We've long been taught through church, movies, and elderly family members that the number "666" is the "number of the beast" - the number of Satan (or Nero, depending on who you ask). But, it turns out, that Grand Rapids' very own area code "616" may actually be the evil number.

How is this possible? Well, the original Biblical writings are old and numerous, and have different translations.

The number of the beast is described in Revelation 13:15–18. There is only actually one mention of the number itself, which comes in verse 18 - "This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666." (from the NIV translation).

Seems like that's that - the number of the beast is "666". And, well, that was the widely accepted belief until 2005.

Wikipedia tells us (and yes, I know that Wiki isn't always the most reliable source) that back in 2005, a piece of Papyrus 115 came to light. That papyrus contains the earliest known version of the Book of Revelation in which the number of the beast is discussed. That version has the number of the beast as 616which some believe was the original number.

Now, that doesn't mean that 616 is the number either, since the number 665 was also found on that same piece of papyrus.

Theologians, and other people who are way more versed in this type of stuff (like this guy from Endtime Ministries, and this guy who makes a living answering people's hard Bible questions) have studied all of this a lot more, and probably can explain things a LOT better than I can, but the basic fact remains - the number of the beast could, in fact, be "616". But it could also still be "666".

Are we West Michiganders living in the "area code of the beast"?!? The world may never know...