THE SEAL OF GOD AND THE MARK OF THE BEAST: THE COMPOSITE BEAST (PART TWO)


The book of Daniel and Revelation are one book. To understand one is to understand the other. In part one, we ended by identifying ten characteristics of the little horn of Daniel chapter 7. In this article, we would be studying a parallel prophecy of Daniel chapter 7 which is found in Revelation chapter 13.

THE COMPOSITE LEOPARD LIKE BEAST

In Revelation chapter 13 vs. 1, Apostle John was shown in vision a beast rising out of the sea having 7 heads, ten horns upon the 7 heads and ten crowns were also seen to be upon these 10 horns. Upon the 7 heads of this beast was seen “a name of blasphemy.” The sea which the beast rises out from in Bible prophecy signifies people, multitudes, nations and tongues of the Western Europe. (See. Rev. 17:15; Isa. 17:12, 13). The beast rose out from an inhabited land in the Western Europe.

It should be noted also that the crowns are seen to be upon the horns and not directly upon the head. The horns are upon the 7 heads while the 10 crowns are upon the 10 horns. This shows that the horns are political powers or kings. Although horns and heads can be used interchangeably in Bible prophecy and they both signify political powers, authority, king, kingdoms, nations etc. The beast ruled through the 10 divisions of the Western Roman Empire. The horns represent the 10 kingdom/kings of the Western Europe (Daniel 7:8, 24; 2:42).

In Revelation 13:2, John also saw some other feature of this beast which corresponds with that of Daniel 7. It could be seen that this beast is like a leopard in bodily form, his feet is like that of a bear, his mouth is like that of a lion and the dragon of Revelation 12 gave this leopard like beast his power, seat and great authority.

From our previous study in Daniel 7, it should be seen by now that this beast of Revelation 13:1, 2 is composed of all the features of the beast in Daniel 7. When we compare this beast and his characteristics highlighted in Revelation 13:1, 2 with that of Daniel 7:1-7 it is not difficult to identify what each beast represents. We could see John standing on the prophetic time line, looking back in history, while Daniel was looking forward into the future.

COMPARING DANIEL 7 AND REVELATION 13

  • John was looking backward to history as he stood at the shore of the sea. He saw the beast having 7 heads. (See. Daniel 7:8, 24). The 7 heads are the 7 kingdoms that are remaining after 3 out of 10 were exterminated through the influence of the papacy in the Roman Empire. AD 538.
  • He also saw 10 horns on the 7 heads of the beast. Note that head and horns represent nation, kingdom, kings, political power and ruler. (See. Daniel 7:7). The 10 horns are the 10 Western European nations under the Roman Empire. B.C 168-A.D 476. The 10 horn specifically were established in the year A.D. 476 this means that the antichrist will rise after this date.
  • The beast is like a leopard bodily. The leopard beast in Daniel 7:6 is Greece. B.C 331-B.C 168.
  • The feet of the leopard like beast are made of a bear’s feet. In Daniel 7:5 the bear represent Medo-Persia. B.C 538/9-B.C 331.
  • The leopard like beast also has the mouth of a lion. In Daniel 7:4, the lion symbolizes the Babylonian Kingdom. B.C 605-B.C 562.

John saw exactly everything Daniel saw but in a reverse order. Just as Daniel was given the vision of rise and fall of various beasts representing the rise and fall of successive kingdoms in Daniel 7 when Babylon was ruling the world, in the same manner was John shown the composite leopard like beast rising to power during the time of pagan Rome. Rome is identified as the composite beast which has characteristics of the past nations. Rome was split into 10 ruling powers but 3 were uprooted. 7 heads were left after the extermination of three to make up the nations of Western Europe of today.

A horn and a head are used interchangeably for both symbolizes one and the same thing. Rome, the leopard like beast, was divided into 10 Kingdoms in AD 476 and the uprooting of the 3 kingdoms was accomplished in AD 538.

THE RISE OF PAPACY FROM PAGAN ROME TO POWER

John saw pagan Rome rise to power during the year AD 538 when Heruli, Vandals and finally Ostrogoths were uprooted because of their belief in Arianism (the belief that Jesus Christ is not God but a created being). Ostrogoths were the last to be uprooted among the three in AD 538.

The papacy arose from the beast (Pagan Rome). The papacy first rose after Rome was divided into 10 kingdoms in AD 476 and he arose to full supremacy in AD 538 when the last of the 3 kingdoms that refuses to adhere to his rules were exterminated.

  • Heruli in Italy was exterminated in A.D 493 under the Emperor Zeno of the eastern Roman Empire who commanded King Theodoric of the Ostrogoths.
  • Vandals were exterminated in A.D 534 by General Belisarius under the authority of Emperor Justinian I.
  • The Ostrogoths were also defeated by the armies of Emperor Justinian and General Belisarius in A.D 538.

“Thus the three Arian nations who refused to renounce their heretical faith were uprooted or subdued and the other Arian peoples turned orthodox, leaving the bishop of Rome the undisputed ruler of nations and the corrector of heretics.”[1]

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE COMPOSITE BEAST

It should not be forgotten that the beast of Revelation 13 is the composition of all the beast of Daniel 7. Pagan Rome has all the features of past kingdoms and it combines their philosophy, religion, ideology and education in order to dominate the world. Let us look at some of the characteristics of the successive nations and combine them to see what power world power fit this beast that rises from the sea in our present time.

LION: Naturally, a lion is proud and strong; therefore, Babylon symbolizes pride and exaltation of man to the level of God or attributing God’s glory to that of man. When the beast or antichrist speaks, it is speaking the language of Babylon.

“For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs . . . 11 Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.” Hab 1:6, 11. (See. Daniel 4:28-31).

BEAR: Medo-Persia symbolizes cruelty, making laws against God and His people, and claiming infallibility (Isaiah 13:16-18; Daniel 6:8, 15; Esther 3:8-15)

LEOPARD: Greece as a nation is known for her wisdom and her philosophical enlightenment. They exalt reason and man’s word (tradition) above God’s word. (1 Cor. 1:22; 2 Cor. 10:5; Acts 17:16-22; 2 Timothy 3:7)

DRAGON: Pagan Rome is a persecuting power which will wear out the saints of God and make war with them. (Dan7:7; 2:40; Deut 28:45-57).

If we combine all the characteristics of these beasts and the time which they arose to power we have but to identify the world power who;

  1. Rose to dominance in the year A.D. 538;
  2. exalts man to the level of God;
  3. claims infallibility;
  4. Showed extreme cruelty in its history;
  5. places tradition, man’s wisdom and reason above the word of God;
  6. Persecuted those who went against them or those who held unto the precept of the Bible.

One power alone can fit these characteristics: PAPAL ROME (PAPACY).

But the Bible offers us more clues.

THE DRAGON POWER, SEAT AND GREAT AUTHORITY

The Dragon represents imperial Rome or Pagan Rome as we could see in Revelation 12 which was used by Satan in trying to destroy the Christ-child.

Seat: In A.D. 330 imperial Rome gave his seat of power to papal Rome when Constantine moved the city of Rome from the west to the east in Turkey (formally called Constantinople).

Authority (Civil): Imperial Rome didn’t just give the papacy a political base; In A.D. 533 it gave him authority. Emperor Justinian in this year decreed that the Bishop of Rome is to be the universal bishop of the world and the corrector of heretics.

Power (Military): Though the emperor officially declared the Pope as the corrector of heretics, this power was useless without the backing of a political or military power to enforce it. In A.D. 538 the extermination of the last of the three kingdoms that refuse to adhere to the Papacy was accomplished. The three nations which are Heruli, Vandals, and Ostrogoths were standing in his way of rising to power thus they were exterminated in A.D. 493, A.D. 534 and A.D. 538 respectively.

 THE NAME OF BLASPHAMY ON HIS HEADS

There are other characteristics which would help us to nail who this beast really is that received his power, seat and authority from the dragon. One other feature that the Bible pointed out about the beast is that “. . . and upon his [seven] heads the name of blasphemy” was written. Rev 13:1. To know what this blasphemy is, we need to define the meaning using the Scripture. What is blasphemy according to the Bible? The Bible defines blasphemy as one of the following:

  1. One who blasphemes claim to forgive sins. “And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” Luke 5:21.
  2. One who blasphemes also calls him or herself God. “The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” John 10:33.

Therefore, the Bible defines blasphemy as one claiming the prerogatives of God. It is written of the man of sin who is also represented as the papacy, antichrist, the little horn and Babylon that he will “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.” 2 Thess 2:4

The Church of Rome is the only Church that claims to forgive sin. She has the following to say:

If anyone saith that the sacramental absolution of the priest is not a judicial act… let him be anathema. If anyone saith that priests… have not the power of binding and of loosing, or that not priests alone are ministers of absolution, let him be anathema.[2]

To pardon a single sin requires all the omnipotence of God…[3]

The priest not only declares that the sinner is forgiven, but he really forgives him… so great is the power of the priest, that the judgments of heaven itself are subject to his decision.[4]

The poor sinner kneels at his confessor’s feet. He knows he is not speaking to an ordinary man, but to another Christ. He hears the words, ‘I absolve thy sins’ and the hidden load of sins drops from his soul forever.[5]

A priest, in absolving a sinner, performs the very office of the Holy Ghost in the sanctification of souls.[6]

We define that the holy Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff holds the primacy over the wide world and that the Roman Pontiff himself is the successor of the blessed Peter… the father and doctor of all Christians; and that to him… was given… full power to feed, rule and govern the universal church[7]

In connection with the blasphemy that was written on his seven heads, we were also told that it was “given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.” Rev 13:5. This is also what was said about the little horn in Daniel 7. “I [Daniel] considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” Dan 7:8. These great words that he shall speak would be against “the most High.” Daniel 7:25. He shall blaspheme with his mouth against God, his name and his tabernacle and them that dwell in heaven. (Rev 13:6).

The Catholic Encyclopedia says of the Pope:

The sentences which he gives are to be forthwith ratified in heaven.[8]

Pope Leo XIII said:

But the supreme teacher in the Church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires, together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself. We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty[9]

The Papacy also blasphemes those who dwell in heaven. Apart from the Godhead, the other dwellers in heaven are the millions of angels, the messengers of God. The Papacy blasphemes them by claiming that the priests are greater than the angels and that the Pope can even excommunicate the angels.

The sacerdotal (priestly) dignity also surpasses the dignity of the angels…. All the angels in heaven cannot absolve from a single sin…the holy archangel can chase away devils, but he cannot free his client from their claims till a priest comes to absolve him…. If I saw an angel and a priest, I would bend my knee first to the priest and then to the angel.[10]

The Pope is crowned with a triple crown, as king of heaven and of earth and of the lower regions…so that if it were possible that the angels might err in the faith, they could be judged and excommunicated by the Pope….[11]

THE PAPACY AND THE SAINTS

Another identifying feature of this beast that arose from the sea is that:

“It was given unto him [the leopard like beast] to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” Rev 13:7.

As Daniel beheld the rise of the little horn, it was seen that the little horn, like the leopard beast, “made war with the saints, and prevailed against them” and “wear out the saints of the most High.” Dan 7:21, 25. He was to persecute the saints for “a time and times and the dividing of time” or he was to continue in this evil act for forty and two months. Dan 7:25; Rev 13:5.

In Bible prophecy, a time is 1 year or 360 days. Times is 2 years or 720 days. Half a time is half a year or 180 days.  A day is equal to a year in Bible prophecy (Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 13:34). Therefore, 360days+720days+180days = 1260 days or years since a day equals to a year.

42 months in Rev 13:5 is the same as “a time and times and the dividing of time” in Daniel 7:25. A month is 30 days. 42 months x 30 days = 1260 days or 1260 years. (See. Gen 7:11, 24; 8:1-4).

Professor Baudrillart, Rector of the Catholic Institute of Paris and later a cardinal, writes that the Papacy has employed physical force against dissenters:

The Catholic Church…loudly proclaims that she has a ‘horror of blood.’ Nevertheless when confronted by heresy she…has recourse to force, to corporal punishment, to torture. She creates tribunals like those of the Inquisition… encourages a crusade, or a religious war…. Especially did she act thus in the sixteenth century with regard to Protestants…she lit in Italy, in the Low countries and above all in Spain the funeral piles of the Inquisition. In France…and in England…she tortured the heretics whilst both in France and Germany…she encouraged and actively aided the religious wars. No one will deny that we have here a great scandal to our contemporaries….”

Indeed, even among our friends and our brothers we find those who dare not look this problem in the face. They ask permission from the Church to ignore or even deny all those acts and institutions in the past which have made orthodoxy compulsory.[12]

 The Anglican Scholar, Dr. H. Grattan Guinness, wrote:

It has been calculated that the popes of Rome have directly or indirectly slain 50 millions of men and women who refused to be parties to Romish idolatries, who held to the Bible as the Word of God.[13]

“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. For 1260 years, the little horn power arose to world domination in the year A.D. 538 and from then on until A.D. 1798 when the Papacy was given a deadly wound and lost its power to continue. This deadly wound was inflicted on Pope Pius VI by Napoleon’s general Berthier who entered Rome and took the Pope prisoner. This deadly wound occurred during the French revolution and the Pope had never wielded the same kind of authority today as he did during the period of A.D.538-1798. But this deadly wound was later healed and all the world wondered after this beast and “all them 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.

ROMAN CATHOLIC AND THE LAW OF GOD

It should be remembered that one of the characteristics of the beast is that it has the features of the past kingdom. One of the kingdom that are known for making laws and exalting that law above that of God and making laws against God’s people is the Medo-Persia, this is the feet like unto a bear or the bear with three ribs in his mouth (See. Esther 3:8-15; Daniel 6:8, 15; Daniel 7:5).

Since the Papacy has the element of Medo-Persia in her system, it is the law of God that the papacy sought to change. It is written of the little horn that “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” Dan 7:25. The only commandment that deals with time is the fourth commandment which calls for Sabbath observance. By instituting Sunday observance, the Papacy sought to change this law.

“The pope has the power to change times, to abrogate laws, and to dispense with all things, even the precepts of Christ. He can pronounce sentences and judgments in contradiction to the rights of nations, to the law of God and man.”[14]

“The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.”[15]

“You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we (Catholics) never sanctify.”[16]

Question : What Bible authority is there for changing the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week? Who gave the Pope the authority to change a command of God?”

Answer : If the Bible is the only guide for the Christian, then the Seventh-day Adventist is right in observing the Saturday with the Jew. But Catholics learn what to believe and do from the divine, infallible authority established by Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church…Is it not strange that those who make the Bible their only teacher should inconsistently follow in this matter the tradition of the Church?”[17]

Question: Which is the Sabbath day?”
Answer : Saturday is the Sabbath day.”
Question : Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?”
Answer : We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea (336 A.D.), transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.”[18]

In part three, we shall study what specifically the mark of the beast and the seal of God is. We shall also study how we can avoid the mark of the beast and receive the seal of God.

References:

[1] Taylor Bunch, The Book of Daniel (Payson, Ariz,: Leaves-of-Autumn Books, 1991), p. 101.

[2] Council of Trent, Session XIV, 1546 Dogmatic Canons and Decrees, Canons IX & X.

[3] Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, Dignities and Duties of a Priest (Brooklyn NY: Redemptorist Fathers, 1926), 34.

[4] Michael Muller, The Catholic Priest (Baltimore: Kteuzer Brothers, 1876).

[5] William Doyle, Shall I Be a Priest (Dublin: Irish Messenegr Office, 1913),14-15.

[6] Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, 36.

[7] Labbe and Cossart, The Council of Trent (Paris: 1671),12:1167.

[8] Charles Herbermann et al, “Pope,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912),12:265

[9] Catholic Church, The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo Xiii (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1903), 193, 304.

[10] Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, 31.

[11] Lucius Ferraris, 6:48.

[12] Alfred Baudrillart, The Catholic Church, the Renaissance, and Protestantism (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1908),182-184.

[13] Grattan Guinness, The Approaching End of the Age (London: Hodder and Straughton, 1879), 212.

[14] Decretalia de translat. Ep Cop. Cap.

[15] The Catholic Mirror, Sept 23 1893.

[16] James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers, pg 111.

[17] Question Box, by Conway, 1903 edition, pgs 254-255.

[18] Peter Geiermann, The Converts Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, Second Edition, 1910, pg 50.

 

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