serious

Stop press: Number of beast not 666 : Iron Maiden frantically rewriting.

As I believe I may have mentioned, the use of SotA imaging techniques has rendered a hoard of ancient papyri legible, and among the interesting fragments is apparently a version of the Revelation of St John the Divine (I assume it'll be the oldest extant copy) in which the number of the beast is given as 616. In a different article about it, it's suggested that it probably refers to Caligula.

What this means for believers in biblical inerrancy is as yet unclear, but it seems likely they'll just ignore it the way they do most inconvenient facts.
This is one of those weird 'non-news' news stories. The fact that there is some question over whether the number was originally 666 or 616 is something I have known for decades, having read it somewhere or other - I think in a list of 'things where different translations of the bible differ wildly' somewhere.
I often see news stories and think 'well, if I had known that this was not widely known I would have told the press myself'. I remember the fact that more or less all petrol is the same and comes from the nearest depot regardless of what chain you buy it from was a shock-horror front page story in the Daily Mail on a day I was going to talk to one of the oil companies about the software that decides where they should pick it up from. We all had a good chuckle :-) (one gets ones yukk-yukks where one can).
Interesting. It isn't actually something I'd ever heard mentioned before. Given the amount of burbling on about it, I'd have thought a disagreement over what the number was would have been more widely mentioned.

Of course, now that I've said that I'm going to find that it's mentioned all over the place and it's only me who hasn't noticed.
Certainly googling for "number of the beast 616" turns up quite a lot of stuff which isn't all related to this month's news. (Mind you, you'd have to know about it already to know that was what you should search for!)

Wikipedia is particularly enlightening: my interpretation of what's written in that entry is that 616 has been known as an alternative possible NotB for at least decades, but that what's new about this month's research is that it actually gives strong evidence for which one of them was the original.
I'd heard it too I think. Couldn't tell you where though, somewhere in my teenage reading around bizarre forms of religion and superstition probably.
The entirity of Revelations refers to the Roman Empire imho - the 7 headed beast, the 7 hills of Rome, etc etc.
*snerk* I think it's far more fun to imagine the United Council of Doom Metal Masters very suddenly up to their ears in a different sort of headless chicken antics :)
I read recently that the number of the beast refers to all the Roman numerals - I, X, V, etc. because at that time if one wanted to be "successful" one had to join the Roman financial world, and that 666 (or 616) is what you get if you add up all the various letters used as Roman numerals.

It's one of those things I can't believe I'd never heard before, but makes sense.
Rarely seen larger Roman numerals
You've also got V,X,L,C,D,M with overlines - totalling to 1665000. I think this was as far as they went, though.
I do believe Euclid suggested a proof for deducing that the number of beasts is always N+1 after the Rentokil man has come to deal with N beasts. However, in a historical tragedy of the highest calibre, both the proof and the supporting angry correspondence between Euclid and Rentokil were sadly lost in the library fire at Alexandria. The last calculated number of beasts, according to Euclid, stood at "57 as you bastards neglected to check the retsina cave even though I explicitly mentioned the faint scratching noise heard to your incompetent beast control representative."
I got the impression that most people believing in biblical inerrancy and literalism only believe it of the KJV, so there's no problem there.
As ever, YMMV