12.2.2. Nero Caesar = 666

Advocates of Nero as the Beast make much of the fact that two variations of the Hebrew spelling of “Caesar Nero” result in the two different values found in textual variants for the number of the Beast.1

This solution reached in the earlier part of the last century independently by a number of scholars (Fritzsche, Benary, Hitzig, Reuss) meets the conditions of the problem so exactly that it is accepted by most scholars of the present day. It’s correctness is supported by the fact that if the proper name be written Νέρω [Nerō] , נרו [nrw] , that is, without the final consonant as in the Latin form Nero, the number 616 is obtained instead of 666, and thus is explained the variant reading found in some Mss.2


1 A third value is also attested: Num. 1:1,00Num. 5:1 was.”—Hal Harless, “666: The Beast and His Mark in Revelation 13,” in The Conservative Theological Journal, vol. 7 no. 22 (Fort Worth, TX: Tyndale Theological Seminary, December 2003), 352.

2 Isbon T. Beckwith, The Apocalypse of John (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2001), 404.