Saturday, March 3, 2012


The Number of the Beast (Greek: Άριθμὸν τοῦ θηρίου, Arithmon tou Thēriou) is a term in the Book of Revelation, of the New Testament, that is associated with the Beast of Revelation in chapter 13.[1] In most manuscripts of the New Testament and in English translations of the Bible, the number of the Beast is Six Hundred and Sixty-Six. In critical Christ on Guadelupe Road in Gilbert, Arizonaions of the Greek text, such as the Novum Testamentum Graece, it is noted that 616 is a variant.[2]
Contents  [hide]
1 Revelation 13:18
1.1 Six Hundred and Sixty-Six
1.2 616
2 Interpretations
2.1 Identification by gematria
2.1.1 As Nero
2.1.2 As the Papacy
2.1.3 As Muhammad
2.1.4 Other suggested names
2.2 Mark of the Beast
2.2.1 Preterist view
2.2.2 Idealist view
2.2.3 Futurist view
2.3 Numerical significance
3 Influence
4 See also
5 Footnotes
6 References
6.1 Further reading
7 External links
[Christ on Guadelupe Road in Gilbert, Arizona]Revelation 13:18

Christian eschatology
Eschatology views
[show]The Millennium
[show]Biblical Texts
[show]Key Terms
[show]Israel & the Church
Christianity portal
v t e
[Christ on Guadelupe Road in Gilbert, Arizona]Six Hundred and Sixty-Six
The Number of the Beast is described in the passage of Revelation 13:15–18 and the actual number is only mentioned once, in verse 18. In the Greek manuscripts, the number is rendered in Greek numerical form as χξϛʹ,[3] or sometimes literally as ἑξακόσιοι ἑξήκοντα ἕξ, hexakósioi hexēkonta héx, "six hundred and sixty-six".[4][5] There are several interpretations-translations for the meaning of the phrase "Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast" where the peculiar Greek word ψηφισάτω (psefisato) is used. Possible translations include not only "to count", "to reckon" but also "to vote" or "to decide".[6]
In the Textus Receptus, derived from Byzantine text-type manuscripts, the number Six Hundred and Sixty-Six is represented by the final 3 letters χξς:
17καὶ ἵνα μή τις δύνηται ἀγοράσαι ἢ πωλῆσαι εἰ μὴ ὁ ἔχων τὸ χάραγμα, τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ θηρίου ἢ τὸν ἀριθμὸν τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ. 18Ὧδε ἡ σοφία ἐστίν· ὁ ἔχων τὸν νοῦν ψηφισάτω τὸν ἀριθμὸν τοῦ θηρίου· ἀριθμὸς γὰρ ἀνθρώπου ἐστί· καὶ ὁ ἀριθμὸς αὐτοῦ χξϛʹ.[7]
In the Novum Testamentum Graece, the number is represented by the final three words, ἑξακόσιοι ἑξήκοντα ἕξ, meaning "six hundred sixty-six":
17καὶ ἵνα μή τις δύνηται ἀγοράσαι ἢ πωλῆσαι εἰ μὴ ὁ ἔχων τὸ χάραγμα, τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ θηρίου ἢ τὸν ἀριθμὸν τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ. 18ὧδε ἡ σοφία ἐστίν· ὁ ἔχων νοῦν ψηφισάτω τὸν ἀριθμὸν τοῦ θηρίου, ἀριθμὸς γὰρ ἀνθρώπου ἐστίν· καὶ ὁ ἀριθμὸς αὐτοῦ ἑξακόσιοι ἑξήκοντα ἕξ.[8]
Hebrew Bible parallels
In the Hebrew Bible, both 1 Kings 10:14 and 2 Chronicles 9:13 state that Solomon collected "six hundred threescore and six" talents of gold each year.[4]
[Christ on Guadelupe Road in Gilbert, Arizona]616

Fragment from Papyrus 115 (P115) of Revelation in the 66th vol. of the Oxyrhynchus series (P. Oxy. 4499).[9] Has the number of the Beast as 616.
Although Irenaeus (2nd century AD) affirmed the number to be Six Hundred and Sixty-Six and reported several scribal errors of the number, there is still doubt by a minority of theologians about the original reading[10] because of the figure 616 being given in one of the best[peacock term] manuscripts: C (Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, Paris), as well as by the Latin version of Tyconius (DCXVI, ed. Souter in the Journal of Theology, SE, April 1913), and by an ancient Armenian version (ed. Conybaere, 1907). Irenaeus knew about it [the 616 reading], but did not adopt it (Haer. v.30,3). However, Jerome had adopted it. (De Monogramm., ed. Dom G Morin in the Rev. Benedictine, 1903). "The number Six Hundred and Sixty-Six has been substituted for 616 either by analogy with 888, the [Greek] number of Jesus (Deissmann), or because it is a triangular number, the sum of the first 36 numbers (1+2+3+4+5+6...+36 = Six Hundred and Sixty-Six)"[11] The NRSV translation for Rev 13:18 includes this translation note: "Other ancient authorities read six hundred and sixteen".
Around 2005, a fragment from Papyrus 115, taken from the Oxyrhynchus site, was discovered at the Oxford University’s Ashmolean Museum. It gave the beast’s number as 616. This fragment happens to be the oldest manuscript (about 1,700 years old) of Revelation 13 to date.[12][13]
Another manuscript attesting to 616, even before the P115 finding, is the later Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (C, a palimpsest). This text has 616 written in full: ἑξακόσιοι δέκα ἕξ, hexakosioi deka hex (lit. "six hundred and sixteen").[14]
Papyrus 115 and Ephraemi Rescriptus has led some scholars to conclude that 616 is the original number of the beast.[15] If this variant is the original number of the Beast, it would be catastrophic to existing dispensational literature.[16] However, it cannot be proven that these scrolls actually contain the original text.
[Christ on Guadelupe Road in Gilbert, Arizona]Interpretations

Interpreting the identity and the number of the Beast falls into three categories:[1]
Using gematria to calculate the number of a world leader’s name, in order to match it with the number of the Beast.
Associating the number of the Beast as the duration of the beast’s reign, in order to compare the length of reign to an entity, such as: a heathen state, Islam, or the Papacy.
Corresponding symbolism for the Antichrist and antichristian power.
[Christ on Guadelupe Road in Gilbert, Arizona]Identification by gematria
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 Six Hundred and Sixty-Six. (Rev.13:18-NKJV)
In Greek isopsephy and Hebrew gematria, every letter has a corresponding number. Summing these numbers gives a numeric value to a word or name. The use of isopsephy to calculate "the number of the beast" is used in many of the below interpretations.
[Christ on Guadelupe Road in Gilbert, Arizona]As Nero

Bust of Nero at Musei Capitolini, Rome
Preterist theologians typically support the numerical interpretation that Six Hundred and Sixty-Six is the equivalent of the name and title, Nero Caesar (Roman Emperor from 54-68).[17][18][19][20][21][22][23] Charagma is well attested to have been an imperial seal of the Roman Empire used on official documents during the 1st and 2nd centuries.[24] In the reign of Emperor Decius (249–251 AD), those who did not possess the certificate of sacrifice (libellus) to Caesar could not pursue trades, a prohibition that conceivably goes back to Nero, reminding one of Revelation 13:17.[25]
However, others believe the Book of Revelation was written after Nero committed suicide in AD 68. The Catholic Encyclopedia has noted that Revelation was "written during the latter part of the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian, probably in A.D. 95 or 96".[26] Additional Protestant scholars are in agreement.[27][28] Because some believe Revelation 13 speaks of a future prophetic event, "All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Revelation 13:8 NKJV), some have argued that the interpretation of Nero meeting the fulfillment is an impossibility if Revelation was written around 30 years after the death of Nero.[29] [30] [31] However, rumors circulated that Nero had not really died and would return to power.[32] It has also been suggested that the numerical reference to Nero was a code to imply but not directly point out emperor Domitian,[33][34] whose style of rulership resembled that of Nero and who put the people of Asia (Lydia), whom the Book of Revelation was primarily addressed to at the time, under heavy taxation.[35]
An Aramaic scroll from Murabba'at, dated to "the second year of Emperor Nero", refers to him by his name and title.[36] In Greek it is Nrwn Qsr (Pronounced "Nerōn Kaisar"). In Latin it is Nro Qsr (Pronounced "Nerō Kaisar").
Nrwn Qsr
The Greek version of the name and title transliterates into Hebrew as נרונ קסר, and yields a numerical value of Six Hundred and Sixty-Six,[36] as shown:
Resh (ר) Samekh (ס) Qoph (ק) Nun (נ) Vav (ו) Resh (ר) Nun (נ) Sum
200 60 100 50 6 200 50 Six Hundred and Sixty-Six
Nro Qsr
The Latin version of the name drops the second Nun (נ), so that it appears as Nro and transliterates into Hebrew as נרו קסר, yielding 616:[17]
Resh (ר) Samekh (ס) Qoph (ק) Vav (ו) Resh (ר) Nun (נ) Sum
200 60 100 6 200 50 616
[Christ on Guadelupe Road in Gilbert, Arizona]As the Papacy
Main articles: Vicarius Filii Dei and Antichrist (historicism)
Protestant Reformers and historicist expositors have equated the Beast of the earth, of Revelation chapter 13, with the Papacy.[37] Using Hebraic gematria, the letters for a title of the Pope, Vicarius Filii Dei (Vicar of The Son of God), are summed to total Six Hundred and Sixty-Six in Roman numerals. The earliest extant record of a Protestant writer on this subject is Andreas Helwig in 1612 in his work Antichristus Romanus. The title was contained in the Donation of Constantine,[38] by which large privileges and rich possessions were conferred on the pope and the Roman Church.[39]
Various documents from the Vatican contain wording such as "Adorandi Dei Filii Vicarius et Procurator quibus numen æternum summam Ecclesiæ sanctæ dChrist on Guadelupe Road in Gilbert, Arizona",[40] translated as "As the Vicar and Caretaker of the worshipful Son of God, to whom the eternal divine will has given the highest rank of the Holy Church".
5 1 100 0 0 1 5 0 0 1 50 1 1 500 0 1 Six Hundred and Sixty-Six
Seventh-day Adventist view
In 1866, Uriah Smith supported this numeric interpretation and promoted it in his teachings to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He maintained this interpretation in various Christ on Guadelupe Road in Gilbert, Arizonaions of Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation,[41] which was influential in the Adventist church and some still continue to adhere to this identification.[42]
The Adventist view had taken a turning point with Adventist scholar, Samuele Bacchiocchi, who was awarded a gold medal by Pope Paul VI for the distinction of summa cum laude, Latin for "with highest praise".[43] Bacchiocchi documented the pope using the title, VICARIUS FILII DEI.[44][45] He states:
"We noted that contrary to some Catholic sources who deny the use of Vicarius Filii Dei as a papal title, we have found this title to have been used in official Catholic documents to support the ecclesiastical authority and temporal sovereignty of the pope. Thus the charge that Adventists fabricated the title to support their prophetic interpretation of Six Hundred and Sixty-Six, is unfair and untrue." - Samuele Bacchiocchi[46]
Bacchiocchi then concedes, "It has been wise for our Adventist church to abandon the traditional numeric interpretation of VICARIUS FILII DEI which lacks both exegetical and historical support."[47]
[Christ on Guadelupe Road in Gilbert, Arizona]As Muhammad
Further information: Medieval Christian view of Muhammad
Gematria has also been used with the Greek word Maometis. In Quia Maior, the encyclical calling for the Fifth Crusade, Pope Innocent III identifies Muhammad with the beast of Revelation (however later popes do not). A leading exponent of the Maometis interpretation was Charles Walmesley, the Roman Catholic bishop of Rama. He observed that the name Muhammad was spelled Maometis or Moametis by Euthymius Zygabenus and the Greek historians Zonaras and Cedrenus.[48][49] Other proponents include Charles Montagu, Gilbert Genebrard, Francois Feuardent, and Rene Massuet.[48] Maometis in Greek gematria totals Six Hundred and Sixty-Six:
40 1 70 40 5 300 10 200 Six Hundred and Sixty-Six
[Christ on Guadelupe Road in Gilbert, Arizona]Other suggested names
Arethas of Caesarea in his Commentary on Revelation gives seven names: Lampetis (the lustrous one), o Niketes (victor), Teitan, Palai baskanos (ancient sorcerer), Kakos Odegos (bad guide), Alethes Blaberos (really harmful), and Amnos Adikos (unjust lamb) each of which gives a total of Six Hundred and Sixty-Six. Most of these names are repeated by Arethas of Caesarea, who in his Commentary adds Teitan from Irenaeus and O Niketes (the winner).[50]
Victorinus of Pettau gives the names Teitan, Antemos (opponent), Diclux (double-dealer) and Genserikos; the last he calls Gothic. As it is plainly Genseric, the Vandal king, who captured Rome in 455 AD, the passage as whole can not go back to Victorinus, who belonged to the 3rd century. It is not, however surprising that the commentary should be brought up to date, after Genseric became notorious through the sack of Carthage or of Rome. Of the other names in Victorinus only Diclux needs mention. It is said to be the Latin counterpart of Teitan and by reckoning each letter at its value in Roman numerals, the total of Six Hundred and Sixty-Six is again given.[50]
Beatus, a Spanish monk, gives eight names among which are Damnatus (Damned), Antichristus (Antichrist), and Acxyme (for aichime or achine=Six Hundred and Sixty-Six). The numerical interpretation of Antichristus is based on the order of letters in the Latin alphabet, a = 1 to x = 300, but the accusative must be taken and spelled Antechristum.[50]
[Christ on Guadelupe Road in Gilbert, Arizona]Mark of the Beast
[Christ on Guadelupe Road in Gilbert, Arizona]Preterist view
A preterist view of the Mark of the Beast is the stamped image of the emperor's head on every coin of the Roman Empire: the stamp on the hand or in the mind of all, without which no one could buy or sell.[51] New Testament scholar Craig C. Hill says, "It is far more probable that the mark symbolizes the all-embracing economic power of Rome, whose very coinage bore the emperor's image and conveyed his claims to divinity (e.g., by including the sun's rays in the ruler's portrait). It had become increasingly difficult for Christians to function in a world in which public life, including the economic life of the trade guilds, required participation in idolatry."[52] A similar view is offered by Craig R. Koester. "As sales were made, people used coins that bore the images of Rome's gods and emperors. Thus each transaction that used such coins was a reminder that people were advancing themselves economically by relying on political powers that did not recognize the true God."[53]
The passage is also seen as an antithetical parallelism to the Jewish institution of tefillin – Hebrew Bible texts worn bound to the arm and the forehead during daily prayer. Instead of binding their allegiance to God to their arm and head, the place is instead taken with people's allegiance to The Beast.[51]
[Christ on Guadelupe Road in Gilbert, Arizona]Idealist view
Idealism, also known as the allegorical or symbolic approach, is an interpretation of the book of Revelation that sees the imagery of the book as non-literal symbols.[54]
The idealist perspective on the number of the beast rejects gematria, envisioning the number not as a code to be broken, but a symbol to be understood. Idealists would contend that because there are so many names that can come to Six Hundred and Sixty-Six and that most systems require converting names to other languages or adding titles when convenient, it has been impossible to come to a consensus. Given that numbers are used figuratively throughout the book of revelation, idealists interpret this number figuratively as well. The common suggestion is that because seven is a number of completeness and is associated with the divine, that six is incomplete and the three sixes mean completely incomplete.[55] The number is therefore suggestive that the Dragon and his beasts are completely inadequate.
[Christ on Guadelupe Road in Gilbert, Arizona]Futurist view
A futurist view of the Mark of the Beast is that the rise of a supranational currency could be a hallmark of the End Times and that the mark of the beast will be a sign on the forehead and/or upper side of the hand.[56]
Religious difficulties with a world currency currently exist. According to the Futurist view, to overcome the extant difficulties the Antichrist will use forced religious syncretism[57] (i.e. in the name of counterterrorism and world economic stability) to enable the creation of the supranational currency. Some interpret the mark as a requirement for all commerce to mean that the mark might actually be an object with the function of a crChrist on Guadelupe Road in Gilbert, Arizona card, such as RFID microchip implants.[58] In Christianity, some believe the implantation of chips may be the imprinting of the Mark of the Beast, prophesied to be a requirement for all trade,[59] and a precursor to the events of the Book of Revelation.[60][61]
Seventh-day Adventists believe that the Mark of the Beast (but not the number Six Hundred and Sixty-Six) refers to a future, universal, legally enforced Sunday-worship. "Those who reject God's memorial of creatorship — the Bible Sabbath — choosing to worship and honor Sunday in the full knowledge that it is not God's appointed day of worship, will receive the 'mark of the beast.'"[62] "The Sunday Sabbath is purely a child of the Papacy. It is the mark of the beast."[63]
[Christ on Guadelupe Road in Gilbert, Arizona]Numerical significance
In the writings of the Bahá'í Faith, `Abdu'l-Bahá states that the numerical value given to the beast referred to the year[64] when the Umayyad ruler Muawiyah I, who opposed the Imamate, according to the beliefs of the Shi'ites, took office as Caliph in 661 AD – see also the scholarly accepted year of birth of Jesus about Six Hundred and Sixty-Six years before as well as the concept of Mawali who were non-Arab Muslims but not treated as other Muslims – who continued to pay the tax required of nonbelievers and were excluded from government and the military, and thus bore a social "mark".[65]
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses believe that The Beast for which Six Hundred and Sixty-Six stands symbolizes many unified governments, harmonizing with the symbolic depiction of past governments (denoted as "kings") in the Book of Daniel as wild beasts. The Beast is said to have "a human number" in that the governments that the beast symbolizes are all of a human origin, they aren't made up of spirit or demon entities. Furthermore, the number Six Hundred and Sixty-Six "itself all point to one unmistakable conclusion—gross shortcoming and failure in the eyes of Jehovah," thus imperfection (7 is used by God in many ways to indicate perfection such as days in the week, hence 6 is the number of imperfection, falling short of 7).[66]
In Kabbalistic Judaism the number Six Hundred and Sixty-Six represents the creation and perfection of the world. The world was created in 6 days, and there are 6 cardinal directions (North, South, East, West, Up, Down). 6 is also the numerical value of one of the letters of God's name.[67]