The Mark of the Beast & Seal of God (Rev. 13-14) - Part I
Bible Passage:Read Part I of the prophecy in Revelation 13.
Theme:True vs. false worship.
Overview:This prophecy shows the persecution and corruption that inevitably result when church and state unite and attempt to enforce worship and matters of conscience. It contrasts true and false worship; love and truth versus force and deception. Daniel 2 showed how church and state (clay and iron) would mix together during the time of divided Rome (10 toes) (486 AD to the Second Coming). Daniel 7-8 showed how the little horn would become a political and religious power during the Middle Ages. Now, in Revelation 13-14, we are given more detail about how church and state unite during the time of the end (1798 to the Second Coming).
Revelation 13:1-10 "1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.1 2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. 3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.2 4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? 5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.3 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 9 If any man have an ear, let him hear. 10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints."
Beast from the Sea = The Roman realm led by papacy. This beast performs the same actions as the little horn in Daniel 7 and Daniel 8, including
- (A) speaking blasphemy against God (Rev. 13:1, Dan. 7:25, Mk. 2:7, John 10:33, Matt. 26:65),
- (B) power was given it for "forty and two months" (1260 years - 538 to 1798 AD) (Rev. 13:5, Dan. 7:25),
- (C) it made war with the saints (Rev. 13:7, Dan. 7:21), and
- (D) it interferes with and opposes God's tabernacle/sanctuary (Rev. 13:6, Dan. 8:11-12).
Dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority = In Revelation 12 it shows that the dragon represents Satan working through the Roman realm. His work was through the Roman realm, when it was predominantly pagan, until the 1260 years began, after which he worked through papal Rome. The papacy received power to rule when the Ostrogoths were finally forced to withdraw from Rome in 538 AD (the beginning of the Ostrogoth downfall), which enabled the Justinian decree from 533 to have force. The papacy received the seat, or place of rule, in Rome where previous rulers of the Roman realm had sat. The papacy received great authority from the state powers of Rome to rule ecclesiastically for 1260 years. Because this beast from the sea receives power from the dragon (Satan working through the Roman realm), the sea beast must arrive after the 4th realm (Rome) is established. The only power that fits this and all the identifiers is the papacy.
10 Horns = 10 tribes within the Roman realm. These are the 10 nations or people groups into which Rome divided when it decentralized in 486 AD (see Dan. 7).
7 Heads = 7 successive political powers that dominate the tribes within the divided Roman realm (see Rev. 17).
Wounded = The papacy loses ecclesiastical dominance. At the end of the 1260 years (42 months) of papal supremacy, one of the beast's heads (the papacy) received a wound. This occurred after the Protestant Reformation led the world back to faith in God's word above the traditions of the church and during the French Revolution in 1798 when Napoleon's army took the pope prisoner and the papacy was considered at an end ("wounded as if to death").
Wound Healed = Papacy regains ecclesiastical dominance. Though the papacy seemed to have died, it was reestablished and became a political entity again. It rises in power throughout the realm as its doctrines become more popular and nations lend their support to make laws that follow the papacy's laws ("all the world wondered after the beast" - 13:3). Much evidence of this trend is seen today as the pope exerts a huge world-wide influence.
Revelation 13:11-15 " 11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed."
Beast of the Earth = The Roman realm led by Freemasonry as manifested in USA. When the sea beast was wounded in 1798, a new, gentler power ("horns like a lamb") was rising that represents the United States of America. Consider the following characteristics:
|Characteristic of earth beast||USA Fulfillment|
|Initially comes up out of the "earth". This beast comes on the scene from a relatively unpopulated area of the world (see "earth" above).||The USA rose to power far from the dense populations of the world. It rose steadily and silently (like a plant growing), primarily without conquering (previous beasts were portrayed as devouring, stamping, conquering, etc.). It comes on the scene from a relatively unpopulated area of the world (rising from the "earth" is in contrast to the first beast that rises from the "sea" (see above) (Rev. 17:15). The first beast rose from the heavily populated nations of Europe; the old world. This second beast rises from a less populated area; the new world.|
|Has two horns like a lamb. The lamb in prophecy represents Christ (Jn. 1:29, 36). This beast has Christ-like characteristics or espouses good principles.||The USA was founded on Christ-like principles of liberty and freedom of conscience. Based on Protestantism and Republicanism, it was radically different from any other nation on earth in that it offered religious and civil liberty. Just like Christ doesn't force anyone to choose or love Him, the USA set out to ensure that no one was forced to believe a certain way.|
|Rises up as the first beast goes down. The first beast has power for 42 months until it receives a deadly wound (Rev. 13:3, 10). The, this beast is seen rising to power (Rev. 13:11).||The 42 months (1260 years) of the first beast ended in 1798 when the power of the papacy was broken and the pope was taken prisoner. The USA was rising to power in the late 1700's, exactly at the right time. In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted.|
|Obtains global influence and significant power. It causes the whole world to worship the first beast (after its wound is healed) and to receive the beast's mark (Rev. 13:15-16).||The USA became the most powerful nation on earth. It is capable of exerting world-wide influence and does so quite often. The prophecy even reveals it performs miracles and wonders, which increase its influence even more.|
In Revelation 11, the beast from the bottomless pit is identified as Freemasonry because it was the power that ruled during the French revolution. Here in Revelation 13, the earth beast is also identified as Freemasonry because it was the political power that ruled during the American Revolution and the resulting government. Both beasts represent an end-time power that arose around 1798. Both beasts are linked to the power that rises in 1798 in Revelation 17. Freemasonry is the entity that links these three symbols of the same end-time power together. Just like the sea beast represents Rome during its papal-led phase (Catholicism), the earth beast represents Rome during its Freemasonry-led phase (Protestantism) as revealed in America. Revelation 17 provides additional characteristics identifying this end-time power and linking these three prophecies together.
Image of the Beast = The formation of a persecuting church-state union in the Protestant USA (earth beast), which is a likeness/resemblance ("image") of the church-state union of papal-led Rome (sea beast). The USA has truly espoused Christ-like ("like a lamb") principles, providing refuge, safety, freedom and opportunity for millions. However, this prophecy reveals the USA will not always exhibit lamb-like characteristics, but will eventually speak "like a dragon", legislating religious beliefs that contradict God's law and persecuting as did papal-led Rome during the middle ages.
The earth beast tells the people that "THEY should make an image to the beast", which indicates a form of government in which laws are determined by the people. The USA is not ruled by monarchs, but is a representative government of the people, by the people and for the people.
The separation of church and state, which has protected the rights of Americans for so long, will disintegrate. The whole Christian world (except the remnant), referred to as Babylon, aids in establishing this system of false worship. Babylon is composed of "three parts" (16:19) that all become saturated with spiritualism ("unclean spirits" - 16:13, 18:2): Catholicism ("beast...of the sea"), unfaithful Protestantism ("false prophet", "beast...of the earth") and Paganism/Spiritualism ("dragon"). The goal here is not to point an accusing finger, but to expose deceptions that hold Christianity in a deadly grip. Every individual is encouraged to look at his or her connections to various organizations and seek God's guidance to identify deception and His strength to separate entirely from Babylon.
Revelation 13:16-18 " 16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:5 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."
Submitting to the law of a ruler puts that ruler's mark of authority on you. Remember the papacy would "think to change the times and the law" (Dan. 7:25); changing God's law was an intentional, deliberate act. The papacy openly claims that changing the sacredness of the Sabbath in the 4th commandment from the 7th day to the 1st day (times and law) is a mark of its authority.
At the end of the warning message of Rev. 14, the prophecy contrasts those who worship the beast and its image and receive its mark, with those who keep God's commandments. A simple distinction is made: those who follow the beast's law receive its mark, and those who follow God's law receive God's mark.
It is important to know that the mark of the beast is not yet being applied. It will occur after the "Image of the Beast" is formed. When that time of forcing the conscience comes, and all have heard the warning under circumstances that bring conviction, the mark will be applied to those who have persistently rejected God's law and finally settled fully into his or her decision. Christians in past centuries, as well as many today, have faithfully observed Sunday, sincerely believing they are honoring God, and God accepts them. They are His people. It is only when light comes and understanding of the issue comes clear, that worshiping on Sunday will be considered disloyalty to God.
The Sabbath is the main point of controversy that churches have with the law of God and will therefore be the point that especially determines whether one follows the beast's law or God's law. It will be a special topic agitated in the last days. The one we worship is the one we obey. The seventh-day Sabbath is the day God designated, at creation, as a time of special worship and communion with Him. It is between the Creator and His creation, reminding us of the His power in creating and delivering us. He did not, nor did His apostles, change the day.
|The seventh day Sabbath...|
|a)||Was established at creation (Gen. 2:1-3) for all humanity (Mk. 2:27).|
|b)||Was reaffirmed to the Israelites through the manna experience (Ex. 16:22-31).|
|c)||Was spoken and written by God at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 20:8-11, Deut. 5:12-15).|
|d)||Was kept by Jesus (Luke 4:16,31, Matt. 12:8,12, Mark 16:1-2).|
|e)||Belongs to Jesus who is "Lord...of the Sabbath" (Mk. 2:28)|
|f)||Was taught by the apostles (Acts 13:42-44, 17:2, 18:4, Heb. 4:4-10).|
|g)||Was wrongfully changed/obscured during the middle ages (Dan. 7:25, 2 Thes. 2:3).|
|h)||Is observed during the last days (Matt. 24:3-31, Rev. 12:17, 14:12).|
|i)||Will be kept in the new earth (Is. 66:23, Rev. 22:14).|
Count The number of the beast = Adding up the Roman numeral values in the popes' name. The number of the sea beast is also the "number of a man" (13:18). Since the beast represents papal-led Rome, then the beast's number would be the number of its leader, a man, the pope. One of the names of the popes is "Vicarius Filii Dei" (Vicar of the Son of God), which letters are summed to total 666 ("six hundred threescore and six") in Roman numerals:
(click on image to enlarge)
Additional Resources:Mark of the Beast (interactive presentation)
Part II - Seal of God (Rev. 14) (study guide)
Continue to Part II: Seal of God (Rev. 14)
Millennium (Rev. 20:1 - 20:15)
New Earth (Rev. 21:1 to 22:21)
Epilogue (Rev. 22:6 to 22:21)