Joel Richardson Shows Off his Ignorance

A comment arrives from Joel Richardson, author of Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah  (endorsed by Robert Spencer) and co-author of WorldNetDaily‘s new book Why We Left Islam: Former Muslims Speak Out (which I blogged here). Richardson is unhappy with my debunking of his associate Walid Shoebat’s claim that Greek number “666” in the Book of Revelation is actually the author’s attempt to write “In the name of Allah” in Arabic.

Shoebat claims that he realised this after consulting ancient codices, in particular the Codex Vaticanus. One point I made was that Codex Vaticanus does not contain the Book of Revelation (although it wasn’t my main point, and I did allow that Shoebat may perhaps have seen some other ancient manuscript, such as one that is doing the rounds online). Richardson blows his raspberry:

I went to the personal blog of the author of this article and saw that the image that he has posted of himself shows him sitting in a pub sipping a pint of beer. I fear that he may have been sipping a bit too much before writing this article.

The Codex Vaticanus does indeed contain the Book or Revelation, it is simply a later supplementation to the earlier manuscripts. A tiny bit of research could have produced this fact. The actual image of the portion of the Book of revelation that is part of the Codex Vaticanus is below. Scroll to the third column to the right and the top line, marked 18 (Revelation 13:18) contains the image that Walid used:

www.csntm.org/Manuscripts/GA%2003/GA03_150b.jpg

Images of the entire Codex may be viewed here:

www.csntm.org/Manuscripts/GA%2003/

Which could have been found if Mr. Bartholomew had gone here instead of sipping beer:

www.csntm.org/Manuscripts.aspx

Next time, you may wish to step outside of the usual Wikipedia sourcing for your articles Richard.

Actually, I researched this using various sources, such as The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism (1995):

Codex Vaticanus, a fourth century manuscript of the Greek Bible…All NT Scripture after Heb 9:14 is missing.

Other scholarly sources concur (Google Books is useful here). The older Catholic Encyclopedia gives some further background:

In modern times (fifteenth-sixteenth century) the missing folios were added to the codex, in order, as Tregelles conjectures, to prepare it for use in the Vatican Library.

Presumably this is the origin of the “later supplementation” that Richardson thinks in some way makes Shoebat’s case stronger; a supplement added 1,000 years later in Italy that in no way can be seen as part of the original codex. But there’s worse: the jpeg in fact shows a page from the 1868 Bibliorum Sacrorum Graecus Codex Vaticanus. This is a facsimile of the ancient text, but with a clearly typeset version of Revelation tacked on at the end. Here’s how the start of Revelation appears in the fifteenth-century manuscript compared with how it appears in the 1868 edition:

Incidentally, this “minuscule” way of writing Greek developed in the Seventh Century, and there are no examples prior to 835; the ancient Codex Vaticanus was written in an “uncial” form that looks more like block capitals (see Bruce Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Greek Palaeography, Oxford University Press 1991, and also this website).

So, Richardson is telling us that Shoebat used a nineteenth-century typeset edition of Revelation to draw the paleographic conclusion that a fourth-century Greek manuscript of the book (which doesn’t exist anyway) meant to show Arabic letters!

Let’s make this as simple as possible: if you read Revelation 13, it is obvious that the phrase for “666” appears where you would expect to see a number. The wider religious context here is numerology, which Shoebat rejects simply because he finds numerology objectionable. Early Christian tradition and manuscript evidence from long before Codex Vaticanus was written also both point to a number, either “666” or “616”. A fifteenth-century “supplementation” in a different script has no evidential value whatsoever, let alone a nineteenth-century typeset version!

Perhaps Richardson could do with a drink…

32 Responses

  1. From Auden to Freud: “Existentialists declare/That everywhere there is despair/Yet keep on writing.”

    From Sister Aimee to Oral Roberts to Grant Jeffries to Franklin Graham, humble servants and profits, peddling the precious blood of G-d.

  2. the only other place the Scriptures refer to the number 666 is the amount of gold Solomon received annually. I have oft wondered then if the Revelation reference is to do with the love of money referred to in 2 Tim 3:2, evident in society today. The root of all evil is a great lead-in to a world domination created by loans designed to cripple and the pursuit of greater share value despite their rise on the backs of arms sales. We have been taught well, to not care about any other generation, or people group, as long as we benefit. The love of money. How right they were…

  3. Richard,

    Hmmm… I am ignorant for highlighting your error? Not sure how that works, but I see that I did strike a nerve. I hate it when those perennially ignorant fundys make me look bad. But in all fairness Richard, turnabout is fair play after all, is it not? You tried to overplay a largely irrelevant oversight on Walid’s image sourcing (it is irrelevant it his larger point because the image he used is precisely like the Textus Receptus and the Byzantine Majority text or any other ancient Greek Mss) Thank you for catching this by the way. But now I have exposed a similar miss on your part and you are on the rampage. You should be thanking me.

    But ultimately you are still missing the larger point. The simple Greek word for 666 as it is found in the majority of Greek Manuscripts bears a striking similarly to the words Bismallah followed by two crossed swords. Walid is simply asking the question if the variations in some of the more ancient texts (616, 665, 666 etc.) may be due to the idea that perhaps this infamous 666 was never intended to be an actual number, but was simply an image that John the Apostle noted and which essentially confounded later Greek scribes. The Book of Revelation is about the End of this age, and who will argue that the creed of Islam looks as if it may dominate much of the world before this thing wraps up. It is certainly an interesting question that Walid poses in light of the striking similarities. For your fundy mocking pleasure, I’ve made the effort to post the images here: (enjoy)

    http://makofthebeast.blogspot.com/

    By the way Richard, as a aside, rather than jousting with Christians, why don’t you show some guts and begin standing up for the freedoms that are being challenged and corroding daily by the real authoritarian ideology in the earth today? Why do I not see you publicly renouncing the doctrine of death for Apostasy that is practiced throughout the Islamic world and endorsed by Orthodox Muslims? Why do you not speak up against CAIR and the UN Human Rights Council’s efforts to limit free speech globally? Why do you not highlight the Gambians President’s promise to behead every homosexual in his country? Why do you not rage against the practice of taking child brides in Yemen and Saudi or against the honor killings taking place even here in the US? Its easy to fight against Christians who are largely pacifists. We may have some offensive opinions, but we don’t wish to chop off your head or put you in jail because you stayed up too late at the pub. As a parent and someone deeply concerned about human rights and civil liberties, let me tell you that it is easy to criticise Christians, but it isn’t so easy to stand against the real freedom-choking ideology of our age. I suspect that if we could sit down and have a beer (only one for me), we might be able to agree on a few things, but unfortunately from my angle, too many like yourself are too blinded by their tunnel vision hatred of all Christians and Conservatives to see the threat to secular democracy that is looming on the horizon which threatens both of our ways of life.

    In any case, bless you, Joel

    • But Joel,

      If I understand you correctly, your point is that
      In a certain (later) version of the codex vaticanus the letters chi xi and sigma resemble somewhat the arabic words ‘In’ + ‘the [name] of Allah’ + a sign of two swords.

      From that you draw the conclusion that it is possible that John used an arabic phrase and a symbol for jihad that was misinterpreted by later scribes for greek symbols.

      The point made above is that:
      1. Minuscule letters – the ones which you use in your argument – were not used in the time of john. Majuscule letters (uncial) – the ones which were used in his time – bear no resemblance to arabic phrases
      2. You or Walid state that de Codex Vaticanus is used, thus creating the impression that the usually reliable and ancient manuscript supports your assertion. But the original does not contain the book of Revelations. Apparently a later edited version based on the codex vaticanus was used, which weakens the argument. This creates the impression that you are not careful in making statements.

      As far as I can see, you have not answered these points.

      But the most striking point is of course: why would John (or the Holy Spirit through him – if you wish) suddenly move to arabic script and Islamic symbols, full knowing that no-one woud be able to interpret it? How does: ‘in the name of Allah – Jihad’ fit in the text of Revelations? The text clearly suggests that a number is expected… And the fact that there are variants in numbers indeed tells us something: that people were expecting a number…

      • Have you even read his books? because it does not look like it. I just got done reading the Mid-east Beast and was amassed to see the evidence presented.

  4. [...] on Joel Richardson Shows Off his Ignorancefledgist on RegenerationJoel Richardson on Joel Richardson Shows Off his Ignoranceqq on McCain and Gingrich Court Apocalyptic Christian Zionistqq on McCain and Gingrich Court [...]

  5. [...] though, in Joel Richardson, who tells us he is a “trustworthy writer”. You know, like Walid Shoebat. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Barack Obama – [...]

  6. Joel, you make a lot of very good points I must say.

  7. [...] general point about an ethnically diverse army is valid, but it is uncontroversial, and he is typically sloppy in his use of the evidence. It is also valid that he notes the role of auxilary non-Roman armies: [...]

  8. In Rev 13:18 does it not tell (in the Greek) those with understanding to “COUNT”/psephizo”:to count with pebbles, to compute”. the “NUMBER”/arithmos: “a fixed and definite number” of his name followed by giving us the “number of his name? Rev 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number [is] Six hundred threescore [and] six.

    If it were a symbol etc..then it wouldn’t go on & on about it being a number that we were to calculate. The only thing that bothers me about this is that it seems to use pagan gematra in order to calculate it. Though I don’t believe that this “mark” discounts a real number, I do believe that islam will play a part in the Great Tribulation, as it says that martyred believers will have been beheaded during the GT. What other group uses this method but the muslims?

    • Try not to think in numerical terms and values. I know, it sounds crazy. The absolute worst thing you can ever do, is an in-depth bible prophecy study using modern English translations. Keep in mind that the bible was written in an EASTERN language by EASTERN authors in an EASTERN land for and EASTERN audience. Using a western mindset or reasoning skills is suicide for bible prophecy studies.

      If you read the KJV and you get,

      “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the NUMBER of the beast: for it is the NUMBER of a man.”

      This is why people get soooo caught up trying to mathematically calculate some dudes name and see if they get 666.

      But, from the research that I have done, it is clear that a more accurate translation would be,

      “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the MULTITUDE of the beast. For it is the MULTITUDE of a man.”

      It makes more sense when you understand that John was simply saying that there is a great multitude of people following the system of the antichrist.

      Regardless, if you seriously think that John intended for everyone to bust out their calculators and start doing algebra to crack some kind of secret code for the name of the antichrist, you need to get your head checked and stop watching TV.

      • The “number” translation is not derived from the KJV – it goes back to the earliest manuscripts and discussions of the text (Irenaeus), and it fits a context of gematria. Your researches are bogus, and based on what you want to see in the Bible rather than what’s there. Also, your notion of a “Western” and and “Eastern” mindset is so vague as to be meaningless – and the New Testament is written in Greek anyway.

  9. I just find it ironic that someone who claims to be a christian (joel), a religion that preaches peace and brotherly love (so does islam eh? read the quaran if you really want to know both sides) is openly insulting and damning another religion? how ignorant of you.

    • 1) Joel never said anything insulting about any other religion.

      2) Even if he did, there ain’t nothing biblically wrong with it.

      – Biblically, men of God were constantly destroying the idols and false religions of men both physically and with verbally. Read about Moses, Joshua, Sampson, Gideon etc.

      3) The Christians are the ones being insulted, not the other way around. It is the atheists, catholics and muslims who are attacking Christianity.

      Your ignorance disgusts me, but I forgive you since you were probably raised in the public school system.

  10. [...] 666 may be misapplied to various proper names. This larger point is ignored by Richardson, who wants us to believe (following Walid Shoebat) that “666″ was a mis-transcription of the Arabic for [...]

  11. Something to consider: Weather on not 666 has do with a name/mark it that it is only one verse. A whole doctrine based on one verse can be very destructive.

    I have herd that 666 had to do with the money system, such as the modern bar-codes. The devil is not only the greatest of all deceivers, he is also the most proud. Therefore the claim was made that enemy will always want to put his finger print on his work. None the less there is heeps of references to the evils of money in the bible regardless of a 666 doctrine.

    biblical context:
    * The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil
    * You cant serve God and Mammon(deity of wealth)
    * Verses about false apostles, who only care for money – in Paul’s writing, as a way to discern a false apostle or false teacher, from those that a genuine.

    And of coarse the list goes on.

    Even if Wally is wrong about this single verse.
    Look at the context of the scriptures, there is allot of verses that relate to the Islamic nations, in the end times. Its also interesting that not one of the Jewish enemy nations is non-Muslim.

    A more detailed look into Wally claims can be seen here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-zX9d1Yt3g&playnext=1&list=PL42347511BD46EFEA

    But regardless, the commands from the Lord are simple: Love your neighbor. The lord even goes as far to say, love your enemy.

    If the scripture is used as an excuse to hate another people/religion than the point of The Lords commands have been missed.

    Also in the revelation, the job of Christians is basically to die (like sheep to the slaughter). And just wait through persecution and suffering. We are not meant to live for this life. Even the 2 prophets mentioned who are declared to have extreme power are stuck down in public view. Before they are resurrected.

    So basically what I’m saying is, until you come back from the dead, you have no excuse to harm others. =P

  12. Read this commentary on Revelation 13. Hopefully it should help to clear up some questions for a lot of people:

    http://midnightwatcher.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/revelation-13-a-commentary/

  13. Based on Walid Shoebat’s insights which make a whole lot more sense than this 666 gematria, I have this new version of Rev 13:16-18.

    Rev 16:18 He causes all both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave to wear a badge on their right arm or foreheads 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who wears the badge or the slogan of the beast, or is identified as one of his followers. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding work out who the followers of the beast are, for they are the followers of a man. His followers are identified by “in the name of allah” and the 2 crossed upright scimitars.

    Isn’t this a 100% correct description of Islam?

    • A “new version” of Revelation? Oh dear, you’re in trouble:

      “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”

      • Point taken, Richard, thank you for reminding me. But I hope we are trying to make sense of what is there, not add to them. Does Jehovah preclude all discussion on their meaning? This would mean that anyone who interprets things wrongly will be treated as having added….. or taken away from ….. The words used are liberal but valid translations of the original Greek if the last 3 letters are as Walid Shoebat suggests. As you may be aware, there can be shades of differences in meaning depending on context.
        To return the favour, I do remember reading somewhere in the OT that God will return to make war with those who divide “My Land” which could include their supporters of whom you could possible be one.

  14. God wants us to rightfully divide, to study to show ourselves approved, to understand that things are built precept upon precept, here a little, there a little. The whole of Scripture, when compared with Scripture and the undeniable fact that Christ in judgment upon His return is only described as destroying nations that are all today Islamic, leaves no doubt in my mind — the eschatonic Antichrist/Beast rises out of Islam, and the Mark of the Beast is therefore directly associated with it.

    Henry, in my commentary on Revelation 13 linked to above, I explain how the ‘multitude of a man’ may be referring directly to the false prophet Mohammed. Unless one acknowledges Mohammed as the ‘prophet of Allah’, they cannot become Muslim and be counted among the Ummah.

  15. Discovery channel used expert religious scholars in speaking on the book of revelation and they stated that the book of revelations is a combination of the books of “daniel and ezekiel” this complies with a bible dictionary from princeton university which went world wide in 1937’and with current knowledge.They also statede that the number “666” was associated with”NERO WHO BURNT DOWN ROME TO BLAMED IT ON THE TRUE FOLLOWERS OF THE PROPHET JESUS”,AND IT IS ALSO ASSOCIATED WITH ANY NATION WHICH INFLICTS INJURY ON ITSELF TO BLAME OTHERS FOR IT.
    TWO THINGS SHOULD BE NOTED 1. IN A RECENT TALK JOEL RICHARDSON WHEN HE MENTIONED “JACOB’S TROUBLES’ HE INADVERTLY ADDITED THAT “ISRAEL WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF THE WORLD TRADE CENTER ON SEPTEMBER 11TH. 2001,SINCE THIS ALSO INVOLVES THE FACT THAT ARIEL SHARON VIOLATED THE TEMPLE MOUNT ON SEPTEMBER 28TH. 2000.
    2.THE BIBLE DICTIONARY FROM PRINCETON UNIVERSITY CONFIRMS THAT “THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD WAS A DESCENDANT OF THE PROPHET “ABRAHAM”..

  16. It must be prideful to know that you
    are correct and others are ignorant.

  17. Hello Richard,

    What are your views on Islam,do you accet Muhammad had SEX with a 9-YEAR OLD GIRL as the evidence strongly shows?

    If it is yes,then are you for freedom of speech to say it and condemn it in the Muslim countries?I think you would say yes,so then I think you would agree with me Mohammad was a charlatan,he was no real messenger of God.Here is a article on why he had sex with a girl is true:

    http://www.antisharia.com/2011/04/12/documentary-evidence-that-aisha-consummated-her-marriage-with-muhammad-at-age-9/

    Here is more:

    http://www.antisharia.com/2011/07/20/is-it-possible-aisha-had-her-first-menstruation-at-7if-one-accepts-bukhari-then-yes/

  18. If we read the whole Bible we find that in the book of Daniel in its origional text some of the book was written in aramaic. So why would n’t God have arabic in Revelation 13, its obvious that the beast is islam as it explains in Revelation 13 the Leopard,Bear and the Lion which is explained in Daniel as Greek,Persian and Babylonian empires together today they are all muslims and its just so obcvious!

    Mathew

  19. 666 equals SSS in the Hebrew letters. It is symbolic of Isis, the goddess of fertility.

    The Antichrist is a supernatural being. He is not human, therefore, he will not come from any nation on earth. He is Satan and he is being held in chains in heaven and will be released by Michael the Arch Angel shortly after the one world system has been put into place and fails. The Antichrist will appear to have healed the system – thus convincing the world to worship him and the system. All of this will be done during the 6th seal, 6th trump and 6th vial (666). He has been given 7 years to reign, but this will be shortened to 5 months (for the Elect’s sake). Mark 13:11 says: God’s Elect will be delivered up before the Antichrist and God’s Holy Spirit will speak through them. After that is finished, Christ will appear during the 7th seal, 7th trump and 7th vial. (777).

    We are currently in the 5th seal, 5th trump and 5th vial.

    Five. Denotes Devine grace. It is 4 + 1. It is God adding His gifts and blessing to the works of His hands. The Heb. Ha’ aretz (the earth), by “Gematria” (i.e. the addition of the numerical value of the letters together) is a multiple of four, while Hashamayim (the heavens) is a multiple of five. The Gematria of Xapis (charis), the Greek for Grace, is also a multiple of five. It is the leading factor in the Tabernacle measurements.

    Six. Denotes the human number. Man was created on the sixth day; and this first occurrence of the number makes it (and all multiples of it) the hall-mark of all connected with man. He works six days. The hours of his day are a multiple of six. Athalia usurped the throne of Judah six years. The great men who have stood out in defiance of God (Golath and Nebuchadnezzar and Antichrist) are all emphatically marked by this number.

    Seven. Denotes spiritual perfection. It is the number or hall-mark of the Holy Spirit’s work. He is the Author of God’s Word, and seven is stamped on it as the water-mark is seen in the manufacture of paper. He is the Author and Giver of life; and seven is the number which regulates every period of Incubation and Gestation, in insects, birds, animals, and man.

  20. [...] but which pander to the particular concerns of the US right. Perhaps his most ludicrous stretch is his endorsement of Walid Shoebat’s claim that the Greek letters representing “666″ in the Book of [...]

  21. [...] and Richardson backed down by claiming that he didn’t really mean it); prior to that, he relied on a  typeset version of a fifteenth-century manuscript to make the palaeographical argument [...]

  22. [...] a shame that Richardson wasn’t similarly sceptical when his associate Walid Shoebat  claimed that the Arabic contours of “In the Name of [...]

  23. Initially, people avoid taking preventive steps because they cannot see fleas in the house.
    Insects are the most prolific species on the planet, unless you want ti include plants.

    Either way I am glad that Israel is taking their citizens safety seriously, heaven knows the
    rest of the world and the liberals in the US are as anti-semantic
    as the Nazi’s during World War II.

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