The section which follows is a chapter from Fred P Miller's book, Revelation: a Panorama of the Gospel Age

Revelation 13


Revelation 13 is Built on the 7th Chapter of Daniel:

This chapter is placed first in the book for two reasons. First, there is historical material in the book of Daniel that is easier to interpret and upon which symbols in the Book of Revelation are based. Second, the earliest expositors of the prophecies in Revelation, in the second century A.D., began with, and were most successful in understanding these prophecies in Daniel.

That Daniel could make such predictions, as follows, is verification of the divinity of the Source. They read like historical hindsight, not like a look to the future, because his predictions not only predict the outline of future events but name by name the participants. No one could have predicted these events before they happened unless God revealed them to him. They are too clear.

There is, of course, one other option -- that the book of Daniel is a fraud and that it was written after the events that it describes. There are many who adopt this view. They, of course do not believe in divine inspiration, therefore, to them, the prophecies have to be some form of literary style, rather than visions of the future. They are said to have been written in the days of Antiochus Epiphanies in the Greek period, or about 160 B.C. It is easy to show this can't be true and empirically prove the existence of the book of Daniel before the fulfillment of the prophecies which validate it.

The Book of Daniel in the Mishnah

The Mishnah contains quotations from most of the books of the Old Testament. However it does not contain any quotation from the book of Daniel. It does refer twice, however, directly to the book of Daniel as follows:

Speaking of the preparation of the High Priest for the day of Atonement in Mishnah Yoma 1:6 it is said that the High Priest would listen to the scriptures read, and their exposition as a diversion, because of the importance of the event and worship which he only could perform.

The importance of the event is highlighted by information that the High Priest had a substitute High Priest ready to be installed in the event that he (the first) would die on the inception or during the performance of his duties. There was also a woman at ready to be married to him in case his wife died, since he had to offer first for himself and his house, it being understood that if his wife died he would have no house and could not therefore fulfill the scripture!

In this context, the book of Daniel is mentioned. The books said to be read to the High Priest because they were highly exciting and could divert his attention from the pressing duties of the coming Day of Atonement, were Job, Ezra, and Chronicles. The text continues "Zechariah b. Kabutal says: Many times I read before him out of Daniel."

Rabbi Kabutal lived during the lifetime of the early church, before the destruction of the temple. This is a historical note which indicates the use of, and the presence of, the book of Daniel in the apostolic period and the lifetime of Jesus and its acceptance as Scripture by the Mishnah and those who lived before the writing of the Mishnah.

Following is quoted from the Mishnah tractate Yadaim 4:5:

"The [Aramaic) version that is in Ezra and Daniel renders the hands unclean. If an [Aramaic] version [contained in the Scriptures] was written in Hebrew, or if [Scripture that is in] Hebrew was written in an [Aramaic] version, or in Hebrew script, it does not render the hands unclean. [The Holy Scriptures] render the hands unclean only if they are written in the Assyrian character, on leather, and in ink."
We make no comment here about the main thought of the passage of whether we are clean or unclean but that the book of Daniel is again cited as historically accepted for a long time by Jewish sages as Scripture. We say "for a long time," because the Mishnah contains applications and comments on the Law of Moses which have been handed down from the time of the Babylonian captivity and onward. In the above quoted section the Aramaic passages in Daniel (Dan 2:4 to 6:28) are not in doubt as Scripture. This passage in the Mishnah would have been a part of Oral Law indicating the long term acceptance of Daniel as Scripture. It would also tend to show the prejudice of later Jewish Masoretic scholars who placed Daniel among the Kethuvim or writings rather than among the Prophets. At the time of the writing of the Mishnah there is no indication of demoting Daniel from the prophets. As the book of Daniel began to be used by the Christians in a greater way, because of the clearness of the prophecies concerning the Messiah and other prophecies concerning the Roman Empire, it was later avoided and downgraded by the Masoretic scholars in the fourth and fifth centuries A.D. The existence of Daniel as a canonical book and its use before and at the time of Christ is clearly evidenced in these passages in the Mishnah.

The New Testament

Jesus mentioned Daniel and quoted from the book of Daniel. This is recorded by both Matthew and Mark (Matt. 24:15; Mk 13:14) and is further evidence of the book of Daniel being empirically present among the hearers of Jesus as a book that had acceptance among the people for some time. That Jesus quoted and referred to Daniel is evidence enough to Christians. But we write these lines, not just for Christians, but that unbelievers might believe.

The Dead Sea Scrolls

The fact that surviving large portions of manuscripts of the book of Daniel were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls is empirical evidence of the existence of the book over 100 years before Christ, which is the time of the writing of the scrolls. There are 3 separate fragments of copies of Daniel among the Scrolls and one fragment attempting to counterfeit Daniel.. At Qumran there are 11 caves in which manuscripts were found. The manuscripts are named by the number of the cave they were found in. Two portions of Daniel were found in cave 1 and one partial manuscript of Daniel in cave 6 and a copy of what is known as Pseudo Daniel in cave 4. In order: these are "1Q71; 1Q72; 6Q7 and 4Q243. Empirical evidence is evidence that you can touch. You don't have to "believe" it to be true. You KNOW it to be true. By the scrolls we know the book of Daniel existed 100 years before Christ because we can "touch" a copy that is that old..

The Septuagint Translation

At the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, Greek ruler in Egypt and heir to Alexander the Great, the Jewish Scriptures were translated and deposited in the library at Alexandria. The Septuagint, called LXX, became the Scripture version used among the dispersed Jews and others. Almost all New Testament quotations of the Scriptures are from the LXX.

The book of Daniel is the only book of the Old Testament canon to have had controversy about its translation. Because its translation into Greek was always considered faulty, it was done later, again, from the Hebrew text, after the time of Christ. This controversy about the text proves the following: There is no doubt about the Hebrew text in the time of translating the LXX. The book existed then and could be compared from that time on with the original and the new Greek text. Complaints were consistently made from the time of its translation and onward. This proves the existence of the text and continuation of its existence up to and after the LXX was corrected!

The Hebrew Text of Daniel was translated at the time of the translation of the Septuagint Version,-- 285 B.C. This is another empirical evidence of the existence of the book of Daniel, pushing it back to 285 B.C. The controversy about its translation simply punctuates that existence and makes sure to us that it was there. We do not have to "believe" this. We know that it was there empirically, due to the translation of the LXX. You cannot translate a book that you do not have!

The Great Synagogue

The return from Babylonian captivity, in 536 B,C.. was followed by a distressing period of getting the nation rebuilt. About the year 456 B.C., almost 100 years later, Ezra and Nehemiah restored the city of Jerusalem and the religious rites. The law of Moses was reinstated fully. The priesthood was purified. (Many interpretations of the Torah concerning marriage eligibility to priests which are in the Mishnah arose at this time)

The Great Synagogue which closed the canon of the Old Testament met at this time. We do not have the records of the Great Synagogue. We only know historically that it met and determined what books were a part of the canon of the Old Testament and which were not. [ For a discussion of the Talmudic references to the Great Synogogue and the forming of the canon of the Old Testament before Artaxerxes Longimanus, as attested by Josephus, see the introduction to Daniel in: Spence and Exell; The Pulpit Commentary, Daniel, Volume 13; Erdmans, Grand Rapids; pgs.xxxv to xlvi. For a discussion of the antiquity of the Canon before 300 B.C. see also: Milligan, R.; Reason and Revelation; St. Louis, 1867. pgs. 207-212. And also, Stanley, Arthur; Lectures on the History of the Jewish Church, Vol. III, The Captivity to the Christian Era; London, 1906. pgs. 130-134. ]

No books were added to the Jewish scriptures by Jews since the Great Synagogue of Ezra's time. Daniel has been a part of the Old Testament canon since the time of the Great Synagogue. There was not a time, as we have noted, that Daniel has not been accepted as a part of Jewish Scripture. It could only be deemed as such if it had been included at the time of the Great Synagogue. The Great Synagogue, before 400 B.C. is further evidence of the empirical existence of the book of Daniel before the time of the events it predicted.

Josephus, who was present and recorded the history of the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. also wrote a complete history of the Jewish people. He gave the basic principle that a book was not canonical if it was written or received after the time of Artaxerxes king of Persia -- the time of the Great Synagogue. He said that many accurate histories had been written since that time but neither literary value nor historical accuracy was the criteria for canonicity.

"We have... only twenty two books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine; and of them, five belong to Moses, which contain his laws, and the traditions of the origin of mankind until his death. This interval of time was little short of three thousand years; but as to the time from the death of Moses till the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, who reigned after Xerxes, the prophets, who were after Moses wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life. It is true, our history has been written since Artaxerxes, very particularly, but has not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there has not been an exact procession of prophets since that time; and how firmly we have given credit to those books of our own nation is evident by what we do; for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add anything to them or take anything from them, or to make any change in them; but it becomes natural to all Jews, immediately and from their very birth, to esteem those books to contain divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and, if occasion be, [to be] willing to die for them." [Josephus; Against Apion; 1:8.]
Needless to say, it would have been impossibe to sneak a book into the canon of the Old Testament, unnoticed by the Jews, after the time of Artaxerxes. Only the historically naive would make such claims. The idea of a late date for Daniel has been refuted in a number of works, expending great effort and making many historical searches with references. [Spence and Exell; op. cit. pgs. xi-xl]. Those who are skeptics need no such scholarship. Uncertainty and doubt are bosom companions; they arise from ignorance of facts.

Daniel a Great Man

Daniel was a great man in his own time. He had gone into captivity in Babylon in 606 B.C. in the first stage of the three stages of exile. Ezekiel was a prophet who joined the exile, (unwillingly, of course) at its second stage -- about 595 B.C. After that event, but before the final destruction of the city of Jerusalem in 585 B.C., he mentions Daniel as among the great men of the ages! Daniel would have been in his mid to upper 30's at the time that Ezekiel wrote about him.

(14:14) Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver {but} their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God.

(14:20) Though Noah, Daniel, and Job {were} in it, {as} I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall {but} deliver their own souls by their righteousness.

In these verses above Ezekiel is saying that Jerusalem will be destroyed. Even Noah, Job, or Daniel could not save it, or even their own families, if they were there. He mentions Daniel again:

(28:3) Behold, thou {art} wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee:

In the verse above, Ezekiel mentions Daniel in the context of the King of Tyre passage, which speaks either of the King of Tyre's or Satan's rebellion against God. He does not compare his presumption with Solomon, but with Daniel! Daniel was recognized by the men of his own generation!

There is no historical reason to doubt that Daniel lived and wrote 150 years before the Great Synagogue, when the Book says it was written.

The Roman Empire -- Its Rise and Fall

It is understood by all who have followed Daniel's time that Daniel predicted the rise and fall of the Roman Empire although he does not name it.

The second chapter of Daniel contains the vision of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, which Daniel interpreted as an outline of future world empires. He said there would be four world empires, beginning with the one which at his time was ruling the earth. The vision says, "History looks like a statue."

There is basically no disagreement among interpreters, either Catholic or Protestant, on the interpretation of the image of Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel 2. All agree that the image predicts the four world empires: Babylon, the head of gold; Medo-Persia, the chest; Greece, the loins; and Rome represented in the legs and feet.

There is difference of opinion on the meaning of the little stone, described in the prophecy as destroying the whole system when it hits the image in the feet:

2:34 You saw till that a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image upon his feet [that were] of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces. 2:35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that struck the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

Daniel interprets the little stone as the Kingdom of God which strikes the image in the feet, and destroys the system represented by the image and itself goes on to fill the whole earth:

2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, [but] it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. 2:45 Forasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God has made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream [is] certain, and the interpretation thereof is sure.

The positions taken by interpreters is divided among those who believe the little stone is the church, and those who think the event still future. The former see a spiritual kingdom -- the church -- which later overcame the system of government, based on paganism, started first by Nebuchadnezzar and which system was then received in sequence by the Persians, and then by the Greeks and finally by the Romans. The little stone destroyed the image with some immediacy when it hit the empire in the feet. The location which was struck by the little stone, because of its position down the scale of the legs, would indicate the latter time of the Roman Empire. The toes, on the other hand, would indicate, not the latter times but a time after its division into ten kingdoms. To those seeing the church as the spiritual kingdom, the little stone's filling of the whole earth is progressive and still going on.

On the other hand are the Futurists who say that the little stone will hit the image in the toes (even though the text does not so state) which to them means: after the Roman Empire was divided, the kingdom of David is to be restored at Jerusalem. Because Jesus did not restore the earthly rule of David's throne, the Futurists believe that the event was postponed. Thus they see the little stone as the Millennial Kingdom which is yet to come.

One must remember that there is no basic disagreement that the fourth empire refers to the Roman Empire. To which discussion I will return, but first this application:

Which View Does the Image Fit?

This divinely inspired figure says, "History will look like a statue." Visualize with me the statue, and see the correspondence. Ask yourself why did God use the figure of a statue? Should there be some correspondence as to time? In other words should not the statue be proportionate to what it predicts? Certainly so! And so it does.

For the head was barely 69 years (unless you date it from Nebuchadnezzar's first taking of Babylon, which would add a few more years) before the portion of chest and shoulders allotted to the Medo Persians, came and went, consuming some 214 years, from Cyrus to Alexander. If we date the beginning of the Roman Empire at the Battle of Actium, as many do, then the Greek period of the loins stretches 290 years. From that point the legs, and feet, representing the Roman Empire are 511 years long. That would make the upper torso and head be 504 years long and the rest of the body 511 years long. If you will use those proportions you will find that not only did Daniel predict the coming four empires but gave an accurate prediction of their proportionate rules.

If you used this proportion allowing seven inches for the head, twenty one for the chest, twenty nine from diaphragm to hips, and fifty one from hip joints to feet, you will find that history indeed does match the proportions of a statue. And the church starting in the days of the Roman Empire, with its consequent struggle that saw the old pagan system pass away and Christianity take its place, fits the vision exactly, by the little stone striking the image, chronologically as well as physically in the spot, at or toward the latter times of that Empire, but before it was divided into ten kingdoms.

But what if the image hasn't been hit in the toes yet. Since there were 511 years from Actium to the fall of Rome, and the fall of Rome should be the time of the appearance of the ten toes, that would make the toes over 1500 years long and still growing! There is obviously something wrong with that interpretation. We willlet the reader's imagination fill in the rest of this conclusion. [ See Appendix B.]

To return to the main point. There is no difference of opinion among writers in the Christian community, Catholic, or Protestant, concerning the identity of the fourth empire. In general terms, all agree it is Rome.

The Four Beasts of Daniel 7

The content of the meaning of the vision of the image in chapter 2 is continued here in chapter 7. Here the four empires are pictured as beasts. They are still the same four. And again, even though not named in the text, almost all expositors, agree that the ten-horned fourth beast of this chapter is the Roman Empire. The meaning of the vision is the same but the details are much more amplified. But simply stated, the saints of God will struggle with the fourth beast and in the end will replace it completely. Thus in Daniel:

7:16 I came near to one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. (17) These great beasts, which are four, [are] four kings, [which] shall arise out of the earth. (18) But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.

The fourth beast is described as having ten horns which are ten kingdoms which shall rise out of it. Among them after they arise another little horn will arise and kill three of them: This little horn will work against the saints of God and over-come them. They are given into his hand until he is judged, then the saints take the kingdom. Thus:

7:7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it [was] diverse from all the beasts that [were] before it; and it had ten horns. (8) I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. (11) I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spoke: I beheld [even] till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. (12) As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.

[The next corresponds to the little stone of chapter 2.]

7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, [one] like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. (14) And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed.

[There follows a fuller description of the little horn:]

7:19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, whose teeth [were of] iron, and his nails [of] brass; [which] devoured, broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; (20) And of the ten horns that [were] in his head, and of the other 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. (21) I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; (22) Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. (23) Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be different from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. (24) And the ten horns out of this kingdom [are] ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be different from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. (25) And he shall speak [great] words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hands until a time and times and the dividing of a time. (26) But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy [it] to the end. (27) And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom [is] an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. (28) This [is] the end of the matter.

There is no difference of opinion about the fourth beast. Almost all agree, with rare exception, that it is the Roman Empire. The Roman Catholic Douay version has footnotes that are interesting in this place.

"Chapter 7 ver 3: Four great beasts; The Chaldean, Persian, Grecian, and Roman Empires."

"Ver 7; Ten horns; That is ten kingdoms, (as in Apoc. 17:13) among which the empire of the fourth beast shall be parcelled."

"Ver 8: Another little horn; This is commonly understood of antichrist."

Rome is unmistakable; although Antichrist is not identified, the figure is properly applied. This is pretty fair interpretation, don't you think? Especially since the Roman interpreters see the ten horns here as representing the same powers in Revelation 17. The same beast is mentioned in Revelation several times. Rome is identified in those places too.

The 13th chapter of Revelation has a picture of three entities. The first of these, a beast with seven heads and ten horns is based on the seventh chapter of Daniel. The fourth beast of Daniel and the beast of Revelation 13 are the same, and so agree our Roman Catholic friends. The following is a footnote from chapter 13 from the Roman Catholic version of the Bible.

Rev. 13:1 "The picture of the first beast is based on the seventh chapter of Daniel. This beast is the figure of the kingdoms of this world, kingdoms founded on passion and selfishness, which in every age are antagonistic to Christ and seek to oppress the servants of God. Imperial Rome represents this power."
It could not be said better. The two-horned beast of chapter 13 is not identified in this version. But further in Rev. 17, there is a picture of a whorish woman who is riding the same beast and in this place the footnote says, "The beast spoken of here seems to be the Roman Empire as in Chapter 13."

Babylon is another figure of the Antichrist. The Antichrist appears under the figure of (1) a little horn in Daniel that rises up out of a fragmented Roman Empire among ten other horns; (2) a beast that looks like Jesus (two horns like a lamb) but speaks like the Devil. This Antichrist beast gives power to a wounded Roman Empire and makes an image to the Roman Empire in Rev. 13. (3) In Rev. 17 Antichrist is represented under the figure of a scarlet colored woman, called a whore and Babylon, who rides the power of the Roman Empire.

Incidently where Babylon is mentioned in Rev 14:8 the Roman Catholic Bible footnote in that place reads:

"Babylon: In Jewish and Christian circles, Babylon was a synonym for Rome."

Gibbon in of his "Decline and Fall" says the same in describing the belief of early Christians, Re: Rev 14 and 17.

"Whilst the happiness and glory of a temporal reign were promised to the disciples of Christ, the most dreadful calamities were denounced against an unbelieving world. The edification of a new Jerusalem was to advance by equal steps with the destruction of the mystic Babylon; and as long as the emperors who reigned before Constantine persisted in the profession of idolatry, the epithet of babylon was applied to the city and to the empire of Rome" Vol 1 pg 243

Thus the Roman Empire is clearly seen as being pictured by these figures. The Fourth beast of Daniel and the seven headed ten horned beast of Revelation represents the Roman Empire. We are now a long way toward understanding that chapter. The first beast is the Roman Empire. We will continue our discussion of Revelation 13, after a short discussion on Antichrist.

Antichrist is not a Person

In Daniel 7 the ten horns are taken to be kingdoms amongst whom the Roman Empire would be scattered. Among them would rise a little horn. What is a horn? The ten horns are kingdoms. What is the little horn then? It, too, must be a kingdom, not a person.

In Rev 13, Antichrist is pictured as a beast. What are the four beasts of Daniel. They are Empires. The first beast of Revelation 13 is taken by all to be an empire. What therefore is the second beast who looks like Jesus but talks like the devil? That's right, not a person. If the beasts are empires, then the lamb-like beast is a little empire. Antichrist is thought by some to be a soon coming person. A man who will sit on a throne in Jerusalem. But Rev. 17 gives the picture of Antichrist as a woman dressed in scarlet who rides the power of the Roman Empire. Is Antichrist a woman? She is called "Babylon, mystery, the Mother of harlots." Antichrist is not a woman. The picture of Rev 17 is as the others, of some false religious power which assumes the power of the Roman Empire and claims to have the power of God. Antichrist is not a person. Antichrist is predicted to be a political power rising out of the Roman Empire, and the church as in II Thess. 2, which we will notice later.

Revelation 13:1-10 pictures the Roman Empire as being wounded and fighting against God's people. From verse 11 - 14 the lamb-like beast is described. In verse 14 he makes an image to the first beast, and uses the image to control the minds and economic areas of men. In verses 17 and 18 he identifies the name of the beast as 666.

This chapter actually does open up if one simply substitutes the name of the Roman Empire for its code name as the first beast. Let's try the paraphrase of Chapter 13.

Verses 1 - 8 I saw the Roman Empire rise up having seven heads (or the seven forms of government through which it was to pass) and ten horns (or the ten kingdoms into which it was to be divided.) It had the appearance of the Babylonian, Persian and Greek empires that were before it and the Devil gave it its authority. I saw one of its forms of government wounded to death, but its wound was healed; and all the world wondered after the Roman Empire. And they worshipped the Devil who gave power to the Roman Empire, and they said who is like the Roman Empire or is able to make war against it? And the Roman Empire blasphemed and (after it was wounded to death and healed of the wound) it was given power to continue 1260 years. And the Roman Empire blasphemed the name of God and the church and the Christians. Besides having power over all nations and tongues he also made war with the true believers and overcame them. The non-christians worshipped him and they remained unsaved.

Verses 9, 10: If you are spiritually inclined listen: Be patient for the coming of the Lord; because human struggles based on selfishness and pride will keep on going on. But the Lord will make it right in the end. Don't try to set this world's ills right by warfare or other such human means.

Verses 11 - 14: I saw another empire rise up from the world system. It looked like Jesus but spoke like the Devil. He exercises all the power of the Roman Empire. This is after the wound of the Roman Empire was healed, and he caused people who live for this world to worship the Roman Empire. He is able to do signs and wonders and miracles in the Roman Empire, with which he deceives people who live for this world.

Verses 14 - 16: After the time of the healing of the wound of the Roman Empire, he says to those who live for this life that they should make a copy (an image) of the Roman Empire. And he empowered the newly living image of the Roman Empire, and caused the image of the Roman Empire to speak and he put to death all who would not obey the power of the image of the Roman Empire. And he caused men in all stations of life to give mental assent and to work for the renewed image of the Roman Empire.

Verses 17 - 18: He made it so no one can be involved in the economy unless he has the mark or the name of the Roman Empire, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom let him who has understanding count the number of the Roman Empire, which is also the number of a single person. And his number is 666.

This chapter outlines the history of western Europe. The Roman Empire fell in 476 A.D. The Bishop of Rome entered the vacuum of power left by the wounded Roman Empire. In the process of time this relationship developed into a world political power. The Papacy rose up into a divided Roman Empire.

As the little horn of Daniel it actually did take over three of those kingdoms. The Papal states were accumulated in pieces between the years 755 and 800. The Exarchate of Ravenna was conferred on the Papacy under Pope Stephen II by Pepin, father of Charlemagne, in the year 755. The kingdom of the Lombards was conquered by Charlemagne, son of Pepin; he conferred that kingdom on the Papacy, laying the documents on the altar of St. Peter in Rome in the year 774, and the Roman senate itself was taken over by the Papacy by degrees. Shortly after 800 the three principalities were included in the Papal states which were held by the Papacy until 1870,- over 1000 years. [See Appendix F. Map 4.] These states were accumulated with no small amount of intrigue, war, bloodshed and other adjuncts of political turnovers.

As the two-horned beast, The Papacy did become an empire in its own right. In the year 800, when Charlemagne came to Rome the Pope crowned him Emperor of the Romans. The image to the beast could not be a clearer picture of the creation of the Holy Roman Empire. This foundation of feudal society would last for over 1000 years until it was dismantled by Napoleon in 1804. During that 1000 years the Papacy truly wore out the saints of God and prevailed against them. Uncounted numbers of people who were simple believers were put to death because they would not worship the beast nor his image. While masquerading as the Vicar of Christ, this beast, for so a political power is styled in prophecy, waged wars, dominated politics, made kings, dethroned kings, and literally exercised naked arbitrary power over the lives and deaths of many souls throughout the Papal states and the image he made to the Roman Empire called the Holy Roman Empire.

The Image of the Beast

The picture in the 13th chapter of Revelation is one of a pseudo religious-political organization restoring power to the Roman Empire. Historically such events as are pictured did occur. We have noted above the land grants of Pepin and Charlemagne and the usurpation of the Roman senate by the Vatican. At the conclusion of this period, in the year 800 Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor of the Romans. This act produced the image of the Empire called the Holy Roman Empire. It became the political framework which would be handed down for over 1000 years. It would dominate European politics and economy until its dissolution under Napoleon. The actual end of the Holy Roman Empire came, in 1804, ironically in Napoleon's assumption of the title of Emperor, without the authority of the Pope. The legal dissolution came in 1806 when the hereditary possessor of the title, Frances II of Austria, (who called Napoleon the new Odoacer) abdicated from the office of Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. This officially ended the entity.

Of this entity, the most well known history was compiled by James Bryce, Fellow, Trinity College, Oxford, first published in 1864, and republished in numberless editions for use in colleges and universities as a standard text. (That is, until our existential age, when the past has no relevance to the moment of existence. Hopefully that nonsense will soon pass). Bryce documents the list and history of the Emperors from Charlemagne to Frances II, all of whom were crowned or confirmed by Papal authority, most in Rome, though they were most often German or French kings. In his introduction to the eighth edition Bryce gives an analysis of the meaning connected with the announcement of the abdication of Frances II in London newspapers, in 1806.

"Of those , in 1806, who read in English newspapers that the Emperor Frances II had announced to the Diet his resignation of the imperial crown, there were probably few who reflected that the oldest political institution in the world had come to an end. Yet it was so. The empire...extinguished, was the same which the crafty nephew of Julius [Caesar] had won for himself against the powers of the East, beneath the cliffs of Actium; and which had preserved almost unaltered, through eighteen centuries of time, and through the greatest changes in extent, in power, in character, a title and pretentions from which all meaning had long since departed. Nothing else so directly linked the old world to the new... From the days of Constantine untill late into the middle ages it was, conjointly with the Papacy, the recognized center and head of Christendom, exercising over the minds of men an influence such as its material strength could never have commanded... Strictly speaking, it is from the year 800 A.D. when a king of the Franks was crowned Emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III that the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire must be dated."[See: Bryce, James, D.C.L.; The Holy Roman Empire; Pub. David McKay, Philadelphia, eighth edition, 1896. pg. 23.]
Bryce continues, noting that there is nothing isolated in history, and the Holy Roman Empire harks back to the Empire before its fall. As he has stated above, the power that dissolved in 1806 is that which was begun by Augustus in 35 B.C. at Actium.

The history of the power of a wounded and seemingly dead Roman Empire being assumed and arrogated to the Papal system, and the Papal system in the name of Rome creating an image to that first political system, called the Holy Roman Empire, is so clearly outlined in history, and then is so clearly outlined in Revelation the thirteenth chapter as to give no room for other application.

It seems strange to me that evangelical Christians have abandoned leaders who have for many centuries outlined these prophecies in more detail and greater precision than we do here. That they would cast away their prophetic heritage for the fantasies that are currently being harked in the name of prophetic fulfillment is frustrating and shocking! Why, when they are so clearly fulfilled, does anyone look for a future fulfillment? Antichrist has long since come. His reign of 1260 years is long since over. He has suffered most of the blows aimed to bring him from his place of arbitrary control of the physical and spiritual lives of men. He has but little time left.

Is it right to call the Papacy a power with the mouth of the Devil? Believe me, dear reader, when I tell you it gives me no joy to do so! Is it right to call the Papal system a whore who rides the power of the Roman Empire? Believe me, dear reader, I cringe at those words as much as you do. I would like to submit the following outline of historical events, that again give me no pleasure, but that enumerate some of wilful sins of those in the list of "successors of St. Peter":

The Darkest Period of the Papacy

Adrian II, John VIII, Marinus, 867-884. These popes begin the darkest period of the papacy. 870-1050, called by historians the midnight of the dark Ages. Bribery, corruption, immorality, and bloodshed, make it the darkest period in the church's history.

Sergius III, 904-911 A.D., had a mistress, Marosia. She and her mother Theodora, and her sister, filled the papal chair with their paramours and bastard sons, and turned the papal palace into a den of robbers. This is known in history as the Pornocracy or Rule of Harlots

. John X, 914-928, was brought from Ravenna to Rome and made pope by Theodora (who had also other paramours) for the more convenient gratification of her passions. He was smothered to death by Marosia, who then raised to the papacy her creatures.

Leo VI, 928-9, Stephen VII 929-31, John XI 931 - 936 her own illegitimate son. Another of her sons appointed the four next popes.

John XII, 955-963: a grandson of Morosia was guilty of almost every crime; violated virgins and widows, lived with his father's mistress; made the papal palace a brothel; was killed in the act of adultery by the woman's enraged husband.

The Depths of Papal Degradation

The next six popes, 963-984: (Average 3 1/2 years per pope).

Boniface VII, 984-985, murdered pope John XIV, and maintained himself on the bloodstained Papal throne by distribution of stolen money. The bishop of Orleans referring to Boniface VII and his immediate predecessors called them "monsters of guilt reeking in blood and filth; Antichrist sitting in the Temple of God."

Benedict VIII, 1012-1024, bought the office of pope with open bribery or Simony as it was called -- after Simon the sorcerer.

John XIX, 1024-1033, bought the papacy; he passed through all the clerical degrees in one day.

Benedict IX, 1033-1045, was made pope as a boy of twelve with money and a powerful family. Surpassed John XII in wickedness; committed murders and adulteries in broad daylight; robbed pilgrims on the graves of martyrs; a hideous criminal, the people drove him out of Rome.

Gregory VI, 1045-1046, had two rival popes: Benedict IX, and Sylvester III. Rome swarmed with hired assassins; the virtue of pilgrims was violated; the churches desecrated with bloodshed.

Clement II, 1046-1047, was appointed pope by Holy Roman Emperor, Henry III because no Roman clergyman could be found who was free from bribery and fornication.

Damascus II, 1048: protests at the continued filth, called for reform and found a leader in the following pope:

Hildebrand or Gregory VII, 1073-1085: although moral reforms were effected, the consolidation of power under Hildebrand was so strong that the next two hundred years are marked by a new evil -- that of going to war by papal armies. Armed force maintained several of the popes. Many of the next popes would be driven into exile by armies when they found their own forces overcome! In the previous period one would be justified in calling the Papacy a "whore." In this period, 1073 and the next 200 years, the most evident characteristics of the two horned beast using the image of the beast are so evident as to be unmistakable.

Following that period, the Inquisition would follow as the Papal instrument of political power and many poor souls of simple believers would die under this inhuman instrument of the "vicar of Christ."[Halley, Henry H.; Pocket Bible Handbook Pub. by Halley, Chicago, eighteenth edition, 1948. Above is a condensation of material found on pgs. 683-685.]

The above scheme copied from H.H. Halley an evangelical, could be reproduced from the pages of Roman historians as well. The Papacy is not ignorant of this history. Malachi Martin, who is still a member of the Roman church, was a member of the Vatican under John XXIII. He is more than a priest. In his book The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church, he gives similar history with greater detail. He calls Morosia, "The Nymph who made popes." [See Martin, Malachi; The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church; Pub. Putnam, 1981, in hard cover and by Bantam, 1983, in mass market paper. The book is now out of print and none are available from either publisher, even though I was told there was still demand for the book. Another book by the same author, The Final Conclave, is a historical novel predicting a scenario in which a conclave of Cardinals will fail to produce a pope. It is recommended reading.]

This same history of moral and political corruption is more briefly but accurately recorded by Butler, another Roman author, who wrote an account of the Vatican Council 1869 - 1870. This book has an Imprimateur and a Nihil Obstat which means that Roman authorities had declared the book has no doctrinal errors. He says:

"In 1044 the condition of the Papacy had become so scandalous that the emperor Henry III intervened...[to lift the Papacy] out of its state of prostration and degradation in which it had lain for well nigh two hundred years." [Butler, Dom Cuthbert; The Vatican Council 1869 - 1870; Newman Press, Maryland, 1962. pg. 12.]
Butler also gives the history of the Donation of Constantine, a fraudulent set of decrees which were knowing used by the Papacy to justify holding temporal power. Butler says:

"it was believed that the first Christian emperor had, in the plenitude of his power, handed over to the Pope...the power to rule over Italy, the Islands, and in a vague way all the West. It was on the strength of the Donation that the Popes gave authority for the Norman invasions of England and of Ireland, and many similar assignments of territory." [Ibid. pg. 17.]
It gives me no pleasure to have to call these events from the past. But the Papal system has not repented. There are still the same stains of blood, money manipulation, alleged assassinations, and political intrigue which causes the sufferings of countless victims, done in the name of Christ. Yes, it is historically right to call the Papal system a whore. Yes, it is historically correct to see the Papal system as a political power that looks like Jesus and talks like the devil. At least one Papal insider sees the same thing.

The Number 666

The number 666 obviously refers to the name Roman. The text says so. It is the name of the beast.

13:17 And that no man might buy or sell except he who had the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

The number 666 not only does but it ought to refer to the name Roman. The reason arises from the incredible prophecies of Daniel where he predicts four world empires and proceeds to name three of them. In Daniel 2, Nebuchadnezzar's empire begins the new world order of one nation ruling all the other civilized nations around the Mediterranean. The next three are described but not named here. The first is named: the Babylonian empire. It is the head of Gold.

2:37 You, O king, [are] a king of kings: for the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. 2:38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven has he given into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all. You [are] this head of gold. 2:39 And after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to you, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. 2:40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron:

In the eighth chapter, Daniel describes in a vision the incredibly accurate occurrence of the Medo-Persian struggle with the rise of the Greeks. The first kingdom of the Greek empire defeats the Medo-Persians inside their own territory and then in the height of power the first kingdom is broken and divided into four horns or kingdoms. The incredible part is that Daniel not only gives this precise outline years before 325 B.C. when the events happened, but he also names the participants by name, before they had risen to power!

8:20 The ram which thou sawest having [two] horns [are] the kings of Media and Persia. 8:21 And the rough goat [is] the king of Grecia: and the great horn that [is] between his eyes [is] the first king.

Thus are the first three empires of the four named by name in the Bible.

The fourth beast is described in Daniel 2, and 7, in much greater detail than these here named. Certainly, if God inspired Daniel to name 1. Babylon; 2. Medo-Persia; 3. Greece; 4. ?, He could have named the fourth beast. The fourth beast ought to be named. He is described in greater length in the book of Revelation where he, again, is not named. Why?

There is good reason why the fourth beast is named in a code in Revelation. The number 666 is the number of the name of the fourth beast. The text says so -- no matter the many voices who see some mysterious person arising during the last seven years of the world's history, who will have the number. The number is clearly stated to be the name of the fourth beast. So 666 ought to be the name Roman. Significantly the text rules out the name being Rome, it must be Roman, because it is the name of a single person as well as the name of the beast. Rome is a place. Roman is the name of both the empire, the beast, and a citizen, a single person, who is also a Roman.

We now use the Arabic number system with numerals 1 through 9 and then adding a zero, invented by the Arabs in the eighth century. Previous to that time numbers were attributed to each letter of the alphabet. A = 1, B = 2, C = 3, ... J = 10 then K would not be 11 but 20 and L = 30 etc. Continuing, R would be 90, S would be 100, T = 200 and so on. Any name therefore would have a numerical value. Both Hebrew and Greek alphabets used this system. [See Appendix D.]

It is well known, and has been for centuries, that the name Roman in both Greek and incredibly also in Hebrew has the number we are looking for. It ought to have it. The number is the name of the beast, and the name of the beast is Roman. Every Historical interpreter with few exceptions, from Irenaeus forward, has recorded this fact. In the old world Tertullian, and Hippolytus did. Isaac Newton, the scientist, did in the 17th century; Robert Fleming at the turn of the 17th century; Bishop Newton in the 18th century; Faber, Barnes, Elliott, Cunningham, Johnson, and a host of others from almost every denomination of Protestantism in the 19th century.

The book of Revelation and New Testament are written in Greek and the rest of the Scriptures are written in Hebrew. In Greek the name Roman is Lateinos; it has the number. In Hebrew, the name Roman when modifying empire or beast is feminine, Ro-mi-ith, (empire and beast are feminine in Hebrew). The Hebrew form also has the number! Would it be possible to find any other name which would have the number in both Biblical languages? This must be more than coincidence. Click here to see the Greek and Hebrew Number systems and Bishop Thomas Newton's chart which he composed in 1750. To see a much more elaborate treatment of the number 666 by Michael Scheifler click here.

My good friend David Wood, upon reading this fact said, "I would think it incredible if any two words would have any identical number, let alone 666!"

But why is the beast named in a mystery code? Answer: The Roman Empire fulfilled the prophecies concerning its persecution of the woman, (Rev. 12), and, "make war with the saints and overcome them," (Rev.13:7). The Roman Empire waged ten official persecutions against the church for almost 300 years. These were legally sanctioned by the senate and carried out under the Roman legal system. The Christians were tortured, whipped, burned, torn apart, beheaded, thrown to lions, and crucified by official Roman authority according to law, for three centuries. Pastors were killed, Bibles confiscated and burned, church buildings destroyed, and the flocks scattered.

How much worse might the Roman persecutors have been if they found their nation named by name as a beast in the Holy writings of those they persecuted? The conditions were bad enough without adding more fuel to the fire. So God couched the name in a mystery. He called the fourth beast 666, so no one could know it except the mind that has wisdom. The first three beasts of Daniel are named by name in the Bible. The fourth beast of Daniel ought to be named in the Bible. He is; his (It would would be more accurate to refer to the beast as "It" or "She" since in Greek, the word "beast" is a neuter gender noun, while in Hebrew the word "beast" is a femine gender noun) name is 666. Did the early Christians so understand it? They should have. They read the book of Daniel and could count and know that Rome was the fourth Empire to come on the earth. They could see in Daniel that it would pass away by being divided into ten kingdoms and Antichrist would rise among the ten kingdoms of a divided Roman Empire. See this understanding in II Thess. 2, which is commonly understood to refer to the same Antichrist as the other passages. In this passage Paul is correcting an impression that the second coming of Christ was imminent. It was not imminent, and he was telling them why. First, though, he says that the source of the misunderstanding is not from him:

II Thessalonians Chapter 2

(1) Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, (2) That you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Paul says, no word, letter, nor inference came from him that the second coming was imminent. In fact, he says, it is not. Something that they know about has to happen first:

(3) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, This is often, but erroneously, taken to mean that the church must fall away first. But that cannot be so. Paul says below this that the man of sin will come after the falling away. In verse 6 he says, and now you know what holds him back. In verse 7 Paul says, that which is now holding back Antichrist will continue to do so until it be taken out of the way. Paul states here that something that now exists in his time, that they knew about, which when I was yet with you I told you these things, was holding back Antichrist.

If Paul had told them about the fourth beast of Daniel, he would have told them that as long as the Roman empire stands the Antichrist will not come, because it will rise up out of a shattered Roman Empire and then that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, He is to arise out of the church which is the true Temple from the time of the coming of the Holy Spirit to this day; ...shewing himself that he is God. This is the same description as the little horn of Daniel and the lamb-like beast of Rev. 13. He arrogates to himself the power of the Roman Empire but masquerades as the Lamb sitting in the church!

Paul reminds them that he told them and that they know what it is that holds back Antichrist. (5) Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? He does not tell them plainly by name who or what it is even though it is something they both know. (6) And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. He further states that the kind of thing Antichrist will bring is already at work. (7) For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: He then repeats that the entity that they both knew about, which they had talked about while he was with them would continue to restrain the coming of Antichrist until he or it was taken away: only he who now restrains will restrain, until he be taken out of the way. Thus Paul knowing the book of Daniel would say: "then after the departure of the Roman Empire, as we all know from Daniel; (8) then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.

Early Christian Writers

Would it not be interesting to know what early Christians thought about these passages? Writers whose lives overlap the lives of apostles are called Apostolic Fathers. Their writings are fragmentary and few have been preserved. Christian writers who were born after the death of the apostles but before 325 A.D. are called Ante-Nicene Fathers. They wrote before the council of Nicea which marked the triumph of the Christian religion in the empire. Ancient writers who lived after the council of Nicea are called Post-Nicene Fathers. There are many writings which have survived and been preserved from these times.


Would it not be interesting to see what someone thought about these passages hardly fifty years after they were written, and before they were fulfilled? It is easier to interpret prophecy after its fulfillment. Let us see how Irenaeus did before the fulfillment. We can sympathize with him if he doesn't get it completely right due to not being able to parallel the prophecy with the events of history. But the incredible thing is that the "fathers" knew the general outline of future events. They, therefore, were not in ignorance, that that day would overtake them as a thief.

(I Thess 5:4) But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

Why were they not in darkness? Because they knew that as long as the Roman Empire had not fallen the second coming was not imminent.

Irenaeus was born about 135 and lived into the next century. He wrote a commentary on portions of Daniel and Revelation, especially of the thirteenth chapter and the seventh chapter of Daniel. The epitome of the chapter (XX1) on the Antichrist in his writings begins:

"John and Daniel have predicted the dissolution and desolation of the Roman Empire, which shall precede the end of the world,..." [See Schaff, Philip, editor; Ante-Nicene Fathers, Pub. Erdmans, Grand Rapids. 1971 The Ante-Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers are considered in the same way as the classical writers. The have been published numberless times. Erdmans has published a multi-volume set well edited. Irenaeus; Against Heresies XXVI,1]
Irenaeus had no difficulty in interpreting Daniel: "concerning the ten kings who shall then arise, among whom the empire that now rules the earth shall be partitioned."[Irenaeus, ibid.]

He believed the Roman Empire would pass away and be divided into ten kingdoms, and so it did happen in his future. There was no way for him to know that except through the prophecies. The opinion of those living in the empire was that it would last forever -- they called it "eternal Rome." But seeing that John and Daniel had predicted the decline and dissolution of the empire into ten kingdoms is not all that Irenaeus saw. He said, "It is manifest that he that shall come," he means the little horn, "shall slay three" of the 10 horns, "and subject the remainder to his power." He believed that the coming entity would overcome three and then dominate the other seven states left to a divided Roman Empire.

He calls the power that would rise in the place of the Roman Empire an "apostasy," and warns that God, "has prepared eternal fire for every kind of apostasy." In quoting Justin Martyr, who lived before Irenaeus, he considers that Satan is the author of "apostasy" and eternal fire is "reserved for all apostasy." This is a remarkable passage in that Irenaeus foresees the division of the Roman Empire as yet to come and sees the Antichrist power rising out of the church, for that is the meaning of apostasy. It refers to an enemy, not from without but one who rises up from within.

A few paragraphs further Irenaeus makes the first known attempt to interpret the number 666. Remember that this is only a short time after Revelation was written. It was also at the time that the Roman Empire was at its zenith -- the most peaceful, successful time of the empire. It is the period of the Five Good Emperors or the Pax Romana, when there was no war within the empire and no unsuccessful military action outside the empire for a hundred years.

Irenaeus reminds us that since 666 -- the name -- has not been fulfilled as yet in a coming power, (which he, as most others of the period, thought to be a single man), then it is wise to be cautious in looking around for the right name. These interpreters living before the fall of the Roman empire did not see the anti-christian power that would rise up and persecute true believers for centuries -- they understood everything else but the time frame. But they did know that he would rise up in a shattered Roman Empire. They did not have the hindsight we have to see that an anti-christian kingdom did rise up out of the Christian religion and seize the authority of God and man; and with the falsely assumed authority of God and the sword of man, attempt to dominate, and actually dominate, European and world politics for almost 1300 years. [ibid.]

But he makes some startling observations on the number:

"It is not for the want of names that contain the number that I say this, ...for there are many names that can be found that have the number... for the name Evanthas contains the required number" [Then this remarkable statement,] "Then also Lateinos has the number 666 and it is a very probable solution, this being the name of the last kingdom [of the four seen by Daniel]. For the Latins are they who at present bear rule. I will not, however, make any boast over this [coincidence]."
This comment was made barely before the ink was dry on the book of Revelation, and although it is made with caution, those who followed used more boldness in the application of the name. But Irenaeus knew certain things. He knew that the Roman Empire had to fall and that an Antichrist would arise in its ruins and that the second coming of Christ would be after that. And He was right!


Tertullian was a Christian living in Carthage, born after Irenaeus, about the year 150. He carries the interpretation forward. In his essay, On The Resurrection of the Flesh, he speaks of the coming Antichrist and quotes from the second Thessalonian letter. He says:

"That day shall not come, unless, indeed, there come a falling away, he means indeed of this present empire...and he who now hinders must hinder, until he be taken our ot the way. What obstacle is there but the Roman state, the falling away of which, by being scattered into ten kingdoms shall introduce Antichrist upon its ruins?" [Tertullian, On the Resurrection of the Flesh, chap. XXIV.]
Here the prophecy of Daniel and the Thessalonian passage are put together to predict the future. Tertullian could not have believed in the imminent return of Christ. He, like Irenaeus, would have said the Roman empire has to fall first and be divided. An Antichrist will come but not before the fall of the Roman empire and Christ will come after that. He not only had a correct view of the future from his time, but he was able to give the obviously true meaning of a passage of scripture over which most still stumble.


Hippolytus wrote about the year 200. He is thought, by some, to be in the line of Roman bishops which the Catholic church would claim reaches back to Peter. If he was, he did not know that made him the POPE. His writings give no implication that he would think of himself as a super bishop much less the Supreme Pontiff! In fact he takes for granted that all the church understood that Lateinos is the name of the beast.

"The wound of the first beast was healed and he (the second beast) was to make the image speak, that is to say to become powerful; and it is manifest to all, that those who at present still hold power are Latins. If then we take the name as the name of a single man it becomes Latinus. Wherefore we ought neither to give it out as if this were certainly his name, nor again ignore the fact that he may not be otherwise designated." [Hippolytus, Treatise on Christ and Antichrist (50) pg. 215.]
Hippolytus is convinced that the name of the beast is Latin and that the word Latinus, or Latin man, has the number 666. He then makes some faltering attempts to name the three kingdoms to be taken over by Antichrist. Since they are in the future to him he has little success. But Rome has been identified, and he living in Rome at the time knows it is to fall. He continues:

"These things shall then be in the future, beloved, and when the three horns are cut off he will begin to show himself as God." [ ibid.]
Hippolytus has a composite of Daniel and Revelation in his fulfillment. He has had to put together the fourth beast of Daniel and the little horn with the beasts of Revelation 13 and 17 as well as the image to the beast to make this interpretation. Out of that he has properly identified Rome as the beast and has the name 666 identified with the Romans because, "they still, at present, bear rule." In other words they are the fourth empire from the Babylonians as per Daniel's prophecy. I am impressed.


Between the years 250 to 300 some unnamed person wrote comments called scolia in the margin of the writings of Hippolytus. They are really good and there is a detailed exposition of Daniel 7, where each of the beasts are analyzed and interpreted. He says, Babylon, of course, is the first, the bear is Persia, the leopard is Greece and the four heads of the leopard are the fourfold division of Alexander's kingdom. He names each of the principalities. He makes a very accurate historical interpretation of Daniel's prophecy. The scolia then go on to the fourth beast:

"...a fourth beast. Now that there has arisen no other kingdom after that of the Greeks except that which stands sovereign at present, is manifest to all....for there is no other kingdom [bearing rule over all the earth] remaining after this one, but from it will spring 10 horns.

"And it had ten horns, for as the prophecy of the leopard with four heads...was fulfilled, and Alexander's kingdom was divided into four principalities, so also now, we ought to look for the ten horns which are to spring up from [the fourth beast] when the time of the beast shall be fulfilled, and the little horn, which is Antichrist shall appear suddenly in their midst."[Hippolytus, Fragments from the Commentaries, Scolia 6-9, pg. 189.]

In reading the prophecies, the author of the scolia has concluded that the four world empires spoken of by Daniel will end with the Romans. He concludes that the imperial system will then end! (This is a very clever and accurate deduction for someone who has not the advantage of hindsight.) He says there will be no further united empire after this one! What incredibly accurate insight which gave him a view of the future that we know was correct. (Notice with the lengthening of the time since the giving of the prophecy the fulfillment is no longer expected to be sudden.) That is, the sudden appearance of Antichrist is now seen to take place after the empire is divided for some space of time. The same unfolding of events, rather than instant fulfillment, is surmised in Hippolytus above, i.e. "he shall begin to show."

The scolia goes on to suggest patience and prayer, that we might avoid these things which he is convinced will come. If we have the date of this scolia correct, it is ironic that the author is living contemporaneously with, or just slightly before, the severest persecution the church would ever suffer, yet he shows great concern for the time of the little horn.

"So we ought not to anticipate the counsel of God, but exercise patience and prayer that we fall not on such times. We should not, however, refuse to believe that these things will come to pass. For if the things which the prophet predicted in former times have not been realized, then we need not look for these things. But if those former things did happen in their proper seasons, as was foretold, then these things also shall certainly be fulfilled." ibid.
St. John Chrysostom

Chrysostom's name means "golden mouth." He must have been a great orator. Chrysostom moves us ahead a little less than 100 years. He died in 408 A.D. This would place his death just two years before the first sack of Rome, which historical interpreters apply to the first trumpet, being the first of the four invasions and sacks of Rome which would bring the Roman empire to its end, in the year 476. The fall of Rome therefore, which all these interpreters have been looking for, is now just imminent to Chrysostom.

His works are preserved in "Homilies." In "Homily IV" he left a commentary on II Thess 2:6-9. The passage on the man of sin, which synchronizes with the little horn of Daniel and the lamb-like beast of Revelation, has been commented on by most of the previously cited writers. His incidental comments, on some who were saying the gifts of the Spirit hold back Antichrist, are interesting.

"What is that which withholds," and "why Paul expresses it so obscurely. What then is it that hinders him [Antichrist] from being revealed? Some indeed say the grace of the Spirit, but others the Roman Empire, to whom I most of all accede. Because if he meant the Spirit, he would not have spoken obscurely, but plainly, that, even now the grace of the Spirit, that is, the gifts, withhold him. Otherwise he ought now to have come, if he was about to come when the gifts ceased; for they have long since ceased!" [Chrysostom, Homily IV, 1]
This is a most amazing comment on the presence of charismatic gifts, or actually their non-presence in the church at the time of Chrysostom. He is obviously a Bible believer and believer in the Holy Spirit, and the gifts. He just knows they have ceased and could not be "that which hinders," because they are gone, and the Roman Empire has not fallen yet to invite the coming of the man of sin. The use of the information about the fall of the Roman empire is further described as he goes on to explain why Paul spoke covertly about what "withholds."

"Because he said this of the Roman Empire he naturally ... speaks covertly and darkly. For he did not wish to bring upon himself ... useless dangers. For if he had said, that after ... a while the Roman Empire would be dissolved, they would immediately have even overwhelmed him as a pestilent person, and all the [other] faithful as living and [seeking] this end." [ibid]
Speaking of how long it might be till he comes he said:

"And he did not say it would be quickly, although he is [often] saying that [he is to come] - but what? 'that he may be revealed in his own season.'... (The mystery of iniquity already works) He speaks [of] Nero as if he were a type of Antichrist. ... But he did not wish to point him out plainly and this not from cowardice, but instructing us not to bring upon ourselves unnecessary enmities, when there is nothing to call for it. So indeed he says here: Only there is one that restrains now, until he be taken out of the way, that is, when the Roman Empire is taken out of the way, then he shall come, and naturally. For as long as the fear of this empire lasts, no one will willingly exalt himself, but when that is dissolved, he will attack the anarchy and endeavor to seize upon the government both of man and of God!" ibid.

Jerome, the translator of the Latin Vulgate Bible, upon which version all later Roman Catholic vernacular translations would be based, including the English Douay version, was born about 340 and died in 420. He lived well into the first of the Barbarian invasions and actually saw his home town on the border of Dalmatia destroyed by the marauding Goths. He, as those preceding, sees the fall of Rome as necessary to the coming of the Antichrist. The events of his later life would have anticipated the event of the fall, and those living just a few years longer, would have seen the fall of the Roman Empire. Of II Thess. he says:

"that antichrist shall sit in the temple of God, either at Jerusalem (as some imagine) or in the church (as we more truly judge) showing himself that he is Christ, and the son of God: and unless the Roman Empire be first desolated, and antichrist precede, Christ shall not come." [Newton, Thomas; Dissertations on the Prophecies; in two volumes, tenth edition, London 1804; Vol. II, pgs. 115, 116.]
There are others who came to the same conclusions about the fall of the Roman Empire and its division into ten kingdoms based on the seventh chapter of Daniel. We have not quoted them but it might be noted that Justyn Martyr, Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, Lactantius, Ambrose, Austin, and others, left writings with similar views, i.e. the Roman Empire will be dissolved into ten kingdoms, and Antichrist will arise among them preceding the second coming of Christ. None of these Christians were in ignorance that that day would over take them as a thief. They knew the second coming of Christ was not imminent in their lifetime. Only those like Jerome, in the latter time of the empire, thought the time was near, because the fall of the empire was near.

Just as Chrysostom, others knew the Roman Empire would fall and on its ruins "out of the church of Christ," one would rise who would feign himself to be Christ, and "seize the power of God and man." What power was it that actually did step into the vacuum of power left by fallen Rome and with the name Roman sit in the church, seize the authority of God and man, then arrogate three states to itself, and dominate the other seven, for hundreds of years? Does the reader need a clearer picture of the past to name the Antichrist? These brethren of the past gave us this clear picture before it happened!

Appendix B:

Premillenial Interpretations do Violence to the Prophecy
The following diagram illustrates the way that some interpreters force the scripture into their interpretation instead of diagraming the scripture and fitting the interpretation to the scripture. Such a forced interpretation as that illustrated below could not be done by our Omniscient God, He would not create a freak to represent what is real. Imagine a god who said that "History will look like a statue" and then to match the interpretation you have to draw toes as long as the rest of the statue. Such a statue has to lie on his side because he can not stand on such deformed feet. Since premillenial scholars know that the division of the Roman Empire into 10 kingdoms took place about 500 years after the advent of Jesus of Nazareth and they err in not believing "the little stone" has hit the image in the feet as yet, then they are forced to draw toes that are 1500 years long. The diagram is not actually proportionate however since an honest picture of the toes make them 1 and 1/3 times longer that the complete standing image. The rest of the statue is proportionate to the time periods that each symbolic portion predicted. Surely God did not predict history represented by a freak statue.

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