NEWS BRIEF: "666 wrong number of prophetic beast? Newly examined Scripture fragment lends credence to argument it's 616", WorldNetDaily, May 8, 2005
"For 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.
"Scholars in England have been using modern technology to scour some 400,000 bits of papyri which were originally discovered in 1895 at a dump outside the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus. Many of the sections have been damaged and discolored, but an imaging process is shedding new light on the sacred text, believed to have originally been penned by John, one of Jesus' 12 apostles. 'This is a very nice piece to find', Ellen Aitken, a professor of early Christian history at McGill University, told Canada's National Post. 'Scholars have argued for a long time over this, and it now seems that 616 was the original number of the beast'."
Remember that Jesus foretold in Matthew 23:3, 11, and 24 that unparalleled deception would be one of the hallmark characteristics of the End of the Age. This new assertion certainly fits the bill as "unparalleled deception". Remember, when the New Age, Masonic Christ really appears, he will not want people to recognize him as "The Antichrist" based upon Biblical prophecy. Therefore, this "discovery" at a moment when so many other prophecies are flashing "End of the Age" must be taken with a huge dose of skepticism!
I disbelieve this report with all my heart, for several extremely valid reasons:
1. Bible scholar warns that this new information cannot be taken seriously.
NEWS BRIEF: "Daniel B. Wallace responds to article on 'the number of the Beast' ", by Daniel B. Wallace, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, Raiders News Updates, May 11, 2005
"As a professor of New Testament whose specialty is textual criticism, I was particularly interested in Chris Wattie's piece, "Beast's real mark devalued to '616'" (May 4, 2005). However, I noticed several errors in the essay, some of which I know from first-hand knowledge of the manuscript in question.
First, the papyrus fragment is not 1500 years old. It is closer to 1700+ years old.
Second, the fragment was not so badly discoloured that scholars could not make out the wording without sophisticated imaging equipment. Such equipment--such as multi-spectral imaging (MSI)--is often used on manuscripts that are in very bad shape.Third, this discovery is not new. I saw the fragment two years ago at the Ashmolean Museum of Oxford University. It was published over five years ago; just now it is making its way into popular literature as though it were a new discovery.
Fourth, I don't know who Ellen Aitken is, nor Elijah Dann, but it seems that Wattie did not interview textual critics for this piece. Aitken makes the astounding claim that "it now seems that 616 was the original number of the beast."I am inclined to the view that the original wording here was 616, but a lot of work is needed to determine this. Although this is the earliest fragment for this portion of Revelation, the fragment's textual affinities and general reliability still need to be examined fully.Further, the number 616 was known in antiquity and was discarded in the second century. Irenaeus, the patristsic commentator, wrote a chapter on the number of the beast, arguing that in the better manuscripts of Revelation that he had seen the number was 666 instead of 616 ... the fact that he was writing in the second century tells us that BOTH numbers existed at that time."
Now, Daniel Wallace gets to the bottom line:
"the point here is that one cannot simply appeal to the earliest manuscript and assume that the case is settled. Textual criticism is not done in such a simplistic manner. Date is indeed important, but there are several other factors involved."
Dr. Wallace makes a very good point. While Bible scholars are always looking for the earliest manuscripts, they never assume that the oldest will always be the best or more accurate. If this fragment is over 1,700 years old, it would date somewhere in the 300's A.D. The Apostle Paul in 65 A.D. was fighting the heresy of the Essenes and the Gnostics, both of whom denied many key Christian doctrines. Gnosticism was especially virulent and today is the basis for much of the modern era heresy with which mankind is afflicted. This fragment could have originated from either of these two heretical groups and be just as false any one can imagine.
However, since mankind is at that point in time when so many other End of the Age prophecies are either coming to pass, or having the stage set for their fulfillment, this crude attempt at spiritual confusion is plainly to be expected. Antichrist and his minions simply do not want people to be able to recognize his true nature, so they are trying to confuse the issue of the number God assigned him 1,900 years ago. You see, Antichrist will have the number '666' plastered all over him and around him when he appears.
This fact brings us to the final reason I
know that this news story is false.
2. Since the proof of prophecy is to be ascertained in the final analysis by whether it is coming true, and by whether Satan and his demonic horde is forced by God's prophecy to act in order to fulfill his prophecies, I can tell you firmly and conclusively that this story is completely false.
A former Satanist told me of the discovery he made that abolished his belief that Satan was the most powerful god in the universe. He was at a friend's house for lunch one day when the friend suddenly had to leave to pick up his wife across town, as her car had broken down. While the friend was gone, this former Satanist saw a large family Bible sitting in the living room. Since he had always wanted to read the Book of Revelation, this Satanist opened the Bible and began to read. After reading all of Revelation, he hurried put the Bible down in absolute amazement!
Chapters 6 through 19 contained the Plan of the Illuminati! This Satanist asked himself when the prophecies of the Book of Revelation were written, a date he knew was before 100 A.D.; he then remembered that the Illuminati plan had been written by Adam Weishapht and Mayer Amschel Bauer (Rothschild) between 1773-1776. The truth hit this Satanist right between the eyes: the only reason the arrogant Illuminati would create a global plan to produce their Christ which fulfilled Bible prophecy is that God's power was so overwhelming, they had no choice. This Satanist fell on his knees, asked Jesus to be his Savior, and quickly became an ex-Satanist!
And, this guy knew that Satanists ascribed the number '666' to Antichrist. In fact, my nearly 20 years of research into Satanism reveals that the number '666' is revered by all types of occultists -- Black Magick, White Magic and New Age practitioners all hold '666' to be sacred and incorporate that number into their daily mantras -- not '616'. Occult literature is simply covered over with references to '666". Never once have I heard of '616'.
The King James Bible is correct: "Here is wisdom. 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." (Rev 13:18)
"666" is the Mark of the Beast. Don't let
anyone fool you or deceive you on this most important
3. The "Bible scholars" who are examining this 400,000 bits of papyri are Liberal scholars who must just be anxious to find any "proof" that God's Word is not true after all. As we head into the End of the Age, get prepared for all sorts of "discoveries" which will be trumpeted as "proof" that the Bible is full of errors. Why, we might even see news of a "discovery" of Jesus' grave, full of "His bones"!
Would your faith be shaken? I hope not.