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Another Question That's Been Bugging Me- The Ten Commandments


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So maybe I'm just weird and think differently to other people. I don't know. I did a quick search on the Ten Commandments through the forum, and a lot of people have spoken about what they mean and how stupid they are and yada yada yada... But no-one seems to have my issue with them. So I'm going to lay it on the table, and I'd appreciate any thoughts on the subject :)

 

The Ten Commandments. The TEN Commandments. Has anyone else ever noticed that it's an unusual number to have in the bible? Especially considering how enamoured with certain numbers the bible writers were? All through the bible, you see the numbers 3, 7, 12, and 40 occuring in relation to important events. But 10? Isn't it a bit of an anomaly?

 

I know it's a strange question, then again, most of my questions do seem strange. But the number 10 kind of makes me wonder if the Ten Commandments were added at a later date, by someone possibly influenced by paganism, as 10 is a multiple of the number 5. I tried to raise this with a christian once and they said, "but 3 and 7 equals 10! Therefor it IS a holy number!" But I kind of thought to myself that that was not quite how the bible writers usually did it. When I spoke to my mum about it (she put the bloody question in my head 3 years ago, and it's bugged me ever since!), she wondered whether they added 3 commandments or left out 2.

 

Any thoughts?

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Ten really is a pretty important number in Judaism (pretty much all letters/numbers are though). I don't know if it's anachronistic to project it onto this but it might be.

 

I do see your point though. It's not really a standout in all the stories like some of those other numbers seem to be. I did a quick search for "ten" and there were over 200 hits in the whole bible so maybe 100 or so in the OT? This would include everything that includes "ten" (ie. ten thousand, etc.). I didn't check context.

 

mwc

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ROFLMAO!!!

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Okay, so maybe 10 isn't such a stand-out number. But why is there such an emphasis on the other numbers? Jewish superstition, perhaps?

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Not Jewish. Ancient Hebrew. There is a big difference. The emphasis on numbers is because they were a nomadic merchant society. Numbers were the basis for currency and they needed God's blessing in order to obtain wealth. Therefore, they were obsessed with holy numbers.

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Not Jewish. Ancient Hebrew. There is a big difference. The emphasis on numbers is because they were a nomadic merchant society. Numbers were the basis for currency and they needed God's blessing in order to obtain wealth. Therefore, they were obsessed with holy numbers.

 

I see. Another question- that whole 666 thing was a modern concept right? (Please just humour me on this one- just curious :) )

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666 has a wide range of interpretations. My opinion is it was gematriatic code for Emperor Nero who may have committed suicide around the same time The Revelation was written.

 

That's interesting. I never heard that idea before :)

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Yeah, the 616 theory opens a whole new can of worms. I do tend to agree it was not intended to be a prophetic text, but rather a coded message in the early Christian underground regarding psychotic Emperors.

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Don't forget the "other" number, 616, and Gaius (Caligula).

 

mwc

 

Yeah, the 616 theory opens a whole new can of worms. I do tend to agree it was not intended to be a prophetic text, but rather a coded message in the early Christian underground regarding psychotic Emperors.

 

 

Jesus christ! Start chucking me some links, please! omg, this just got interesting! :)

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The Ten Commandments. The TEN Commandments. Has anyone else ever noticed that it's an unusual number to have in the bible?

God was planning ahead for the metric system.

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You know, the whole "666" thing technically would make Herman Cain's financial plan evil while doing handstands.

 

At least it's a pretty solid number. I think I would have an OCD freak-out if there were like, 13 commandments.

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I don't have any links. My education regarding The Revelation was through an old NIV Study Bible with notes from various scholars. I think 666 and 616 theories can be found on wikipedia, though.

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Just a quick cut and paste intro:

 

A newly discovered fragment of the oldest surviving copy of the New Testament indicates that, as far as the Antichrist goes, theologians, scholars, heavy metal groups, and television evangelists have got the wrong number. Instead of 666, it's actually the far less ominous 616.

The new fragment from the Book of Revelation, written in ancient Greek and dating from the late third century, is part of a hoard of previously unintelligible manuscripts discovered in historic dumps outside Oxyrhynchus in Egypt. Now a team of expert classicists, using new photographic techniques, are finally deciphering the original writing.

Professor David Parker, Professor of New Testament Textual Criticism and Paleography at the University of Birmingham, thinks that 616, although less memorable than 666, is the original. He said: "This is an example of gematria, where numbers are based on the numerical values of letters in people's names. Early Christians would use numbers to hide the identity of people who they were attacking: 616 refers to the Emperor Caligula."

The Book of Revelation is traditionally considered to be written by John, a disciple of Jesus; it identifies 666 as the mark of the Antichrist. In America, the fundamentalist Christian right often use the number in sermons about the coming Apocalypse.

They and satanists responded coolly to the new "Revelation". Peter Gilmore, High Priest of the Church of Satan, based in New York, said: "By using 666 we're using something that the Christians fear. Mind you, if they do switch to 616 being the number of the beast then we'll start using that."

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Just a quick cut and paste intro:

 

A newly discovered fragment of the oldest surviving copy of the New Testament indicates that, as far as the Antichrist goes, theologians, scholars, heavy metal groups, and television evangelists have got the wrong number. Instead of 666, it's actually the far less ominous 616.

The new fragment from the Book of Revelation, written in ancient Greek and dating from the late third century, is part of a hoard of previously unintelligible manuscripts discovered in historic dumps outside Oxyrhynchus in Egypt. Now a team of expert classicists, using new photographic techniques, are finally deciphering the original writing.

Professor David Parker, Professor of New Testament Textual Criticism and Paleography at the University of Birmingham, thinks that 616, although less memorable than 666, is the original. He said: "This is an example of gematria, where numbers are based on the numerical values of letters in people's names. Early Christians would use numbers to hide the identity of people who they were attacking: 616 refers to the Emperor Caligula."

The Book of Revelation is traditionally considered to be written by John, a disciple of Jesus; it identifies 666 as the mark of the Antichrist. In America, the fundamentalist Christian right often use the number in sermons about the coming Apocalypse.

They and satanists responded coolly to the new "Revelation". Peter Gilmore, High Priest of the Church of Satan, based in New York, said: "By using 666 we're using something that the Christians fear. Mind you, if they do switch to 616 being the number of the beast then we'll start using that."

 

Got to watch those satanic heavy metal groups *rolls eyes*.

 

So was Revelation just a coded political message, and nothing more?

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Irenæus

Against Heresies: Book V

 

Chapter XXX.—Although certain as to the number of the name of Antichrist, yet we should come to no rash conclusions as to the name itself, because this number is capable of being fitted to many names. Reasons for this point being reserved by the Holy Spirit. Antichrist’s reign and death.

 

1. Such, then, being the state of the case, and this number being found in all the most approved and ancient copies [4700] [of the Apocalypse], and those men who saw John face to face bearing their testimony [to it]; while reason also leads us to conclude that the number of the name of the beast, [if reckoned] according to the Greek mode of calculation by the [value of] the letters contained in it, will amount to six hundred and sixty and six; that is, the number of tens shall be equal to that of the hundreds, and the number of hundreds equal to that of the units (for that number which [expresses] the digit six being adhered to throughout, indicates the recapitulations of that apostasy, taken in its full extent, which occurred at the beginning, during the intermediate periods, and which shall take place at the end),—I do not know how it is that some have erred following the ordinary mode of speech, and have vitiated the middle number in the name, deducting the amount of fifty from it, so that instead of six decads they will have it that there is but one. [i am inclined to think that this occurred through the fault of the copyists, as is wont to happen, since numbers also are expressed by letters; so that the Greek letter which expresses the number sixty was easily expanded into the letter Iota of the Greeks.] [4701] Others then received this reading without examination; some in their simplicity, and upon their own responsibility, making use of this number expressing one decad; while some, in their inexperience, have ventured to seek out a name which should contain the erroneous and spurious number. Now, as regards those who have done this in simplicity, and without evil intent, we are at liberty to assume that pardon will be granted them by God. But as for those who, for the sake of vainglory, lay it down for certain that names containing the spurious number are to be accepted, and affirm that this name, hit upon by themselves, is that of him who is to come; such persons shall not come forth without loss, because they have led into error both themselves and those who confided in them. Now, in the first place, it is loss to wander from the truth, and to imagine that as being the case which is not; then again, as there shall be no light punishment [inflicted] upon him who either adds or subtracts anything from the Scripture, [4702] under that such a person must necessarily fall. Moreover, another danger, by no means trifling, shall overtake those who falsely presume that they know the name of Antichrist. For if these men assume one [number], when this [Antichrist] shall come having another, they will be easily led away by him, as supposing him not to be the expected one, who must be guarded against.

 

2. These men, therefore, ought to learn [what really is the state of the case], and go back to the true number of the name, that they be not reckoned among false prophets. But, knowing the sure number declared by Scripture, that is, six hundred sixty and six, let them await, in the first place, the division of the kingdom into ten; then, in the next place, when these kings are reigning, and beginning to set their affairs in order, and advance their kingdom, [let them learn] to acknowledge that he who shall come claiming the kingdom for himself, and shall terrify those men of whom we have been speaking, having a name containing the aforesaid number, is truly the abomination of desolation. This, too, the apostle affirms: “When they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction shall come upon them.” [4703] And Jeremiah does not merely point out his sudden coming, but he even indicates the tribe from which he shall come, where he says, “We shall hear the voice of his swift horses from Dan; the whole earth shall be moved by the voice of the neighing of his galloping horses: he shall also come and devour the earth, and the fulness thereof, the city also, and they that dwell therein.” [4704] This, too, is the reason that this tribe is not reckoned in the Apocalypse along with those which are saved. [4705]

 

3. It is therefore more certain, and less hazardous, to await the fulfilment of the prophecy, than to be making surmises, and casting about for any names that may present themselves, inasmuch as many names can be found possessing the number mentioned; and the same question will, after all, remain unsolved. For if there are many names found possessing this number, it will be asked which among them shall the coming man bear. It is not through a want of names containing the number of that name that I say this, but on account of the fear of God, and zeal for the truth: for the name Evanthas (EUANThAS) contains the required number, but I make no allegation regarding it. Then also Lateinos (LATEINOS) has the number six hundred and sixty-six; and it is a very probable [solution], this being the name of the last kingdom [of the four seen by Daniel]. For the Latins are they who at present bear rule: [4706] I will not, however, make any boast over this [coincidence]. Teitan too, (TEITAN, the first syllable being written with the two Greek vowels e and i, among all the names which are found among us, is rather worthy of credit. For it has in itself the predicted number, and is composed of six letters, each syllable containing three letters; and [the word itself] is ancient, and removed from ordinary use; for among our kings we find none bearing this name Titan, nor have any of the idols which are worshipped in public among the Greeks and barbarians this appellation. Among many persons, too, this name is accounted divine, so that even the sun is termed “Titan” by those who do now possess [the rule]. This word, too, contains a certain outward appearance of vengeance, and of one inflicting merited punishment because he (Antichrist) pretends that he vindicates the oppressed. [4707] And besides this, it is an ancient name, one worthy of credit, of royal dignity, and still further, a name belonging to a tyrant. Inasmuch, then, as this name “Titan” has so much to recommend it, there is a strong degree of probability, that from among the many [names suggested], we infer, that perchance he who is to come shall be called “Titan.” We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the apocalyptic vision. For that was seen no very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian’s reign.

 

4. But he indicates the number of the name now, that when this man comes we may avoid him, being aware who he is: the name, however, is suppressed, because it is not worthy of being proclaimed by the Holy Spirit. For if it had been declared by Him, he (Antichrist) might perhaps continue for a long period. But now as “he was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the abyss, and goes into perdition,” [4708] as one who has no existence; so neither has his name been declared, for the name of that which does not exist is not proclaimed. But when this Antichrist shall have devastated all things in this world, he will reign for three years and six months, and sit in the temple at Jerusalem; and then the Lord will come from heaven in the clouds, in the glory of the Father, sending this man and those who follow him into the lake of fire; but bringing in for the righteous the times of the kingdom, that is, the rest, the hallowed seventh day; and restoring to Abraham the promised inheritance, in which kingdom the Lord declared, that “many coming from the east and from the west should sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” [4709]

_________________________________________________________________

 

[4700] en pasi tois spoudaiois kai archaiois antigraphois This passage is interesting, as showing how very soon the autographs of the New Testament must have perished, and various readings crept into the mss. of the canonical books.

 

[4701] That is, X into EI, according to Harvey, who considers the whole of this clause as an evident interpolation. It does not occur in the Greek here preserved by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., v. 8).

 

[4702] Rev. xxii. 19.

 

[4703] 1 Thess. v. 3.

 

[4704] Jer. viii. 16.

 

[4705] Rev. vii. 5–7. [The Danites (though not all) corrupted the Hebrew church and the Levitical priesthood, by image-worship, (Judg. xviii.), and forfeited the blessings of the old covenant.]

 

[4706] [A very pregnant passage, as has often been noted. But let us imitate the pious reticence with which this section concludes.]

 

[4707] Massuet here quotes Cicero and Ovid in proof of the sun being termed Titan. The Titans waged war against the gods, to avenge themselves upon Saturn.

 

[4708] Rev. xvii. 8.

 

[4709] Matt. viii. 11.

I highlighted a couple of parts. He notes the alternate number here (which would predate P.Oxy stuff) so it comes up early.

 

mwc

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So was Revelation just a coded political message, and nothing more?

It's a very complicated text. I can't find much on the historicist view laying around but the preterist view is similar just with more magic thrown in. :)

 

It is a story, written like a prophecy (like all prophecies really), that speaks to the author's current situation. It's like a giant historical analogy in a sense. But there are multiple layers of information being offered in the story at the same time. The real world. The ideal world. And so on. It's all packed in there. Sometimes a cigar really is just a cigar and sometimes it's much more. ;) The problem is we no longer have the decoder key for it and have to try to work it out on our own.

 

mwc

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So was Revelation just a coded political message, and nothing more?

It's a very complicated text. I can't find much on the historicist view laying around but the preterist view is similar just with more magic thrown in. smile.png

 

It is a story, written like a prophecy (like all prophecies really), that speaks to the author's current situation. It's like a giant historical analogy in a sense. But there are multiple layers of information being offered in the story at the same time. The real world. The ideal world. And so on. It's all packed in there. Sometimes a cigar really is just a cigar and sometimes it's much more. wink.png The problem is we no longer have the decoder key for it and have to try to work it out on our own.

 

mwc

 

 

...Sometimes the irreverent thought crosses my mind that maybe the author was just trippin'. :P Is it any wonder theologians argue constantly about what anything in the bible actually means? It seems to take great effort just to get a clue!

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We can only speculate the true purpose and intent because the secret decoder ring is lost. From an historical perspective, it has the doomy, gloomy prophetic feel because John and the people he was writing to were experiencing extreme oppression. It was not a question of if they were going to die in some horrible way at the hands of Romans, but when. They were outlaws networking underground, attempting to keep their movement alive in the face of death. No matter what someone believes, whether atheist, protestant, catholic, or other, he wasn't writing to people in our time. He was writing with a specific intent to the people of his time. I guess the mysterious nature of this text is what makes it seem mystical to believers.

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We can only speculate the true purpose and intent because the secret decoder ring is lost. From an historical perspective, it has the doomy, gloomy prophetic feel because John and the people he was writing to were experiencing extreme oppression. It was not a question of if they were going to die in some horrible way at the hands of Romans, but when. They were outlaws networking underground, attempting to keep their movement alive in the face of death. No matter what someone believes, whether atheist, protestant, catholic, or other, he wasn't writing to people in our time. He was writing with a specific intent to the people of his time. I guess the mysterious nature of this text is what makes it seem mystical to believers.

 

It's so interesting, coming from a background where it was a prophecy that was meant to be taken as "just around the corner". I wouldn't mind finding some books on the matter- I'll keep my eyes out :)

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