The Hybrid Leopard
Lesson 32

The beast power of Revelation 13 has intrigued Christians for hundreds of years. There have been many speculations as to what it is, its nature, and the time when it will appear. This concern is well placed, for the Bible does not give stronger warnings about any power than it does about this beast, brought to view in Revelation 13:1–10. This speculation is not necessary however, because God does not warn us against something and then speak in such vague and uncertain terms, that we are at a loss to clearly understand what He is speaking about, and this beast is no exception.

1. From where did this power arise?

Revelation 13:1
Revelation 13:1

2. In prophecy, what is represented by water?

Revelation 17:15
Revelation 17:15

Note: As water represents people and nations, we know that this power would arise from among the great population centers of the world.

3. From where did this beast receive its power, its seat, and its authority?

Revelation 13:1–2
Revelation 13:1–2

Note: A significant point, and one which helps us to establish the time for the emergence of this power, is that it was to be given its seat, its authority, and its power, by the dragon. As already shown in lesson 28, while the dragon indirectly represents Satan (see Revelation 12:7–9), it referred more specifically to ancient pagan Rome. The seat of the old Roman Empire was the city of Rome itself. As the date for the fall of the Roman Empire in the west was A.D. 476, we conclude that this power, while emerging before this time, could not be firmly established with a seat and authority until after this date.

In 330 Constantine, the emperor, moved the capital of the Roman Empire eastward, to Constantinople. The city of Rome, the former seat of the empire, was then given to the Bishop of Rome. In 538, through the work of Justinian, the then ruling emperor of Rome, the pope was declared to be the head of all the churches and the corrector of heretics. In this way, Rome became the seat of the Papacy [the Catholic Church], and the authority of the bishop of Rome [the pope], was received on the authority of the dragon power—pagan Rome.

4. For how long a period of time was this power to continue?

Revelation 13:5
Revelation 13:5

Note: The Jewish year was made up of 29 and 30-day months. A full month, however, was always considered to be 30 days. For purposes of computing future events, the full month was considered. Forty-two months would therefore be 1260 [42 X 30 = 1260] days/years. This is the same length of time which the prophecy of Daniel 7 indicated that the little horn, identified as papal Rome, would continue.

5. What was the attitude of this power toward God’s people?

Revelation 13:7
Revelation 13:7

Note: No one with any knowledge of history can deny that this description also fits the Catholic Church. It is conservatively estimated that the Church of Rome caused over fifty million people to be put to death. What was their crime? They followed their conscience even when it differed from the established religion.

Out of the ruins of pagan Rome arose the Church of Rome. Claiming the titles and the authority of her predecessors, the emperors, papal Rome sought to extend her power over the heads of state. It has ever been a characteristic of the Papacy to dominate, or seek to control, the power of governments to further its own ends. While the emperors of Rome retained their power, the church was somewhat limited in the power it could exercise, but as the authority of the emperors waned, the church sought to fill the vacuum. For centuries the heads of state received their crown and ruled more or less subject to papal authority.

While some might contend that the Papacy is primarily a religious power, not political, we must remember that it sends and receives ambassadors, and in many other ways functions as a political state.

6. What was one of the heads of this beast said to suffer?

Revelation 13:3
Revelation 13:3

Note: By the decree of Justinian, the pope was given ecclesiastical as well as temporal power, but this could not become a reality until the armies of Justinian defeated the Ostrogoths in Italy, who were Arians by faith. This campaign was completed in A.D. 538.

Accepting the date of 538 for the beginning point, 1260 years extend to 1798. This was just after the French Revolution; the victorious armies of Napoleon were marching across Europe, destroying monarchy and the church. Berthier, the French general, went down to Rome and took the then-reigning pope prisoner and returned him to France to live out his remaining days in exile. For a relatively short period of time the church was without a visible head. Many believed that the church had come to an end and would never again figure significantly in world affairs, and for many years the picture remained unchanged.

7. What three other animals did this beast look like?

Revelation 13:2
Revelation 13:2

Note: Each of these three beasts were represented in Daniel 7 as world powers. This beast is different in that in it are combined some aspects of each of those symbols.

8. How does Satan seek to control the world?

Revelation 12:9
Revelation 12:9

9. How do the people of earth relate to this power?

Revelation 13:8
Revelation 13:8

Note: Many people are looking for a diabolical power that will force its way into the political scene, compelling Christians to abandon their faith and setting up a non-religious government of force. We need to notice, however, that there is worship involved in the establishment of this power. In fact all the people on the earth will worship it, except for those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Jesus spoke very plainly when He said “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:14. A little later in that same sermon He made another profound statement: “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21–23

10. What was the animal said to be like?

Revelation 13:2
Revelation 13:2

Note: The leopard of Daniel 7 represented Greece, the third great world empire. Few people realize how completely Greek philosophy captured the world. It also played a significant role in the formation of thought in the early Christian church. Plato believed in the immortality of the soul. In his understanding, heroes and notable persons went immediately to mansions and places of reward, while the common people went down to the infernal regions to receive punishment for sinful pollutions, until they had been cleansed of those pollutions. Here we see the elevation of the saints to heaven at death, and the doctrine of purgatory. He also believed in the concept of separating the body from the soul. He believed this was achieved by afflicting the body, by deprivation, and by separation from society. Thus was laid the groundwork for the later emergence of monasticism and penances. During the Middle Ages, while the Bible was outlawed, men looked to Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates for light. As one may expect, their philosophy greatly permeated the religious thinking, helping to shape many of the concepts that became a part of Christian thought, but for which there is no biblical support.

11. To what was the mouth of the beast likened?

Revelation 13:2
Revelation 13:2

Note: The lion in Daniel 7 represented Babylon. In the Papacy is to be found not only Christianity but also a mixture of the pagan religions that were part of the world empires that had ruled the nations over the centuries before the existence of the Christian church, many of which found their basis in the religion of ancient Babylon.

12. What were the feet of the beast like?

Revelation 13:2
Revelation 13:2

Note: The bear in Daniel 7 represented the empire of the Medes and Persians. The Medes and Persians had a method of government peculiarly their own. When the king of the Medes and Persians spoke law he was considered to be infallible. Once given, it was not possible to change the law of the Medes and Persians. See Daniel 6:8, 12. This finds its counterpart in the doctrine of the infallibility of the pope when he speaks ex cathedra, defining points of law or doctrine.

We understand that God did not give us these prophecies as an indictment against individuals, but rather against systems, as warnings, that His people might not become innocently involved in a system of apostasy. Later, in Revelation 18, we see this same power referred to as Babylon. In speaking of this power at the end of time, we find that, just as God called Lot out of wicked Sodom before its destruction, He sends a call to His people to come out of this system of apostasy, lest they become involved with its general ruin. It is because of His great love for those people who are a part of this system of apostasy, many of whom sincerely love Him, that He warns them of pitfalls and danger; not because of any animosity toward them, but that they might choose to avoid those things that threaten to separate them from Himself.

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