Some Bible scholars argue that 666 is really 616.
In 2005, scholars at Oxford University studied the earliest known record of the Book of Revelation that was a 1,700 year old papyrus. The fragment is missing a lot of info, but it gives the Number of the Beast as 616, rather than 666.Â
Professor David C. Parker, Professor of New Testament Textual Criticism and Paleography at the University of Birmingham, said, â€œScholars have argued for a long time over this, and it now seems that 616 was the original number of the beast. It's probably about 100 years before any other version."
It is thought that 666 encodes the letters of someoneâ€™s name identifying the Antichrist.
The hypothesis is that 666 or 616 is a code for a Roman emperor.Â That has historical support. Both Jews and Christians used numerology, codes and symbols when talking about enemies to avoid persecution.
Most Bible scholars believe that 666 refers to the Roman Emperor Nero. The Greek spelling of his name translates into Hebrew as three words with 6 letters each.
But the Latin title for Nero when translated to Hebrew ends up 616.
Some say they were talking about Caligula. In Hebrew, Gaius Caligula Caesar translates to 616.