We've been talking about what I'm calling "witch hunting," the phenomenon affecting our world in which people are eager to find the Devil in every nook and cranny and to blame him for just about everything.
While I'm on the subject, the 666 scare stuff is getting downright ridiculous. The fact is that those three digits can be uncovered in almost anybody's name, if you're willing to work at it hard enough. Using the code A = 100, B = 101, and so on, Hitler adds up to 666. With a simpler code of A = 1, B = 2, and multiplying each letter-value by 6, Sun Moon adds up to 666. The same technique works on Kissinger as well as the word computer (that I can believe).
Are you game for more? It's possible to uncover 666 in the names of some evangelical leaders. By adopting the so-called "Devil's code" (a favorite ploy of numerologists, whereby the alphabet is numbered backward from zero; Z = 0, Y = 1, X = 2 . . . ) and multiplying each letter-value by 6 (whew!), Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell's last name equals 666. Billy Graham requires a more elaborate numerical treatment . . . but if you want to bad enough, you can make him out to be antichrist.
Talk about nuts! Several years ago I had a guy use a similar code, showing me (with tongue in cheek) how my name resulted in 666. That did it! I was able to hide no longer. I've even had a well-meaning believer claim he had the demon of nail-biting and another demon of over-eating. Next thing I know, I'll hear I have the demon of preaching too long.
Hold it! You know what I'm going to say, don't you? Since that's true, I won't need to say as much. You and I know there is a Devil and a host of demons . . . an authentic "prince of the power of the air," whose sole goal is to infect and influence with evil. He is on the prowl (1 Peter 5:8), diabolical in nature and deceptive in method (2 Corinthians 11:3). He is responsible for much wickedness, but not all of it—there's also the world and the flesh, remember (1 John 2:15-16). If he cannot get us entrapped in one extreme, where he's an imaginary prankster with horns, pitchfork, and a red epidermis . . . then it's the other, where he's everywhere, in everything, embodying everyone, and we start listening to music backward and sniffing out signs of 666 in labels, license plates, and leaders.
C'mon, Christian, let's wise up. We look foolish enough in the eyes of the lost without giving them fuel for the fire. Leave the funny stuff for Flip Wilson ("The Devil made me do it!") and the phony stuff for fanatics. We've got our hands full maintaining a sensible balance on the tightrope of truth. If there's one thing the Devil can't stand, it's the truth.
Excerpt taken from Come before Winter and Share My Hope by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 1985, 1988, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Featuring books for your permanent bookshelf from Charles R. Swindoll: Life Is 10% What Happens to You and 90% How You React - softcover book, and Growing Deep in the Christian Life: Essential Truths for Becoming Strong in the Faith.