“In the name of God, most gracious, most merciful” are the opening words of the Koran. The phrase is used by Muslems around the world to open many of their prayers, and is the phrase that opens many Islamic constitutions.
This phrase is called the “Bismillah” (sometimes basmala), and according to a Muslim website entitled, In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, the phrase is the key that provides a test that identifies the correct version of the Koran as it was revealed to Muhammed in the year 610 A.D. by the “Lord of the Universe.” The test is performed using gematria – a numerical coding system common in the ancient world by which letters are assigned numerical values. The bismillah converts to certain mathematical values that can be compared to gematrical values in the Koran as a whole. When this is done for the “true” version of the Koran, the values match. Otherwise they do not.
The bismillah can therefore be thought of as the mark, or number, of the true Koran. The site further states that the gematrical value of the correct version of the Koran is 666, and it is that which frees mankind. It concludes by saying that the Christian doctrine relating 666 to the antichrist is a deception designed to keep man in bondage.
The antagonism between the two religions is underscored by their respective views on the nature of God and of Jesus Christ. Toni Wilkerson, posting on the Issachar Blog, clarifies this.
Islam teaches that there is no god but Allah, Allah has no son and is not a father. The belief that God has no Son is encoded in the Koran in several places. It is embossed inside the Dome of the Rock in two foot high Arabic letters. I John 2:22 says: “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He who denies the Father and the Son is antichrist.” It is apparent and simply stated that the belief of Islam is antichrist.
The Christian doctrine of the antichrist and his mark centers on a constellation of prophecies that a false messiah will come at the end of the age and cause all, both great and small, to worship him. Revelation 13:1-18 encapsulates this subject well:
- And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
- And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as [the feet] of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
- And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
- And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who [is] like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
- And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty [and] two months.
- And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
- And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
- And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. …
- And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
- And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
- And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
- And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by [the means of] those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
- And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
- And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
- And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
- 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.
The Christian scripture here does not spell the numbers out long-hand, but uses gematria. This was a common practice in both Hebrew and Greek. In this case, the Christian scripture used three Greek characters representing 600, 60, and 6.
Reading from left to right, the first Greek letter, χ (pronounced “chi”) has a numerical value of 600.
The middle Greek letter, ξ, is pronounced “xi”, and it has a numerical value of 60.
The third Greek letter, ς, is pronounced “stigma”. Although its numerical value has changed since the first century, back in the first century, the stigma had a numerical value of 6. We might also note that the stigma has a literal meaning of “scar, mark, or badge of service”. (“In the name of Allah” = Bismillah = 666)
Mr. Walid Shoebat, a purported former PLO terrorist now Christian evangelist, says that when he saw the Greek symbols for 666 in the original manuscripts, he immediately recognized these as the Arabic character “bismillah,” which means “in the name of Allah.”
Here is a clip of Shoebat demonstrating what he saw, while explaining that some of the letters must be turned and mirror-imaged in order to match up.:
Here is an image of the bismillah– لڑكی
The third character, the “X”, is according to Shoebat the crossed swords representing Islam. Islam would be the expression in the world, through government and law, of the will of Allah. So all the characters together might read, in the name of Allah, Islam!
Below we see the bismillah (upper), compared to the Christian scripture (lower). In the scripture, the horizontal line over the characters is thought to be the indicator used to show that they should be read as numbers:
Toni Wilkerson, on the Issachar Blog, explains the comparison by saying that John the Revelator saw the mark of the beast in a vision, and wrote the characters down. Wilkerson says that the characters were never Greek at all, but were Arabic. The fact that neither Arabic nor Islam existed at that time is not a problem if this was a prophetic vision. He says,
Below is a sample of those three symbols from the Codex Vaticanus:
These symbols greatly resemble the three Greek letters χ ξ ς. But John did not write these symbols in Greek. These symbols are Arabic. In order to better recognize the Arabic letters let us rotate the middle symbols 90 degrees to the left and then invert them:
We now see four characters that read from right to left. The first, second, and third characters from the right are two Arabic words and the forth character is an Islamic symbol. The character to the far right is the first Arabic word which reads “In the name of.” The next two characters, going from right to left, are the name of a person. That name reads “Allah.” So when these three characters are read together they read the Arabic phrase “In the name of Allah.”
The long-term prophetic referent for these characters could be the Arabic bismillah whether they were originally perceived as Greek or not. It is common for the Judeo-Christian prophecies to have both a near-term and a long-term fulfillment. Preterism & Biblical Prophecy, by Fred Zaspel, explains this well:
It has long been recognized that Biblical prophecy is normally fulfilled not in a single event but in a series of events which bring the prophecy to it (sic) final culmination. … Older Bible teachers described this as “double” or “dual” fulfillment and as the “near view” and “far view” of prophecy. … More popularly, interpreters speak of the “now and not yet” aspect of Biblical prophecy, emphasizing that a given prophecy may well come to realization now yet await its fuller manifestation later; its fulfillment is both now and not yet. …
Our point here is simply to notice that Biblical prophecy normally unfolds in a progressively fulfilling way. In the unfolding of redemptive history the prophecy is seen to take on a wider or more detailed significance, … and examples in the prophetic Word abound. …
Antichrist provides (a good) example. The details of Dan.11 so graphically portray Antiochus Epiphanes that critical scholars insist that “Daniel” wrote after the fact. Of course we deny their conclusion, but the prophecy’s fulfillment in Antiochus is obvious. But then Jesus speaks of this “abomination” as yet future (Mat.24). As does Paul (2 Thes.2) and, (so it would seem from the many thematic parallels) John (Rev.13). And so the prophecy is fulfilled and yet is fulfilled again and is to be fulfilled still again, only more fully. But John tells us also that Antichrist “has come” (1Jn.4). He is the false teachers who lead men astray. So Antichrist “has come” and “will come.” He is “now,” and he is “not yet.”
A near-term prophetic referent may explain why some early manuscripts showed the variant 616 as the number for the beast of Revelation. After commenting that Irenaeus knew of this variant but affirmed 666 as correct, the Tyndale Bulletin states:
Recent studies suggest that there may not be any significant exegetical difference between 616 and 666. The consensus is firmly in favour of viewing this number as an example of gematria, in which the number stands for the name of a person (‘the number of his name’, Rev. 13:17; 15:2), and the person in mind would be Nero. It is likely that 666 arose from a Hebrew transliteration of Neron Caesar from Greek into Hebrew (rsq Nwrn). It is notable that an equivalent transliteration from Latin into Hebrew results in 616 (rsq wrn). We might also note that two possible transliterations of ‘beast’ into Hebrew could produce either 616 or 666.“
So either 616 or 666 referred to Nero in the immediate historical contexts, but prophetically pointed to later fulfillment as well.
Here is an early fragment of Christian scripture (225-275 A.D.) in which the number of the beast is recorded as 616. The early form of the stigma character (the digamma, I think) here is like a simple “c” shape . To the left of it is the iota character, looking like an “l”, and representing 10.
It is interesting to note that three of the four characters we have seen forming the bismillah are approximations of the three characters representing 616 in the scripture fragment. So the bismillah relates to either form of the scriptural “number of the beast:” the 616 or the 666.
We have established a strong visual relationship between the bismillah and the scriptural “number” of the beast. We have also established that the bismillah represents a sacred text that is valued gematrically as 666, while the Bible represents this gematrical formula as corresponding to a false messiah. One might say that the Bible and the Koran are antichrist to one another.
So is the bismillah the mark of the beast who’s book is the Koran? I wonder what the Sufi’s say it means.