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A study of Revelation 13-15. This is book 5 of an 8 part book series.
Category - Bible Commentaries
We have shown how the last few verses of Revelation 12 introduce chapter 13. The water coming from the serpent’s mouth in Rev. 12:15 is directly connected to the “sea” that gives birth to the first beast. The earth helping the woman in Rev. 12:16 gives birth to the second beast that rises from the earth in Rev. 13:11.
Revelation 13 records John’s vision of Daniel’s little horn, the extension of the iron beast. John, of course, knew everything that Daniel had written on this topic, but he also received further revelation which Daniel apparently did not see. Rev. 13:1 says,
1 … And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. 2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.
Whereas Daniel saw four distinct beasts (Daniel 7:3), John saw just one hybrid beast composed of characteristics of all four that Daniel saw. Daniel’s beasts were portrayed as a lion, bear, leopard, and a nameless iron-toothed beast. John, on the other hand, sees a single beast with the mouth of a lion, the feet of a bear, and resembling a leopard.
It is apparent that Daniel saw a succession of empires, each in turn opposing God’s Kingdom. But John sees all of these beast empires as a single, continuous, dragon-inspired empire. Both are correct, of course, but from different viewpoints.
In Daniel’s breakdown of the four beasts, he sees also a fifth that is like an extension of the fourth beast in the progression of history. These four or five beasts are:
Daniel speaks of this fifth beast, calling it a “little horn.” (A “horn” is power or authority in its symbolism. The horn of an animal was seen as its primary weapon by which it dominated others by force.) Dan. 7:8 describes this “little horn” in this way:
8 ... this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth uttering great boasts.
In the angelic explanation that Daniel was given of this little horn, we read in Dan. 7:21, 22,
21 I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom.
John sees the beast coming from the sea primarily as the manifestation of Daniel’s “little horn,” the fifth manifestation of power in the earth. Dan. 7:7, 8 makes it clear that this “horn” comes from the fourth beast with iron teeth (Rome). That is our first major clue as to its interpretation. This “horn” assumes power as a successor to the Roman Empire. It is, in fact, Papal Rome.
The next major clue is the fact that this little horn persecutes the saints of the Most High God until the time that the saints receive the kingdom. That is the time of the manifestation of the sons of God—an event that we have yet to see. And so we know that this little horn was given a rather lengthy time of boasting. Dan. 7:25 gives it “a time and times and half a time.” John says essentially the same thing, but tells us specifically what this means in Rev. 13:5,
5 And there was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies; and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.
Here John interprets Daniel’s rather vague statement of timing. Even John’s statement must be understood from a prophetic standpoint. A “time” is twelve months in John’s revelation, and 3½ times is then 42 months. We must then take this to the next level, seeing the common Scriptural principle where a day prophesies of a year (as in Num. 14:34 and in Ezekiel 4:5, 6). It is 1,260 “days,” that is, 1,260 YEARS.
But before continuing, we must go back to Rev. 13:3, 4, which we skipped earlier.
3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; 4 and they worshiped the dragon, because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?”
Here John gives us a quick look ahead to the end of the 42 months (1,260 years), when the beast from sea received its deadly wound in 1798 that was healed in 1804. After this quick look to the future, John then continues in verses 6 and 7 to tell us of the blasphemous words of the beast during his entire tenure, along with its war against the saints.
Blasphemy is understood differently by different groups. In Scripture, the temple priests condemned Jesus on a charge of blasphemy (Matt. 26:65). At the time, Saul (later Paul) would have agreed with them, if he had been present. However, later, after his conversion, Paul lamented in 1 Tim. 1:13, “I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor.” Paul came to understand that persecuting the church was blasphemy, although he had done so with full authorization from the temple.
There is no doubt, then, that both sides would accuse the other of blasphemy. So when we read in Rev. 13:5 that the beast from the sea spoke “arrogant words and blasphemies,” one should not expect the Roman church to admit that its persecution of the overcomers was actually blasphemy. To them, the overcomers were just heretics guilty of causing schism in the church. From Rome’s perspective, these “heretics” were the blasphemers that were worthy of death.
Yet Paul makes it clear that persecution itself is defined as blasphemy, because it attributes to God a nature and character that does not truly reflect His heart. Church leaders tortured and killed “heretics” as if such behavior was approved by God. They did not understand the mind of God at all.
To rule on a throne in place of Christ in itself is not a sin. King David did it. He ruled Israel on the throne of God. However, he did so in obedience to God, never thinking of himself as being above God or His law. He ruled with the heart and mind of Jesus Christ (or at least made every attempt to do this). David did not attempt to overrule the divine law, but ruled in subjection to the law. David recognized that it was not his right to make new laws, but only to rule by God’s laws.
David was thus a true “vicar of Christ.” Saul, on the other hand, usurped authority by claiming the throne as his own, rather than ruling as a steward.
The problem comes when men claim to be vicars, but then think that God has empowered them to overstep their bounds. The Pope thus staged a revolt against Jesus Christ by assuming the divine right to rule as he pleased on the grounds that God had given him the throne of the church and, indeed, of the world. This is what John meant when he said that this little horn had a mouth speaking arrogant blasphemies.
The claim to “apostolic succession from Peter” lost its validity the moment one of those successors began to issue decrees that did not reflect the mind of Christ. Daniel foresaw these things in Dan. 7:8, quoted earlier, saying “this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth uttering great boasts.” Those boasts, as John said later, were blasphemous in the eyes of God.
The beast from the sea in Rev. 13:1-10 is the same beast that the earlier prophet saw in Dan. 7:21, 22. In fact, this is the clearest link between Daniel and Revelation, showing that the book of Revelation is a continuation and clarification of Daniel's prophecy. Daniel says that the little horn would wage war against the saints until the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.
One only needs to read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs to begin to comprehend the scope of the Roman persecution in their attempt to retain power over the minds of all men. Millions were killed, tortured, burned at the stake, and were “worn down” as Daniel said. There is no need to look to a future “Antichrist” to do these things. They have already happened. The only reason men look to the future for the fulfillment of these things is because they have forgotten the past and no longer study plain history.
Rev. 13:7, 8 speaks of the same little horn, saying,
7 And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them; and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. 8 And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.
The saints that Daniel and John picture are not those who submit to the Roman Pope, but rather those who submit to Jesus Christ. When the Pope usurped the place of Christ and took for himself the power to change the divine laws according to his own will, then men had the choice of following God and His laws or men and their creeds.
The same issue came up with the original Apostles in Acts 4:19 when the chief priests of the temple—who had usurped the throne of Christ—commanded them to submit to their authority and stop teaching in Jesus’ name. The priests claimed to sit in Moses’ seat, even as the Popes claimed to sit in Peter’s chair. Both became usurpers and put away the divine law by their own traditions. This disqualified both of them from ruling the Kingdom of God.
Rev. 13:5 gives the little horn authority for 42 months, which is the equivalent of 1,260 “days” (actually years). This time cycle, according to Dan. 7:25, began with Justinian, who changed time and law from 529-534 A.D., when he changed Roman law to reflect church law. He did not realize the consequences of his actions until later when the Roman pope challenged him on a point of law. Only then did it become clear that the emperor had taken upon himself the role of a servant—the enforcer of church doctrines and papal decrees.
Power struggles between monarchs and popes continued throughout the centuries, as history shows. Yet in the end the papal power of excommunication was stronger than any monarch could resist or oppose. Hence, the time of the little horn began with the emperor in Constantinople, but it quickly shifted to the Roman pontiff.
Forty-two months speaks of the prophetic time period of 1,260 years until the French Revolution in 1789-1794. This revolution rocked Europe and the church itself, because France was a pillar of the Roman church. The popes called France “the firstborn of the church.”
But a new beast was rising that would put in check the power of the sea beast. It was a philosophical beast, formed by Adam Weishaupt on May 1, 1776, an ex-Jesuit who expressed bitter hatred toward the Roman church for disbanding the Jesuit Order in 1773. Yet he himself was a tool of his more secretive financiers. He founded what was called The Illuminati, although this term had been used by other secret societies for a long time. Weishaupt’s Illuminism combined gnostic teaching with Jewish mysticism of the Cabala, along with some pretense of Christianity (which he despised) in order to use a wide range of people to support the organization financially. In one of his papers, he wrote:
“You cannot imagine what consideration and sensation our Priest’s degree is arousing. The most wonderful thing is that great Protestant and reformed theologians who belong to Illuminism still believe that the religious teaching imparted in it contains the true and genuine spirit of the Christian religion. Oh! Men, of what cannot you be persuaded? I never thought that I should become the founder of a new religion” (Nesta Webster, Secret Societies and Subversive Movements, p. 218, 219).
Weishaupt used his Jesuit skills to infiltrate Freemasonry and to use it for his own purposes. After founding his Illuminati organization in 1776, Weishaupt was initiated into Freemasonry in 1777 in Munich. This began his rise within the ranks of Freemasonry. Later he wrote:
“We must consider how we can begin to work under another form. If only the aim is achieved, it does not matter under what cover it takes place, and a cover is always necessary. For in concealment lies a great part of our strength. For this reason we must always cover ourselves with the name of another society. The lodges that are under Freemasonry are in the meantime the most suitable cloak for our high purpose, because the world is already accustomed to expect nothing great from them which merits attention… A society concealed in this manner cannot be worked against. In case of a prosecution or of treason the superiors cannot be discovered…. We shall be shrouded in impenetrable darkness from spies and emissaries of other societies” (Webster, p. 219, 220).
In 1786 his organization was discovered when a messenger was struck and killed by lightning, and the authorities found incriminating papers sown into the lining of the dead man’s coat. The Illuminati was then outlawed, but it had already been hidden in Freemasonry where it could function more freely.
Weishaupt was a Jesuit professor of canon law at Ingolstadt University until 1773, when the pope disbanded the Order. It is often argued that Weishaupt hated the Jesuits, along with the Roman church as a whole, but this would seem strange, coming from a professor of canon law. If he truly hated the church prior to the abolition of the Jesuit Order, then no doubt it was because Weishaupt was part of the main rival faction within the church itself.
This rival faction believed that Jesus had married Mary Magdalene, that He had survived the crucifixion, and that He had three children, who became the progenitors of the Merovingian monarchs in Europe. The Merovingians began with Merovech (415-456 A.D.), who was king of the Franks. Legend says that he was conceived while his mother was swimming in the ocean and was impregnated by a Quinotaur, a sea monster. This idea was later taken as evidence of descent from the Fish, which was an early church Christian symbol of Christ. (The Greek word for fish is ichthus, whose acronym is Iesous Christos Theous Uois, Soter.)
The theory of Merovingian descent from Jesus was later used by monarchs to claim greater authority than the pope, whose presumed authority was based on Peter. This theory was put forth in the 1982 book Holy Blood Holy Grail and later popularized by the movie, The Da Vinci Code.
It is likely that Weishaupt, as a Jesuit, was part of this alternate movement within the Roman church. When the Jesuits were suppressed, and he lost his position at the University, he then openly turned against the Roman church and seemingly even against the Jesuit Order itself. At any rate, Weishaupt’s Illuminati was designed first to overthrow the Roman church, but when the papacy was reinstated, they were content to undermine the traditional teaching of the Roman church and replace its devotion to Mary the mother of Jesus with devotion to Mary Magdalene. They knew that if they could succeed in replacing one Mary with another, they would ultimately be able to lay claim to having both spiritual and political authority as direct descendants of Jesus Himself.
One might ask what their ultimate purpose was meant to accomplish. As with all such people, the goal was to obtain power and money, or, in this case, to use what money they already had to increase their power. To accomplish this, they needed to eliminate all opposition, and recognizing that the Roman church had the most power, they focused upon destroying the papacy. Once they accomplished this goal (in 1798-1800), then they were able to control and use the church, having infiltrated it as they did with Freemasonry earlier.
Evidence of this infiltration is now surfacing, especially with the book and movie by Dan Brown, The DaVinci Code. Catholic Gnostics are now secure enough to come out into the open, for they believe many are ready to hear their doctrine that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children with her, who are the ancestors of the European royal families (i.e., the Merovingians).
Ultimately, the goal is not really to get them to believe their doctrines, but to destroy all forms of Christianity itself. Their aim is to destroy the present society in order to rebuild it as a Luciferian Order. To do this, they must also destroy marriage and the family unit and promote all forms of immorality and avarice among the youth.
The Magdalene cult itself is only a way to gain support among Catholics to shift power from the sea beast to the earth beast. Once this has been accomplished, the earth beast plans to set forth its “final truth” that Lucifer, the supposed brother of Jesus, is the true inheritor of the earth. They hope in this way to shift Christianity to Luciferianism.
Because the church lost its moral compass a long time ago in the search for power and money (supposedly to establish the Kingdom of God), God has raised up the beast from the earth. In the 1700’s, this beast destroyed the power of the church; in the 1800’s it made an alliance with the church in order to use it for its own purposes, but today the entire social and moral order is being destroyed.
The Jesuits, or Society of Jesus, was an organization founded in 1540 with a highly disciplined group of men who were taught to obey orders and not to question the morality or wisdom of those orders. Malachi Martin, himself a Jesuit, wrote favorably about them in his book, The Jesuits,
“And so was born what can be rightly called Jesuitism, the complete subjugation of all a man is, thinks, feels, and does to a practical ideal achievable in the world around him, in absolute obedience and submission to the mind and decisions of the Roman Pope, the Vicar of Christ.” (p. 162)
There were three grades in the Jesuit Order under the Father-General. They were the Lay Brothers, the Spiritual Coadjutors, and the Professed Fathers. The lower orders were often men of good character, who sincerely believed that to follow the Church was to follow Jesus Himself. But in order for a Jesuit to move up in rank, he had to be found “worthy,” that is, he had to prove that he was really under the mind-control of his masters in the upper grades.
Ultimately, there was only one sin—to disobey an order—for Malachi Martin himself writes,
“Every Superior was to be obeyed as the representative of Christ. Obeying this representative, you were obeying Christ; you were doing the will of Christ.” (p. 196)
“You do not merely do what you are told without showing any overt opposition. Nor do you merely choose to will as your Superior wills, to do willingly what he commands. Now you agree mentally with your superior, you have obedience of the intellect. Unconditionally, you think like your Superior ‘so far as only the surrendered will can sway the intellect.’ This highest form is what Ignatius calls ‘blind obedience . . . the voluntary renunciation of private judgment.” (p. 197)
Further, he quotes Ignatius, the founder of the Order on page 197 saying, “I must be as a dead man’s corpse without will or judgment.”
This is the apex of the doctrine of submission to men. Malachi Martin treats this as a Christian virtue. But it is the ultimate doctrine pictured by King Saul, when the people rejected the rule of Christ and wanted to be ruled by men. There is no higher form of King Saul than what Martin shows us about the Jesuit Order. Moreover, such mind control is characteristic of a slave, and is therefore based on the Old Covenant, or Hagar, the slave woman (Gal. 4:25). Such Jesuits actively seek to subject themselves to such slavery, claiming this is a virtue.
The Jesuit Order (or Society of Jesus) was feared by all of the monarchs, for they enforced loyalty to the popes, and any time a king deviated from absolute devotion to the pope, the Jesuits would remind him of their power. If persuasion did not work, they possessed the knowledge of poisons. Ultimately, the kings of Europe began to expel the Jesuits from their countries, dumping them on the shores of Italy.
The rigid Jesuit discipline made them a powerful tool in the hand of the popes as they sought to retain power over the monarchs of Europe. One by one, the nations of Europe expelled the Jesuits in the 1700’s. Martin writes on page 215,
“Between 1759 and 1761 all Jesuits in Portugal and its overseas dominions were arrested, transported by royal navy ships, and deposited on the shores of the papal states in Italy. All Jesuit property—houses, churches, colleges—was confiscated.”
France was next to do this in 1762. In 1767 the same occurred in Spain and the Spanish dominions in America. Naples, Parma, and Austria followed suit. When the Cardinals met to elect a new pope in 1769, the Bourbon family made it clear they would accept a pope only if he agreed to disband his army—the Jesuit Order. The Roman Church did not want more states to break with Rome as England had done in 1534. So the agreement was made. The Church had lost a huge power struggle.
The new Pope reluctantly abolished the Jesuits onJuly 21, 1773. Nesta Webster writes,
“The truth is then, that, far from abetting the Illuminati, the Jesuits were their most formidable opponents, the only body of men sufficiently learned, astute, and well organized to outwit the schemes of Weishaupt. In suppressing the Jesuits it is possible that the Old Regime remove the only barrier capable of resisting the tide of revolution” (Secret Societies and Subversive Movements, p. 199).
Then the French Revolution from 1789-1794 overthrew the Roman Church in France, killed or exiled its monarchs, and established what they called a Republic. At the same time a Republican movement was gaining strength in Italy. When the republican agent, Hugo Basseville, was murdered in the streets of Rome in January 1793, the French government held the pope complicit in the murder. Alarmed, the pope joined a European coalition in 1795, sending 12,000 troops to fight against France and to bring it back under papal control.
In 1796 France sent Napoleon against Austria and Italy, easily defeating them. When Pope Pius VI refused to renounce political power, he took the aged pope captive and expelled the entire Roman curia. The pope later died in a French prison in Valence at the age of 82. As his health failed, Napoleon issued an order that no successor should be named. Even so, Napoleon allowed Pope Pius VII to be elected in Venice on March 14, 1800. His relationship with Napoleon was often stormy, and in fact, Napoleon imprisoned him as well from 1809-1813.
But by this time, Napoleon’s days were numbered, for he was greatly weakened by his disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. He was forced to abdicate in 1814. The nations of Europe then met at the Congress of Vienna to “redraw the map of Europe” in what came to be known as the Holy Alliance (1815).
The “fatal wound” inflicted upon the first beast after 1,260 years occurred generally with the two popes being taken captive. Perhaps more important, however, was the captivity of the first pope, as there was no pope at all for a short time. But yet the Church came back to life, and the second beast gave its authority to the first, as Rev. 13:12 indicates.