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The Moment of Truth - Lesson 35

The Beast of Revelation
 

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Let’s ask God for His assistance:

Dear Lord,

We ended our last lesson wondering about the identity of the little horn, a power whose actions were foretold centuries beforehand by the prophet Daniel.

Today we ask You to show us what is the power symbolized by this little horn.

May this revelation help us to prepare ourselves for Your coming. In Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.




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2 Peter 1:19

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.

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In this lesson, we will continue our study of Bible prophecy, an activity strongly recommended by the Word of God.

We suggest you to review the previous lesson «The Prophetic Zoo», in order to better understand all the elements that will be presented in this lesson.




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Daniel 7:2,3

Daniel spoke and said,

«I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove on the great sea.

And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.»

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In our lesson «The Prophetic Zoo», we studied one of the visions of the prophet Daniel.

In this vision, four great beasts appeared in turn, symbolizing a succession of universal kingdoms, from the time of Daniel up to the end of the world. These four kingdoms were:

- Babylon;
- the Medo-Persian Empire;
- Greece;
- Rome.




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Daniel 7:7,23,24

[The fourth beast] was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. (...)

The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise.

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We also saw that ten horns came out of the fourth beast, that is, out of Rome, symbolizing the division of the Roman Empire into ten parts.

Indeed, ten nations arose at the time of the fall of Rome.




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Here are the ten nations which arose at the fall of the Roman Empire:

  1. The Saxons, originating the English nation.
  2. The Franks, originating the French nation.
  3. The Alamanni, originating the German nation.
  4. The Visigoths, originating the Spanish nation.
  5. The Suevi, originating the Portuguese nation.
  6. The Lombards, originating the Italian nation.
  7. The Burgundians, originating the Swiss nation
  8. The Heruli, who have since disappeared.
  9. The Vandals, who have since disappeared.
  10. The Ostrogoths, who have since disappeared.




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Daniel 7:8

I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn.

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Then, we witnessed the emergence of a last power, symbolized by a little horn.

By studying Chapter 7 of the book of Daniel, we found nine clues which will now enable us to discover the identity of this mysterious power.

(For more details on each one of these nine clues, please review the lesson «The Prophetic Zoo».)




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Here are the nine clues to find the identity of the little horn:

  1. It came up among the ten nations (Daniel 7:8).
  2. It rose after the ten nations, that is, after A.D. 476 (Daniel 7:24).
  3. It has a greater appearance than the ten nations (Daniel 7:20).
  4. A man sits at its head (eyes like the eyes of a man) (Daniel 7:8).
  5. It plucked out three nations (Daniel 7:8,20,24):
      - Heruli, in A.D. 493;
      - Vandals, in A.D. 534;
      - Ostrogoths, in A.D. 538.
  6. It blasphemed against God, speaking pompous words (Daniel 7:8,20,25).
  7. It made war against the saints (Daniel 7:21,25).
  8. It intended to change times and law (Daniel 7:25).
  9. It reigned during exactly 1260 years, from 538 to 1798 (Daniel 7:25).




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Proverbs 23:12

Apply your heart to instruction.

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We may refer to any encyclopedia, any history book, and we will see that only one power perfectly corresponds to the characteristics of the little horn: the Papacy, also called papal Rome.

However, let’s note this very important point: the little horn designates the papal system, not the people belonging to this system.

There are indeed many sincere people who belong to the papal system, and yet love Jesus Christ with all their hearts.




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John 10:16

[Jesus said,]

«And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd.»

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Let’s not be misunderstood: God really loves the individuals who are in the Papacy’s system.

That is why He gave His Word to men, so that, by studying it, we may become aware of the warning God gives us and, responding to Jesus’ call, we may leave this system and join the Savior’s flock.




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Daniel 7:8

I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn.

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Let’s review the characteristics of the little horn one by one, to see if they really apply to the Papacy.

First, the little horn came up among the ten nations: the only power which came out of the ten nations, shortly after the fall of the Roman empire, is well and truly the system of the Papacy, having arisen in Rome.




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Daniel 7:24

And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise.

And another shall rise after them.

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The little horn arose after the ten nations, that is, after A.D. 476, the year when the division of the Roman empire was completed.

Now, history teaches us that the Papacy imposed its religio-political supremacy from A.D. 538 on, only 62 years after the division of the Roman empire.




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Daniel 7:19,20,24

Then I would know the truth (...) of the other [horn] which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spoke very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. (...)

[That king] shall be diverse from the first.

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Different from the ten nations by the religio-political nature of its power, the Papacy has taken on, and still takes on a more impressive appearance than any other power on the earth.

Indeed, at all times, popes have always surrounded themselves with majestic pomp in all their actions and travels.




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Daniel 7:8

And, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

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At the head of the Papacy stands only one man: the Pope.

Proclaimed infallible, his decisions affect the lives of millions of people around the world.

And, throughout history, the declarations of this leader have often been very pompous, as we will see in a moment.




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Daniel 7:8,24

Behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots. (...)

The ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise.

And another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

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Exactly as foretold, the Papacy brought about the elimination of three of the ten nations which were opposed to the authority of the Bishop of Rome:

- the Heruli, in A.D. 493;
- the Vandals, in A.D. 534;
- and the Ostrogoths, in A.D. 538, the year when the Papacy began to reign freely.




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Daniel 7:20,25

[That horn] had eyes, and a mouth that spoke very great things (...).

[That king] shall speak great words against the Most High.

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The Papacy’s arrogance is reported in Daniel chapter 7. But arrogance isn’t enough: it even goes as far as to «speak great words against the Most High», that is, blaspheme against God.

Did the Papacy really blaspheme against God?

The Bible’s definition of blasphemy will help us to answer this question.




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John 10:33

The Jews answered Him, saying, «For a good work we stone You not; but for blasphemy; and because that You, being a Man, make Yourself God.»

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Mark 2:7

Why does this Man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?

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So, blasphemy is not only taking the name of God in vain.

According to the Word of God, when a man makes himself God, or claims to have power to forgive sins, he speaks blasphemies.




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The Pope claims to be God and to have the power to forgive sins:

«The Pope is of so great dignity and so exalted that he is not a mere man, (...) he is as it were God on earth, Sole sovereign of all the faithful of Christ, chief king of kings, having a plentitude of unbroken power.»
(Lucius Ferraris, Prompta Bibliotheca, “Papa II”, Vol. VI, pp.25-29.)

«And God Himself is obliged to abide by the judgment of His priests, and either not to pardon or to pardon, according as they refuse or give absolution, provided the penitent is capable of it.»
(Alphonsus Liguori, Duties and Dignities of the Priest, p.27.)




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«In this horn, [was] (...) a mouth speaking great things.» (Daniel 7:8)

«The supreme teacher in the Church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires, together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself.»
(Leo VIII, On the Chief Duties of Christians as Citizens, Encyclical letter, 1890.)

«For not man, but God separates those whom the Roman Pontiff (who exercises the functions, not of mere man, but of the true God), having weighed the necessity or benefit of the churches, dissolves, not by human but rather by divine authority.»
(Decretals of Gregory IX, Book 1, C.7.3.)

«Hence the Pope is crowned with a triple crown, as king of heaven and of earth and of the lower regions (infernorum).»
(Lucius Ferraris, Prompta Bibliotheca, “Papa II”, Vol. VI, p.26.)




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Daniel 7:21,25

I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them. (...)

[That king] shall wear out the saints of the Most High.

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More people were killed by the Papacy, during its reign throughout the Middle Ages, than by Hitler during World War II.

In fact, about 50 million people, who refused to recognize its authority, were killed by the Papacy.

Historian W.E. Lecky wrote, «The Church of Rome has shed more innocent blood than any other institution that has ever existed among mankind.» (Rise and Influence of Rationalism in Europe, vol.2, p.32.)




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Daniel 7:25

[That king] shall think to change times and laws.

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The Papacy removed God’s second commandment which forbids carved images and idols.

And, in order to preserve the appearance of the ten precepts of the Decalogue, it divided the tenth commandment in two parts.

Moreover, as we have seen in the lesson «The Great Trickery», it attacked the fourth commandment, moving the day of rest from Saturday to Sunday, thus changing «times and laws».

«The Pope is of so great authority and power, that he is able to modify, declare, or interpret even divine laws.» (Lucius Ferraris, Prompta Bibliotheca, “Papa II”, Vol. VI, p.25.)




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Daniel 7:25

[The saints] shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

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The reign of the little horn was to last 1260 years (3½ times = 3½ x 360 days = 1260 days, that is, 1260 years, as we have seen in the lesson «The Prophetic Zoo»).

Now, the Papacy reigned exactly 1260 years: from A.D. 538, when the last of the three tribes rejecting its power, that is, the Ostrogoths, was eliminated, until 1798, when the Papacy lost its political power, as French general Berthier took Pope Pius VI prisoner.




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Revelation 13:1

And I stood on the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads the name of blasphemy.

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If the Papacy lost its political power in 1798, then how is it that the Papacy is still a political power nowadays?

The beast of Revelation will give us the answer to our question.

First, let’s note the beast of Revelation’s description: we find some elements that are familiar to us, like «rise up out of the sea», «ten horns», «blasphemy»...




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Revelation 13:2

And the beast which I saw was like to a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion.

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Surprisingly, the same beasts which were presented in Daniel 7 (the lion, the bear, and the leopard) make up the body of this beast.

Also, we can see that they had previously been listed in reverse order: whereas Daniel saw the fall of Babylon (the lion), Medo-Persia (the bear), and Greece (the leopard) in the future, the apostle John saw them in the past.

This explains the inversion of listing order.




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Revelation 13:5,7

And there was given to [the beast] a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given to him to continue forty and two months. (...)

And it was given to him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.

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Does this description remind you of something?

Yes, you’ve guessed it. Both the beast of Revelation and the little horn symbolize the same power: the Papacy.




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Similarities between the little horn and the beast of Revelation




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Revelation 13:3

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed.

And all the world wondered after the beast.

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The apostle John then adds an interesting detail: the beast would be mortally wounded, but its wound would be healed. Then, the whole world «wondered after the beast».

Now, history reports that this is exactly what happened: the papacy, having lost its political power in 1798, recovered it in 1929, when Mussolini, by the Lateran Treaty, restored temporal power to the Pope who has, since then, ruled over Vatican.




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Revelation 13:3,8

His deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. (...)

And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

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Due to the numerous travels of Pope John Paul II, the Papacy has gained much prestige throughout the world, particularly in recent years.

But the Word of God foretells that very soon, all those who dwell on the earth will have to choose who they will worship: either God or the beast.




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Revelation 13:16,17

And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark.

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Indeed, very soon, the beast will impose its mark on all the inhabitants of earth, including you and us.

Those who reject this mark will experience severe difficulties, threatening even their lives.

On the other hand, those who accept this mark will be regarded by God as worshippers of the beast, and will lose eternal life.




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Revelation 14:9,10

If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation.

And he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone.

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God warns us not to receive the mark of the beast, or our punishment will be eternal destruction.

But what is the mark of the beast?

This crucial question must obtain a very precise answer from the Word of God. This will be the subject of our next lesson.




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Let’s thank God for His prophetic Word:

Our Father,

You have revealed to us that both the little horn and the beast of Revelation symbolize the Papacy, a power which tried to change Your law, and which made war against Your people for 1260 years.

But we know that You love the people who are in the papal system, and that You call them to come out of this system, and join Your Church.

Please give us the courage we need to leave this system, in order to join Your people, take a stand for You, and worship only You.

In the precious name of Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.


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