Ben C. Smith wrote: ↑
Tue Mar 03, 2020 11:23 pm
rakovsky wrote: ↑
Tue Mar 03, 2020 11:12 pm
Revelation 13:18 literally says:
18. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
It does not actually say that it is the number of "a man" like it is often translated.
This is misleading. There is no indefinite article in Greek. Therefore, "of man" and "of a man" come out exactly the same in Greek.
The passage specifically says that the number is the number of the name
of the beast.
Your knowledge of Greek is impressive and you are saying that here it has "a man" or "man" because there is no definite article. I read that Greek has an indefinite article, but I take it based on your reply that this is probably just modern Greek (https://langintro.com/greek/grammar/article2.html
Daniel B. Wallace, in Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics - Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament
makes the case that grammatically the verse likely says "of Man" instead of "of a man":
“If ἀνθρώπου [anthrōpou] is generic, then the sense is, ‘It is [the] number of humankind.’ It is significant that this construction fits Apollonius’ Canon (i.e., both the head noun and the genitive are anarthrous), suggesting that if one of these nouns is definite, then the other is, too. Grammatically, those who contend that the sense is ‘it is [the] number of a man’ have the burden of proof on them (for they treat the head noun, ἀριθμὸς [arithmos] , as definite and the genitive, ἀνθρώπου [anthrōpou] , as indefinite—the rarest of all possibilities). In light of Johannine usage, we might also add Rev. 16:18, where the Seer clearly uses the anarthrous ἂνθρωπος [anthrōpos] in a generic sense, meaning ‘humankind.’
The implications of this grammatical possibility, exegetically speaking, are simply that the number ‘666’ is the number that represents humankind. Of course, an individual is in view, but his number may be the number representing all of humankind. Thus the Seer might be suggesting here that the antichrist, who is the best representative of humanity without Christ (and the best counterfeit of a perfect man that his master, that old serpent, could muster), is still less than perfection (which would have been represented by the number seven).”
https://www.biblestudytools.com/comment ... tml#58441E
Wallace is referring to Revelation 16:18:
And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since Man (ἄνθρωπος) was upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
So in that verse in Rev. 16, John used "Man" in the abstract sense of Mankind.
debates Wallace's point in his book A Testimony of Jesus Christ, writing:
Ἀριθμὸς ἀνθρώπου [Arithmos anthrōpou] , simply number of man. The definite article (“the”) is not found in the Greek text. Wallace sees the missing article as an indication that the number is not of a man, but the number of humankind.1 While this may account for the grammar, it fails to account for the previous verse wherein the article appears before both number and man: τὸν ἀριθμὸν τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ [ton arithmon tou onomatos autou] , the number of the name of him (cf. Rev. 14:11). Thus, the number seems inextricably tied to the individual. Some explain of a man as designating a number as men count.
Unfortunately, while I get the point that in Revelation 16:18 John refers to Man, Mankind, I don't really understand the other arguments that he and Garland are making against each other.
Rev. 13:18 says that the number of the beast is the number of "a man" or "man". Someone following along with the passage might already guess that the beast is "a man", so it might be redundant to assert that it is the number of "a man". But it would not be redundant to assert that it is the number of "man". Plus, why does it not say "count the number of the beast for he is man/a man", but rather says "count the number of the beast, for it is the number of man/a man"? The difference is that whereas the former is simpler and clearly equates the number with the beast, the latter is more ambiguous, leading to a dilemma between whether the reference is to Man or "a man."
The phrase ἀνθρώπου shows up in Revelation in four other places, where it refers to "of Man" or to "a Man."
Revelation 1:13 and 14:14 refers to the concept of the Son of Man.
Revelation 21:17 has: "And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of Man / a man
, that is, of the angel."
The phrase "the measure of Man" or "the measure of a man" brings to mind the phrase "the number of Man/ a man" in Revelation 13's verse about the the number of the beast. In Revelation 21:17, the measure of Man/a man means the cubits are measured in the way that Mankind or a man in the generic sense would measure the cubits. Or it is talking about the cubits being measured according to the measure of a particular man, that is, the angel who is measuring the holy apocalyptic temple's walls. In that interpretation, the particular man is the same as the angel. A man who is identified as the angel could conceivably be Christ in the eyes of the author, and could be "he that sat upon the throne" in verse 5 in Chapter 21.
144 in Rev. 21 is the number of cubits according to the measure of man, and also in Revelation, there are 144,000 righteous Jews. 144 = 12 X 12. Conceivably then, this is a number associated with the "Body of Christ", the Christian Community in the author's theology. This might make sense in light of the 144 cubits being the wall of the holy new "city", since the city would be the city or community belonging to the Christians in the author's theology.
Based on the number 144 being the number associated with the Christian community and the number of cubits "according to the measure 'of Man'" who is the angel, one could find an antithesis in the number 666 that is the "number of Man" or the number of "a man" who is the beast. That is, whereas 144 is associated with the Christian people, the collective "new man" or "new Adam", 666 is associated with the collective of Man or Mankind in a different, earthly way or earthly power.
It makes sense conceptually to put Rev. 13:18 as either one:
"Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of Man / a man
; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."
The idea that the reader has special wisdom about the number of man would make sense. The beast/Antichrist having a self-deified number of Man also makes sense. And the Antichrist's number being the number of the 666 talents of gold that violated the warning about kings' multiplied wealth also makes sense conceptually.
At the same time, the author could conceivably be inviting the reader to understand the number of the beast (666) as having a gematrial "counting", and could be saying that the number of the beast (Antichrist) is the number of a particular man, eg. Caesar Nero.
Ben C. Smith wrote: ↑
Tue Mar 03, 2020 11:23 pm
And it is of course perfectly possible that the number had some other significance for the author; the significance which you suggest — 6 being the day on which man was created — is a theory I have heard in evangelical circles. The difference between this other significance (whatever it may be) and gematria is that the author tells
us that the game is gematria, whereas he says nothing about any other kind of meaning.
Certainly, the number had some other significance for the author, who was familiar with the TaNaKh. There, Solomon built his temple while receiving 666 talents of gold per year for it. And the context of Revelation 13's passage here on the beast is that the number of the beast is required for people to buy and sell. So the 666 is a requirement for trading worldly goods. And gold was often used for currency. So the 666 appears linked to the story of the 666 in Solomon's use, where the 666 talents of gold are also portrayed negatively as the king multiplying his wealth in violation of an explicit TaNaKh warning on the question.
So my take is that it is both a reference to the 666 in Solomon's story as well as a reference to the gematria of the emperor's name.
And why did 666 appear in the story of Solomon centuries before Revelation was written or the emperor Nero was born? The number likely was considered to have some significance for the Tanakh author, as it's widely considered that numbers were also given spiritual significance in the TaNaKh at times.
And here it is worth noting that on Day 6 of Creation, both Man and beast were made on the 6th day. This would in a sense make 6 the number of the beast as a category of created being, as well as a number associated with mankind.
So conceivably the number of the beast is the number of a particular man's (Nero's) name, but it is also the number associated with something else, the number of the talents that were multiplied to make an offensive amount of worldly wealth.
M.G. Michael reviews the interpretations that scholars have given to the Biblical 666 in his essay "Demystifying the number of the beast in the book
of revelation: examples of ancient cryptology and the interpretation of the “666” conundrum"
(https://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.c ... infopapers
), including the scholars saying that it refers to the number of man.