666: Could accident be work of the devil?

06/15/2010 - CEBU, Philippines
- Could it be the work of the devil?

Who would have thought that a Sunday trip to the Western part of Cebu would end up a tragedy after a bus plunged down a cliff in the Transcentral Highway, Barangay Cansomoroy, Balamban town, killing 21 people and injuring 23 others.

The bus carrying the victims had the ominous license plate number GWZ-666.

Many could not help but notice and relate the tragedy to the plates that carried the number combination the Bible refers to as the “Number of the Beast” or the devil’s number.

Revelation 13:18 says, “Here is wisdom, let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”

This is where the mythology of this number combination started. The passage tells that “666” symbolizes Satan, the devil or the antichrist.

Some scholars believe that it is a code used by St. John the Apostle to refer to the fifth Roman emperor Nero who reigned for 14 years and is considered one of the most barbaric persecutors of the early church.

He has the complete name of Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, which if written in Aramaic could be valued at 666 using the Hebrew a system of assigning numerical value to letters of the alphabet.

But many still believe that 666 is the symbol of Satan and that something or anyone bearing it carries in him the evil spirit.

It is also believed that the coming of the man or the antichrist whose name or title is this number, means the end of the world as revealed in the last book of the Bible.

Msgr. Esteban Binghay, Episcopal vicar of the Archdiocese of Cebu said that the plate of the ill-fated bus must not be associated to what the number combination 666 symbolizes in the bible.

“It is merely a coincidence because numbers cannot kill. Numbers are supposed to be neutral. It is only our cultural bias that thinks this number combination is a bad omen,” Binghay said.

He said that even if the accident happened on the 13th day of the 6th month, it has no implication that these numbers, associated with the event, caused the disaster to happen.

“What is wrong with the number 13? Do you know that the Virgin Mary appeared on the 13th? So can we say that it is bad? It is not the number, but what it symbolized in us that we should fear,” Binghay said.

He believes that it could probably be a human error or a mechanical error plus the fact that it was the driver’s first time in the area and did not follow the signages along the road.

He said that though the Church teaches that this number combination must not be feared, still, they are not encouraging car owners to have plates ending in 666 changed just to dispel speculations.

“Even if it is only a symbol, we have to be sensitive to others,” he said. There actually exists a fear of the number 666 called Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.

Hazel Gloria, a government employee here, believes that 666 is a bad number as according to the Bible. Like others, she believes that it is a bad omen.

“Normal ra man nang 666 para nako. Wala ko kahibaw nga bad luck diay na,” an employee of The FREEMAN said.

Self-proclaimed Catholic faith defender and Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez agreed with Binghay that what happened in Balamban has nothing to do with the devil.

“Katong nahitabo, aksidente lang gyud to. Basin ang tawo kulang lang sa pag-amping ug kulang sad sa pag-ampo. Pero dili buot pasabot nga naglambigit na sa demonyo,” Fernandez said.

Binghay is appealing to the public to pray for the souls of the victims.

“They are still out human brothers. They still believe in God, Allah. So we still have to pray for them,” Binghay said (Freeman)

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