For 2000 years a symbol of the terrible Antichrist who will rule the world before the Last Judgment, considered the number 666. For many it is an unlucky number: even in the European Parliament a place at number 666 is always empty.
The number 666 comes to us from Revelation - the latest and most bizarre of all the books of the Bible. "If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred sixty six ».
But it's the wrong number. In 2005 he was made the translation of the earliest known texts of the Book of Revelation to mankind, which makes it clear that we are talking about the number 616. The 1700-year-old papyrus was found in a landfill Oksirinhus Egyptian city and a group of scientists deciphered Paleographers from the University of Birmingham, led by Professor David Parker.
If the new number is really right, finding unlikely to please those who have spent a fortune trying to avoid the old version. So, in 2003, the famous US Highway 666 - known as "Devil's Highway" - was renamed Highway 491. Even fewer would be delighted Department of Transport in Moscow. In 1999, his officials have assigned a new number "ominous" bus route 666. The bus was renamed 616.
The controversy over the number of the Beast does not stop with the II century. Version of the Bible, referring to the number 616, has been criticized by the Bishop of Lyons Irenaeus (130-200) as "erroneous and false." Friedrich Engels analyzed the Bible, in his book "On Religion" (1883). It is also calculated as the number of the Beast 616, not 666.
Revelation is the first book of the New Testament is full of numerical puzzles. Each of the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet has a corresponding number so that any of the numbers can be read as a word.
And Parker and Engels argue that the Book of Revelation - it is a political, anti-Roman treatise numerically coded with a view to disguise the main message. Number of the Beast (whatever it was) refers to either Caligula or Nero to - hateful persecutors of the first Christians, - not to some imaginary evil spirit in human form.
S. Fry, «The Book of General Ignorance»