Re: [asa] A case of non-biological ID

From: Vernon Jenkins <>
Date: Wed Jan 16 2008 - 06:44:29 EST


If you believe you have evidence that might throw further light on this matter, then please post it. But, concerning the possibility of an earlier date for the writing of Revelation, this would simply mean that the pristine copy held at Smyrna would have had to wait a few decades before coming under the eye of Polycarp.

Thus, as things stand at present, you must surely agree that the testimony of the Smyrnian, Irenaeus - pupil of Polycarp - cannot fail to carry the day.


----- Original Message -----
  From: Michael Roberts
  To: Vernon Jenkins ; Rich Blinne
  Cc: asa
  Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 9:36 AM
  Subject: Re: [asa] A case of non-biological ID

  On this Vernon may possibly be right but only on a probability on not a certainty.

  Part of his case rests on Revelation being written in c95. Not all accept that and some go for the late 60s.

  Also the textual evidence is not unanimous for 666.

  I could go on at length giving all the details.

  Hence we cannot make all this a certainty and should hedge all of statements about this with "probablys" and "possiblys".

  If there was the same lack of certainty to the fact that Jesus died and rose then the Christian faith would collapse for lack of New Testament support. There is no part of the NT which raises the slightest doubt here.

  Take another example - the woman caught in adultery in John. It is questionable whether this is part of John's original and hence we cannot be sure whether it should be in the Bible. However we can use it as it is conformable with everything else, but if it had a unique teaching in it, then we could not see it as biblically authorative.

  To conclude nothing is settled on whether 666 is the right reading or John wrote in 95. Whichever it is I don't consider important.


  ----- Original Message -----
    From: Vernon Jenkins
    To: Rich Blinne ; Iain Strachan
    Cc: asa
    Sent: Monday, January 14, 2008 10:21 PM
    Subject: Re: [asa] A case of non-biological ID


    There are several good reasons why those of us who take Book of Revelation seriously will want to bring to a swift end the current debate concerning the proper reading of 13:18: viz. are we to understand the number of the beast to be 666 (as our Bibles inform us), or 616 (as some currently active investigators would have us believe)? With this in mind I've put together a brief historical reconstruction which, I trust, will confirm your own views. Observe that it also authenticates my claimed _666-Genesis 1:1_ link.(see

    To place things in perspective, the papyrus fragment to which you have drawn our attention (and which purports to assign the number 616 to the beast) dates from the early third to fourth centuries AD. It was found at Oxyrhynchus, an Egyptian town that lies some 300 km south of Alexandria. Even at this comparatively late date it is rated to be one of the earliest surviving fragments of the Book of Revelation. (see

    Now, let's rehearse some relevant events that occurred _some centuries earlier_:

    Circa 95 AD (the generally accepted date for the writing of Revelation), John (not necessarily 'the disciple whom Jesus loved') writes the details of his heavenly-inspired vision. In obedience (1:11), he posts a _first generation_ copy (prepared by himself, or by one under his supervision) to each of the churches in Asia Minor - including one to the church in _Smyrna_ (2:8-11) where Polycarp (69 - 156 AD) was deacon (and, later, elder and bishop). He (Polycarp) would therefore, at the earliest possible date, have been brought into direct contact with a _pristine copy_ of this Book.

    As a well-informed Christian (enjoying contact with many who had walked with the Lord during his earthly ministry) - later martyred for his faith - Polycarp would have appreciated the significance of the 'number of the beast' in respect of, [1] it being the key to wisdom (13:18), [2] it being something to gain victory over (15:2) and, [3] it being a number that Christians should refuse to carry as a mark (13:16,17). The author of the Book being still alive, we reasonably infer that any doubts that might then have arisen concerning the number would have been properly resolved.

    Let us therefore, with confidence, claim that Polycarp _must have known what the true number was_. Irenaeus (early 2nd century AD), Bishop of Lyon, had been a disciple of Polycarp; _he, therefore, cannot fail to have known what the true number was_. Here is an excerpt from Book V, Chapter 28, of his 'Against Heresies':

    "And he will cause a mark [to be put] in the forehead and in the right hand, that no one may be able to buy or sell, unless he who has the mark of the name of the beast or the number of his name; and the number is six hundred and sixty-six,"... that is, six times a hundred, six times ten, and six units. (see

    For good measure, as you have already quoted, 'The early Church father Irenaeus knew several occurrences of the 616-variant but regarded them as a scribal error and affirmed that the number 666 stood "in all the most approved and ancient copies" and is attested by "those men who saw John face to face".

    Would you not agree with me, therefore, that the foregoing observations settle this most vexing matter which must now be counted immune to all current and future speculation? The correct number can be none other than 666!



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Received on Wed Jan 16 06:46:02 2008

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