The identity of The Beast of Revelation have been hotly contested over the centuries. Every despot in the Judeo-Christian world has been accused of being either Antichrist or the beast of the earth himself. Not even the Popes have escaped accusation; the nearly-divine are often seen as despots to their enemies.
But who would have been seen as the Beast from the perspective of first century Christians and Jews? Would they have imagined Adolph Hitler or John Paul II as the Beast as have been supposed by many Christians of the twentieth century.
Numerology to the ancient cultures was not the mystical mumbo-jumbo practiced by modern fortune tellers. The Hebrew language did not possess separate letters and numbers as in English with its Latin alphabet and Arabic numerals. Each letter of the Hebrew alphabet also corresponded to a number. Names were important, but the number of the name was of upmost importance.
Take the name of Roman Emperor Nero Claudius Cæsar Augustus Germanicus. The Greek spelling, “Neron Kaisar”, transliterates into Hebrew as נרון קסר or “nrvn qsr”:
Resh ר 200
Samech ס 600
Qof ק 100
Nun נ 50
Vav ו 6
Resh ר 200
Nun נ 50
Holy schnikes! I think I’ve seen that number somewhere before.
The war between Heaven and Hell is one of the vaguest traditions found (or not found) in the Holy Bible. The story of Satan’s fall is not found within the Holy Scripture acknowledged as “God-breathed” by Roman Catholics and Protestants. The tale is told, however, in Paradise Lost by John Milton.If John Milton was a Jew writing in the first century A.D., his work may just have been included in the New Testament when the canon was debated by the First Council of Nicaea. But he was a blind English poet born in early 17th century London. Paradise Lost was a little to late to the party to be anything other than an epic poem written by one of the greatest English poets of his time. High-praise indeed, but not nearly on the level of St. Paul of Tarsus.
The Book of Revelation alludes to this war between Heaven and Hell, but in the most frustratingly ambiguous apocalyptic language. Why is this most important of future (or past) Biblical events only get mentioned in passing? If this event is the penultimate event in Judeo-Christianity, then is it such a nebulous subject?
It is because the Holy War is not between Heaven and Hell, a battle fought by angels and devils at the end of the world, this war is between God and an apostate Israel. God has repeatedly warned Israel not to forsake His Covenant with them. But time and time again, they forget their Covenant and fall into idolatry. When God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life, the response was to condemn the Son of God to death by crucifixion. By this very act of rebuking the New Covenant God offered His Chosen People, Israel declared Holy War upon their own Lord God of Israel. A Holy War that culminated with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.