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Thread: 666 Before Revelation

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    tWebber eschaton's Avatar
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    666 Before Revelation

    The church father Irenaeus associated the number of the beast (Rev 13:18) with the six days of creation as well as 6,000 years of Earth's history. (Against The Heresies V.XXVIII.2-3)Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of John. Of course, Irenaeus got the number from the book of Revelation. According to this church father, the number was foreshadowed by the six days of creation, the flood, and the book of Daniel. It was also a prophecy. Surprisingly, the idea for 666 was preceded by the first-century Jewish scholar Philo of Alexandria (25 BC-50 AD).

    Since, therefore, the first beginning of the generation of our race, after the destruction caused by the deluge, commenced with Noah, men being again sown and procreated, therefore he also is recognised as resembling the first man born of the earth, as far as such resemblance or recognition is possible. And the six hundredth year has for its origin the number six; and the world was created under the number six, therefore, by this same number does he reprove the wicked, putting them to shame because he would, unquestionably, never, after he had created the universe by means of the number six, have destroyed all the men who lived on the earth under the form of six, if it had not been for the preposterous excess of their iniquities. For the third power of six and the minor power is the number six hundred, and the mean between both is sixty, since the number ten more evidently represents the likeness of unity, and the number a hundred represents the minor power.
    Philo, Book 42: Questions and Answers on Genesis, II


    Both Irenaeus and Philo saw a spiritual or philosophical reason behind the number, and Philo wrote before the Book of Revelation was even written. They agreed that some of the following ideas were related to the number. 6 - days of creation 60 - The mean, 600 divided by 10 is sixty, or 60 and 6 cubits (Dan 3:1) 600 - Noah's flood, Noah was 600 years old when the flood began (Gen 7:11). This symbolizes the punishment of the wicked, and the idea of Judgement. Irenaeus and Philo agreed that the number 666 was based on the creation week, Noah’s flood, the idea of Judgement, and the punishment of the wicked. One concept mentioned by Irenaeus and not by Philo was six thousand years. Irenaeus said since the world was created in six days there would be six thousand years of earth history. Philo, on the other hand, believed the world wouldn’t be destroyed.

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    tWebber eschaton's Avatar
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    Actually it is in Heresies, V.XXIX.2 where Irenaeus actually gives the parallel discussion of this. I should have copied the excerpt from my book.

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    tWebber Obsidian's Avatar
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    He doesn't specifically mention the number.

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    tWebber eschaton's Avatar
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    Do you mean Irenaeus or Philo? Philo mentions six hundred for Noah's age, sixty as the "mean," and the six days of creation. Irenaeus also mentions Noah's age at the beginning of the flood, six days of creation, and Nebuchadnezzar's image (Dan 3:1). Daniel 3:1 doesn't state 66 or 666 but Irenaeus associates it with that number. Both are looking for symbolism in a number that adds up to 666.

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    tWebber eschaton's Avatar
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    One thing confusing about Philo’s statement is the idea that the third power of six is 600. The third power of six is 216, six multiplied by itself three times (6*6*6). Philo was a highly educated man. What did he mean? He then said that the mean or average between the two is sixty. 600 plus six divided by two is 303, not sixty. I think there is a plausible explanation. In series 6^1, 6^2, 6^3, the sum of the third exponent three and the first or minor exponent one is four. The average of the two exponents is four divided by two or two, (1+3)/2=2. Philo didn’t give a Bible verse for the 60 because he was focusing on the Torah. The 600 represents Noah’s flood and corresponds to the six days of creation and the number under which he will reprove the wicked. He simply assigned the tens place to unity. Irenaeus saw Daniel 3:1 as the connecting number. Both appear to place more importance on the digits place than on the sum of the number.

    So where does the idea for the series 6^1, 6^2, 6^3, come from? It’s called Plato’s number.

    See the Wikipedia article for Plato's number.
    See chapter 21 of "The Mind Made Flesh: Frontiers of Psychology and Evolution" by Nicholas Humphrey for more info. on 666, 616, 216, and Plato's number.

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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    In some of the oldest copies 616 is the number of the beast not 666

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
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    tWebber eschaton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    In some of the oldest copies 616 is the number of the beast not 666
    In the second century, Irenaeus said that was probably a copyist error. Papyrus 115 dates back to the third century and shows 616. Nicholas Humphrey thinks it is related to Plato's number, 216.

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    tWebber
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    Philo is not using “power” as the modern mathematical term, but to mean a strengthening. Sixty was not written as 60 (they didn’t have zeroes), but as a single letter, xi, and it was called hexakontios, from hex-, “six”, and -akontizo, “to hurl a spear.” It’s the hurling of six to a greater factor, a “powering up” of six.
    600 was hexakosios, a diminutive, a lesser hurling of the number 6. I think Philo only mentioned 60 to explain why he thought of 600 as the minor power, the lesser hurling of six. Ten is a greater power than one hundred in his mind because ten is closer to unity, the number one itself. But God chose 600 rather than 60 or 6 because he would never destroy mankind by means of the same number he used in creating mankind if not for man’s rebellion, which deserves the weaker hurling of 6, the minor power, not the major one, in Philo’s way of thinking.
    The number 666 was not in any way relevant to Philo’s musings. Sixty wasn't worth mentioning other than as a midway between the 6th day for man's creation and the 600th year for Noah's life.
    The number 6 was probably chosen in Revelation for its symbolism, and to find the same symbolism in Jewish and Christian writings is not surprising. Nor is it surprising that God might use symbolic numbers repeatedly, the same number in creation, in the Flood, and in the identity of the Antichrist, just as he repeatedly used 40 as a time of testing, for example. But unless God himself tells us when and exactly how any number is used symbolically, we can only guess at all the connections and meanings.

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    tWebber eschaton's Avatar
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    power

    Thanks for your helpful comments. Here are some questions.
    What difference does it make if they wrote 666 like we do or in Greek? They still used base ten even though they used Roman or Greek numerals, didn't they? The Babylonians used base 60.
    What does powering up mean? Doesn't powering up mean 6 times itself? In English, we say 6 to the second power or 6 squared. What does Philo mean? What does hurling mean? All I can find about hurling is that it looks like lacrosse.

    He is talking about DCLXVI, ΧΞϚ´ isn't he?

    I think what is important for Philo is what Philo says about the numbers, and as you know he was very familiar with Plato so it is important what Plato says about numbers. Plato's number is understood as 6 cubed by most scholars. That's 6*6*6. 6 is regardless of how it's written, right? Philo and Irenaeus are talking about the same thing, aren't they? If they are talking about the same thing then the must be talking about 666. Both of them use base 10 and are talking about individual 6's regardless of how they are written. Roman numerals are base 10 or decimal, like the numbers we use today.

    I found this from Wikipedia.
    The term power (Latin: potentia, potestas, dignitas) is a mistranslation[1][2] of the ancient Greek δύναμις (dúnamis, here: "amplification"[1]) used by the Greek mathematician Euclid for the square of a line,[3] following Hippocrates of Chios.[4] Archimedes discovered and proved the law of exponents, 10a ⋅ 10b = 10a+b, necessary to manipulate powers of 10.

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    tWebber eschaton's Avatar
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    one more

    Here are some similar verses from Philo:

    (Q&A on Genesis I )(91)Thirdly, it is so because it consists of a combination of odd and even numbers, being contained by the power of the faculty of the concurring numbers, sixty-four and fifty-six; for the equal number of sixty-four is compounded of the uniting of these eight odd numbers, one, three, five, seven, nine, eleven, thirteen, fifteen; the reduction of which, by their parts into squares, makes a sum total of sixty-four, and that is a cube, and at the same time a square number. (4*4*4)(8*8)

    (Q&A on Genesis II) (5) For the number three constantly exhibits, as belonging to itself, the first equality of all, having a beginning, and a middle, and an end, all of which are equal to one another; and eight is the first cube, because it again has declared its first equality with the rest. But the number twenty-four has likewise a great number of other virtues, since it is the substance of the number three hundred, as has been already pointed out; this then is its first virtue; and it has another, since it is compounded of twelve quadrangular figures, joined to one another by a continuous unity; and besides of two long figures, and twelve double figures, being forsooth compounded of twos separately increased by two and two.

    (45)Therefore of necessity the evil ceased on the six hundred and first year of his life, since in truth the destruction came with reference to the sixth number, and safety was restored in unity since unity is more a generativeness of the soul, and is the best for giving life, wherefore also a deficiency of water in the sea takes place at the new moon, in order that the units may be preferred in dignity both among months and years, when God saves those things which are upon the earth; since the man who cultivates just habits is called by the Hebrews in their native language Noah, but by the Greeks he is named Dikaios; however, he is not exempted from the laws affecting the body. For although he is not subordinate to the power of others, but is a prince, yet still, because he is nevertheless devoted to death, as he is dead, the principle of that number six is connected with unity; since it was not in one year taken separately that the deluge ceased, but together with the number six (as contained in the number six hundred), which is connected with it according to corporeality and inequality; since the other being a long number is in the first place six (that is to say, six hundred); on which account it is said, in the six hundred and first year.

    One more:

    The Decalogue (28) And the unit, and the decade, and the century, and the thousand, are the four boundaries which generate the decade, which last number, besides what has been already said, displays also other differences of numbers, both the first, which is measured by the unit alone, of which an instance is found in the numbers three, or five, or seven; and the square which is the fourth power, which is an equally equal number. Also the cube, which is the eighth power, which is equally equal equally, and also the perfect number, the number six, which is made equal to its component parts, three, and two, and one.

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