Writing to a scientist friend in Western Australia recently, I had
occasion to draw his attention to Rev.13:18 and to its great
significance for Christians. I wrote:
It is surely amazing that the information given in this verse - and in
related verses in this Book - has been allowed to remain dormant for so
long. Christians appear not to have noticed the terms associated with
the riddle. It never has been a matter of 'take it or leave it', for
(1) the general caution of Rev.22:19 concerning the Book of Revelation:
"...if any man shall take away from (=ignore!) the words of the book of
(2) the imperative of the riddle itself: "Let him that hath
understanding..." (Christian recipients of 'the five talents' have
little excuse in failing to respond to this call! );
(3) in view of the words of Rev.15:2, and assuming that we would be
numbered with the saints, how can we begin to understand what 'victory
over a number' entails - let alone set out to achieve it - unless we
give these matters serious consideration?
(4) the incentives we are offered in undertaking this exercise are
substantial, viz divine blessing (Rev.1:3), and wisdom (Rev.13:18)!
I therefore hope you will agree with me that a close study of the riddle
is, for all Christians, an obligation and a matter of some urgency.
Brendan, I suggest this matter is not to be taken lightly.
"When I show a man he is inconsistent, I make him decide whether of the
two he loves better, the portion of truth he already holds, or the
portion of error." (J.H.Newman, Tract 85)
[Musician, Mining Engineer, and Senior Lecturer in Maths and Computing,
the Polytechnic of Wales (now the University of Glamorgan), 1954-87]