Previously: Revelation 13: the beast from the land
The first post in the Revelation series
If the beast from the land is represented by the papal office, as we mentioned last time, then history will bear us out.
Descriptions of the beast from the land:
“He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence,” (Rev 13:12).
The first beast represents the kingdoms of this world. In history we would expect to see the second beast exercising all the authority of a temporal kingdom in the presence of the first beast, the revived Roman Empire. It was the Holy Roman emperors, beginning with Charlemagne and his fathers, who first gave the papacy territories from their possessions, so that the pope became not only the head of the church, but a head of state also.
The structure of the Roman Catholic Church, furthermore, is exactly identical to the political structure of the old Roman Empire. There are 70 cardinals dressed in red, because there were 70 senators wearing the red cloak reserved for senators in ancient Rome. The church territories are divided into dioceses, because Diocletian first divided the Roman empire into dioceses, and the church retained his political divisions and hierarchy of authority.
Next: “He causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed,” (Rev 13:12).
“Worship: That is, to respect, to reverence, to honour. The word worship here refers to civil respect, and not to religious adoration. The meaning here, according to the interpretation proposed all along in this chapter, is, that the Papacy, considered in its religious influence, or as a spiritual power—represented by the second beast—secured for the civil or secular power—represented by the first beast—the homage of the world. It was the means of keeping up that dominion, and of giving it its ascendency among the nations of the earth. The truth of this, as an historical fact, is well known. The Roman civil power would have long ago lost all its influence and been unknown, if it had not been for the Papacy; and, in fact, all the influence which it has had since the irruption of the Northern barbarians, and the changes which their invasion produced, can be traced to that new power which arose in the form of the Papacy—represented in Daniel (Da 7:8) by the “little horn.” That new power gave life and energy to the declining influence of Rome, and brought the world again to respect and honour its authority.” — Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament, Revelation 13:12.
Next: “He makes an image to the beast who had the mortal wound of the sword and had come to life; and it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed,” (Rev 13:14-15).
It was the papacy which gave breath, or life, to the image of the beast, in 800 AD with the crowning of Charlemagne as the sixty- eighth emperor of Rome. The Holy Roman Empire, the entity thus created on that day, was made in the image of the Roman Empire, the world- dominating 4th beast of Daniel’s vision. This is another way of reiterating that what was dead had been brought back to life again, and yet in this passage of Scripture, we are given further identifying information that in its second incarnation, it remained a distinct entity from the first, upheld by the beast from the land — the papal office. There are, therefore, two connecting threads between the beast from the sea — the Roman Empire, as a kingdom of this world; and the beast from the land — the Roman Catholic Church, also historically a kingdom exercising temporal power; and the image of the beast — the Holy Roman Empire. That is, they are all Roman, and they are interconnected and derive their power from the dragon.
What about killing those who do not worship the image, and making war with the saints of God and overcoming them (Rev 13:7)?
To be continued …
Update: continued in Revelation 13: the beast from the land, part three
Leave a Reply