Head #8: The Papacy Revived (Rev. 17)
The Beast that was, is not and yet isRevelation 17 starts out with John being shown a woman on a beast. The description symbolizes, in detail, the papacy during the middle ages (17:1-6). The angel then says that the beast John saw "was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit". Since we know from other prophecies that the papacy would have some degree of control over God's people and exercise ecclesiastical dominance from 538 until 1798 (when it received a deadly wound), then we know that up to 1798 the beast "was" (previously was alive), and then "is not" (is not currently alive in 1798), and "shall ascend" (will rise to life and ascend to power again).
The angel goes on to say that those who's names aren't written in the book of life will wonder when they see the beast. This is the same language used in Revelation 13 when the sea beast receives a deadly wound on one of its heads, but afterwards it is healed and all the world wonders after it. The phase of the scarlet beast when it "is not", coincides with the deadly wound on the beast's head.
To add another element, the angel describes the time phases of the beast again, but this time says "the beast that was, and is not, and yet is." The word "yet" in the Greek means "nevertheless, indeed, notwithstanding, yet, although". Because of this, we now also know that the beast "was" (previously was alive), "is not" (is not currently alive), and "yet is" (and nevertheless is alive). We start to see that the beast dies, and may seem to continue in that state but really is alive. This is also apparent in Revelation 13:3 where it says he saw one of its heads "as it were" wounded to death, and in Revelation 13:14, where the beast "had the wound by a sword, and did live." The beast comes back to life, but might appear to still be considered dead, perhaps not being readily apparent that it is very much alive.
The Healing of the Wound"In the nineteenth century the secular world proved extremely hostile to the Catholic Church."1 Influences during the Age of Enlightenment and revolutions were largely concerned with ending the religious persecution and oppression by church and king. The famous intellectual, Voltaire, after learning of the persecution of an innocent family in France in the 1760s, was one of many who saw that even though the
"worst days of religious persecution were over... it was clear that the evil had only been lying dormant, and was still there, ready to be revived at any moment. The time for writing witty books had passed, and the time for a crusade had come. It was now that he launched his famous slogan 'Ecrasez l'infame' - crush the shameful thing. Voltaire always denied that by 'l'infame' he meant Christianity, the Catholic religion, or even the Catholic Church; he meant 'persecuting and privileged orthodoxy'. But everyone knew what was the 'persecuting and privileged orthodoxy' which was dominating Europe in the 1760s. The 'infame' which must be crushed was the Catholic Church."2When the French Revolution gave rise to Napolean, his army captured Rome in 1798 and took Pope Pius VI prisoner. Rome was proclaimed a republic and the pope died the next year in exile. The papacy's power was considered at an end. This event is referred to, in Bible prophecy, as the time when one of the beast's heads was wounded (Revelation 13:3). The same prophecy also predicts that the wound would be healed, so we can expect the papacy to regain its influence in the world.
Though a new pope, Pius VII, was elected and Napolean reintroduced the catholic church in France, Napolean dominated the papacy and made the pope subservient. When the new pope refused to cooperate, Napolean took him prisoner and annexed the papal states to the French Empire.
After the downfall of Napolean, the pope was able to regain some control and reinstituted the Society of Jesus. The allied powers also restored the papal states. Pope Pius VIII (1829 to 1830) continued to work to rebuild papal authority and "began his reign with a public denunciation of liberty of conscience, Bible societies, Freemasonry, and the Carbonari (the social democracy of Italy)."3 Despite these efforts, strong resistence to the papacy continued and more revolutions that included anti-papal expressions occurred throughout Europe.
The papal difficulties continued and, in 1870, the Papal states came to an end when French troops withdrew their protection, Italian troops took Rome, and the pope lost all temporal power. The pope refused to recognize the new situation and he and his successors henceforth described themselves as "prisoners in the Vatican."
Since then, the papacy seemed to start regaining its hold. By the early 1900s, it had diplomatic relations with most protestant governments, and was again exerting political influence. A very significant turn occurred in 1929, when a treaty between the Vatican State and Italy restored its temporal power and Vatican City became an indpendent state. This was a major step in the papacy's healing. This enabled it to get involved in politics again as an independent country, becoming extremely influential by the end of the century.
"Though aspiration had lured France toward the future, custom had enchained her to the past, and the time of her complete emancipation was distantly postponed by Napoleon's pact with the Pope. The Liberals who attended the Feast of the Concordat feared that they were assisting at the rehabilitation of the evils of intolerance and tyranny. To their descendants, who have lived to see that the empire of the Church over France was by the Revolution mortally enfeebled, it must remain an open question whether the great gains of religious liberty and tolerance have ever yet been won."4
The Beast with 7 HeadsWhile all this is happening to the Papal head, the other heads on the beast are still playing their roles, including rising to dominance when it is their turn and then declining in power. At the point of time when the angel is talking to John (1798), the 6th head of the beast, the House of Habsburg, is dominant (during the 6th trumpet). Thus, five are fallen (1st - 5th heads), 1 is currently falling (Habsburgs - 1449 to 1840), and one is yet to become dominant and fall (the 7th head beginning in 1840).
As the consecutive nature of the heads is brought to light (Rev. 17:10), the angel brings our view to the end of the 7 heads, and says that there is also an eighth. The eighth head is "the beast that was and is not" (Papal-led Roman realm), and it is "of the seven" (proceeds out from among the seven heads, or it is also one of the seven heads -- the papacy was also the 4th head), and "goeth into perdition" (will be destroyed). This eighth head, the papacy, will rule again, when the 7th Head imitiates it (image of the beast) as the 10 Horns give it their support by enacting papal-inspired laws. The Bible refers to this as a short time period at the very end (Rev. 17:12) of the 7th time period.
Though the 8th head is not yet ruling, its wound has been healed and the world is mostly wondering after it. Though protestantism is the dominant type of religion in the Roman realm, it has retained beliefs modeled after its mother, the Papacy. Protestant churches are wondering after the beast by following, more and more, the teachings of the Catholic church and therefore tradition over the Bible. Some of these teachings can be seen when contrasting the 10 commandments in the Bible with the 10 commandments as taught in the catechism of the Catholic church.
- The scarlet beast represents the Roman realm.
- The vision in Rev. 17:1-6 shows the scarlet beast in its Papal role; prior to its wound.
- The angel is explaining the meaning to John from the point in time when the Papal head "was, and is not", or in other words when it received its deadly wound (1798). This is the point in time to which John was carried "away in the spirit into the wilderness" (Rev. 17:3).
- Each of its 7 heads represents a political power within the Roman realm (just like the 4 heads on the leopard in Daniel represent 4 political powers with the single realm of Greece). Each head rises and falls from dominant political power, yet even before and after losing dominance, they still play roles that affect the nations of the realm (10 horns).
- At the time of the beast's wound (1798), five of the beast's heads had already completed their fall, one was in the process of falling (Habsburgs - the 6th head), and one was yet to come into dominance and fall (Freemasonry - the 7th head).
- The eighth head is the papacy, which is the healed 4th head, and it ascends and heals while the 7th head is dominant.
- The 7th head is Freemasonry, which rules while the Papacy is healing/ascending, and thus it is referred to as the beast that ascends from the bottomless pit (lifeless place). In other words, the beast that ascends from the bottomless pit symbolizes the Freemasonry-led Roman realm, because Freemasonry rules the Roman realm while the Papacy ascends back into power. The 7th Head morphs into a power that mimics the 4th Head, causing it to be referred to as the 8th Head.
The Papacy's PromoterIf we just look at Freemasonry membership statistics, a decrease can be seen since the 1960s. In the USA, there were 4,103,161 members at its peak in 1959, which decreased to its lowest point of 1,483,449 members in 2007.6
Another indicator of a possible decline of the political power of Freemasonry can be seen in the U.S. Supreme Court.
"At almost all times from the first appointment to the Supreme Court, there was at least one Mason on the Court, the percentage usually was between 1/2 and . From 1949 to 1954, the highest percentage of Freemasons on the Supreme Court was reached, with 89% or 8 out of 9. From 1992 to the present, we have for the first time reached the lowest percentage, as there is not a single Mason among the members of the Supreme Court."7This decline of the political power of Freemasonry in the Supreme Court is accompanied by a corresponding rise of Catholic power.
"When the Supreme Court was established in 1789, the first members came from among the ranks of the Founding Fathers and were almost uniformly Protestant... Following the retirement of John Paul Stevens in June 2010, the Court had an entirely non-Protestant composition for the first time in its history... In May 2009, President Barack Obama nominated a Catholic woman, Sonia Sotomayor, to replace retiring Justice David Souter. Her confirmation raised the number of Catholics on the Court to six, compared to three non-Catholics (all Jewish). With Antonin Scalia's death in February 2016, the number of Catholic Justices went back to five."8As we've already examined, the 8th Head that was wounded to death and raised back to life, represents the papacy who rules because the 7th Head mimics it or enacts its laws. Thus, at some point, the papacy (8th Head) influences Freemasonry (7th Head) to such a point as it becomes the dominant political power again. If indeed Fremasonry is in a decline, then the time period of the 8th Head is imminent.
Prophecies depict this unusual situation during this time period where there are two great powers that work together (Revelation 13). This transition then, would not be a result of political take-over and conflict between the two powers, but more of a willing handing over of power or a setting up of the power of one by the other. The 8th head would become part of the 7th time period as it is propped up by the still-powerful 7th head.
For example, the Earth Beast of Revelation 13 (representing Freemasonry at work in the protestant USA - 7th Head) ends up promoting the Sea Beast (the papacy - 4th and 8th Head). It does miracles (Rev. 13:13), causing people to worship the Sea Beast (papacy), and it creates an image of the beast (a similar system of a church-state union). Elsewhere depicted as the False Prophet, this same entity (Freemasonry at work in the protestant USA) works miracles (Rev. 19:20) through spiritualism (Rev. 16:13-14). A prophet is someone who speaks for God. A false prophet is someone who falsely claims to be speaking for God. The Earth Beast is described as having two horns like a lamb (appearing Christlike), but speaking like a dragon (Satan) (Rev. 13:11). The USA claims to be speaking for God, but ends up really promoting the law of the papacy, and prepares the way for the papacy to become politically dominant again.
Another example of this cooperation can be seen in the prophecy of the woman riding the beast in Revelation 17. The woman, a harlot (apostacized Christian churches of Catholic mother and Protestant daughters), is riding the beast (Freemasonry-led Roman realm). This symbolizes religious powers uniting inappropriately with state powers. The papacy set up this type of system during the middle ages, and the protestant-led USA sets up this type of system during the end of time, which is called the image of the beast. When this image of the beast is setup, the USA legislates religious laws, thus forming a persecuting union of church and state (8th Head). As nineteenth century liberals had observed through the mistakes of the revolution, "the will of the majority can be as wrong and oppressive as that of a despot."9
Yet another example is seen in Revelation 17. "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast" (Revelation 17:12-13,17). The divided nations of decentralized Rome (10 horns) give their power to the Papacy (beast / 8th Head). Note the word "give". This seems like a willing cooperation.
Thus, we have now explored three prophecies in Revelation that all point to Freemasonry for their fulfillment. Though each prophecy highlights events that occur in different countries, they are parallel prophecies in that they each identify the same political power of Freemasonry . Notice how each prophecy brings this new political power to light by events occuring around 1798.
- A) Revelation 11: The Beast from the Bottomless Pit
As studied in a previous chapter, this beast represents the power that ruled in France during the French revolution of the 1790s, which was Freemasonry. It appears in France at the end of the 1260 years of Papal persecution of the two witnesses.
- B) Revelation 17: The Beast from the Bottomless Pit
This beast represents the power that rules the Roman realm while the papacy's wound is being healed, which is Freemasonry. It rises after the 1260 years when the women is drunk with the blood of martyrs in the wilderness (Rev. 17:3-6) (538 to 1798 AD).
Revelation 17: The 7th head of the Beast from the Bottomless Pit
The 7th head represents the 7th political power in the Roman realm, which is Freemasonry. As shown in previous chapters, Freemasonry replaced the 6th head (House of Hapsburg), controlled the seats of power in the leading nations of the realm (e.g. the succession of British rulers who are Freemasons) and exerted tremendous political and cultural influence throughout the realm.
- C) Revelation 13: The Beast from the Earth
This beast represents the power that ruled in the USA as it rose from a relatively unpopulated area of the world, which is Freemasonry. It appears on the scene after one of the heads on the beast from the sea is wounded (1798).
Indeed, the voluntary cooperation between protestants and catholics indicated in the prophecies is an interesting development, given the long history of conflict and animosity between the papacy and Freemasonry. Initially, there were some Catholics who became Freemasons, however it became increasingly anti-clerical and anti-religious, and by the second half of the nineteenth century it was largely regarded as one of the forces most hostile to the Church.10
The founder of Freemasonry in Amsterdam in the mid 18th century, Rousset de Missy, wrote in a letter to a friend, "we are friends to all the world... except to the Jesuits, whom not one master of a lodge would receive in our order."11
Freemason Michael L. Brodsky calls this situation in European countries as the "long feud between freemasonry and the Catholic Church."12 Another Freemason author states that "there is no question that the overwhelming majority of Freemasons over the centuries have been Protestants, especially in English-speaking countries."13 Historian Diarmaid MacCulloch describes that "part of Freemasonry's continuing Reformed inheritance was a general hostility to the institution of the Catholic Church."14
"A number of Christian denominations have taken positions opposing Freemasonry. The Roman Catholic Church has been one of the most vigorous in its opposition. Pope Clement XII issued the first bull against Freemasonry on April 27, 1738. Different Popes issued six additional bulls before April 20, 1884, when Pope Leo XIII issued the encyclical Humanum Genus, the strongest and most comprehensive papal condemnation of Freemasonry. In it, the Pope attacked Freemasonry as a 'wicked force' and a 'contagious disease' because Freemasons (1) call for religious liberty, (2) call for separation of [the Roman Catholic] Church and state, (3) call for the education of children by laymen rather than the Church, and (4) believe people have the right to make their own laws and elect their own government."15In spite of its history of animosity, prophecy indicates Freemasonry and the papacy will end up cooperating towards the same goals. There is much evidence that events to make this possible have begun. In the 1940s, the French resistance movement against the Nazi German occupation of France included both Freemasons and Catholics. In finding common ground, the possibility was raised of "at last putting an end to the 200 years of conflict between the Continental Freemasons and the Catholic Church."18
"Protestantism actually came to be identified with the very notion of reform, insofar as Catholic conservatives were to refer to the 'Reform Party' and the 'Protestant Party' interchangeably..."16
"Now [eighteenth century] especially in Catholic countries in southern Europe, Central and South America and the Caribbean, in the absence of any popular Protestant alternative to the Catholic Church, the Masonic Lodge became a rallying point for all who loathed ecclesiastical power. Here Freemasonry often did indeed become the chief force within liberal politics: a rival to that other closed male caste, the Catholic clergy, complete with Masons' own egrossing (though a good deal less public) ritual life."17
Following the Second Vatican Council in 1962-1965, a more tolerant Catholic attitude has caused relations between the papacy and Freemasonry to greatly improve.19 Though the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued in 1983, still prohibits Catholics from becoming Freemasons, there have been voices in favor of lifting the ban, especially as it applies to the American version of Freemasonry. There is hope today among Freemasons that the current Pope Francis, with his seeming relaxation of the rules, will make reconciliation between the two groups possible.20
Today's American Freemasonry strongly promotes tolerance and religious ecumenism. In addition, it promotes a mystic experience with God, revealing methods to transform oneself into a higher state.21 These characteristics match the Bible predictions of an end-time power consisting of many religions cooperating together that are saturated with humanism and spiritualism.
Many of Freemasonry's early influences were mystical, and can be seen in many of today's religious practices. An example is the teaching of the "Illuminate" Pasqually, who's "avowed object was to develop the somnolent divine faculties in humanity, and to lead man to enter into communication with the Invisible, by means of La Chose, the enigmatic name he gave to the highest secret."22
Another example of the wine of Babylon is provided by the Illuminati, who taught that Jesus' only directions were love of God and love of humanity. This was only taught to the higher grades. Lower grades were allowed to believe they were supporting orthodox Christianity, during which time they were evaluated and weeded out if necessary.23
Since Freemasonry is a political entity (head on the beast), controlled primarily by protestants (the daughters of the woman - Babylon), it fulfills the specifications of the scarlet beast of Revelation 17. Both protestantism and Freemasonry start out with noble and God-given ideas, creating a lamb-like nation in the United States of America. But, the U.S.A., along with the entire Roman realm, goes on to reject God's laws and brings the judgment of the 7th Trumpet upon itself. Eventually, it speaks like a dragon (Rev. 13). Thus, the woman, Babylon (initially composed of the apostatized Papal churches of the middle ages), is joined by her daughters (the apostatized protestant churches after the reformation), and as the second coming draws closer, they ride together on the beast (the Roman realm) as the 7th head (Freemasonry) cooperates to lift up the 8th head (papacy).
The rulers of nations (10 Horns) and central political influences (7 Heads), during the 1260 years of Papal ecclesiastical supremacy, were generally doing what the papacy instructed them to do in spiritual matters (time of the papacy's ecclesiastical dominance - 538 to 1798 AD). Though there were many struggles for dominance, arguments and rebellions, the Franks, the Holy Roman Empire and the House of Habsburg often persecuted and controlled people as the papacy directed. Also, it was the Eastern Roman Emperor (Byzantine) who declared the Bishop of Roman as supreme and overcame the dissenting tribes, which launched the 1260 years. This ecclesiastical dominance is foretold as occuring again after the deadly wound is healed and all the world wanders after the beast (Rev. 13:3).
Though the papal system, mainstream protestantism and Freemasonry, all fall from their inital high calling and reject the everlasting gospel, not all individuals within those organizations have fallen. God calls His people out of these corrupted organizations. "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her [Babylon], my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Revelation 18:4).
God calls individual Catholics, Protestants and Freemasons who hear His voice, "My people". He loves them and invites them to leave those organizations that have apostatized and to embrace truth, freedom and life with Him. Those who accept become heirs with Him of the final realm. This offer represents true brotherhood.
"Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king" (1 Peter 2:13-17).The following chart compares the symbolism of the various beasts in Revelation and reveals the repeating patterns. It shows how Revelation repeatedly reveals three main phases of religion during the Roman realm; Paganism, Catholicism and Protestantism. As Catholicism became synonymous with the papacy in the middle ages, Protestantism becomes synonymous with Freemasonry during end times.
(click on image to enlarge)
Continue to: 7 Last Plagues
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