There are those worthless souls who ignore the power of 666, who believe today -- June 6, 2006 -- is nothing more than another ordinary mark on the ordinary calendar. They will go about their lives, blind to the bloodcurdling evil all around.
Soon, the streets will fill with death and decay.
Soon, the anti-Christ will rise to render the Earth a mosh pit of despair -- an empty, rotted stink hole of evil mayhem brought about by all things satanic. Doom will reign! Faces will melt! The world will explode! Die! Die! Die!
Or maybe not.
Yes, the date is June 6, 2006. And yes, there is a movie remake, "The Omen," that premieres today and focuses on the idea that 6/6/06 marks the rise of the anti-Christ. And yes, a couple of people even believe it. (According to a report by Tony Allen-Mills of Britain's Sunday Times, a pregnant Englishwoman recently urged her doctor to do everything within his power to push up her June 6 due date.)
"But I think I can assure you we're safe," says Fred Berardi, a monsignor with Holy Family Church in New Rochelle, N.Y. "Nobody needs to hide under their furniture."
Indeed, few within the Vatican appear to be losing much sleep.
There have been no public warnings, no cries from Pope Benedict XVI to load up on canned goods.
And yet, a legitimate biblical tie between 666 and bad stuff seems to exist. As reads Revelation 13:16-18: "He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666."
By "the beast," is the Bible referring to a three-headed, red-eyed ogre? Unlikely. Instead, most scholars interpret 666 to be the numerical code for Nero, the fifth Roman Emperor (A.D. 54-68) of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians.
"The legend of the anti-Christ is that of an agent of Satan empowered to pave the way for the end of times," says Phil Stevens, a professor of anthropology at the State University of New York at Buffalo and an expert on religious symbolism. "The myth of the anti-Christ has been passed down through the generations. But to start with, it appeared to be simply a very disliked man."
For the record, we've gone through this before.
The concept of a heinous 666 received a nice jolt in the year 1666, when the Great Fire of London killed thousands and left more than 100,000 people without homes. Unfortunately for panic's sake, there's little else to work with.
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Tuesday, June 06, 2006
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