Bulletin of Prophetic Historicism
22 September 2015 Editor and Proprietor
Edwin de Kock
Bulletin # 23
The editor/proprietor assumes responsibility for his own contributions. He is not, however, responsible or liable for the ideas expressed in pieces by other writers, also sometimes mentioned or cited.
The Pope Has Landed
La Palabra Profética Más Segura—Wonderful News!
Two Prophetic Bulletins ago, we reported the completion of La Palabra Profética Más Segura, a skillful Spanish translation of A More Sure Word of Prophecy (2015). It then became available in digital form. But what we also desired was to have it as a real book, needed by impecunious Latinos, many of whom do not even own a computer. Due to several color plates which it contains, the English version cost us $2,751 to print 1,000 copies in the United States. We then discovered that the folk at the Seminary in Havana, Cuba, could print 2,000 copies for less than half that price. Unfortunately, however, we did not have the money to go ahead; so we appealed for donations.
A little more than two weeks ago, an expatriate American in Nicaragua was so impressed by Edwin’s books, which had greatly helped him, that he decided to demonstrate his appreciation by sending him a gift of $200 for this project. On the very day that Pope Francis with much fanfare landed in Cuba, a dear local friend donated another $1,000.
To have the book printed on that island would necessitate a method to have at least 1,000 copies transported to Miami and then to us in the United States. At present, this could be rather expensive. But money can bridge many gaps. Your donations, however small, would therefore be greatly appreciated.
The other 1,000 copies could remain in Cuba. From there, they could make their way to other parts of Latin America or simply be sold among the 30,000 Seventh-day Adventists on the island. In the latter case, these dear folk would pay considerably less than the $10.00 for which we would sell them in this country. They mostly earn less than $30.00 per month.
The Woman Who Loved too Much
Travel back through time and observe her in her office during the first week of the new academic year. She is counseling a Latina student who only a few weeks earlier finished her very inadequate high school education and has many problems, some of a very personal nature. This young girl has already poured out her heart to the strange white lady from a distant land, who hugs and encourages her by telling her about the compassionate Saviour. Go forward beyond her retirement from the university and find her in a doctor’s waiting room. She herself has come with a bad wound of her own, yet she speaks encouragement to the other patients, every one of them a stranger, to whom she hands a small publication containing the living word. How they cheer up and respond to her! Or see her in Walmart at the pharmacy, where people await their turn to have their prescriptions filled. As she converses with them, they also open their hearts and speak of their problems. She knows that Jesus died for and longs to help them all. Regarding the Church her empathy, as well as her memory, is amazing. In a congregation of more than 250 members, she seems to know almost everyone and the difficulties that they experience. When she hears of their distress, she visits them, prays for them, and often sends a personalized card to wish them well.
That is Ria and how I have come to know her in sixty years of marriage.
But, as a Texas Master Gardener, she also cares for every flowery plant or fruit tree and all the creatures on the 1.12 acres that we inhabit. During the day, she hangs out sugar water for the humming birds that delight her. In the evening, she puts out left-over food for the possums that live beneath the house. She will not allow our cat to stay outside at night or leave before morning light, to protect the birds and other little creatures that sleep there and cannot see it creeping up on them. She worries about the horned toad, the lizards, and the roadrunner—though not the grackles that peck and spoil our citrus fruit. The other day, as the guns of hunters shattered the silence of our neighborhood, she wept. She knew they were shooting the beautiful doves that often sit on the electric wires above our yard.
In one case, however, she loved too much. She had not noticed sufficiently how a Satanic agency can possess an animal to attack a human being. She loves our neighbor’s horses. As she had often done before, she recently invited him to bring his stallion, mare, and cute young filly onto our property. There they grazed on the lush and too long grass, gave her pleasure, and did service as living lawnmowers. She often gave them water to drink, for in southern Texas the sun can be poisonously hot. She also loved to feed them and talking to them. Two weeks ago, on a Tuesday afternoon, she went up to the mare and offered her a slice of watermelon. Suddenly the animal bit her on the upper inside of her right arm, deeply removing a large chunk of skin.
She ran home and wrapped a towel around her arm. I rushed her to emergency rooms in nearby Edinburg, six miles from our home. Immediate attention followed, to staunch the bleeding and relieve her pain with morphine. An ambulance transported her to the Rio Grande Hospital in McAllen, twenty or thirty minutes away, where she spent four and a half days. Twice she underwent a procedure under anesthetic, which at her age is risky. The family and local friends prayed for her earnestly. So did many others around the planet, alerted via the Internet. The plastic surgeon first removed mangled and dirty tissue, deep cleansed the flesh, and put on a temporary dressing that did not touch the sensitive flesh. Two days later, he covered the wound and stapled onto it a temporary graft of animal tissue, under which she must regenerate its own skin. Due to her age, this could not be taken from another part of her body. She still suffers pain and weakness. More medical attention is required for the wound. As for the expenses … the Lord will provide, for we cannot, beyond the provisions of Medicare administered by Humana.
But some readers will notice an awkward point. As reported by Prophetic Bulletin #21, the same animal also bit her in June, though not so severely. But unfortunately Ria loved too much, excusing the horse because “she probably had toothache due to the cold of the watermelon, which was in the fridge.” Astoundingly, she is still making excuses for the mare; but neither our son Carl nor I will allow her to come near those horses, which will no longer be allowed in our yard. But she still makes me drive past them near the bottom of our street and stares at them wistfully.
Impact on Radio Ministry
Between her two surgeries Edwin was due to be interviewed by Juanita Kretschmar of Key West, Florida. There she and her late husband had operated the George M. Kretschmar, Jr., Key Encounter Nature Theater and Planetarium, a creationist and prophetic enterprise. After he died, she continued to direct this work. For almost two decades, thousands of visitors used to enjoy those presentations, especially a 20-minute visual program entitled “The Ultimate Encounter.” It was located in a busy mall. Unfortunately, when the building was remodeled in 2013, her ministry lost this accommodation. By then, however, she had already begun a radio ministry. Physically it operates in the Key West area, though its broadcasts can be heard clearly all the way up to Marathon. It is also audible worldwide on the Internet.
When Ria was in hospital, awaiting her second surgery, Edwin thought of canceling this interview, but she urged him not to do so.
When he telephonically told Juanita about what had happened, she immediately said: “It is Satan who used that animal. The attack was aimed at both of you, especially to prevent you from circulating your books that support the Three Angels’ Messages!”
During the interview, Edwin told of how he had in 1986 made God a promise to write a book on prophecy if Ria survived serious lung surgery. For the de Kock family, the consequences were immense. The Lord had them relocate to the United States, work in South Korea, and settle in southernmost Texas near the Rio Grande. He completed not one book but five books on Historicist prophecy.
When the interview material has been edited, the final product will be available on the Internet at WHNJ.org.
Some 666 Foolishness
We owe this heading to our good friend Gus Foster, who lives in Ohio. On the Internet, he discovered a self-styled “Unofficial Worldwide Adventist Forum.” Though some of the ideas discussed on it emanate from loyal Church members, others are suspect. For instance, the website poses a challenge by Samuel Kayakale of the United Kingdom. He wrote: “Below is our traditional interpretation of the number 666 found in Revelation 13 and below is one of the challenges and which, incidentally, is the position of most of our respected theologians nowadays. Isn’t it time to officially abandon this traditional interpretation?” (Emphasis added)
What he queried is the validity of 666 = vicarius Filii Dei. While one of his links connects with our usual positions, others are radically against our Church, such as paragraphs from Dirk Anderson. This man describes himself by saying: “I was a member of the SDA sect for 33 years.” He not only abandoned his original faith but also on the Internet became a very active enemy of it, although he still describes himself as “Brother Anderson.” In addition to this man’s poisonous opinions, the website also features other deviant and even whacky ideas. One of them is a numerological argument about 666 comprising three sixes as a symbol of human imperfection, another airs the barcode theory.
All of this, and more, is dealt with in Edwin’s magnum opus The Truth About 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy, a book that irrefutably vindicates the interpretation put forward by Uriah Smith in Daniel and the Revelation. Let us see how this demolishes the “foolishness” featured on the “Unofficial Worldwide Adventist Forum,” beginning with the one who still presumes to describe himself as a brother.
Dirk Anderson’s Objections
This man is an enemy of our Church. He wrote:
“Uriah Smith, J. N. Andrews and other early Adventists adopted the teaching and used it in their evangelistic efforts. The main weakness of the SDA position is that the title ‘Vicarius Filii Dei’ was never officially used by the Catholic Church as a title for the Pope. In fact, the one document in which it appears, the Donation of Constantine, is widely recognized as a forgery. Some have claimed the title appeared on the papal tiara or mitre, but of the thousands of images painted and photographed over more than 1,000 years of Catholic history, the title does not appear on any image. No evidence has ever been produced by Seventh-day Adventists to substantiate the claim that the title ‘Vicarius Filii Dei’ is used to designate the Pope.”
Every single one of these is a Roman Catholic argument. By echoing them so closely, “Brother” Anderson is a cat’s-paw for the papacy. History shows that these statements are distortions and, in some cases, blatant lies.
Only his second-last sentence about the inscription on the pope’s mitre or tiara may hold some water. As The Truth About 666 reveals, we can no longer prove that vicarius Filii Dei was ever inscribed on this or any other object. It may have been. If so, however, pontifical agents have obliterated it. But this is of no importance. The fact is that the title was applied to and was, so to speak, inscribed on the popes themselves. Let us now briefly review the main issues, beginning with Anderson’s final statement:
1. “No evidence has ever been produced by Seventh-day Adventists to substantiate the claim that the title ‘Vicarius Filii Dei’ is used to designate the Pope.” This is grossly untrue. Appendix III to Edwin’s book lists and discusses more than ninety publications by non-Catholic writers between 1715 and 1896—the majority of them in the nineteenth century—which mention vicarius Filii Dei. Most of them also show that the title has a number value of 666. Most of these authors were Protestants belonging to other denominations.
But what authenticates their claim to the existence of that title? Catholic documents, largely Googled up by brilliant researchers who have assisted me, especially Stephen D. Emse, but also Michael Scheifler and others. The evidence is recorded and referenced in Chapter Thirty-One of my book, under the heading “Many, Mostly Catholic Voices Just Before and in the Nineteenth Century. I end it by saying:
“In this chapter, we have referred to evidence provided by important figures, sometimes very high dignitaries, of the Roman Church—theologians, bishops, archbishops, even cardinals—which proves conclusively that during the late 1700s and the 1800s vicarius Filii Dei, together with its translations into Italian, Spanish, German, French, and English, was still considered a title or valid description of the pontiff. We have mentioned about fifty occurrences on the part of Manning or other writers. During the same period, the title was also published at least four times in Latin reprints, during 1844, 1855, 1879, and 1890, mostly of Gratian’s Decretum—as shown by Appendix II. Undoubtedly more such material remains to be discovered.
“Among the instances we have mentioned above are four popes who reigned in the last years of the Papal States, between 1796–1797 and 1870, to whom the title was applied: Pius VI, vicaire du Fils de Dieu and Stellvertreter des Gottessohnes; Pius VII, vicario del figluol di Dio; Gregory XVI, vicario del Hijo de Dios; and Pius IX, vicaire du Fils de Dieu. The last mentioned is in addition to Manning’s oft-repeated vicar of the Son of God. And after the dissolution of the Papal States, a fifth pontiff, Leo XIII, was called vicaire du Fils de Dieu, vicario del Figluolo di Dio, and vicarius Filii Dei. Five popes in little more than a century! “That period, from 1775 to 1903, saw the reign of seven pontiffs. According to the records that we have traced and cited, most of them were referred to as the vicarius Filii Dei, in one or the other of the six languages mentioned above. The two exceptions were apparently Leo XII and Pius VIII. Further research may, however, yet show that they have also had that title attributed to them.
“As yet it is unknown how many times vicarius Filii Dei or its translations into other languages has appeared in manuscripts or books since the latter part of the eighth century, when the infamous Donatio Constantini was forged and foisted on the world. In this book, we have recorded scores of instances. New material is, moreover, being constantly unearthed. Since the preparation of these chapters, Stephen D. Emse as well as Michael Scheifler have kept on roving through cyber space, and discovered several more texts that we have not had the occasion to process or include.
“A case in point is an article of 1 February 1856 entitled “Rhifedi y Bwystfil” about Rev. 13:18 in Y Cyfaill, authored by Hafrenydd. Because it is in Welsh, we are regrettably unable to read it. But whatever else it says, it does contain vicarius Filii Dei, followed by both English and Welsh translations in parentheses. After this, in a vertical table, the numerical value of the letters with 666 as the total are clearly shown. We note, moreover, that the article begins by mentioning “Dr. Faber” and later “Fleming,” both of whose ideas are dealt with in Appendix III.
“Undoubtedly more awaits discovery by future researchers either on the Internet or elsewhere, perhaps in Polish, Hungarian, Catalan, and other languages. But the foregoing is, we think, for the present quite sufficient.”
The Roman Church does not at present employ that Latin expression, although close synonyms are used. For this, there are two particular reasons. First, vicarius Filii Dei has become an embarrassment for the Catholics, because so many Protestants, especially Seventh-day Adventists, have dwelt on its numerical value of 666, which helps to identify the papacy as the Antichrist. Second, in 1870 the Papal States were swallowed up by the unification of Italy, so that today only Vatican City State remains. Over many centuries, that expression constituted the pontiffs’ spurious title deed to the Papal States as well as spiritual sovereignty over the whole world.
2. “The main weakness of the SDA position is that the title ‘Vicarius Filii Dei’ was never officially used by the Catholic Church as a title for the Pope.” This argument by Anderson, and the Romanists for whom he is the mouthpiece, differs from the one that we have already analyzed only through the adjective “officially.” Here is our twofold answer.
First, the Pontiff is a king and, like other royalty, has many titles, which over the ages have not all necessarily been the same. In a sense, all of them are official. Formally his full title nowadays is “Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God.” This, however, is rarely seen or used in full. He has also been and is known as Sanctissimus Pater (Most Holy Father) and Sanctissimus Dominus Noster (Our Most Holy Lord). As for the word pope, it is an informal epithet. It also applies to the Coptic Church with its headquarters in Alexandria, Egypt. Nowadays, the papacy studiously avoids vicarius Filii Dei for reasons mentioned above.
The second answer to Anderson’s quibble is suggested by the Bible. Rev. 13: 17, 18, speaks of the number 666 with reference to the name of the Beast. The word official does not occur. The main point is that vicarius Filii Dei is a uniquely papal title. The same is not true, for instance, of vicarius Christi, which Constantine thought up and applied to himself, though later the popes appropriated it. Above all, the 666 represents a false and blasphemous claim that the pontiff is the vicar/representative of the Son of God. According to the Bible, this office belongs only to the Holy Spirit.
3. “The one document in which it appears, the Donation of Constantine, is widely recognized as a forgery.” As my book shows, it is untrue that vicarius Filii Dei is limited to a single document. In Latin as well as its translations into other languages, it occurs repeatedly in the writings of many Catholic dignitaries. Here, however, is the main point: The Donation of Constantine is indeed a forgery—but who fabricated it and why?
It was created at the behest of Pope Stephen II (III), who reigned from 752 to 757. So what was the Donation of Constantine all about? Stephen was ruling, to a limited extent, over territories in Italy on behalf of the emperor in distant Constantinople. The latter, however, was really an absentee landlord, unable to help the pontiff against the Lombards, who were encroaching on his interests and intent on his subjugation. He therefore decided to mobilize against them the growing power of the Franks. During 753, he crossed the Alps in winter to plead for help from their king, Pepin/Pippin III (d. 768), the Short.
But Pope Stephen wanted him to do more for him than just break the power of the Lombards. He also desired as much absolute power, both ecclesiastical and secular, as possible—not as a vassal of the Franks but as an absolute monarch. To achieve this end, he brought with him a dusty and crumbly manuscript of apparently great antiquity. This was the notorious Donation of Constantine, a forged document dated 30 March 315, purportedly a deed issued by the first Christian emperor to Pope Sylvester I (reigned 314-335). This pope lived four hundred years before Pope Stephen. It allegedly bestowed upon the pontiffs supremacy over the sees of Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, and Jerusalem. The emperor also granted administrative rights to Sylvester and his successors over estates granted to churches throughout the empire. Most importantly, Constantine allegedly gave the pope control of the imperial palace in Rome and all the regions of the Western Empire. That effectively conveyed the notion that the pontiff had the right to appoint secular rulers in the West. As a Catholic Encyclopedia has put it, this document became “for eleven centuries the Magna Carta of the temporal power of the popes.” It enabled them to rule over two-thirds of Italy for eleven centuries, until they lost the Papal States in 1870.
Through the centuries, the pontiffs have often resorted to forgeries; though never for fun. It was always with the deadly serious and fraudulent purpose of securing property, power, or some other advantage for themselves. In his Vicars of Christ: The Dark Side of the Papacy (1988), a former Catholic priest, Peter de Rosa, also refers to this fact several times. He said that Hildebrand, Gregory VII (reigned 1073-1085), “went way beyond the Donation of Constantine. He had a whole school of forgers under his very nose, turning out document after document, with the papal seal of approval, to cater for his every need” (p. 59).
And so, yes, the Donation of Constantine was a forgery. But it was also a genuine papal document, a fraud that achieved very much for the pontiffs and their church. Within it, the potent title vicarius Filii Dei (vicar/representative of the Son of God) made its first appearance. It is both fraudulent and blasphemous, but it has done its evil work for hundreds of years. For Dirk Anderson now to sneer at and seek to push it aside is ridiculous. And so are the arguments of those Seventh-day Adventist scholars who deviantly reason like him.
Another stratagem to deflect attention from the papacy, displayed on the “Unofficial Worldwide Adventist Forum,” is to flatly contradict the idea that the 666 of Rev. 13:17, 18 refers to the name of the Beast depicted in that chapter. “One interpretation is simply that 666 represents humankind in general because of the special significance that the number has in the Bible. Six is known as an ‘imperfect number’ because it is one short of seven, the ‘perfect number’ (seven days in the week, seven tongues of flame, seven spiritual gifts. . . . So three (the number of the Trinity) sixes is seen as extremely imperfect. Therefore, 666 represents imperfect man, while 777 represents God.” The Truth About 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy also effectively disposes of this fallacious idea, chiefly in two ways.
1. With simple arithmetic. Even students in an elementary school can do the following sum: 666 ÷ 6 = 111. How many sixes are there in 666? The answer is 111, not 3! Visually 666 does look like three sixes, but it actually means 600 + 60 + 6 = 666. Why? Since the European Middle Ages, more and more people have used the Hindu-Arabic system of writing numbers. Some genius in the Far East had invented the 0 (zero). Amongst other things, this made it possible to write numbers in columns and use positional writing, i.e.:
Lurking inside 666 there are three invisible 0’s. Therefore, all that stuff about three sixes representing imperfect man is nonsense.
2. The ancient Greeks in the time of John, who wrote Revelation, did not use Hindu-Arabic numerals. Despite their brilliance, they knew nothing about 0 (the zero). The manuscripts of the original New Testament either give that number in full as ©>"6@F4@4 ©>06@<J" ©> (hexakosioi hexekonta hex), i.e. six hundred, sixty, six, just like its English translations, or abbreviate it as >Pù (xi chi stigma). Such an abbreviation occurs in the very early Chester Beatty papyrus, which has ¦FJ4< *, P>ù [estin de chi xi stigma], “It is six hundred, threescore and six.” This is also used in a Byzantine text in a New Testament, which we possess, of the present-day Greek Orthodox Church. It is important not to confuse the ù (stigma), a symbol for six, with H (sigma), which is the ordinary Greek letter for s. Stigma is a later form of the ú, digamma, a letter derived from the Phoenician aleph-beth. It represents 6 and nothing else. So the ancient Greek way of writing 666 was P>ù.
Even a reader who knows no Greek can immediately see that these are three different letters. QED: There are not three sixes in the original of Rev. 13:17, 18.
The Devil in the Details
We need not weary you with further foolish trivia vented on the “Unofficial Worldwide Adventist Forum,” like the barcode theory. Instead we again note Samuel Kayakale’s dismissive suggestion about 666 = vicarius Filii Dei: “Isn’t it time to officially abandon this traditional interpretation?” No, it is not. Nor is it a matter of indifference what we believe about this issue. Behind his human masks, lurks the face of Satan himself. He hates the clear witness of prophecy that shines a light on his tracks through history.
He and his human agents were unable to prevent the completion of Edwin’s books, especially The Truth About 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy (2011, 2013). The devil’s time is growing short, and he wants to put off the terrible reckoning that awaits him and the other fallen angels. Therefore, he desperately inspires misguided people to undermine the Three Angels’ Messages. Amongst other stratagems, he and his evil crew work hard to sweep the witness of Edwin’s masterpiece under the carpet and to speak out against it. Also under attack is prophetic Historicism itself. Besides, we are a prophetic movement.
How You Can Also Help
Please acquaint yourself thoroughly with the contents of Edwin’s books and possess them for yourself. Recommend them to your friends. If you have a website, it would be a great kindness if you referred to his works, and provided a link to propheticum.com.
You could also imitate a dear retired pastor in Oregon who yesterday ordered fifteen copies of A More Sure Word of Prophecy for his study group. Other works, like Christ and Antichrist in Prophecy and History, would also be well suited to this purpose.
Another exciting project, which Ria thought of, was taken up by a friend in Southern California. She bought a set of everything Edwin has written in order to donate it to the Loma Linda University library. We highly recommend that you follow this example. All our colleges and universities should really have his books.
Prayer for Our Special Friend in Cuba
Néstor Rivero is to us like a son and in many ways our link with that country. He did the basic translation of La Palabra Profética Más Segura. He has also worked on the Spanish version of Edwin’s Christ and Antichrist in Prophecy and History. Recently he even translated our previous Prophetic Bulletin, which can now be read on our website. But he has glaucoma and must very soon undergo a delicate cataract operation. Please pray earnestly for its success as well as for him and his family. Translation work, which depends on his eyesight, is his livelihood.
Please remember that more details about our activities, as well as previous Prophetic Bulletins, appear on our website: www.propheticum.com. We can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or snail-mailed as follows: Edwin de Kock, 12916 Los Terrazos Boulevard, Texas 78541, USA.