Woe to you o earth and sea
For the devil sends the beast with wrath
Because he knows that time is short
Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast
For it is a human number
It's number is six hundred and sixty-six
- Book of Revelations 12:12 and 13:18
Here we have it, my 666th post. As a metalhead, this is pretty exciting but it also means I have to deliver. So I will be not only sharing my special manicure but we'll also dive into some of my favorite 666 related things. A quick summation of the Book of Revelations, batshit conspiracy theories and of course; heavy metal music. Once I again, I must present my own personal disclaimer. I am an atheist. I lack belief in supernatural beings, magic, homeopathy and any other things that are unable to be proven or quantified . This may be at odds with your own spiritual traditions or beliefs so please read along at your own risk.
Now that we've taken care of business, let's talk about the number 666.
What's the big deal?
666 is just a number. However, in the New Testament, it appears in the Book of Revelations as a symbol of "the beast." So, why a number? Well, the name of the beast is not revealed in the book but it's hinted at. Basically, it's numerology. Whoever has the name that equals 666 is probably the beast that is personifying all the evils. As it's often interpreted now, 666 symbolizes the devil and using it means that you are one of the beast's minions. (Another fun thing about names: in some folklore, knowing a person's name was pretty powerful stuff because you could have power and dominion over them. Hence the Rumpelstiltskin tale. Also why the beast might not have wanted his name plastered everywhere.)
Who is this beast?
This could take long so I will give a terrible summary and direct you to google that shit. Also, I am not a theologian nor bible scholar. I just like to read about everything.
There are two beasts. One is from the sea and just full of the blasphemy. This first beast has seven crowned heads and pretty much symbolizes say, a corrupt emperor or other kind of powerful ruler. The second beast is from the earth and all that's said about its appearance is that it has lamb horns. This beast is a smooth talker whose duty it is to promote the first beast and ensure all wear said beast's mark. Basically, it's been interpreted that the first beast is Satan and the second is the Antichrist. When they show up, it's end of the world as we know it and eventually Jesus will be here with his mouth sword.
No really, who is this beast?
That all depends on who you ask. There have been a lot of people accused of being the beast and/or the Antichrist. Roman Emperor Nero was a popular candidate as have plenty of other kings, despots, presidents, religious leaders and so on. If you delve deep into Christian conspiracy sites like I do, you find some interesting (really weird) candidates. Like, some people seriously believed Barney the dinosaur was the Antichrist. Admittedly, Barney was really fucking annoying if you weren't a preschooler but was nothing more than a person in a costume. My favorite presumed Antichrist is Maitreya. Not the supposed successor of Śākyamuni Buddha but an actual person who is promoted as being very real and very much of this earth. This Maitreya is a "world teacher" promoted by a man named Benjamin Creme. The official website for Creme's organization is pretty wacky. You can take a look for yourself here. Seriously, that has nothing on the Christian sites that rebut Benjamin Creme and his clearly made up friend. Google it, it's very entertaining.
Okay. So what is this "mark?"
The mark, in the bible, is something you will have to sport in order to buy or sell goods and services. It's something you would have to wear on your forehead or your right hand. There's been plenty of ideas about the mark, what it would look like and all of that. So to be quick, I'll give a list of things that have been purported to be the mark of the beast.
- Debit cards
- RFID chips
- Going to church on Sunday
- Medical implants
Those are by far the most common. I'm sure there are more and more creative ones but I haven't yet found them.
Cool story, bro. Wasn't all this in that movie with the dude from Growing Pains?
You bet. And that was movies, plural. Before that it was in a series of things called books. I have watched the Left Behind movies and read the entire book series. Be grateful if you haven't. Seriously, the book of Revelations is fantastic source material but the writing in those books is horrendous. It should be called Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins Pretend They are Really Cool Guys Who Help Jesus Save the World. It's some of the most egregious Mary Sue fiction I've ever read. The less said the better. However, it did inspire the term mouth sword and that's pretty cool.
Whatever. So what's the deal with the metal bands and 666?
The easiest explanation is that rock music has always been rebellious and anti-establishment. Metal really embraced those two qualities and ran with it. That's why you see 666, pentagrams, goat heads and inverted crosses plastered on everything. What's more rebellious and anti-establishment than Satan? Not that a whole lot of said bands actually are Satanists and some modern Satanism is really more about nihilism. But that's neither here nor there.
Great. Now can I see your nails?
Peep 'em yo.
Here are the materials:
Orly Decoded on thumb and index, thumb has Color Workshop black glitter sponged over
Sephora by OPI White Out on middle and ring
Color Workshop unnamed black glitter on pinkie, topped with China Glaze Matte Magic
Studs are Kiss Nail Artist Metallic Accents
Cross is from Fake Tattoos, with Color Workshop black glitter sponged around
Barcode was produced with Kiss Nail Artist Pen in black
And there you have it. Mark of the Beast nails. Enjoy!
Thanks again for indulging me. I leave you with one of the most popular Iron Maiden songs EVER and wholly appropriate for this post.
About the photo at the very beginning: Took that when we saw Iron Maiden last year in California. It was during "Number of the Beast." It was also terrifying because it's head moved to look at the crowd. This Lamb is petrified of statues, yo and it moving was no bueno.
Until next time, when we visit the Neighbor of the Beast!