Are you ready for the Beast?
If the Doomsdayers have their way the next few days could be your last, for Tuesday is the sixth day of the sixth month, 2006. And, you guessed it, the anti-Christ will descend upon us, and mark us with the number of the Beast.
It will be the first time in 100 years that the date coincides with the dreaded 666.
The mystical number has an ominous ring for millions of Christians around the world. It refers to a passage in the Book of Revelation interpreted by some as describing the number of "the Beast" - more commonly known as Satan or the Devil.
"Six hundred threescore and six" or 666 have long been associated with the anti-Christ and some believe that June 6, 2006, will be the day that the anti-Christ will be revealed, or the day on which he is born. Some believe it could be the beginning of the end, the battle of Armageddon, when true Christians are taken into heaven before the end of the world.
Most Christians, even "lapsed" ones, grow up with knowledge of this "evil" number and many still feel uncomfortable with it. In fact there is even a name for the fear of 666: hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.
Now there's a really hexing condition. Then there are those who use 666 for shock value - the rock and metal bands. It has even been declared as the National Day by Slayer, a so-called "Satanic speed metal" band from California.
And because of its fear factor, its significance has not been lost on marketing executives. Tuesday was chosen for the release of the remake of The Omen - a horror film about the anti-Christ. The original version was released June 6, 1976.
The Doomsday prophets have linked 666 with everything from bar codes and the New World Order to Hitler and Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Even a tree-hugging Prince Charles, after his insistence at being called defender of faith rather than defender of The Faith, is rumoured to be the anti-Christ personified, if Internet gossip is anything to go by.
Bar codes, especially, have been the focus of 666 spotters because the Book of Revelation states that "no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the Beast, or the number of his name".
Satan himself is hardly mentioned in the Old Testament and is a relative new name for all that encompasses evil - at least in the Christian sense. However, Shaitan is often referred to in the Islamic Holy Book, the Quran.
Despite its notoriety, the number 666 is not mentioned elsewhere in relation to Satan and might even have been wrongly translated - or not refer to Satan at all.
Professor Paul Decock of St Joseph's Theological Institute and University of KwaZulu-Natal said there were many interpretations of the number 666.
"In the Greek and Hebrew alphabets, the same signs were used for letters and figures. There was a tradition of reading words as numbers or names," said Decock.
"There are various speculations but the most commonly accepted theory is that it refers to the Emperor Nero. The other theory is that it is one short of the 'perfect' number 7," said Decock.
Decock said some people read it as Saddam Hussein, but this was a "game" to make it more relevant and not what was intended by John, the author of the Book of Revelation. The number 6 is also closely associated with Judaism and the six-pointed star (hexagram), made of two interlocking triangles, also referred to as the Star of David.
According to Rabbi Shraga Simmons, co-editor of Aish.com, the six points symbolise God's rule over the universe in all six directions. In Kabbalah, the two triangles represent traits inherent in man - namely good versus evil and spiritual versus physical.
In Vedic astrology and numerology the number 6 is associated with the planet Venus. Vedic astrologer Mahesh Bang said Venus was associated with love and beauty and had nothing to do with disaster.
The alignment of the planets on Tuesday also did not spell imminent danger or destruction with the sun in Taurus, the moon in Virgo and Mars in Cancer.
"The planets show a normal daily routine," said Bang.
On a lighter note - the world's most expensive phone number is 666 6666 and was sold for 10 million Qatari riyals or R11,5 million. Urban legend also has it that Viagra has a molecular weight of 666.7g/mol.
Whether 666 has religious significance or not - chances are that the day will pass as uneventfully as June 6, 1906.