The Number of the Beast: 616 or 666?

Is the true Number of the Beast 666 or 616? What is the Mark of the Beast according to Aleister Crowley? We’ll answer these questions and more in this, our latest myth-busting post.

Note: For more myths about Aleister Crowley, check out all our posts under the “Crowley Myths” category.

Oxyrhynchus Papyri

Oxyrhynchus Papyri

Every once in a while, you’ll see some tabloid publication or other proclaiming that the real number of the Beast is 616, rather than 666. This argument relies on one of the volumes from the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, an ancient text which contains fragments of Revelation from the New Testament. In this text, we find the verse (Rev 13:18) which mentions the Number of the Beast:

“This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is ….”

And that is where the contention lies. Is his number 666 or 616? In the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, which is the earliest known copy of Revelation, the number given is 616. In other copies, it’s 666. Which one is correct? Here are some facts to consider, which require a few minutes of thought and research and therefore are far beyond the comprehension of most newspaper journalists.

1. The Old Testament mentions 666 twice.

In Revelation, most of what we find is a recapitulation or expansion on ideas first introduced in the Old Testament. The number 666 appears four times there, but the number 616 appears nowhere in the Old Testament.

2. This is not news.

Irenaeus was alive in the 2nd century e.v. and he mentioned that he had found this copying error in some copies of Revelation. It turns out that 616 is the ancient equivalent of a typo, which has been known for more than 1800 years. The kicker is, Irenaeus wrote about this typo before the manuscript in question was found. That’s right, about a hundred years before the existence of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, which is the only evidence used to support the claim that the number is 616.

3. Aleister Crowley said it, and that settles it.

The Mark of the Beast

The Mark of the Beast

As we explained in our post, “Top 10 Crowley Myths which are Actually True,” we pointed out that Aleister Crowley was the Great Beast 666 prophesied by John the Divine. He made it pretty clear what his number is, and he even created the Mark of the Beast seen at left. (By the way, there are still a few AC2012 commemorative coins left, which bear this Mark.) So, this really settles the question. He even explains that Nuit told him so, in “The Comment Called D” on Liber AL I:25-26:

Nuit proves to Aleister Crowley that he is in truth 666 by means of a riddle and a Sign. I, asking Nuit: Who am I? and: What shall be the sign? (that I am who I am) was told by means of a Riddle, so that I might be sure that the answer came from Her and not from mine own mind, that I was 666. Also the sign was shewn me in a Riddle, as well as in the English of the Text. These matters will I set forth elsewhere.”

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About ac2012

We realize that Aleister Crowley is dead. And British. And, moreover, not running for office. Nevertheless, we believe that the most effective vote you can cast in 2012 is one for Aleister Crowley. “The absolute rule of the state shall be a function of the absolute liberty of each individual will.”
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11 Responses to The Number of the Beast: 616 or 666?

  1. Pingback: Qual o verdadeiro número da Besta? É mesmo 666? | CbNews

  2. Carl says:

    We all know the number of ‘the beast’ — so it is no co-incidence to find that the element that sustains all life on Mother Earth, carbon, has 6 electrons, 6 neutrons and 6 protons. The ‘beast’ however is the body of man — a third density physical vehicle of Spirit.

  3. D.C. B says:

    My life has been enriched by the truth of the 666 matter. When we study beneath the surface we discover the number 93 as meaning the ascention out of beast(666) consciousness and into divine(777). That so called ‘mark of the beast’ is really the symbol of the aeon of horus- the egg cracking open is the birth of the higher man. The church lies about this number. There is nothing to be afraid of. Search Mark Passio on Youtube- Thelema. He discribes it in simple language.

  4. Sid says:

    i dont know what it means i discovered a little thing while i was playing around with hexadecimal numbers and convert them into decimal numbers.

    what i discovered:
    666 = 1638 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1638)
    i guessed these stands for our dark past
    777 = 1911 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1911)
    the present the revolution of human mankind
    888 = 2184 (just google)
    the future all i cloud find were a comet witch comes in our solar system in year 2184 and a gene in some governmental medical databases

    just some researches that dont claim to be anything just to think :)
    i thought its maybe interesting to this numerology

    greetz from the himalayas! ^*^

  5. Frater N says:

    Reguardless, even if revelations is a self filfilling prophecy the number of the beast is 666 as it not only was adopted by Crowley who bore the mantle of the first beast of revelations, but upon further analysis 666 also has quabalistic value consistant with the rest of revelations and the bible. It doesnt say “Let he who has understanding” for no reason- It was meant to be evaluated by religious scholars and mathematicians, otherwise it would have said something along the lines of “Let he who hath no understanding irrationally cower in fear at random number”

  6. Pingback: Thelemic Culture Update: February 2013 | 2nd Century Thelema

  7. Pingback: Qual o verdadeiro número da Besta? É mesmo 666? I Chama de News

  8. Lohengrin says:

    it appears only 2 times in the old testament: 1 Kings 10:14 & Ezra 2:13, not 4 times

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