Another INC Accusation That Just Doesn't Add Up!
According to the official magazine of the INC called Pasugo, their September 1976 issue accuses the Pope of the Catholic Church as being the Beast of Revelation since a supposed title of the Pope adds up to the number of the Beast which is 666. How did INC come up with this serious accusation?
As we know, the INC's founder is an ex-minister of a sect called the Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA). It just so happens that the INC use identical arguments in accusing the Pope as the Beast of Revelation with the mark of 666.....hmmmmmmm, very interesting. Moreover, a doctrinal discussion I had with an INC district minister brought the same outlandish accusation to my attention.
Lets take a look at the INC and SDA's claims when it comes to the number of the Beast in Revelation:
Ellen Gould White, the foundress of Seventh Day Adventism wrote many books, some of which preach hatred of the Catholic Church. One book in particular titled, 'The Great Controversy' is almost entirely devoted to this subject.
This group equates the Pope with the dreaded number of the beast, 666, as recounted in Revelations 13:18 and 15:2. They use as so-called 'proof' a document called, the 'Donation of Constantine', written between 750 and 800 A.D.. In this 'document', the Pope is referred to as the 'Vicar of the Son of GOD', which is 'Vicarius Filii Dei' in Latin. If you take the letters of this title in Roman Numeral form, they add upto 666.
Add 'Vicarius', V=5+I =1+C=100+I=1+U (u and v are equal in Latin)=5 is 112.
Add to it 'Fileii', I=1+L=51+I+I is 53.
Add 'Dei', D=500+1 is 501.
Now add the three, 112+53+501= 666.
According to the 'reasoning' of the SDA and INC, this 'proves' that the Pope is the beast of 666. To further their so-called 'proof', they claim the title 'Vicar of the Son of GOD' is engraved on the miter of the Pope.
What they will never tell you...
1. The 'Donation of Constantine' is not a valid document. It is widely known as a forgery. There is no official Catholic document to 'prove' this charge by, and only by, Seventh Day Adventists.
2. The title 'Vicar of the Son of GOD' was never a title of the Pope. It is a Seventh Day Adventists twisting of 'Vicar of Christ', which is one of the Pope's true titles.
3. 'Vicar of the Son of GOD' is NOT engraved on the miter of the Pope. No Seventh Day Adventist has ever been able to show 'proof' of this charge.
4. The 'beast of 666' is not the number of a 'title', but is the number of its 'name' as stated in Rev 15:2: "...and those who had overcome the beast and its image and the 'number of its name'..." Therefore even if the Pope had the title 'Vicar of the Son of GOD', which he never did, 666 would not apply to him as it is not his name, but a title.
Ironically, there is someone whose name fits perfectly, as the beast '666' of Revelations.
5. Now since 666 is the number of 'its' name, let us find one that matches it. Ellen = L+L=100, Gould = U+L+D = 555,White = a double 'U' = 2 'V's +1 = 11.
Total these three numbers, and we have, 100 + 555 + 11 = 666.
So Ellen Gould White, the foundress of Seventh Day Adventism, has a name that adds up to 666, and it is the number of a name and not of a title.
6. I would say that the number '666' applies more readily to the foundress of Seventh Day Adventism since it is the number of 'its' name, and not the name of a trumped up, non-existant title, wouldn't You?
But, in reality, I'm sure John of Revelation didn't mean Ms. White of the SDA. I'm just proving that this sort of twisting can lead to anything if one were to tweak the mathmatics of it.
Who Is It Then?
So who or what is tattooed with the Mark? If the INC would do a little Biblical and Historical research rather than flitching through tired, old anti-Catholic comic books ( e.g. Jack Chick), they would find that the beast of Revelation is none other than Lucious Domisus Ahinabarbus, who is better known by his adoptive name Nero Claudius Caesar. He is the only man who fits the bill as the specific and personal expression of the beast. Let us look at his qualifications.
As we know, the beast is identified by the number 666. In the ancient days alphabets served a two-fold purpose. Their first and foremost purpose was, of course, their service as letters. But letters were also assigned numerical values and thus served as numerals. The most familiar example of this dual function of alphabets can be found in the Roman numeral system. The Greek and Hebrew languages operated similarly. Nero Caesar, if spelled according to a Hebrew spelling (John and most of first century Christians were of Hebrew extraction) gives us precisely the value 666. Is it not remarkable that this most relevant emperor, who lived while those seven churches lived, and lived while John wrote, has a name that fits precisely the required sum? Is this a sheer coincidence, or an historical accident? Remember audience relevance. What would have been the purpose of frustrating readers for two millennia who could not possibly identify a twentieth-century (or later) beast? Isn't it far more reasonable to assume that John's original readers understood him very well in his identification of the beast?
The character of the beast qualifies Nero for this role. He possessed a bestial nature. Nero often acted in horrible viciousness. According to Suetonius, Nero was a sodomite who is said to have castrated a boy named Sporus and married him. He enjoyed homosexual rape and torture. He killed his parents, brother, wife, aunt, and many others close to him. He so prostituted his own chastity that after defiling almost every part of his body, he at last devised a kind of game: covered with the skin of some wild animal, he was let loose from a cage and attacked the private parts of men and women, who were bound at stakes.
Revelation 13:7 speaks of the power given to the beast to make war with the saints. Nero was the first of the imperial authorities to persecute Christianity. Tacitus records the scene in Rome when the persecution of Christians broke out: "And their death was aggravated with mockeries, insomuch that, wrapped in the hides of wild beasts, they were torn to pieces by dogs, or fastened to crosses to be set on fire, that when the darkness fell they might be burned to illuminate the night."
Revelation 13:5 says that the beast would continue 42 months. The Neronic persecution was instituted in 64 AD and lasted until his death in June 68 AD, which is three and a half years, or 42 months. Nero fits the bill for the role of the beast.
The beast is to die by a sword according to Revelation 13: 10 & 14. Do you know how Nero died? According to Suetonius, he "drove a dagger into his throat, aided by Epaphroditus, his private secretary." Nero killed with the sword and was killed by the sword.
Revelation 17:3 tells us that the beast is red. The red color may be indicative of the bloodshed caused by the beast. But Suetonius writes of the legend associated with Nero's ancestral parentage, which explains why he had a red beard.
The beast's number is 666; Nero's name adds up to 666. The beast is an awful character; Nero had a beastly character. The beast made war with the saints for 42 months; Nero persecuted Christians for three and a half years. The beast dies by the sword; Nero killed himself with a dagger. The beast is red; Nero had a red beard, which was very unusual in those times. Evidently the beast of Revelation is Nero. Remember, John told his readers, those first century Christians who lived in Asia Minor, that these things were to "shortly come to pass." We, twentieth-century Christians are not to be looking for some terrible beast to arise and bring great tribulation to believers, this has already happened during the time of Nero and the first-century Christians.
Revelation was obviously written before Nero's death in 68AD. The prophecies of this book have been fulfilled. It was written about things which would take place shortly after its writing. It deals with the persecution of believers under Judaism and Rome and predicts God's judgement upon these enemies of the church. Its purpose, therefore, is to strengthen and encourage believers in time of trial.
If you'd like to see an able Catholic Apologist demolish these claims in a more entertaining fashion, please see Patrick Madrid's response to a couple of SDA members who support this '666' nonsense at Envoy Magazine.
In summary, knowing where INC's got it's '666' theology (the Seventh Day Adventist's) of identifying who 666 refers to, and how idiotic and slanderous their claims are, it should be crystal-clear they are not the true church they claim to be. They are but another heresy that lies and deceives in efforts to gain additional credibility with its unknowing and misinformed brethren and potential followers.