Watchtower January/February 1882 pp.9,10
“Jesus, who gave this revelation to us (Rev. 1:1), well knew that this symbol could not be understood until about the present time, for the reason that the Image was only made in 1846. Jesus also knew, of course, that English would be the language used by probably four-fifths of his earnest truth-seeking children, in the 'time of the end. He knew, also, that not many wise, not many great, not many learned in all languages would be of the chosen 'little flock. ' Moreover, it was his custom to adapt his teachings to the 'common people,' and of this sort his Jewels have been from, the twelve disciples and since. Therefore it would appear that the number 666, should be open to the comprehension of us all — we being the ones told to count — as much so as were the other symbolic numbers of Danl. and Rev. Let us try, then, to apply these figures in English.*(This is the first application in English, known to the writer, but the reasonableness of it is obvious.)
First, then, the number is that of the (first) BEAST. Let us see whether it will apply to some of its names, That system which Paul calls the man of sin is the
Roman Catholic power = 666.
12345 61234561 23456
He is in Revelation called a BEAST
Roman Catholic 'Beast' = 666.
The system is also called the 'woman' (Rev. 17:18)
Roman Catholic 'woman' = 666.
She calls herself the
'Holy Catholic Church' = 666.
She is really and truly (Rev. 17:5) 'The Mother of Harlots' = 666.
Thus we see that the number fits the BEAST well.
The second BEAST was anxious to have exactly the same name, and in fact it claimed to have the pre-eminent right to the name— 'Holy Catholic church,' = 666.
Other names by which it is often known, are —
'English State Church,' = 666.
'The Episcopal Church,' = 666.
'Episcopalian Church,' = 666.
'The Church of England,' = 666.
This application of the number, will doubtless appear to some too simple to be accepted, but thus God ever deals with us—hiding truth under the vail of its own simplicity, so that it may appear to the Greek (worldly wise) foolishness, but unto them which believe (not to those who believe without evidence, but who believe on the strongest kind of evidence —the harmony of His Word) the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (1 Cor. 1:23.)
The Image causes all who claim relationship, or whom it recognizes, as having a right to buy or sell - teach - to have as a creed, that which shall mark them as having either 'the name' of the BEAST, or the 'number' of his name - 666.
Many take the name and in their creeds recite, 'I believe in the 'Holy Catholic Church' = 666.
Among those who thus openly mark themselves in their forehead (by their creeds) are Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians and others. But others give a seeming support (mark in their hand) to the general principal by organizing under various sectarian names. After these are blended in the IMAGE, (and no one would be admitted to membership in the Evangelical Alliance, unless he be a member of some such sect), they all are collectively known as the 'Protestant Churches,' = 666. Which we see contains the Beast's number.
If we for instance were to organize, though we protest more than all others against the errors of Rome, and also against the errors of the Image and second BEAST, yet we would not be reckoned one of the 'Protestant churches,' because we would not be recognized as orthodox—They would not count our organization a church.
Should you inquire for our meetings and ask — Is that a protestant church which meets here? the answer would come — Oh, no; they are not Evangelical. They have no creed to mark them, so that the Alliance can decide whether they are an Evangelical Protestant Church or not.”