The Number and the Name
Vicarius Filii Dei and the
AN UNUSUAL STATEMENT On pp. 85-86 of the June 2002 Senior Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly (reprinted below), several remarkable claims are made:
(1) The number 666, in Revelation 13:17-18, could apply to the names of lots of people. That is not true. The number can only be applied to a relatively few individuals. Select 100 names and see how many fit 666; probably only one or two.
(2) The number probably only refers to "humanity"; that is, all human beings. We will let the official English Bible of the Roman Catholic Church refute that claim:
THE NUMBER OF A MAN According to the Bible, it is the number of a certain human being a "man," not everyone in the world! To say it is everyone makes a mockery of Revelation 13:17-18. Read it again. According to the Quarterly, everyone is the beast power!
What "man" would that be? By the magnitude of the description in Daniel 7 and Revelation 12 and 13, the name would obviously apply to the official title of a "man" who, by virtue of his office, could continue on, century after century. That man would be identified as the beast of Revelation 13 and its counterpart, the little horn of Daniel 7. The Bible evidence for the identification of the last verse in Revelation 13 is conclusive.
But, since 1941, there has, in addition to our denomination, also been another organization which has denied that those verses do not apply to the pope.
(In all of the quotations, italics are theirs and bold and bracketed comments are ours.)
SENIOR SABBATH SCHOOL QUARTERLY FOR SECOND QUARTER, 2002
MARK AND NUMBER OF THE BEAST (Rev 13:16-18; 14:1).
What is John's purpose in mentioning the mark and number of the beast? Rev. 13:16-18.
Why do we say that those who keep Sunday do not have the mark of the beast /low? Why is it important that we make this point clear?
number of the beast. The mark, the name, and the number of the
beast are closely related (Rev. 13: 17). Many suggestions have been
made to explain the meaning of 666. Here we must be very careful.
The Bible does not say that the number is the added numerical value
of the letters of a name. Some see in the meaning of 666 a symbol of
humanity separated from God. Humans were created on the sixth day,
and the number can stand as a symbol for humanity without divine
rest (the seventh day). Humans have claimed ultimate independence
from God (the cause of their fall), and even now they do not want to
find rest in Christ.
the years, numerous Bible students have come up with various
explanations for the 666. Some found significance in the fact that
if you added up the number of letters in the name of a former
president of the United States, Ronald Wilson Reagan, it came to
666; others saw meaning in that, years ago, all the buses in
Jerusalem had 666 on their license plates. This is futile
speculation that adds nothing toward understanding truth. The
important point is that God's Word has given us enough information
to know what the key issues are and who the players will be in the
last days, even if we do not know all the details for now, such as
the precise meaning of 666.
Please note the following points in conclusion to this week's study:
1. Vicarills Filii Dei (Vicar of the Son of God). Since the Reformation, this papal title has been used to calculate the number 666. But there are several questions that should make us cautious. First, it is not dear that this title is an official one. Second. there is no clear indication in Revelation 13 that the number is based on the numerical value of the letters of a name. The phrase "it is the number of a man" (vs. 18, NIV) could be translated "it is the number of [humanity]"; that is, of humans separated from God. Third, those who insist in counting the numerical value of letters confront the problem of - deciding which language will be used. Because the text does not identify any language, the selection of a particular one will be somewhat arbitrary. At the present time, the symbolism of intensified rebellion, six used three times, and total independence from God seem to be the best option. Time will reveal the full meaning of the symbol.
THE 1941 DENIAL Our Sunday Visitor has, for over a hundred years, been the largest Roman Catholic weekly in America. In its August 3, 1941 issue, the Visitor declared for the first time that Vicarius Filii Dei is not on the popes tiara. Here is the statement:
[In the above paragraph, they made up a fictitious name, and then latinized the first and middle names (but not the last!), by twice added "us." Then they included the "d" which should not properly be latinized.]
1941 ARTICLE CAREFULLY WORDED According to the above article, in 1941, the popes tiara does not have the words Vicarius Filii Dei on it. The denial is carefully worded; (1) It only speaks about the papal tiara (his jewel encrusted gold crown; "tiara" is Latin for metallic crown), and does not mention the popes mitre (his cloth cap). Both the tiara and the mitre are in the shape of a triple crown, signifying that he is the ruler of heaven (which is blasphemy), earth, and under the earth (where purgatory and hell are supposed to be located). (2) The denial is also careful not to mention what might have been written on the tiara in the past. We will learn below that, by official Catholic statements, the name has for centuries been on both the tiara and the mitre! We will also learn that the 1941 Visitor did not mention what was written on the MITRE because only 26 years earlier the Visitor said the name was on the mitre!
AN ANCIENT DOCUMENT HAS THE NAME The so-called "Donation of Constantine" is one of the most famous forgeries in the Roman Catholic history. Yet it is, nonetheless, an important document, dating back over a thousand years. The Donation was obviously written by the priests at the Vatican, and not by Constantine. (In later centuries, even the papacy admitted that Constantine did not write it.) This document states their view of the official title of the pope, from Peter onward:
The above is a translation from the Latin. Here is the original:
THE TITLE IN 1439Here is an official declaration of the Council of Florence, held in Florence, Italy over 560 years ago:
THE TITLE IN 1862A noted Catholic author wrote this 140 years ago:
Cardinal Manning (1808-1892) was a prolific defender of Catholicism. Later in the same book, he said this:
Manning is writing in English, but in Latin, "Vicar of the Son of God" is Vicarius Filii Dei, just as the phrase occurs in the Donation of Constantine, where it is applied to Peter.
THE NAME ON THE TIARA IN 1939The 1941 Visitor article denied that the name was on the papal tiara (gold crown) in 1941. But, according to the following article, the name ("Vicarius Filii Dei" ) was on the tiara only two years earlier, in 1939,when it was placed on the head of Eugenio Pacelli, crowning him as Pius XII:
TIARA ESTABLISHED Contrary to what the 1941 Visitor claimed, we have established that the popes special name is written on his golden crown. But is anything written on his "everyday crown," the papal mitre?
THE 1914 VISITOR STATEMENT The answer was written 27 years earlier in the same publication! Notice that the Visitor does not deny, but admits that the title is in the popes mitre, and that it totals 666. So the title is not only on the golden tiara (crown), but it is also on the popes mitre (the cloth cap shaped like three crowns on top of one another):
VICARIVS FILII DEI
5 1 10 1 5 150 1 1 500 1
ONLY ONE RATIONALIZATION Notice that the above 1914 Visitor denial was the boast that nearly everyone's name can, in its Latin numeral equivalents, be tallied up to 666. That is also the same argument put forth by the 1941 Visitor article and our June 2002 Quarterly!
THE 1915 VISITOR STATEMENT Only five months later, the Visitor once again admitted that Vicarius Filii Dei is inscribed on the papal MITRE; and once again used the very same argument in an attempt to explain away the fact:
THEY FULLY ADMIT IT The question in the 1914 Visitor asked whether Revelation 13:18 refers to the pope. Significantly, to answer the question the Visitor called attention, not to the word, "pope," but to his official title, Vicarius Filii Dei, as embroidered into the very fabric of his three-level cap.
The question, a few months later, asked whether the letters in the "popes crown" had any meaning. The answer revealed that the mitre is one of his crowns, and once again talked about that title on it. The reply also stated that every bishop of Rome, since Peter, has had that title. It is his permanent name.
Notice that never never, in any of their statements, does Rome deny that Vicarius Filii Dei is the popes official title!
How can we be sure that Vicarius Filii Dei is the official title of the pope? We can know it because it is the only phrase written on both of his crowns!
BASIS OF THE POPES AUTHORITY The rest of the above 1915 statement explains why the papacy cannot abandon that title: It gives the pope his authority to rule.
The most important doctrine of Romanism is the claim that the one man, the pope, rules in the place of God. And that is the claim by which you can identify him as the beast of Revelation and the little horn of Daniel 7. His special qualities are fourfold: a different kind of temporal kingdom, blasphemy against God, the changing of Gods law, and the persecution of Gods people (Dan 7:8, 20-21, 24-25; Rev 12:13-17; 13:5-7).
POWER IN PLACE OF GOD—As vicegerent of the Son of God, the pope has power to change Gods law and to decide who will go to heaven and to hell.
THE MEANING OF THE CROWNS Both his tiara and mitre are shaped like three crowns on top of one another. It is of highest significance that the "Vicarius" phrase is on those crowns. The crowns symbolize the basis of his authority; the phrase, Vicarius Filii Dei, states it.
Would you like to be the king of hell? The pope says he is. Perhaps that is so; he has sent more people there than all others in history, holding a single, titled office.
BACKGROUND OF THE CHANGEOVER It is an intriguing fact that the papacy decided in 1941 to stop bragging about the name on the papal tiara; and, instead, they began telling people that the number 666 could apply to most anyone's name. It made that decision 61 years ago because of publications distributed by our own denomination.
That made our church a target for conquest, for we were about the only major denomination which was still denouncing the pope.
Vatican II (1962-1965) was a major event. A number of our leaders attended and initiated friendly contacts at Vatican headquarters. From 1965 to the present, we have sent special representatives to World Council of Churches headquarters, in Geneva, to meet with Protestant and Catholic leaders. Agreements have been made. Now we no longer apply the 666 to the pope. For more on this, we refer you to the following books of ours: