That’s right, 666 was all just a big mistake, according to a recent story reposted at RNB. This is a real story, not a Sugar Beet spoof. According to the story, an ancient fragment unearthed (along with thousands of other fragments) at Oxyrhynchus, in Egypt, reveals that the magic number of evil was almost certainly 616. This is going to leave a lot of fundamentalist Christians temporarily disorientated, struggling to adjust to this radically different number that controls the fate of their apocalyptic future.
I thought I’d offer some friendly numerical observations to kind of ease that painful transition process from 666 to 616:
- At least they are both even numbers, and neither is a prime. So 616 is still the same sort of number.
- Like 666, the number 616 is symmetrical: Read it backwards, you get the same number! You could even think of it as a chiastic number, designed to emphasize the key digit “1”. This no doubt highlights the important gospel principle that there is but a single Evil One. You might even think of the “1” in 616 as “the Evil 1.” Wow—chiasmus really works!
- The number 666 factors to the primes 2, 3, 3, and 37, whereas 616 factors to 2, 2, 2, 7, and 11. I’m sure this means something terribly important to some monk off somewhere pouring over numbers in his desert chamber.
- People living in the 616 area code are going to be very unhappy about this development.
- The Wikipedia entry “Antichrist” actually notes that a minority of previously extant manuscripts already used 616 as the number of the beast, so this news is not a completely new development.
- For you numerology buffs, here’s a near miss: Add up Utah’s two area codes (801 and 435) and divide by 2, giving the quotient of 618. Whew! That was close.
Did I miss anything?