Ancient Revelations: Papyrology
P. Oxy. LVI
(Late Third / Early Fourth Century)
known witness to the "Number of the
number (chi, iota, stigma - hexakosiai deka hex) in third line
Satanists, apocalypse watchers and heavy metal guitarists
may have to adjust their demonic numerology after a recently deciphered
ancient biblical text revealed that 666 is not the fabled Number of the
Beast after all.
A fragment from the oldest surviving copy of the New
Testament, dating to the Third century, gives the more mundane 616 as the
mark of the Antichrist.
Ellen Aitken, a professor of early Christian history at
McGill University, said the discovery appears to spell the end of 666 as the
devil’s prime number.
“This is a very nice piece to find,” Dr. Aitken said.
“Scholars have argued for a long time over this, and it now seems that 616
was the original number of the beast.”
The tiny fragment of 1,500-year-old papyrus is written in
Greek, the original language of the New Testament, and contains a key
passage from the Book of Revelation.
Where more conventional versions of the Bible give 666 as
the “number of the beast,” or the sign of the anti-Christ whose coming is
predicted in the book’s apocalyptic verses, the older version uses the Greek
letters signifying 616.
“This is very early confirmation of that number, earlier
than any other text we’ve found of that passage,” Dr. Aitken said. “It’s
probably about 100 years before any other version.”
The fragment was part of a hoard of previously illegible
manuscripts discovered in an ancient garbage dump outside the Egyptian city
of Oxyrhynchus. Although the papyrus was first excavated in 1895, it was
badly discoloured and damaged. Classics scholars at Oxford University were
only recently able to read it using new advanced imaging techniques.
Elijah Dann, a professor of philosophy and religion at
the University of Toronto, said the new number is unlikely to make a dent in
the popularity of 666.
“Otherwise, a lot of sermons would have to be changed and
a lot of movies rewritten,” he said with a laugh. “There’s always someone
with an active imagination who can put another interpretation on it.
“It just shows you that when you study something as
cryptic and mystic as the Book of Revelation there’s an almost unlimited
number of interpretations.”
The book is thought to have been written by the disciple
John and according to the King James Bible, the traditional translation of
the passage reads: “Let him that hath understanding count the number of the
beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred
threescore and six.”
But Dr. Aitken said that translation was drawn from much
later versions of the New Testament than the fragment found in Oxyrhynchus.
“When we’re talking about the early biblical texts, we’re always talking
about copies and they are copies made, at best, 150 to 200 years after [the
original] was written,” she said.
“They can have mistakes in the copying, changes for
political or theological reasons … it’s like a detective story piecing it
Dr. Aitken said, however, that scholars now believe the
number in question has very little to do the devil. It was actually a
complicated numerical riddle in Greek, meant to represent someone’s name,
“It’s a number puzzle — the majority opinion seems to be
that it refers to [the Roman emperor] Nero.”
Revelation was actually a thinly disguised political
tract, with the names of those being criticized changed to numbers to
protect the authors and early Christians from reprisals. “It’s a very
political document,” Dr. Aitken said. “It’s a critique of the politics and
society of the Roman empire, but it’s written in coded language and
Wrong Number for Prophetic Beast? - WND "This adds weight to those
who believe that it is a reference to Caligula's attempt to desecrate
the Temple in Jerusalem, by having his statue erected there as part of
the cult of emperor worship. "There may be a reference to it in
Mark [13:14], where he refers to the 'the abomination of desolation.'
But this was overlaid by the Neronian persecutions. People believed that
you could get from '666' to Nero because in Greek he is the emperor
Neron Caesar. And 666 is one number less than the perfect 777. The text
[showing 616] is quite legible to the naked eye. It was published in
1999, but it has taken people time to catch up."
666 Not So Evil? '616' Revelation Might Bedevil Metalheads - MTV.com
"Both Greek and Hebrew
letters have numeric values that can be added up to arrive at a total.
One common explanation of 666 is that it comes from the numerical value
transliterated into Hebrew letters. A small change in the
transliteration can result in 616."
AntiChrist Discounted - "So sorry to all the "666" tattoo wearers out there ...
its 616 that's the goin' number. Time to head back to the parlor for an update."
Revelation! 666 is not the Number of the Beast (It's a devilish
616) - "This is an example of gematria, where numbers are based on
the numerical values of letters in people's names. Early Christians
would use numbers to hide the identity of people who they were
attacking: 616 refers to the Emperor Caligula." | "satanists
responded coolly to the new "Revelation". Peter Gilmore, High Priest of
the Church of Satan, based in New York, said: "By using 666 we're using
something that the Christians fear. Mind you, if they do switch to 616
being the number of the beast then we'll start using that."
Papyrus Reveals New Clues to Ancient World - National Geographic News "..the Oxyrhynchus collection holds a lot of information about the rise of Christianity during the Roman period. (Egypt became part of the Roman Empire after Cleopatra's fleet was defeated at the battle of Actium in 31 B.C.). "[Christianity] starts out as a small social phenomenon, then just takes over everything," Obbink said. "You can see other cultural sea changes taking place—changes in taxes, changes in rule. It's all reflected in the papyrus."
Classical Holy Grail or Unholy Hype? "So as of right now, the rest of the papyrological community is waiting to hear Dirk Obbink at Oxford either back up for disavow the claims made in the article. At the very best, the Independent's reporters are covering some kind of new imaging breakthrough in an extremely hyperbolic fashion. And at the worst, they're trying to make a major story out of 20-year-old news. " |
Brautigan and Oxy
- "I'm sure Brautigan wouldn't have wanted his spoof to be treated this
seriously, but I like this idea of the fragments, and falling in love with
the sound of them, and with the ghost of what was lost. In this case, and in
that of the Oxyrhynchus materials, so little remained that the words could
be nothing more than tantalizing. With the discovery of more text for things
that were incomplete, some of that mystery will disappear, some of the
possibilities will be closed off. "
666 and Nero
- "The preterist takes a relatively uncommon form of Nero's name, Nero Cæsar
or Cæsar Nero, and adds an "n", resulting in Neron Cæsar. Next the Latin is
transliterated into Aramaic, resulting in nrwn qsr, which when using
the numeric equivalent of the letters, then adds up to 666 as follows:
An example of this spelling
has apparently been recently discovered in one of the Dead Sea scrolls. (If
you use the same process, but without the added "n" the result is 616.
Interestingly, some early manuscripts of the Bible have 616 rather than 666,
but even scholars such as Irenæus attribute the 616 to only a copyist
"The textual variant is Latin, and the Latinized version of Nero’s name is
different than the Hebrew, which goes to 666, but the Latinized name goes to
616. The variant probably existed to keep consistent the meaning of Nero as
the Beast. "
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID
"My copy of Nestle-Aland (27th ed.) at Revelation 13:18 lists for the
variant reading "616" only "C; Ir mss" (the 5th century uncial manuscript C
and some manuscripts cited by Irenaeus). A 3rd or 4th century papyrus
containing this reading would be extremely significant, although probably
not enough to outweigh the many witnesses for "666."
As Bruce Metzger points out in his Textual Commentary on the Greek New
Testament (1971), the numerical value of "666" is derived from the
Hebrew/Aramaic values for the letters comprising the name נרון קסר, "Nero
Caesar" (in Greek Νέρων Καῖσαρ) The variant "616" results from the alternate
spelling נרו קסר.
For those of you unfamiliar with the numerical values of the Hebrew
alphabet, the values in the above name are nun = 50, resh =
200, waw = 6, nun = 50, quph = 100, samekh = 60,
resh = 200. Add 'em up!
The name "Nero Caesar" (נרון קסר) actually appears in a scroll from the
Judean Desert, Murabbaat 18, dated to the "second year of Nero Caesar"
(55/56 CE)." (Ralph
the Sacred River)
The Oxyrhynchus Papyrus is the oldest
known copy of the Book of Revelation.
Close examination of this fragment
indicates the mark of the beast is 616, not 666.
With all the theories out there about
who the Antichrist is, I wonder how this affects those theories.
Is this interpretation of this ancient
Sources # 1
Rather than interpreting the mark of
the beast found in Revelation 13:18 as either Greek or Aramaic, consider the
possibility that the mark was passed down from an even more remote time in
the form of Proto-Sinaitic script, the original Hebrew alphabet.
By interpreting these as ancient
Hebrew letters [ie, not Greek] we discover a complete message that gives a
clear and unmistakable warning.
Each letter in the ancient Hebrew Proto-Sinaitic alphabet had a distinctive
meaning; they not only gave a phonic sound to construct words, but also
contained a conceptual meaning found in the symbol itself.
This part of the text has
traditionally been interpreted as “666”, but in the original text we see it
says “616” in Greek letters.
In the Oxyrhynchus Papyrus the symbols
are similar to our letters X, I, and C, and if interpreted as Greek letters
they give an ambiguous number, leading to endless speculation.
We need to find out what the symbols
X, I, and C mean.
In the ancient Hebrew these letters
are Tav, Vav, and Lamed, written with the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet.
This ancient form of Hebrew is the
oldest written language, and the origin of all alphabetic languages used in
the world today.
Hebrew tradition says that this
language was used before the tower of Babel, and was used all the way back
to the time of Adam.
The oldest Proto-Sinaitic Inscriptions
found so far date to 1900 BC. Here is what the Proto-Sinaitic letters
X – Tav: is a mark or sign, also
written as a cross +
I – Vav: means to attach, like a peg
or nail, or fixed into like a hook in a fish.
C – Lamed: means to direct, as in
giving instructions, like the goad used to herd oxen. The verb form of Lamed
means to prick or puncture as in using a sharp object to pierce the skin.
The question at this point is why
would there be letters from the ancient Hebrew language embedded in a Greek
The answer is at once shocking and
quite logical; this was the mark known by the Ancients to be the mark of
Cain, and the achronistic name of the beast
Leviathan, Lamed-Vav-Tau “Lavithaw.”
The following quotes found in the
Bible and the ancient mystic book called the Zohar, provide the connection
that associates the X and I symbols to the mark of Cain.
Gen 4:15 … ” And the LORD set a
mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.”
Remember X (Tav) means a mark or a
sign in ancient Hebrew!
Remember the verb form of C “Lamed”
means to puncture or pierce the skin!
This was not part of the mark per say,
but the action taken to apply the mark.
The following chart shows the ancient Proto-Sinaitic alphabet in column 2.
Note the little circle at the top of
the I and C in the fragment above.
The little circles at the top of the I
and the C in the Oxyrhynchus Papyrus are deliberate.
The symbols decipher to mean: A mark, attached like a peg or hook, as a
means to direct or control, applied by a piercing of the skin.
The mark that protected Cain was
the X (Tau), which is the cross…..so it will be for us as well.
Source # 2:
Papyrus 115 (in the
Gregory-Aland numbering designated by
or P. Oxy. 4499) is a New Testament papyrus written in Greek.
It consists of 12 fragments of a
papyrus codex which contains parts of the Book of Revelation.
It dates from the mid to late third
century, around 225-275 CE.
This particular manuscript was not
deciphered and published until the end of the twentieth century and is
currently housed at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
The text-type is Alexandrian.
follows the text of Codex Alexandrinus (A) and Codex Ephraemi
A curiosity of this text is that it
gives “the number of the beast” as 616 (chi, iota, sigma (ΧΙϚ)), rather than
the majority text — 666 (chi, xi, sigma (ΧΞϚ)).
If the letters are Hebrew, then the
numeric value would be different from that if the numbers were in Greek.
Tav – vav – lamed =
lamed – vav- tav ( since it reads from
right to left) =
30 + 6 + 400 = 436
We have certain choices here:
1. the mark/number is 666
2. the mark/number is 616
3. the mark/number spells out
“Leviathan” in ancient Hebrew Proto-Sinaitic alphabet
4. if the mark is, cryptically, Hebrew
letters, and not Greek, then the numeric value is 436
What do YOU think ?
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Date: 12 Apr 2009
616 and 666 I believe are both correct.but I dont associate them with either
Nero or any roman emporer. If it were popular belief why do we need wisdom
to figure it out and The number needs to be associated with the end times
not 1500+ YEARS ago. To understand the beast number we first need to
understand the 2300 evenings and mornings of daniel the prophet. Most say
that the 2300M&E were 2300 years but I think it was talking about the daily
sacrifice and the morn and eve were added together to come up to 2300 so
that puts the number at 1150 days or years that is. If this is true then the
dates 538bc and 458bc (which are the decree to rebuild dates for the city
and then the temple)are the start dates now add 1150 and come to 611ad and
692ad now if you subtract the beast numbers from the resultant years you
will come to the years Jesus was born and the year He was baptized in the
Jordon. John figured that people would always know these dates in Jesus's
life here and wrapped those numbers in a riddle that those of wisdom (true
believers)would understand. Now all we have about dates in Jesus life are
educated guesses based on biblical facts but must remember that even John
dealt with Jewish calendar not roman calendar. Jewish and roman calendars
are enough different to throw off certain years and understandings. Now
conecting it to the end times is simple. in revelations it says the
prostitute on the Dragon has a cup and to fill here portion double which is
with the beast so it is either 616 or 666 multiplied by 2 now add that to
either date of 611 or 692 and se where it gets you also try now take those
dates and research crefully and pray for guidance and understanding you will
be mildly and ubelievably intrigued and will cause you to want more.
Date: 01 Aug 2009
I have deciphered the number and will be plainly blunt with you. Since I
have a bible in my possesion older than I am I have been privy to this 616
number as well as the 666 number for most of my life. The version if you
would like to check is the revised standard version of the first
presbyterian church. Here it is in simple. First the book says to reckon the
number 666. Plainly this means to count the number, so, 6+6+6=18, and 1+8 =
9 also it says other ancient authorities read six hundred and sixteen at the
bottom of the page so, 6+1+6=13, and 1+3=4 so 9 from the first number and 4
from the second 9+4=13, and 1+3=4 now look for yourself @ revelations 13:1
and then @ Daniel 7:3, notice the same animal representations for the
leopard, bear and lion, only the book of Daniel tells of a fourth beast.
Keep reading Daniel and see the rest. The last beast has 10 horns then
another. The beasts are a kingdom with ten kings and an eleventh that is
different but with the same power, just like the next beast in revelations
13. Your welcome and thank you for confirming what I knew. If you would like
any more information, wisdom or understanding please feel free to e-mail me
@ firstname.lastname@example.org, also don't forget to read mark 14:23 and mark
14:36. The answer to the question, who has understanding?,
Date: 23 Mar 2010
I think, right path is --He who has KNOWLEDGE let him get the number of the
Knowledge about what? Math? Languages? Chemistry?
Of course, not.
About beast. All people are exactly as - first trying to find beast (evil or
famous man), after that beginning math, thinking that mathematics in the
Bible is the supreme wisdom.
Date: 18 Jul 2010
The Scriptures including the New Testament. i.e. Renewed Covendent where
written in Hebrew not Greek. In Revelaton we read that when the Messiah
reveals himself to John i.e. Yohanan He refers himself as the Alef Tau not
Alpha and omega. Yahoshua was Hebrew and when he spoke to Yohanan he didn't
speak in Greek..
Date: 31 Dec 2010
BOTTOM LINE , I WILL NOT RECEIVE NO NUMBER OR MARK IN MY RIGHT HAND OR
FORHEAD THAT MEANS I CAN NOT BUY OR SELL WITHOUT IT, WHATEVER IT IS. OK
Date: 03 Jan 2011
first name of the beast is " Tim" or "tim" which is a 't' written 45 degrees
titled, followed by an Iota, then lastly followed by a capitalized sigma
letter 'M'. please keep in mind that the "visions" of John the Revelator
were just that: visual.
Date: 09 Oct 2012
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