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On the Revelation of Yahshua Christ, Part 17: Of Beasts and Tyrants
The proof of our Christian faith is manifest in the fact that we can document our beliefs, and in doing so we can also explain them clearly from ancient documents, while at the same time we can measure them against the history of peoples and nations, and in that same study we can also see that those beliefs cohesively explain the circumstances of our world today. But while Moses did not explain everything in the remote past, he laid a foundation for Yahshua Christ, and through Him the inspiration of Moses is also fully revealed. As Paul of Tarsus had explained in 2 Corinthians chapter 3, Moses cannot be understood without Christ. So just as Matthew had attested, Paul must have also believed that Christ had come to reveal things kept secret from the foundation of the world.
According to our interpretation, the prophecies in Revelation chapter 12 presage events in history which we associate with the aftermath of the Reformation and what we call the Age of Liberty. But they also explain events which had happened in the remote past, not only at the birth of Christ but also at what we may refer to as the birth of Adam. Through these explanations, not only may we perceive the nature of those who had been in opposition to God at the birth of Christ, but also of those who had been in opposition to Adam and to his entire race in the earliest accounts in Genesis. Revelation chapter 12 elucidates the fact that the enemies of Yahweh God are what we may call people, a race or even ultimately races of people, who were here in this world before the Creation of Adam, as they came of the Nephilim or fallen angels, and as they can be traced through history and the Scriptures well enough to identify their descendants both in the world of the Scriptures, and in the world of today.
These so-called people stood in opposition to God, and therefore they sought to corrupt Adam, hence the sinful events of Genesis chapters 3 and 6. So it is also apparent that the serpent and the Nephilim did not oppose Adam and his race through hatred or war. Rather, they opposed Adam and his race through what the world might label today as “love”. So with this false concept of love, love which is actually a destructive lust, Eve was seduced, Adam fell from the grace of God, and his descendants having race-mixed with the same Nephilim were almost completely destroyed in the flood on account of their sin. Once again today, that same false concept of love prevails in the world, the same race-mixing is becoming more and more prevalent, and we can anticipate judgement in the wrath of God.
Later, the descendants of these same devils sought to corrupt the children of Israel, the elect heirs of Adam, in the same manner in Numbers chapter 25 and throughout the history of the Judges period and the Old Kingdom. Satan understands the consequences of sin better than the children of God. Fifteen hundred years later, their descendants crucified Christ, and have persecuted Christians ever since. Even later they infiltrated the Roman Catholic Church and corrupted that, and when Christian Israel managed to free themselves of that corruption, they infiltrated the Protestant sects and kingdoms and sought to destroy them through corruption. Finally, when the first explicitly Christian nation was formed, they also sought to destroy that, and worked to achieve its corruption. Now nearly every high position in the American government is occupied by devils. Revelation chapter 12 affords us the perception to see this pattern in history very clearly, once we understand the identity of the forces which are driving history, and their intrinsic nature, which the words of Christ in that chapter as well as in the Gospel have thoroughly explained.
As a digression, while academic historians use the phrase Age of Liberty in a limited sense, to describe the era of parliamentary democracy in Sweden and Finland throughout the 18th century, we use the term in a much more general sense. For us, the Age of Liberty began with the Reformation and the break of many nations from the tyranny of the Roman Catholic popes, and it continued to unfold in a process which resulted in an era of self-rule under either parliamentary democracies or republican forms of government instituted throughout Christendom. While Britain had long had parliaments, its parliament was never assured power independent of the monarchy until the Bill of Rights and the Settlement Act in 1689 and 1701, under the rule of William of Orange. But as soon as British liberty was born, the dragon would corrupt that also, as the Bank of England was founded during that same period, in 1694. It was not long before the Jewish Rothschilds controlled all the wealth of England. The current British parliament was not founded until 1801, after the Acts of Union were approved. We do not necessarily consider the term Age of Liberty in a positive light. Rather, man must realize that he cannot govern himself, and if he is not going to be governed by God, he will instead be governed by tyrants. So we would equate the Age of Liberty with what the Scriptures refer to as the “time of Jacob’s trouble”, and we hope to discuss that further in our commentary on later chapters of the Revelation.
The culmination of this process which led to what we call the Age of Liberty was at the end of the 18th century, with the birth of America and the subsequent French Revolution. But the American and French revolutions, while they had much in common in the misunderstood, or even false, ideals of the Enlightenment, were in many ways polar opposites. While America was founded on the precept of Christian liberty, revolutionary France sought to completely remove God from society, and it fell immediately into the hands of a Reign of Terror and tyrants which were far worse than its former king. France should have been a lesson for America, which America has largely ignored. The end result was Napoleon, who had immediately set out to conquer all of Europe and let Satan loose from the pit by emancipating Europe’s Jews. In turn, that event has turned the Age of Liberty into a perpetual reign of terror throughout all Christendom, and Christians are now silenced and no longer countenance sin “for fear of the Jews”. While we have already discussed this here to some degree, we hope to quantify the balance of our assertions as this commentary unfolds.
Today we live in an age of tyranny because many men thought they could sustain their own liberty, but in truth we can only have liberty in Christ, and once we depart from Him we have an assurance that we shall indeed suffer under tyranny. Today there are idolaters who appeal to the U.S. Constitution or to the Magna Carta or the ideals of the enlightenment as the source of sustaining their liberty, and for their idolatry they are indeed enslaved in tyranny. A document made by men cannot defend liberty. Only God can assure liberty, and He has already told us how He would do that, in the Gospel of Christ.
So speaking of tyranny, here in Revelation chapter 13 there is a record of a vision received by the apostle John which describes two great beasts, wherein the second beast comes out of a wounding of the head of the first beast. We shall assert that this is not a vision of post-Reformation history, and it does not take us beyond the dawn of our Age of Liberty. Rather, it is a summary view of the seven times of the punishment of the children of Israel for their sins, which once again brings us to the door of this Age, which is our modern era and which began by the end of the 18th century. Therefore as we proceed, we hope that it shall be manifest, that the first beast of this chapter is the system of world empires ending with Rome, and that the second beast of this chapter is the office of the papacy and the Roman Catholic Church. This shall all be discussed here at length, and especially where it coincides with parallel prophecies found in Daniel.
Before we commence with our commentary, we must briefly discuss the beginning of the chapter as it is in the King James Version, which starts with the clause “And I stood upon the sand of the sea”, as if John himself were standing on the seashore. This is primarily because the manuscripts of the Majority Text have the verb for stood in the first person singular. However the 3rd century papyrus P47 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A) and Ephraemi Syri (C) as well as several Greek manuscripts of the Majority Text from the 10th and 11th centuries (1854, 2344, 2351) all have the third person singular form of the verb, “he stood”, where the subject is the dragon, which is angered that he was ejected from heaven. So it is the dragon which stood on the sand of the sea, as that is the more authentic reading in the oldest manuscripts. The sand of the sea may represent the children of Israel, who were promised to be as the sand of the sea, and the sea itself may represent the general mass of the world’s peoples. So perhaps the statement reflects the fact that the dragon would continue to rule over Israel in one way or another, and that as we come into this vision in chapter 13, that the beast rising up out of the sea also represents the dragon, whose power is behind it, as we shall also see in this chapter.
Now with this we shall commence with Revelation chapter 13:
XIII 1 And I saw a beast ascending from out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads and upon its horns ten diadems and upon its heads a name [A and the MT mss. following Andreas of Caesareia have “names”; the text follows P47, א, C and the traditional MT mss.] of blasphemy.
In our discussion of earlier portions of the Revelation we had described the Roman Empire and the ultimate fall of Rome in correlation with Daniel chapters 2 and 7. We also correlated the falling star of Revelation chapter 8 with the emperor Justinian and the little horn of Daniel chapter 7. Here we hope to substantiate those correlations further.
In that seventh chapter of Daniel, there was a vision of four great beasts which came up from the sea, and the first was a lion with eagle’s wings, and the others were a bear, a leopard having four wings, and a fourth beast which was not likened to any particular animal, but which had ten horns. So now as we continue with this chapter, we may imagine that this single beast is indeed a composite of those beasts in Daniel’s vision, and the similarities are so that these are two different visions representing different aspects of the same phenomenon. The seven heads are different from Daniel's four one-headed beasts. They seem to represent seven great world empires, rather than merely four. But included in these seven empires are traits of the beasts representing the empires in Daniel's vision.
That is because the scope of John's visions in the Revelation is greater than that of Daniel's visions. The seven world empires mentioned here must be from the beginning of the history of the children of Israel, all of the empires which had ever oppressed Israel – rather than starting in Daniel's time only and beginning with the king of Babylon, as we have already discussed from Daniel chapter 2. So we read in Revelation chapter 17 that “9 Thus is the mind having wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains, where the woman sits upon them. And there are seven kings: 10 five have fallen, one is, another has not yet come, and when he should come it is necessary that he remains a short time.” The woman sits on seven mountains, and we see them as all of the world empires which would rule over the children of Israel throughout history. The five that are fallen are Egypt, Assyria, Medea-Persia, Babylon and Greece. The one that is, in John's day, was Rome. The seventh empire, according to Bertrand Comparet, was the Holy Roman Empire, however Comparet did not understand that the second beast of Revelation 13 as the papacy, which it was, and the Holy Roman Empire was actually only an agent of that beast, which in turn was an extension of Rome. This shall be discussed here in the second half of Revelation chapter 13 and again further on in the Revelation, in our commentary for chapter 17.
But Daniel, having been taken to Babylon as a youth around 605 BC and living through the Persian conquest of 539 BC, wrote of only four of those empires which would rule over the Adamic world beginning from the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s vision. Likewise, as we may also perceive in the passage from Revelation chapter 17 which we have just cited, the seven heads shall go beyond what have seen in Daniel, and also what we shall see in this prophecy here in chapter 13.
2 And the beast which I saw was [P47 and the MT mss. following Andreas of Caesareia want “was”] like a leopard and its feet as a bear’s and its mouth as a lion’s mouth [A has “as a mouth of lions”], and the dragon had given to it his power and his throne and great authority.
First we must note that this beast gets its power from the dragon, and the dragon is already described in Revelation chapter 12 as being “that serpent of old, who is called the False Accuser and the Adversary”, or the Devil and Satan. At Luke chapter 4 it is recorded that a particular False Accuser, or Satan, had said to Yahshua Christ in reference to all of the kingdoms of the οἰκουμένη, or the Roman world, that: “I will give to You the authority over all this, and their honor, because to me it was delivered and to whomever I wish I could give it. Therefore if You would worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” While Revelation chapter 12 associates this Satanic power with the Edomite Jew, it is evident that these same satanic anti-Christ figures, which are seen today in the form of international merchants, bankers and political figures, are very real and have been with us since the day of our creation. When Adam accepted Eve in her sin, he accepted Cain as his firstborn son, and the sacrifices made by both Cain and Abel represent a struggle for the inheritance, as the eldest son was traditionally the family priest. So Yahweh accepted Abel, and rejected Cain, whereupon Cain killed Abel, an has had a claim on the inheritance of Adam ever since. Hence the enemies of Yahweh are the so-called princes of this world.
In ancient inscriptions which were discovered at the site of the old Phoenician city of Ugarit, which stood on the coast of modern Syria, is found an apparent prayer to Baal which read: “… If thou smite Lothan, the serpent slant, Destroy the serpent tortuous, Shalyat of the seven heads…” [Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (Hereafter ANET), James Pritchard, editor, 3rd edition, Princeton University Press, 1969, p.138] Of course, we believe that the Phoenicians were indeed the northern tribes of Israel, at least during the so-called Golden Age of Phoenicia, and also understand that they had adopted the pagan ways of their Canaanite neighbors. So perhaps the seven-headed serpent is a figure of ancient pagan mythology. Of course, the ancient Sumerians and those who followed saw a creator figure in Tiamat, a giant female serpent.
But the serpent was also the symbol of rulership in those same ancient societies. For example, the Egyptian pharaohs used the symbol of the asp to signify their rulership, so the serpents were fixed on the front of their crowns. The idol Marduk was originally the sun god of the Sumerian pantheon and was later the chief god of ancient Babylon, and in inscriptions Marduk was always accompanied by a dragon. The serpent was the symbol of kingship not only in Egypt, but also in Sumer, Akkad and among the Hittites (i.e. ANET, pp. 263, 276).
In Daniel chapter 2 the prophet described and explained a vision which Nebuchadnezzar II, the king of Babylon, had experienced, and by which he had been disturbed. So Daniel explained that the vision represented four great kingdoms, his own, and three others which would arise in succession after him. These are the kingdoms of the Persians, Greeks and Romans, which we have discussed at length in relation to The Assurance of God in our introduction to Revelation chapter 7. So there it is seen that this beast – of which Nebuchadnezzar is only the head – is a series of four great kingdoms which in turn rule over the οἰκουμένη, or that part of the world civilized by the Adamic man.
But now we must observe some differences between this Revelation chapter 13 beast and the beast in Nebuchadnezzar’s vision. Nebuchadnezzar’s beast did not have seven heads with crowns, or ten horns, as there are with this beast here in Revelation chapter 13. Neither is Nebuchadnezzar’s beast described as having a duration of 1,260 years, or three-and-a-half times, which is the 42 months of verse 5 here in Revelation chapter 13. That is because, as we have already explained, Nebuchadnezzar’s vision only concerned his present and the future, so the description of the beast in Daniel chapter 2 is only a partial view of the interpretation of this first beast of Revelation chapter 13, and not it's entirety.
So in that chapter, Daniel's four kingdoms had a duration of only about a thousand and seventy years, from 606 BC with the ascension of Nebuchadnezzar to the throne in Babylon, to 476 AD and the fall of Rome. It is a parallel prophecy, but does not correspond in its entirety. What it does help us understand, however, is that in the people who destroyed Nebuchadnezzar’s beast, those who invaded and destroyed the Roman empire, the true people of God are identified. The Roman church asserts the claim that it had supplanted Daniel's fourth kingdom, and it therefore it represents the Kingdom of God. That is an absolutely false claim. In actuality, the Roman church followed this beast – as Revelation chapter 13 verses 11 through 18 describe – but it did not supplant it. With all certainty Nebuchadnezzar’s beast, the succession of empires ending with Rome, was destroyed by both its own corruption – the iron which did not mix with the clay – and by the Germanic children of dispersed Israel which invaded and for a time supplanted it, and who are destined to supplant it, but not by the Roman church. The Roman Church was a product of the Empire, organized by the emperor Constantine, and not by the apostles of Christ.
So with that statement, before we return to Revelation chapter 13 and attempt to interpret the vision of this first beast, the first part of Daniel chapter 7, which is also a parallel prophecy, shall be read and rather briefly discussed:
Daniel 7:1: “In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. 2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. 3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.“
The beasts Daniel describes here come out of the sea, the mass of the world’s peoples but not necessarily Israelites, just as this beast in Revelation chapter 13 emerges from the sea. An examination of these beasts reveals them to be those same world empires described by Daniel in chapter 2 of his prophecy.
Daniel 7:4: “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.”
This describes ancient Babylon. The last line may refer to the rise of the Chaldaean rule in Babylon. The city was said to have been built by the Amorites under their famous king Hammurabi, who were Canaanites, while the Chaldaeans were evidently Syrians, of the ancient tribe of Aram and possibly also of Arphaxad, all of them cousins to the Hebrews.
Daniel 7:5: “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.”
The bear is the empire of the Medes and the Persians, which conquered the seats of three former world empires, the three ribs representing Egypt, Assyria and Babylon.
Daniel 7:6: “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.”
The leopard is very fast. This describes Alexander's Hellenistic empire, which conquered the Old World very quickly. The four heads and four wings are the four pieces into which it dissolved soon after Alexander's death.
Daniel 7: 7: “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.”
As it was in Daniel chapter 2, the Roman empire is described as the most horrible of all beasts. Rome also conquered much of the territory held by all of the empires which preceded it, with the exclusion of Parthia, which consisted of the eastern parts of the former Persian empire.
Daniel 7:8: “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.”
A lot of commentators strive to imagine that the ten horns are the Germanic kingdoms which the Western empire had been divided into after its fall. This is inaccurate, because in Daniel's description it is evident that the fourth beast had the ten horns, not those who destroyed it. It possessed them before it was divided. The horns may be interpreted to have two different descriptions, and therefore there are two different interpretations, both of which may certainly be valid. Here is the first, and the second shall be discussed below when we discuss verse 20 of this chapter, where it states that the ten horns are ten kings.
Here the ten horns seem to also represent the original ten Senatorial provinces of the Roman empire, which would indeed be the ten toes of the beast described in Daniel chapter 2. The little horn which arises out of them represents the Byzantine empire, and especially Justinian, as shall be made even more evident later in this chapter.
In 14 AD the Roman empire was divided into provinces both Senatorial and Imperial. The Senatorial provinces belonged to the people of Rome and their governors were chosen by the Senate. They were ten in number, Achaea, Africa, Asia, Crete and Cyrene, Cyprus, Gallia Narbonensis (which was the Mediterranean coastal province of what is now France), Hispania Baetica (in southern Spain), Macedonia and Thessaly, Pontus and Bithynia, and Sicily. According to the 6th century historian Procopius, Justinian was from the tribe of the Dardanians in what would have been the Roman province of Macedonia.
All of the other Roman provinces, twenty-one at this time (Alpes Cottiae, Alpes Maritimae, Alpes Poenninae, Cilicia, Dalmatia, Egypt, Galatia, Gallia Aquitania, Gallia Belgica, Gallia Lugdunensis, Germania Inferior, Germania Superior, Hispania Tarraconensis, Lusitania, Moesia, Noricum, Pannonia, Raetia, Corsica and Sardinia, Syria, and Thracia), were Imperial provinces: the fruits of conquest for which the Emperor chose the governors. There were many more Imperial provinces added after the first century, but there were still the same ten Senatorial provinces. (See the article on Roman Provinces at Livius.org.)
The little horn came up out of these ten Senatorial provinces, and as shall be evident below, it had “eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things”. The Byzantines under Justinian had reconquered three portions of the old Western empire which had been taken by the Germanic invaders: Italy itself, Africa and southern Spain, clearly identifying Byzantium with this little horn.
Daniel 7:9: “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. 10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.”
The description of the throne of the Ancient of Days in Daniel is very much like the descriptions of the throne of Yahweh as it is depicted by Yahshua Christ here in the Revelation. Here Daniel saw a vision of the Day of Judgment, but he was only able to prophecy in detail what would transpire up to the point where these thrones which he described had been cast down, and that may seem to be only as far as the fall of Rome. But as we shall see, the eleventh horn being identified with Justinian, it actually extends as far as the rule of the Roman Catholic Church under the popes, which is described here in Revelation chapter 13 as a product and an extension of the old Roman Empire.
Daniel 7:11: “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.”
Since the beast is a system of world domination, and not an individual, the body and the flame are allegorical. Even the individual Justinian was only a part of the system, although he is a significant figure here because of the accomplishments which the beast had made during his rule, which are the same events described later in Daniel chapter 7. These accomplishments allowed for the rise of the second beast of Revelation 13, which we shall discuss at length later in this chapter.
Furthermore, an interpretation of the nature of the Lake of Fire mentioned in Revelation chapters 19 and 20 must also be within this very context: it is a destructive force that incinerates all of the enemies of God, and not, as many false teachers profess, a cleansing force that purifies those who are thrown into it, as Wesley Swift had at one time asserted. The Lake of Fire only purifies in the sense that it eliminates all of those who are, allegorically, thrown into it, as it is seen here, the body of the beast is slain and destroyed and “given to the burning flame” and this is the same beast in Revelation chapter 19 which is thrown into the Lake of Fire. All of the goat nations also have their destiny in that same lake of fire, prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).
Daniel 7:12: “As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.”
This is where the children of Yahweh are today. On paper, the people of Christian Israel are in a period of self-rule, possessing the kingdom of Yahweh for themselves ever since the Reformation, and especially since the monarchies of Europe were for the most part replaced by modern parliamentary democracies. However in reality they are still under the control and influence of these same beasts which have exercised power in Europe for nearly three millennia.
Daniel 7:13: “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man [the original only has a son, as there is no article in the Hebrew or in the Greek versions] came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
As it is in Daniel chapter 9, this is also a Messianic prophecy. Yahshua Christ is God incarnate as one of His Own Adamic people, a son of Adam and Israel, and He is also Yahweh Himself in the flesh, and so Paul calls Him the “firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29), which He certainly is. The people of all of the Adamic nations, languages and tongues shall serve Yahshua Christ Himself at His manifestation. Of course, just as all of the promises of the entire Bible are limited to the nations of the race of Adam (i.e. Genesis 3:22, 5:1-2, Deuteronomy 32:8, Acts 17:26), so it is here because God does not change.
Daniel 7:15: “I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. 16 I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. 17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.”
Here Daniel's vision is interpreted. It is evident that the first part of the account of these beasts describes four kingdoms that shall rule over the οἰκουμένη, or as Nebuchadnezzar was told by Daniel, “wheresoever the children of men dwell”. This, it shall also be evident, is describing in part those same entities which are seen with the first beast of Revelation chapter 13, verses 1 through 7. Yet the saints, or Holy Ones, of Yahweh God are promised that they would inherit the earth, and God shall indeed keep that promise. This discussion shall return to the latter part of Daniel chapter 7 and the balance of his interpretation of his vision when we come to the second beast of Revelation chapter 13. For now we shall continue with the first half of the chapter, continuing the vision of the first beast, a single beast having seven heads and ten horns:
3 And one from among [the MT mss. following Andreas of Caesareia have “And one of”] its heads as if having been slaughtered unto death, yet the wound of its death had been healed. And the whole earth marveled [P47, A and C have a passive form of the verb; the MT mss. following Andreas of Caesareia have the passive form and reads “and there was wonder in all the earth”, the text follows א and the traditional MT mss.] after the beast 4 and they [P47 has “it”, i.e., the earth] worshipped the dragon, because he had given authority to the beast, and they worshipped the beast, saying: “Who is like the beast, and who is able to make war with it?”
This beast having seven heads represents seven world empires which have ruled over the children of Israel throughout their history, and therefore it is a composite which encompasses and includes the diverse beasts in the visions of Daniel. But this is also obviously one and the same with the beast of Revelation 12:3, which is the great red dragon that is also associated with that old serpent, the Devil and Satan, as it is the dragon which also has the seven heads and ten horns. Furthermore, verses 12 and 14 of this chapter associate the second beast of John's vision to this first beast, to be the healing of the wounded head. So the second beast of Revelation chapter 13 is not really a head of its own, and does not count among the seven. Rather, it is an extension which grew out of one of the seven heads, and therefore it is of the same nature or character as that head.
Today we ourselves marvel and ask, Who is able to make war with the beast? But the correct answer is that we trust in Yahweh our God, because only He can fight with the beast. The beast governments of history have always appeared to be all-powerful in the eyes of men. The Romans mercilessly crushed all rebellion, and the legions seemed invincible. But like every empire, Rome could not stand on feet of iron mixed with clay, and so it is also today with the American empire, that eventually it too shall break apart and become vulnerable. To a great extent, the Germanic tribes were held in abeyance on the frontiers of the Empire for several centuries while Rome was a monolithic power, although they coveted the lands that the Romans had held. But once the empire began to fracture, as the iron and clay were not cohesive, they had an opportunity to accelerate its fall and to divide it amongst themselves. Today we await a similar opportunity, and the call to arise and thresh, but not until the fall of Mystery Babylon. Only then shall the “time of Jacob’s trouble” pass. So Christians have an obligation that they cannot avoid, and they cannot expect deliverance from God if they shirk that responsibility, as Paul had explained in 2 Corinthians chapter 10, they must bring “5… into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” The most significant words there are “when your obedience is fulfilled.”
5 And there had been given to it a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies and there had been given to it authority [א wants “authority”] to act [א has “to do that which it desires] for forty and two [P47 uses alphabet symbols to express 42; א, C and the MT want “and”; the text follows A] months. 6 And it opened its mouth in blasphemies [P47 has “its mouth to blaspheme”; the MT has “its mouth in blasphemy”; the text follows א, A and C] towards Yahweh to blaspheme His Name and His tabernacle [C wants “and His tabernacle”], [the MT mss. following Andreas of Caesareia insert “and”] those dwelling [P47 wants “those dwelling”] in heaven.
Another way to understand what these visions describe is to look back at history and see who it was that defiled and blasphemed the Temple of Yahweh. The Babylonians – and as Scripture tells us the Edomites who were allied with them – had destroyed the first Temple of Yahweh. Babylon was the gold head of the beast of the vision in Daniel chapter 2, and the lion with eagle's wings in Daniel chapter 7. Then around 160 BC the Greek rulers of Syria, a part of the trunk of brass of the beast in Daniel chapter 2, and of the leopard with four wings and four heads of chapter 7 – had defiled the second temple. Finally, the Romans, the two legs of Nebuchadnezzar's beast, sought to set up their own idols in the Temple of Yahweh, the last one which was actually built in the reign of Herod the Edomite, and therefore all of the blasphemy and defilement of the Temple of God by this ongoing system of world empires, which this first beast of Revelation chapter 13 also describes, is fully evident.
Here it is seen that this first beast had authority to act for 42 months, or 1,260 prophetic years. From the time when the children of Israel were deported by the Assyrians, which began approximately 741 BC, unto the fall of Rome in 476 AD, was 1,217 years. Yet Assyria rose as an empire from the time of Adad-nirari III who ruled from 810 BC to 783 BC. This Assyrian king's mother was the Babylonian princess Sammu-ramat, who was the source of the later Semiramis myths of the Greeks. Adad-nirari III first invaded ancient Israel, reaching Palestine in 804 BC. While they are not recorded in the Biblical records, Adad-nirari's marches into Palestine and his collection of tribute from Israel in the days of Jehoash and Jeroboam II are mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions (cf. Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, ed. James B. Pritchard, Princeton University Press, 1969, p. 281). From 804 BC to 476 AD and the final fall of Rome is about 1,280 years. Note that John dates the first beast, but not the second. It shall become evident below, that Daniel dates the second beast which is described here by John. The number of 1,260 years cannot include Egypt, or the last of John's seven kings, which is “not yet come”. Yet the beast nevertheless had seven heads and those two kingdoms are a part of this beast while their authority is evidently outside of this period.
That is evident because, as we have already explained, this period of the two beasts describes the period of Israel’s punishment for her sins for which the Old Testament Kingdom was destroyed and she was sent into captivity. The seven times prophecy is found on four occasions among the curses for disobedience in Leviticus chapter 26, where the Word of Yahweh says on one of those occasions: “27 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; 28 Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.” If a day in prophecy is a year, which we shall discuss in detail later in this chapter, then seven times 360 is 2,520 years, double the period of “forty two months” which is given to this beast. That seven times of punishment also explains, and is explained by, the authority given to this beast which is now described here:
7 And there had been given to it to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority had been given to it over every tribe and people [P47 and the MT mss. following Andreas of Caesareia want “people”] and tongue and nation.
The 3rd century papyrus P47, the Codices Alexandrinus (A) and Ephraemi Syri (C), and the Majority Text manuscripts following Andreas of Caesareia all want the first clause in this verse, where it says “And there had been given to it to make war with the saints and to overcome them”, which I was tempted to omit but include here hesitantly. The Codex Sinaiticus (א) the traditional manuscripts of the Majority Text, and certain early Latin, Coptic and Syriac manuscripts contain the clause, for which we may compare Daniel 7:8, 21 and 25.
As Daniel said in his vision in Daniel chapter 2, from the time of Nebuchadnezzar the beast system of world empires would rule “wheresoever the children of men dwell”, and so it is here, these words being understood to be exclusive to the White Adamic race in general. So within both the historical and the prophetic context of these words, “every tribe and people and tongue and nation” can only be interpreted to include “wheresoever the children of men dwell”, which are the tribes and peoples and tongues and nations which had been ruled over by this series of empires: the Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman. All of the races outside of this so-called world are not a part of this world, and have no part or consideration within the context of any of these Biblical promises or prophecies.
8 And all those dwelling upon the earth worshipped it, of whom their names [rather than “of whom their names” A has an error, “woe! His name”; C has an error, “of whom his name”; the MT has “of whom the name”; the text follows P47 and א] are not written in the book of life of the Lamb who had been slaughtered from the foundation of Society.
As a digression, critics of the Codex Sinaiticus often point out its supposed errors and favor the Codex Alexandrinus version of the Revelation. Yet quite frequently, but not always as we have just witnessed in verse 7, where the Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus differ, the Sinaiticus agrees with the 3rd century papyrus P47, which is by far the oldest surviving text of the Revelation, although it is fragmented and only portions of chapters 9 through 17 have survived. So the critics of the Codex Sinaiticus are not fair in their assessment.
Those who worship the beast are those whose names are not written in the Book of Life. The children of Yahweh should not have a care for the beast, but rather they should long for the return of Yahshua Christ and their final restoration into His Kingdom, ruing the day when their ancestors had first sought an earthly king. That the Lamb was “slaughtered from the foundation of Society”, or the world in most Bible translations, is evidence that all history is predetermined by Yahweh Himself, and He knew even before the creation of Adam what He would have to do in order to chastise and to instruct His children.
The first promise of restoration is at Genesis 3:22, which says in part “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever”. Yahshua Christ being that Tree of Life, He knew long before then, that He would have to make His ultimate sacrifice for our benefit. Like Him, Christians should fear Yahweh God, and not those who can kill the body only, but then have no further power – there is indeed life apart from the flesh.
So Yahshua Christ, who described Himself as the True Vine, in John chapter 15, is described here as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”, as the King James Version translates the clause. This is a statement of the prescience of Yahweh, who knew before the Society was created that He would have to redeem His people from their sins, and therefore He must have planned from the beginning to come as a man in order to also be an example to His people.
Paul of Tarsus had explained that same thing, where we read in Hebrews chapter 2: “14 Therefore, since the children have taken part in flesh and blood, He also in like manner took part in the same, that through death He would annul him having the power of death, that is, the False Accuser, 15 and He would release them, as many as whom in fear of death, throughout all of their lives were subject as slaves. 16 For surely not that of messengers has He taken upon Himself, but He has taken upon Himself of the offspring of Abraham, 17 from which He was obliged in all respects to become like the brethren, that He would be a compassionate and faithful high priest of the things pertaining to Yahweh to make a propitiation for the failures of the people. 18 In what He Himself has suffered being tested, He is able to help those being tested.”
But of course the prescience of God also foresees and governs the fate of men, which is now also made evident:
9 If one has an ear, he must hear! 10 If one is for captivity, into captivity he goes. If one is to be slain by the sword, he is to be slain by the sword. Thus is the patience and the faith of the saints.
The word for in the phrase “for captivity” is in the sense of being destined for captivity. The 3rd century papyrus P47, the Codices Sinaiticus (א) and Ephraemi Syri (C), and the Majority Text all want the phrase “into captivity”, which would not change the meaning of the clause. The text follows the Codex Alexandrinus (A). The Codex Sinaiticus (א) has the second clause of the verse to read “If one slays by the sword, it is necessary for him to be slain by the sword”, where the Codex Ephraemi Syri (C) and the Majority Text manuscripts following Andreas of Caesareia differ only in the tense of one verb, “If one shall slay by the sword”, however all of these readings offend the overall context of the passage. The traditional Majority Text manuscripts have “If one by the sword it is necessary for him to be slain.” Our text once again follows the Codex Alexandrinus (A), and the reading in the traditional manuscripts of the Majority Text shares the same sense.
In a single Greek manuscript of the Majority Text, identified in the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece with the number 2351, there is a verb which may be rendered as “he that leadeth”, where the King James Version has the first sentence of verse 10 to read: “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword.” The word translated as “he that killeth” is found in the Majority Text manuscripts following Andreas of Caesareia, which we have already explained, and which the King James Version frequently followed elsewhere. The New American Standard Bible correctly interprets the first clause in verse 10 where it reads: “If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes”, adding the word destined in italics. But then it accepts an interpolation where it has the second clause to read “if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed.”
The additional verbs, which do not belong in the text and which appear in the King James Version as “he that leadeth” and “he that killeth”, completely change the meaning of the passage. This passage is not teaching karma, or like punishment for the things which one has done in one’s life. Although in Galatians chapter 6 Paul had written that “for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”, and although Christ had warned Peter that those who took the sword would die by the sword, those words were written or uttered in a completely different context. Rather, we would reject the additional verbs as interpolations, and prefer to believe that here the Revelation is teaching the prescience of God in the lives of men, as in this context the children of Israel are being punished for their sins. So this verse teaches predestination, and not judgment. Just as Yahshua knew His own fate from the beginning, he also knows the fate of each of His children. While man has free will, a choice to make his own errors or to seek good, Yahweh being God cannot help knowing ahead of time what route each man shall take. So even our concept and perception of free will is an illusion in the eyes of God.
Here Yahshua Christ is affirming the punishment of Israel which was forewarned in Leviticus, and pronounced in the prophets, but in relation to this passage, especially in Jeremiah chapter 15 where we read where it is spoken of the children of Israel: “1 Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth. 2 And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the LORD; Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity.” Several late manuscripts of the so-called “Church Fathers”, in Latin and Syriac, also added verbs to this clause, perverting its meaning. Yet the Greek text of Jeremiah 15:2 is very much like what we read here in the Revelation, and therefore this passage fully supports the veracity of our reading and interpretation of this verse.
So we read in a prayer of Ezra, in chapter 9: “6 And [I] said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens. 7 Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day.”
Here we shall pause our commentary of Revelation chapter 13, and, Yahweh willing, bring it to a conclusion next week, hoping to discuss the second beast described in this chapter.