This is a completely weird and odd story, but ...
The Revelation to John is the last book of the New Testament, describing in a cryptic way the battle between the good and the evil, and the final victory of the good.
The actors are a number of well-known characters such as the lamb, the virgin and the apocalyptic horsemen among others.
The evil is represented by: a dragon with seven heads identified as Satan, a beast with seven heads, a beast with two heads - also called the false prophet - and the great prostitute.
The beast with seven heads is pointed out as a human, and his name is given in form of a number code. That riddle has incited people from time immemorial.
In 1907, the Russian astronomer Nikolai Alexandrowicz Morosow published a book in which he postulated that the Revelation describes the astronomic constellation of Sun,
Moon and stars visible over the island of Patmos on Sunday 30. Sept. 395 AD (Julian calendar) (ref.1). One year later Morosow's book was placed on the index (over forbidden books) by the Orthodox clergy.
Morosow's dating of his interpretation of the celestial scenario has been astronomically verified but historically rejected because it does not fit chronologically.
Common understanding says that the Revelation has been written down near the end of the reign of the Roman emperor Domitian (81 - 96 AD).
Consequently, either the Revelation has been dated some three centuries too old, or the reign of Domitian has (ref.2).
We found this case accidentally when we were looking for datable ancient astronomical observations.
Eager to know if there was something special with it, we redated the alleged observation according to our previous hypothesis
backwards by 232 years and arrived at 163 AD and the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161 - 180 AD).
And suddenly the old riddle of the "number of the beast" got an obvious and easy solution! Passage 13:18 of the Revelation says:
"Here is wisdom. He who has understanding, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is six hundred sixty-six."
666 stands for "Gold" or the "Antichrist", or both (ref.3). And the latin name "Aurelius" means literally "Golden"!
So Marcus Aurelius would be the sixth head, "the one that is", of the beast with seven heads coming out of the sea
(the Nervan-Antonian dynasty which emperors were notorious persecutors of Christians).
The second beast with two heads coming out of the earth would be the local authorities (perhaps the Sanhedrin), being loyal towards the occupying power.
The mark of the beast, without that no one would be able to buy or to sell, is the Roman currency.
And the great prostitute sitting on seven mountains is Rome herself (of course!).
John addressed his Revelation to seven Christian communities in Asia Minor as support and comfort during persecution, while he himself was exiled on Patmos.
He predicted the fall of the Roman Empire and the victory of Christianity.
Open criticism against the occupying power would have been lethal, but the coded message must have been understandable for contemporary people.
We who live in later times lost the key to the code when somebody messed around with our chronology!