THE TEN-HORNED BEAST OF REVELATION 13
WHAT is the first symbol of Revelation 13?
"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, acrd-upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy." Revela- tion 13:1.
NOTE.—As already learned from studying the book of Daniel, a beast in prophecy represents some great earthly power or kingdom; a head or horn, a governing power; waters, "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." Revelation 17:15. "The beasts of Daniel and John are empires. The ten-horned beast is the Roman power. .. . The head is the governing power in the body. The heads of this beast represent successive governments."—H. GRATTAN GUINNESS, Romanism and the Reformation, pp. 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." Verse 2, first part. NOTE.—These are the characteristics of the first three symbols of Daniel 7 —the lion, bear, and leopard there representing the kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, and Greece—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 period.
Allowing a very broad meaning to the symbol, the Douay, or English Catholic Bible, in a note on Revelation 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, or the Papacy, there can be little doubt. (See page 261.)
THE DRAGON GIVES PLACE TO THE BEAST
What did the dragon give this beast?
"And the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority." Verse 2, latter part.
NoTE.—It is an undisputed fact of history that under the later Roman emperors, after Constantine, the religion of the Roman government was changed from pagan to papal; that the bishops of Rome received rich gifts and great authority from Constantine and succeeding emperors; that after A.D. 476 the Bishop of Rome became the most influential power in western Rome, and by Justinian, in 533, was declared "head of all the holy churches," and "corrector of heretics." (See note on page 219.) "The removal of the capital of the Empire from Rome to Constantinople in 330, left the Western Church, practically free from imperial power, to develop its own form of organisation. The Bishop of Rome, in the seat of the Caesars, was now the greatest man in the West, and was soon [when the barbarians overran the empire] forced to become the political as well as the spiritual head."—A. C. FLICK, The Rise of the Mediaeval Church (Putnam's, 1909 ed.), p. 168.
Thus Rome pagan became Rome papal; 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. "The Pope, who calls himself 'King' and Pontifex Maximus,' is Caesar's successor."—ADOLF HARNACK, What Is Christianity? (Putnam's, 1903 ed.), p. 270. (See pages 213, 214.)
How are the character, work, period of supremacy, and great power of the beast described?
"And there was given unto 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." Verses 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 repre- sented 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 Daniel 7:25; 8:11, 12, 24, 25, and readings on pages 214, 221. For an explanation of the time period mentioned, see pages 219, 227.)
THE BEAST IS WOUNDED
What was to happen to 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." Verse 3.
NOTE.—The wound to the papal head of this beast was inflicted when the French, in 1798, entered Rome, and took the pope prisoner, temporarily eclipsing the power of the Papacy and depriving it of its temporalities. Again in 1870 temporal dominion was taken from the Papacy, and the pope looked upon himself as the prisoner of the Vatican. By 1929 the situation had changed to the extent that Cardinal Gasparri met Premier Mussolini in the historical palace of Saint John Lateran to settle a long quarrel—returning temporal power to the Papacy, to "heal a wound of 59 years" (The Catholic Advocate [Australia], April 18, 1929, p. 16). The front page of the San Francisco Chronicle of February 12, 1929, carries pictures of Cardinal Gasparri and Mussolini, signers of the Concordat, with the headline "Heal Wound of Many Years." The Associated Press dis- patch says: "In affixing the autographs to the memorable document, healing the wound which has festered since 1870, extreme cordiality was displayed on both sides." 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." Revelation 18:7. (See Isaiah 47:7-15; Revelation 17:18.)
What is said of the Papacy's captivity and downfall?
"He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword." Verse 10.
What questions indicate the high position of this beast-power?
"And 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?" Revelation 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." Verse 8.
THE BEAST DESTROYED
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." Revelation 19:20. (See Isaiah 47:7-15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8; Revelation 17:16, 17; 18:4-8.)
What is the fate of the fourth beast of Daniel 7?
"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." Daniel 7:11.