We learned that the purpose of these chapters which come between the trumpet judgments and the bowl of wrath judgments is to identify the dragon, the beast, the antichrist, and Mystery Babylon, on whom the bowl of wrath judgments are poured out.
Historically, the Church has identified this enemy of God with the Romans. Even the Catholics agree. In the footnotes of the Catholic Bible, the 4th beast of Daniel 7 and Mystery Babylon of Revelation are both identified with the Roman Empire, and the Protestants agree.
But Revelation 13 includes additional description, which show the body of Christ that the Roman system, and ultimately, the Babylonian system which is at its root, continued on after the Fall of Rome, in the form of the Roman church and the Holy Roman Empire. So let’s recap chapter 13 and make sure all the details confirm the Church’s traditional understanding.
Verses 1-2 describe a beast which looks like the four beasts of Daniel 7, so we know that the beast from the sea is a picture of the kingdoms of this world, rooted in Babylon (which is the head kingdom in Daniel’s visions), which receives its authority from the dragon, or Satan. Verses 3-4 tells us that one of the heads of the kingdoms of this world received a fatal wound – in other words, it was dead as a head of authority, which happened at the Fall of Rome – and then its wound was healed – its authority was restored, which happened when the Holy Roman Empire was established – which made all the citizens of this earth (as opposed to those whose citizenship was in heaven) follow the beast and worship it as god.
Well, all the world (which in Revelation, we established meant all the Roman world) did follow the beast after its authority was restored in the form of the Holy Roman Empire, and worship it as god, if the beast is indeed Roman. The Roman church changed the gospel, changed the Lord’s holidays and law, and established multiple idols in the pattern of Babylonianism — the mother of Jesus and the saints — which were venerated in place of YHVH.
Verses 5-8 describe the blasphemy of the beast and its war against those whose citizenship is in heaven instead of in the earth. We documented the blasphemy of the head of the Roman church, and the war the Roman church waged against those who opposed it is well known. About the forty-two months of authority, or 42 x 30 = 1260 years, most historicists believe the period began with the decree of Justinian in 533, which established the authority of the bishop of Rome as the head of the Christian church, and ended 1260 years later, in 1793, with the French Revolution and the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment, which repudiated the authority of the Roman church.
To be continued …
Update: continued in Revelation 14: the Lamb and the 144,000