Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Along with the ride and shoot imperative goes a bit of reflection on the Revelation to St. John the Divine. Why? Because apocalypse seemed suitably Lenten and I foolishly told one of the Missions that I'd teach a course on it - something I've never done before. Farrer gives a powerful account; here's an excerpt, on bestial numerics:

"The number of the Beast reveals him as both the instrument of judgement on the wicked and the object of judgement himself. But that is not all. St. John takes up two mathematical properties of the 666. First, 666 is what we should call the recurrent decimal for 2/3. St. John's age did not talk about recurrent decimals, but of course St. John could recognize 666 as two-thirds of that standard quantity, the thousand. Why is Antichrist two-thirds? because the angels of the trumpets (showing the enthronement of pagan power) have destroyed one-third of everything before he begins to reign, and the angels of the vials return with total destruction as he comes to his end. In the interval he reigns over a kingdom of two-thirds."

Farrer goes on to describe 666 as the triangulation of 6 x 6:

"666, therefore, is a 12 fold triangle with a periphery of 30 x 3 1/2. St. John's calculation of the period of the Beast's reign, in days, is 12 (months) x 30 (days) x 3 1/2 (years). The coincidence between this reckoning and the factors of the 666 triangle is no mere accident... the purpose of the artificial reckoning is to exhibit the Beast's fatally limited reign as a function of his number."

There's a lot of mathematics in the Revelation, unfortunately for me, but whoever said life would be easy?

Speaking of maths, my Revelation class added up the number of horses that were collectively owned by the people in the room and came up with 21 beasts. A decent little force multiplier if things get all eschaton and we have to leave the Union of the False Prophet.

God bless Texas.



Silverfiddle said...

Forgive me for suggesting you work harder, but I think a blog on Revelations would be a great idea. A little bite at a time of that most daunting book.

Thank you for a most interesting post!

LSP said...

That's a good idea - I'll give it a go as an 'occasional series'.

It is daunting, but well worth the effort - I'll be interested to see how the class get on with it...

We'll see!