Saturday, August 11, 2007
666 - The Beast Identified
By Roy Allen Anderson D.D.
“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.” Revelation 13:1,2.
Here is the beast that has the dreaded mark. This mark we definitely don’t want! The most awful warning of all time is directed against it (see Rev. 14:9,10). But before we learn what the mark is, we must discover who the beast is. And it won’t be hard. In fact, the Bible makes it so clear that I’ll simply list the characteristics of it and you’ll be able to tell me who it is! Are you ready?
1) A “beast” in prophecy represents a kingdom, a nation, a power. The prophetic book of Daniel tells us - ‘Thus he said, the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth.” Daniel 7:23.
2) This beast comes up out of the “sea.” When a beast arises from the “sea,” it always represents a power rising in a highly populated area; amid “peoples, multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” Revelation 17:15. It would have to conquer the existing government.
3) This beast has seven heads and ten horns. A head represents the headquarters of a government. The head of a county is called the “county seat” you remember.
A “horn” represents a king, a ruler. “And ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise.” Daniel 7:24. The beast is a power with a man at the head of it. You’ll find that the Bible explains itself!
4) The beast has “the name of blasphemy’ (Rev. 13:1). What is blasphemy?
Again the Bible gives its own definition. In John 10:32,33, it tells how the Jews were going to stone Jesus. He asked them why they were about to stone Him and they said, “For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.”
Amazing! Blasphemy is for a man to claim to be God! Of .course Jesus didn’t blaspheme because He is God. But for someone less than God - it would be. But there’s more.
In Mark 2:5-11 it tells the story of how a paralyzed man wanted to come into a house where Jesus was, but it was just too crowded. He finally persuaded his friends to carry him up on the roof of Peter’s house and break it up so they could let the man down into the room where the Saviour was teaching.
Down he comes.
Jesus looks into those pleading eyes and knows that the poor man needs to have forgiveness and peace with God even more than physical healing. Jesus says to him, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.”
Can you imagine the wonderful peace and joy that flooded his soul? But the religious leaders didn’t care a thing about the man’s soul. They were just trying to catch some words of Jesus that they could use against Him to have Him put to death. The Bible says that they thought, “Why does this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?” The Saviour knew their thoughts and said, “Why reason ye these things in your hearts?” Then He asked them which is easier to say, “thy sins be forgiven,” or to say, “rise and walk?” Jesus healed the man before their eyes, and, to the people’s utter amazement, he got up and walked out of the house.
Again, Jesus didn’t commit blasphemy by forgiving the man’s sins because He is a member of the Godhead and had a perfect right to do just that, To whomever He pleased He could say those sweet words of forgiveness, and the very peace of heaven would flood the soul. He could say, “Go and sin no more,” and the guilty, the depressed, the sad, the empty, would rise up with peace of mind. They would begin a new and unselfish life of obedience to God - a happy life of peace.
They could slap Him in the face and press a crown of thorns onto that holy brow; they could beat Him until His back was like raw meat, but they couldn’t rob Him of His royal right to forgive the chief of sinners. Wonderful Jesus!
But for anyone less than God to claim to forgive sins - it’s blasphemy.
Concerning the beast it says, “and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” Revelation 13:1. The very leaders of this power would both claim to be God on the earth, and claim to have power to forgive men’s sins!
5) “and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” Revelation 13:2.
It’s clear that the beast gets its “seat” and “authority” from the dragon. But who’s the dragon?
Here it is. “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:2. The dragon is Satan. But there’s more.
“And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour
her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.” Revelation 12:3-5.
Some years ago, a man in Chicago claimed that he was the man child! Could he have been?
Revelation 19:15,16 shows us that the “Man Child” is Christ.
So the “dragon” represents not only Satan, but also a kingdom through whom Satan worked to try to kill baby Jesus as soon as He was born, Now what kingdom was it whose king decreed the destruction of the babies in Bethlehem?
Of course! It was King Herod. He was employed by, and a representative of Rome. So here’s another clue. The beast gets its power, seat, and authority from Rome!
It’s coming clear. The dragon represents Rome. Rome was the empire used by Satan to try to destroy the Saviour of the world! Now let’s take a closer look.
The dragon (Rome) had “ten horns.” A horn grows out of the head of an animal. A horn, you remember, is a king. When the Roman empire collapsed, ten divisions resulted. Barbarian tribes hammered at the Roman empire for many years until it fell apart and the ten divisions were ruled by ten kings! The were: the
Alemani (Germany), the Franks (France), Burgundians (Switzerland), the Suevi (Portugal), the Anglo-Saxons (Britain), the Visigoths (Spain), the Lombards (Italy), the Vandals, Ostrogoths, and Heruli. The last three were destroyed by the Pope of Rome because they refused to, become “Christian.” The armies of Emperor Justinian, in cooperation with the Pope, thrust the Ostrogoths out of the city of Rome. They have become extinct. In 538 A.D. the Pope took possession of the city after the Emperor decreed that he should be the head of all the Christian churches. These ten divisions of Rome are the ten horns on the “dragon.” (For more detail see Appendix 1).
Now look at this next amazing point.
6) “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.” Revelation 13:8.
This is not only a political power but a religious power as well. It demands worship and gets it.
7) It is a world-wide power. “All the world wondered after the beast.” Revelation 13:3.
Maybe you already know who the “beast” is.
Can you think of any world-wide political and religious power with a man at the head of it who claims to be God on earth and to be able to forgive sins? Who received its “seat” and authority from Rome? Of a church government whose leader is “wondered after” by the whole world?
Let me say something now that’s very important. You see, the reason why God speaks as strongly against worshiping the “beast” as He does is because He loves the people. He loves all people. Reader, He loves you. He knows that a person can’t possibly be happy who follows this power and receives its mark. He knows that “. . . they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:11. In following this power there’s no rest. He loves us so much that He warns us in the strongest language known to man. Listen to this,
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice; If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation.” Revelation 14:9,10. Strong language. Language of love is always strong when it’s a question of life and death to the one it loves.
I ask you, what more could He do? God sent His own Son to die a hell death in our place, Not one need experience the awful fate of those who follow the beast and receive its mark. Jesus made a way of escape. He suffered the agony of Gethsemane, and the torture of His mock trial where they beat Him until His back was like raw meat. They bowed down in mockery and hit Him in the head with a
stick, driving the thorns into His brow and sending blood running down His face. Watch Him stagger on His way to Calvary. The Son of God falls on His face in the dirt. He endures the horror of our sins while His blood runs drop by drop to the foot of the cross. Look at His quivering lips as He cries “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”
There He hangs - like a snake on a pole, writhing in agony, drinking the last drops of the wrath of God against sin. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,” Jesus was lifted up - for you. Do you see? He did it for you. He took what you and I deserve. Do you see why our Heavenly Father is so anxious that we not follow the beast or receive its mark? We need not receive that awful penalty. Jesus paid it all. When they were pounding the spikes through His tender flesh, and Jesus prayed “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” - He was praying for you and me then also. He was praying for you! Will you choose Him now as your personal Saviour and follow Him all the way?
You’ll be so happy that you did.
Trusting Him; obeying Him - even unto death; abiding in His love through prayer and Bible study; total surrender and a loving, happy relationship, only then will you be safe from worshiping the beast and receiving his “mark’ - only then. Soon you’ll see why.
Another thing we must understand is that in identifying the beast, God is not talking about sincere people who are involved with it “ignorantly.” Do you know what I mean? When He identifies it He is talking about “the system;” the leaders, who know what they are doing and deliberately disobey and change the word of
God. Do you see? Our God is a tender Father. He only holds accountable those who understand what the Bible commands and knowingly disobey, or, those who turn away from bearing His word and are “willingly ignorant.”
The beast exists now. Many honest Christians who are now involved with it will soon learn the facts about it, They will hear God’s call to come out of it. And they will respond. Don’t be fooled by thinking that the “beast” is a computer in Europe
somewhere. That is only a smoke screen to get people off the track that the Bible points out. God’s word makes it so clear that even an honest child can see it. The next point in identifying the beast is amazing.
8) It has characteristics of the four beasts (nations) which existed before it. Look carefully.
“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: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” Revelation 13:2.
What nations are these? Again, the Bible tells us. The same four beasts are found in Daniel 7. ‘These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.” Daniel 7:17. These are the four world empires, ruling consecutively from the time of Daniel down to the time of the fall of Rome. They are Babylon (605 - 538 B.C.), Medo-Persia (538 - 331 B.C.), Greece (331 - 168 B.C.), and Rome (168 B.C. - 476 A.D.). Now let’s get the full description of these in Daniel 7.
“Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold,, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
“The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I beheld, and lo another,, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I 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.” Daniel 7:2-8.
What a picture. Here they are, beginning with Daniel’s day.
The Lion - Babylon,
The Bear - Medo-Persia,
The Leopard - Greece.
The Terrible Beast - Rome.
Since the beast with the mark has similarities of these four, let’s take a close look at them.
Babylon, represented by the two-winged lion, ruled the world when Daniel was alive. In the ruins of ancient Babylon, broken statues of lions with two wings can still be seen in modern times.
The lion - a fit symbol of Babylon. It was the greatest of all the ancient kingdoms. The two wings tell us of the swiftness in which the “golden kingdom” conquered the civilized world of that time.
How is the “beast” of Revelation 13 like Babylon?
Ancient Babylon, founded by Nimrod (See Genesis 10) the great-grandson of Noah, more than two thousand years before Christ, was one of the wonders of the world. It was laid out in a perfect square with a great and high wall eighty-seven feet thick. Its two hundred and twenty-five square miles of enclosed surface was laid out in beautiful symmetry and interspersed with luxuriant pleasure grounds and gardens. With its sixty miles of moat, its sixty miles of outer wall, its gates of solid brass, its hanging gardens, its subterranean tunnel under the River Euphrates, its perfect arrangement for beauty and defense - this city, containing in itself many things which were themselves wonders of the world, was itself another and still mightier wonder.
The emperors of Babylon claimed worship as gods. For man to be appreciated is great, but to be worshiped by other humans is blasphemous. The leader of the “beast” does this very thing!
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