SEVEN HEADS AND TEN HORNS
PROBLEMS WITH JOHN'S REVELATION
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In my paper on Great Babylon I indicated that certain portions of the Book of Revelation, Chapter 17:7-18, were an intrusion into the text which disrupted the sense of the revelation. Here I shall explore that difficulty in greater depth.
In order to obtain a better grasp on their
possible significance, we must go back to Daniel and his apocalyptic beasts.
The same numbers occur there, but not as direct as in the Book of Revelation.
These passages in both the Old and New Testament constitute political prophecies. It is not my purpose to delve into the political decisions of the nations. In my work I limit myself in every way possible to the spiritual components of unfolding world developments. But one cannot touch on world salvation without contacting the political components which affect the awesome personal decisions now facing us. In the following discussion I emphasize spiritual decisions which go beyond political events.
FOUR BEASTS OUT OF THE SEA
In Daniel 7 four beasts rise up out of the
sea. Most interpreters believe the sea is symbolic of humanity. This idea
is suggested by Rev 13:1 and 17:1. In Dan 7:4 the first beast is a lion
with eagle's wings. As Daniel looked the wings were plucked off. The lion
was lifted up from the ground and made to stand upon two feet like a man.
The mind of a man was given to it.
Some persons believe the "lion with eagle's
wings" describes symbolic royal creatures of ancient Assyria or Babylonia.
Statues of such beasts were placed around palaces; pictures were painted
on walls. The problem for modern biblical students is that such symbolism
also represents nations on our world today. England uses the lion as its
national symbol; the United States uses the eagle as its national symbol.
The United States grew out of, or sprouted forth, from England. Our revolution
gained independence from England. One could also understand the lion as
a general symbol for Europe, since several of those countries have the
lion as a part of their national symbolism. Major portions of the people
of the United States truly are blended descendants from all of Europe.
(As illustration of this blending of European
genetic stocks consider my personal family. I am mostly of German descent,
perhaps of eastern Germany. My wife was the daughter of a woman from Slovakia
and a man of Austrian nobility who grew up in Hungary. Two of our daughters
married men of mixed Irish-Welsh descent. One of our nephews on my wife's
side married a woman of Spanish descent. His sister married a man of German
The plucking of the eagle's wings from the
lion could be interpreted as the American war for independence. On the
other hand we have always had close ties to England; the sprouting of the
eagle's wings could represent that close relationship. The plucking might
come later with great disillusionment and divorcing of those historical
ties. Or the symbolism might mean the severing of ties with all the nations
of Europe. The symbolism might also mean destruction of the United States,
a permanent plucking and casting away.
The lifting up and standing upon two feet might
mean that England, or Europe, will become a strong power in coming world
events. The mind of a man suggests a powerful individual from the British
Isles, or the European continent, who will exercise strong control.
The second beast in Dan 7:5 was like a bear.
It was raised up on one side with three ribs between its teeth. It was
given the command to arise and devour much flesh.
We cannot fail to recognize the symbolism of the bear. It is known around the world as Russia. Some may
argue that the bear is not the Russian national symbol, but such argument is specious. One weekly program on American Television which ran over a period of months admitted this
common recognition with its title "The Eagle and the Bear." The symbols denote the United States and Russia. Symbolism is important to what
of Russia. She will devour much flesh in nuclear holocaust. If Russia is to devour much flesh, and if the United States is to be plucked off, the symbols provide prophecy that should be instructive to God's people. Russia will destroy the United States. The third beast was like a leopard; it had four wings on its back and four heads. It was given dominion.
Note here the reference to heads.
Many believe the leopard represents nations
of Africa; others believe it may mean Arab countries. However it may represent
countries from any geographical region; the leopard spots denote variety
of background among those nations. The four heads, symbolic of leadership
or national power, might mean four separate nations in association, whether
African, Arabian, or European. The wings might represent swift movement
or quick forays of war. It would exercise power, but perhaps only for a
short period. At the time of this writing we cannot say what the leopard
The fourth beast is even more difficult to
understand. It was terrible, dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great
iron teeth with which it devoured and broke in pieces. It was so intent
on prosecuting its ambitions it stamped the residue with its feet. It had
ten horns. Three of the horns were plucked up from the roots by a little
horn which rose up among the other horns. In this horn were eyes like a
man's eyes, with a mouth speaking great things.
Before attempting to better understand this dreadful beast it may be helpful to consider the beasts from the Book of Revelation.
THE BEASTS OF REVELATION
In the Book of Revelation the word "beast"
occurs thirty-eight times. These are, by chapter --
Examination of the word "beast" shows that use of the word is inconsistent; it represents several different objects or images. For example:
11:7 The beast ascends from the bottomless pit.
13:1 A beast rising out of the sea; had seven heads and ten horns.
13:2 Like a leopard, feet like a bear's, mouth like a lion.
13:4 Dragon gave his authority to the beast.
13:11 Another beast with two horns like a lamb, but spoke like a dragon. The number of this beast was 666.
15:2 Those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name.
16:2 The mark of the beast, and its image.
16:10 Fifth angel poured his bowl on the throne of the beast.
16:13 Mouth of the dragon, mouth of the beast, and mouth of the false prophet.
17:3 Scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns.
17:8 A mystical beast that was, is not, and is to come.
17:11 It is an eighth that belongs to the seven.
19:19 Beast gathers the armies of the earth.
19:20 Beast captured. Mark of the beast.
20:4 Image of the beast.
20:10 Beast and false prophet.
In 11:7 a beast ascends from the bottomless pit; in 13:1 another rises out of the sea (of humanity?). In 13:11 a specific statement is made which shows that beast to be different from the beast of 13:1-4. In 17:3 the beast is colored scarlet, although it has the same seven heads and ten horns as that of 13:1. The beast of 17:8f is still another; it is mystical and is an eighth that belongs to the seven.
COMPARISON OF THE BEASTS
These different beasts offer great confusion. We have exceeding difficulty in distinguishing among their respective roles and characters.
|In order to provide a more rigorous examination of several beasts in both Daniel and Revelation I list some characteristics analytically in the following table.|
4 + 3
Names of Blasphemy
"X" represents the presence of the respective characteristic.
Dash lines represent absence of those features.
It is evident from the tabulation that items
are common across the four passages, but with omissions, differences, and
contradictions. In Rev 12:3 the ten horns appear on a great red dragon;
in 13:1 they appear on a beast out of the sea; in 17:3 they appear on a
beast that is scarlet in color. All these beasts in the Book of Revelation
also have seven heads.
(The words "red" and "scarlet" are different
in the Greek text.)
The leopard, lion, and bear of Daniel 7 are
represented in Rev 13; they make up certain parts of that beast instead
of separate beasts.
The diadems are on the beasts of Rev 12 and
13; in one case on the heads, in the other on the horns. They are not on
the beast of Rev 17.
The color red (scarlet) is found on the beasts
of Rev 12 and 17. The color is not on the beast of Rev 13.
Names of blasphemy are on the beasts of Rev
13 and 17. They are not on the beast of Rev 12.
The color, the diadems, the names, and the
animals all take partners but in each case of different pairing.
These factors contribute to a deep suspicion
that we do not have pure text. Perhaps material was lost from the Book
of Revelation after John's creation, or perhaps a later Christian editor
corrupted the text, or perhaps both. The impression is that someone has
artificially altered the different beasts against unknown criteria, perhaps
even invented characteristics by drawing parallels from Daniel, and from
the original revelation.
The strange pairing of the colors, names, diadems,
and animals suggests that an editor did not truly understand the material
and scattered these features around to cover all possibilities.
Thus we see that the Book of Revelation offers many difficulties. We can gain additional insight through tabulation of the major elements from the scenes in Chapters 12, 13 and 17 before going on to discuss them.
1) A woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and cried out in anguish for delivery.
1) A beast out of the sea.
2) Ten horns and seven heads.
3) Ten diadems upon its horns.
1) A scarlet beast.
2) It had seven heads and ten horns.
3) It was full of names of blasphemy.
2) A great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns.
3) Seven diadems on his heads.
4) His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth.
5) The dragon stood before the woman to devour her child.
6) The child was a male who would rule the nations with a rod of iron.
4) Names of blasphemy on its heads.
5) The beast was like a leopard.
6) It had feet like a bear.
7) It had a mouth like a lion.
8) The dragon gave its power to this beast.
9) One of its heads had a mortal wound but the wound was healed.
4) A woman sat on the beast. She was bedecked with gold, jewels and pearls. She held a golden cup full of the abominations and the impurities of her fornications. She was Babylon the Great, mother of harlots and of earth's abominations. She became drunk with the blood of the saints and the martyrs of Jesus.
The passage then breaks off into an interpretation of this strange vision. This continues to verse 15 where the waters are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.
7) The child was caught up to God and to his throne.
8) The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared by God where she was nourished for 1,260 days.
10) The whole earth followed the beast with wonder. Men worshiped the dragon; they also worshiped the beast because it was so powerful.
5) The ten horns and the beast will hate the Great Harlot. They will make her desolate, devour her flesh and burn her up with fire.
11) The beast exercised power for forty-two months.
12) It was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them.
13) It was given authority over all the earth.
The scene now jumps to the great war in heaven, with Michael and his angels fighting the dragon and his angels. When the dragon saw that he was cast down to the earth he pursued the woman. He poured out a great river of water to sweep her away but the earth swallowed the river.
FEATURES OF CHAPTER 12
Chapter 12 has several notable aspects.
Given these elements is seems that Chapter 12 contains information on the coming millennium.
FEATURES OF CHAPTER 13
Other elements of Rev 13 find easy identification in today's world.
Without question the seven heads and ten horns make up a single beast. The descriptions suggest nations will come together into one grand alliance. According to Rev 13:5 this alliance will wield power for forty-two months. 13:6 says it uttered blasphemies against God and against the host in heaven. 13:7 says that during this period the beast will make war on the saints to conquer them. However, this sentence is not found in all Greek manuscripts. The alliance would be subject to the influence of the dragon, the devil, 13:4.
The further predictive nature of the four passages, when taken together as a whole, is shown by the following facts.
THE GREAT AND DREADFUL BEAST
We can return now to Dan 7:7-8 to reconsider
that dreadful and terrible beast. It could denote the unholy alliance between
east and west Europe and the terror that alliance will create. The devouring
and breaking in pieces and the stamping of the residue would be parallel
to the haughtiness and blasphemous conduct of Rev 13:5. This would explain
the tyrannical exercise of authority over every tribe and people and nation
and tongue. Although the latter seems an exaggeration for all nations across
the face of the globe it would at least be true for the nations of Europe.
It could also be true for many nations around the earth if the unholy alliance
would institute international economic or spiritist control. There can
be no doubt the whole earth would stand in awe of it.
To emphasize, we cannot ignore the possibility
the beast may reflect control brought about by the rebel Prince through
the minds of his devotees. This aspect of developing world events should
not be neglected.
The three horns in Dan 7:8 are a puzzle. A
little horn grew among the three and plucked them up. The symbols suggest
an assumption of power over the three. One could imagine a man growing
out of the three countries of England, Scotland and Ireland, but Scotland
is politically part of England and has no separate representation as a
horn of power. Perhaps he comes out of a country on the continent, Austria,
or some other nation. We should heed the power of this little horn. It
had the eyes of a man and a mouth speaking great things.
Other parallels are found in the four passages. The mouth of Dan 7:8 is parallel to the mouth of Rev 13:2. The eyes of a man is parallel to the mind of a man in Dan 7:4. In Rev 13:2 the mouth is associated with the lion; in Dan 7:4 the mind of a man is also associated with the lion. These associations, all taken together, suggest again that some individual will come out of England, or Europe, who will carry great power and who will pluck up three of the countries, not to destroy them, but to assume control over them.
MORE ON REVELATION PROBLEMS
When we examine details of the several apocalyptic visions from Daniel and Revelation, when we tabulate the items and lay out their elements side by side, we are struck by several facts.
How did this misleading confusion of text arise?
We can get a handle on this crucial problem
if we examine John's use of symbolism. The difficulty is shown clearly
if we categorize his words and phrases. Earlier in this paper I showed
the confusion from use of the word "beast." Another example is use of the
term "thirds" to indicate large numbers. In Chapter 8 the thirds include
trees, sea, creatures, ships, rivers, waters, sun, moon, stars, and sunshine.
In 9:15 and 18 it is the third part of men. In 12:4 a third part of the
stars of heaven were swept down. Obviously the term is used to express
large numbers or significant portions. Literal numbers were not intended;
we cannot take them literally.
The confusion on the heads, horns and red color
comes about because of the word "beast." The use was not consistent. In
11:7 the beast is one who ascends from the bottomless pit. In 13:1 it is
one which rises out of the sea with seven heads and ten horns. In 13:11
it is one which rises out of the earth, the little beast that serves the
first beast. In 17:3 the beast with seven heads and ten horns is colored
scarlet. But in 17:8 the beast ascends from the abyss and goes to perdition.
The beast of 17:8 may not be the same beast as that of 17:3; the one of
11:7 may not be same as the one of 13:1. But the one of 11:7 may be the
same as that of 17:8. In 20:10 the devil who had deceived the nations was
thrown down and cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast
and the false prophet were. Here the devil is distinguished from the beast.
From comparison with 11:7, 11:8, and 9:11 we are not certain who is the
devil and who a beast separate from the devil.
Another illustration of the problem with John's
beasts is found in Rev 15:2. Here the scene shifts from earthly episodes
to heavenly ones. John saw those who had conquered the beast and its image
and "the number of its name." They stood beside a sea of glass with the
harps of God in their hands. The use of the phrase "who had conquered"
might mean those who did not bow down to the political beast or its image.
On the other hand the conquering might be of that remnant of the biological
beast which resides in all of us, our physical heritage. The "beast" and
the "image" is that animal legacy. God is judging us on how well we have
mastered our biological and emotional impulses. But if we take this view
of the beast of 15:2 "the number of its name" makes no practical sense.
Once again we find a cause to suggest that some early Christian editor
offered interpretation of the revelation.
Is it possible John had difficulty in terminology?
We find parallel in persons who lack vocabulary. A child might talk about
this thing, that thing, and that other thing when he means a chair, a table
and a cabinet. The word "thing" is vague, not specific. The word "beast"
is also vague and is applied to creatures or objects for which one cannot
find adequate terminology. If John was presented visions he could not adequately
describe he would have been at a loss for words; various items all became
"beasts". John used the word for the devil, for a confederation of states,
for mechanisms of social repression, and for other purposes. How can we
distinguish among them unless we study their context? If the context is
not clear then the beast cannot be known with certainty. Thus doubt creeps
in; hence debate rages over the assignments.
This problem can be illustrated further. In
the latter part of Chapter 13 the lamb-like second beast caused men to
make an image of the first beast. This image received breath so that it
could even speak. If men did not worship the image of the first beast they
would be slain. In 14:9 and 14:11 we are told that all those who worship
the image and the beast and receive its mark will drink the wine of God's
What does all this mean?
Suppose John was presented visions of twentieth-century
technology with the use of airplanes, automobiles, radio, television, and
computers. How might he describe them? He did not have words like radio,
television, electromagnetic transmission, rasters, satellites and so on.
He was forced to describe his experiences with ancient Greek vocabulary.
A television picture or a computer screen would be an image. The image
received breath (a loudspeaker) so that it could even speak. The lamb-like
second beast (if modern electronics) did not cause men to make an
image of the political alliance; it permitted men to transmit images
of meetings, or affairs, or mandates of the first beast. (The Greek word
has great latitude of use.)
From these varied applications of the word
beast we see why such confusion exists in the Revelation text. What
else could John do? He had no other vocabulary.
The problems in Revelation are not limited
by John's wide use of the word beast. If he had divided his writing into
sections, with each section devoted to a specific vision, we might be able
to make more sense of it, even with lack of explicit vocabulary. But the
various beasts seem to run together without clear division, even with mixture
from one to the other. How did all this confusion come about? Did John
lack ability to separate different items? It seems impossible. The man
knew what he saw, even though he may have been at a loss for words. He
could hardly have confused the different visions. Then where did the confusion
As stated earlier, a sensible explanation is
that an early Christian editor created the confusion. Suppose John's original
manuscript came through the hands of an individual who thought he could
clarify the mixture of images, especially those of the word "beast." The
editor, not blessed with the original visions, could not discriminate among
them. He did not like the confusion he encountered and therefore attempted
to restructure John's text. The mixing of images is clearly illustrated
by those who did not conquer the (biological) beast, those who bore the
mark of the (national confederation) beast, and those who were afflicted
with plagues, 16:2. In an attempt to satisfy his own mind an editor might
have melded them together. The number of its name for the biological beast
in 15:2 was borrowed from 13:17 to this passage where it does not belong.
He inserted the remark about heads, horns, and red color in 12:3 in attempt
to relate that passage to the others dealing with the devil (or the dragon).
This mixing then led to all manner of false concepts. Men have searched
to understand for two thousand years but without success. They could never
come to agreement if they did not recognize the perversion of text which
obviously exists and which must have been created by that early Christian
editor. In the face of these problems the true meaning had to remain obscure.
This limitation of vocabulary, the mixing, melding and blending together of text, and the introduction of invented concepts, plagues the entire Book of Revelation. Other examples can be illustrated.
The phrase "a star fallen from heaven" in Rev
9:1, whether from John or an early Christian editor, leads to other problems.
In Isa 14:12 we are told that Hillel ben Shachar, that Day Star, Son of
Dawn, was fallen from heaven and cut down to the ground. From the parallel
phrasing we could deduce that the star of Rev 9:1 fallen from heaven was
Lucifer. But the "fallen" star is a "good" angel on a divine mission; he
holds the key to the abyss. This view is confirmed in 20:1 where John says
he saw an angel coming down from heaven holding the key of the abyss. He
seized the dragon, that ancient serpent who is the Devil, and cast him
into the abyss. Therefore the phrase about a star fallen from heaven in
9:1 is either an unconscious borrowing by John of words from Isa 14 or
a mixing of phrases by some later ignorant editor.
Other illustrations show the magnitude of the
Revelation problems. In 9:11 the fallen personality is the angel of the
abyss. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, Destruction or Ruin,
and in Greek Apollyon, Exterminator or Destroyer. This is
the only place in the Bible with such designations. This passage is one
reason Christians know the Devil as a fallen angel rather than recognizing
him as a divinely created son.
Still another problem is the false prophet. He is first introduced in Rev 16:13. He is associated with the dragon and the beast. In 19:19-20 the beast together with the kings of the earth make war against him who sits on the horse. The beast and the false prophet are captured and thrown into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone. The false prophet was the one who had worked the signs to deceive those who received the mark and worshiped its image, 19:20, 13:14.
Unfortunately the false prophet is never clearly
defined; he is linked only by passing remarks. Because of the lack of definition
and clarity he is subject to great and varied speculations. Many commentators
avoid discussing him. As I shall discuss below, he is modern technology
and computers with their evident material advantages which all the while
leads the world to ruin and social repression?
Still other problems afflict the Book of Revelation. In 14:3-5 is a special group of 144,000 who sang a new song before the throne. They had been redeemed from the earth. They had not defiled themselves with women, for they were chaste. No lie was found in their mouths; they were spotless.
The statement about defiling themselves with
women leads one to believe they never had sexual intercourse. This is supported
by the statement that they were chaste. The Greek word is par thenoi.
It means a virgin and is so translated by KJV. It could be inferred to
mean a male celibate. But this would mean none of the 144,000 were ever
The 144,000 are first mentioned in Chapter
7; the statements imply both men and women. There cannot be two different
groups with such extraordinary, identical and obviously symbolic numbers.
Furthermore, both groups carry the mark of God in their foreheads, 7:3
and 14:1. They cannot be merely men.
Many interpretations have been attached to
the defilement. Heb 13:4 says that marriage should be honored and that
the marriage bed is undefiled. But God will judge the immoral and adulterous.
If the statement in Rev 14:4 were limited to non-defilement with women
we could assume it would mean all married men who were not adulterous,
in consonance with Heb 13:4. But to say they were virgins, or celibate,
creates extreme difficulty. Again we might see this remark as an intrusion
into the text by a Christian editor, based on his notions of sexual conduct.
Similar thoughts hold for the statement that no lie was found in their
mouth. The editor was expressing views of idealistic and heavenly purity
not found on earth.
Still another example is the beast that "was,
is not, and is to come." It is to ascend from the abyss, 17:8. This would
make it the Devil. Remarks follow about the seven heads; the seven heads
are seven hills on which is seated the Great Harlot. Many students believe
this means Rome with its famous seven hills. But they also are seven kings,
"five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come." This phrasing
parallels that of the beast who is to ascend from the abyss. But the beast
that was and is not is an eighth that belongs to the seven. Obviously this
whole passage is confused and corrupt. If the seven heads are seven communist
satellite countries they cannot be mysterious kings "fallen, is, and yet
to come." Perhaps the "seven hills" was inserted by that Christian editor
who thought the passage was a prophecy on Rome, well known for its persecution
of the new Christian sect. The famous seven hills would be a natural association
for him to make from the seven heads. But in modern context the eighth
head might be inferred to be Russia, domineering over the seven satellite
countries (heads). If the beast that "was, is not, and is to come" does
not represent the devil, but rather a confederation of nations, it could
refer to the Holy Roman Empire, which covered most of Europe in the middle
ages, then broke into independent nations, and now is forming to reunite.
Given this confusion it is impossible to arrive at sensible understanding
through literal acceptance of the text.
From these illustrations and from the comparison
of the heads and horns in Rev 12, 13 and 17 with Dan 7 we see why our textual
sources are faulty. They are not pure. There are omissions in individual
passages, seeming differences of application, and contradictions from one
passage to another which require firmness and caution in decipherment and
This last fact has a crucial impact upon our
belief in the reliability of the Bible. Plainly, the Bible is not clear.
Details from any single passage cannot be trusted verbatim; they cannot
be accepted literally. They must be judged, weighed, evaluated, and studied
against other passages, against the real world in which we live, and with
a strong dose of common sense.
This does not mean the Bible does not come
from God. It surely does. It is his revelation to us. But it comes through
human channels. It could not come any other way. It took human beings to
write it and publish it. It took other human beings to preserve it and
to carry it from generation to generation. During that process impurities
crept in. The original writers did not clearly state their experiences
nor the information given to them. They may not have fully understood.
They were limited by the vocabularies of ancient times to depict scenes
which strain modern scientific vocabularies. Original texts were not always
carefully preserved; segments may have been lost. Later individuals, entrusted
with the original manuscripts, did not hold them in respect. They rewrote
or altered the texts to conform to their personal views.
We should not neglect the possibility that God may have permitted corruption to creep in because of danger to his destiny program. If revelation had been stated too clearly the generations may have twisted it to their own earthly desires. Perhaps God worked around this possibility by intentionally misleading apostate and godless people while preserving the essentials of information for his truly dedicated people. And those essentials are crucial to coming decisions.
THE SMALL BEAST FROM REVELATION
With this integration of apocalyptic visions,
with a more comprehensive grasp of events to occur in Europe, and with
knowledge of defects in the Revelation text, we are in a better position
to examine that fascinating beast described in Rev 13:11-18.
This beast is famous for its number: 666. The
number has befuddled countless generations. It is usually regarded as the
number of a man, the Antichrist.
Because of the attention given to this beast, and because of its importance in coming decisions, it deserves close examination. There are several features which, when laid out in detail, provide better understanding.
What does all this mean?
It had two horns like a lamb. Unfortunately,
there is no explanation for the two horns. One cannot easily find a representation
for nations or rulers. However, biblical horns symbolize power and authority.
Perhaps John attempted to show this without relating it to national significance.
Perhaps this power and authority is universal, not limited to national
boundaries. We can only speculate on the meaning of the number two.
A lamb is docile and harmless; no one fears
it. It also is tender in youth, not mature. The youthful immaturity could
mean that it has not reached full development, that it is a new social
mechanism. If the horns are small, like those of a lamb, they are not grown
to their full power.
The innocent appearance may be highly deceptive;
it may be the means by which people are enslaved and bound to the will
of the dragon. As Eve was deceived by the serpent, misled to believe that
her eyes would be opened and she would not die, so this innocent appearing
beast misleads men to believe they will obtain great advantage; instead
they bind themselves to evil and destruction.
This second beast exercises authority for the
first beast, apparently the beast of United Europe. The worship forced
by the second beast may not be worship of the devil or the Antichrist but
may be worship in the sense that everyone, free and bond, must acquiesce
to the demands of the first beast, with full allegiance.
The power may be in the control it has over
the people of the earth. It may be an instrument which demands submission,
not through physical force, but through license to live and function in
society. It implements full tyrannical authority.
How does it accomplish this tyrannical power?
Few individuals are willing to come to grips
with the stark reality that we cannot buy or sell today without the mark
of federal government. Through social security or federal registry numbers
the governments of the earth have already fulfilled this prophecy. If anyone
doubts this fact let him try to conduct business, buy, sell, hire, or otherwise
operate within the context of our present social order. He cannot do so
except by going to a strictly cash base, and then only if he does not report
his activities, in violation of national laws. Everyone is already bound.
Some may feel these are benign policies intended to regulate society. Those
individuals will soon discover how malicious and tyrannical those policies
From Rev 20 we know the devil will not come
as the Antichrist until the end of the thousand years. The number 666 cannot
be assigned to him. The prophecy of a United Europe shows the context is
for our own day. Therefore the number 666 must have some other significance.
Many persons have been misled to believe the
number is that of a man, although RSV translates the phrase to say that
it is a human number. The Greek text is not sufficiently clear, whether
"the number of a man," "the number of man," or "a human number." Examination
of the number casts other light.
In the earliest known Greek manuscripts the number is given in words, not in numerals. John wrote exakosioi exikonta ex = "six hundred and sixty-six." He did not write the Greek letters: ex-chi-sigma = "666." Why did he use words and not numbers? There are several possibilities.
He forces our attention to the problem when he
says that wisdom is required. We are instructed to reckon the number of
this strange beast which rises out of the earth. Political powers and nations
rise out of the sea. This beast is not a political power nor a nation;
it rises out of the earth.
In the Bible the word earth denotes the origin
of created forms composed of chemical elements. Adam was made of the dust
of the earth; his body was fabricated from the chemical elements of the
earth. If this little beast with the two horns rises out of the earth it
must be composed of material substances. It is a man-created beast, not
a national power.
These various factors give us better insight
into John's brief description. This beast is man-made, it appears docile
and harmless, it's two horns have not come to full development, but it
exercises tyrannical power.
This beast is the computer, and computerized
systems. They now control the world. Without them the nations could not
function. Every citizen of the advanced nations of the world today is entered
into computer files.
Additional elements enter into the coming tyrannical
a) electronic surveillance, and
b) positive identification of individual human
These mechanisms already exist in our technological
society; they are either in place for use or can be installed in a short
period of time.
The computer appears perfectly innocent but
is ideal for control of human subjects through government numbers. It works
on numbers and exercises power through numbers. This is the significance
of John's remarks in Rev 13. He was telling us, in the language of the
first century AD, about the use of numbers, and the use of a device to
He gave us a specific illustration in verse
13. He said it works great signs, meaning it has the power to do many different
things. One of those signs was to make fire come down to earth in the sight
of men. What did John mean? Note that nuclear missiles are guided by computers.
This harmless appearing beast can make fire come down from heaven to earth
in the sight of men. That is one of its great signs.
The use of computers is already widespread
for the surveillance of citizens in most countries. It truly exercises
the authority of the first beast. Computers impress everyone with their
quiet efficiency, seemingly as harmless as a lamb. Yet they wield great
power. Today they are used by law enforcement agencies and tax agencies
to monitor the citizens of countries. They speak not for the dragon, but
carry tremendous potential for deception and betrayal. They could be used
by the dragon to subdue the world through totalitarian force. Computers
also carry the image of man in their ability to act intelligently on information
fed to them. Of course this process is programmed by human beings but the
computer clearly carries an image of human thought.
A recent development in computers is the power
of speech. Computers can now make intelligible human sounds. The image
of the beast, the computer, can speak.
A second factor necessary to subdue the citizenry
of modern countries is positive identification. This is now possible in
a way never before realized. Laser technology provides the tool. Lasers
can tattoo figures and numbers into human skin invisibly and painlessly.
It would be easy to tattoo social security numbers or bar codes on the
right hand or the forehead of every man, woman and child. All could be
marked with this invisible tattoo within a few months.
The need for this identification might arise
under severe economic hardship. If each person were allotted food, clothing,
and transportation according to need it would be possible to track this
rationing through infrared or laser scanners. To maintain control governments
might be forced to such extreme ends. Naturally they would hold full control
on location, condition, employment, and every other important social aspect
of the individual. This could bring tyranny beyond imagination.
Technology already exists: computers are installed;
laser beams developed; scanners tested; numbers in place for every man,
woman and child. If individuals do not obey this great beast, if they do
not submit, if they do not worship it, they cannot continue to live. If
they rebel they will be subject to great persecution. And if these mechanisms
come under the control of the spiritists, devil's agents, the names and
numbers would be truly blasphemous.
Furthermore, the laws of the nations now provide for emergency powers of all rulers. In the United States the President has full authority to declare a state of emergency under any circumstance he deems necessary. He can then exercise full dictatorial control. According to this law Congress cannot void his authority for six months.
THE SEVEN-YEAR TRIBULATION PERIOD
The books of Daniel and Revelation have periods
which are 1290 days, Dan 12:11, 1335 days, Dan 12:12, forty-two months,
Rev 11:2 and 13:5, and 1260 days, Rev 11:3 and 12:6. Two of these periods,
when added together, make about seven years. This is the notorious tribulation
Wild speculations exist around these numbers.
Every so-called interpreter has his own idea of the meaning of the periods.
The coming events have three major episodes.
The first is the outbreak of the spiritist persecution and the parallel
national emergencies. The second is the nuclear holocaust; the third is
the twisting of the planet.
These three episodes would mark the lines between
the two periods.
Dan 12:11 -- And from the time that the
continual burnt offering is taken away, and the abomination that makes
desolate is set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
If the taking away of the continual burnt offering
marks the trampling down of Jerusalem by the nations, Luke 21:24, and if
the nations will trample over the holy city forty-two months, Rev 11:2
this period would be the first half of the seven years.
This would also be the time of the beast with
seven heads and ten horns; it will exercise power for forty-two months,
A discrepancy exists between Daniel and Revelation.
At thirty days per month Daniel has forty-three months, not forty-two.
With our knowledge of Revelation corruptions
we should exercise care in accepting those numbers. Since Daniel was not
subject to the hands of that early Christian editor his numbers may be
more reliable. This caution extends to the period of the two witnesses
in Rev 11:3. They may appear for much less than three and one-half years.
The "setting up" of the abomination of desolation,
nuclear weapons, means their release by Great Babylon. It does not mean
preparing them in readiness by the modern state of Israel.
If these numbers can be trusted the time lapse
after the outbreak of the spiritist operations, the international emergency,
and the trampling down of Jerusalem, will be about forty-three months.
Dan 12:12 -- Blessed is he who waits and
comes to the thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.
The phrase "comes to" more properly in Hebrew
means "to reach." It denotes those who survive another forty-four and one-half
months. At that time the planet will undergo the cataclysmic geological
During this period, after the nuclear holocaust,
the 144,000 will be taken away. None will be taken away before all have
made decisions and taken action to preserve themselves for the future of
this world. The timing of this lift-off of a select group is noted in Matt
24. The statements show explicitly that the lift-off will come after the
I discuss this unique group in another work
I call The Redeemed.
Only through deep and abiding faith will God's
people be able to stand in the coming trials. They will be persecuted and
put to death for their faith and allegiance to God. Tyrannical demands
of the nations, and of devil agents, will soon oppress all of us.
When will God's people awake? When will they
choose to no longer follow the ways of the world? When will they separate
themselves from the society which has given them great material comfort?
When will dedication to God become overriding in their lives with complete
commitment to the laws of God?
The day of decision now swiftly descends upon