SDA Sabbath Quarterly on 666

Sabbath School Quarterly, page 86, June 7th, 2002:

Please note the following points in conclusion to this week's study:

1. Vacarius Filii Dei: (Vicar of the Son of God). Since the Reformation, this papal title has been used to calculate the number 666. But there are several questions that should make us cautious. First, it is not clear that this title is an official one. Second, there is no clear indication in Revelation 13 that the number is based on the numerical value of the letters of a name. The phrase "it is the number of a man" (vs 18 NIV) could be translated "it is the number of [humanity]"; that is, of humans separated from God. Third, those who insist in counting the numerical value of letters confront the problem of deciding which language will be used. Because the text does not identify any language, the selection of a particular one will be somewhat arbitrary. At the present time, the symbolism of intensified rebellion, six used three times, and total independence from God seem to be the best option. Time will reveal the full meaning of the symbol.

2. Sharing With Others: When sharing with others the content of Revelation 13, we should give precedence to the gospel. Then, at the appropriate time, introduce them to the prophecies. We should not attack individuals or denominations but rather call the Christian church back to the Bible as a rule of beliefs and practices. This must be done in a spirit of humility, seeking to gain friends. The spirit of Christ should control what we do.

June 6th, page 85, 2002 Sabbath School Quarterly:

Why do we say that those who keep Sunday do not have the mark of the beast now? Why is it important that we make this point clear?

The Number of The Beast: The mark, the name, and the number of the beast are closely related (Rev 13:17). Many suggestions have been made to explain the meaning of 666. Here we must be very careful. The Bible does not say that the number is the added numerical value of the letters of a name. Some see in the meaning of 666 a symbol of humanity separated from God. Humans have claimed ultimate independence from God (the cause of their fall), and even now they do not want to find rest in Christ.

Over the years, numerous Bible students have come up with various explanations for the 666. Some found significance in the fact that if you added up the number of letters in the name of a former president of the United States, Ronald Wilson Reagan, it came to 666; others saw meaning in that , years ago, all the buses in Jerusalem had 666 on their license plates. This is futile speculation that adds nothing toward understanding truth. The important point is that God's Word has given us enough information to know what the key issues are and who the players will be in the last days, even if we do not know all the details for now, such as the precise meaning of 666.