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Exposing L. Ray Smith

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HERE YOU WILL SEE MY EMAIL CORRESPONDENCE WITH L. RAY SMITH (judge for yourself):

MY FIRST EMAIL TO MR.SMITH ARGUING POINTS HE ATTEMPTED TO MAKE IN ONE OF HIS WRITINGS:

(ME)

I figured I’d give a crack at clearing up some things here and there where I saw problems.  Let me know what you think.

(SMITH)

THE NUMBER 666

"Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding count the NUMBER OF THE BEAST: for it is the NUMBER OF A MAN; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six [666]" (Rev. 13:18).

Is this indeed what the Greek manuscripts of Rev. 13:18 state? No, it is not.

 

(ME)

So what do the Greek manuscripts state?  You never offer your own translation and you probably should if you want to state your case a bit more clearly, since it is not well defined here (What’s wrong with the translation? Is it a mistranslation or a variant problem?, etc.).  What you end up referring to is an interpretation, not what the Greek text actually states.  And as far as the Greek manuscripts are concerned, they say a couple different things when it comes to this verse, which are reflected in the UBS 4’s critical apparatus.  Check it out.  Did you know that some texts have numbers that differ from 666?

 

(SMITH)

The Greek word used when only man is meant (always excluding woman), is aner. But the Greek word translated "man" in Rev. 13:18 is not aner, but rather the word anthropos, which means "a human being, male or female." Strong’s Concordant.

 

(ME)

This section appears to be where you begin trying to explain your interpretation of Revelation 13:18.  It would seem at this point that what you previously wrote meant that the problem with the translation you quoted was that it was a mistranslation, because you think “man” in Revelation 13:18 should be “human being”. 

 

This entire section seems a bit misleading.  Against what you say, in many places anthropos DOES refer only to the male gender.  One of these places is Matthew 19:10. 

Also against what you say, I know of at least one place where aner is used WITHOUT being gender specific:

Romans 4:8. 

Regards Romans 4:8, the Louw and Nida Lexicon states:

'The parallelism in this quotation from Psalm 32.1-2 indicates clearly that the reference of aner is not a particular male but any person.'

 

Nevertheless, I would agree with you that in Revelation 13:18 anthropos could be used either way (not because of your general interpretation of the word) but because IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION anthropos is typically if not always used in its gender-neutral sense.  Aner doesn’t even occur in the Book of Revelation until 21:2, and it is used there in its more specific use, however, there in the sense of “husband” and not simply “male”.

 

 (SMITH)

Furthermore, it is not the number of "a" anything. It is just the number of human or of mankind! Even the Revised Standard Version translators saw this and therefore, states, "It’s number is six hundred sixty-six." The number of the wild beast is not the number of "a" man, but rather the number of "man" or "mankind."

 

(ME)

I do not know if you know or not, but Greek doesn’t have indefinite articles, so this may be a bit nit-picky and may be showing some of your presuppositions.

 

(SMITH)

With this in mind let’s read II Thes. 2:3:

"Let no man [‘let not any person,’ RSV, ‘Let no ONE…’] deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a FALLING AWAY first, and that man of sin [Gk: the lawless one] be revealed, the son of perdition [Gk: the one destined for destruction]. Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God [a god], or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God"

 

(ME)

I do not think that it is healthy exegetical practice to attempt to interpret Revelation 13:18 using 2 Thessalonians 2:3.  From what I’ve read of the things that you write, you don’t like a lot of ‘unscriptural’ catchphrases so I would assume that at this point you wouldn’t say something in defense like, “let scripture interpret scripture’.  Good exegetical practice: you should always try to interpret a particular passage using the book in which the passage is contained FIRST and not simply jump to some random proof-text.  Maybe that’s why people don’t know how to argue against some of the things you write.  You might proof-text so much they don’t even know where to start and that does not really get anybody anywhere. 

 

(SMITH)

Whenever man builds his spiritual house upon the spiritual sand, his spiritual house will fall. And it is then that God reveals to him the wild beast that comes out of the sea. What does Paul tell us happens when there comes a ‘FALLING AWAY’ first? What follows? When our house on sand falls, what is then revealed? Why "the LAWLESS one" is "REVEALED." When the falling away occurs, then the man of sin, ‘the lawless one’ ‘the one destined for destruction’ is REVEALED.

And what a revelation it is! What a blast of the trumpet it is! What a shock to all humanity when at long last this wild beast is revealed to EVERYONE! Trust me when I tell you that it is a hard pill to swallow. It will shake you to your sandy foundation.

As I am now at the end of this Part XIII, I don’t want to close without revealing just who it is that constitutes the wild beast of Revelation 13 and the lawless one of II Thes. 2. I did title this Installment: Who is the Beast? And so I will tell you.

"So okay Ray, enough, TELL US WHO THE BEAST IS. Who? Tell us WHO?"

The "beast" is you!

 

(ME)

The whole spiritual house upon spiritual sand interpretation mixed in with those Pauline proof-texts is all on pretty shaky ground itself, and I don’t even have time to go into that now.  Might I suggest making your writings a bit shorter?  That may be another reason many people do not refute a lot of what you write, you may not be giving them enough opportunity.

Anyways, the part I really wanted to talk about, your interpretation of six hundred and sixty-six.  A Biblical Background Commentary would help you enormously here (even a basic “non-scholarly one like the IVP Bible Background Commentary).

You see, as I said above, there are numerous variants of this verse, which can be seen by looking at the different manuscripts.  Did you know that some of them have the number six hundred and sixteen?  I wonder how that would work with your interpretation?  Does the number affect your interpretation at all?  If not, shouldn’t it?  It does appear to be the very cryptic thing that John, if he wrote this, is driving at doesn’t it?

 

The number six hundred and sixty-six is most certainly a form of gematria.  Have you ever heard of it?  The author of Revelation used this very Jewish and very common literary technique to code the number of the beast.  Did you know that if you took Nero Caesar’s name in Greek, and transliterated it into Hebrew, and then counted up the numerical equivalents of the letters, the number you would arrive at would be six hundred and sixty-six?  Try it! 

Do you know how scary Nero Caesar was to the early Christians?  Did you know there was a myth going around that he would come back from the dead?  Remember the variant of six hundred and sixteen that I told you about?  Did you know that the letters in “Nero Caesar” in Latin (and then again transliterated into Hebrew) add up to that variant?  It would seem like someone somewhere knew what that cryptic number meant and changed it for his Latin audience.  Isn’t that wild? 

 

So thankfully, the beast isn’t you.  It was Nero.  Rest assured.

 

I’ll check out some more of your stuff as I find the time, I certainly won’t be writing as much as you typically write, so don’t be expecting it!  I hope you don’t mind this friendly criticism.

 

Sincerely,

 

John

 

 

MR. SMITH'S FIRST RESPONSE

 

(SMITH) 

No, John, I don't mind. I get this kind of nonsense all day long.

 

I said in my paper that "man" meant "mankind" or "human," and not specifically the "male" gender.  And by the way, the word "MANkind" includes "WOMANkind." Seem you didn't understand that, and had to make an issue out of it.

 

 Maybe there's a manuscript out there somewhere that has 606 or maybe 555. Gee, wonder who's name that might equate to?  Did you know that my friend, the late Dr. Enest Martin, had a method by which he could make ANYBODY'S NAME come out to 666. Put that one in your pipe.

 

God be with you,

Ray

 

P.S. It's "666." That's the correct number. And "the BEAST is you."  Honest!

 

 

MY RESPONSE

 

(SMITH)

 

No, John, I don't mind. I get this kind of nonsense all day long.

 

(ME) 

You crack me up.

 

 (SMITH)

I said in my paper that "man" meant "mankind" or "human," and not specifically the "male" gender.  

 

 (ME)

You must be reading a different paper.  The following quote is from the paper I read:

The Greek word used when only man is meant (always excluding woman), is aner.

One of the things that I wrote was that your above statement was incorrect, aner doesn't always mean specifically the male gender (and therefore by what you said above-- not specifically the "male" gender—you contradicted yourself).  Do you not understand? 

 

 (SMITH)

And by the way, the word "MANkind" includes "WOMANkind." Seem you didn't understand that, and had to make an issue out of it.

 

 (ME)

I never said that anthropos didn’t sometimes refer to “humankind”.  You obviously didn’t understand what I wrote.  I was showing that anthropos doesn’t ALWAYS mean “humankind”, which is what you were trying to imply.  I’m sorry but your definition of the word would be wrong.  Anthropos doesn’t always mean humankind.  You have to prove, using more than what you may be accustomed to using, that anthropos in the Book of Revelation in general, and in 13:18 in particular, means "humankind", which you have failed to do.

 

 (SMITH)

 Maybe there's a manuscript out there somewhere that has 606 or maybe 555. Gee, wonder who's name that might equate to?  Did you know that my friend, the late Dr. Enest Martin, had a method by which he could make ANYBODY'S NAME come out to 666. Put that one in your pipe.

 

 (ME)

It doesn’t matter that a person can make some random name mean 666.  What matters is a name that equals the number 666 (and rather simply equals 666 mind you) and would be relevant to the original author and his audience.  Have you ever taken a class on hermeneutics?  You should maybe think about it.

 

By the way, I’ve read where you’ve said to another person that “put that in your pipe” phrase before.  I don’t smoke a pipe; maybe you do, but it sounds pretty silly when the phrase is directed to me.  Just thought I’d let you know.

 

 (SMITH)

God be with you,

 

 (ME)

And with you.

 

(SMITH)

Ray

 

P.S. It's "666." That's the correct number. And "the BEAST is you."  Honest!

 

 (ME)

That is an incorrect interpretation of 666.  You should try to become more familiar with good interpretations of 666.  There is really only one that makes sense and it is not your interpretation.  Sorry.  The beast, however much you want it to be, isn’t you.