A Great Persecuting Power
“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.” Rev. 13:1.
NOTES.-As already learned from studying the book of Daniel, a beast in prophecy represents some great earthly power or kingdom; a head, a governing power; horns, a number of kingdoms; crowned heads or crowned horns, political rulership; waters, “peoples, and multitudes and nations, and tongues. Rev. 17:15.
“The beasts of Daniel and John are empires. The ten-horned beast is the Roman power. . . . The head is the governing power of the body. The heads of this beast represent successive governments,”- “Romanism and the Reformation,” by H. Grattan Guinness, pages 144, 145.
How is this beast further described?
“And 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.” Rev. 13:2, first part.
NOTES.-These are the characteristics of the first three symbols of Daniel 7,-the lion, bear, and leopard there representing the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Grecia,-and suggest this beast as representing or belonging to the kingdom symbolized by the fourth beast of Daniel 7, or Rome. Both have ten horns. Like the dragon of Revelation 12, it also has seven heads; but as the dragon symbolized Rome in its entirety, particularly in its pagan phase, this, like the “little horn” coming up among the ten horns of the fourth beast of Daniel 7, represents Rome in its later or papal form. Both it and the little horn have “a mouth” speaking great things; both make war upon the saints; both continue for the same length of time.
Allowing a very broad meaning to the symbol, the Douay or Catholic Bible, in a note on Rev. 13:1, explains the seven heads of this beast as follows: “The seven heads are seven kings, that is, seven principal kingdoms or empires, which have exercised, or shall exercise, tyrannical power over the people of God: of these, five were then fallen, viz., the Egyptian, Assyrian, Chaldean, Persian, and Grecian monarchies; one was present, viz., the empire of Rome; and the seventh and chiefest was to come, viz., the great Antichrist and his empire.” That the seventh head represents Antichrist there can be little doubt, See Satan’s Warfare Against the Church Study.
What did the dragon give this beast?
“And the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” Rev. 13:2, latter part.
NOTE.-It is an undisputed fact of history that under the later Roman emperors, beginning with Constantine, the religion of the Roman government was changed from pagan to papal; that when Constantine removed the seat of his empire from Rome to Constantinople in 330 A.D., the city of Rome was given up to the bishop of Rome, who, from Constantine and succeeding emperors, received rich gifts and great authority; that after the fall of Rome, in 476 A.D., the bishop of Rome became the ruling power in Western Rome and by decree of Justinian, March 15, 533, was declared “head of all the holy churches,” and in a letter of the same year he was designated as “corrector of heretics.” See Chapter 51. of this book. Thus Rome pagan became Rome papal; the seat of pagan Rome became the seat of papal Rome; church and state were united; and the persecuting power of the dragon was conferred upon the professed head of the church of Christ, or papal Rome. As Dr. H. Grattan Guinness, in his “Romanism and the Reformation,” page 152 says, “The power of the Caesars lived again in the universal dominion of the popes.”
How are the character, work, period of supremacy, and great power of the beast described?
“And there was given into him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And 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.” Rev. 13:5-7.
NOTE.-All these specifications have been fully and accurately met in the Papacy, and identify this beast as representing the same power as that represented by the little horn phase of the fourth beast of Daniel 7, and the little horn of Daniel 8, in its chief and essential features and work. See Dan. 7:25; 8:11, 12, 24, 25. See readings in The Kingdom and Work of Antichrist and Vicar of Christ Study. For an explanation of the time period mentioned, see readings in The Kingdom and Work of Antichrist and Vicar of Christ Study.
What was to be inflicted upon one of the heads of this beast?
“And 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.” Rev. 13:3.
NOTE.-This wound was inflicted upon the papal head of this beast when the French, in 1798, entered Rome, and took the Pope prisoner, and for a time, it seemed, abolished the Papacy. But in 1800 another Pope was placed upon the papal throne, and the deadly wound began to be healed. Temporal dominion was taken away from the Papacy in 1870, but nevertheless its power and influence among the nations have been increasing since then. “In that year,” says Mr. Guinness in his work “Romanism and the Reformation,” page 156, “the Papacy assumed the highest exaltation to which it could aspire, that of infallibility.” To such a position of influence over the nations is the Papacy finally to attain that just before her complete overthrow and destruction she will say, “I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” Rev. 18:7. See Isa. 47:7-15; Rev. 17:18.
What is said concerning the captivity and downfall of the Papacy?
“He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword.” Rev. 13:10. See Psa. 18:25,26; 109:17; Jer. 50:29; Rev. 16:4-6.
What questions asked by its worshipers indicate the great station to which this beast-power was to attain?
“And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast’ who is able to make war with him?” Rev. 13:4.
How universal is the worship of this power to become?
“And 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.” Rev. 13:8.
What did John say was to be the end of this beast?
“And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him. . . . These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” Rev. 19:20. See Isa. 47:7-15; 2 Thess. 2:3-8; Rev. 17:16,17; 18:4-8.
In what similar language is the fate of the fourth beast of Daniel 7 described?
“I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” Dan. 7:11.