What About the 666?
Now we come to the heart of the matter. The idea that the 666 is the Pope is not found in the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy either. The evidence shows that the person bearing this number is the head of the United States, not the Pontiff of Rome.
Notice what the Scriptures say: “Count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man.” It did not say, count the number of the beast that was wounded, but said count the number of, “the beast.” This is critically important because by identifying the power or beast, we can identify the “man”—the 666. Now, whenever the Bible speaks of the LLB it always mentions the wound. (See Revelation 13: 3, 12, 14)—always! So the power that bears this number is not the LLB and therefore could not be the Papacy.
The context of Revelation 13: 11 -18, is speaking about the Two-horned beast which we know represents the United States of America. So that is the beast in verse 18. Again, it said, “count the number of the beast”—not the number of the beast which was wounded! All evidence points to the United States and its head! This same fact is born out by James and Ellen White in the little booklet, A Word to the Little Flock.
“Michael is to stand up at the time that the last power in chapter 11 [Daniel] comes to his end, and none to help him. This power is the last that treads down the true church of God: and as the true church is still trodden down, and cast out by all Christendom, it follows that the last oppressive power has not “come to his end;” and Michael has not stood up. This last power that treads down the saints is brought to view in Rev. 13: 11 -18. His number is 666.”
Notice that this statement by James White shows us that the early pioneers believed that the number 666 applies to the beast or power that is found in verses 11 through 18. Now remember that verse 11 clearly describes the United States represented as the Two-horned beast. Therefore, it must also be the United States in verse 18! Ellen White supports this fact on page 19:
“I saw that the number (666) of the image Beast was made up; and that it was the beast that changed the Sabbath, and the Image Beast had followed on after, and kept the Pope’s, and not God’s Sabbath.”
Here again we see that the number 666 is placed on the Two-horned or Image beast, not the LLB. Thus the man who will bear the number 666 is not the Papacy, but the then leader of the United States. So you see that the Rod’s message is in perfect harmony with the Scriptures.
Counting the Number
The idea that the number 666 applies to the Pope because of the numerical value of his name is not reliable because the number can be applied to many other names. Furthermore, the number 666 is comprised of one of the most common numbers throughout history in the realm of the occult, astrology, and Paganism—six. So why would it be strange for the Popes to bear that number when the whole system of the Papacy is a admixture of paganism, occultism, with Christianity? The Bible plainly places the number on the image or Two-horned beast (the United States) and that should be taken as the ultimate proof. Victor Houteff stated the point this way:
“The prevailing belief that the number “666" is the numerical identification of some other power, is the spawn of the Prince of Darkness, and is calculated to conceal if possible the identification of this two-horned power. Inspiration puts the number on the two-horn beast, and there we must leave it.”
Who Inflicted the Deadly Wound? The French or the Reformation?
Before concluding this section, we need to look at two areas of this subject that has been a sore point for some. The first is, who inflicted the deadly wound on the head of the Leopard-like beast?
The Traditional teaching is that the arrest and imprisonment of Pope Pius VI by the French Army in 1798 and his eventual death two years later, was the fulfillment of the infliction of the deadly wound forecasted in Revelation 13:3. The basis for this teaching are two statements from the The Great Controversy.
“The infliction of the deadly wound points to the downfall of the Papacy in 1798.”
“This period, as stated in preceding chapters, began with the supremacy of the papacy, A.D. 538, and terminated in 1798. At that time the pope was made captive by the French army, the papal power received its deadly wound, and the prediction was fulfilled, “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity.”
The Rod’s message agrees with these Inspired statements but holds that the infliction of the wound should not be restricted to just the events of 1798 and the pope’s subsequent death. It teaches, as will be borne out both by history and the Spirit of Prophecy, that the wounding process began with the Protestant reformation and culminated with the climatic downfall of the Papacy in 1798. For examples, let us look at the following references.
“The calm, dignified power of Luther humbled his enemies, and dealt a most dreadful blow to the papacy.”
Still speaking about Luther and the Reformation, Ellen White went on to say,
“Rome was already descending from her throne, and it was the voice of a monk that caused this humiliation.”
“The papacy had sustained a defeat which would be felt among all nations and in all ages.”
“I put forward God’s word; I preached and wrote–this was all I did. And yet while I was asleep . . . .the word that I preached overthrew popery, so that neither prince nor emperor has done it so much harm. “
Interestingly, in the church’s official missionary organ, the Denomination published the same view as that of the Rod’s:
“The deadly wound here forecast found its fulfillment in the Protestant Reformation, in the French Revolution, and culminated in the apparently mortal thrust at the very heart of the papacy when the pope was deposed and imprisoned by the French in 1798.” Italics ours.
Consider this too. The popes had authority over kings and prelates. How could a general, not even a king, arrest the pope if something had not previously weakened the Papacy! What was it? The Protestant Reformation!
Note, also, that the wound on the head was not inflicted by one of the horns. (See Revelation 13:3). If it was wounded by a horn, it would mean that a civil power (like the French army) was responsible for its downfall. But no, there is no mention of a horn wounding the head. It was God’s Word through the Reformation that brought about the downfall of the Papacy. The arrest of the pope was just the climax of it. It could be likened to a flat tire. Have you ever had a puncture but your tire didn’t go completely flat until some miles down the road? It’s the same idea!
So there is no contradiction with Mrs. White. What she was describing was the culmination of something that had begun earlier; as how one would say that he got his flat tire in a particular city, but in reality, he received the puncture in the previous one. Thus the Rod just views the subject from its broader perspective. Which is in perfect harmony with history and Inspiration.
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