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Well, it was a bit disappointing what happened this morning California time, but after careful assessment, I believe that we should not yet declare we are wrong, though it sure looks as if we are. Not all possibilities have been exhausted that can yet lead to a count total of 666. We might yet be wrong but it is not yet time to declare defeat. Here is why.
Consider the basic hypothesis that the 7 heads of the scarlet beast are the 7 papal names that have occurred since 1798. Assume that is still true. Then read the following:
Rev 17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
Rev 17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
Rev 17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
This tells you that from 1798 onward, there will be a total of 8 names, first with 7 as a group and then the 8th, which is not a mountain, so should be a single new name with one man to that name. The name Benedict XVI announced this morning is one of those seven names but clearly is not the 8th name because he is part of a previously existing name and does not have a new name not used before. If Benedict XVI is ultimately counted, it would bring the count total to 680 (665 + 15 remember they skipped Benedict X, so the present guy would be number 15 if counted). Obviously, this is too high if the count is correct.
We know that the number 666 occurs near the very end for it occurs at the end of Revelation 13. This location is significant because the last half of Revelation 13 is about the earth beast and is largely sequential in nature. The placement of the number 666 indicates that this number must occur very near to the end for it to be placed after the formation of the image beast. Now what is also significant is that the number is said to apply to the beast. in other words, perhaps it does not apply until the beast itself arises.
For legitimate popes whose names and numbers are counted, the prophecy as stated clearly indicates that once you have the first 6 names defined, there can be no other names that come from previous Papal name lines which are part of the 7 names or the 8th. Both the 7th and the 8th must be entirely new names.
But what I did not realize is this. At this point you can have a reoccurrence of any previous pope (including any of the seven occurring after 1798) so long as he does not die in office or officially resign so that his name and number are counted by Papal authorities. It has happened a couple of times in Papal history that popes have been elected and then were deposed. When that occurs, their name and number are NOT counted. It is as if they had never been. Such a thing could occur with Benedict XVI. The probability of deposing a pope is not good so this looks like a long shot, but is not impossible. Also, there is an inauguration on Sunday. We don't know what they would do if he were to die before he could officially take office, which is very unlikely but not impossible.
What this boils down to is that Pope Benedict XVI could be deposed before he dies in office or officially resigns, in which case the count would revert to 665 and we could yet have the 8th come along after that with an entirely new name which would bring the count to 666. For the count to work, this is one of two possible scenarios that might yet happen. While improbable, we cannot discount that it might still happen.
The other possible scenario is that Pope Benedict XVI might change his name someday to a new name not used before. We don't know if they allow this because it has never happened that I am aware of so we are making inquiry with knowledgeable Catholic Sources to find out if this can occur. If possible, then he could at some point in the future change his name to a new one, which would make him into the 8th king. This is an attractive solution that may have some Biblical backing because the original Greek in Revelation 17:11 says that the eighth comes out of the seven (which is commonly translated as the eighth is of the seven, a bad translation). We were told by a person knowledgeable about Greek that this means the 8th follows the 7. But instead, maybe this suggests that the 8th starts out as one of the seven, and then changes into the 8th by changing his name to a new name. If this happens, then it will occur about the time the beast returns because the number 666 must apply to the beast.
So, either he will be deposed and another takes his place, or he will change his name to a new name, which is the name that will be counted, not the one that he drops.
The results are that we appear to have a major setback, but the prophecy, if properly understood, will come to 666 at the end. We just have no way to prove that is going to be the case now because of what has happened and won't be able to until the current pope (Benedict XVI) either leaves office or else changes his name. Everything else in the prophecy lines up, so we should yet see this happen.
We are going to leave the web site up but will make some changes. There is a lot of good study material there and it will not be a good idea to just throw all that out. Further, since we don't have absolute proof that we are wrong but could still turn out right, we should stick around and see where this goes. We know we are near the end so something is going to happen one way or the other with this new pope.
We need to be careful not to jump ship too soon. Absolute proof that we are wrong is not here just yet. It may be someday that such proof will exist and at that time we will make that assessment. But if it turns out that we are right, if we jump ship now, it will prove to be the wrong move.
If you were living in the time of Alexander the Great's death and knew about the leopard with 4 heads, you would have seen them place his unborn son's regent on the throne along with Alexander's half brother. You might have said that "well, obviously the prophecy is wrong because we didn't get the 4 divisions of the empire." You might have said the same thing some 20 years later had you seen the 5 initial divisions of Alexander the Great's empire. But by the time the 5th leader battled it out with the other four, you would indeed have seen the 4 emerge from the empire. Then you would say it was right, but probably not before. The lesson here is that we need to be patient and come to understand where things went wrong and whether or not we could still be right - which I believe is the case until proven otherwise.
Just so you clearly know, what would definitely kill our hypothesis dead is the occurrence of any pope name in which the count exceeds 666 and that pope exits office by death or by official resignation. All of these things must occur to kill this hypothesis dead with no chance to resurrect it. Benedict XVI could well do just this but we won't know until we see him leave office or he changes his name. Just getting an old name that exceeds the count is not death to the hypothesis.
Some will say that we are simply trying to save face. I don't think so. I am realistic enough to know when the game is up and will say so if it happens. But conversely, I know now that the game is not up just yet so will say that too. This is a legitimate statement of where things stand.