"And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six." Revelation 13:17-18.
“SIX HUNDRED THREESCORE AND SIX” -Revelation 13:18
There are four important points we have to consider about the mystical number 666:
The word name in Greek is onoma as used in verse 17, is also found and used in Revelation 19:16 referring to a title of authority:
Rev 19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Strong's Concordance -
name G3686 ὄνομα; onoma (on'-om-ah)
From a presumed derivative of the base of G1097 (compare G3685);
a name (literally or figuratively), (authority, character): - called, (+ sur-) name (-d).
Interestingly, the Catholic Douay Bible has this note on Revelation 13:18: “Six hundred sixty-six. The numeral letters of his name shall make up this number.”
So all we need is an understanding of the pope’s name or title and we will be able to add it up ourselves. The Catholic publication entitled Our Sunday Visitor, on April 18, 1915, stated plainly:
“What are the letters on the Pope’s crown, and what do they signify, if anything?
The letters inscribed in the Pope’s miter are these: VICARIUS FILII DEI, which is the Latin for ‘VICAR OF THE SON OF GOD.’ Catholics hold that the church which is a visible society must have a visible head. Christ, before His ascension into heaven, appointed St. Peter to act as His representative. Upon the death of Peter the man who succeeded to the office of Peter as Bishop of Rome, was recognized as the head of the Church. Hence to the Bishop of Rome, as head of the Church, was given the title "Vicar of Christ."
Enemies of the Papacy denounce this title as a malicious assumption. But the Bible informs us that Christ did not only give His Church authority to teach, but also to rule. Laying claim to the authority to rule in Christ's spiritual kingdom, in Christ's stead, is not a whit more malicious than laying claim to the authority to teach in Christ's name. And this every Christian minister does.”
(you can view it here OR view it here.)
This title is applied to the pope in a veritable Roman Catholic encyclopedia of high standing (see Prompta Bibliotheca, by Ferraris, in the article “Papa”). In English, this expression is applied to the pope several times by Cardinal Manning in his book, The Temporal Sovereignty of the Pope. Thus the title is of undisputed authenticity. It expresses very plainly the position the pope claims to possess.
Before the use of numbers as we have them today, letters of the alphabet were given numerical significance. In ancient heathen cults much thought was given to the preparing of titles which contained the desired numerical significance. Most are familiar with Roman numerals. The numbering system used in ancient Rome was: I = 1; V or U = 5; X = 10; L = 50; C = 100; and D = 500.
Now let’s add up the numerical value of the pope’s title using this Roman numbering system.
|V I C A R I U S F I L I I D E I|
THE LITERAL MEANING:
VICARIUS - means substituting for, or in place of
FILII - means son
DEI - means God
"He that hath all the characters of Antichrist’s doctrine, and hath a name which, in the numeral letters, makes up 666, he is Antichrist. But to the Pope both these do agree.” A Commentary Upon the Book of Revelation,” Rev. 13:18, p. 491. Glasgow: 1680. (M. James Durham, Professor of Divinity in Glasgow ). -Source
Meanwhile, some erroneously hold that the way to count the number is by the use of Numerology or by the process known as digit-summing. By applying this method, you sum up the digits to the last single digit produced. For example: 6+6+6=18, then, 1+8=9. So, they concluded that the number of the beast is number 9. Based on Numerology, number 9 is a sacred number.
This is a misleading theory! The problem with this process is that it only focus on only one point - the number - while the other important points (as cited above) such as the "number of his name" and the "number of a man" which are all associated as a whole are not considered so that the plain and correct biblical interpretation pointing to the name or title of Papacy is diverted.
To expose more of this error, notice how John the Revelator enumerated the overcomers in Revelation 15:2 that says, "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God." Did you get that? Those who stand as victors are those who prevailed over the beast, his image, his mark and the number of his name - NOT only number!
BEWARE! Numerology is associated with occult or witchcraft because it allows for a multitude of definitions to the same prophecy.
"Numerology is the occult science of attributing mystical symbolism to numerical values. The history of numerology is rooted in the ancient teachings of Pythagoras and the mystical sects that formed around those teaching. Numerology is based upon the occult principle that the inner mechanism of Nature is reflected in cycles and patters. Each of these cycles and patters have an energy signature and correspond to a number with a symbolic nature.” Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft, page 303, Raven Grimassi.
Truth is, in Galatians 5:20-21, those who do occult or witchcraft will have no part in or "shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
Rev. 21:8: "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and SORCERERS, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death."
Rev. 22:15: "For without are dogs, and SORCERERS, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie."
So this is why as a student of prophecy we do not embrace such human interpretation for the Holy Spirit prevents us to do so.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Col. 2:8.