The practice of Gematria is found throughout Greek gnostic texts (gospels not part of the standard Christian Biblical canon) as well as the Qabalah (a western esoteric mystical tradition). One popular example is related to 666, the number of the Beast. It first occurs in the First Book of Kings in the Old Testament, referring to the amount of wealth that came to King Solomon. The root of the superstition associated with this number, however, can be traced to a passage from the Book of Revelation:
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.
For Christians this number has come to symbolize the Antichrist, or the one who is opposite of the teachings of Jesus. At different times this has included Genghis Khan, Napoleon, and Hitler. But the root of this association likely originated with the Roman Emperor Nero, a tyrannical ruler from 54 to 68 A.D. who persecuted early Christians. The emperor Nero (Neron Caesar) in Hebrew Gematria carries a value of 666. But it’s interesting to note that this number not only represents the numerical value of the Sun but also references the carbon atom, the basis of all life. Carbon-12 (a stable, naturally occurring isotope) forms 98.93% of the carbon on Earth and contains 6 protons, 6 neutrons, and 6 electrons.
Could Revelation have been referring to the number of man, the very building blocks of humans, and not to a beast bent on leading mankind away from God? In numerology, 666 adds up to 18, which adds up to 9—the number of man. Perhaps “beast” refers to the physical aspect of man as opposed to the spiritual.
Nozedar, Adele. The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Signs and Symbols. Harper Collins, 2008.
Silva, Freddy. Legacy of the Gods: The Origin of Sacred Sites and the Rebirth of Ancient Wisdom. Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc., 2011.