Some have refused to accept phone numbers, license plates, and credit cards containing “666” for fear that they would be marked with the devil’s mark. Those that have the superstitious phobia of the number 666 and the related satanical meanings suffer with a condition called “Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.
The number 666 is recorded in Revelation 13:1-8. This passage provides 11 characteristics to the identify the Antichrist (the number 666 is just one of these characteristics). All the Christian reformers identified the Antichrist as the Papacy.
We should not be afraid of the number 666 for its significance is only prophetic. Since the early days of Christianity there has been much discussion as to the significance of 666. One of the earliest to write on the subject was Irenaeus (c. a.d. 130–c. 202). He identified the beast as the Antichrist, and believed that the numerical values of the letters of his name would add up to 666.
Since Irenaeus’ day, 666 has been applied to many names. For this reason, the number alone cannot identify the beast. However, inasmuch as the beast has already been identified, the number 666 must have a relationship to this power. Otherwise, there would be no valid reason for the angel giving John the information contained in v. 18.
An interpretation that gained credibility in the period following the Reformation was that 666 stood for the name Vicarius Filii Dei, meaning “vicar of the Son of God,” which was one of the titles for the pope of Rome. Here is a quote taken from Catholic literature showing that: “The title of the pope of Rome is “Vicarius Filii Dei” (English: “Vicar of the Son of God“).”Answers to Readers’ Questions,” Our Sunday Visitor, Nov. 15, 1914.
In addition, a footnote for Revelation 13:18 in some Douay [Catholic] versions of the Bible state that, “The numeral letters of his name shall make up this number.” And the Catholic author Malachi Martin, in his famous book The Keys of This Blood, uses the same title for the pope on pages 114, 122.
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