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The Christian Counter

   


The Beasts of Revelation Exposed
What do They Represent?

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

Sixth Head Wounded and Healed

Let us review a portion of history. In February 1798, the papacy was almost fatally wounded by Napoleon’s forces. The power of the church was nearly destroyed when the pope was expelled from Rome. However, the church did not die. In 1929, Mussolini restored Vatican City to the Catholic Church and declared it a sovereign state. Since that time, the healing of the deadly wound has made steady progress toward recovery. Today, the pope is regarded as a significant figure in world politics and even more, is considered the most influential religious leader in the world – all this in less than 75 years! The point is that the composite beast rises from the sea, the Bible says, “the fatal wound had been healed.” Notice the tense of the verb: past perfect tense. This means the healing is completed when the beast rises from the sea. Therefore, on the basis of the three previous sentences, I believe that the time is near when the beast will rise from the sea – because the fatal wound is healed.

Who are the Seven Heads?

So far, we have established one point and asserted one point about seven heads. The established point is that each of the seven heads is religious, anti-Christ – and blasphemous. My asserted point is that the wounded head is the papacy. However, who are the other six heads? The answer to this question is quite simple. First, let us gather all the data:

  1. Each head is described as wearing a blasphemous name. (Revelation 13:1)
  1. One head seemed to receive a fatal wound, but the fatal wound was healed. (Revelation 13:3)
  1. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. (Revelation 17:9)

Comment: In Revelation 17, each head is declared to be seven mountains or hills (the Greek word  oros is correctly translated as hill or mountain). This chapter repeats and enlarges some of the details about the composite beast described in chapter 13. In chapter 17, however, an evil woman called a whore is introduced into the story and she rides the beast. The imagery is direct and simple – this evil woman will eventually control the composite beast, much like a rider controls a powerful horse. Let us focus on the details concerning the seven heads. Verse 9 says the seven heads are seven hills (or mountains, KJV) on which the woman sits. What does this mean?

Not Just Any Place

In ancient times, God was not worshiped “in just any place.” Today, a church body may look for property they can afford and if the location and price is right, a church is built. However, this was not the case in ancient times. The God of Heaven (as well as false gods) was worshiped at special sites called “high places” or holy places located in the mountains. Notice these Bible texts (there are many more, but these will suffice):

Moses, looking forward to Israel’s future, prophesied the Lord would select a special place for His temple. As it turns out, God selected a mountain! Notice first, the words of Moses: Deuteronomy 12:11 “Then to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name – there you are to bring everything I command you: your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your titles and special gifts, and all the choice possessions you have vowed to the Lord.” About 470 years later, the Lord identified the specific place:  1 Chronicles 21:18 “Then the angel of the Lord ordered [the prophet] Gad to tell David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” About ten years later, 2 Chronicles 3:1 records the following: “Then Solomon began to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David.” The point here, of course, is that God placed His temple on a mountaintop in a very specific place.

Before Solomon built the temple, notice where the people worshiped. “The people, however, were still sacrificing at the high places, because a temple had not yet been built for the Name of the Lord. Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the statutes of his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.” (1 Kings 3: 2,3) Years later, after Solomon died, Israel’s apostasy matured. Notice what they did: “They also set up for themselves high places, sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.” (1 Kings 14:23,24)

These few verses explain why the seven heads are called seven hills (or mountains). In ancient times, mountains were believed to be the footstools of God (or gods). (Exodus 19:12; Psalm 95:5; 1 Chronicles 28:2) Remember God’s dramatic presence on the mountains of Sinai, Carmel and Moriah? (Fire came down and consumed the offerings of Solomon at the dedication of the temple that was built on Mt. Moriah.) Therefore, it should not seem strange that mountains were believed to be footstools of the gods in ancient times. Many native religions still believe their gods dwell on the mountaintops to this very day. God is direct and to the point – symbolism is both direct and simple – the seven heads are seven hills. Even David helps us understand this concept: “I will lift mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.” (Psalm 121:1 KJV)

Capital Hill

Americans should easily grasp the concept of describing religious (or religious authorities) as hills since we refer to the official building of our lawmakers in Washington D.C. as Capital Hill. If we assemble the information that has been studied so far, the weight of the evidence points to this conclusion: The seven heads are seven blasphemous religions systems (or authorities) that people look up to as having the truth about God.

  1. They are also seven kings. (Revelation 17:10)

This part of the equation is also simple. The seven heads are seven kings. A king has authority; therefore, he has a kingdom of subjects. Because each religious system has authority, it has subjects. Those who “join” or submit to the tenants of a religion submit to its laws and regulations as subjects. Thus, the seven religious systems of the world can be called “kings” for they truly have subjects.

  1. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. (Revelation 17:10)

This verse will support everything presented thus far. To locate when the five heads are fallen, we need to decide when the conversation takes place between John and the angel. The Bible says this vision came to John on the isle of Patmos (Revelation 1:9,10). The vision occurred between A.D.95 and A.D.98. I take the angel’s statement to be understood to be true as of that date. This means the five heads were fallen before A.D. 98. If this is true, a simple explanation resolves the identity of the seven heads and satisfies these specifications.

According to Webster, the term “fallen” is not limited to “destroyed or collapsed”; rather, in a larger sense it can mean “brought down” or demonstrated to be “false.” If I were Jimmy Bakker, formerly of the PTL Club, was a fallen evangelist, the reader would understand that Jimmy fell from respect and honor by his wrongdoing. If we go back to the time of A.D. 95-98 and place the angel’s words in their context of when it was written, we find a simple solution to solving the mystery within this verse. When Jesus became flesh and dwelt among men, five religious systems were “brought down” or exposed as false. Thus, five of the seven heads were fallen in A.D. 95. The ministry and teaching of Jesus unmasked the vain and foolish teachings of man. These five religious systems predate the birth of Jesus:

    1. Heathenism
    2. Atheism
    3. Islam*
    4. Judaism
    5. Eastern Mysticism

*The title “Islam” refers to the Arabic faith. Although the title today is often associated with the 6th century A.D. influence of Mohammed, the title Islam as used here, identifies the ancient Arabic faith from which Mohammedan grew. Even though Mohammed is believed by the Christians to be the founder of Islam, it must be emphasized that Mohammed did not invent the Islamic faith. Rather, he united, organized and expanded the beliefs of nomadic Arabians. Even though he is considered by Moslems to be the first, and therefore the greatest of God’s messengers, Moslems trace the origin of their faith back to Ishmael and his 12 sons. Moslems regard Ishmael as the father of their faith and not Mohammed. (See Genesis 21:13)

These five religious systems are anti-Christ and were proven false by the birth of Jesus for the following basic reasons:

1.      Heathenism is religion apart from the knowledge of the true God of Heaven. In this religious system, man creates his own gods according to fantasy or whim. 

2.      Atheism denies the existence of the God of Heaven and His claims upon man.

3.      Judaism rejects the teachings of Jesus as the Messiah and seeks salvation through obedience and ceremonies. 

4.      Eastern Mysticism teaches that man can become God.

5.      Islam also denies that Jesus is the Son of God and is not the Savior of the world.

Wait, There are Two More Heads!

John was also told that one head “is” and one “is yet to come.” The head or religious system that had not fallen in John’s day was Christianity. Understand that what was called Christianity in New Testament times is now called Catholicism. John was a charter member of the group called Christians, a new religious system that Jesus established about A.D. 30 and this is why the angel said, “one is” – meaning the sixth head existed – even though at that point, it had not yet fallen. However, history traces and confirms Catholicism’s fall from the truth and verifies that an almost fatal wound was inflicted on Catholicism in 1798. At that time, the Protestant Reformation came of age and could be identified as the seventh and final religious system of the world. The angel told John the seventh head would last for only a short time. With all things considered, Protestantism is a “new comer,” in terms of existence within the religious world, since it is less than four centuries old. In contrast, the other six religious systems are twenty or more centuries old.

Here They Are

In summary, to be consistent with everything presented thus far, it is fair to conclude that the seven heads represent:

1.      Heathenism

2.      Atheism

3.      Eastern Mysticism

4.      Judaism

5.      Islam

6.      Catholicism

7.      Protestantism

Let me restate a few important conclusions. There are seven heads, seven of the same thing. If the wounded head represents the papacy, then remaining six heads must also represent religious systems. They are described as blasphemous, kings and mountains, and the timing of the angel’s statement, that “five have fallen, one is and one is yet to come,” is consistent with all that the Bible teaches on this topic and is also compliant with recorded history.

6.   The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction. (Revelation 17:11)

The Eighth King will belong to Them!

We will consider the words, “once was, now is not” in verse 11 when we discuss the Lamb-like beast. For now, the focus is on the seven heads. When Satan physically appears on Earth claiming to be God, he will “belong” to the seven religions of the world in the sense that they will exalt and honor him as God. The responsibility of exalting the devil as God will not be the work of politicians, however they will hasten to comply with the desires of religious leaders. (Remember, the crowns are horns during this time.)

The devil will, by using miracles, signs and wonders, convince billions of people and their religious leaders that he is God. Thus, the devil will become the eighth and greatest king. (Remember, the seven heads are also kings.) According to 2 Thessalonians 2:4 and Daniel 11:36, the devil will establish himself over the seven heads and claim to be their God. He will have the power and authority to back up his claim, too! The reason the devil is called the eighth king is interesting. Remember when the little horn in Daniel 7 plucked up three horns by the roots? The little horn became the eighth horn and ruled over the remaining seven horns with unchallenged authority. Many people will oppose the devil’s actions, but they will be powerless to stop him. Notice what Paul says, “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” (2 Thessalonians 2: 3,4) It is also appropriate to say that the devil will be highly successful for a time, appearing to be invincible, but his throne, authority and power will be short lived. Jesus guarantees it.

 7. The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. (Revelation 17:12)

Horns in Bible prophecy usually represent kings. Remember the horns on the ram and goat in Daniel 7? Although we recognize the little horn of Daniel 7 to be more than one man, it can be said that the papacy was a “type of king” who ruled over the people of the Dark Ages. A horn is an ancient symbol representing a powerful entity. (Zechariah 1:18,19; Luke 1:69) The ten horns on the composite beast represent ten kings. These ten kings are also symbolized by the ten toes of Daniel 2 (see verses 42-44) who will give their authority over to the devil after he has conquered the world during the six-trumpet war. Since the devil will be regarded as God by billions of people, the seven religious systems will fully unite with the devil, supporting him in his establishment of a one-world church-government. The devil will claim to be king of kings (government) and lord of lords (church). The establishment of a one-world church/government requires the dissolution of all seven religions. In other words, religious diversity must come to an end because God lives among men! This consolidation of the world’s religions into one global church/government is called “an image to the beast” in Revelation 13 and is also identified as a whore in Revelation 17. In other words, the composite beast (seven heads/ten horns) will no longer need to exist because “God” lives among men – commanding in all matters of religion and government. This new one-world church/government will resemble the composite beast that used religious and political powers to oppress the people. It makes absolute sense to call this new global church/government of the devil “an image” of the [composite] beast. The essential difference between the beast and the image to the beast is consolidation. The beast is diverse having seven religions and ten kings. The image is singular – one religion – ruler over all.

Obviously, not everyone is going to be pleased with the course of events taking place at this time. Remember, the 144,000 have been proclaiming truth during this period of time. Therefore, the devil will enable and empower civil authorities to put to death anyone who refuses to “worship the image.” The civil authorities will be “puppets” that carry out the evil schemes of the devil.

The Bible does not name or identify the ten kings that will appear, but I believe these kings will be promoted to the position during the sixth trumpet war. However, the Bible provides very little information about them. We do know this much: “They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings – and with him will be called, chosen and faithful followers.” (Revelation 17:13,14)

Returning to the Identity of the Composite Beast

So far, we have established five primary points. They are:

1.        The composite beast will be a world government.

2.        The composite beast consists of the world’s religious and political systems.

3.        The composite beast will receive its power, throne and authority from the devil.

4.        The composite beast will astonish everyone and overpower everything that has authority.

5.        The composite beast will stand in direct opposition to the authority of God.

Now that these elements have been established, the remaining verses are easy to understand. Please notice what each verse says. There should be no question about their meaning.

Revelation 13:4 Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?”

Revelation 13:5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months.

Revelation 13:6 He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven.

Revelation 13:7 He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.

Revelation 13:8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast – all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain for the creation of the world.

Revelation 13:9 He who has an ear, let him hear.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

   
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