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Author Topic: Number of the Beast: 666 Or 616?  (Read 1293 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: October 29, 2009, 06:22:20 AM »

What is your take on the idea among some that the actual number of the beast is 616? (For a quick overview, here's the wiki article).
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2009, 07:10:54 AM »

First of all, thank you for posting this because I was having a discussion about it and I couldn't remember what scholars are now saying the "real" number is.  It's quite interesting because it leaves room for a whole bunch of different interpretations to be made in regard to the number!
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« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2009, 08:00:32 AM »

I am convinced that the original reading is 666. There are many reasons in support for this such as:
1) the symbolical meaning of this number as a sort of nemesis of the Trinity, which is lacking in a possible 616 reading
2) the numerical value 6 as a sign of humanity (Man was created on the 6th day) and of imperfection (6 is 7-1 where 7 is the number of perfection)
3) the insistence of the Church Fathers in repeating the number 666 shows that they weren't aware of the 616 variant
4) the possibility that the 616 reading might have been a rare scribal error, or a voluntary alteration to identify the Antichrist with some contemporary individual

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2009, 12:16:11 PM »

The reading of 666 is attested in the vast majority of manuscripts that contain this verse and is also attested by patristic witness in Irenaeus, Hippolytus and Andrew who are contemporaneous writers to when many of these manuscripts are dated or at least their respecitve stemmata.  The only patristic witness to this reading is one of the Latin Orthodox fathers, Caesarius, who died in 542 as well as a citation in the Vulgate.  Those really are the only two to support readings of 616 as opposed to 666.  I don't think there is much room to debate that.
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« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2009, 03:26:15 PM »

Neron Kaisar in Hebrew gematria is 666.

Neron Kaisar in Greek (or is it Latin) gematria is 616.

St. John was Jewish. End of story. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2009, 04:26:49 PM »

The idea that the 666 (or 616) must refer to Nero has come under increasing and credible attacks over the years.  You will even find that Gaios Kaligula also comes to 666 when the values of the letters of his name are added up.

Besides, the manuscript tradition is overwhelmingly in favor of 666 as I posted above.
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2009, 08:07:52 PM »

616 is my area code!  Shocked
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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2009, 08:11:25 PM »

616 is my area code!  Shocked

Anyone here born on June 16?
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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2009, 08:14:57 PM »

Not I, though I was born on Friday the 13th, and at the time my parents lived at 1313 Jefferson Ave. Explains some things, doesn't it?  Tongue

Btw, some good points made in the thread in favor of 666.
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« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2009, 08:23:23 AM »

Neron Kaisar in Hebrew gematria is 666.

Neron Kaisar in Greek (or is it Latin) gematria is 616.

St. John was Jewish. End of story. Roll Eyes

Well, I think the story is only partially ended.
Even if st. John was a Jewish, the Beloved Disciple ruled over a vast area of Greek-speaking communities. The seven letters are sent to seven Asian churches; he was himself a leader in the church of Ephesus! Also, the church after 70 AD was being completely freed from its nationalistic Jewish origins and was being completely replaced by the Gentiles. In conclusion, God might have chosen to reveal the Antichrist's name in Greek and not in Jewish.
The fact that many Christians of the time identified 666/616 with Nero is true. That doesn't mean that the character behind this esoteric number was Nero Caesar.
Also, we must remember that the Church Fathers condemned Preterism (the idea that the Apocalypse had been fulfilled in the 1st century) and Chiliasm (the idea that the Millennium had begun in 30/33 AD with Christ's resurrection and that it had to last precisely 1000 years). Identifying Nero with Antichrist, also, is reductive, since the Apocalypse identifies "seven kings" of which the final antichrist is an 8th king. Definitely, I wouldn't be so sure that Nero Kaisar is the solution to st. John's enigma, or at least that he isn't THE final antichrist, so the question should be kept open.

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2009, 10:11:04 AM »

Also, according to what alot of modern scholars say.....not that that in and of itself means anything, but they are saying, and I believe them.......that alot of Jews in Palestine around that time spoke greek, and not just Hebrew and Aramaic. Infact, some say that most Jews didn't even know the Hebrew language around that time.


A number of Jews in the New Testament actually have greek names (Nicodemus), and some of the landmarks were Hellenistic as well.

And when we add to that the Testamony of the earlychurch fathers, nonfathers, schizmatics, and heretics that were chillists, we see that they too understood it to be 666 and not 616........and they did it by using greek letters.......not hebrew ones.


Don't forget that the Apostles mostly used a greek Old Testament, and they mostly wrote the New Testament in Greek as well, and so they were very comfortable in using greek.






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« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2009, 10:55:01 AM »

Neron Kaisar in Hebrew gematria is 666.

Neron Kaisar in Greek (or is it Latin) gematria is 616.

St. John was Jewish. End of story. Roll Eyes

Well, I think the story is only partially ended.
Even if st. John was a Jewish, the Beloved Disciple ruled over a vast area of Greek-speaking communities. The seven letters are sent to seven Asian churches; he was himself a leader in the church of Ephesus! Also, the church after 70 AD was being completely freed from its nationalistic Jewish origins and was being completely replaced by the Gentiles. In conclusion, God might have chosen to reveal the Antichrist's name in Greek and not in Jewish.
The fact that many Christians of the time identified 666/616 with Nero is true. That doesn't mean that the character behind this esoteric number was Nero Caesar.

To be honest, I use to be a chilist before converting to EO, and I only found one or two refernces where the Pre-nicene christians saw Nero related to the anti-christ. They had a list of alot of different names, and most of them didn't even see Nero as thee anti-christ......let alone as the one in whom Saint John was talking about. I know that alot of scholars say this, but when one looks at the primary evidence..........it's just not there. Most of them didn't even see Nero as the man of sin, as seen in Revelations.




Quote
Also, we must remember that the Church Fathers condemned Preterism (the idea that the Apocalypse had been fulfilled in the 1st century) and Chiliasm (the idea that the Millennium had begun in 30/33 AD with Christ's resurrection and that it had to last precisely 1000 years). Identifying Nero with Antichrist, also, is reductive, since the Apocalypse identifies "seven kings" of which the final antichrist is an 8th king. Definitely, I wouldn't be so sure that Nero Kaisar is the solution to st. John's enigma, or at least that he isn't THE final antichrist, so the question should be kept open.

In Christ,   Alex


The chilists from what I recall didn't believe that the Millennium started at 30/33 A.D. They saw it as something sometime in the future, but it was condemned in 381 A.D. when condemning Apollinarianism by saying "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end."


As seen from this commentary of the second council:

The link:
http://www.intratext.com/IXT/ENG0835/_P5I.HTM#9J6

Quote:
Quote
"[41] Led astray by the words in ch. 20 of the Book of Revelation (v. 3 to 7), where it says that Satan was shut up and bound for a thousand years, and that the righteous who participated in the first resurrection reigned together with Christ as kings for a thousand years, many men have imagined that after the second advent and common judgment take place, the righteous are to reign here on the earth as kings for a thousand years together with Christ, and thereafter to ascend to heaven; and on this account they have been called millenarians or millennialists. There have been two battalions of millenarians. For some of them used to say that during those thousand years they are to enjoy every enjoyment, and bodily pleasure; these men were followers of Cerinthus, a pupil of Simon, in the first century, and the Marcionists in the second century of the Christian era. Others said that they were not to enjoy passionate pleasures, but rather intellectual pleasures befitting rational human beings, of whom the leader was Papias the bishop of Hierapolis (in Euseb. Eccl. Hist, book 3, ch. 34) and others. Hence it is evident that Apollinaris became such a millenarian of the first battalion, as is plain from what St. Basil the Great says (letter 332), and from what the Theologian says (Discourse 51), and from what Jerome says (Book 18 on Isaiah). On this account in refutation of this heresy this Council added to the Creed of the Nicene Council that statement, which it borrowed from the sentence which the Archangel Gabriel spoke to the Virgin, viz.: “and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:33). As for the thousand years referred to by St. John, they are not to come to pass after the second advent of Christ; and the kingdom of the Lord is not describable in terms of years, nor food and drink, as St. Paul said (Rom. 14:17): but, on the contrary, a thousand years are to be understood, according to those versed in theology, to mean the interval of time extending from the first advent of Christ to the second, during which Satan was bound, according to the words of the Lord, saying, “Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the ruler of this world be cast out” (John 12:31). The first resurrection, by contrast, took place for justification of souls through mortification of infidelity and wickedness, concerning which Christ said “He that heareth my words, and believeth in him who sent me, hath life everlasting, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life” (John 5:24); and the Apostle said “If then ye be risen with Christ . . . set your mind on the things that are above” (Col. 3:1-2). And thereafter in this interval of time the reign of the righteous with Christ took place, being their union with Him through (i.e., by means of) the Holy Spirit, and the contemplation and enjoyment of His divine illumination, respecting which the Lord said, “Some of them that stand here shall not taste of death till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power” (Mark 9:1).


Now I maybe wrong, and this commentary maybe wrong, if so, please feel free to correct where we are off. I use to think this was a canon of the second council......boy was I wrong......it's just a note or commentary. I had to learn that the hard way.

Other than that, I pretty much agree with everything you said.






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« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2009, 12:23:55 PM »

Also, according to what alot of modern scholars say.....not that that in and of itself means anything, but they are saying, and I believe them.......that alot of Jews in Palestine around that time spoke greek, and not just Hebrew and Aramaic. Infact, some say that most Jews didn't even know the Hebrew language around that time.


A number of Jews in the New Testament actually have greek names (Nicodemus), and some of the landmarks were Hellenistic as well.

And when we add to that the Testamony of the earlychurch fathers, nonfathers, schizmatics, and heretics that were chillists, we see that they too understood it to be 666 and not 616........and they did it by using greek letters.......not hebrew ones.


Don't forget that the Apostles mostly used a greek Old Testament, and they mostly wrote the New Testament in Greek as well, and so they were very comfortable in using greek.






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Last night, at my church's first meeting to study the NT and I brought this exact point and people refused to believe that this was the case.  In fact, the priest even implied taht the Gospels were translated from Aramaic originals.  I was more or less told to shut up after voicing objections that such was mere conjecture with no evidence and all people did was glare at me with "how dare you contradict the priest."  You just can't win sometimes.
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« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2009, 12:27:53 PM »

An Anglican priest I once knew also believed that Christ actually taught mostly in Greek and pointed to the fact that the instances in the Gospels where the writers point out that Jesus is speaking Aramaic are instances where people usually fall back on their native tongue: talking to the children (raising of Jairus' daughter), making a command (healing of the man born dumb), and when in pain (on the cross).  It made sense to me, but it's certainly not something that I would necessarily argue about. Smiley
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