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Bible Commentary on the
Book of Revelation
By Brian Pepper
King James Version
The Beast out of the Sea
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea
More than six hundred years earlier, Daniel had a similar vision. As a matter of fact Daniel's vision of chapter 7 and this vision of John's, cover the same subject. After studying the Book of Daniel there is no difficulty in understanding what Beasts and Sea represent. Beasts represent world powers, that is, in a military and political sense. The Sea represents "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues" according to Revelation 17:15.
Having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns,
We have already noticed that the seven heads are major political powers and the ten horns are minor political powers.
Babylon (the Lion,
And upon his horns ten crowns
The beast power mentioned here in this chapter held power mainly at a time when Europe was ruled by kings.
And upon his heads the name of blasphemy
This suggests that the power arising from the sea is more than a political power. We will notice in the next few verses, further mention of this blasphemy with added detail, so we will deal with it then.
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 a mouth of a lion
Daniel mentions four separate beasts but John merges all of Daniel's into one beast, that is, Babylon, Medo- Persia, Grecia and Rome. John is not really seeing a new beast. What he is seeing is really a merger or the leopard of Greece, the bear of Medo-Persia, and the lion of Babylon. This is a power which develops from existing powers or people.
History tells us that Rome demonstrated the same intolerance as that of Nebuchadnezzar when he ordered the three Hebrews into the fiery furnace. Babylon as the lion is very well described by this symbol.
And the dragon gave him his power and his seat and great authority
In the previous chapter we have been introduced to this strange symbol, the dragon, and we noticed that it is Satan who working behind the scenes tried to destroy Christ and the Church. We also noticed that Satan used Pagan Rome to do his work, firstly in his efforts to destroy the Man Child (Christ) then later the Woman (Church). Now we find the dragon giving his power to this beast power which is none other than Papal Rome.
What was the power that was ruling the world when Jesus was born? It was Rome! What kind of Rome? Why Pagan Rome. In other words it was political Rome in Jesus’ day; it was not till later that Papal Rome arose. The dragon power mentioned in the earlier part of Revelation chapter 12 was Pagan Rome.
Now we are told that the dragon power, or political Rome, gave to a succeeding power his seat and great authority. So the question is, to whom did the Emperors of Rome pass on their capital, their seat, and their great authority? There is only one power in history that fits the picture and that was the Papacy. When the Roman emperor, Constantine, moved his headquarters from Rome to Constantinople, he turned over the city of Rome to the Papal Church.
Here is a statement to this effect by Labanca, a professor of history in the University of Rome. He says: "To the succession of the Caesars came the succession of the Pontiffs in Rome. When Constantine left Rome he gave his seat to the Pontiff."
And great authority
"Long ages ago, when Rome through the neglect of the Western Emperors was left to the mercy of the barbarous hordes, the Romans turned to one figure for aid and protection, and asked him to rule them; and thus, in this simple manner, the best title of all to kingly right, commenced the temporal sovereignty of the popes. And meekly stepping to the throne of Caesar, the vicar of Christ took up the sceptre to which the emperors and kings of Europe were to bow in reverence through so many ages." (Rev. James P. Conroy (R.C.) in American Catholic Quarterly Review April, 1911) No better commentary on "and great authority" could be used than the above statement.
And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death
One of his heads wounded to death; it wasn't Babylon, nor Med-Persia, or Greece neither Pagan Rome. It was Papal Rome itself and it was wounded by one of the Ten Horns which was France.
And his deadly wound was healed
Every previous world power after its decline never had the strength to return to its former greatness or power. But this power is different, for its wound is to be healed although it would take time. There was a slow but gradual revival after the French Revolution. However the Papacy received a setback when the Papal states were taken from it in 1870.
It was in 1929 that the signing of the Lateran Treaty restored the temporal power to the pope when he was given rulership of the Vatican City, a section of the city of Rome. This was the beginning of a mighty comeback and today Rome is well and truly established as a great religious power with strong political ties with every nation.
And all the world wondered after the beast
The whole world has been amazed by the remarkable recovery of the Papacy. Bishop James H. Ryan made this statement in the New York Times, "Catholicism is in the vast ascendency today. It dominates the screen, the stage, the microphone, the press, the labor unions, and many legislative halls." This statement was made in 1940 not so many years after the Lateran Treaty, showing the remarkable comeback she was making in such a short time. Since then she has attained to greater power and authority.
And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast
To worship the Beast is really to worship the Dragon for Satan is behind the whole thing. The Scriptures leave us in no doubt that Satan is the mastermind working in the background.
Isaiah 14:13, 14 says, "For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds: I will be like the most High.”
Satan is doing his best to overthrow God's kingdom and this world is fast becoming ensnared in his evil plans.
Testimonies to the Church by E.G. White Vol 6. p.14 says, "Satan is working to the utmost to make himself as God, and to destroy all who oppose his power. And today the world is bowing before him. His power is received as the power of God. The prophecy of the Revelation is being fulfilled, that 'all the world wondered after the beast’."
And the worshiped the beast saying who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?
There are 500,000,000 communicants in the Roman Catholic church, however there are many more millions who subscribe to the teachings of Rome and are desirous of joining her ranks. Who is like unto the beast? Suggests that this religious power will hold such universal sway that it would be futile to try and overthrow it.
And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies
A mouth speaking great things; it is not difficult to see how this Beast power is identical with the Little Horn power of Daniel chapter 7. The Little Horn was a blasphemous power for "He shall speak great words against the Most High." Just so the Leopard Beast of Revelation 13 does the very same thing for it says, "He opened his mouth in blasphemy against God."
In the Gospels we find that there are two ways a person can blaspheme. In John 10:33 we read that the Jews falsely charged Jesus with blasphemy because, they said, “Thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” Thus for a man to claim that he was God and to assume the titles of God is according to the Scripture blasphemy. Luke 5:21 says, "And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?"
For a man to claim to be able to forgive sins is also blasphemy. Now is this true of the Roman Catholic Church? We will examine some statements made by various Catholic authorities.
Pope Leo XIII: “We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty." (Encyclical letter, June 20, 1894)
"The Pope is of so great dignity and so exalted that he is not a mere man, but as it were God, and the vicar of God… The Pope is called most holy because he is rightfully presumed to be such... He is likewise bishop of the universal church… He is likewise the divine monarch and supreme emperor, and king of kings… Hence the pope is crowned with a triple crown, as king of heaven and of earth and the lower regions…"
This boast is not of any single Pope but the succession of pontiffs. They all make the same boastful claims of being God which according to Scriptures is blasphemy.
Then there is also the claim of being able to forgive sins. In the magazine called "The Catholic Priest," by Michael Muller we read, "There is a man on earth that can forgive sins and that man is the Catholic Priest.”
Just one other statement, “The priest has the power of the keys, or the power of delivering sinners from hell, of making them worthy of paradise, and of changing them from the slaves of Satan into the children of God. And God Himself is obliged to abide by the judgment of His priests…" (Dignity and Duties of the Priest, St Alphonsus de Liguori, pp. 27 ,28)
And power was given unto him to continue forty and two months
We are becoming very familiar with this time period; in every case it applies to the long reign of the Papal Church. It is called “time and times and the dividing of time” or 1260 years.
And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name
He does this by claiming to be equal with God and having power over the angels. Speaking of God in Psalm 111:9, David says, “…holy and reverend is His name.” The Pope has the audacity to give himself similar titles as God even calling himself most holy, Holy Father, divine monarch, king of kings and many other titles.
And His tabernacle
To blaspheme God’s tabernacle means this power places itself in the position of Christ as the mediator. 1 Timothy 2:5 says, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
Firstly the Pope sits in the temple accepting the worship and adoration of his followers. The Apostle Paul speaking of the man of sin has this to say in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, "Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."
Martin Luther had this to say about the above text. "There shall the Pope sit and be honored, not above God, but above all that is called God... So also we see it before our eyes, that many princes and the world regard his law higher and more than the commandments of God...Cannot this rightly be termed exalting and honoring Antichrist above God?" (Luther's Church Postil, “Gospels," 25th Sunday after Trinity)
And them that dwell in heaven
That is Christ, the Holy Spirit, the angels. The claim is made that the priests have complete control over Christ. Notice this quotation from the Dignities and Duties of the Priest, pp. 26, 27. "In obedience to the words of his priests - Hocest Corpus Meum - God Himself descends on the altar... He comes wherever they call Him, and as often as they call Him, and places Himself in their hands...They may, if they wish, shut Him up in the tabernacle... they may, if they choose, eat His flesh, and give Him for the food of others…”
They have also placed Mary in the position of intercession before God. "God has chosen to bestow no grace upon us but by the hands of Mary.” (p.180) "Thou art the only advocate of sInners". (p. 129) “All those who are saved, are saved solely by the means of this divine mother… the salvation of all depends upon preaching Mary.” (Glories of Mary, Alphonsus de Liguori)
And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them
This power was to make war with God's people and literally millions of Christians were tortured in the Inquisition and slain for their faith.
Dr Grattan Guinness, noted Church historian writes, "Terribly as the saints suffered under the Caesars of pagan Rome, they suffered far more terribly and far longer under papal Rome. Let the massacres of the Albigenses, the Waldenses, the Hussites, the Lollards, the massacres in Holland and the Netherlands, the massacre of St Bartholomew, the massacre in Ireland in 1641, the tortures of the inquisition, the fires of the stake kindled over and over in every country in Europe - let these speak and testify to the fulfilment of prophecy. Yes; the Papacy has made war with the saints, and overcome them, and worn them out, and would have totally crushed and annihilated them, but for the sustaining hand and reviving power of God. In its prolonged, cruel, and universal persecution of the saints the Papacy has fulfilled this solemn prophecy."
And power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations
Power or authority; the Papacy exercised undisputed authority over Europe during the Middle Ages. However according to the prophecies of Revelation it will once again have complete dominion over all the earth at the end of time.
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him
With the union of Churches and the continued agitation to unite with Rome, eventually this power will receive universal adoration. This text clearly indicates that at the end of earth's history the whole human race will be divided into just two groups, those who pay homage to the beast, and those whose names are found in the Book of life.
Whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world
The Book of life is mentioned several times in Revelation and is always associated with those who are loyal to God. Here is a good statement from the pen of Ellen G. White. “When we become children of God, our names are written in the lamb's book of life, and they remain there until the time of the investigative judgment. The name of every individual will be called and his record examined, by Him who declares, “I know thy works.” If in that day it shall appear that all our wicked deeds have not been fully repented of, our names will be blotted from the book of life and our sins will stand against us." (Signs of the Times, Aug 6. 1885)
The lamb slain from the foundation of the world
Jesus Christ covenanted with His Father before this world was created that if needs be, He would die for guilty man. Seeing that God made man with the power of choice there was always the chance that he might fall victim to Satan's temptations. It is in this sense that Jesus is regarded as the lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
The admonition is to carefully consider the implications of this prophecy and to be forewarned by it. God has given these warnings to us so that we might be able to not only be on our guard, but to warn others of what is soon to take place. The prophecies of Revelation are very timely and it is very important that we should give careful attention to these messages from God to man.
1 Peter 4:7 says, "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober and watch unto prayer.”
He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity
This is an assurance to the persecuted people of God that those who pursue them and condemn them to death will themselves one day meet up with God's judgment.
He that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword
As in the days when Rome held complete sway over the nations and persecuted and killed those who opposed her, Christians will in the last days once again lose their lives. But the enemies of God's people do not take into consideration that there is going to be a squaring of accounts. That time is coming and coming rapidly.
Here is the patience and the faith of the saints
Instead of "the patience and the faith of the saints," the New English Bible reads, "the fortitude and faithfulness of God's people. This suggests courage and constancy in the midst of bitter persecution. And through those long centuries of persecution and oppression, millions of sincere and earnest Christians witnessed to the world what the grace of God can do in spite of pain and torture.
And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth
At the time the Ten Horned Beast received its deadly wound another power was to arise. This beast seems at first to be totally different from the other. You will remember that the first beast came up from the "sea” but the apostle John saw this new power coming up from the “earth."
The “sea” is a prophetic symbol for “peoples and nations, and tongues” (Revelation 17:15) which was a true picture of Europe where the Papal beast arose.
But the "earth" represents something the very opposite; not a crowed country of different nations but rather a sparsely populated country. This is the “earth” which helped the woman of Revelation 12:16. Also it was a power that was beginning to assume power and prominence about the year 1798. There is only one country which could meet these specifications and that is the United States of America.
History shows only one nation arising at that time. In the year 1776 the Declaration of Independence was signed by the American colonies, and by the year 1798 it was recognized that a new nation had arisen.
John Wesley in his notes on Revelation chapter 13 written in 1754 said, speaking of the two horned beast; "He is not yet come, though he cannot be far off; for he is to appear at the end of the forty two months of the first beast.”
The Pilgrim Fathers left their own shores to seek for a land where they could live in safety, free from tyranny and able to worship in liberty. Soon colonies began to spring up and by 1776 these colonies were ready to sever themselves from Europe. It was in 1789 the Constitution was framed and ratified. In the same year the French Revolution broke out causing ah upheaval not only in France but throughout Europe. During this time the Ten Horned Beast received its deadly wound in 1798, and at that very time the Lamb-like Beast was “coming up.” (Great Controversy p. 440 by E. G. White)
“But the beast with the lamb-like horns was seen “coming up out of the earth”, instead of overthrowing other powers to establish itself, the nation thus represented must arise in territory previously unoccupied, and grow up gradually and peacefully. It could not, then arise among the crowded and struggling nationalities of the Old World, that turbulent sea of "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." It must be sought in the Western Continent."
And he had two horns like a lamb
The two horns like a lamb suggest youthfulness, innocence, and gentleness. America was a youthful power in 1798. The two horns also suggest the two great principles upon which the government of America was established, civil and religious liberty.
Written into the Constitution of the United States are these two great principles. "Congress shall make no law respecting any establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office of public trust under the United States.” First Amendment, United States Constitution. "The United states shall guarantee to every state in this Union a republican form of government.”
This youthful power with its uncrowned horns (Democracy) was founded upon these two great principles, Republicanism or political freedom and Protestantism, religious freedom.
And he spake as a dragon
It is quite clear from this prophecy that the lamblike beast is the United States as no other country in the world can fit the picture so well. It has been recognized as a great Protestant nation and the part it plays in this prophecy is in a religious setting.
We will notice in the next few verses that it carries on a deception on such a scale that almost the whole world is deceived. It is very difficult to believe that a nation universally recognized as a peace loving and democratic and tolerant of all religious persuasions, should suddenly become just the opposite. The prophecy indicates that Satan is behind the scenes and will use this power in the very last days to try and destroy the Remnant Church.
And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him
There is a very sound reason why these two beasts are in the same chapter, both do the same work, they both exist together. The power which the Papacy exercised was a persecuting power. For the second beast to exercise all the authority of the first beast, obviously it enters the field of religion and dominates religious worship. For the United States to take this step it would mean that her present policy of granting religious freedom would be reversed.
And causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast
The only way the earth can be made to worship the beast is to accept the doctrines and the teachings of this power. When we think of worship we think of three days which are observed in connection with worship. Friday is the day kept and honoured as a special holy day by Mohammedans. Saturday is the day set aside by God in the Ten Commandments as a special day of worship. Sunday is the day that is substituted for God’s true Sabbath by the Catholic church and is almost universally kept as a holy day.
Dr N. Summerbell says of the Roman Catholic Church, "It reversed the Fourth Commandment by doing away with the Sabbath of God's Word, and instituting Sunday as a holiday.” (A True History of the Christians and the Christian Church. p.186)
Of course Rome freely admits that she has done this very thing. Catholic Universe Bulletin, Aug. 14, 1942 says, “The Church changed the observance of the Sabbath to Sunday by right of the divine, infallible authority given to her by her Founder, Jesus Christ. The Protestant, claiming the Bible to be the only guide of faith, has no warrant or observing Sunday.”
In stating that the second beast will use compulsion to force universal worship of the first beast, the prophecy clearly indicates that Sunday, the brain child of the Papacy will one day soon be enforced by law under the threat of economic sanctions and ultimate death.
Repeated attempts have been made to enact more stringent laws guarding Sunday as a day of worship, however these have not had quite the success the sponsors have hoped for.
In 1961 the United States Supreme Court declared that Sunday laws are not religious laws anymore but rather they are simply health and welfare statutes.
As we have noticed this prophecy clearly indicates that the U.S.A. will be foremost in leading out in intolerance in Sunday laws. With this new thrust behind the Sunday laws declaring them not religious but a civil law and in the best interests of the people, it can be seen that people will be deceived as to the true issue at stake.
Whose deadly wound was healed
Author John McKnight says: “A major historical phenomenon of the twentieth century... is the emergence of the United states as the world’s greatest Catholic power and the predominance of American influence at the Vatican.” (Newsweek, March 11, 1957)
Here is another quotation which is a rather revealing commentary on the healing of the deadly wound. "If the non-Catholic people of America only knew the Mother Church… as we do, they would love her as ardently. Our motto is, We come not to conquer, but to win, Our purpose is to make America predominantly Catholic.” (The Mission Movement in America, p.1)
James D. Murch in "Christianity Today" May 25, 1959 says, "The ultimate relationship of the United Church of Christ and its local congregations with the Councils of Churches is not clearly spelled out, although there is constant emphasis on “the coming GREAT CHURCH – ONE CHURCH FOR THE WORLD.”
The prophecy clearly suggests that the time is rapidly coming when the United States will no longer be a land of religious freedom, but will force its citizens to worship the leopard beast.
Here is a statement which backs up what the prophecy has indicated, "Officially the Catholic Church sees America in the direst straits in the matter of morals and religion, and sees Catholicism as the only possible way of salvation for the nation… She sees herself as the last defender of true Americanism... That program constitutes the Domination... of American thought, manners, and government by the Catholic Church.” (Dr. E. Boyd Barrett, Jesuit, "Rome stoops to Conquer" pp. 7, 8)
The apostle Paul has warned us that Satan is going to stage his master deceptions just before the close of time. We are going to see things that will stagger our sense. Satan will impersonate Christ in his last and greatest deception.
2 Thessalonians 2:8, 9 says, “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders."
Paul says 'That Wicked' not the Wicked; this refers to a person and that person is none other than Satan for he is the power behind the 'Man of Sin.'
In the Old Testament, the prophet Elijah, in his conflict with the prophets and priests of Baal asked God to reveal His power sending fire from heaven. This was a visual evidence that God was the true God and that He still was in control of nature and the things of nature.
In the last days Satan is going to use every kind of deception possible; so remarkable will be some of his deceptions that it will be hard not to believe what we will see. The Bible calls them "lying wonders" and just as Satan deceived Eve by a talking serpent, so he will in the last days do it "with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9. 10)
In causing fire to come down from heaven it will appear as if this is a token of God's acceptance but it is not, for it is the work of Satan and is one of his lying wonders.
Fire from heaven is also a symbol of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Tongues of fire came upon the disciples at Pentecost and they were filled with the Holy Ghost. . It could be that this fire is descriptive of a false religious revival which will take place just before the close of time.
Revelation chapter 18:1-4 tells us that there is going to be the greatest revival the world has ever known for we are told “the earth was lightened with his glory." This will be the second Pentecost and will be far greater than the former. Satan will counterfeit this true revival and thus we will have a false revival which will be backed up by power, signs and lying wonders and fire. It is possible that the charismatic movement might well be the beginning of this false revival which (will) sweep through the churches of Christendom.
Today there are thousands of people who call themselves Christians but have very little idea of the real fundamentals of the Christian faith. Many have vague ideas regarding the actual manner of Christ's return in glory, so it will be easy for Satan to deceive them and the Bible plainly says he will do just that.
And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast
Working through this apostate religious system, Satan will make it look as if this power is of God, for there will be healings that would be impossible unless of a supernatural nature. Even the elements will seem as if they are under the control of this great deceptive power.
The Bible tells us very clearly that this will be so, for it says that Satan will work “with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9) Jesus gave us a very solemn warning that in the last days "... there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (Matthew 24:24)
The apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 4:1 tells us "...in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." The spirits of devils will appear as the departed dead to seduce those who believe in the doctrine of man's natural immortality.
The Great Controversy by E. G. White page 624 says, "Fearful sights of a supernatural character will soon be revealed in the heavens, in token of the power of miracle working demons. The spirits of devils will go forth to the kings of the earth and to the whole world, to fasten them in deception, and urge them to unite with Satan in his last struggle against the government of heaven. By these agencies, rulers and subjects will be alike deceived.
Persons will arise pretending to be Christ Himself, and claiming the title and worship which belong to the world's Redeemer. They will perform wonderful miracles of healing and will profess to have revelations from heaven contradicting the testimony of the Scriptures.”
Very few have any idea of the things which are just ahead and of the fearful and wonderful delusions that will be staged in the very near future.
Another quotation that gives a warning of what is around the corner, “As Spiritualism assimilates more closely to the nominal Christianity of the day, it has greater power to deceive and ensnare. Satan himself is converted, after the modern order of things, He will appear in the character of an angel of light. Through the agency of Spiritualism, miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and many undeniable wonders will be performed... Through Spiritualism Satan appears as a benefactor of the race, healing the diseases of the people, and professing to present a new and more exalted system of religious faith."
Men unaware that these miracles are of Satan will attribute them to God and in this way thousands upon thousands will be deceived as the prophecy tells us.
Saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword and did live
An image to the beast would be another religious power very similar in every way to the beast and yet at the same time different. The difference would not be in doctrine as both powers in the main hold basically the same doctrine, but rather something that has drawn the line of distinction so as they are still two separate religious powers.
There is no question as to whom these powers are, for the beast has been very clearly identified as the Papacy and the Image to the beast as Apostate Protestantism seeking union with the Papacy.
From the book Spirit of Prophesy by E. G. White I read, “… when the churches of our land, uniting upon such points of faith as are held by them in common, shall influence the State to enforce their decrees and sustain their institutions, then will Protestant America have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy then the true church will be assailed by persecution, as were God's ancient people.” (Vol. 4 page 278)
And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast
It is Satanic power that gives life to the image of the beast. It is also Satanic power that brings about the false revival with the miracles and wonders and so called power of the Holy Spirit. This mighty religious revival beginning in America will sweep over the whole world gathering into its fold, Protestants and Catholics as well as unbelievers and even atheists and infidels.
That the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed
Despite the seemingly genuine revival with its miracles and wonders and apparent presence of the power of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of intolerance now displayed, reveals its true character. How unlike God is both the beast and its image, for God never forces men and women to worship Him. He wins us not through force but rather through love. However the beast and his image do not work this way for they apply force and pressure to compel men and women to obey them. Those who refuse to honour Sunday, the day of worship of both the beast and his image will come under the death penalty.
Behind the whole thing is Satan who hates the Ten Commandments and those who honour them and he does his best to destroy those who uphold them. That is why it says in Revelation 12:17, "And the dragon was wrath with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."
Despite the intolerant attitude of the Image of the beast it is doubtful that folk will be branded with a hot iron but rather that they will give mental assent to this power.
Almost every person will violate his conscience if pushed beyond a certain point, in order to avoid embarrassment or to gain power, prestige or money, or even to preserve health. So when the law of the land says that there is to be no working on Sunday, or they are to worship on Sunday, most folk will say "What does it matter anyway! What difference is there in a day as long as we worship God one day of the week?" They will accept it in their minds and at the same time will stop using their hands for work. There will be those who will submit to the decrees of the beast merely from expediency and others from personal conviction.
As we move into Revelation chapter 14 and study the Three Angels Messages we will notice that God has sent a warning to the people of these last days to prepare them for this coming danger. In the light of the fact that God has warned mankind of this rapidly approaching danger it is very important that we should study this Book.
Great Controversy by E. G. White, p. 604 says, "With the issue thus clearly brought before him, whoever shall trample upon God's law to obey a human enactment, receives the mark of the beast; he accepts the sign of allegiance to the power which he chooses to obey instead of God.”
How easy it is to see how this could come about, boycotts are quite common these days. In the last war unless you had coupons, you were unable to buy many articles or things you needed. From time to time we have had quite serious shortages of many things owing to strikes and industrial unrest. With inflation many things are being priced out of our reach and some things have gone out of production altogether.
This text tells us that there is going to be a boycott which will come upon those who refuse to obey or honour the beast. Those who stand out for truth and keep God's Commandments, refusing to be forced into worshipping on Sunday, will not be able to buy or sell. They will be called the enemies of society and of the people and will be blamed for the economic troubles of the nation and responsible for preventing the restoration of temporal prosperity.
Desire of Ages by E. G. White pp. 121, 122 says, "In the last great conflict of the controversy with Satan those who are loyal to God will see every earthly support cut off. Because they refuse to break His law in obedience to earthly powers, they will be forbidden to buy or sell. It will finally be decreed that they shall be put to death. But to the obedient is given the promise he shall dwell on high; his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks; bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. By this promise the children of God will live. When the earth shall be wasted with famine, they shall be fed.”
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast
It definitely takes wisdom to understand these things; that is why the Book of Revelation requires a great deal of careful study in order to be able to clearly comprehend the meaning of the numerous symbols. We have already noticed that numbers have symbolic meanings, twelve is God's kingdom number, and seven stands for perfection or fullness or completeness. The number of the beast 666; obviously stands for imperfection for it is a number God uses in connection with the Church's great enemy.
For it is the number of a man: and his number is six hundred threescore and six
The prophecy tells us that this beast power has a number and that the number is a man’s number; which is 666. In the next few chapters the beast is called Babylon, which is descriptive of an apostate religious system; the apostle Paul also describes it as “The mystery of iniquity.”
It is rather interesting to notice that the ancient Babylonians worshipped the mystery god under the name Saturn. Saturn meaning "the hidden god," and mystery or the “hidden system," in the Chaldaic or Aramaic language was spelled ‘Stur’. The numerical significance of these letters is very interesting.
S – 200
When the empire of Babylon fell, this religious system was transferred to Pergamos in Asia Minor. Then later on it was brought to Rome. When this system was established in Rome, Italy became the land of the mystery cults and was for centuries known as Saturnian Land," or the land of Mystery. When the Italian branch of the Christian church moved into prominence and eventually took control it became the Roman Catholic Church or the church of Italy. The Roman pontiff became the head of this religious organization described in prophecy as Babylon and the apostle Paul describes him as “The man of sin" or the "hidden god," or “The mystery god."
Now we have noticed that 666 is the number of a man or the representative of this power. The Roman Catholic Bible, the Douay Version, contains a special footnote on Revelation 13:18 which reads, "The numeral letters of his name shall make up this number."
There are many names and titles assumed by the Roman pontiff, but one of the most significant is VICARIUS FILII DEI, meaning the Vicar of the Son of God. This title is incorporated in the Canon law of the Roman Catholic Church. "Beatus Petrus in terris vicarius filii Dei videtur esse constitutus." (Decretum Gratiani, prima pars, dist. 96)
The best explanation I have found regarding this mystic number comes from the official publication of the Church of Rome for the United States. Firstly let us notice this extract from the journal 'Our Sunday Visitor,' of Sunday April 18, 1915. "What are the letters supposed to be in the Pope’s crown, and what do they signify, if anything? Answer: The letters inscribed in the Popes mitre are these; VICARIUS FILII DEI, which is Latin for the Vicar of the Son of God."
In bygone days they used Latin letters and numerals interchangeably. For instance an example of this would be as follows.
I stands for 1
Now notice what ‘Our Sunday Visitor’ of Sunday Nov 15, 1914 has to say. Is it true that the words of the Apocalypse in the 13th chapter, 18th verse refer to the Pope? The words referred to are these "Here is wisdom. He that hath understanding let him count the number of the beast. For it is the number of a man; and the number of him is six hundred sixty-six.” The title of the Pope of Rome is Vicarius Filii Dei. This is inscribed on his mitre; and if you take the letters of his title which represent Latin numerals (printed large) and add them together they come to 666:
V - 5
Add these together and the result will be 666. This is nothing short of amazing and is a remarkable admission though they go on to say that this number can be applied to other names of well known personalities. However the Beast power has already been clearly identified not only in this chapter but Daniel chapter 7 gives a very clear description of this same power. The number 666 must apply to the Beast and to no other power for that is what the prophecy says.
And so we come to the close of Revelation chapter 13, it is not a pleasant picture for the powers of earth are by boycott and threatened death, endeavouring to destroy God's people. Once again we come up against the statement of Revelation chapter 6 and verse 17 latter part "… and who shall be able to stand?” The answer is in the next chapter especially in the first few verses and it is good to know that God does have a people who will be able to stand even in such a time as this.