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As my bleary eyes strained toward the television last night, the updated Winter Games medal count was posted with the U.S. holding a slight edge over the Germans. Coming in third, Norway had compiled 18 medals — an even number of each.

Yep, that’s six gold, six silver and six bronze medals. The tally board spelled it out: 666.

Surely there’s a preacher or two searching the Kingdom of Norway this morning in an effort to identify the Scandinavian Anti-Christ. What we really need in this world is one more suspect, one more theory and one more book that purports to predict the end of time.

To paraphrase an adage, sneaking 666 by some preachers is like sneaking the sunrise past a rooster. And crowing about the end of time has been going on for what seems like eternity.

While biblical scholars generally believe the reference in Revelation 13 was a code for Nero or another Roman Emperor who persecuted early Christians, the list of candidates continues to build.

One of my favorites was the late U.S. president whose three names — Ronald Wilson Reagan — each contained six letters. A Big Mac-eating prophet at McDonald’s in Rome, Ga., freely offered that insight to me in the ’80s.

Looking for signs of the end of time distracts us from the clearer calls to mercy, justice, care and concern that should occupy our time. But finding an end-times formula is more intriguing to some.

Since the medal count is fluid, however, maybe no profiteering prophet will notice before another Norwegian athlete makes it to the stand. I hope so.

Go Norway! Go Norway! Win something.

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