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666 and the Pope

DAY 175

CHALLENGE

“The pope’s title “Vicar of the Son of God” in Latin is Vicarius Filii Dei. When you add up the Roman numerals in this title, you get 666. Therefore, the pope is the Antichrist mentioned in Revelation 13.”

DEFENSE

Vicarius Filii Dei is not one of the pope’s titles, and this method of calculation is unreliable.

Some have referred to the pope as “vicar of the Son of God,” but this is not one of his official titles. These are listed in the Annuario Pontifi- cio (“Pontifical Yearbook”), published annually by the Vatican press. They are:

Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the Vatican City State, Servant of the servants of God.

The closest title is “Vicar of Jesus Christ” (Latin, Vicarius Iesu Chris- ti), but this does not add up to 666.

Some claim that the phrase Vicarius Filii Dei is printed on the papal ti- ara (a special kind of crown worn by past popes). These reports are false. None of the tiaras had this phrase, and popes today do not use tiaras.

One might argue the pope can still be described as the vicar of the Son of God, even if it isn’t one of his titles, but this produces an unreliable methodology. All kinds of people and things can be described in ways that add up to 666. The children’s TV character Barney may be a cute purple dinosaur, but that doesn’t mean he’s the Antichrist (CVte pVr- pLe DInosaVr = C+V+V+L+D+I+V = 100+5+5+50+500+1+5 = 666).

Ironically, this argument is often made by Seventh-day Adventists, whose founding prophetess was Ellen Gould White (ELLen GoV- LD VVhIte = 50+50+5+50+500+5+5+1 = 666).

Finally, while you can get 666 by taking each Roman numeral as an individual digit, out of its immediate context (VICarIVs fILII DeI = V+I+C+I+V+I+L+I+I+D+I = 5+1+100+1+5+1+50+1+1+500+1 = 666), Roman numerals need to be read in context. Placing a smaller number to the left of a larger one results in it being subtracted, not added. Thus “IV” means 4, not 6. In the same way, “IC” and “IL” mean 99 and 49, not 101 and 51. Read this way, Vicarius Filii Dei is 660, not 666.

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