When Codie Thacker received her bib with the number she would represent in the race, it sickened her. Her coach, Gina Croley, aware of Codie’s Christian faith, knew immediately there was trouble.
Codie attends Whitley County High School in Williamsburg, KY. She was racing in a regional cross-country race — the winner would move on to the state championship.
The number Codie received — 666 — represented the Mark of the Beast or Antichrist mentioned in the Book of Revelation.
And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six. (Revelation 13: 16-18 NASV)
In an interview with the WYMT TV, Codie said, “I just don’t believe that 666 should be a number that’s anywhere on your body and I did not want that number associated with me. It kind of made me sick.”
The number was computer generated by the Kentucky High School Association (KHSA) — the meet organizers — so Codie and her coach approached them for a new number. However, KHSA refused. Codie would race with 666.
Despite training since June, Codie dropped out. Codie told WYMT TV, “I was upset, because I’d trained all season for it. But in another sense, I stood up for my beliefs and I stood up for God.”
Later, KHSA said if they had realized the rejection was due to religious beliefs, they would have issued another number.
What is 666?
In the book of Revelation, the anti-christ is an individual satan raises up in the end times before the second coming of Christ. He would essentially rule the world. The Apostle John gives the anti-christ the numerical designation 666.
It was a practice called “gematria” popular among the Greeks of this time. In the Greek alphabet letters are also used as numbers. Since each letter has a numerical value, it is easy to add up the letters of a name and calculate its total value. We see a reference to this in the ruins of Pompeii where a person wrote, I love a girl whose number is 545. Hebrew and Latin also used letters as numbers.
In the Greek, the first few letters of the alphabet represent numbers one up to 9, the next set go up by tens and represent 20, 30, 40 up to 90 and the last group by a 100 each — 100, 200, 300 up to 800. By using combinations of letters, numbers could be created. You can see the numerical designation for the Greek letters by clicking here.
However, John hints 666 — the numbers identifying the anti-christ — may not be as simple as adding up the numerical values of the letters, as the apostle states only those with wisdom can figure it out — suggesting another layer of code.
So who was 666?
Well, one of the earliest candidates for anti-christ was the Roman Emperor Nero (54-68 AD) — the emperor on the throne when Paul the Apostle was imprisoned in Rome. Nero’s Greek name “Neron” did not add up to 666, but if you transliterated the Greek “Nero Ceaser” into Latin (nrwn qsr) it adds up to 666 in the Latin alphabet whose letters also have numerical designations.
Nero did a number of things that qualified him as the antichrist. He was renown for his horrific persecution of the early Christians. Roman coins declared Nero the “Saviour of the World,” perhaps mocking the growing Christian faith.
Greek historian Tacitus describes the violent Christian persecution — spurred by their refusal to worship Nero as God — this way:
Besides being put to death, they were made to serve as objects of amusement; they were clothed in hides of beasts and torn to death by dogs; others were crucified, others set on fire to illuminate the night when daylight failed.
But in other regards, Nero failed. There was no mention of a mark on the hand or forehead or inability to buy or sell without the mark mentioned by the Apostle John. Some suggest the latter element could only be fulfilled in a cashless society.
When John received his visions, he probably believed Nero was the anti-christ, but God knew he wasn’t.
The Bible tells us there will be many anti-christs. Nero was just one of the many.
Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. (1 John 2:18 NASV)
The reason is simple.
Only God knows the time of Jesus Second Coming (Mark 13:32). The verse specifically mentions that even Jesus and the angels are not aware of the date. This means satan has no idea when he the anti-christ reign can be set up.
However, this will not stop satan from trying. Daniel 7:25 says satan seeks to change the times and seasons, so one of his goals is to set up the anti-christ before his time. The Bible also states God will hinder satan from promoting the antichrist until the time is right (2 Thessalonians 2:5-10).
Because of this, satan sends out trial balloon antichrist. There have been many significant pushes, but to this point God has stopped them all.
Adolph Hitler I believe was a classic anti-christ attempt. We see it in his utter hatred of the Jews — six million killed in extermination camps. One of the prophecies surrounding the anti-christ suggests three nations will form a coalition and one of them will rise to the forefront. In World War II, there were three countries involved in the axis — Japan, Italy and Nazi Germany. Of this group, Adolph Hitler surfaced as leader.
But God restrained him. November 11th is the day we commemorate the end of World War II, but I believe it also marks a very significant spiritual event — the restraining of another anti-christ.
- After Receiving Mark of Beast Number 666, High School Athlete Drops Out of Race: Charisma News
- Christian teen cross country star refuses to run race after being given ‘mark of the beast’ 666 bib: Dailymail
- Whitley Co. teen refuses to run race because of ‘666’ number: WYMT TV
- What is the meaning of 666 in revelation: Crosswalk
This is an interesting topic. If I could advise the young woman, I would say “follow your conscience.” You live on the other side of the fence from these things, and you are free. In the Bible some Christians ate meat sacrificed in pagan temples, and some hated the idea. It was cheap meat and the pagan gods were not relevant to Christians, but the practice created trouble between brothers and sisters. Paul said, “if my eating meat causes my brother to stumble, I will not eat it as long as the world stands.” What matters the most is our own Christian family.
Thanks for the comment Sandy. I agree. Eating meat sacrificed to idols is a good way of explaining this.