Revelation Chapter 13
VERSE 16 continued “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads…”
It’s strange the amount of time many believers spend imaging what the “mark of the beast” might be, and yet so little time and effort in determining the truth as to who or what the beast itself actually is. There are as many theories in regards to “beast” as there are in respects to the “mark”.
Now would it not seem prudent for one to rightly identify who or what the beast is first before deviling into what they think the mark might be?
Many assume that the “beast” here spoken of in Revelation is the Antichrist, they are correct in part, that is to say the first beast, the beast which came up out of the sea is indeed the Antichrist, but not the Antichrist they imagine. The Antichrist is NOT an individual as they assume, but rather a corrupt religious system, an unholy union of church and state, the Papacy.
See our blog post entitled, “The Antichrist Revealed” for a better understanding on this subject.
That the Papacy is indeed the “Man of Sin”, THE Antichrist spoken of in 2 Thess. 2:3, 4, 8 and by the Apostle John in 1 John 2:18, 19 was pointed out by almost all of the early reformers (See Part 5 of the before mentioned blog), but alas this has been lost sight of ever since then. The Papacy knowing full well that they fit the bill enlisted the Jesuit scholarship to come up with a ploy to counter and deflect this claim away from them.
The most successful tack was taken by Francisco Ribera (1537-1591) of Spain, founder of the Futurist system of prophetic interpretation. Ribera proposed that Antichrist would appear in the distant future (our day), and stated: “Antichrist would be a single evil person who would be received by the Jews and would rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.” Amazingly, this erroneous teaching has become the most popular view in our day, even with members of Protestant Churches!
This was a very clever deception on the part of the Adversary (the true author of this error) to deflect any true investigation into matter. The professing church fell hand over knee for this deception.
The Papacy as a church-state entity fits the biblical definition of a “beast”
As stated, before a “beast” represents the less-than-ideal characteristics of mankind. (See Eccl 3:18.) Sometimes the symbol may seem to apply to one man as with Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 4:16), but most often, the symbol applies to a group of men (a government or institution) one with unholy characteristics.
That this last is true we merely need turn to Dan 7:2, 3 where Daniel states:
“I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea (the restless masses of humanity). And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.”
These four beasts represent four kingdoms, four universal empires, that arise out of the earth (Verse 17).
“‘Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings (representing their respective kingdoms) which arise out of the earth.”
The “first beast” (the Roman Catholic Church-dominated arrangement, church-state) likewise is said to have come up out of the sea (the restless mass of humanity), because this apostate Christianity was born in the crumbling ruins of the pagan Roman Empire -- a time of great restlessness and turmoil.
“Several barbarian incursions into Italy plunged the nation into periods of violence and plunder and the populace into the depths of poverty, hunger, and despair, thus greatly weakening the Western imperial power. Papacy capitalized on the instability of government, particularly in Rome, the ancient and revered capital of the empire, and adroitly maneuvered the situation to its own advantage.”
It’s very important that you grasp this fact, that the “beast”, “whose wound was healed” (Rev 13:12) is the Papacy (Catholicism) NOT the individual members of the Catholic church, but the SYSTEM itself, the church-state organization, which attempts to counterfeit the Lord’s kingdom. Knowing this fact is the only insurance you have of gaining the victory over the Beast and his Image, and that you receive not the mark.
As it is written:
“The coming (the presence of our Lord) will be accompanied by the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved (from these deceptions). And for this reason, God will send (permit to come upon) them strong delusion (Compare Isa 66:4), that they should believe the lie (that Papacy is or represents the Church of Christ on earth), that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth (on this matter, that the Papacy does not represent the Church of Christ, but is a counterfeit of the true kingdom), but had pleasure in unrighteousness (in errors and falsehoods).” 2 Thess 2:9-12
“Be it noticed that all the creeds handed down to us contain many errors and that the test of our loyalty to the truth is our willingness to renounce these and to replace them with the gold, silver and precious stones of the divine Word. For one reason or another this matter of confessing error and relinquishing it is a severe trial to many. It tests loyalty to God and his Word. It tests humility of heart. It tests willingness to confess our errors. It tests love for the brethren.
However, trifling the mistake, it requires an overcoming courage to declare it, to renounce it. [In other words, if we find out that what we have been holding is wrong doctrine, it is very difficult, in humility of heart, to have the courage to say that we now think differently.] This has been the procedure for the past three hundred years, as God’s people have emerged more and more from the smoke of the ‘dark ages.’ Because of these difficulties and tests the progress out of darkness into the full, clear light has been slow. At every step of the journey light and truth have been slandered, opposed, vilified, persecuted, and the advocates of truth have been pilloried and roasted either figuratively or literally.”
We will continue with this in our next post.
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