4.3.06

TESTING THE FAITH

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666 wrong number of prophetic beast? - Newly examined Scripture fragment lends credence to argument it's 616

or centuries, people have been intrigued by the number 666, the "number of the beast" from the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. Not only is it mentioned in the Bible, it has been associated with the Satanism, universal price codes and the game of roulette, as the numbers on the wheel add up to 666. Now, the legendary number is getting a fresh look, as researchers are re-examining evidence the number may actually be 616. While many Bible have footnotes saying the number translated from the original Greek could be 616, experts say new photographic evidence of an ancient fragment of papyrus from Revelation indeed indicates the number is indeed 616, instead of 666. "This is an example of gematria, where numbers are based on the numerical values of letters in people's names," Parker told the UK's Independent. "Early Christians would use numbers to hide the identity of people who they were attacking: 616 refers to the Emperor Caligula." Regarding this new text, Parker told Britain's Church Times, "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."

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