666: contrasting views of Catholics and Seventh Day Adventists

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In the Scriptures, there are many instances where a specific number is given throughout the Old and New Testament. For example, there were 12 sons of Jacob, from where the 12 tribes of ancient Israel took their names. In the New Testament, 12 apostles were chosen to carry out the work of Jesus Christ in preaching the Good News of salvation. In the Book of Genesis, God created the world in seven days. In the New Testament, Christ, in the Book of Revelation, revealed to St. John the Beloved his warnings to the seven churches in Asia. But one particular number has caused division in its interpretation; the mark of the beast in the Book of Revelation, 666.

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666: Whose right?

            Church history has been replete with the prediction of the time when the world will end and the manifestations that will be displayed. One of the most intriguing elements in this issue is the so-called “mark of the beat” or the number 666 (Living Church of God, 2000). This issue has probably raised more controversy than any other prophecy in the whole of Scriptures (Living Church, 2000). In the 13th chapter of the Book of Revelation, it is even noted of an “image of the beast” and his number, which is 666 (Living Church, 2000).

            In the history of Church teaching, many proposals have come forth trying to expalin the significance of the number mentioned in Scripture (Living Church, 2000). In the United States, the number 666 was asociated by citizens as the cards for Social Security by the administrartion of former President Franklin Roosevelt (Living Church, 2000). More recently, the scheme was thought to involve the use of electronic scanners in supermarket check-out lanes (Living Church, 2000). And then others would equate the mark of the beast with the automatic teller machnes and the credit card system (Living Church, 2000).

            But to get a further understanding of the beast and it’s mark, we must get see a clearer picture of the entire verse, the pictures used, and the symbolisms and their interpretations. In the verse, we could see that the beast came up out of the earth (Living Church, 2000). But the beast also took on the form of a lamb, having two horns (Living Church, 2000). It is further stated that the beast speaks like a dragon (Living Church, 2000). Given that the dragon is symbolic of the devil, then the power that this beast exercises is derived from the devil (Living Church, 2000).

            So how do these pictures come to be interpreted in the present day? In the context of history, no other religious institution has demanded absolute loyalty from its subjects than the Church of Rome (Living Church, 2000). No other institution has laid claim to the exercise of total, unflinching authority of the Holy Roman Empire than the Church of Rome (Living Church, 2000). The two horns of the beast indicate that the Church has been in one form both a civil government as well as a religious authority (Living Church, 2000). As in during the Middle Ages, the union of the Church and the State was a forerunner of the apocalyptic times (Living Church, 2000).

            This was demonstrated in the fact that often times, the prelates in the cities would exercsie authority in the political and civil affairs of the locality (Living Church, 2000). The ecclesiastical synod, the congregation of the prelates in the area, would replace and carry out the functions of the local legislative bodies (Living Church, 2000). In short, the path tread by the Roman Empire was also tread by the Roman Church (Living Church, 2000).

            The power that the Church wields is so endeared to it that it deals very harshly deals with threats, percieved or real, to the dilution of that power (Fortune City). When Girolamo Savonarola was burned at the stake by Chucrh authorities in Piazza della Signoria, it was  not because he committed any sin that will merit this kind of punsihment, but the people of Florence had grwon to love the man that the Catholic church leaders percieved him as a threat to their power (Fortune City). Another mark on the stranglehold over power by the Catholic church was the Holy Inquisition, when the Church went on a murderous spree of “heretics” or just about anyone that they thought opposed their views on religion (Fortune City).

            The “image of the beast” that the beast from the earth instructs his followers is a symbolism of the Roman Empire (Living Church, 2000). The image was that of the first beast that came our of the sea (Living Church, 2000). But just is said in the term “image”? To make an image is to make a copy of the real object, a representation or a substitute for the object (Living Church, 2000).

The view from the Vatican

            In an article in the Catholic Record (1923), the issue raised was whether children could avail of the swimming facilities to relieve themselves of the sweltering heat (The Catholic Record, 1923). The focus of the article was with regards to the sermon of the Rev. J. Marion Smith of the Talbot Street Baptist Church (Catholic, 1923). In the sermon, Smith averred that th observance of the Lord’s Day, whether it be anchored on the Jewish or Christian set of beliefs, was of no immediate importance to the Christian  (Catholic, 1923). Critics argued that the Sabbath is only on Saturday, as declared in Scriptures  (Catholic, 1923).

            Now, it is not the issue of this paper to discuss the correctness of the various parties engaged in the issue  (Catholic, 1923). What should be noted very carefully is the reaction of the Cathoilc Church with regard to the issue. In answering the statement, the Catholic Church categorically stated that it was above the ambit and tenets of the Scriptures (Catholic, 1923). As has been stated earlier, the Catholic Church does at times take it upon itself to enact legislation on matters (Living Church, 2000). In the immediate case, the Church used their legislative powers on the manner of the observance of the Lord’s Day (Catholic, 1923).

            What the statement is saying is since the observance of the Lord’s Day is instituted by the Catholic Church, then that constitutes their seal of authority to be able to interpret Scriptures as they see fit (Living Church, 2000). according to some researchers, this church will force people to out on a mark, whether the person is a freeman or a slave, rich or poor, and that symbol will determne whwther that p[erson can trade or trnsact business in the world order that the beast establishes (Living Church, 2000). But let us go back to the mark 666.

            According to bible resources, the word for mark, charagma, it can be defined as a stamp or imprint (Living Church, 2000). It is also noted by others that since no one will be able to trnsact business without this mark, many are wary of the future “cashless” society that the world is advancing into (Living Church, 2000). In the Christian doctrines, God does not specifically ban any person from receiving a set of numbers for ifdentification (Living Church, 2000). This may be true in that many Christians are assigned numbers in the form of their credit card numbers, Social Security identification cards, and in any other trnsactions such as banks and financial trnsactions (Living Church, 2000).

            What is banned however, is the recept of this mark from the beast as a direc t act of rebellion against God Himself (Living Church, 2000). It is different from the mark that God wants on His children, that of the mark of Scriptures to be on the foreheads of His followers (Living Church, 2000). The sign may be interpreted also as a symbolic sign. The forehead would represent the intellect and will of the person, while the hand is attributed with the actions of that person (Living Church, 2000). Christ would have us that we fit our wills and our actions in conformance with His will and conduct for our lives (Living Church, 2000).

            Is the present world about to witness this “branding” of people to frce loyalty and obedience to the beast? If one will believe that the last superpower on Earth is the beast from the earth, then the United States of America is indeed that beast (Three Angels Global Networking). The United States alone possesses the distinction of a country that was first a vast wilderness area, or “ the earth” in the passage (Three Angels). It is the belief of some that the United States will legislate the obedience to the beast, and even enact  capital punishment measures designed to punish dissenters to the beast’s teaching (Three Angels). But is that the real definition of the beast and the mark?

            According to Christian theological discussions, the beast itself is not identified with any particular person or entity. (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1987). The name of the anti-Christ can rather be given to groups or individuals who calim opposition to the teachings of the Cathloic Church or to the Church as an insitution (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1987). If the term was narrowed down, the title would specifically apply to the person who in the last days would decive Christians and draw them away from the Cathoilc Church (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1987). The 666 number that the beast will force people to acquire may be equated to the way people were identified (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1987).

            People then usually had their names equated with numerical values (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1987).  For example, the name of Jesus Christ would be 888 (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1987). In this context, the name that would be arrived at if the number was 666 was that of the Roman Emperor Nero (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1987). It is the belief then that this kind of numerical practice has no legitimate place in the Christian doctrine (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1987).

Seventh-Day Adventists on the number 666

            The teachings of the sect of the Seventh Day Adventists mainly revolve around the revelations of their own prophetess, Ellen Gould White (Bob Thiel). In the revelations of “Sister White”, she is of the belief that the two horned beast, which gives out its mark on the people is none other than the United States (Thiel). In her interpretation, the beast, having only two horns instead of the first beats’s ten horn, connote that this beast will establish a local form of government, not a global reaching authority structure (Thiel). In essence, the United States, in the interpretation of White, will force the world to uphold its call for a non-Christian world structure, one hinged on Capitalism, false Catholicism and recreant Protestantism (Thiel).

            However, one should careful in evaluating the revelations of Ms. White. Many of the works that she has claimed authorship over in her published works have been proven to have plagiarized from the materials of other writers (Andreas Viklund). It was proven that the prophetess of the Adventists had a small group of staff that gathered this information and then proceeded to change them so that they will look like the work of Ms. White (Viklund). After this apparent piracy of other people’s work, she challenged anyone to dispute that the words she uttered or published were not direct revelations of God to her (Viklund).

            Whatever the belief that we have, it must be construed that one day, we will all persih from this Earth and face up to our Creator. Then when that day comes, there will be reckoning of how we have lived our lives and been obedient to opur Lord’s teachings. It will be a day that all, great or small, weak or strong, will have to give an account to our Lord for our lives.  If we are obedient, then we have nothing to fear, but if we were disobedient, we must face up to Him who made us and judges us.


Catholic Encyclopedia, The. (1987). A Catholic view of 666. anti-Christ, and the Tower of        Babel.             Retrieved November 28, 2008, from


Catholic Record, The. (1923, September 1). Sabbath Observance. The Cathloic Record  p. 4

Fortune City. (n.d.). Revelation and 666. Retrived November 28, 2008, from


Living Church of God. (2000). Beast of Revelation- chapter 5: the mark of the beast.     Retrieved November 28, 2008, from


Thiel, B. (n.d.). SDA/LCG differences: two horned beast of Revelation and 666. Retrieved       November 28, 2008, from http://www.cogwriter.com/sdawhite.htm

Three Angels Global Network. (n.d.). United States in prophecy, 666, anti-Christ, mark of the   beast. Retrieved November 28, 2008, from


Viklund, A. (n.d.). Ellen G. White, prophetess for the Seveth Day Adventist.

            Retrieved November 28, 2008, from             http://endtimespropheticwords.wordpress.com/category/seventh-day-adventist/

            Retrieved November 28, 2008, from














Consult Crosswalk and Bible gateway online commentaries


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666: contrasting views of Catholics and Seventh Day Adventists. (2017, Feb 18). Retrieved from


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