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The Beast’s Great Power and Authority

17 Nov
Beast of Revelation 13 a

from Google Images

In my previous study: The Beast with Seven Heads, I mentioned John described the main portion of the beast, i.e. its body, as a leopard (Revelation 13:2). The leopard is the third beast of Daniel 7:3-7), and according to nearly every scholar who studies Daniel, this beast represents Greece and Alexander the Great. In the context of Revelation 13:2, this seems to mean the beast would be Grecian or Hellenistic in its character. Moreover, this character is described in Scripture as one who watches its prey (Jeremiah 5:6), and considers them with a view to destroy (Hosea 13:7-8; cf. Luke 6:7; 14:1; Acts 9:23-24).

In addition to the beast’s body, John describes its feet as those of a bear, which categorizes Daniel’s second beast (Daniel 7:5). The bear would represent the Persian Empire, according to most scholars. In the context of Revelation 13:2, it seems that the beast would seek to destroy its enemies with the fury of a mother bear bereft of its cubs (cf. Hosea 13:7-8; Proverbs 28:15). In other words, the beast of Revelation 13 would observe his enemies as a leopard, but, when it was time to act, it would destroy them with unmerciful fury, from which there would be no turning back, just as when a mother bear has her cubs taken away. Finally, John describes the beast’s mouth as that of a lion, implying its ferocity in devouring its prey (Psalm 22:21; 2Timothy 4:17), and the lion in Daniel 7 represents Babylon.

It is interesting to note that, although John compares the beast of Revelation 13 with the beasts of Daniel 7, he never describes the heads of the beasts. That is, the heads of the beast in the Apocalypse are not that of a lion, a leopard or a bear. So, although the beast of Revelation 13 seems to have Daniel 7 as its source, there are notable exceptions between the two Scriptures.

First of all, the beasts that we see in Daniel represent empires that are different one from the other (Daniel 7:3). However, the beast of Revelation 13 incorporates certain characteristics from all four of Daniel’s empires, which seems to imply that the beast of Revelation 13 is not an empire in its own right. Rather, it seems to be a kind of composite entity that incorporates all four other empires. This would fit my understanding that the beast of Revelation 13 is the apostate state of Israel. While it is not an empire, it has been influenced by four ancient empires and bears out that influence in how it represents itself in world of the first century AD.

The text tells us that the dragon gave this beast its power, seat (throne) and great authority (Revelation 13:2). How this played out in reality, however, may be quite different from this straightforward statement. For example, Luke tells us that Satan offered Jesus his seat (throne) and great authority (Luke 4:5-7). Yet, if we consider Luke 4:1-2, where Jesus is said to have spent forty days in the wilderness, tempted of Satan, and compare this with the three days of the Gospel of John, which immediately followed Jesus’ baptism (John 1:29, 35, 43; 2:1), we find no room for Jesus spending forty days in a literal wilderness. Therefore, Satan’s temptations came through people, who were called wild beasts by Mark (Mark 1:13). The wilderness, into which Jesus was driven, was a wilderness of people, and he was tempted among them and by them (cf. Ezekiel 20:35).[1]

So, in the context of the dragon giving the beast his power, seat and authority, how would that be worked out in the first century AD world, remembering that John is writing about things extremely difficult to put into human words (2Corinthians 12: 4)? It seems to me, if we consider the fact that the beast is a composite of the four empires of Daniel 7 (cf. Revelation 13:1-2), but not any one of them in particular, and since these empires were different one from another (Daniel 7:3), then it could be said that the beast of Revelation 13 was an entity different from the four empires, but was influenced by each of them. This entity, itself, existed longer than any one of the first three and was presently being influenced by the fourth, the Roman Empire. It was the dragon (Satan, the Devil – i.e. the rebellious Jewish state in another form) in the person of its head, Caesar, that gave the beast its power, seat, and great authority. In other words, just as Satan (the rebellious Jewish state) tempted Jesus (to become its “head”) in the persons of the “wild beasts” (zealots, Pharisees etc.) in the wilderness of people,[2] so, too, Satan (the dragon of Revelation 12), in the person of its head, Caesar, gave the beast of Revelation 13 its power, seat, and great authority.[3]

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[1] See my study: Led Into the Wilderness and Jesus’ Trials and the Wedding at Cana.

[2] Josephus: “And now Archelaus took possession of his ethnarchy, and used not the Jews only, but the Samaritans also, barbarously; and this out of his resentment of their old quarrels with him. Whereupon they both of them sent ambassadors against him to Caesar; and in the ninth year of his government he was banished to Vienna, a city of Gaul, and his effects were put into Caesar’s treasury.” (Wars of the Jews 2.7.3).

[3] See my two previous studies: The Birth of the Beast of Revelation 13 and The Beast With Seven Heads.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on November 17, 2019 in Apocalypse, Book of Revelation

 

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6 responses to “The Beast’s Great Power and Authority

  1. Eddie

    December 8, 2019 at 23:02

    Greetings Patricia, the problem is the manner in which we calculate history is wrong. Ancient ages are based upon the calculations of Claudius Ptolemy, a Greek mathematician / astronomer who lived in the 2nd century AD. His “Canon of the Kings” is praised by historians, but mathematicians tell a different story. He couldn’t have calculated what he claims he did using the tables he left behind. I have a study on this in Who is Claudius Ptolemy. I also have other similar studies: Errors in Ancient Chronology, and the The Ancient Hebrew Calendar.

    Simply put, I cannot agree with your calculations and believe what I’ve studied about the ancient history covering the Persian Empire. Believe as you wish, but I remain unpersuaded.

    Lord bless you, Patricia.

     
  2. Patricia Watkins

    December 8, 2019 at 14:29

    Hi again Eddie,

    Yes, I have read from Ussher’s “Annals of the World” that the Jewish Seder Olam has subtracted a century or two from the chronology of history in the Persian era. But this does NOT contradict my point about the 666 years existence for the biography of the Sea Beast (from 607 BC until late AD 59 to early AD 60 when John was writing Revelation). That is because the reduced years of history in the Seder Olam were not subtracted from the chronology of history until the SECOND century – quite a bit AFTER John was writing Revelation in AD 59/60. Until Rabbi Halafta’s time (who died in 160 AD), the Jews had not yet subtracted those couple centuries from history in their chronologies.

    Halafta had a deceptive purpose for reducing the number of years from the chronology. The reason was that he was trying to switch the fulfillment of Daniel 9:24-27 (which was precisely fulfilled to the exact year by Jesus, manifested as Daniel’s prophesied Messiah). Both Halafta and his teacher, Rabbi Akiva, rejected this fulfillment of Daniel pointing to Jesus as the Messiah. In sympathy and agreement with his teacher’s views, Halafta was trying to arrange the dates of Daniel’s prophecy so that they would point to Simon Bar Kokhba instead as being the prophesied Messiah. The revised Seder Olam dates end up pointing to Simon Bar Kokhba, leader of the AD 132 rebellion against Rome, as the “Star out of David” that Rabbi Akiva, Halafta’s mentor, had so reverenced.

    So my point remains. The 666 calculated number is not a gematria code, or any other type of code. The number 666 represents the lifespan in years from the beginning of the Sea Beast’s biography up to the time John was writing (607 BC – AD 59/60). Any Jew of that time looking at the history of the nation of Israel under those pagan Gentile conquerors, with a little wisdom thrown in, could have easily recognized this.

    The repercussions of this view mean that we need not confine the oppression of the Sea Beast to a mere 3 and 1/2 year time span in the AD 70 era. The Sea Beast’s oppression could have occurred at any time during the 666 years from Nebuchadnezzar’s time until the time of John’s writing and beyond that into Nero’s era of persecuting the Christians. This also means that we can truly pinpoint the time for the Revelation 20 millennium to MUCH earlier in history than the AD 70 era. In other words, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were some of those souls John saw in Revelation 20:4 who had not worshipped the image of the Sea Beast when Nebuchadnezzar, (the first leader in the Sea Beast’s history), had demanded it of them. Those three Hebrew men faithfully “lived and reigned with Christ” during their lifetime, which was within the parameters of the literal thousand-year millennium period from 967 BC until AD 33. Those 7,000 during Jezebel’s time who had not bowed the knee to Baal were some other souls that John saw. It was during this time period from the foundation of Solomon’s temple until Christ’s resurrection that the “old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan” was bound by having his level of deception sharply curtailed, compared to all the millennia of history since creation (prior to the Rev. 20 millennium) which Paul called “the times of this ignorance” when God “in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways” (Acts 17:30,14:16)

    You have said that my presentation is “backwards” to say that “the dragon worked behind the scenes in the spirit realm and within all the nations of the world to corrupt and deceive the inhabitants of the earth and the sea in those last days.” I agree with you that Babylon the Great (Jerusalem) actually DID corrupt the nations with her deception. But that was because she herself had been deceived by the dragon, and was passing on that deception as a CONSEQUENCE of her own deception by the Dragon / Devil / Satan.

    It’s just as Christ told the scribes and Pharisees of His day, “Ye are of your father the Devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it…If I should say I know Him not” (God the Father), “I shall be a liar like unto you…” (John 8:44,55). The lying deception of the deceived scribes and Pharisees was a consequence of having the Devil for their father. What the Devil had done since the beginning, the scribes and Pharisees also did as a reflection of who their father truly was – and it was neither the faithful Abraham, nor God the Father.

     
  3. Eddie

    December 6, 2019 at 16:12

    Greetings Patricia and thanks for your comment and interest in my studies.

    I’m glad you are not disappointed, if I don’t agree with you. You already know I don’t. How could we agree, especially when you believe in a literal spirit being called Satan, and when I think such an idea is straight out of paganism. Anyway, it is good we can agree that such beings don’t exist today, according to your point of view.

    “No Jew who knew the humiliating episode of their conquest by the Babylonians would have forgotten that dated year of their first deportation to Babylon, 666 years before John was writing.”

    Are you aware that the Jews have a about a century or two time difference in the chronology of history as that pertains to the time from the Persian Empire to the Grecian Empire? I don’t believe they would count 666 years between the fall of Jerusalem in the time of Nebuchadnezzar to the fall of Jerusalem in the first century AD, whether the count began with the burning of the Temple or Nebuchadnezzar’s vision.

    “The dragon worked behind the scenes in the spirit realm and within all the nations of the world to corrupt and deceive the inhabitants of the earth and the sea in those last days.”

    That’s backwards, is it not? According to Revelation 17, Babylon the Great corrupted the nations, not the other way around.

    Lord bless you, Patricia, and I hope you have a blessed Christmas.

     
  4. Patricia Watkins

    December 6, 2019 at 14:16

    Hi again Eddie,

    The 666 number is indeed the “number of A MAN”. It was Daniel’s STATUE OF A MAN that incorporated all the four world empires. Remember Daniel 7:4 and its description of the first beast kingdom characterized by a lion? “…and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet AS A MAN, and A MAN’S HEART was given to it. Daniel 7’s first lion beast kingdom coming out of the sea was comparable to the first head of gold kingdom on the STATUE OF A MAN. This statue of a human male figure made of different metals represented all the world empires which had interacted with Israel’s history as a people ever since Nebuchadnezzar. John’s readers of Revelation who were familiar with their Daniel scriptures would have formed an instant association with Daniel’s STATUE OF A MAN, and the “NUMBER OF A MAN” amounting to 666. No Jew who knew the humiliating episode of their conquest by the Babylonians would have forgotten that dated year of their first deportation to Babylon, 666 years before John was writing. It was a year that “lived in infamy” for them.

    You have said that one’s interpretation of Revelation should express in some manner the overriding theme of God’s judgment against Israel. Exactly so. I agree. That’s what the four beasts from the sea in Daniel 7 represented: the judgments that God brought upon Israel for its apostasy throughout the centuries by the various pagan world empires of Chaldea, Medo-Persia, Greece, and finally Rome. God effectively used all these pagan Gentile kingdoms as a tool to accomplish His purposes in Israel’s history until the end of that age. In the Matthew 22:2-13 parable of the wedding feast, Jesus said that the “king” (God) would send forth “HIS armies” (the AD 70 Roman armies) to destroy those murderers (the apostate Jews), and to burn up their city – a clear picture of the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem.

    Just to clarify my point on the dragon – I didn’t claim that the dragon was pagan in origin. The dragon (aka “that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan” in Rev. 12:9) is a totally separate entity from the Land Beast or the Sea Beast of Rev. 13, or the Scarlet Beast of Rev. 17. The dragon worked behind the scenes in the spirit realm and within all the nations of the world to corrupt and deceive the inhabitants of the earth and the sea in those last days. This is proved by the Rev. 16:13 verse that has the unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of (#1), the dragon, and (#2), out of the mouth of the beast, and (#3), out of the mouth of the false prophet. The Dragon (Satan) dwelled in the city of Pergamos where his throne was located, according to Rev. 2:13. And the Dragon (Satan) gave his throne in Pergamos and great authority to the Roman Sea Beast by having the last king Attalus III transfer his devil-worshipping kingdom with its capital over to Rome’s control in 133 BC.

    The dragon as the Devil is again identified separately from the Beast and the False Prophet, because they are initially thrown into the Lake of Fire at separate times (Rev. 19:20 compared with Rev. 20:10). The judgment tool God used called “HIS army” (the AD 70 Roman “HIS armies” of Matthew 22:7 that came from the Rev. 13 Sea Beast) was the opposing force God used against the Beast (the Judean Scarlet Beast of Rev. 17) and against the False Prophet (the Judean Land Beast of Rev. 13). The Roman-led Sea Beast is the one doing the “taking” of the (Scarlet) Beast and the False Prophet (Land Beast) in Rev. 19:19-20.

    That’s a total of three Beasts (one pagan Gentile one and two Judean ones) and one Dragon altogether. A sort of flipped earthly version of the Four Beasts in heaven that cry “Holy, holy, holy” without pause in Rev. 4:6-8.

    Eddie, I don’t expect you to agree with this manner of presenting Revelation’s Beasts, simply because you do not acknowledge that there was a separate entity called the Devil with his angels that was cast out of heaven into the earth at Christ’s ascension, having great wrath for the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea for a short time until Christ’s AD 70 return (Rev. 12:9-12). At that end of the age, the Devil and his angels and every unclean spirit were completely destroyed and would “pass out of the land” as Isaiah 24:21-23, Isaiah 27:1, and Zech. 13:2 prophesied. So in the final analysis, Eddie, I believe you and I end up on the same page with no demonic realm in the present age.

     
  5. Eddie

    December 4, 2019 at 17:39

    Greetings Patricia and thank you for your comment.

    Concerning the “sea” beast being gentile in origin, we agree there. But, what you fail to recognize is the origin of apostate Israel is pagan / gentile in origin. The Jews had a difficult time being faithful in the Old Covenant period, and they learned more bad habits in Babylon. So, yes, apostate Israel is gentile in origin. Only the elect remained faithful to God.

    Concerning the seat of the Dragon, your ideology is contradictory. The dragon is a land beast, yet you claim it is pagan in origin. It is pagan, but it happens to be Israel (yet, it didn’t rise up out of the sea). Once again she is apostate. I have studies on this in Revelation 12. She was supposed to be an image of God. However, Jesus is revealed in the Apocalypse as High Priest, Prophet and King of kings, but apostate Israel is revealed in the same book as king, prophet and high priest–backwards for an image. You are placing too much emphasis on where the beasts originate (at least the “sea” beast), and you try to make them into something the Bible never intended to show. The Bible is all about Israel and its relationship and rebellion against God. Gentile nations are important only in how they affect Israel. The main opposing force in the Apocalypse is Israel, not a gentile nation or even many gentile nations. The Apocalypse is about Jesus and his judgment against Israel. That’s key. If one’s interpretation doesn’t express that in some manner, I believe it is wrong.

    You mentioned: “King Attalus III of the Pergamon kingdom was dying in 133 BC without an heir, and to keep his kingdom from fracturing into pieces by warring claimants for his throne, he decided to give it entirely to his powerful ally, the Roman Republic.” Very true, but what does this have to do with Israel? I believe it points to how Pompey, the Roman general, came into Jerusalem without opposition, and Hyrcanus II, the high priest, surrendered Israel’s independence to avoid / stop civil war. Rome “conquered” Israel without a fight, and assumed authority to appoint Israel’s high priests at will. Rome then gave that power to Herod, and when he died, Rome once again assumed that authority and appointed Annas, high priest in 6 AD. He officiated until 16 AD, but was high priest for 60 years, until he was killed by the zealots in 66 AD.

    I believe your 666 interpretation is forced. 666, according the the Apocalypse, it is the number of a man (or a human number), not the number of years apostate Israel existed (imo).

    Thanks again, Patrica, for your interest in my studies. Lord bless you.

     
  6. Patricia Watkins

    December 4, 2019 at 10:24

    Hi Eddie,

    Absolute agreement with your statement that the Rev. 13 Sea Beast is “a kind of composite entity that incorporates all four other empires.” There’s no doubt that all four beast empires of Daniel 7 are somehow subsumed into this one final Sea Beast presented by John in Rev. 13:2 with its leopard, bear, and lion features.

    But I draw the line where you have stated that this final Sea Beast represents apostate Israel. That’s because John consistently uses the imagery of the “Sea” and the “Land” to divide between the pagan Gentile nations and the land of Israel throughout his book. Such as in places like “Woe to the inhabiters of the EARTH, and of the SEA!” in Rev. 12:12. If this first Beast of Rev. 13:1 comes up out of the SEA, that means its source is pagan Gentile in origin – not from the land of Israel, like the second Beast from the EARTH in Rev. 13:11.

    What convinces me without a single doubt that the Sea Beast has pagan Gentile origins is that the SEAT OF THE DRAGON is given to this Sea Beast in Rev. 13:2. “…and the dragon gave him his power, AND HIS SEAT (thronos), and great authority.” Scripture itself defines what that “SEAT OF THE DRAGON” really is. Go back to Rev. 2:13, and the SEAT (thronos) OF SATAN (aka the Dragon in Rev. 12:9) is IN THE CITY OF PERGAMOS. If the Sea Beast is actually apostate Israel as you have proposed, Eddie, just when in history was any throne in the city of Pergamos ever given to apostate Israel by anybody or anything?

    However, we do have a record of when the entire Pergamon kingdom, including its capital city of Pergamos, was given to the Roman republic. King Attalus III of the Pergamon kingdom was dying in 133 BC without an heir, and to keep his kingdom from fracturing into pieces by warring claimants for his throne, he decided to give it entirely to his powerful ally, the Roman Republic. This was done, and King Attalus III’s will bequeathing his kingdom to Rome was read and recorded in the Roman Senate.

    I’ve read that Pergamos was the first city in Asia to launch the cult of emperor worship. It had an Asklepion that the nobility of Rome visited for healing (significantly represented by the symbol of a serpent). It had a library second only to the one in Alexandria, and it had a temple to Zeus on top of a tall mountain, with an altar that was 40 ft. high, and considered to be one of the wonders of the world at that time. This altar was where Antipas was martyred, as Rev. 2:13 testifies. That altar is presently reassembled and occupies the Pergamon museum in Berlin, Germany, where it was transported piece by piece.

    The significance of the Sea Beast being a “composite entity that incorporates all four other empires”, as you said, Eddie, is that this gives us the biography of the Sea Beast. This biography tells us that it actually came into existence back in Nebuchadnezzar’s day (the earliest “lion” part of this Rev. 13 Sea Beast). As John was writing, this Sea Beast was 666 YEARS OLD at that time. Since John was writing just before the AD 60 Laodicean earthquake which destroyed that city and its church, John told his readers to CALCULATE the number of that Sea Beast, because it amounted to the number of 666 (actually 666 YEARS that Daniel’s statue of a MAN representing the 4 empires had existed). Counting backwards 666 YEARS from late AD 59 to early AD 60 before the Laodicean earthquake, we come to the year 607 BC – the year that Nebuchadnezzar deported Daniel and the first captives from Jerusalem, starting their 70-year Babylonian exile.

    Every one of the 4 empires composing the biography of this 666-year-old Sea Beast in one way or another had demanded worship on pain of death. We remember Nebuchadnezzar’s golden stature from the Babylonian empire, which the 3 Hebrews refused to worship, and were thrown into the fiery furnace. We remember Darius of the Medes and Persians, and Daniel thrown into the lion’s den for continuing to pray to Jehovah instead of to the king. We remember those during the Maccabean period who remained faithful to God, even when Antiochus Epiphanes of the Greek empire was killing those who continued to serve God according to Mosaic laws. These were commended for their faith in the Hebrews 11:35-39 list of those persecuted and martyred for the faith. In Christ’s day, the pressure on the people of Israel from the Jewish leadership (imposed by the Rev. 13:11 Land Beast of the high priesthood’s Sadducees and Pharisees) was to give enough homage to pagan Rome in order to preserve “their place and their nation”, as Caiphas recommended.

    A major part of that pressure on the people of Israel was the Tyrian shekel and half-shekel coins required by the high priests (from the second Land Beast of Rev. 13:11) for all temple transactions and payment of the yearly Temple Tax (no buying or selling in the Temple without it – Rev. 13:17). Those Tyrian shekel coins had forbidden pagan images of the demi-god Herakles on them that God had strictly warned the children of Israel NOT to use back in Deuteronomy 7:25-26. “The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God. Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.” But instead of detesting the pagan images on those silver Tyrian shekel coins, (for the sake of the huge profits they made by the moneychangers’ fees for exchanging foreign currency for these Tyrian shekel coins), the high priesthood demanded that these Tyrian shekel coins were to be the only approved currency for the Temple. This was a true abomination in the sight of God, and was why Jesus overturned the tables of those moneychangers, and accused them of making the Temple a “den of thieves”.

    The delegated power that Rome (in the form of the first Rev. 13 Sea Beast) gave to the high priesthood system (the second Rev. 13 Land Beast) to exercise over their own people was done “BEFORE IT” and “IN THE SIGHT OF THE BEAST”(Rev. 13:12,14). The Greek word used in both these cases is “enopion” which means “before the face of” or “in the very presence of” that Sea Beast. This is exactly the case with the high priesthood of the second Land Beast which operated and exercised its Temple authority over the people directly across from the Roman Antonia Fortress, which was positioned IN PLAIN SIGHT of the Temple and its activities. That Roman Antonia Fortress was located on what we mistakenly call the “Temple Mount” today, with the Temple across from it actually located on Mt. Zion, with the waters of the Gihon Spring running through it. I believe you are in agreement with this last point at least, Eddie, concerning the Temple’s true location. .

     
 
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