Pickle Publishing The Meaning of 666
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The Meaning of 666

by Bob Pickle

  1. Introduction
  2. One of Two Names in the Forehead
  3. Aaron Wore God's Name in His Forehead
  4. It's on His Miter
  5. Objection: Other People's Names
  6. That Missing Issue
  7. It's in Official Documents
  8. Objection: Title vs. Name
  9. Picture Please?
  10. Other Testimony

Introduction

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. (Rev. 13:17, 18)

Scripture in these words encourages us to find a name and somehow count it, to see if we come up with the number 666. Where might we look to find such a name? Revelation itself gives us a clue.

One of Two Names in the Forehead

Those who have studied Revelation have long noted that the seal of God and the mark of the beast appear to be in opposition to each other. For one thing, both are connected with names, the former with the Father's name, and the latter with the name of the beast. For another, both the seal and the mark are placed in the recipient's forehead, with the exception that the mark can also be placed in the hand:

Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. (Rev. 7:3, 4)

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. (Rev. 14:1)

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. (Rev. 13:1)

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. (Rev. 13:16-18)

And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. (Rev. 14:11)

Aaron Wore God's Name in His Forehead

Interestingly, there is one individual in Scripture that walked around with God's name literally in his forehead:

And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be. And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD. (Ex. 28:36-38)

Even more interesting is the fact that this golden plate was engraved like a "signet," a word that means a "seal." Thus Aaron and every high priest after him had the seal of God upon his forehead. This parallel to Revelation appears to be more than coincidental.

Aaron represented Jesus, our great high priest in the temple in heaven. The beast, then, could be a counterfeit high priest, an idea that Daniel 8:11 also supports. Thus, if we can find a counterfeit high priest on earth today, one that wears a miter, a miter that at some point in time had upon it the name of the beast, and if that name adds up to 666, then we have found the fulfillment of this prophecy.

It's on His Miter

The November 15, 1914, issue of the Catholic publication, Our Sunday Visitor, stated that

The title of the Pope in Rome is Vicarius Filii Dei [Latin for "Vicar of the Son of God"]. This is inscribed on his mitre; and if you take the letters of his title which represent Latin numerals (printed large) and add them together they come to 666.

V I C A R I V S F I L I I D E I
5 1 100

1 5


1 50 1 1
500
1

Incredibly, this Catholic publication did indeed show how to add the name up to arrive at 666, and their math is obviously correct. (Note that a U is the equivalent of a V in Roman numerals.)

This connection between Vicarius Filii Dei and 666 is anything but new. The first person we know of to make this connection was Andreas Helwig in 1612 in his book The Roman Antichrist.

Objection: Other People's Names

But Our Sunday Visitor went on to point out that other people's names add up to 666 too. It even gave the example of "Ernest Reginald Hull," which also adds up to 666 if you alter his name a bit, making it read "Ernestus Reginaldus Hull." In a similar manner, some critics of Seventh-day Adventists claim that "Ellen Gould White" adds up to 666 when you take the "double U" to be a double V.

But there are some problems here:

  1. While Our Sunday Visitor claimed that the pope wore his name on his miter, and thus on his forehead, we have no record whatsoever of Hull or White doing the same.
  2. Neither Hull nor White ever was a high priest, but the popes most certainly have fit that role.
  3. Since White and Hull are English names, English numerals rather than Roman numerals are required. But since there is no such thing as English numerals, all English names appear to be disqualified. We therefore need to instead look for a Latin, Greek, or Hebrew name, and then use Latin, Greek, or Hebrew numerals. Or perhaps there might be some other language that uses letters of the alphabet to represent numerals.

That Missing Issue

Six months after publishing the above statement, Our Sunday Visitor had a little more to say about the matter in their issue of April 18, 1915:

What are the letters supposed to be in the Pope's crown, and what do they signify, if anything?

The letters inscribed in the Pope's mitre are these: Vicarius Filii Dei, which is the Latin for the Vicar of the Son of God. . . .

Enemies of the Papacy denounce this title as a malicious assumption.

A friend of ours wrote to Our Sunday Visitor to inquire about the authenticity of the above quotation. He received the following reply in early July of 2003:

Craig,

There was an OSV article from 1915 on the papal tiara. This article contained errors and therefore was removed from our archives. We do have a packet of info that we send out when this subject is brought up. If you provide me with a mailing address, I will forward a copy on to you.

Sincerely,

Chris Meadows
OSV Librarian

Sounds a bit odd, doesn't it? What secular or religious periodicals in America ever destroy the very last copy they have in their archives simply because some error was made? They simply print a correction in a subsequent issue. But someone obviously felt that total destruction of that issue was the only remedy. Fortunately, there are some academic libraries not run by Our Sunday Visitor that still have copies on microfilm in their collections, and Our Sunday Visitor can replace the missing copy in their archives if this wish to do so.

It's in Official Documents

Vicarius Filii Dei is a title that can be found in official documents of the Church of Rome. It appeared in the famous forgery, the Donation of Constantine, which was then incorporated into Canon Law. Gratian's Decretals, one such collection of Canon Law composed in the 1140's and in common use for about 800 years, quotes from this forgery the portion that states that just as Peter was vicarius Filii Dei, so also are the popes greater in power than earthly emperors, since they are Peter's successors.*

A Catholic scholar named Lucius Ferraris wrote a reference work called Prompta Bibliotheca around the mid-eighteenth century, and it was reprinted a number of times through 1899. This work contained an article on the pope which included the title Vicarius Filii Dei.*

Objection: Title vs. Name

Some point out that it was the "name" of the beast that added up to 666, not his title. But the Bible uses the word "name" a little differently than we do today:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Is. 9:6)

Today it can appropriately be said that these terms are titles, not names. But the Bible writers made no such distinction between names and titles. Thus, while we might say that Vicarius Filii Dei is but a title, according to biblical usage it really is a name after all.

Picture Please?

No, we don't have a picture. And if what happened to Our Sunday Visitor's archives is any indication, such a picture would be promptly destroyed if it were ever found by the wrong party.

Here in northwest Minnesota lives an Italian immigrant. As a devout Catholic youth in Italy she was on one occasion in the pope's presence in the 1950's. He was wearing a miter, and across the bottom of it upon his forehead she saw the letters Vicarius Filii Dei. Unfortunately, she took no picture, not discovering the significance of that title until about 30 years later.

Until such a picture surfaces, we'll have to be content with what the Bible indicates: Somewhere sometime there must be a counterfeit high priest who wears a miter, a miter with his name upon it, a name that when "counted" gives the number 666. If anyone knows someone else this could be referring to, please forward this information to us without delay.

Other Testimony

We'll close with three additional eyewitness accounts that can be found in Uriah Smith's book Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation. The first two claimed to have seen Vicarius Filii Dei on the pope's tiara, his triple crown, which is something different than his miter. The third claimed to have seen it on his miter.

This title, there is reason to believe, was formerly inscribed upon the pope's crown. The following testimony on this point is given by the late Elder D.E. Scoles, of Washburn, Mo.:—

"I have met two men who declare that they have seen this specific crown; and their testimony is so perfectly in agreement that I am convinced that what they saw is true. The first man was M. De Latti, a Sabbath-keeper who had previously been a Catholic priest, and had spent four years in Rome. He visited me when I was pastor in St. Paul, Minn., several years ago. I showed him my tract, 'The Seal of God and the Mark of the Beast.' He at once told me that the inscription was not correctly placed in my illustration. He stated that he had often seen it in the museum at the Vatican, and gave a detailed and accurate description of the whole crown. When my tract was published, I was ignorant of the arrangement of the words of the Latin inscriptions, hence, in the illustration of the crown, placed them in one line. Brother De Latti at once pointed out the mistake, and said the first word of the sentence was on the first crown of the triple arrangement, the second word on the second part of the crown, while the word Dei was on the lower division of the triple crown. He also explained that the first two words were in dark-colored jewels, while the Dei was composed entirely of diamonds.

"During a tent-meeting which I held in Webb City, Mo., I presented the subject, 'The Seal of God and the Mark of the Beast.' I used charts to illustrate it, one being a reproduction of the crown as Brother De Latti had described it. A Presbyterian minister was present, Rev. B. Hoffman, and when I described the crown, he spoke out publicly and made a statement to the congregation, saying that while in Rome studying for the priesthood, he had seen this very crown, and noted its inscription, and that the word Dei was composed of one hundred diamonds. I met him and learned his name, and visited him at his home, and was convinced from his description that this was the identical crown that Brother De Latti had seen, but which has been denied by many. I then asked him for a written statement, and he gave me the following:—

" 'To Whom It May Concern: This is to certify that I was born in Bavaria in 1828, was educated in Munich, and was reared a Roman Catholic. In 1844 and 1845 I was a student for the priesthood in the Jesuit College in Rome. During the Easter service of 1845, Pope Gregory XVI wore a triple crown upon which was the inscription, in jewels, Vicarius Filii Dei. We were told that there were one hundred diamonds in the word Dei; the other words were of some other kind of precious stones of a darker color. There was one word upon each crown, and not all on the same line. I was present at the service, and saw the crown distinctly, and noted it carefully.

" 'In 1850 I was converted to God and to Protestantism. Two years later I entered the Evangelical Church ministry, but later in life I united with the Presbyterian Church, of which I am now a retired pastor, having been in the ministry for fifty years.

" 'I have made the above statement at the request of Elder D.E. Scoles, as he states that some deny that the pope ever wore this tiara. But I know that he did, for I saw it upon his head.

" 'Sincerely yours in Christian service,

(Signed) " 'B. HOFFMAN.

" 'Webb City, Mo., Oct. 29, 1906.' "

The following extract is from a work entitled The Reformation, bearing the date of 1832:—

" 'Mrs. A.,' said Miss Emmons, 'I saw a very curious fact the other day; I have dwelt upon it much, and will mention it. A person, lately, was witnessing a ceremony of the Romish Church. As the pope passed him in procession, splendidly dressed in his pontifical robes, the gentleman's eye rested on these full, blazing letters in front of his miter: "VICARIUS FILII DEI," the Vicar of the Son of God. His thoughts, with the rapidity of lightning, reverted to Rev.13:18.' 'Will you turn to it?' said Mrs. A. Alice opened the New Testament and read: '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.' She paused, and Miss Emmons said, 'He took out his pencil, and marking the numerical letters or the inscription on his tablet, it stood 666.' "—pp. 624-626.

_________________________________________________________

* For in-depth documentation regarding the Donation of Constantine, Lucius Ferraris, and Vicarius Filii Dei, including photocopies of the works referred to, please see 666, The Number of the Beast.

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