Correcting Samuele Bacchiocchi's
Newsletters on 666.
Correcting Samuele Bacchiocchi's
ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 139
In newsletter 139, Dr. Bacchiocchi makes the following assertion:
... "it has been wise for our Adventist church to abandon the traditional numeric interpretation of VICARIUS FILII DEI which lacks both exegetical and historical support."
The Exegetical Support
Rev 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
Note that this "name of blasphemy" is associated with the heads of the sea beast. The word translated "name" in that verse is onoma:
G3686. onoma, on'-om-ah; from a presumed der. of the base of G1097 (comp. G3685); a "name" (lit. or fig.) [authority, character]:--called, (+ sur-) name (-d).
The same word is translated "name" in the following verse:
Rev 13:6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
This "name of blasphemy" of the sea beast is again mentioned in the following verses
Rev 13:17 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.
Rev 13:18 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.
So the blasphemous name of the beast from the sea equals 666. A key piece in this mystery is the next verse:
Rev 19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
The same Greek word is used in that verse for "name". Note that it refers to a Title of Jesus. So Revelation 13:1, 6, 17 and 18 can refer to a blasphemous title assumed by the heads of the sea beast.
The same wisdom that unlocks the name/number of the sea beast is mentioned in Revelation 17:
Rev 17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
That points us directly to the woman (church) seated in Rome, the Roman Catholic Church.
So, now let's let scripture tell us a definition of blasphemy:
John 10:31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
John 10:32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
John 10:33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
VICARIVS FILII DEI (Taking the place of the Son of God) is a blasphemous title that has a long history in Roman Catholic documents (whether it ever appeared on a tiara or not), and it does equal 666 when the Roman numeral value of the letters are added up. See http://biblelight.net/666.htm for the historical documentation.
It is also worth noting that Roman Catholics, while denying any "official" standing for VICARIVS FILII DEI, will readily admit that the synonymous VICARIVS CHRISTI is the proper and official papal title (it does not add up to 666). Well, let's notice this next verse:
Rev 17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
So there are many blasphemous titles assumed by the sea beast, not just the one that adds up to 666. Well, another perfectly valid way of saying VICARIVS CHRISTI is ANTICHRIST, both of which mean "Taking the place of Christ".
So, there is both historical and biblical exegetical support for blasphemous papal titles being the name associated with the sea beast in Revelation 13.
I have corresponded via email with Dr. Bacchiocchi, and asked him to show me any flaw in the above page, and he flatly refuses to do so. He responds with ad hominem. All he wants to do is sell me his material, saying I obviously do not wish to learn if I do not immediately order his study, that I am "afraid of being enlightened", if I do not send him money for his pearls of wisdom. He is obviously running a business, and that is his priority.
Correcting Samuele Bacchiocchi's
ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 140
In his recent newsletter 140, Dr. Bacchiocchi makes the following assertion (bold face is mine):
"Uriah Smith, who pioneered the Vicarius Filii Dei interpretation was a good man, with good intentions, but with limited resources. He based his interpretation on stories of people who claimed to have seen that inscription on the pope's tiara, while watching the pope in Rome, in procession or in the celebrations the Mass. "The stories are discredited by the fact that the tiara is placed upon the head of the new pope only at the coronation ceremony. For special religious ceremonies the pope wears the miter - a cloth hat - not the golden tiara."
This assertion by Dr. Bacchiocchi that the papal tiara was only worn by a pope at his coronation is completely unsupported by any documentation, and is in fact erroneous, and that can be documented.
Note the following documentation:
The History of the Papacy in the XIXth Century, by Fredrik Kristian Nielsen, J. Murray (1906), pg. 123, records that after saying Mass, Pius VI, wearing a tiara, appeared on the balcony of Vienna's St. Steven's cathedral on Easter Sunday of 1782, to bless a crowd of fifty thousand people.
The Family Magazine, or Monthly Abstract Of General Knowledge issue of May 1, 1838, reported that the Pope wore the tiara in procession on Palm Sunday, and included an illustration.
The Washington Post, Sunday, April 15, 1906, reported that prior to 1870, Pius IX would greet the Easter sunrise wearing his jeweled tiara, from the balcony of St. Peter's, and pronounce the Benedicat Vos blessing.
The Standard, Ogden City Utah, Tuesday, January 3, 1888, reported that Leo XIII wore the tiara given to him by Emperor Wilhelm I of Germany, while being borne in the gestatorial chair, after celebrating a pontifical Mass to honor his Golden Jubilee as a priest. (Pope Leo XIII's coronation was February 20th,1878.)
The Idaho Daily Statesman, Boise Idaho, Wednesday, September 30, 1891, reported that on the previous day Leo XIII wore the tiara when carried in procession to his celebration of a low Mass. No special occasion was mentioned.
The Constitution, Atlanta Georgia, Monday, February 19th, 1894, reported that on the previous day, Pope Leo XIII wore the tiara presented to him by Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria Hungary after the last pontifical Mass of his Jubilee year (15th of his pontificate).
The Marion Daily Star, Marion Ohio, March 3rd, 1902, reported that Pope Leo XIII wore the triple tiara to Mass that day, celebrating his pontifical anniversary.
The Evening Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Indiana, July 22, 1903, reported that Leo XIII wore the tiara given to him by Emperor Wilhelm I of Germany, on Dec 23, 1887, when celebrating his Golden Jubilee year as a priest.
The Daily Kennebec Journal, Kennebec, Maine, April 12, 1904, reported that Pius X wore a tiara in procession to and from mass the previous day (Monday) when celebrating the 13th centennial of Pope St. Gregory the great.
Newark Daily Advocate, Newark Ohio, Thursday, April 16, 1908, reported that Pius X would wear the tiara in procession to and from Easter Sunday Mass.
The Iowa Recorder, Greene Iowa, Wednesday, April 12, 1922, reported that Pius XI would wear the tiara in procession to (and from) Easter Sunday Mass.
The Daily Gleaner, Kingston Jamaica, Thursday, July 11, 1935, reported that Pius XI wore the tiara before and after the canonization ceremony (May 19, 1935) of 2 Englishmen, John Fisher and Thomas More.
The Ironwood Daily Globe, Ironwood Michigan, Thursday, June 18, 1936, reported that Pius XI wore the tiara to (and from) the ceremony awarding red hats to six new cardinals that day.
The Nebraska State Journal, Lincoln, Monday, April 10, 1939, reported that Pius XII wore his coronation tiara while carried in the portable throne on Easter Sunday.
Screen capture (above) from video of Pius XII proclaiming the Easter blessing of March 29th, 1940, wearing a tiara.
The Syracuse Herald Journal, New York, Monday, March 13, 1950, Reported that Pius XII wore the tiara on that day, when he held a pontifical mass to celebrate the 11th anniversary of his pontificate.
The Herald Press, St. Joseph Michigan, Monday, March 30, 1959, ran a photo of John XXIII wearing the tiara, bestowing the Easter blessing to the crowd in St. Peter's square.
The Lincoln Evening Journal, Nebraska, December 26, 1960, ran a photo of John XXIII wearing the tiara, bestowing the Christmas blessing to the crowd in St. Peter's square.
The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, Wisconsin, Thursday, December 26th, 1963, ran a photo of Paul VI wearing the tiara, bestowing the Christmas blessing to the crowd in St. Peter's square.
The Gettysburg Times, Pennsylvania, Monday, August 7, 1978, ran a photo of Paul VI wearing the tiara, giving the Easter message to the crowd in St. Peter's square on March 29th, 1964.
Popes regularly wore a tiara during the pomp of the procession to and from Mass:
The solemn pontifical Mass celebrated by the pope in St. Peter's has some peculiar ceremonies. ... The pope, wearing the falda, amice, alb, cincture, pectoral cross, stola, cope (mantum), and tiara is carried into the basilica on the sedia gestatoria under the canopy and with the two flabella borne on either side. ... The pope returns to the altar to finish the Mass. After the blessing the assistant priest publishes the plenary indulgence. At the end of the last Gospel the pope goes to the sedia gestatoria, puts on the tiara, and returns in procession as he had entered.
Source: The 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia Online, volume 12.
Crowned Pope Pius XII in procession on the Sedia Gestatoria
Crowned Pope John XXIII in procession
on the Sedia Gestatoria
Pope John XXIII celebrating Mass at St. Peter's.
Two triple tiaras can be seen on the altar to the Pope's right and a mitre to his left.
Below are photos of Pope John XXIII wearing three different tiaras:
Attualità Giordani, Rome
XXIII waves to the
XXIII wearing the
John XXIII wearing the
1922 tiara of Pius XI
Of these photos, only one is from his coronation day.
The above shows Pope John XXIII wearing a tiara on the fourth anniversary of his pontificate.
I think all the above demonstrate that a Pope could wear a tiara on just about any day he deemed appropriate. So when eyewitness testimony claims to have seen a pope wearing a tiara at a papal Mass, it is believable, since popes have regularly worn a tiara on special occasions like jubilees, Christmas, Easter, and canonizations, etc., on the way to Mass, and after concluding Mass (though not during the actual service).
So, I would say that while Dr. Bacchiocchi has good intentions, he has obviously done limited research, and that has led him to an erroneous conclusion. The truth is that a pope in the 19th century may very well have worn a triple tiara or miter inscribed with VICARIVS FILII DEI, as testified, and nothing Dr. Bacchiocchi has presented precludes that possibility. He needs to retract and apologize to his readers.
At my request, Dr. Bacchiocchi provided this email reply to the above on 18 Dec, 2005:
THE NUMERICAL INTERPRETATION OF VICARIUS FILII DEI IS NEGATED
1) EXEGETICALLY; by the fact that Revelation 13:18, speak of a HUMAN NUMBER, not the number of a personal name. Moreover the number is not on the forehead of the beast, but of his followers. Nowhere the Bible uses GEMATRIA to interpret numbers.
2) HISTORICALLY, VICARIUS FILII DEI was NOT the most common name of the pope. the common name is VICARIUS CHRISTI - VICAR OF CHRIST. In the history of our Adventist church our early pioneers, including Ellen White, believed that 666 was the number of Protestant sects influenced by Rome. It was Uriah Smith that introduced VICARIUS FILII DEI on the basis of stories he heard about the pope's title on the tiara.
3) ORIGINAL READERS are urged to understand the mark, name, and number. They could have never understood a Latin name that was coined eight centuries later.
4) FINAL CONFLICT over false worship enforced by the false trinity, encompasses far more than the papacy.
Michael, if you are blinded by tradition and do not wish to open your mind, please do not contact me anymore. There is no reason why I should waste my time for a person who want to argue, without first doing the home work or reading the research of competent and dedicated scholars.
PLEASE STOP WASTING MY TIME.
1) Context, context, context. In my study above, I show that in context (vs. 1, 6, 17, and 19:16), Revelation 13:18 is clearly speaking about the numeric value of a blasphemous title assumed by the sea beast, the papacy. As they are not blasphemous, personal names are indeed excluded. So, Ronald Reagan, Bill Gates, Henry Kissinger, Ellen White, etc., are automatically excluded. Regarding Gematria, we are told to "count the number" of the name (title) of the sea beast, which is clearly telling us to compute the number from the name (title). In other words, the numeric value is not obvious, it must be calculated. To have the name or number of the sea beast is to give allegiance to the blasphemous usurped authority of the papacy, the key issue being the Sabbath commandment (Dan 7:25). Dr. Bacchiocchi totally ignored the context in his newsletter, and he refuses to address my brief study above. His reluctance may be because he is unable to deal with the context in a faithful and meaningful manner.
2) It does not matter how rare VICARIVS FILII DEI is, it is still valid, as it has a long history in Catholic documents.
3) Dr. Bacchiocchi is asserting here that the audience of the first century must necessarily have fully understood the riddle posed by 666. The example of Daniel and his vision (Dan 8:27) shows that not only can the contemporary hearers or readers not understand the prophecy, but the prophet himself likely did not know the full prophetic meaning even as he penned the words. This means God gets the glory for the prophetic insight, not the prophet, as the human intelligence or wisdom of the prophet is not a factor in the accuracy of the prophecy (2 Peter 1:20-21). So I see no compelling reason for 666 to have been understood by the initial readers.
4) In Elijah's time, the false trinity opposing him was King Ahab, Jezebel, and the prophets of Baal. In John the Baptist's time it was King Herod, Herodias, and their daughter. In Revelation the false trinity is the Dragon (Satan), the Sea Beast (Antichrist Papacy), and the lamblike Land Beast, which is also called the False Prophet (Apostate U.S. Protestantism). In each case, the real threat is the harlot woman/mother in the story, not the King (dragon/government) or the false prophets/daughter. It is the harlot woman that demands the death of God's people, and the government and apostate daughters are her tools to accomplishing that goal. The same is true of the crucifixion of Jesus. It was the Scribes and Pharisees, the rulers of the established church, who forced the Roman government to put Jesus to death, and they did this by inciting the people to demand His crucifixion. History, we can see from Revelation, will repeat itself.
So, am I "blinded by tradition"? Well, I carefully examine what Scripture has to say for myself, and am willing to follow the truth wherever it leads me. I am also willing to examine and seek out historical evidence, and consider it, whether it favors my point of view or not. Believing and teaching error can earn you the lake of fire, so I have no agenda beyond ascertaining the truth. Tradition does not have any value to me. Adventism has no value to me if it is not teaching the truth. If Dr. Bacchiocchi has the truth, then it will withstand all challenges, if he does not, it will not hold up under the simplest challenge. I have presented a rather simple challenge, which could be quickly picked apart and demolished by Dr. Bacchiocchi if it were flawed. I think I have done my homework, enough to show Dr. Bacchiocchi is in error.
Correcting Samuele Bacchiocchi's
ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 145
In newsletter 145, Dr. Bacchiocchi states the following:
5) The sources cited by Uriah Smith to support his identification of the number 666 with the pope's title Vicarius Filii Dei, are the accounts of two eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen the inscription on the pope's tiara while in Rome. One claimed to have seen the inscribed papal tiara in the Vatican Museum and the other witness allegedly saw it during an Easter Mass celebrations. Both accounts are discredited by the fact that papal tiaras are not displayed in the Vatican Museum, nor does the pope wear the tiara for Mass celebrations. The three-crowns gold Tiara has been used primarily for the coronation of the pope-a practice that has been discontinued by the latest three popes, John Paul I, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI.
Dr. Bacchiocchi seems unwilling to let his readers know that Popes frequently wore the triple tiara both to and from Mass at St. Peter's, as demonstrated by the above documentation. A visitor to St. Peter's on Easter Sunday might easily remark that he had observed the Pope wearing a tiara at Easter Mass, not taking into consideration that Mass technically began only after the Pope removed his tiara, and that the Mass technically ended before the Pope put the tiara on again. (The triple tiara is a non-liturgical symbol of the Pope's temporal authority over kings, and the papal mitre is a symbol of the Pope's ecclesiastical authority, so only the mitre is worn during Mass.) So I maintain that it is probable that Pope Gregory XVI was observed wearing a tiara both before and after the Easter service of 1845, as this was a common practice, as documented.
There are apparently at least two places where the Vatican stores papal headgear, one is the Sacristy & Treasury Museum of St. Peter's, and the other is the Papal Sacristy of the Sistine Chapel, also known as the room of the Copricapi, which is located behind the altar and fresco of the Last Judgment.
Detail from a photo on page 44 of St. Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes,
by Allen Dunston, O.P., and Roberto Zagnoli, ISBN 0-88397-140-2 (paperback catalogue).
Seven triple tiaras in the display case of the Papal Sacristy of the Sistine Chapel (room of the Copricapi). From left to right they are:
- 1922 tiara of Pius XI.
- 1903 tiara of Leo XIII.
- 1887 neo-gothic tiara of Leo XIII.
- 1871 tiara of Pius IX.
- 1834 tiara of Gregory XVI.
- 1805 tiara of Pius VII.
- 1820 cloth tiara of Pius VII.
Again Dr. Bacchiocchi dismisses an eye witness on a technicality, not considering the sacristies a part of the Vatican Museum proper. It is quite possible that a visitor to the Vatican viewed tiaras in one of these sacristies and simply stated later that the inscribed tiara was seen during a tour of the Vatican museum.
Nothing Dr. Bacchiocchi has presented discredits the eyewitness testimony.
Correcting Samuele Bacchiocchi's
ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 146
In his DVD lecture and newsletter 146, Dr. Bacchiocchi states in an authoritative manner that there are 13 existing tiaras. I believe that statement to be in error, as my research indicates there are actually more than 20. See http://biblelight.net/claims.htm
He also states "The fact is that there are no inscriptions on papal Mitres". Note this photo:
Photo from page 351 of St. Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes,
by Allen Dunston, O.P., and Roberto Zagnoli, ISBN 0-88397-140-2 (paperback catalogue).
1929 mitre of Pius XI. On the left side is the name of St. Mark with the symbolic lion,
and on the right side (though hard to see in this photo) is the name of St. Luke with the symbolic ox.
The above illustration, from page 406 of Volume X of the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, shows a 16th century mitre that has infulae inscribed as follows:
TV ES GLORIA MEA (Thou, O Lord, art my glory)
TV EXALTAS CAPVT MEVM (thou art the lifter up of my head)
These phrases are found in the Breviarium, Commune Unius Confessoris Pontificis, Psalmus 3.
If there is an inscription at the base of the mitre, I have been unable to read it.
I conclude that when Dr. Bacchiocchi states that there are no inscriptions on papal mitres, it is just as reliable as Catholics who claim there are no inscriptions on papal tiaras. Unless one has seen every single item in question, it is foolish to make such assertions. There have probably been hundreds of the cloth papal mitres, which are liturgical hats worn during Mass, and there may well have been one lettered with Vicarius Filii Dei.
Dr. Bacchiocchi states "Incidentally, Vicarius Filii Dei is NOT A NAME, but one of the many TITLES ascribed to the pope." Since he has apparently not even bothered to read my short analysis of the exegetical support at the top of this page, his muddle on this point is, shall we say, predictable.
Notes On Samuele Bacchiocchi's DVD on
666, The Mark and Number of the Beast
I have viewed Dr. Bacchiocchi's recorded DVD presentation on 666, as well as his PowerPoint file, and have the following observations.
For PowerPoint slide #98, the accompanying notes mention that Catholic critics point out that "the pope NEVER wears the tiara for the celebration of special Masses", so Dr. Bacchiocchi rejects the eyewitness testimony. Again, the above documentation shows that Popes frequently wore a tiara both to and from celebrating Mass. So these Catholic critics are telling a half truth that frankly is irrelevant to whether or not a pope was observed wearing a tiara on Easter Sunday of 1845, or any other day. Dr. Bacchiocchi presented nothing more substantial than these Catholic critics to discredit the eyewitness testimony.
In his slides (1 hour and 6 minutes into DVD #1), Dr. Bacchiocchi presents this image at left as if it is one of the fraudulently doctored Adventist tiara images that the General Conference emphatically rejected for publishing some 60 years ago because they were misleading and deceptive. The fact is that though he used it in several of his slides, even after branding it as unethical, Dr. Bacchiocchi had absolutely no clue where it originated from. I can say with certainty, that particular drawing is no older than Nov. 28, 2002, because I produced it. I found the original unlettered drawing on the internet, enlarged it some, and then added the lettering to more-or-less match the eye witness description, and posted it in my article on 666 and that is likely where he got it. This drawing is not deceptive, fraudulent or unethical in any way, not as the doctored photo surely is. The drawing serves a legitimate and ethical illustrative purpose, and obviously could never be used to fraudulently prove such a tiara exists. This is why Dr. Bacchiocchi continued to use it in the second DVD, even after condemning its use in the first DVD. (I have since learned that the original drawing, with the title all on the lower crown, appeared in the 1897 and 1906 Review and Herald printing of Uriah Smith's Daniel and Revelation, page 581, shown below.)
There are to my knowledge, at least 3 papal tiaras that bear inscriptions, not two, as Dr. Bacchiocchi states. All three have been displayed in a recent tour of U.S. museums. See http://biblelight.net/claims.htm
Whether or not a tiara or mitre was ever inscribed with Vicarius Filii Dei is not really relevant to the issue at hand. Dr. Bacchiocchi adequately shows on the first DVD that the title is genuinely historical, and therefore valid, it is simply not a fabrication of any Protestants or Adventists. However, after proving it genuine, he discards it in the second DVD as not applicable to Revelation 13. So this whole debate really rests on how the number of the name of the beast is interpreted and applied, and not on papal tiaras or mitres. That brings us back to the exegetical support at the beginning of this page, and no one has shown this interpretation to be in error.
Notes On Samuele Bacchiocchi's
ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 147
Dr. Bacchiocchi cites from, and gives us a link to, the web site of Pastor Mike Leno at http://mikeleno.net which has a scan of page 699 from an early printing of the 1907 edition of Daniel and Revelation by Uriah Smith. That illustration is above on the right. The text at the bottom reads "FROM A PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN IN THE VATICAN MUSEUM." First of all, this is NOT a photograph, or even a doctored photograph, it is 100% an artist's drawing, a drawing made "from a photograph" of a tiara. So why not just publish the actual photo? Obviously the tiara in the photo did not have the inscription. The artist had used a photo as a model for his illustration of what an inscribed tiara would probably look like, according to the eyewitness testimony. That said, however, the drawing is apparently realistic enough to fool some people into thinking they are seeing an actual photograph. The photo above on the left of the 1834 tiara of Gregory XVI, taken by C. T. Everson in the Vatican Museum and published in an article in 1905 (see below), bears no inscription. It is probably the photo used as a model for the drawing.
Interestingly enough, Dr. Bacchiocchi did not show us the above drawing in his presentation when discussing doctored photos, he showed the following slide:
On the right side IS a doctored photo of the 1805 Napoleonic tiara of Pius VII, but just exactly where he got this photo from, Dr. Bacchiocchi does not say.
I also would like to highlight and contrast the generally brilliant intellect and superior insight possessed by those who agree with Dr. Bacchiocchi on this issue, and the dismally irresponsible and blind dolts like myself who disagree, and are mired in tradition and "afraid of being enlightened".
ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 150
"A similar example is the recent effort of our Adventist church to expose the problems of the traditional application of the number 666 to the Pope’s title Vicarius Filii Dei. In spite of the research done by trustworthy Adventist scholars, and the clear and compelling reasons given by Dr. Angel Rodriguez in the Sabbath School Lesson of June 1-7, 2002, there are still a significant number of Adventists who are determined to hold fast to the traditional application of 666 to Vicarius Filii Dei. This goes to show that legends do not easily die." ― Dr. Bacchiocchi in Newsletter #150.
All attempts to characterize the application of 666 to the papal title as mere "legend" have been shown to be in error, and the research leading to that faulty conclusion to be seriously lacking. There is now ample historical proof of papal use of vicarius filii Dei in official documents to demonstrate its validity as a title and its fulfilment of the prophecy. The opinions of those "trustworthy" scholars and their interpretations can be discarded. See VICARIUS FILII DEI - 666, The Number of the Beast.
Correcting Samuele Bacchiocchi's
ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 201
The following is stated by Dr. Bacchiocchi in Newsletter #201:
Uriah Smith Was the First to Identify 666 with Vicarius Filii Dei
It was only considerably later in 1884 that Uriah Smith first identified the number 666 with the pope's title Vicarius Filii Dei. His identification was based on reports from people who claimed to have seen the phrase inscribed on the papal tiara, while in Rome watching the pope participating in religious ceremonies. The credibility of these reports is negated by the fact that popes have worn the tiara only during the coronation ceremony, not for other religious ceremonies. Read my analysis of Uriah Smith's sources in Endtime Issues Newsletter No. 196 http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/endtimeissues/et_196.htm
Yet, the discussion in Newsletter 196 mentions that Uriah Smith in The Review and Herald issue of November 20, 1866, considers Vicarius Filii Dei the most plausible name that equals 666. Smith stated the same in his Thoughts, Critical and Practical on the Book of Revelation, published in 1865, pgs. 225-226. So the date 1884 is erroneous.
Also, the above statement that "Uriah Smith Was the First to Identify 666 with Vicarius Filii Dei" is also factually incorrect. In Newsletter No. 196 the following statement is made:
Uriah Smith appears to have been the first Adventist leader to mention Vicarius Filii Dei as a possible interpretation of the number 666.
That statement is probably true, as Smith mentions the association of 666 to Vicarius Filii Dei by quoting from a previously published non-Adventist source: The Reformation: A True Tale of the Sixteenth Century, by Anne Tuttle Jones Bullard, published in 1832 by the Massachusetts Sabbath School Society, Boston, Massachusetts, pgs. 247-248.
And, as thoroughly documented above, the tiara was worn frequently, not just during coronations.
Additional Eyewitness Testimony Discovered
A Rev. J. T. Headley, in the April 1845 edition of the Christian Parlor magazine, wrote that he had visited Rome and witnessed the spectacle of the Easter service in St. Peter's, and mentioned that the Pope wore a triple tiara to and from the service, though he did not take note of any inscription. He also published a similar account in his book Letters From Italy, published in 1847 in New York, Wiley and Putnam, 161 Broadway, pages 117-121, in which he dates his visit to St. Peter's as Easter of 1843.
Facsimiles of Adventist Articles
online at http://www.adventistarchives.org/DocArchives.asp
Advent Review and Sabbath Herald article by Chas T. Everson on The Inscription on the Pope's Tiara, dated July 27, 1905:
The tiara photos in the .gif format have been brightened up for better visibility. These photos were clearly the model photos used to make the artist's drawing that was published in some 1907 editions of Daniel and Revelation, as mentioned above.
Advent Review and Sabbath Herald article by D. E. Scoles on the Pope's Crown dated December 20, 1906. Relates the eyewitness testimony of former Catholics M. De Latti and Balthasar Hoffman.
- page 10 .gif
The Watchman Magazine article, The Number of a Man, by Frank A. Coffin, March, 1937:
The Ministry article by W. W. Prescott on The Official Title of the Pope, March, 1939:
The Ministry article on Dubious Pictures of the Tiara, by Leroy Froom, November, 1948:
- page 35 .gif