Q: Based on Revelation 13:18 and the number of the beast being 666, I've heard people claim that the Antichrist is everybody from the Pope to Henry Kissinger to Mikhail Gorbachev to Madonna ... you name 'em! How do they figure this, and how can we know the truth?
A: The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters, each one having a corresponding numerical value. Therefore, one can find out the number of a name — the number of the beast (Rev. 13:18) — simply by adding the value of each Hebrew letter of a particular name. Obviously, there are many names that total 666. Keep in mind that the person meeting the 666 requirement must also meet the criteria of being a world ruler.
At any rate, I think it is a bit early to speculate on the identity of the Antichrist, as he will not even appear on the scene until after we have a one-world government followed by a ten-nation division, according to the Scriptures. [A much more detailed study of this issue is included in Dr. Fruchtenbaum's book, The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events]. By the way, none of the names most frequently mentioned in this regard meet the 666 numerical criteria.