Well, the inevitable hand-wringing over today’s numerical date is in full swing. In some cities, mothers are demanding that their Caesarian procedures be postponed a day. Other worried citizens are planning to spend the day either hidden away or on a state of high alert, whatever that means. Meanwhile, the movie The Omen (remake of the 1976 film) is set to be released today, taking advantage of the 6-6-6 date for full marketing effect.

Should Christians be concerned about the number 666? Of course we should. As we read in Revelation 13:18, “This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.”

At the same time, we must think like mature Christians, not like immature numerologists or the superstitious. We date years by custom, not by a metaphysical ruler. In other words, human beings just made up the dating system as a matter of necessity. The current system attempts to divide history by the birth of Christ, but the counting of years and the number of days in each year has been a matter of rather constant tweaking and adjustment.

Put simply, there is no man-made calendar in heaven. The number 666 relates to eschatology, to the character described in Revelation as the beast, and the end of history — not to the first Tuesday in June. Worry not. Instead, remember the biblical prayer that should always be the Christian’s hope and confidence: Even so, Lord come quickly.

SELECTED MEDIA

From The Los Angeles Times:

The last time the end of the world was at hand, the weather was just fair, but in a warning to the heathens, temperatures in Los Angeles were rising.The mayor threatened to depose a political boss in a primary. Police braced for anarchists and Reds to converge on the city to hear Emma Goldman discuss politics and free love. A national religion reeled from the disclosure the day before that its leader had “fallen like Lucifer” and had been expelled for seducing little boys.

It was June 6, 1906 — 6/6/06, the dreaded date of triple sixes that echoes the Mark of the Beast, the coming of the Antichrist and the prophecy of the Apocalypse — the destruction of the world in the ultimate showdown between good and evil.It doesn’t appear that the world suffered much, according to the Los Angeles Times of June 7, 1906, which chronicled the events of June 6. (Remember this was in the days before cable television and the web made all news just minutes old.) Nor did the evil-doers appear to have the upper hand.

From USA Today:

There’s a name for it — hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia — fear of the numbers 666.

If you look hard enough, you start seeing 666s everywhere. In bar codes at the supermarket — mark of the beast? In product logos. Encoded in the names of the famous and the infamous. And, of course, on the calendar.

June 6, 2006. Sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year of this century. Spooky, no?

The Bible itself has done the math, and six-six-six adds up to evil. That’s the number, according to the Book of Revelation, by which the Beast, the Anti-christ, will be known. This could be one devil of a day. Or not.

Further:

The Church of Satan will be holding a high mass at the Steve Allen Theater in Los Angeles, just to mess with people’s heads. “We are not afraid of 666, nor do we hold it in any particular regard,” notes a press release on the church’s website. “Historically, 666 is the name of Emperor Nero reduced to its numerological value … Satanists think this is quaint.”

Induced pregnancy coverage here and here.