666 – The Number of the Beast

In his article entitled, “The Mystery of Babylon and Mother of Harlots, Part II”, Nate Barker relates the number “666” to the Catholic papacy, based upon the misguided belief that the official title of the pope is Vicarius Filii Dei (Vicar of the Son of God):
[Nate] “The Number of the Beast "666". (Rev.13: 10-18)... The beast (World Government) causes ALL, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive the Mark in their hand (Worship), or in their foreheads (Minds) that no man might buy or sell, except he had the mark of the, or the name of the Beast, or the Number of his name... For it is a number of a Man; and his number is "666". This number represents the name of a Man, or possibly a Group of men, or an Institution headed by a man or group of men. It seems to mean a Name, the letters of which, when regarded as numerals, total "666". “
The entire article is dealt with in detail here.

The theory that the corresponding Roman numerals of the pope’s title added up to 666 - the number of the Beast in Revelation – was first proposed by Andreas Helwig in the 1600’s (see L.E. Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 2, pp. 605-608). He also suggested other Latin titles applicable to the pope, including, Ordinarius Ovilis Christi Pastor, Dux Cleri, and Dic Lux. Unfortunately for Helwig (and Nate, and everyone else foolish enough to propagate this asinine myth), Vicarius Filii Dei is NOT an official title of the pope; Helwig even admitted that it was an expansion of the official title, Vicarius Christi. There are several reasons why the 666 idea is incorrect and, quite frankly, stupid. We will investigate in more detail below:

1) As stated above, Vicarius Filii Dei is NOT an official title of the pope and never has been. The pope is known as the Holy Father, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Chief of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, and Sovereign of the State of Vatican City. He is also referred to as Summus Pontifex, Pontifex Maximus, and Servus Servorum Dei, none of which add up to 666. There is absolutely no official Catholic document identifying the pope as the Vicar of the Son of God. (Click here at the Catholic Encyclopedia under the heading "Pope: Section V: Primacy of Honour: Titles and Insignia" - the phrase "Vicarius Filii Dei" is simply not there)

2) Proponents of this silly idea will sometimes refer to two documents: the Decretum of Gratian and the Corpus of Canon Law to prove that the title “Vicarius Filii Dei” is in "official" Catholic documents. (sometimes a section of Prompta Bibliotheca is quoted). Unfortunately for them, the sections containing those passages are from a famous forgery known as the Donation of Constantine. As Pat Madrid states, “Obviously, a forged document is not an "official Catholic document," even though it may have been regarded by many as authentic…The fact that the Donation of Constantine was wrongly assumed to be legitimate is irrelevant. What makes the Donation even more irrelevant to this issue is that even if it were not a forgery, it still wouldn't qualify as an official Catholic document. At best, it would have been an official state document, emanating from the Roman imperial government. That's because whoever forged it purported to be the Emperor Constantine, decreeing a series of land grants and various other temporal advantages to the bishop of Rome.” (click here to read Madrid’s article written in response to objections to his book Pope Fiction Basilica Press, 1999, pp 89-99)

3) Revelation 15:2 reads, “And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands.” The Number of the Beast applies to someone’s name, not his/her title. The pope’s name is not Vicar of the Son of God - currently his name is John Paul II.

4) Why in the world would the anti-Christ be so stupid as to identify himself so easily? Even further, why in the world would the Catholic Church go so far as to actually forge a document in order to do so?

5) Seventh Day Adventist (and anti-Catholic) Scheifler tries to claim that the phrase in John Paul II's book Crossing the Threshold of Hope (page 3) "represents the Son of God" translates into Latin as Vicarius Filii Dei. First of all, the quote is:
"The leader of the Catholic Church is defined by the faith as the Vicar of Jesus Christ (and is accepted as such by believers). The Pope is considered the man on earth who represents the Son of God."
It is easy to see for the rational reader that this does not use "represents the Son of God" as a title because they're not even connected phrases in the passage! To quote Patrick Madrid again, "Alas, if only Mr. Scheifler's Latin were as good as his imagination. In fact, the phrase "Represents the Son of God," translated directly into Latin, yields "Filium Dei Repraesentat, not Vicarius Filii Dei. Oh well. It should suffice to point out that "represents" is a verb. "Vicar" is a noun. But let's not belabor the obvious."

6) There are others' whose name adds up to 666, including Ellen Gould White (founder of the Seventh Day Adventist sect), Martin Luther, Evanthas, Teitan, Titus, Vespasian, Diocletian, Simon Gioras, Julian the Apostate, Genseric, Mahomet, Benedict IX, Louis XV, Napoleon I, etc.

7) Scheifler, Nate Barker, or anyone else attacking the papacy use a Latin phrase to come up with this fantasy; however, the Book of Revelation was written in Greek. The values of of Greek numbers make up the Beast's name, not the Latin ones, and it should come as no surprise that the Greek form of Vicarius Filii Dei doesn't add up to 666.

8) Some think the number 666 applies to Nero Caesar - the Greek form of his name in Hebrew letters is "nrwn qsr", where n = 50, r = 200, w = 6, q = 100, s = 60, thereby added up to 666:
Nun = 50
Resh = 200
Waw = 6
Nun = 50

Qoph = 100
Samech = 60
Resh = 200
9) Nate writes, "Irenaeus, a pupil of Polycarp, who was a pupil of John the Apostles, who saw the vision, understood the "666" to be the Greek word "Latenios": L, 30: A, 1: T, 300: E, 5: I, 10: N, 50: S, 200. These total "666" "Latenios" means "Latin Kingdom." Papal Rome made Latin its official language. And it still is, Rome Cannon, Missals, prayers, decrees, bulls, blessings, cursings, are in LATIN. "

For one thing, 30 + 1 + 300 + 5 + 10 + 50 + 200 = 596, not 666 - he omitted putting in the letter 0 = 70 part of the equation. The Greek word Lateinos means "Latin-speaking man"; however, this is not a name, it is a common noun, which is what Ireneaus acknowledged. It appears that Nate's historical scholarship is exceeded only by his mathematical ability. He has misrepresented what Irenaeus actually said, which was this: "It is therefore more certain, and less hazardous, to await the fulfilment of the prophecy, than to be making surmises, and casting about for any names that may present themselves, inasmuch as many names can be found possessing the number mentioned; and the same question will, after all, remain unsolved. For if there are many names found possessing this number, it will be asked which among them shall the coming man bear. It is not through a want of names containing the number of that name that I say this, but on account of the fear of God, and zeal for the truth: for the name Evanthas contains the required number, but I make no allegation regarding it. Then also Lateinos has the number six hundred and sixty-six; and it is a very probable [solution], this being the name of the last kingdom [of the four seen by Daniel]. For the Latins are they who at present bear rule: I will not, however, make any boast over this [coincidence]. Teitan too, (Teitan, the first syllable being written with the two Greek vowels e and i), among all the names which are found among us, is rather worthy of credit. For it has in itself the predicted number, and is composed of six letters, each syllable containing three letters; and [the word itself] is ancient, and removed from ordinary use; for among our kings we find none bearing this name Titan, nor have any of the idols which are worshipped in public among the Greeks and barbarians this appellation. Among many persons, too, this name is accounted divine, so that even the sun is termed "Titan" by those who do now possess [the rule]. This word, too, contains a certain outward appearance of vengeance, and of one inflicting merited punishment because he (Antichrist) pretends that he vindicates the oppressed. And besides this, it is an ancient name, one worthy of credit, of royal dignity, and still further, a name belonging to a tyrant. Inasmuch, then, as this name "Titan" has so much to recommend it, there is a strong degree of probability, that from among the many [names suggested], we infer, that perchance he who is to come shall be called "Titan." We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the apocalyptic vision. For that was seen no very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian's reign." (Against Heresies, Book 5, xxx, 3)

Note that NOWHERE in the quote does Irenaeus say that the "Latins" are the anti-Christ - he only mentioned them as a possibility, along with other possible anti-Christs. Furthermore, it should be noted that "the Latins" being referred to are the pagan Romans, NOT the Catholic Church, because Irenaeus WAS Catholic!

This is why Iraenaeus makes a point of saying warning against those who "received this reading without examination; some in their simplicity, and upon their own responsibility, making use of this number expressing one decad; while some, in their inexperience, have ventured to seek out a name which should contain the erroneous and spurious number" and asserts that Moreover, another danger, by no means trifling, shall overtake those who falsely presume that they know the name of Antichrist. For if these men assume one [number], when this [Antichrist] shall come having another, they will be easily led away by him, as supposing him not to be the expected one, who must be guarded against. These men, therefore, ought to learn [what really is the state of the case], and go back to the true number of the name, that they be not reckoned among false prophets." (AH, xxx, 1-2).

How ironic that the very quote Nate abuses actually ends up calling him "simple and irresponsible" - someday Nate will have to be held accountable for being a false prophet, as Irenaeus wrote.

Finally, in case anyone is wondering, my name adds up to 750! :-) I have, however, discovered some interesting numbers:

660 = Approximate number of the Beast

DCLXVI = Roman numeral of the Beast

0.666 = Number of the Millibeast

/ 666 = Beast Common Denominator

6, uh... what was that number again? = Number of the Blonde Beast

1-666 = Area code of the Beast

00666 = Zip code of the Beast

666mph = The speed limit of the Beast

$665.95 = Retail price of the Beast

$699.25 = Price of the Beast plus 5% state sales tax

$769.95 = Price of the Beast with all accessories and replacement soul

$656.66 = Walmart price of the Beast

Phillips 666 = Gasoline of the Beast

Route 666 = Way of the Beast

666 F = Oven temperature for roast Beast

666k = Retirement plan of the Beast

666 mg = Recommended Minimum Daily Requirement of Beast

6.66 % = 5 year CD interest rate at First Beast of Hell National Bank, $666 minimum deposit.

$666/hr = Beast's lawyer's billing rate

Lotus 6-6-6 = Spreadsheet of the Beast

Word 6.66 = Word Processor of the Beast

i66686 = CPU of the Beast

666i = BMW of the Beast

668 = Next-door neighbor of the Beast

333 = The semi-Christ