with a golden bow, or a false covenant based on wealth, and it crowns itself in false pride and power. This is John's interpretation of the rival power that challenged the Jerusalem Church for rule over Christianity. He could foresee that death and suffering that would be wrought in its wake under the guise of purity and righteousness. That is exactly what the Damascus Church under Paul's authority did.
The second horse is red like the cloaks of the Roman officers. Red like blood, shed by the world's mightiest military machine. This horsemen is only concerned with warfare and conquest. Living by the great sword, enemy to true peace. How clearly we can now see Rome as the beast.
The third horse is black, based in darkness. This horseman does not attempt to prosper through the purity or holiness of John's teachings of the Jerusalem Church. In fact it will prove to be the exact opposite, like a black wind that will try to spread darkness upon the earth. And in its hand it carries the balance. Not only the balance of power, but it will be able to determine the fates of world economies. It will rise to ultimate power because the world will not stop it from gaining control of vital resources. In fact, it will pay its price, support it without questioning, until it is too late. How much we can see the current rise of Islamic fundamentalism, coincidentally dressed in their favourite colour of turbans and robes which are Black! Without any impediment to slow its progress this third horseman will take control of more and more countries towards its goal of ultimate domination.
And lastly, John sees the pale horse. It is without description. It is simply death. What it represents is simply beyond John's imagination. He cannot even fathom the destruction that this fourth beast can manifest. Nuclear holocaust, biological holocaust, world totalitarian government, how could he even attempt to comprehend any of this with his first century mind?
So, it was not from within a vacuum that I wrote about the Zadokite document. (See http://www.hubpages.com/hub/The-Zadokite-Document ) The same way that John wrote revelations based on beliefs developed within the Jerusalem Church. Open your eyes, open your mind and there will be a revelation but not in the way it's been preached to you. That was never John's intent.