666 in the Andrews Bible Commentary


An ex-member of the BRI gives his opinion on the Revelation Commentary of the new Andrews Bible Commentary. His ideas as crucial for the faithful Adventist since the Editor of the Commentaries made crucial errors in this Revelation Commentary. Listen to dr. A. Treiyer’s short explanation on the current denial of Vicarius filii dei in the commentary.:


The words of dr. Treiyer this week March 2023:


It is not my [dr. A. Treiyer of BRI] intention to address all of the details of this new Andrews Bible Commentary, but two other chapters of Revelation are striking, where in some respects, an idealist interpretation is again resorted to rather than the historicist one.

Number of the Beast as 600+60+6

The first has to do with Rev 13:17-18, concerning the name and the number of the “beast.” The passage reads as follows:

“That no one should be able to buy or to sell, if not the one having the mark—the name of the beast, or the number of its name. Here is a call for wisdom: Let the one who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and that number is six hundred and sixty six.”

No Arabic counting systems in John’s day

In the days of the apostle John there were no Arabic numerals that we have today, so the letters were assigned a numerical value. Because of this it was common to refer to people’s names by their number.

Pagan Rome an enemy of the church so Nero is seen by church-fathers

Early on, the number one enemy of Christianity was the Roman Empire. Early authors often tried to find names of emperors or Roman institutions that contained the letters that, added together, gave 666.

Then after 538 AD the Holy Roman Empire papal system started

But it was not until the second Christian millennium that the antichrist foretold by Daniel, Paul, and John began to be recognized in the Roman papacy, prompting Protestants to seek blasphemous titles of the pope that met all the requirements of prophecy. That was the most natural way to decode the meaning of the number in connection with the “name” or “title” of the “beast,” in reference to the Roman papacy according to the symbol.

Protestant Andreas Helwig 1610 decoded vicarius filii dei = 600+60+6

Among the Protestant reformers, the famous German philologist Andreas Helwig was the most prominent to represent this interpretation. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, he saw that the only blasphemous name of the pope that meets all the specifications of the Bible and whose Latin letters add up to 666, is Vicarivs Filii Dei, “Vicar of the Son of God.”

Uriah Smith Introduced Helwig 1610 to Adventism in 1865

More than 100 interpreters followed this interpretation. That interpretation was introduced into the Adventist Church in 1865 through a book by Uriah Smith on the book of Revelation.

But Prescott in 1919 objected

But W. W. Prescott who (as already seen in our review of Rev 8 and 9), denied the prophetic dates of Daniel and Revelation, also rose up at the Biblical Council of 1919, against the identification of that title with the Roman papacy.

GC investigated the topic between 1939-1943 and found Prescott wrong

In response to their requirements, the General Conference organized more than one committee between 1939 and 1943 to study the subject. Different papers from both sides of the ocean were prepared for those committees. They concluded that the objections of Prescott, borrowed from Catholic authors, were false. So, the official interpretation of our church remained that of Vicarivs Filii Dei for the name of the beast.

Rodriquez, editor of the Andrews Commentary in 2002 returned to Prescott’s view in his Sabbath School Quarterly shockingly

Surprisingly, in the Sabbath School Quarterly of June 8, 2002, Dr. Angel Manuel Rodriguez introduced this liberal line of W. W. Prescott unaware of the conclusions of such studies, denying any reference of the name and number of the beast to Vicarivs Filii Dei.

Members and informed scholars reacted across the globe

That produced a very great concern in many parts of the world not only because it was a denial of what the church had been teaching since its beginnings, but also because of the lack of foundation of its criticisms.

Past Catholics becoming Adventists then went back to the Catholic Church

There were even former Catholics who after reading that Sabbath School Quarterly, left our church to return to Catholicism, convinced that Protestantism (and we Adventists) had been slandering the Catholic Church.

Edwin de Kock and his team and their 800 page book on Vicarius filii dei 2011

Edwin de Kock, a lay Adventist polyglot, was among those who were disgusted by the Sabbath School publication. He gathered a very extensive body of material to prove the falsity of the statements of Ángel Manuel Rodríguez, and published them in a book with more than 800 pages entitled: The Truth of 666 and the History of the Great Apostasy.

Let me essentially summarize Rodriguez’s objections, and the way de Kock responded:


Objection 1. The Bible does not say that the number has to do with the aggregate numerical value of the letters of a name.

Brief Answer: He comes to this conclusion ignoring the earliest way in which Rev 13:18 was interpreted, and what the passage itself implies by requiring the calculation of the number of the name. It was common for people to do so in John’s day. This is confirmed by the most modern commentaries on the book of Revelation. Rodriguez’s problem here is based on his central and most serious problem that we will see in the next objection. It demonstrates his trend to spiritualize what he finds difficult to explain, denying definite and concrete facts of history. His methodology in this is not historicist, but idealistic.

Objection 2. The symbol can serve to represent humanity without divine rest (the seventh day). It is not necessarily the “name of a man,” but the “name of humanity.”

Brief answer: Here Rodriguez admirably overlooks the beast to move on to talk about humanity. That is idealism, a way of dodging or softening the true purpose of prophecy. The beast represents an institution, the papacy, not humanity in general. E. de Kock shows well, especially in appendix VII (866-870), that the translation offered by some versions for anthropos by “humanity” is not correct, because the text refers to the name of the beast, not the name of humanity. This is the reason why the most serious translations follow lexicons that translate “the number of a man,” which in Rev 13:18 is a reference to “the man (anthropos) of lawlessness,” who “sits as God in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God” (2 Thess 2:3-5). In his effort to find a supposed symbolic meaning of the number, Ángel Manuel Rodríguez forgot the name of the beast.

Objection 3. Calculating the numerical value of the letters of a name leads to speculation, since many names can contain that value.

Brief answer: It is not a question of speculating, but of identifying the “blasphemous” name of the beast, within the context of the description in chapter 13:1,5-6. The only blasphemous title of the papacy whose letters contain the number 666, is Vicarivs Filii Dei.

Objection 4. It cannot be proven that the title Vicarivs Filii Dei is an official title of the Roman papacy.

Brief answer: De Kock overwhelmingly proves that it was an official title of the Roman papacy, which many popes applied to themselves, even the most recent ones, just as many great dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church did to highlight the blasphemous political and spiritual authority of the papacy.

Objection 5. The Bible does not say in which language the name should be read, so any language chosen will be arbitrary.

Brief answer: What is arbitrary is to pretend that when the time came, it would not be possible to know in what language the calculation should be made. Already Helwig in the Seventeenth Century, (the German philologist who discovered the blasphemous title of the papacy and its numerical correlation with 666), defined the obvious principle that should be sought to determine the language of the name, that is, the official language of the blasphemous entity represented. And the official language of the Roman papacy is Latin. It makes no sense to look for the number in a language that is not the official one of the blasphemous authority predicted.

Objection 6. The best option for the moment would be an intensified rebellion reflected in the triple use of the number six.

Brief answer: Arabic numerals were invented about a millennium later and were introduced to Europe centuries later. In Greek no one could have understood that number as three sixes.

Andrews Bible Commentary?

What does the new Andrews Bible Commentary now say?

It insists on maintaining that liberal line of Prescott, passing over what the church always believed.

Introducing the fallacy of Idealism instead of Historicism

And the worst thing is that it does so without any foundation, emulating the Hellenized Jews of Alexandria, who allegorized everything they could not or did not want to explain.

Rodriquez made the error a second time without listening to de Kock or GC work of the past on it

The comments of Angel Manuel Rodriguez in that Sabbath School Quarterly was a testimony to ignorance on his part.

Thus, a lie has been introduced in Revelation 13 of the Andrews Bible Commentary

It now becomes a stubborn and blatant lie in the Andrews Bible Commentary. [Thus far the words of BRI member dr. A. Treiyer].