Composites. We see them everywhere. They are all about us. They are called people. Every single person on the planet is a composite of his ancestors. DNA inherited from the sum total of all who have gone before make up what we are today. Although we are individuals, and unique, that uniqueness is bound up in our inherited genes.
With that in mind I would like to discuss one of the most intriguing composites on the planet. Not an individual, but an institution. Described as a ‘beast’ in the book of Revelation in chapter 13, this beast has had many Biblical scholars both university educated and self taught, deeply embroiled in debate, argument, and discussion for nearly 2000 years. This beast has been the focus of attention with far more intensity in the past 150 years or so as the church recognises the signs of the second coming approaching, thus study with more interest those prophecies which reveal events, and characters which are pertinent to the ‘last days’.
It is the nature of the composites, those things which form the beast, that I will focus on in this post. I have dealt extensively elswhere with the prophecies of Daniel, linking the characteristics of the ‘little horn’ power of Daniel 7 with those of the papacy, and as we will see here, the beast of Revelation 13 likewise mirrors those characteristics.
Revelation 13:1 ¶ And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
Revel. 17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
We see here a kingdom rising up in a populous part of the earth, in this case the capital of the then superpower, Rome.
When compared with…
Revel.12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
…we see that whatever this beast is, it is a clone of Satan, the dragon, himself. This is his baby so to speak, his own creation, made after his own likeness.
Revel. 13:2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
The Apostle John from his vantage point was looking backwards in time and seeing the same beasts of Daniel 7 only in reverse order. Daniel was looking forward, John back. Thus what John was seeing was a beast that had already begun to rise to power in his day. This gels with his comment in one of his letters that states that ” even now are there many antichrists”. The spirit that gave rise to the one Antichrist had begun to develop and was seen in several different forms in Johns lifetime. This beast is a composite of all that had gone before. Those characteristics which marked the uniqueness and nature of the previous powers were now resident in this one.
Like unto a leopard….
Nothing in nature, be they plants, animals, reptiles, birds, nor fish, can lie, not having the power of speech, but they can deceive. Deception is attained through appearance, or camouflage. And deception Jesus said, would be Satan’s principle weapon of choice in the last days. The leopard is a prime example of camouflage. The leopard, unlike the tiger or the lion, for the most part does not stalk its prey. It patiently lies in wait, in all appearance an innocent part of the foliage, until its prey come to him, then the leopard strikes. The papacy is of very similar character. An attractive and seemingly innocent part of the Christian landscape, but deceptively dangerous. Patience is the hallmark of the Catholic church. For 400 years she has waited for the counter reformation to bear fruit, and today we witness hundreds of priests and lay people from other faiths and denominations now returning to the ‘mother church’. Hundreds of years she has waited for her opportunity to rise again to her former glory. Her ambitions are now global, take note of the following from a very recent news report:
The Vatican called on Monday for the establishment of a “global public authority” and a “central world bank” to rule over financial institutions that have become outdated and often ineffective in dealing fairly with crises…..A proposal by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace calls for a new world economic order based on ethics and the “achievement of a universal common good.” It follows Pope BenedictXVI’s 2009 economic encyclical that denounced a profit-at-all-cost mentality as responsible for the global financial meltdown.
Isn’t this interesting? Particularly when one considers the prophetic implications of an international authority with the power to enforce a religious mark using economic boycotts to encourage subservience.
Notice one more thing about leopards. Jesus Himself significantly remarked that a leopard cannot change her spots. It is worthwhile to note that many protestants today would claim that the papacy has changed. That she has mellowed from her former harsh judgemental attitudes which marked her history throughout the dark ages. But can a leopard change her character? No.
Jer. 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.
The feet of a bear….
Death is, until the resurrection, like a deep dreamless sleep. In 1798 the papacy, as we saw previously, received its deadly head-wound (Verse 3) when the then pope was taken captive by the French, and the Catholic church ‘ceased to range over the country-side’ like a bear and went into hibernation until 1929 when Mussolini returned to the Vatican, and the pope, the civil power which had been taken from her. Once again she was a church/state power, the unique distinction which marks her pagan beginnings.
The feet and claws of a bear are her most powerful weapons: one strike can rip open her prey, killing instantly. The injunction in Daniel 7:5 of the bear/Media-Persia to “devour much flesh” is very apt when applied to such a beast as a bear which has a ravenous appetite especially after hibernation. Whether in hibernation, or as a leopard or bear, whether in patient hiding or as a ravenous beast on the hunt, the Vatican will do whatever is necessary to achieve her goals…global dominion.
An interesting point regarding this particular bear. The Media/Persians, which nation was represented by the bear in Daniel, were renowned as lawmakers.
Daniel 6:8 Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.
“Why does the Catholic church not recant what was said by Trent…because it is Catholic teaching that a council teaches authoritatively, and the church is not authorised to repudiate retrospectively a conciliar decree”.
Every principle of the papacy that existed in past ages exists today.The doctrines devised in the darkest ages are still held. The leopard has not, indeed cannot, change her spots. The laws, canons, and various decrees which vaunted the papal power’s presumed authority to torture, to wage war, and to destroy all who believe in their God given right to freedom of conscience, still exist today. Not one has been abrogated or altered. Their own dogma regarding infallibility forbids any change to that which has been officially legislated as articles of doctrine in the dogmas and canons of the Catholic Church. The inquisition, torture, and burning of heretics in past ages are still looked upon by the ruling councils of the Vatican as justifiable, lawful, and at times even necessary.
mouth of a lion….
Ask a native of Africa what the most fearsome sound is in the African bush and all would agree that it is the roar of the lion. Various bulls and pronouncements from popes and his representatives have for centuries sent chills of fear and dread down the spines of kings and common man alike. There was a time, until the late 18th century, when a pronouncement of excommunication from the church could send an entire nation into a state of fear of eternal damnation in the fires of hell. Like the devil, “as a roaring lion walketh about seeking who he may devour” the papacy has no true authority in spiritual matters. It is the fear, rather than the popes words themselves, that has destroyed the faith of millions. “But we have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but rather the spirit of adoption” (Romans 8:15) “and of power, and of love, and a sound mind”. (2 Tim. 1:7) Notice the mouth “speaking great things and blasphemies” (Rev.13:15). Since its re-establishment in 1929, the Vatican has slowly but surely wooed herself into becoming once again a world power, and presidents and royalty alike present themselves to the pope bowing before him, kissing the ring upon his finger, and wait in awe and reverence to hear his words….”and all the world wonders after the beast”. (Revel. 13:5)