Revelation Chapter Thirteen - Part One
Introduction: In Revelation Twelve we have seen the history of the conflict between Satan – the dragon and God’s church – the woman. Now in Revelation Thirteen God will describe the history of the most recent antagonist against the woman. This chapter will discuss the Beast, its death, and resurrection. It will then describe the final events in the context of the Beast and set the stage for the description and discussion of the great whore in Revelation Seventeen.
Now we will start the process of identifying the Beast and then discuss what God wants us to see. In Chapter Fourteen God will describe the Remnant and show how they contrast to the Beast and his people in Chapter Thirteen.
It is this writer’s belief that the Beast of Revelation Thirteen is the same kingdom/government as the Little Horn of Daniel Seven and Eight. (See Daniel Seven and Eight at www.the1844way.com )
1And 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.
Author: In this chapter we find another connection to the book of Daniel. In Daniel 7:1-2 Daniel is standing on the shores of the sea looking at a great sign and wonder. Daniel sees four beasts come up out of the sea different from each other. Daniel sees a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a dragon come up out of the sea, after the four winds had blown on the sea.
In Revelation John, also standing on the shore, sees one beast come up out of the sea (a large body of water consisting of people, nations, kingdoms, and tongues Revelation 17:15). The beast that John sees had seven heads and ten horns. The seven heads shows that it is a complete symbol of earthly kingdoms – a beast, borrowing the symbolism of the sevens stated earlier in the book of Revelation chapters 2-3 regarding the seven churches. In addition it has ten horns, very similar to the non-descript beast of Daniel 7:7. The ten horns indicate a worldwide influence of sin. (See in the Spiritual Dictionary for the term 10 at www.the1844way.com in the section dedicated to numbers). The ten horns have ten crowns which indicate that its horns have power to rule the world. A beast in prophecy is a worldly government or kingdom. (Daniel 7:17).
This beast is also identified with blasphemy for Scripture states that blasphemy was upon its seven heads. In Scripture blasphemy can be attributed to at by several causes, first for the sin of attempting to forgive sins without being God (Mark 2:5-7), a second cause is to claim one is God when he is only a man (John 10:30-33), and a third cause is to disobey God while claiming to be doing right by God and obeying His commandments. (Isaiah 65:1-7; Titus 2:3-5; II Kings 19:6-22), and finally to blaspheme God would be to call yourself a Christian (a descendent of Abraham Galatians 3:26-29) when you are not. (Revelation 2:9 and 3:9). This kingdom/government has all of these blasphemous qualities. Shortly we will identify this beast and give it a recognizable name; this government will have all of the qualities identified in the Revelation.
2And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
Author: In this verse God shares the idea that the Beast is a composite creature of the qualities of the four beasts of Daniel 7, the Lion of Babylon; the Bear of Medo-Persia, the Leopard of Greece, and the Dragon of Rome. (See Daniel 7 at www.the1844way.com). The Beast of Revelation Thirteen has the dominant features of the Leopard – the philosophy of Greece. It also has the foundational principles of the Medo-Persian empire laws which do not change. The mouth of the lion indicates the legislative components of Babylon. In addition pagan Rome gave this government its power, seat, and authority, as well as the power and longevity of the iron kingdom of Rome. In Daniel 7:24 says that the little horn, which was attached to the Dragon kingdom, came up after the breakup of the Pagan phase of Rome, thus the Bible says that this Roman phase would come up after 470 AD and have the seat of Rome as its headquarters, and would receive its authority, as well as its power.
3And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
Author: This text is both a prophecy of the future as well as a snap shot of the past. At the end of the 1260 prophetic years spoken of in Revelation 13:5 this government was “pushed” or gored (Exodus 21:28-36; I Kings 22:11; II Chronicles 18:10; Daniel 8:4) by the king of the South in Daniel 11:40. This pushing effectively took away the power of this government to punish heretics through the power of the state.
Then the text prophesies that this government will have the power to punish heretics through the power of the state reinstated and it will return to its original state and thus be “healed”. When this happens the world will wonder at this restoration. This is commented to in Revelation 17:6 when John wonders at the development of the great whore.
4And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?
Author: When the world sees this restoration of power to this Beast government then they will worship the dragon (Satanic governmental agencies) which gave power to the Beast and the people of the world will worship the Beast. This would indicate that this Beast Dragon relationship happens in a spiritual arena which allows worship. This government is not just a civil government but it is religious as well. When the world sees this power restored they will wonder who could make war with something this powerful. The fact that Satan is supporting this government makes it all the more powerful for supernatural power is involved with this government.
5And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
Author: This verse claims that this government was in power for 1260 prophetic years. In the Bible a day can mean one literal day as in Genesis 1. In Numbers 14:34 we are told that God can give us a day for year. A second testimony to this is given in Daniel 9:24 where 70 weeks would be 490 years a day for a year. (See also Ezekiel 4:6; Genesis 29:27). During this time this Beast government will speak great things or make great claims about itself and it will blaspheme God during this time. So again this government is supernatural meaning that Satan supports it, and it magnifies itself against God, and speaks, or legislates, blasphemous issues as we discussed in verse 1. Again we will more specifically identify this Beast in verse 6.
6And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
Author: This Beast government would specifically blaspheme God, His name, His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. The primary focus of this government is to address spiritual issues for no regular government would address such issues as God, or His tabernacle, or His name, or the beings in heaven, but this government does all of these things.
7And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
Author: The history of this particular entity during the 1260 years in which it was the dominant religion and government was to persecute God’s people who taught or lived differently than what this church taught and lived.
Now with the above thoughts in mind lets us take a few minutes to identify the Beast. I want to list the issues we have spoken to and then identify this Beast/kingdom/government/religion.
1. The Beast specializes in blaspheming qualities of God it claims the power to forgive sin, it claims that its leader is Godlike, it makes statements against God, it teaches against God’s sanctuary in heaven, and it speaks against the character, or name, of God, and against the angels and people who are in heaven.
2. This Beast government is a syncretistic blend of all the governments that went before it. Syncretism, or blending or mixing of true and false issues is the hallmark of this government. This is the mingling of iron and clay in Daniel 2:41-43. This also identifies this government as being attached to Rome for this is the fourth kingdom and pagan Rome blessed this government with its resources, its seat, and its authority.
3. This government would persecute people for 1260 years until their power to do so was removed by another government. This issue of persecution would be done over the heading of worship and religious issues like God’s name, Tabernacle, and people, and issues of blasphemy and worship.
4. This government makes laws that are unchangeable and infallible, at least in the mind of the government itself and its adherents.
5. Much of the theology and ruling style of this government is based on Grecian philosophy.
6. During the time of the 1260 years this government held almost universal power over all of the kingdoms and peoples of the world.
There is only one government in history that meets all of the above criteria and that government is the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). This church is the part of the Roman Empire that remained after the breakup of the Empire into conflicting fragments around 470 AD. The Emperor Justinian gave the Western Roman Empire to the RCC and gave the city of Rome to be governed over by the Church and the Pope more specifically.
I will now address each of the above issues in a more specific manner to clarify the issues.
1. One of the primary qualities of the RCC is its claim to be able to forgive sins, and the confessional is the process by which this church claims to forgive sins. The RCC also teaches a variety of issues that the Bible considers blasphemy: it teaches that it has the power to change the laws of God especially changing the Seventh day Sabbath to First day Sunday; it teaches that it is ok to bow down to idols, and it teaches a variety of issues including praying to the dead saints, purgatory, and worship of Mary and of the Pope himself.
2. Syncretism is defined as “the combination of different forms of belief or practices.” Christianity demands a pure belief and practice with no blending or mingling of truth or error. The RCC is willing to work with any other religion if they will accept the Pope as their spiritual leader. So any other religion that will accept the leadership of the Pope does not have to change their religious practices but can be accepted into fellowship with the RCC.
3. The history of the RCC has been that of persecution of heretics, or of people who do not accept the RCC position. The great historical device for which persecution and death was dealt with was through that of the inquisition. This device would allow the church to kill people but through the sword of the state, and that like Israel in the time of Christ, the church could claim that they literally had not harmed anyone but it was the state that had done it.
4. The RCC claims that its laws are infallible and cannot be changed, just as Medo-Persia claimed in Daniel 6:8, 15. Here is an example of the Papal infallibility:
Examples of infallible extraordinary papal definitions (and, hence, of teachings of the sacred magisterium) are Pope Pius IX’s definition of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and Pope Pius XII’s definition of the Assumption of Mary. Examples of infallible extraordinary Conciliar decrees include the Council of Trent's decree on justification, and Vatican I's definition of Papal Infallibility. Examples of infallible teachings of the ordinary and universal Magisterium are harder to point to, since these are not contained in any one specific document, but are the common teachings found among the Bishops dispersed through the world yet united with the Pope. Pope John Paul II specifically clarified that the reservation of ordination to males is infallible under the infallibility of the ordinary and universal magisterium of the Church, without issuing a corresponding extraordinary papal definition. It has been suggested that he did this to remind everyone that the ordinary and universal magisterium is also infallible, and that an extraordinary definition is not necessary to make a teaching irrevocably binding and demanding of supernatural faith. In fact, the ordinary and universal magisterium is the usual manifestation of infallibility, the decrees of popes and councils being the extraordinary expression. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infallibility_of_the_Church
5. The primary beast from Daniel 7 that is in the beast of Revelation 13 is that of the leopard. This leopard beast from Daniel 7 is the same as that metal of brass in Daniel 2:32, 39 and the Goat of Daniel 8:5-8, 21. This leopard beast is the source of the general philosophy of the RCC – Plato and thus the RCC, with its Grecian philosophy, and the Church of Christ haven been at war since the beginning of these ideas in the mind of Satan in his war against Christ in heaven. (Zechariah 9:13; Revelation 12:7; I Corinthians 1:20-25) I will quote two statements from the world to amplify these sentiments:
“If Paganism was conquered by Christianity, it is equally true that Christianity was corrupted by Paganism. The pure Deism of the first Christians (who differed from their fellow Jews only in the belief that Jesus was the promised Messiah,) was changed, by the Church of Rome, into the incomprehensible dogma of the trinity. Many of the pagan tenets, invented by the Egyptians and idealized by Plato, were retained as being worthy of belief. The doctrine of the incarnation, and the mystery of transubstantiation, were both adopted, and are both as repugnant to reason, as was the ancient pagan rite of viewing the entrails of animals to forecast the fate of empires!”
Edward Gibbon, Preface to: History of Christianity: Comprising All That Relates to the Progress of the Christian Religion in "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire", and a Vindication of Some Passages in the 15th and 16th Chapters (New York, NY: Peter Eckler, 1891), page xvi
“Did you know that Plato was not really the name of the great philosopher of his time? His name was actually Aristocles, son of Ariston, a direct descendant of Codrus, the last legendary king of Athens. . Plato was just a nickname he acquired that means “Broad” and is thought to have been referring to how wide his shoulders were. Plato was born in Athens, Greece in 427 BC, and died in 347 BC at about age 80.
He later went on to study with Socrates. He learned to reason and debate through Socrates. Plato was very close to him, and when he watched Socrates’ trial and murder in 399 BC, it disillusioned him greatly. He no longer trusted the government of Greece; so he decided to open a school in Athens instead of going into politics like everyone in his family had. Plato’s school for philosophers was started so that he could train those who would some day be his leaders of cities. His most famous student was Aristotle who later tutored Alexander the Great. Plato promoted ideas that would eventually effect even Thomas Aquinas who changed Catholic Doctrine to make it conform to the works of Aristotle.”
Platonic thought leads people away from Christ and to a dependence upon man, or systems for salvation. That man is capable of saving oneself without the intercessory ministry of Jesus. This is what the Little Horn attempted to accomplish in Daniel 8:9-14 and what Jesus is correcting now.
Plato also set the stage to believe that salvation comes by knowing truth rather than needing a Savior. In addition if one works hard enough at finding truth then they will have salvation. This sets the stage for righteousness by works. Aristotle also contributed to the same issues, thus the danger of seeking salvation through the wisdom of Greece.
One final thought, these issues of righteousness by works, and salvation by knowledge the Grecian philosophies set the stage for the error of the immortality of the soul – that at death the soul lives on in various places until the resurrection. These errors, and the other errors of Grecian philosophy, set the stage for the development of Gnosticism – the error addressed in the book of Colossians.
6. The RCC has been around since the time of the apostles in one form or another. In Acts 20:28-30 Paul warns that people will arise inside the church that will try to lead people away from Jesus. Paul warns in II Thessalonians 2:7 that the mystery of iniquity was already at work in the time of Paul. History shows that slowly error began to creep into the church through the errors of Grecian thought in the Church of Alexandria and the Church of Rome. The carnal nature of man continued to attempt to divert people from Jesus to themselves until the time of Constantine when he attempted to unite the state with the church of God. (See Great Controversy pages 49-50). This set in motion more compromises between the RCC and the world until eventually through the efforts of various emperors, and with the help of her “eldest son” Clovis, she came to the point of having enough of a relationship with the state that she could employ the arm of the state to threaten, and or kill those who disagreed with her teachings and with her attitude toward the world.
Those faithful ones who saw the actions of the RCC as apostasy called out to her to reform and to return to the pure and simple Word of God. Rome’s response was to persecute and to eventually destroy those who protested her illicit adultery with the world. Millions were willing to die to maintain their relationship with Jesus and Rome appeared willing to slaughter any and all whom she did not approve of.
This time of her supremacy was called the dark ages and lasted from time of 538 AD to 1798 AD. She used the newly forming kingdom of France to support her in her attempts to control the consciences of men, and she continued until France, under Napoleon, sent General Berthier to take the Pope captive and to remove the military support that the RCC used to punish heretics in 1798 – 1260 years.
Now that this data has been provided God requires all honest seekers of truth to look in the Bible, and in history, to confirm this information and then to decide to come out of her and to follow Jesus.
8And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Author: After 1798 God prophecies that the deadly wound would be eventually healed and all the world would wonder after the beast. See verse 3 and 12. When that time comes God Himself will intervene and deliver His people. All of His people will not worship this Beast for they are devoted to God and their names are written in the book of Life of the Lamb. (See Revelation 3:5; 17:8; 20:15; 21:27; 22:19).
In addition God says that this Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world. God says this to let us know that He sees the end from the beginning. (Isaiah 46:9-10). Because God has seen the end from the beginning He knew that man would fall. Because He knew this He had already made plans for how to save man. He knew that He would come to save man and He promised to die for all of mankind, to save everyone who would respond to His overtures through the Holy Spirit. So God granted us a “credit card”. Before Jesus died on Calvary His blood was already available by His promise. (Hebrews 6:13-20). This promise made salvation available to each and every sinner from Adam to today.
9If any man have an ear, let him hear.
Author: God wants us to hear these messages. But God recognizes that most people will not choose to hear His calls to repentance. Jesus said many are called but few have chosen. (Matthew 22:1-14). Jesus also said that He had called many but they would not hear with their ears, nor see with their eyes that they would become converted and accept Him as their Savior. (Matthew 13:10-17). So be alert all who read this and when the Spirit calls be sure to open your heart that He may come in and help you. (Revelation 3:20).
10He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
Author: One of the intriguing facts of history is that during the French Revolution one of the major groups of people who suffered was the RCC.
“All too well the people had learned the lessons of cruelty and torture which Rome had so diligently taught. A day of retribution at last had come. It was not now the disciples of Jesus that were thrust into dungeons and dragged to the stake. Long ago these had perished or been driven into exile. Unsparing Rome now felt the deadly power of those whom she had trained to delight in deeds of blood. "The example of persecution which the clergy of France had exhibited for so many ages, was now retorted upon them with signal vigor. The scaffolds ran red with the blood of the priests. The galleys and the prisons, once crowded with Huguenots, were now filled with their persecutors. Chained to the bench and toiling at the oar, the Roman Catholic clergy experienced all those woes which their church had so freely inflicted on the gentle heretics." Great Controversy 283.
So knowing that as judgment came in the past so judgment will take care of the future, so the saints can be patient and faithful knowing that God will answer the cry of the saints in this verse as he will the cry of the saint in Revelation 6:10. God will have a faithful people who will stand for Him. These people are described in Revelation 7, 14, 15.
See Part Two at the Bottom of the Topic List.http://the1844way.com/rev13parttwo.html