Answer : ____________________
NOTE: In the last days, God's people will be forced once again to worship contrary to conscience or be slain. They will have to choose between obeying the law of God or the laws of man.
NOTE: The Bible tells us in Revelation 14:6-14 that in the last days, this awesome three-point message of hope and warning will go to the entire world to prepare people for Jesus' return. One of these messages warns against worshipping the beast and receiving its mark. In this lesson, we will identify the beast. In Lesson 14, we will identify the mark. Eternal life itself may be at stake, so pray earnestly for God's guidance and understanding as you study.
NOTE: In Bible prophecy, a beast represents a government, kingdom, or political power. God uses beasts to symbolize governments, as we do today--an eagle (the United States of America), a bear (Russia), etc. In the Bible, "beast" is not a disrespectful term. It does not suggest beastly characteristics. The beast that has the mark is pictured in Revelation 13:1-10, 15-18. Please take time to read these verses before proceeding to question 4.
NOTE: In Revelation 13:1-10, 15-18, God gives 10 clues to help us identify the beast. He gives us a long list of characteristics so that we can be absolutely certain of the beast's identity.
Point 1 - Rises up out of the sea (verse 1)
Point 2 - Receives its power, seat, and authority from the dragon (verse 2)
Point 3 - Becomes a worldwide power (verses 3, 7)
Point 4 - Is guilty of blasphemy (verses 1, 5, 6)
Point 5 - Rules for 42 prophetic months (verse 5)
Point 6 - Receives a deadly wound that heals (verse 3)
Point 7 - Is a religious power that receives worship (verses 4, 8)
Point 8 - Persecutes God's saints (verse 7)
Point 9 - Has the mysterious number 666 (verse 18)
Point 10- Is led by one supreme man (verse 18)
Only one power fits all 10 of these identifying marks--the papacy. But in order to be certain, we will carefully consider them one at a time, beginning with question 5.
NOTE: In prophecy, water represents great multitudes of people, or heavily populated areas. Prophecy predicted that the beast would arise from amid the established nations of the then-known world. The papacy arose in western Europe, so it fits Point 1. But what about the other nine identifying points?
NOTE: The beast--which has a mark that we must avoid--obtained its power, authority, and capital city from the dragon. According to Revelation 12:3-5, the dragon is the power that sought to destroy the child Jesus at the time of His birth. It was Satan who inspired Herod, a king for the pagan Roman empire, to slay all the male babies in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:13, 16). To whom did pagan Rome give her authority and capital city? History is clear that pagan Rome turned over its power and capital city to the church of Rome. The following historical quote is typical: "The Roman church ... pushed itself into the place of the Roman World-Empire, of which it is the actual continuation. ... The Pope, who calls himself 'King' and 'Pontifex Maximus,' is Caesar's successor."* So Point 2 fits the papacy, as well.
*Adolph Harnack, What Is Christianity? (New York: Putnam, second edition, revised, 1901), p. 270.
NOTE: No one would question that during the Middle Ages, the papacy was indeed a worldwide power. In fact, the word "catholic" means "universal." We can see that Point 3 also fits the papacy.
NOTE: The Bible defines blasphemy as man claiming to forgive sins (Luke 5:21) and claiming to be God (John 10:33). The papacy boldly claims the power to forgive sins. Notice the following section from a Catholic catechism: "Does the Priest truly forgive the sins, or does he only declare that they are remitted? The Priest does really and truly forgive the sins in virtue of the power given to him by Christ."1 The papacy also claims that the pope is equal with God. Pope Leo XIII said, "We [the popes] hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty."2 Here is another startling statement about the pope: "Thou art another God on earth."3 So Point 4 also fits the papacy.
1Joseph Deharbe, S.J., A Complete Catechism of the Catholic Religion (New York: Schwartz, Kirwin & Fauss, 1924), p. 279.
2Christopher Marcellus, Oration in the Fifth Lateran Council, Session IV (1512), manuscript SC, Vol. 32, col. 761 (Latin).
3Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter "The Reunion of Christendom," dated June 20, 1894, trans. in The Great Encyclical letters of Pope Leo XIII (New York: Benziger, 1903), p. 304.
NOTE: Remember that in prophecy, one prophetic day equals one literal year (Ezekiel 4:6). This time period is repeatedly referred to in prophecy as three and a half years, 42 months, or 1,260 days. Based on the 30-day calendar used by the Jews, all three time periods total the same 1,260 prophetic days, or 1,260 literal years. The worldwide power of papal Rome became official in A.D. 538, when Emperor Justinian's decree making the papacy supreme was no longer opposed. The papacy was dealt what appeared to be a death blow in 1798 when the pope was captured by Napoleon's general, Alexander Berthier. You will notice that the time period between A.D. 538 and 1798 is precisely 1,260 years. Point 5 also fits the papacy.
NOTE: As already mentioned, the papacy received what appeared to be a deadly wound in 1798 when General Berthier took the pope captive to France, where he died in exile.1 Half of Europe thought that this event signaled the end of the papacy, but God had said that the wound would be healed and that the papacy's power and influence would be restored until the entire world would follow her leading. Malachi Martin, consummate Vatican insider, reveals the following in his book The Keys of This Blood: "The pope is the best-known person of the 20th century (p. 123), has formed personal relationships with the leaders of 91 countries (p. 490), and is prepared for worldwide rule now" (p. 143).2 Even a novice would recognize that today the papacy is, in many ways, the most influential power on earth. And with each trip the pope makes, his power and influence grow. Multiplied millions worldwide look to the papacy as the only hope for world unity, peace, and decency--precisely as God predicted. The papacy clearly fits Point 6.
1Joseph Rickaby, "The Modern Papacy," Lectures on the History of Religion, (London: Catholic Truth Society, 1910), Vol. 3, Lecture 24, p. 1.
2Malachi Martin, The Keys of This Blood (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990).
NOTE: It is obvious that this entity would be involved in spiritual matters. The words "worship" or "worshiped" are used five times in Revelation 13 in reference to this power. Surely no one doubts that the papacy fits Point 7.
NOTE: It is common knowledge that the papacy did persecute and destroy conscientious Christians, especially during the Middle Ages, the peak period of its control. Many historians say that more than 50 million people died for their faith during this period of great tribulation. Apparently the church felt it was doing God a favor by stamping out "heresy." The pope has asked that the church be forgiven for its atrocities, but the fact remains that it did persecute and destroy. The papacy fits Point 8 also.
NOTE: In Revelation 13:18, God says to count the number of the beast's name and that it is the number of a man. When we think of the papacy, the man we naturally think of is the pope. What is his name? One of the pope's official titles is "Vicar of the Son of God," which is "Vicarius Filii Dei" in Latin (the official language of the church). Newspaper articles, when referring to the pope as "Vicar of Christ," will often enclose the words in quotation marks to show that they are a translation of his title, or name. The book of Revelation is saying that the Roman numeral value of the letters of his name will equal 666. Let's see whether or not Point 9 fits the papacy: