The structure and interpretation of the prophecies of the book of Daniel provide the keys to unlock the prophecies of Revelation, especially those of the 'beast'.
We have seen that prophecy may have a near-future and a far-future fulfilment. The prophecy has a relevance to the immediate audience - the typical fulfilment, but the full force of the prophecy is for the end-time audience - the antitypical fulfilment.
We saw this application at work in what is referred to as the "Olivet Prophecy". Jesus Christ when asked about the fall of Jerusalem and the signs of his coming replied using the telescopic concept. The events described by Christ appear to refer to the 'last days'. The events leading up to the fall of Jerusalem are a type of the events that are to happen in the end-time. So, though the focus is on the end-time, this prophecy had a relevance to the immediate audience - the apostles and those who were to hear what they had to say. The Olivet Prophecy is also a key to understanding the Book of Revelation.
The prophecies of Daniel and Christ have a near-future and a far-future fulfilment. And so it is with the prophecies found in the Book of Revelation. The fulfilment of the prophecies of Revelation also brings to fulfilment the prophecies of Daniel and the Olivet prophecy. (Earlier we saw that in Hadrian we have the near-future typical fulfilment of the prophecies, seeing that he appeared on the scene after all these prophecies were given).
We saw earlier in Daniel 7 that four beasts came forth out of the sea. These four beasts which we interpreted as four kingdoms/empires span the time from Nebuchadnezzar to the return of Jesus Christ. John, in one of the retro-prospective prophecies of Revelation, also saw a beast:
"And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority" (Revelation 13:1-2).
If there are four beasts/kingdoms that span from Nebuchadnezzar to the end-time and that the fourth beast of Daniel 7 has ten horns and the beast that John sees also has ten horns then it could be safe to say that they are one and the same. The beast of Revelation is the fourth beast of Daniel. The fourth beast is a composite of the three preceding empires and more: "For John the Roman empire was so satanic and terrible that in itself it included all the evil terrors of the evil empires which had gone before it. It was, as it were, the sum total of all evil" (Barclay, 2.109-10, as quoted by Robert H. Mounce, Revelation, New International Commentary on the New Testament, page 246).
Daniel's description of the fourth beast does not include the sevens heads. In the prophecies of Daniel we were progressively introduced to more and more detail on end-time events. Revelation continues this pattern and we now find that the fourth beast has seven heads. In Revelation 17 we find the interpretation of the heads and even more detail on the beast.
In Daniel 7 we see only the beast with its ten horns. The beast is symbolically the Roman empire while the tens horns comprise a kingdom to arise out of it in the end time. The description of the beast and its ten horns is telescopic where the Roman empire proper and its final kingdom are symbolically telescoped together. The intermediate history is not symbolically pictured.
The beast in Revelation with its seven heads symbolically covers the history of the fourth-beast system from beginning to end - that is without any telescopic fore-shortening.
The prophecy of the fourth beast of Daniel 7 is a telescopic prophecy where the fourth-beast system is telescoped together with the career of the human representative of the fourth-beast system, the 'little horn', who appears in the end-time.
This is the same structure of Revelation 13. Here we are also symbolic presented with the fourth-beast system telescoped together with its end-time representative.
We say that Revelation 13 is telescopic in that the "beast" actually describes two separate entities as if they were one and the same. The beast is both an empire/kingdom and the person that represents that system. We saw in Daniel 2 that the Babylonian kingdom and its representative are interchangeable. The head of gold was the neo-Babylonian empire and Nebuchadnezzar, its chief representative. So here in Revelation 13, and Daniel 7, the beast is both the system and its human representative. Later in Revelation the beast-person is referred to by way of the description of the beast-system (Revelation 17:7-8). Satan is also describe as "having seven heads and ten horns" (Revelation 12:3).
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth...and it had ten horns (v.7).
Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his head ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion... (vv.1-2).
Begins career of Beast-person
Begins career of Beast-person
I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them (v.8).
And I saw one of his heads as if had been mortally wounded... (v.3).
Therefore the 'what' of the beast is the system and the 'who' is the person who personifies that system.
Before looking at the beast-person we need to look in detail at the history of the fourth beast-system up until the appearance of its end-time representative. We have seen that Antiochus is a type of the beast-person. Hadrian is also a type. The human types and their actions in the history of the fourth beast-system also helps in building possible scenarios in how things may develop in the end-time.
(This is similar to the Old Testament personalities - such as Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Joshua and David - foreshadowing Jesus Christ).
TYPES IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE - 31 BC to 476 AD
Augustus was the first emperor of the Roman empire-system, the 'beast-person' is the last ruler. The religious system at the beginning of the empire was a pagan state religion incorporating an emperor cult. This system was replaced by Roman Catholicism which, as will see, is replaced in the last three and a half years by a religion which worships the beast-person as god.
Daniel 11:38b mentions that: "and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honour with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things". Augustus provides a type.
"The sudden outburst of the celebration of Octavian/Augustus was a new phenomenon...
"Roman religion received under Augustus a great and important extension, the cult of the emperor and of his family... The Roman state religion had no concept of divine honours paid to a man during life nor of deification after death... Although the Roman state cult did not admit the divinity of mortal men, there existed in private and family devotion the worship of the Genius and Lares: the Genius represented, as it were the guardian spirit of the house...; the Lares was the spirit of the deified ancestor, the original founder of the family..." (Fergus Millar & Erich Segal, Caesar Augustus, page 53).
On March 6, 12 BC Augustus was elected Pontifex Maximus.
"The day was entered in the calendar as one of the most important dates in the Roman sacred year... From this time not only the Genius of Augustus but the Lares of his house...received public worship. Shrines of the Lares were found not only in every Roman house but also at the crossroads of the city, where they represented the spirits of the dead in general. Augustus restored these crossroad sanctuaries. In them were placed new statues of the Lares of Augustus...and between the statues of the Lares he set another to his own Genius...
"The worship of the Augustan Lares and Genius spread rapidly throughout Italy, where it acquired special characteristics. At Rome the centres of the official cult were in Augustus' own house on the Palantine, in the temple of Mars Ultor and on the Capitol. The sacrifices in these places were conducted by the pontiffs, with Augustus himself as Pontifex Maximus, the high-priest of his own Genius. In Italy in addition to the crossroad shrines to the Lares and the Genius there arose special temples of the Genius, called Augustea, which had their own priests. The cult in other words, became spontaneously a municipal concern, in which all members of a community, not merely the lower classes, participated. The importance of the municipal cult was increased by the creation of new offices, half-priestly and half-administrative called Augustales... Once again we see Augustus' concern in the pursuit of stable social conditions to establish a proper dignity and status for all classes or, from another point of view, to multiply the ties which bound the members of all orders of society to him...
"...Everywhere the purpose was political and diplomatic. The person of Augustus was the focus of the empire's loyalty and the imperial cult in one of its forms allowed the expression of this loyalty" (Donald Earl, Age of Augustus, pages 166, 174-6).
The worship of Augustus varied in character and degree within the empire.
Nero committed suicide in June 68 BC.
"The mysterious circumstances of his death favoured, as it happened, the spread of a belief, especially in the East, that he was not dead but had got away safely...
"In the East ... the liberation of Greece, the journey of the Parthian prince to do homage, and the cutting of the Isthmus of Corinth appeared as so many proofs of the supernatural being of Nero and obliterated the memory of his crimes. Hence he was destined to return and reign - a conviction that, as Dio Chrysostum shows, was still widespread in the time of Trajan and from which those who took his name profited greatly" (A. Momigliano, Nero, The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume 10 - The Augustan Empire 44 BC - AD 70, pages 741-42).
"Three false Neros ... appeared in the east in 69, 80 and 88-89" (Miriam T. Griffin, Nero: the end of a dynasty, page 214).
"In the Jewish Sibylline Oracles, written not long after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70, Nero is the exile of Rome, the great king and criminal, who has fled to the Parthians and will cross the Euphrates with tens of thousands to destroy Rome and the whole world" (Griffin, page 15).
(See also on Nero in discussion on Revelation 13:18).
Hadrian "in his abrupt rise ... had given proof of his uncanny powers, and the Senate had publicly recognized that he was divinely favoured, he was bound, now that he had become the centre of all activity, to take hold of and irradiate the whole world of the Empire with his strength, in order to form it in accordance with his thoughts, to awaken and enhance its energies, all and yet one. He was worshipped and honoured as no other Emperor, a god on earth to all people. To some he appeared mighty as Zeus, beneficent as Asclepius, radiant as Helios; others feared him like Mars or the god of the Underworld himself" (Wilhelm Weber, Hadrian, Cambridge Ancient History, Volume 11 - The Imperial Peace A.D. 70-192, page 306)
"From about 100 AD onwards, the Jews were attacked even more fiercely for subverting the lower orders and introducing novel and destructive ideas - a charge that was to echo through the ages. So there were constant troubles in the diaspora cities, especially in 115-17.
"The last Jewish risings were precipitated by a wave of government hostility to the Jews under the Emperor Hadrian, who was in the East 128-132. Initially sympathetic to Judaism, he later swung into hostility... He came to dislike oriental religions in general, and developed a particular loathing for circumcision, which he classed with castration, a form of self-mutilation forbidden on pain of death. Hadrian introduced pan-Hellenistic policies throughout the East and one of his projects was to create a new, pagan polis in the ruins of Jerusalem, with a Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter on Temple Mount.
"Dio Cassius, the Roman historian who is our chief source for these years, says the Jews did not dare rise while Hadrian was in the East, though they armed secretly and built hidden fortifications... But as soon as Hadrian departed, the Jews of Judea struck and, says Dio, 'the Jews in the entire world also rose and joined them and created a great deal of trouble for the Romans secretly or openly, and even many gentile peoples came to their aid. The revolt lasted four years...
"The Roman vengeance was awe-inspiring. Fifty forts where the rebels had put up resistance were destroyed and 985 towns, villages and agricultural settlements. Dio says 580,000 Jews died in the fighting 'and countless numbers of starvation, fire and the sword. Nearly the entire land of Judea was laid waste.' In the fourth century, St Jerome reported from Bethlehem a tradition that, after the defeat, there were so many Jewish slaves for sale that the price dropped to less than a horse.
"Hadrian relentlessly carried through to completion his plan to transform ruined Jerusalem into a Greek polis. He buried the hollows of the old in rubble to level the site. Outside the limits he removed the debris to get at and excavate the rock below to provide the huge ashlars for the public buildings he set up on the levelled site... The city he built was Aelia Capitolina. Greek-speakers were moved into populate it and the Jews were forbidden to enter on pain of death" (Paul Johnson, A History of the Jew, pages 140-3).
The new temple "appears to have contained the statue of Hadrian, of which Christian writers speak... The total paganism of Jerusalem was the fulfilment of a scheme long before attempted by Antiochus Epiphanes. In another respect, too, the measures adopted by Hadrian resembled his" (Emil Schurer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ - 175 BC - AD 135, pp.554-55).
"Hadrian decided that this must be the end. It was obvious to him that as long as this strange people kept up their curious religion they would consider Rome an oppressor and would refuse to become one with the Roman population. Hadrian prohibited the practice of Judaism. He forbade circumcision, the observance of the Sabbath, and the fixation of the calendar which was so important for the celebration of the holidays... Nevertheless, despite enemies and losses, the Jews continued to live. Even their national hopes were not completely destroyed. They still waited and hoped for the Parthian empire to grow strong and come to their deliverance, or for divine intervention to save Jerusalem from pagan hands" (Solomon Grayzel, A History of the Jews, pages 177-8).
(See also on Hadrian in the pages on Daniel).
CONSTANTINE THE GREAT
Constantine is another type of the beast-person. In his reign the proclamation of the Edict of Milan in 313 AD "permanently established religious toleration for Christianity with the Roman Empire" (EBritannica, Edict of Milan). By the end of the century traditional Christianity, by supplanting the pagan state religion, had become the religion of the empire. (In the end-time the beast-person proscribes traditional Christianity and replaces it with a new state religion). In achieving this transfer Constantine was aided by Eusebius of Caesarea - a type of the false prophet.
"The Eusebian Image" is a heading in the Catholic Encyclopedia's article on Constantine the Great. We see Eusebius involved with a tertiary application of the image of the beast:
"Eusebius of Caesarea had gained the Emperor's friendship before the Council of Nicaea and seems to have been one of his close advisers thereafter. He preached at the Emperor's Tricennalia, or 30th anniversary; and in the Vita set out to create a new theology of politics with Constantine as the new Moses, a notion current as early as 313. Eusebius portrayed Constantine as consciously inspired by the conviction that he had a divine mission to unify the Empire as a manifestation of the kingdom of God on earth...
"In the Scriptures Constantine found justification for his idea of the Church as the peace-bringing house of truth, the unifying element of the state as the kingdom of God (Vita 2.56,67)" (F. X. Murphy, Constantine, Catholic Encyclopedia, page 229).
Eusebius is a type of the Antichrist's Minister of Propaganda - the false prophet.
Under Constantine "while the emperor cult was continued, it was given a Christian interpretation and surrounded with Christian ceremonial" (Murphy, ibid.). Constantine also retained the office of pontifex maximus.
"All magistrates, city-dwellers and artisans are to rest on the venerable day of the sun (venerabilis dies solis). But country-dwellers may without hindrance apply themselves to agriculture..." (Codex Justinian III, 3 as quoted by John Holland Smith, Constantine the Great, page 163).
"Despite the doubts of some scholars the constitutions dealing with the observance of the Venerabilis dies solis, though cast in pagan form, were probably inspired by reverence for the Christian Sunday" (N H Baynes, Constantine, Cambridge Ancient History, Vol.12 - The Imperial Crisis and Recovery, p.694).
Constantine rebuilt Byzantium, a city of seven hills, and changed its name to Constantinople and made it his capital. "In the forum Constantini, the centre of the city, a statue of the Emperor depicted as Sol Invictus was erected on columns" (Murphy, page 228). "During the festivities at Constantinople, he was most interested in promoting the worship of himself" (Norman Davies, Europe: A History, page 209). This is an example of a rebuilt city in the east becoming the capital city of an Empire, having a statue dedicated to the emperor, (cp. Daniel 9:26 with 11:31, 36, & 45) and with the emperor promoting "the worship of himself".
"The day of the secular new year is known in Hebrew as Sylvester Day, named after the Roman Pope who convinced the emperor Constantine to prohibit Jews from living in Jerusalem and who arranged for the passage of anti-Semitic laws more than 1,700 years ago" (Jewish Elders Decry 'New Year', Urge Jews to Escort the Sabbath, isrealnn.com, January 3, 2006).
THE FOURTH BEAST AND THE GOSPEL
The Roman empire-system therefore encompasses both Christ's first and second comings. The Roman empire greatly assisted the spread of the gospel:
"It is striking that Christianity appeared in the world almost simultaneously with the beginning of the Roman empire. Although on a superficial glance the Roman empire may seem the greatest enemy of early Christianity, it was in some ways a grand preparation for, and in some ways the best ally of, Christianity. It ushered in politically "the fullness of the time." The Caesars - whatever they may have been or done - unconsciously prepared the way of the Lord" (S. Angus & A. M. Renwick, "Roman Empire and Christianity", The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol.4, page 210).
There was peace in the Roman world upheld by the law and might of Rome. Travel was safer and easier on the Roman road system and on the Mediterranean Sea. There was also a large measure of religious freedom.
It is likely that the final 'Roman' kingdom will greatly facilitate the preaching of the gospel. Christ said that "...this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14). This provides an interesting symmetry: Christ and gospel - first coming/ gospel and Christ - second coming.
THE ROMAN IMAGE
"The world on which Christianity entered was Roman; the world-religion which was to leaven it was necessarily cast in the mould and bore the stamp of Rome." The papacy is politically "the survival of the Roman conception of universal sovereignty" (Alfred Cort Haddon, Papacy, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, page 620).
The Roman Catholic Church is an "image" or type of the fourth beast (it is not the image of the beast of Revelation 13, which is set up by the false prophet):
"Moreover, the Latin conception of the Church as an external institution moulded in deed on the type of the empire, but controlled by bishops..." (Robert Martin Pope, Western Church, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, page 729).
WHAT IS A HEAD?
In his visions Daniel observed the beasts and their actions and had them interpreted for him. But in Revelation 13 John just records what he saw with no interpretation. Therefore the Book of Daniel, along with Revelation 17 provides the means to interpret this vision.
From the third beast of Daniel, the only other example of a beast with multiple heads in that book, we earlier established a definition for a "head" and when a "head" may commence. We conclude that the heads of that kingdom began after the great phase, that is under Alexander the Great, was over. Twenty years or so after his death the four heads were established as kingdoms in their own right. From the history of these kingdoms we may say that a "head" may last a short while - Lysimachus's kingdom lasted for twenty years - or hundreds of years - the Ptolemy kingdom existed for 275 years while the Seleucid kingdom lasted 249 years. The Ptolemy and Seleucid kingdoms/heads therefore had many kings. For example, the king that epitomises the Seleucid empire, from the Biblical perspective, is Antiochus Epiphanes who we saw was the eighth king of that dynasty.
The third beast's heads were basically contemporaneous. Jumping ahead in Revelation 17 to what we would classify as a 'cryptic telescopic prophecy' we find:
"The seven heads are seven mountains...they are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come..." (Revelation 17:9-10).
The point we want to take from these verses, at this time, is that we believe that the heads of the fourth beast are successive - not contemporaneous, as were the heads of the third beast.
The Roman empire is then in a sense the beast proper. After this phase is over the heads begin to reign. Twenty or so years after the Alexandrian phase of the third beast the heads began their rule. Similarly, 78 years after the fall of Rome, which fell in AD 476, the heads of the fourth beast began successively to reign.
We saw earlier that the ten contemporary kings comprise the final beast kingdom and that they would come out of the Roman empire. Therefore, after considering the additional information from Revelation 13 and 17 that there would be seven successive heads, then not only would the kingdom of the contemporary ten kings come out of the fourth beast, there would be six others as well. The kingdom of the ten contemporaneous kings is the seventh head.
THE SEVEN HEADS OF THE BEAST
"Ever since the fall of Rome, a strain in European thought has longed for the re-creation of an over-arching political structure for Europe, and used the Roman empire as a model..." (The Economist, European unity: The history of an idea, January 3, 2004, p.38).
When we refer to the Roman empire it is that political entity that incorporates Rome as a major city of that empire. Just as overlordship of Jerusalem is one of the condition for incorporation into the statue of Daniel 2 so Rome is essential for the whole beast-system. The end of imperial unity in the Roman world came in 395 AD, even though it had been divided administratively before this date. So in our interpretation the beast proper ends, that is before the 'heads' begin to reign, in 476 AD with the fall of Rome and the Western Roman Empire.
The next step is to identify the intermediary heads. This is not that easy. What follows is our present understanding of the kingdoms/empires that are the seven heads of the beast. There are a number of conditions that each kingdom has to fulfil to be a head, in the same way that the kingdoms qualified to be a part of the statue/image.
The fourth beast as represented in Daniel 2 was symbolized by the iron legs. The fifth kingdom or the last kingdom of Daniel 2 to come out of the fourth beast also comprises, in part, of iron. The iron therefore helps in tying this final kingdom to Rome. This would imply, seeing that the other six come out of the fourth beast that they will have an iron/Roman connection:
CRITERIA FOR A 'HEAD'
(1) The leader/s of each kingdom is an 'emperor' - ruling over an empire
(2) The emperor's power base is a country outside the Italian peninsula.
(3) The empire exercises real or de facto control over the city of Rome and as a minimum a major section of Italy.
(4) The pope is in Rome when imperial forces occupy the city.
(5) The emperor, that is the antitypical representative of the heads/kingdoms, dominates the religious leaders. Earlier we saw the relationship of Moses and Aaron in what could be said to be the ideal relationship between 'state' and 'church'. Therefore when the secular ruler is strong then the religious leader is subservient to him.
The reality of the relationship between the Empire and the papacy during the First Reich (800-1806) is seen in this interesting comment:
"Men revered the Holy Roman Empire as the bastion built against the coming of the antichrist. The Holy Roman Emperor saw himself as the chief defender of the church indeed of all Christendom. For all that, Empire and Emperor had no more formidable rival, or indeed enemy, than the Roman Pope. What was more, this papal hostility weighed most heavily in the balance at precisely those moments when the Empire was in greatest danger, whether from the Turks, the French or the Protestants" (Friedrich Heer, Holy Roman Empire, page 2).
For example the papacy brought the Third Head to a close: "The papacy had triumphed over the Empire of the Hohenstaufen and played its part in rooting out the 'infamous clan'" (Heer, page 87).
The following section looks at the highlights of the six fulfilled heads of the fourth beast. The types displayed in these kings/kingdoms help us to picture the antitypical fulfilment of prophecy in the seventh/eighth head.
So seventy-eight years after the fall of Rome the heads of the fourth beast begin to reign as defined by our criteria:
THE FIRST HEAD - Justinian and the Imperial Restoration (554-751)
Otto III, the representative we have chose for the Third Head "regarded Justinian as his first predecessor as emperor of the west" (Heer, page 45).
"The most essential part of his imperial duty seemed to him <Justinian> to be the restoration of the Roman Empire whose fragments the barbarians had divided" (Charles Diehl, Justinian, The Imperial Restoration in the West, Cambridge Medieval History, Vol.2 - Foundation of the Western Empire, p. 4).
Justinian regained certain parts of the western Empire: North Africa in 535, Italy in 553 - after twenty years of warfare - and Southern Spain in 554 - through his generals Belisarius and Narses (Hermann Kinder and Werner Hilgemann, Atlas of World History, Penguin, Volume 1, page 139).
"The destruction of classical Rome was the act of the Byzantines, not the barbarians" (Paul Johnson, A History of Christianity, page 130).
"Italy in particular was so ruined by Justinian's wars, so oppressed by his governors and tax-collectors, that the inhabitants soon regretted the restoration. The Patriarch of Rome, resentful of interference in his ecclesiastical freedom, was driven to think of permanent separation" (Norman Davies, Europe: A History, pages 243-244).
The Lombard invasion of 568-571 "led to the loss of most of the imperial possessions in the north and centre, though Ravenna, Rome, and Naples were retained" (William L. Langer, An Encyclopedia of World History, page 188).
"The papacy remained subservient to Constantinople long after the death of Justinian and the failure of Roman rule in Italy. Until 741 papal elections had to be confirmed by Constantinople, or the imperial exarch of Ravenna" (Richard A Todd, Clergy, bishops and pope, Lion Handbook - The History of Christianity, page 203).
In regard to Justinian's relationship to the church: "The Catholic cannot applaud the great emperor's ecclesiastical polity... True to the ideal of Constantinople, the emperor conceived himself as "priest and king", supreme head on earth in matters ecclesiastical as well as the State... In all this story Justinian appears as a persecutor of the church... His ecclesiastical tyranny is the one regrettable side of the character of so great a man" (Murphy, pages 579-80).
THE SECOND HEAD - Charlemagne and the Carolingians (751-911)
"Charlemagne (Carolus Magnus, Charles the Great) as king of the Franks (768-814) conquered the Lombard kingdom in Italy, subdued the Saxons, annexed Bavaria to his kingdom, fought campaigns in Spain and Hungary, and with the exception of the Kingdom of Asturias in Spain, southern Italy, and the British Isles, united in one superstate practically all the Christians lands of western Europe. In 800 he assumed the title of emperor. (He is reckoned as Charles I of the Holy Roman Empire, as well as Charles I of France). Besides expanding its political power, he also brought about a cultural renaissance in his empire. Although this imperium survived its founder by only one generation, the medieval kingdoms of France and Germany derived all their constitutional traditions from Charles's monarchy. Throughout medieval Europe, the person of Charles was considered the prototype of a Christian king and emperor... after the end of World War II, discussions of a united, Christian, "occidental" Europe invoked his model" (EBritannica, Charlemagne).
"[The] inability to create durable institutions is Charlemagne's real legacy. The Frankish king did manage to become the Holy Roman emperor, pre-empting the authority of the church, even in theological matters. That was perhaps not hard to do when successive popes ran to you for protection from barbarians or from palace schemers" (The Economist, Emperor Charlemagne - Castles of sand, September 18, 2004, p.87).
"The idea of a revived Roman empire was the key concept in the ideology of Charlemagne's government" (Heer, pages 153-54).
"[Charlemagne's] imperial seal bore the words Renovatio Imperii Romani, "the Renewal of the Roman Empire"" (The Economist, European unity: The history of an idea, January 3, 2004, p.38).
"Charles the Great, regarded by all emperors of the Holy Roman Empire as their illustrious forebear, took the title not of 'Roman Emperor' but of 'Emperor ruling the Roman Empire'" (Heer, page 7).
"In May 799, Pope Leo III was waylaid in Rome by personal enemies. He took refuge at the court of Charles, who had him conducted back to the city and who in November 800 came to Rome himself, where he was received with imperial honours... Residing in Rome four months and pronouncing sentence on the Pope's enemies as rebels guilty of lese majesty, Charles grasped the imperial reins with a firm hand" (EBritannica, Charlemagne).
"... the euro isn't Europe's first single currency. "Charlemagne had a common currency in Europe. He made every part of the Holy Roman Empire use the penny, which was about 90 percent silver," says economist Angela Redish of the University of British Columbia" (Robert J. Samuelson, The New Coin Of The Realm, msnbc.com, Newsweek, January 7, 2002).
THE THIRD HEAD - Otto III and Germany (962-1250)
Otto III was the grandson of Otto I the founder of the First Reich. Robert E. Herzstein believed that "It is highly probable that Otto I revived the Roman Empire because the existence of the Christian world was dependent upon the life of the Empire" (Heer, The Empire as a Regency for God on Earth, Editor Robert Edwin Herzstein, "The Holy Roman Empire in the Middle Ages", page 68).
When Otto I was elected king "The people raised their right hands to show their assent in the election and shouted 'victory and salvation' (Sieg und Heil)..," recorded Heer. He went on to comment "For us the salutation has a sinister ring from its associations with the terrifying man from Braunau-am-Inn" <i.e. Adolf Hitler, the representative of the sixth head> (Heer, The Holy Roman Empire, pages 26,33).
With the German Reich there are a number of emperors that fulfilled the criteria for being the antitypical emperor of the 'head', including Otto I. We have chosen Otto III because his reign may provide a type for the seventh head. We will also look at Frederick II a type of the Antichrist, for the second stage of the seventh head.
"Otto III...German king and Holy Roman emperor...planned to recreate the glory and power of the ancient Roman Empire in a universal state governed from Rome, in which the pope would be subordinated to the emperor in religious as well as in secular affairs" - the pope was to be "his lieutenant in the spread of Christian dominion" (EBritannica, Otto III).
"Otto III made the renewal of the Roman Empire the central idea of his policy ("renovatio imperii Romanorum" was the inscription on the royal seal)" (George Bailey, Germans: Biography of an Obsession, pages 365-366).
"The emperor marched back into Italy in late 997; taking Rome in February 998... Otto then preceded to make Rome his official residence and the administrative centre of the empire. Instituting elaborate Byzantine court ceremonies and reviving ancient Roman customs, he assumed the titles "the servant of Jesus Christ," "the servant of the apostles," and "emperor of the world" and saw himself as the leader of world Christianity" (EBritannica, Otto III).
"In the Middle Ages Otto III was called the 'wonder of the world'... in the words of a contemporary 'the handsomest offspring of the handsome emperor'... He envisaged the Europe of the future as a 'league of nations' in which the kings of the peoples then growing to adulthood as part of the western family, the Poles and the Hungarians, were linked to the Emperor and the Empire by ties of friendship, not as subjects but as partners" (Heer, pages 43-44).
"It was Otto's intention that Poland and the rest should become confederate states of varying status, like those which had surrounded the old Roman Empire. Romanum Imperium admittedly signified the hegemony of the Emperor; but the hegemon refrained from interfering in the internal affairs of his 'friends'. Within their own boundaries, the friendly and confederate states of the Empire enjoyed a freedom not always found today within the confederacies of either east or west (where interference in the internal affairs of member states is not confined to vital economic matters). Otto III intended to develop this system of alliances and friendship still further, but was prevented by death. His tenure of the imperial office is the first occasion on which we find the Empire being projected as a model, primarily as a model for a federation of European peoples. The Emperor was hegemon, enjoyed rights of leadership, but was chiefly pre-eminent in honour. This Empire was what we should call an umbrella organization; it united in the loosest possible form ethnic groups of greatly varying size and held them together by the most diverse ties. In Otto's design the Empire comes astonishingly close to some of our contemporary projects for federations of states designed to encompass in one grand union peoples and societies of widely different social and mental outlook" (Heer, page 48).
FORERUNNER OF THE ANTICHRIST - Frederick II
From the time of Frederick I:
"The Western world was waiting, with bated breath, till an Emperor of the West should make his entry into Jerusalem. Ever new prophecies hinged on the great event: he who rides into Jerusalem as King will bring the long-awaited Reign of Peace before the Antichrist shall come" (Ernest Kantorowicz, Frederick the Second 1194-1250, page 167).
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor 1220-1250, was "a man described by his contemporaries as 'the terror of the earth', the wonder-working transformer" (Friedrich Heer, The Medieval World: Europe 1100-1350, p.267). "The emperor was branded as the precursor of the anti-Christ" (EBritannica, Frederick II) by the papacy after his excommunication in 1245.
Frederick led a small force to the Holy Land. "He negotiated with the Muslims to obtain a kingdom comprising Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and the adjoining littoral" (Heer, page 82). "It was certainly the impact of Frederick's personality on the Arab world, and not armed might, that made this treaty possible" (EBritannica, Frederick the Great). He "amazed his Arab friends by declaring Jerusalem a city of three religions, Jewish, Muslim and Christian. Under the peace he concluded...with the Sultan al-Malik-al-Kamil in 1229, the Holy Place of the city was divided between the two faiths: the Christians had the Holy Sepulchre, the Muslims the mosque of Omar, and both sections were kept open to pilgrims" (Friedrich Heer, The Medieval World: Europe 1100-1350, page 112). The peace treaty involved a ten year truce (cp. Daniel 9:27a). He also "crowned himself king of Jerusalem with the Davidic crown" (Heer, Holy Roman Empire, page 82).
"Eschatological prophecies concerning his rule were now made, and the Emperor considered himself to be a new messiah, a new David. His entry into Jerusalem was compared with that of Christ on Palm Sunday, and indeed, in a manifesto the emperor, too, compared himself to Christ.
"When the news of his death was published, all Europe was deeply shaken. Doubts arose that he was really dead; false Fredericks appeared everywhere;... a legend grew... in Germany that he was encapsulated in a mountain and would return as the latter-day emperor to punish the worldly church and peacefully reestablish the Holy Roman Empire" (EBritannica, Frederick II).
THE FOURTH HEAD - Charles V and the Habsburgs (1452-1806)
Charles V (1500-1558), "Holy Roman emperor (1519-56), king of Spain...and archduke of Austria...inherited a Spanish and Habsburg empire extending across Europe from Spain and the Netherlands to Austria and the Kingdom of Naples and reaching overseas to Spanish America" (EBritannica, Charles V). An empire on which the sun never set.
"Charles's empire reached to the New World and the names of Cortes and of Las Casas cannot be left out of the history of his reign. It was in Charles's name that the new Indies were conquered, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, and the Antilles" (Leon E. Halkin, Charles V, Chambers Encyclopedia, Vol.3, page 283).
"Cortes was not alone in suggesting to Charles that he assume the title 'Emperor of America' (Emperador de Indias)...<but>...Charles was not an 'imperialist'" (Heer, page 168).
"The emperor's perpetual financial embarrassment contributed in its own way to the establishment of the first European common market" (Heer, page 150).
"The sack of Rome in 1527 by the armies of Emperor Charles V ended the city's preeminence as a Renaissance centre. In eight days, thousands of churches, palaces, and houses were pillaged and destroyed" (EBritannica, Rome).
"The sacco was not a matter of a few days pillage, but lasted over several months of disorder and uncertainty" (Otto von Habsburg, Charles V, page 122).
"The pope <Clement VII> fled, but fell into the emperor's hands and remained his captive until the following December" (Heer, page 154).
"From then on, the policy of the Holy Father remained almost continually until 1559 in bondage to Spanish and imperial policies. The master of Italy <Charles V> mastered the pope" (F. C. Spooner, France, 1519-59, The New Cambridge Modern History, Vol.2 - The Reformation 1520-59, p.212). "From Sicily and Naples on one side and from Milan on the other, imperial and Spanish forces could hold Rome in a pincer grip (Heer, page 158).
"Both as representatives of Charles V and as rulers in their own right, Ferdinand and Maximilian made a significant contribution to the rebuilding of the Holy Roman Empire (which by virtue of its foundation and institutions was a Roman Catholic Empire, endowed with a protectorate over the Roman church) as a community to which both Catholic and Protestants could legally belong. This extraordinary achievement was something which until the nineteenth or even the twentieth century no state in Europe believed possible" (Heer, page 178).
THE FIFTH HEAD - Napoleon and France (1789-1815)
"So the dream of the Holy Roman Empire has remained. It has bemused every generation of Germans since Charlemagne. It has beckoned and bewitched every German leader worth or not worth his salt, ranging in terms of merit and ability all the way from Barbarossa to "Kaiser Bill." The dream has proved to be an irresistible attraction and by no means only to Germans and their far-flung relatives. It has also appealed to Swedes, Spaniards, and Corsicans among others. Those captains and commanders who had no original conscious desire to travel the road to empire sooner or later discovered themselves moving along the railbed of historic progression that had been laid in the time of Charlemagne. Napoleon realized this early in his career and accepted it. Indeed, the empire was virtually thrust upon Napoleon as a matter of course by German princes. The prince elector of Mainz, Karl Theodor von Dalberg, archchancellor of the empire, wrote to the French ambassador accrediting to him that the constitution of the German empire was wholly in need of renovation. This could only be undertaken by a great and magnanimous character who would reinforce the laws by concentrating the executive power in his own hands. As for the incumbent (Austrian) emperor, "he could after all become the emperor of the Orient in order to provide a bulwark against the Russians, while the Occidental Reich under Kaiser Napoleon would arise as it had under Charlemagne, consisting of Italy, France, and Germany" (Bailey, page 363).
"In the third imperial phase, 1804-15, the Revolution found stability by locking itself to the cult of that general, the Empire's creator, Napoleon Bonaparte. The doubts and divisions which still remained in France were submerged under the titanic operations of his mission to conquer the world. Bonapartism turned revolutionary war and conquest into ends in themselves, and military requirements into an absolute priority. A pseudo-monarchy headed pseudo-democratic institutions; and an efficient centralized administration ran on a strange cocktail of legislative leftovers and bold innovation. Success or failure was handed to the gods of the battlefield. 'Success,' said Napoleon, 'is the greatest orator in the world'" (Davies, page 701).
"By routing the combined armies of Austria and Russia, Austerlitz enabled Napoleon literally to redraw the map of Europe, conjuring up a new Confederation of the Rhine from the Baltic to the Alps.
"Moreover, by obliging the Austrian Emperor Francis to renounce the title of Holy Roman Emperor, Napoleon snuffed out an institution that had been at the heart of Europe for more than a millennium" (Niall Ferguson, Ghost of Napoleon haunts Tony Blair, latimes.com, December 5, 2005).
"Napoleon established a new nobility of princes, dukes, counts, barons and knights...He ensured that as many people as possible had a stake in the empire" (Desmond Seward, Napoleon and Hitler, page 106).
(See on Calendar and Festivals of the French Revolution in Daniel 7).
"There was a gold standard that emerged under Napoleon, not by economic design, but by the desire to show authority and to facilitate trade. Napoleon did revise the French monetary system. The kings used a currency called the "ecu" and eventually they became known as a "Loui" named after the king. Napoleon introduced a new denomination the "franc" and as he conquered Europe, he standardized the monetary system. In other words, the French gold 20 franc coin was struck at a weight of 3.86 grams amounting to a fine gold content of .1867 of a troy ounce. In Italy, 20 lire now equaled French 20 francs and in Spain 80 reales also equaled French 20 francs. A gold standard was created among the French occupied countries. Both Belgium and Switzerland also adopted this issue of a gold 20 franc coin with the same weight" (Martin Armstrong, Gold - The Final Frontier, martinarmstrong.com, July 13, 2011).
"Napoleon not only covered his enormous military expenditures, he actually produced considerable profits for France - and himself. The sums acquired by the administrators of this domaine extraordinaire in the period of France's zenith were quite remarkable and in some ways foreshadow Nazi Germany's plunder of its satellites and conquered foes during the Second World War" (Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers - Economic Change and military Conflict 1500 to 2000, page 172). (cp. Daniel 11:22b,39b).
"In the twenty years from 1792 to 1812, the map of Europe, and the system of states, was widely remodelled. The French Revolutionary armies introduced territorial and political changes... The only parts to escape the revolutionary remodelling of Napoleon's enlightened despotism were the British Isles, Scandinavia, Russia, and the Ottoman domains. With those exceptions, the whole of Europe was subject to radical changes that swept away the traditional order, giving its people, however briefly, a taste for something entirely different" (Davies, pages 728-9).
"In the five years after his coronation Napoleon created a European Empire more extensive than any since the days of Rome...At the beginning of 1808, the year of the Empire's zenith, Napoleon could open an atlas and find that he ruled half of Europe. His empire extended from the Atlantic Ocean to White Russia, from the frozen Baltic to the blue Ionian Sea (Vincent Cronin, Napoleon, pages 225, 258).
"To some extent the Emperor considered that he was reviving the Western Empire, claiming his sovereignty derived from the people like the Roman Emperors'" (Seward, page 217).
"In 2002 Historia, a monthly French magazine, published an article under the title "Napoleon - the real father of Europe"... According to the article, many of the EU"s features - federal law, the common market, the dismantling of frontiers, the promotion of the idea of the rights of man - can be traced to the Napoleonic heritage. Why, even the Grand Army brought together 20 nations" (The Economist, European unity: The history of an idea, January 3, 2004, p.40).
William Pitt in a speech "to the House of Commons gave an undeniable objective account of 'the horrors committed in <northern> Italy during the campaign of 1796-97' <commanded by Napoleon>... The churches were given up to indiscriminate plunder. Every religious and charitable fund, every public treasure was confiscated. The country was made the scene of every species of disorder and rapine. The priests, the established form of worship, all the objects of religious reverence, were openly insulted by the French troops..." (Seward, pages 50-51).
"The first Consul was determined to make use of the Catholic church. It was in complete disarray, Catholicism appearing to be in greater danger than during the Reformation...He recognized that the vast majority of the French were Catholics, and saw religion as a stabilizing force which could be useful to him" (Seward, page 94).
"In February 1806 Napoleon urged his uncle, Cardinal Flesch, to impress upon the church that I am indeed Charlemagne, the sword of the church and its emperor" (Heer, page 7).
"The armies of Napoleon occupied Rome for the first time in 1798, and a republic was declared; but in 1809 Rome and the Papal States were annexed into the French Empire" (EBritannica, Rome).
"The abolition of the Papal states, and the maltreatment of the Popes, was especially shocking to contemporary opinion. Pius VI (1775-99)...was deprived of his temporal powers, and died in French custody at Valence. Pius VII (1800-23)...ended up for five years under French arrest for excommunicating all (unnamed) 'robbers of Peter's patrimony'" (Davies, pages 731).
"Bernard Lewis has pointed out that, by common consent among historians, "the modern history of the Middle East begins in the year 1798, when the French Revolution arrived in Egypt in the form of a small expeditionary force led by a young general called Napoleon Bonaparte-who conquered and then ruled it for a while with appalling ease"...
"Although the French expedition to Egypt lasted only three years, it demonstrated that the West was now so superior to the Islamic world that Westerners could enter the Arab heartland, then still a part of the Ottoman Empire, at will. Only another Western power could force them to leave" (Fjordman, The Eurabia Code: The Rise and Fall of Euro-Arab Axis, globalpolitician.com, March 14, 2007).
"Tom Pocock's ''Terror Before Trafalgar'' retells the story of the four years in which the French confidently prepared to invade Britain, overrun its army, take out its armaments and replace the government with something more up-to-date and easier to control. Several times they reached the point of embarcation (''Sail; do not lose a moment; enter the Channel with my assembled squadrons,'' Bonaparte instructed his top commander in August 1805: ''England is ours''). Pocock's little book ... gives a chilling insight into ineffectual undercover operations and groundbreaking weaponry: rockets, torpedoes, submarines, airships and the construction of an undersea tunnel, all so far ahead of their time that none turned out in the end to be much use in practical terms to either side" (Hilary Spurling, 'Nelson': Invincible at Sea and Irresistible on Land, nytimes.com, June 22, 2003).
Napoleon's career as emperor could be said to be divided into two stages. After abdicating in 1814 he resurrected his career after his exile on the island of Elba. "The revolutionary genie slipped once more from the bottle. Napoleon escaped from Elba" (Davies, page 761) (cp. Revelation 17:8a). This period is known as "The One hundred Days" which ended with the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
THE SIXTH HEAD - Adolf Hitler and Germany (1871-1945)
"Third Reich, official Nazi designation for the regime in Germany from January 1933 to May 1945, as the presumed successor of the medieval and early modern Holy Roman Empire of 800 to 1806 (the First Reich) and the German Empire from 1871 to 1918 (the Second Reich)" (EBritannica, Third Reich).
"Hitler was himself a species of monarch...basically the Fuhrerprinzip was not so very different from that of the 'People's King'. Significantly, he felt a certain kinship with the elected Kaisers of the medieval Reich, apparently regarding them as his forerunners" (Seward, page 121).
"After Hitler had annexed Austria and, in conscious or unconscious imitation of the medieval German emperors, travelled to Rome with fitting pomp to negotiate with Il Duce, the German press erupted in headlines proclaiming the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" (Bailey, page 363).
"His "Great Germanic Empire of the German Nation" embraced nearly the entire continent of Europe in one unitary, totalitarian, and economically independent imperium. The individual members were to be reduced to vassals whose one purpose was to serve his aspirations for world power. "Old Europe has outlived its usefulness," Hitler is reported to have said in a conversation with Slovak President Tiso. He saw Germany in the position of Rome poised for the overpowering of the other city-states of Latium" (Joachim Fest, Hitler, page 688).
"The internal frontiers of Europe would soon lose their importance, one of the ideologues of the new order wrote, "except for the Alpine frontier where the Germanic Empire of the North and the Roman Empire of the South" meet" (Fest, page 689).
"Hitler constructed a society no less hierarchal than the Napoleonic Empire. It had its princes, like the Reichsmarschall (Goering) and the Reichsfuhrer (Himmler), while party office conferred such fiefs as that of a Gauleiter. The humblest party member prided himself on Ayran blood which bestowed a minimal 'nobility'" (Seward, page 124).
Hitler "feared the Church's hold over the consciences of millions of Germans, and like Napoleon, he hoped to harness it in the service of his new society" (Seward, page 115).
"Hitler's closest advisers, Bormann, Himmler, Heydrich, systematically worked towards the 'final settlement' in church-state relations. The churches were to be subordinated to the 'new order', the clergy stripped of all privileges, and Christianity left to suffer what Hitler called 'a natural death'" (Richard Pierard, "An Age of Ideology", Lion Handbook - The History of Christianity, page 600).
""After the end of the war" a "great reckoning with the churches" would begin "and the pope in tiara and the full pontificals" would be hung in St. Peter's Square" (Fest, page 689).
"In the occupied areas of eastern Europe priests and pastors, along with devout laymen, were treated as common criminals. Thousands were executed or sent to concentration camps. The exigencies of the war and need for popular support prevented the Nazi's from eradicating religion in Germany itself. But what lay ahead was dramatized in the Warthegau, the model territory in Poland, where the institutional church was virtually wiped out by the Nazis" (Pierard, page 600).
"The lack of demonstrative protest from the Vatican was the subject of much subsequent controversy. Pius XII's detractors believe that he was indifferent to the Jewish tragedy. His defenders claim that he was torn by fears of reprisals against German Catholics, and by a desire to maintain 'impartiality' between the evils of Fascism and Communism. He certainly did little for the millions of Catholics killed by the Nazis" (Davies, page 1021).
"A Catholic call to action against the central tenet of National Socialism would most certainly be regarded as high treason, and dealt with in a brutal, summary fashion" (Pierard, page 602).
A PROTESTANT AND NAZI IMAGE
"The German Christians...did not merely envisage piece-meal alterations in teaching and liturgy, but the restructuring of the whole of German Protestantism - both in its theology and its organization. During the church elections of 1933 the German Christians - with overt support from such outside bodies as the Storm Troopers - managed to poll three quarters of the votes and to gain majorities in most provinces, whereupon they moved to reshape the church in the image of the Nazi state, i.e. to subject it to the operation of the leadership principle" (Richard Grunberger, A Social History of the Third Reich, p.554).
("The Fuhrerprinzip or 'Leader Principle'. Totalitarian parties operated on strict hierarchal lines. They exacted slavish obedience from their minions, through the unquestionable cult of the Party Leader, the fount of all wisdom and beneficence" (Davies, page 946)).
Ludwig Muller, an army chaplain, "the most vehement leader of the German Christians, devoted follower and friend of Hitler, and his adviser on Protestant church affairs" (William L Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich page 237), "was elected Reichsbischof ("imperial bishop")" (EBritannica, Confessing Church).
Though soon after the Reich-Bishop and the 'German Christians' lost all influence, Ludwig Muller provides a type of the false prophet. The German Christians' Protestant church as an "image" of the Nazi state provides a type of the yet future "image of the beast".
A more secular orientated religious 'image' was proposed:
"While Hitler looked on the German Christians as the sect most amenable to his purpose, it was Rosenberg's total opposition to Christianity in any form that articulated the Party's basic attitude to religion (Grunberger, page 556).
"What the Hitler government envisioned for Germany was clearly set out in a thirty-point program for the "National Reich Church" drawn up during the war by Rosenberg... A few of its thirty articles convey the essentials:
"1. The National Reich Church of Germany categorically claims the exclusive right and the exclusive power to control all churches within the borders of the Reich: it declares these to be the national churches of the German Reich.
5. The National Church is determined to exterminate irrevocably...the strange and foreign Christian faiths imported into Germany in the ill-omened year 800.
7. The National Church has no scribes, pastors, chaplains or priests, but National Reich orators are to speak in them.
13. The National Church demands immediate cessation of the publishing and dissemination of the Bible in Germany...
14. The National Church declares that to it, and therefore to the German nation, it has been decided that the Fuhrer's Mein Kampf is the greatest of all documents. It...not only contains the greatest but it embodies the purest and truest ethics for the present and the future life of our nation.
18. The National Church will clear away from its altars all crucifixes, Bibles and pictures of saints.
19. On the altars there must be nothing but Mein Kampf (to the German nation and therefore to god the most sacred book) and to the left of the altar a sword.
30. On the day of its foundation, the Christian Cross must be removed from all churches, cathedrals and chapels...and it must be superseded by the only unconquerable symbol, the swastika" (Shirer, page 240).
In relation to article 5 above the coming European emperor may be descendant from the old Saxons (cp. Wikukind); or, perhaps, from the dukes of the Bavarian Agilolfing family.
The old Saxons, who "possessed an indigenous 'pagan' culture and were led by a strong and self-confident aristocracy" (Heer, page 10), were violently converted to Christianity. It would then, in a sense, be fitting that an old Saxon descendant would violently convert traditional Christianity to a new paganism.
EUROPE AND THE SECOND REICH
"A Latin Monetary Union prevailed among France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Greece and Bulgaria from 1865 until 1914 ... but came to grief with the first world war" (The Economist, Euro: Closer political union, January 5, 2002, p.11).
"The central fact of global politics from 1890 to 1914 was Britain's relative decline. This occurred naturally, as industrial power diffused, but was aggravated by the particular challenge of Germany. Overextended, the British sought partners to share the burdens of a world empire and were obliged in return to look kindly on those partners' ambitions" (EB, 20th-Century International Relations).
"The Kaiser William II, fond of pomp, vain, inconsistent and unbalanced, was convinced, in a mystical sense, he ruled by God's grace" (Herman Kinder & Werner Hilgemann, Vol.2, p.110). (Cp. Isaiah 10:5-7).
"In 1897 the Kaiser, already in possession of Europe's most powerful army, had ordered the construction of a German High Seas Fleet. He had seen it from the start as a deliberate challenge to Britain's command of the seas, and so to the established order of things. One day, he told his admirals and constructors, it would be God's Instrument of Justice - 'until then, silence and work'. By 1914, the work was done, the silence broken, and as Europe burst like an abscess into war, Queen Victoria's Empire found itself challenged by equal force of arms for the first time since she had succeeded to the throne, almost eighty years before. The grand illusion was collapsing" (Jan Morris, Farewell the Trumpets, pp.155-56).
"The victory [in 1907] of Victor Grayson, a raving Socialist, in the West Riding of Yorkshire raised frightening prospects... with a gift for oratory... he preached Socialism as the deliverance of the poor with a fervor that swept through the mill towns like fire. His wild antics in the House twice caused his suspension and attracted attention all over Europe. The Kaiser was reported to have proposed invading England with an Army corps or two, proclaiming that he had come not as an enemy but as Victoria's grandson to deliver England "from the Socialist gang which is ruling the country." In cooperation with King Edward [his uncle] he would dissolve Parliament and re-establish autocratic monarchy as feudatory of Germany.
"Englishmen were increasing conscious of the threat of Germany... In 1909 Guy du Maurier's play An Englishman's Home ... dramatized an invasion by the forces of "the Emperor of the North"...." (Barbara Tuckman, The Proud Tower, pp.379-380).
"Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm had drawn up detailed plans in 1900 for an invasion of the United States centered on attacks on New York City and Boston... One plan foresaw a force of 100,000 soldiers transported across the Atlantic on 60 ships.
"Beginning in 1897, a German navy lieutenant named Eberhard von Mantey was assigned the task of preparing an invasion of the United States after German and American interests had collided in the Pacific.
"Wilhelm II wanted colonies and military bases around the world," author Henning Sietz wrote in Die Zeit. "The United States was increasingly getting in the Kaiser's way."
"Von Mantey's aim was to find a way to force the United States to sign a treaty giving Germany free reign in the Pacific and Atlantic. He rejected ideas of a naval blockade or a naval battle and made plans for an invasion of the northeast instead" (Kaiser Wilhelm's Germany Had Plan to Take New York, reuters.com, May 8, 2002).
"It was of interest to me [Wilhelm II] that the Pope said to me on this occasion that Germany must become the sword of the Catholic Church. I remarked that the old Roman Empire of the German nation no longer existed and that conditions had changed. But he stuck to his words" (Wilhelm II, The Kaiser's Memoirs, p.211).
"... Kaiser Wilhelm II ... took his white horse ... to the Holy Land... [He] arrived there in [Jerusalem] in 1898 in a ceremonial entry of preposterous pomp, preceded by brass bands, white-liveried Uhlans, Arab cavalry and German sailors, and wearing on his head a helmet surmounted by a gigantic golden eagle... In Jerusalem ... the Augusta Victoria Hospital [was] originally built to commemorate the Kaiser's visit, but [it was] supposedly designed as the Government House of a German-conquered Palestine..." (Jan Morris, pp.248-49, 177, 263). (Cp. Revelation 6:2).
"... for many pre-millennialist Protestants on the eve of the twentieth century, the significance of Wilhelm's visit and efforts in behalf of Jews took on a biblical significance, for it seemed to promise the impending return of Christ. For example, Merkley quotes the Anglo-German missionary William Hechler (a Protestant ally of Jewish Zionist leader Theodor Herzl) as saying, just prior to the Kaiser's arrival in Palestine, "Now we await the visit of the German Emperor to the Holy Land ... But maybe what we will have is the privilege of welcoming Jesus, Who has promised that He would come again ... Many signs are multiplying around us, announcing the Coming in a very brief time"" (Alan C. Braddock, Painting the World's Christ: Tanner, Hybridity, and the Blood of the Holy Land, http://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/autumn_04/articles/brad_print.html).
"The June 1914 assassination [of the Austrian Archduke Francis-Ferdinand] is one of the best-known examples in history of a particular event triggering a general crisis, and then a world war... There was indeed much truth in the old cliche that the archduke's death was merely the spark which lit the tinderbox" (Kennedy, p.327).
As we will see a yet future political assassination will signal the beginning of World War 3.
THE SEVENTH HEAD - ?
George Bailey, in his book Germans: Biography of an Obsession, published in 1972, asked the question:
"... can we be sure that history has written finis to what was perhaps the grandest design ever conceived by man: the Holy Roman Empire?" (page 360).
We believe that a Holy Roman Empire adapted for the 21st century will emerge in the future. Why?
"Consumerism cannot be the centre of life for long... We think it is extremely likely that the religious movement we see at work in many societies around the globe will be strengthened if we go through a very difficult economic period. Religion will be strengthened because the current thrust of science no longer undermines the religious perceptions of reality. Indeed, for the first time in centuries, it actually buttresses it. Religion will also be strengthened because the breakdown of social order will further discredit the attempts of the state to substitute for the social functions that religions performed in traditional societies. The rising epidemic of crime, in particular, underscores the need for more potent controls on behaviour than overtaxed police and court systems can enforce (James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg, The Great Reckoning, page 447).
Europe will reject the short term obsessed, society destroying Anglo-Saxon capitalism - which will be blamed for the future economic collapse. A foretaste of the future:
"More than 6,000 shareholders of the Swiss banking giant packed the house to vent their fury over tens of billions in losses on American subprime mortgages and what they saw as an insult to traditional Swiss values like prudence and thrift.
"The target of their anger wasn't just UBS's chairman, Marcel Ospel, or any of the bank's other top executives... Instead, much of their ire was aimed at the United States itself - specifically an addiction to high-octane risk-taking, easy credit and dubious financial assumptions that created the domestic mortgage mess in the first place...
"Thomas Minder, a local shareholder activist, was even more outraged. "What happened here is a scandal," he thundered. "You're responsible for the biggest loss in the history of the Swiss economy. Put an end to the Americanization of the Swiss economy!"" (Nelson D. Schwartz, The Mortgage Bust Goes Global, nytimes.com, April 6, 2008).
Europe will look into its glorious history and provide the political, religious, economic and sociological leadership for the world.
The 1990s/2000s/2010s experiment with the corporatist society will fail as it did in the 1920s. All eyes will then turn to Europe. Paul Johnson wrote of the type that occurred in the 1930s:
"At the very moment the American intelligentsia turned to totalitarian Europe for spiritual sustenance and guidance in orderly planning, it was in fact embarking on two decades of unprecedented ferocity and desolation - moral relativism in monstrous incarnation... For Americans, then it was a case of moving from a stricken Arcadia to an active pandaemonium. The devils had taken over" (Modern Times, page 261).
"As the religion of secular consumerism is left behind like a rusting tail fin, sterner religions that involve real moral principles and angry gods will make a comeback" (Davidson and Rees-Mogg, page 27). None more so than the Roman Catholic Church. Religion, in the future, will be the glue that holds Europe together.
Europe will seem to be, for a while at least, the saviour of the world, but, once again, it will eventually brink it to the edge of the abyss.
The Holy Roman Empire adapted for the 21st Century is only the first stage of the seventh head. We will now look at the human representative in its last stage.
THE BEAST OF REVELATION
Earlier we interpreted that in Revelation 13:1-2 the fourth-empire system - dating from the first century BC to Christ's return - is symbolically described as a beast with sevens heads and ten horns. This is the 'what' of the 'beast'.
This is the same 'beast' system of Daniel 7 - (see "Chart of the Beast" - Appendix 3
) - implied through the telescopic foreshortening of the period from the empire proper to its final kingdom comprising ten-horns in the end-time.
The beast-person of Revelation 13 is the 'little-horn' of Daniel 7. We have already noted that ninety per cent of prophecy focuses on the end-time - "the last days". The types in prophecy and history point to and have their ultimate fulfilment in this evil human-being working with Satan.
The beast-person is also referred to as "the king of Babylon" (Isaiah 14:4); "the Assyrian" (Isaiah 14:25); "the king of fierce countenance" (Daniel 8:23); "the Prince that shall come" (Daniel 9:26); "the wilful king" (Daniel 11:36); "the man of sin" (2 Thessalonians 2:3); "the son of perdition" (2 Thessalonians 2:3); and "the lawless one" (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
In his epistle John refers to him as "the Antichrist" (1 John.2:18). The beast-person is "an opponent of Christ; that which sets itself in the place of Christ, which appears as Christ in opposition to Christ..." (E. W. Bullinger, A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament, page 56).
"And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed" (Revelation 13:3a, AV).
The expression "as it were wounded" in Greek is hos esphagmenen. John employed it to describe the Lamb (Christ):
"...and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes..." (Revelation 5:6).
"In John's description of the beast, there are numerous parallels with Jesus that should alert the reader to the fact that John is seeking to establish...a theological characterization...: Both wielded swords; both had followers on whose foreheads were inscribed their names (13:16-14:1); both had horns (5:6; 13:1); both were slain, the same Greek word being used to describe their deaths (sphagizo, vv.3,8); both had arisen to new life and authority; and both were given (by different authorities) power over every nation, tribe, people, and tongue as well as over kings of the earth (1:5; 7:9; with 13:7; 17:12). The beast described here is the great theological counterpart to all that Christ represents..." (Alan F. Johnson, Revelation, Expositor's Bible Commentary, Volume 12, page 527).
There is also a 'characterization' to their arrivals:
2 Thessalonians 2:8
2 Thessalonians 2:9
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming (Greek: parousia).
The coming (parousia) of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders.
In Daniel 9 the death of this king of kings in the 'cryptic telescopic prophecy' was described by the antitype:
"And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood. And till the end of the war desolations are determined" (Daniel 9:26).
At the beginning of the last seven years of man's mis-rule on this earth the beast-person will establish a covenant with the Jews. Around three and a half years later he will receive the 'deadly wound'. He will then 'recover' becoming the Antichrist; perhaps after three days and three nights (cp. Matthew 12:40).
But there is also another resurrection parallel. The beast-person is also associated in Revelation with a woman who has the mysterious name 'Babylon the Great'. Babylon has been the source of all religions and the Antichrist's death is in keeping with the idea of "The mystery religions <which> had at their base a divinity whose annual death and resurrection corresponded to the rhythm of the seasons" (Howard F. Voss, "Religions: Greco-Roman", The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol.4, page 114).
The healing of the deadly wound had the result that:
"...all the world marvelled and followed the beast. So they worshipped the dragon who gave authority to the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" (Revelation 13:3b-4); cp. Revelation 17:8).
"People follow and worship the beast because he is apparently invincible" (Alan Johnson, page 527). By worshipping the beast-person "all the world" is in effect worshipping the dragon/Satan (cp. Revelation 12:9). "Deification of secular power is in fact worship of Satan" (Mounce, page 249).
The expression "Who is like the beast?" is also a similar parody of God:
"Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like You, glorious in holiness,
Fearful in praises, doing wonders?..."
And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.
...the Lamb opened one of the seals... And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who had a bow; and a crown was given him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.
The 'Little Horn'
He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High,... Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time.
His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; He shall destroy fearfully... He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people.
... he shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been completed.
The true saints will not be deceived by the 'beast/Antichrist'. They will not worship him and so will suffer his wrath for three and a half years (cp. Revelation 12:17).
"Here, to "make war," as elsewhere in the Apocalypse, does not mean to wage a military campaign but refers to hostility to and destruction of the people of God in what ever manner and through what ever means the beast may choose (study carefully 2:16; 11:7; 12:7,17; 16:14; 17;14; 19:11,19; 20:8; 2 Cor 10:4). "To conquer" then refers not to the subversion of their faith but to the destruction of their physical lives" (Alan Johnson, page 528). (cp. Matthew 10:28).
The persecution "of the people of God" includes both spiritual Israel - the church of God founded by Jesus Christ at his first coming; and physical Israel/Jacob - the modern-day descendants of the patriarch Jacob:
"Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it (cp. Matthew 24:21-22); and it is the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, Says the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from your neck, And will burst your bonds; Foreigners shall no more enslave them... For behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity..." (Jeremiah 30:7-10).
As we saw earlier the Jews are only one portion of the people of Jacob. The coming continental European superpower led by the Antichrist will make war with the Jews, the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic and kindred peoples and overcome them.
"And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:7-8).
And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.
...the Lamb opened one of the seals... And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war... And on His head were many crowns...Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron.
Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on his head a golden crown, and His hand a sharp sickle.
"...we see in this rider an imitation of the "faithful and true" Messiah when He comes forth on a white horse to really conquer, as described in Revelation 19:11, then, how natural for the false and deceiving Messiah to go forth in a manner that will be most calculated to "deceive many" (E. W. Bullinger, Commentary on Revelation, page 253).
"Feuillet (ZNW57  229-59) regards the first cavalier as an agent of divine judgment bearing a bow, while the next three cavaliers are "arrows," which inflict the specific judgments of war, famine, and pestilence; this explains why the summary of the plagues in v8 allude only to the last three cavaliers and not to the first" (David E. Aune, Revelation 6-16, Word Biblical Commentary, page 390).
The first seal pictures the start of the Antichrist's reign (God's rod of correction on Israel (Isaiah 10:5)) which appears to commence at the healing of his "deadly wound". The second, third and fourth seals pictures the wars, famines and pestilences at the beginning of that reign. Once he has subjected the Jews, Anglo-Saxon-Celtic and kindred peoples he makes war with and overcomes the surviving saints, and all those who will not worship him, as pictured by the fifth seal:
"And I will do among you what I have never done, and the like of which I will never do again, because of your abominations... One-third of you shall die of the pestilence, and be consumed with famine in your midst; one third shall fall by the sword all around you; and I will scatter another third to all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them... So I will send against you famine and wild beasts, and they will bereave you. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword against you, I the LORD, have spoken " (Ezekiel 5:9, 12, 17); (cp. 14:21, 33:27).
[Why do we say that the first seal begins the tribulation? The reason is based on the concept of the type and antitype being telescoped together to appear at first glance to be only one event or subject. We saw earlier Joyce Baldwin's observation that "Bible prophecy regularly exhibits this characteristic of telescoping the future, so that the more distant event appears to merge with the nearer so as to become indistinguishable from it". So the letters of Revelation 2 and 3 begin addressing the typical first/second century churches but then jumps over more than 1800 years to the seven special end-time antitypical churches of God, see also below. The antitypical warnings are therefore for the churches prior to the tribulation. So the time setting at the end of Revelation 3, is immediately before the last three and half years of this age, just before the seals are opened].
The yet future Antichrist will accept the offer of Satan that Christ refused:
"Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I will give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship me, all will be yours"" (Luke 4:5-7).
Napoleon and Hitler had unrealised designs on Britain and the British empire but the Antichrist will realise them.
While Charles V did not assume the title 'Emperor of America' (Emperador de Indias) the Antichrist will be Emperor of, at the very least, North America. It would appear that with God taking his hedge from around Israel (Isaiah 5:5 - the far-future application of this prophecy) along with Satan being able to deliver the kingdoms of this world to the beast-person that the United States of America could be capable of being invaded and conquered.
Nazi plans for the occupation of Britain are a type of what will be carried out in the lands of the Jews, Anglo-Saxon-Celtic and kindred peoples in the future:
"The Nazi German invasion of Britain would have not been a gentle affair. The captured German papers leave no doubt of that. On September 9 <1940> Brauchitsch, the Commander in chief of the Army, signed a directive providing that "the able-bodied male population between the ages of seventeen and forty-five [in Britain] will, unless the local situation calls for an exceptional ruling, be interned and dispatched to the Continent... In no other conquered country, not even in Poland, had the Germans begun with such a drastic step...<the plans>...seem designed to ensure the systematic plunder of the island and the terrorization of its inhabitants...Everything but normal household stocks were to be confiscated at once" (Shirer, page 782). (cp. Revelation 18:13b).
When the whole world is to worship the Beast it is most likely referring to universal worship. Through the power and authority given to the Antichrist, accompanied by signs and lying wonders and economic bargaining power, the Beast will be in the position to be worship in one form or another by the rest of the world. But there may be two attitudes to this worship:
"...wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we...have come to worship Him... Then Herod sent them to Bethlehem and said, "....bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also" (Matthew 2:1-7).
"Secular Greek used the verb (proskyneo, worship) for a wide variety of levels of obeisance" (D.A. Carson, Matthew, Expositor's Bible Commentary, Volume 8, page 90).
There will be those nations that will nominally go along with the Beast for their advantage. But it will be a relationship of 'iron and clay' which will not last, as we saw earlier in Daniel 2. While there will be those nations who genuinely co-operate. Therefore the worship of the Beast will be more involved and concentrated in the Beast's empire and genuinely allied nations. It was noted earlier that the worship of Augustus varied in character and degree within his world empire.
This mingling "with the seed of men" (Daniel 2:43) would be the world coming together for this first time since the scattering at the tower of Babel - this will be Babylon coming full circle. God was forced to intervene then, and before the flood, so with the world soon to come together as one He will do so again.
George Eldon Ladd points out that in the context of the beast opening "his mouth in blaspheme against God, to blaspheme His name, tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven" (Rev 13:6), "to blaspheme does not mean to curse, as in English, but in connection with God to do or say anything that desecrates the divine name or violates his glory and his deity. Jesus was accused of blasphemy by the high priest (Matt 26:65) because he claimed a place at the right hand of God - "Blasphemous words" <v.5> are not words of derogation of God but of self-deification" (A Commentary on the Revelation of John, page 186).
But how will the Antichrist be worshipped as god? The false prophet provides the 'how'. He will instigate the method and promotion of that worship.
THE WHO AND WHAT OF THE SECOND BEAST
"Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon" (Revelation 13:11).
In Daniel's vision the four beasts, which span from the time of Nebuchadnezzar to the return of Jesus Christ, all come from the sea. John's first beast also comes from the sea. We have concluded that the fourth beast of Daniel is the same as John's first beast seen from a different Biblical focus.
The second beast of Revelation is to be distinguished by the fact that in the vision it comes "up out of the earth".
This beast is a system as well as its evil representative in the end-time - the 'who' and 'what' of the second 'beast'. The land beast-person is later referred to as the false-prophet:
"And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him [Christ]... Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone" (Revelation 19:19-20).
Revelation 19 establishes the time element of the activities of the beast and false prophet. They are operating together in the "last days".
We have seen that when the secular leader is strong the religious leader is subservient to the former. As we saw earlier Moses and Aaron provide a positive relationship of a god and a prophet, while the beast and false prophet provide a negative one. Therefore from the Bible and the historical pattern the beast-person sets himself up as God and the false prophet is his spokesman - his right-hand man.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect (Matthew 24:24).
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves (Matthew 7:15).
Arguable Revelation 13:11 describes the system and then, through the telescopic concept, verse 12 begins describing the individual that represents that system.
"If we find an illustration of the first beast in the Roman empire we will see the imperial priesthood in the second" (Leon Morris, Revelation, Tyndale, p.166).
In prophecy there is a near-future application and a far-future application, with the near-future being a 'type' for the far-future.
In the time of John, the Roman imperial cult promoted the worship of the Roman emperor as 'god'. This, then, is the primary type for the future worship of the Beast emperor as 'god'. But there is also a type that emerged after the near-future application.
The Roman Catholic Church, which based its organisation on the Roman system, is also a type of the Beast-church, which is to replace it in the last three and a half years of this age.
The two lamb like horns, in the secondary typological application, may symbolise the temporal government of the Roman Catholic Church over the Papal States, and later the Vatican, and the spiritual government over the international Roman Catholic Church.
The horns may symbolise the counterfeit religious system of the true Christ and the religious system of the counterfeit Christ, with the false prophet being the human representative of both these systems.
The second beast-person - the false prophet - may therefore come from the Catholic Church itself, he may be a future pope, or he may come from one of the daughter churches of traditional Christianity. Under Adolf Hitler, Reich Bishop Muller, a type of the false prophet, was a Protestant.
"And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he makes fire come down from heaven in the sight of men" (Revelation 13:12-13).
The false prophet will cause the Antichrist to be worshipped as "God". The false prophet "is in no sense a rival for he makes people worship the first beast" (Leon Morris, Revelation, Tyndale, page 166).
"The Holy Roman Emperor saw himself as the chief defender of the church indeed of all Christendom. For all that, Empire and Emperor had no more formidable rival, or indeed enemy, than the Roman Pope" (Friedrich Heer, Holy Roman Empire, p.2).
Alan Johnson concurs with Morris that "the land beast is subservient to the beast from the sea and seems utterly dedicated to promoting not himself but the wounded beast from the sea" (page 529). The false prophet will set up a religious system with the beast as the focal point.
"Making fire come down from heaven to earth recalls the descent of fire on Elijah's sacrifice in his contest with the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:38). What the prophets of Baal could not do, the false prophet will do" (G R Beasley-Murray, The Book of Revelation, page 217).
"In that he secures worship of the image of the first beast (v.12) the second seems to stand for a priesthood... Unhappy results always follow when state power is allied to a false priesthood" (Leon Morris, Revelation, Tyndale, p.166).
THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST
"And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and did live. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed" (Revelation 13:14-15).
The apostle Paul's wrote of this time that: "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders" (2 Thessalonians 2:9).
Power (dunamis), signs (semeion) and wonders (teras) "are used of the works of Jesus, e.g. in Acts 2:22, where Peter speaks of him as divinely attested by the...<miracles (dunamis), wonders (teras) and signs (semeion)> "which God did through him"...here again the ministry of Jesus is parodied...by which the earth dwellers are persuaded to worship the imperial beast" (F.F. Bruce, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Word Biblical Commentary, page 173).
The question that may be asked here is: does the beast-person also perform signs and wonders? This verse does not necessary imply that he does. We know that the false prophet is able to perform supernatural feats. Earlier we saw in the example of Moses and Aaron, a type of a God and a prophet, that both of them were able to bring on the plagues. With Pharaoh, a type of the Beast, we only know that his 'magicians' performed the opposing miracles. In the latter example it would imply that the person who is able to perform these signs does not necessarily have to be the leader. (In Revelation 16:13-14 one of the evil spirit is associated with the beast who, along with the other two, are able to perform signs (semeion)). We will have to wait and see if the beast-person performs supernatural feats.
"These remarkable phenomena, which in the past have been used so effectively in laying the foundation for the church (Acts 2:22,43; 4:30; 5:12; 6:8; 7:36; 14:3; 15:12; Rom 15:19; 2 Cor 12:12; Heb 2:4), will be redirected to purposes of deceit. They will not be "counterfeit"...but genuine supernatural feats to produce false impressions, deluding people to the point of accepting the lie as truth (cf. v.11)" (Robert L. Thomas, 1,2 Thessalonians, Expositor's Bible Commentary, Volume 11, page 326).
"If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods' - which you have not known - 'and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deuteronomy 13:1-3).
"...God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie (2 Thessalonians 2:11).
"For false Christs and false apostles will rise and show great signs (semeion) and wonders (teras) to deceive, if possible, even the elect" (Matthew 24:24).
The false prophet uses these 'supernatural feats' to establish a religious system to worship the Antichrist. The primary interpretation of the 'image of the beast' is a false/counterfeit church/religious system.
The Catholic Church, "cast in the mould" and bearing "the stamp of Rome", is a counterfeit church which nominally worships Christ. The German Christians of the Third Reich "moved to reshape the church in the image of the Nazi state." This church was also a false church which nominally worshipped Christ.
The false prophet on the ashes of traditional Christianity will build a religious system that may reflect the new world order but which will worship the Antichrist.
"His miracles were done on behalf of the first beast which may be another parody, for the two witnesses stood 'before the Lord of the earth' (Revelation 11:4), the Greek preposition both times being enopion. There is an implication of a readiness to serve and obey. The second beast instructs his followers to set up an image to the first, who is characterized yet once more by his recovery from his wound" (Morris, page 167).
The false prophet by performing these 'supernatural feats' will 'give life' (Revelation 13:15a) to a new system of worship.
May be what happen with Augustus, as we saw earlier, is a type for the future: "The sudden outburst of the celebration of Octavian/Augustus was a new phenomenon"; "The cult...became spontaneously a municipal concern, in which all members of a community, not merely the lower classes, participated" (cp. Revelation 13:15a).
Through the false prophet requiring the people (Revelation 13:14) to establish and participate in the religious system, the cult will cause those who do not worship the 'beast' to be killed' (Revelation 13:15b).
Alan Johnson concurs with the primary sense of the 'image': "John describes this reality as a blasphemous and idolatrous system that produces a breach of the first two commandments (Exod 20:1-2)... to limit the image...to some future statue or ventriloquistic device constricts John's deeper meaning and eliminates the present significance of his language" (pages 531-2).
"Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold...<and>...made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a fiery furnace..." (Daniel 3:1, 10-11).
"The fact that all peoples, nations and languages were to fall down and worship it suggest that Nebuchadrezzar intended to unite his kingdom under one religion" (Baldwin, page 99).
"It may be that...<Nebuchadnezzar's>...satisfaction at the number of his conquests (among which Jerusalem itself might probably be included) led Nebuchadrezzar to become filled with pride, and to erect this statue so as to honour both his god and himself" (Young, page 692).
With the dual concept that the 'head of gold' represented both Nebuchadnezzar and the neo-Babylonian empire and a 'beast' represents a system and a person, (Nebuchadnezzar being the "beast" of the first beast/kingdom), so the 'image of the beast', the 'mark of the Beast', and the 'number of his name' all have dual aspects - one is figurative the other is literal.
Therefore, based on the precedents of the Bible (Daniel 3 above; Matt 24:15) and history (Augustus, Constantine, etc) the secondary interpretation of the 'image of the beast' will be a literal 'image' or statutes. The main one in Jerusalem with, perhaps, minor ones attached to municipal cults.
"Not only did these images serve to foster the worship of the emperor; they provided an effective means of revealing the opponents of the cult by their refusal to acknowledge the images" (Beasley-Murray, page 217; cp. the monthly check under Antiochus, page 17).
Pliny the Younger, in his letters to the Roman emperor Trajan, highlights the use of statues with those charged with being Christians. The first quote deals with those who denied ever being a Christian and the second with those who first admitted the charge and then denied it:
"Among these I considered that I should dismiss any who denied that they were or ever had been Christians when they had repeated after me a formula of invocation to the gods and had made offerings of wine and incense to your statue (which I had ordered to be brought into court for this purpose along with the images of the gods), and furthermore had reviled the name of Christ...
"...They all did reverence to your statue and the images of the gods in the same way as the others, and reviled the name of Christ..." (Betty Radice - translator, Letters and Panegyrics, Volume 2, pages 287-289).
MARK OF THE BEAST
"He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free, and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and no one may buy or sell except one has the mark or the number of his name" (Revelation 13:16-17).
We see the 'figurative' application of a mark or sign in Deuteronomy:
"Keep these words that I command you today in your heart... Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead..." (6:6-8, RSV).
"Since in Exodus 13:9-16 the consecration of the firstborn is said to be "like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that the law of the Lord is to be on your lips" (Exod 13:9), it would seem here also...the tying of these words as symbols on their hands and binding them on their foreheads...should be taken metaphorically or spiritually rather than physically" (Earl S. Kalland, Deuteronomy, Expositor's Bible Commentary, Volume 3, page 66).
We see this concept bolstered in the synonymous parallelism - that is where "The second or subsequent line repeats or reinforces the sense of the first line" (Gordon F. Fee & Douglas Stuart, How to read the Bible for all its worth, page 180):
"Therefore you shall
lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul and
bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes"
C. F. Keil's comment on Deuteronomy 6 is that "These words are figurative, and denote an undeviating observance of the divine commands" (Pentateuch, Volume 1, page 885). A New Testament equivalent for these instructions are the 'commands of God' and the 'testimony of Jesus Christ' (Revelation 12:17).
The sign dentifying God's people is the Sabbath the seventh-day of the week:
"Surely my Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you ...that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore it is holy to you... Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day he shall surely be put to death..." (Exodus 31:12-18).
With the establishment of a new religious system to worship the beast it will have its religious festivals and days. The observance of these commands and rites will be the figurative 'mark of the beast'. "Hailey expressed it as "the stamp of paganism impressed upon the character and conduct of idolaters"" (Mounce, page 260). But which day will be the 'Sabbath' of rest?
Sunday has been the 'mark' of traditional Christianity. But if the 'beast', who shall 'change times and laws' (Daniel 7:25), changes the calendar, as Barton-Payne suggest, so that the seven-day week is abolished then a new day will be established. If it is like the French Revolutionary Calendar then the tenth day would be the prominent 'mark of the beast'. We will have to wait and see which day it will be.
The Jews have carried the figurative mark of God on their hands and foreheads through their keeping of God's sign, the Sabbath. But they have also been required at times to carry a physical mark of identification.
The Second World War furnishes a recent example of a physical mark or badge used to distinguish people. "The Nazis ... in their concentration camps ... forced prisoners to wear colour patches according to the scheme of Red = political; green = criminal; black = antisocial; pink = homosexual; violet = Jehovah's Witnesses; brown = gypsy; yellow = Jew" (Davies, page 710).
When the Nazi's "compelled the Jews to wear a yellow shield of David" this was a "revival of the medieval Jewish badge" (Grayzel, page 671). Which was itself a Mohammedan import:
In the seventh century Pact of Omar "The Mohammedans established a code of laws by which the Jews and the few Christians who remained in their lands which they conquered were forced to live... Its object was to make it perfectly clear that members of another religious group were inferior to Mohammedans...In general, non-Muslims were to be so dressed as to be easily distinguishable from Moslems.
"This last regulation was of unusual importance. Two centuries after Omar I, the Khalif Mutawakkil, in 850, ordered that non-Moslems be forced to wear a yellow patch on their sleeves as well as a yellow head-covering. Subsequent khalifs made changes in these symbols of non-belief, some making then more odious and others disregarding them entirely. The Christians of Europe, however, learned this system of separation from the Mohammedans and, several centuries later, imposed similar regulations upon the Jews who lived among them" (Grayzel, page 234).
In the pontificate of Innocent III the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) "was held, and this regulation was adopted. Any Jew above the age of thirteen, or Jewish woman above eleven, was to wear a mark, usually a yellow patch, front and back, on the outer garment. The Church's order grew out of the circumstances that without such a Badge the Jews were not distinguishable from Christians... The Badge was to be a mark of shame, and drive them out of European society" (Grayzel, page 312).
Seeing that the Jews have been marked with both a physical and spiritual mark it is highly likely that the 'mark of the beast' also has a dual application.
We saw earlier with Antiochus that "on the feast of Dionysus, the Jews were compelled to walk in bacchanalian procession with their heads crowned with ivy" (Schurer, page 155). They ivy leaf was a mark of Dionysus.
Having the mark, from a non-economic view point, may not be all that bad in the beast society for those who are members of it. We see this in the pseudepigraphical 3 Maccabees 2:28-30. "There we read that Ptolomy IV Philopator demanded that Jews should offer pagan sacrifices as well as sacrifices to their own god. Those who merely refrained from it were to be reduced to the condition of serfs and branded with the sign of the ivy-leaf, the emblem of Dionysus (= Bacchus). Those who were willing to be initiated into the mysteries would have equal rights with the citizens of Alexandria. It is to be observed that this branding with the mark of the god was not necessarily a disgrace, for Ptolemy allowed himself to receive it. The mark indicated that the recipients were the 'slaves', i.e., obedient worshippers of the god" (Beasley-Murray, page 218).
Without this mark you will not be able to buy or sell. A Third Reich type of this is where, according to Erwin W Lutzer, "If you did not say, "Heil Hitler!" when you entered a restaurant or a business establishment, you would not be served" (Hitler's Cross, page 63). So it would appear that there would be a need for a visible mark to be able to buy or sell, unless not having an identifying badge is in effect a mark.
"Under the emperor Decius (reigned 249-251): by edict all citizens were required to offer sacrifice and to obtain from commissioners a certificate witnessing the act" (EBritannica, Christianity). It would be so efficient and convenient to have a micro-chip under the skin to record that you have fulfilled your physical and spiritual obligations to the cult of the Antichrist.
From the above we see that the beast-system will permeate society. This was the intention of the typical 'little horn':
"...the Hellenism which Antiochus propagated went further than political forms, or even real political privileges. It extended to the sphere of social and private life, to the manner of thought and speech, to religious practice" (Edwyn Robert Bevan, The House of Seleucus, Vol. 2, page 153).
NAME/NUMBER OF THE BEAST
"In v.17, John indicates that the charagma ("mark") is the name of the beast or the number of his name. He now reveals the number of the beast: "His number is 666"" (Alan Johnson, page 533).
Wisdom and understanding are required to calculate this number (Revelation 13:18).
Lacking the required "wisdom and understanding", what follows is an attempt to deal with the name and number of the beast.
The mark in a figurative sense denotes "an undeviating observance of the divine commands" (Keil, page 885). Therefore the mark of the true God is the observance of His commandments including the Saturday Sabbath. The mark identifies God's people. Daniel in his prayer and supplication to God emphasises that "Your people are called by Your name" (9:19). The NIV has "your people bear your Name". ("Those who are of the people of God are 'kept' in his name (e.g. Jn 17:11)" (J. A. Motyer, Name, New Bible Dictionary, page 812).
Therefore the people who keep the commands of the Antichrist - the mark of the beast - are the Antichrist's people and hence they have the "name of the beast".
It would seem that having the "name of the beast" is the same as having the "number of his name".
"In 15:2 the victors have triumphed over three enemies: the beast, his image, and the number of his name, which suggests a symbolic significance connected with idolatry and blasphemy" (Alan Johnson, page 534). The victors therefore have overcome the beast, the image, and his mark.
Worship of the beast is aiding and abetting of the Antichrist in his blasphemy against God and it is also idolatry by having another god before the real God. Therefore by participating in this rebellion against God a person is symbolically stamped with the number 666 - the number of the Antichrist.
"It has long been realized that 666 is eminently suitable to characterise the Antichrist, since it implies a consistent falling short of the divine perfection suggested by 777. Now it was early realized among Christians that the name Jesus in Greek totals 888...<See below>...Manifestly the contrast between 666 and 888 strikingly conveys the difference between the Devil's 'Christ' and God's Christ... If the contrast between 666 and 888 was present to John's mind, the use of 666 in 13:18 crowned in a superb way the theme of Satanic imitation that runs throughout chapter 13" (Beasley-Murray, pages 220-221).
There is also a 'physical' application. Mankind is going to be deceived into worshipping the Antichrist as god. By parodying Jesus Christ he will appear as god but he is in fact just a man. The information that the number of the beast is "the number of a man" puts him in his proper perspective.
"Because your heart is lifted up, And you say, 'I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, In the midst of the seas, 'Yet you are not a god, Though you set your heart as the heart of a god" (Ezekiel 28:2).
"Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate <cp. Luke 14:28> the number of the beast, for it is a number of a man: His number is 666" (Revelation 13:18).
"The identification of a name with a number is made possible through the fact that in Hebrew and Greek numbers were indicated by the letter of the alphabet... This led to the possibility of making play (sometimes quite literally) with the numerical equivalent of names, and even to the constructions of puns on them. Deissmann tells of a legend scribbled on a wall in Pompeii, 'I love her whose name is 545.' (Light from the Ancient East, p. 275ff)" (Beasley-Murray, page 219).
It would appear then that when the Antichrist is revealed, his name when translated into Greek, the language of the New Testament, and then calculated using the 'Greek letter-number system' will equal 666.
An example of the use of gematria - this substitution of numbers for letters - to yield 666 for a Roman emperor's name, when it is rendered into Hebrew from Greek, is Neron Caesar. This "requires a spelling for "caesar" that is not normal for the word", but which was used in "an Aramaic document from the Dead Sea cave at Murabbat, dated to the second year of the emperor Nero... <where>...the name is spelled nrwn qsr" (Alan Johnson, page 534).
Eliezer the name of Abram's steward (Genesis 15:2, KJV) using the 'Hebrew letter-number system' yields 318 - the number of Abram's trained servants (Genesis 14:14). (Mounce, page 260-261).
Irenaeus notes that "Lateinos (7!I+3;?G) has the number six hundred and sixty-six; and its very probable [solution], this being the name of the last kingdom [of the four seen by Daniel]. For the Latins are they who at present bear rule (5:30:3)" (Alexander Roberts & W. H. Rambaut - translators, The Writings of Irenaeus, Volume 2, page 137).
So we have this number associated with the fourth beast-system out of which the Antichrist appears as its end-time representative. We believe that the number 666 is to be calculated by the reader or hearer of Revelation so as to be able to identity this person for what he really is - a man not a god. Below is the 'Greek letter-number system'.
The Antichrist, parodying Jesus Christ, will have his version of the Kingdom of God. This will be a time of great prosperity for those with the name and number of the beast. But for those who do not go along with the Beast it will be a time of great trouble. Fortunately for this world, just as Adolf Hitler's 1,000 year Reich only lasted twelve years, the Antichrist's reign will be brief but brilliant (E. W. Bullinger, Commentary on Revelation, page 426).
Revelation 17 and 18 pictures the prosperity, persecution by and demise of this Babylonian/Roman counterfeit kingdom of God.
The 'Greek letter-number system'
Alpha ! " = 1 Iota 3 4 = 10 Rho C D = 100
Beta # $ = 2 Kappa 5 6 = 20 Sigma G F H = 200
Gamma ' ( = 3 Lambda 7 8 = 30 Tau I J = 300
Delta ) * = 4 Mu 9 : = 40 Upsilon K L = 400
Epsilon + , = 5 Nu ; < = 50 Phi M N = 500
Vat F H = 6 Xi = > = 60 Chi O P = 600
Zeta - . = 7 Omicron ? @ = 70 Psi Q R = 700
Eta / 0 = 8 Pi A B = 80 Omega S o = 800
Theta 1 2 = 9 Koppa C û = 90 Sampsi m ü = 900
* Above chart is a combination of information taken from (1) Chambers English Dictionary, page 1786, (2) B. C. Birch, Number, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Volume 3, page 556, and (3) E. W. Bullinger's Number in Scripture, page 49). Vat, Koppa and Sampsi are three obsolete Greek letters used as numbers - these letters have changed over time.
3 4 = 10 7 8 = 30
/ 0 = 8 ! " = 1
G F = 200 I J = 300
? @ = 70 + , = 5
K L = 400 3 4 = 10
G H = 200 ; < = 50
----------- ? @ = 70
Total = 888 G H = 200
Total = 666