χξς΄ refers to a biblical number for "the Beast", found in the Book of Revelation of the New Testament. The number found in most manuscripts, and modern translations of the Greek text, is 666 although various modern studies show the number could be 616 based on Papyrus 115 from the 3rd century.  No one has ever satisfactorily deciphered the riddle behind this number although many theories have been raised by denominations outside of the Orthodox church. The most widely accepted theory connects the cryptogram of the Greek numerals to the letters of the alphabet, since numbers in ancient Greek were represented by letters. Gematria, a type of cryptogram that assigns numerical values to alphabetic characters, is one form of this numerological exercise. The numeric 666, DCLXVI in Roman numerals which like Greek represents numbers with alphabetic letters, in ancient Greek was represented as χξς Chi, Xi, and Vau.
There are three different characteristics that distinguish the beast according to Revelation 13:16 to 18 - His mark (of authority), His name and the number of his name (666). It might be argued by some that 666 must be applied to one man's name, and that this will then help identify him as the antichrist. Others claim that the following verse shows that 666 need not apply solely to a man's name:
- Rev 19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
The same Greek word translated as name (onoma) that appears in Revelation 13:17-18 is also used in chapter 19:16, so the word could possible apply to a title, and not just one man's name.
- Orthodox Christian Information Center - Search Results for 666
- Greek Numerals
- The Greek Number System