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Will You Let God Set You Free!?

The Power to Break the Chain of Lies so you can be FREE“ Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” Gal. 4:16! This page belongs to Minister Clarence F. Sargent

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The Revelation of Jesus

The Opening of the Seven Seals

The Opening of the Seven Seals
Chapter 3

John is not writing in some sort of code about things which would be understood by his contemporaries. He clearly writes that the events predicted by the visions are to begin soon and are a picture of the future, unfolded sequentially.
It is not that there are not “symbolic” words in the book of Revelation. There are, but they would be undecipherable, for a large part, until they are compared with the fulfillments of other prophecies or of these themselves. Some of these “symbol” words are defined in Daniel and Ezekiel. There are many which the book opens with and defines for you. For instance:
 
The one sitting on the Throne is obviously the Father.
The Lamb is Jesus.

Seven candlesticks are seven churches.
Many “sign” words are defined for us by the book itself. Other words are defined in usage in other places in the Bible or in the fulfillment of the prophecies themselves. In such places it may be suggested in context whether they are symbolic or to be taken literally. For instance:
Mountains are governments or principalities;

Islands are nations;

Earthquakes are revolutions;

Those that dwell in the earth are the unsaved.

Those who dwell in heaven are the saved no matter their address.

Beasts are human authorities, kingdoms or empires.

Fire and brimstone are usually literal explosive destruction.
Fire is sometimes good as zeal or at times purgative punishment.

Horns are divisions of a kingdom or world power.

Stars are symbols of spiritual powers.

The sun are moon symbols of more important earthly authorities.

The dragon is Satan in human government.

Earth refers to the inhabited, civilized, world.

Earth may mean the worldly scheme in contrast to the way of Christ.
Revelation and Symbols of Future Events
1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to him, to show to his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified [it] by his angel to his servant John:
 
There are two possibilities in understanding the words “shortly come to pass.” It can either mean the symbols will be fulfilled within a short span of time, which is the position of the Futurists who believe that all of the symbols predict events in the last seven years of the world’s history; or it may mean that the symbols will begin to be fulfilled soon.
 
That is, that shortly after 96 A.D. the first symbol will epitomize an epoch of world history and each of the following symbols will follow sequentially paralleling the historical periods through history, until such time as the mystery that God wishes to reveal is complete.
 
We believe the historical parallel approach is the correct one as will be shown in the body of this book. The Futurist view has too many obscurities in it, not the least being that the most popular way of seeing the events of the last seven years is that they are supposed to happen in the world after the church has been “raptured.” If that view were correct it makes little sense to tell us, the church, about it, since we will not be here to see it!
 
The words “sent and signified” indicates the method of revelation. The symbols are just that — symbols; they signify. They do not describe the events literally but they depict events with signs or symbols.
 
The Outline of Revelation
 
1:19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.
 
This verse above is the outline of the book: (1) The things which you have seen: refer to the visions of the first chapter. That is, Jesus among the candlesticks and related items. (2) The things which are: are the descriptions of the seven churches currently in John’s times. They describe conditions in which churches find themselves, in every age, including John’s. (3) The things which shall be hereafter: The rest of the book is preparation for, or descriptions of, prophecies that are future from John’s time.
 
4:1 After this, I looked, and behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice that I heard was like a trumpet talking to me; which said; Come up here and I will show you things which must be hereafter.
 
The above verse begins the future material or actually the introduction to it. In chapter four we see the source of the revelation, i.e. the throne room of God. And in chapter five there is a description of the book of prophetic things, “that which must be hereafter,” contained in the book of seven seals. Jesus is introduced as the only one able to open the book. He then proceeds to open the book. Those things predicting the future from John’s time start in chapter six with the opening of the seven seals.
 
Revelation 6: The First 6 Seals
 
6:1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as the noise of thunder, and one of the four creatures saying, Come and see. 6:2 And I saw and behold, a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given to him; and he went forth conquering and to conquer. 6:3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second creature say, Come and see. 6:4 And there went out another horse, [that was] red; and power was given to him that sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given to him a great sword. 6:5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third creature saying, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6:6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four creatures say, A measure of wheat for a penny and three measures of barley for a penny; and [see] that you hurt not the oil and the wine. 6:7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth creature say, Come and see. 6:8 And I looked and behold, a pale horse; and the name of him who sat on him was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with pestilence, and with wild beasts of the earth. 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. 6:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long O Lord, holy and true, do you not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth. 6:11 And white robes were given to every one of them, and it was said to them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brothers, who should be killed as they were should be fulfilled. 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood. 6:13 And the stars fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 6:14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 6:15 And the kings of the earth and the great men and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. 6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come and who shall be able to stand?
 
 
THE INTERLUDE ASSOCIATED WITH THE SEVEN SEALS
 
 
7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 7:2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east having the seal of the living God; and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the se 7:3 Saying, Hurt not the earth nor the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 7:4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed, [and there were] sealed one hundred and forty four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 7:5 Of the tribe of Judah [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad [were] sealed twelve thousand. 7:6 Of the tribe of Aser [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Napthalim [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses [were] sealed twelve thousand. 7:7 Of the tribe of Simeon [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi [were[ sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar [were] sealed twelve thousand. 7:8 Of the tribe of Zabulon [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin [were] sealed twelve thousand. 7:9 After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 7:10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb. 7:11 And all the angels stood round about the throne and the elders and the four creatures, and fell before the throne on their faces and worshipped God, 7:12 Saying, Amen: Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, [be] to our God for ever and ever. Amen. 7:13 And one of the elders spoke, saying to me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and where did they come from? 7:14 And I said to him, Sir, you know. And he said to me, These are they who came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 7:15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he that sits on the throne shall dwell among them. 7:16 They shall hunger no more neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 7:17 For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and lead them to living fountains of water; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
 
 
THE FULFILLMENT OF THE SIX SEALS
 
 
Horsemen: The first four symbols are connected by using the same symbol. In the total scheme of all the symbols, this style — making the first four in each group of seven to be connected — continues in the trumpets and bowls. In the first of the four trumpets, blows strike,
 
(1) one third of the land and vegetation;
 
(2) one third of the sea and shipping;
 
(3) one third of rivers and fountains;
 
(4) one third of sources of light, sun, moon and stars.
 
Under the figures of plagues, the first four vials or bowls are likewise blows against land, sea, rivers, and the sun. In the fulfillment of these figures there would naturally be a relation of the first four symbols historically, with the possibility of some overlapping in the fulfillment. Remember then, the design of the book is that the first four symbols in each group are interrelated.
 
What to look for:
 
1. White: is a symbol of something good, the bow and crown of armored authority, and expansion of territory in conquest. So the first period of time after Domitian should be characterized historically as an unusually “good” (righteous) period associated with conquest and expansion. When we look in a secular history book the period just following Domitian should say, “something good.”
 
 
2. Red: is a symbol of blood, war, fire, not of “good.” Take peace from the earth indicates a total disorder. Kill one another indicates internal war, not killing the enemy, it is a figure of civil war. A great sword indicates a lot of dying in battle. So the second period of time should be characterized historically by breakdown of society, a great deal of armed conflict with many killed in civil disorders and not because of invasion of outsiders. This must follow a period of peace and “good” and expansion.
 
 
3. Black: is a symbol of darkness and despair. The scales and high prices and instructions not to waste suggest need for care because of shortages. The third period following hard on the civil disorder should be a period of famine and associated hardships. “Hard times” is the key note.
 
4. Pale: is a symbol of sickliness. The symbols associate closely with death, the abode of the dead (hades) as epitomizing history in the period. Twenty five percent, or the fourth part of the earth, are to die from
 
(1) sword;
(2) famine;
(3) disease;
(4) wild animals.
 
So the fourth period following the previous (and probably overlapping, as death and famine are part of both) should be a period characterized by depopulation of the earth due to war, famine, disease, and wild animals.
 
5. Saints under the altar: refers to the dead in Christ awaiting judgment day. These have been killed because of their faith and testimony. They want to know how long before God takes vengeance indicating the day of vengeance on the persecutors. “Rest a little season until,” should indicate a short interval following the last horse’s period. “The time that your brothers should be killed;” when this is fulfilled it will be a period of further persecution for a short but intense period when history is epitomized by that persecution.
 
 
So, following the four horsemen
 
(1) peace and good,
(2) civil war,
(3) famine,
(4) depopulation,
 
there should follow a period that is characterized by persecution. In the vision, the persecution has been going on previously, persecution in which Christians have been dying, but this last will be a climax and completion of the persecution. Many Christians will die but after a little season the persecution stops. History is to look like this in the future from John’s view.
 
 
6. A great earthquake: equals complete shakeup of those things counted secure: government, religion, social order, ethics, economy; all shaken. The sun and moon are symbols of authority in human governments, the emperor, etc. The stars represent spiritual powers just as astrological charts indicate. The gods of paganism were associated with planets and stars. Heaven departing indicates the removal of spiritual powers or ethical inhibitors.
 
No guidance from above! Mountains and islands are symbols of nations and governments. These being moved out of their places is a symbol of turnover of government, continuing the symbol of a great earthquake, that characterizes this period. The following verses (15-17) make it plain that the whole upheaval is identified with Jesus Christ and it is a day of reckoning for the enemies of the cross of Christ. It is a day that will cause his enemies to hide, disappear, flee away, and he will take vengeance.
 
 
So following the period of persecution, world history should be characterized by the world being turned upside down, the disappearance of pagan powers, while Christian ethics take their place. Government will be likewise reorganized and shaken violently at the end of which Christianity will be in a good position, as the next symbol makes clear.
 
 
The Interval of Chapter Seven.
 
 
All of chapter seven speaks of conversion. 144,000 of the nation of the Jews and then a great multitude out of every nation and language, beyond number, are brought to worship God and Christ. (Vs. 9) Verses 14 and 15 contain a description of conversion that is symbolic of the changes that most born again believers associate with their own experience. What is characterized in the whole of chapter seven is a great ingathering or gospel harvest that follows the revolutionary period just previous to it.
 
 
So the interval is a period of evangelism and expansion of the Christian gospel that should epitomize that historical period. Any one knowing the history of the world from the time of Domitian through the next few centuries will be struck with the incredible coincidence of the outline of the seer of Patmos with what actually happened.
 
 
7: Opening the Seventh Seal
 
 
Let the Winds blow: At the commencement of the Interlude of sealing the servants of God an angel is instructed to “Hold back the four winds until the sealing is over. Thus after the ingathering of souls, the Seventh seal will be associated with events that will look like the destructive action of blowing winds associated with the first of the Trumpets. A map of the next 100 yearas after The triumph of the Christian Cburch should look like blowing winds.
Also as noted in the fist chapter of this book The seventh seal IS the Seven Trumpets.
 
Confirming that the trumpets can not be concurrent with the Seals. They are designed to be in sequence. Let us note the following Maps. The first shows the Roman Empire in 395 at the end of the 60 or so years described as the Triumph of Christianity. Notice how the Empire is still in a very neat condition.
 
 
Please click to see the map and click the back button to return to this page map
 
This next map shows the the next 100 year beginning in 410, Beginning fifteen years after the last map.
Please click to see the map and click the back button to return to this page. map
Review
 
Let us review one more time. The historical periods following the time of Domitian should follow:
1. Something good.
2. Civil disorder, many die.
3. Hard times.
4. Depopulation by twenty five percent.
5. Persecution.
6. Revolution of religious as well as political life.
7. Interval of ingathering or expansion of Christian gospel.
8. Let the Winds Blow
Historical Fulfillment
1. The period immediately following Domitian introduces a century of peace called the Pax Romana or translated the Peace of Rome. The emperors of the period are known in history books as the “Five Good Emperors.” Marcus Aurelius was a philosopher whose doctrines approached the ethics of Christianity. The name of emperor Antoninus Pius indicates his inclinations. This period, from 98 to 180 is also characterized by the additions of large border regions to the empire and expansion to the greatest limits ever. If God wanted to picture the period he could not have chosen a better symbol than a white horse and conquest.
 
 
2. History texts call the period from 180 to 280 the period of disorder. Eighty emperors ruled in a space of ninety years and most of them met death by violence. The post of emperor was actually bought and sold at public auction. The empire was ravaged by civil war for most of the period. Every few months a new soldier of fortune would make a claim on the title and march on Rome from distant as well as more local locations, fighting, pillaging, and burning as they approached a war weary city. The depletion of stocks, burning of countryside, disruption of markets, and farms denuded of crops took their toll and the next two figures overlap the end of this period.
 
 
3. The devastation of the wars of the previous period brought the empire the worst of famines and shortages. This period overlaps the end of the last.
 
 
4. The consequences of the preceding wars and famines created a climate for the depopulation of the earth that historians tell us characterized this period. Due to the depopulation, wild animals increased in formerly civilized areas and death from them was common enough to be placed in the histories. An outbreak of the black plague (bubonic plague) is recorded at this time. The figures of death due to sword, famine, disease, and wild animals is a perfect description of the period, which, with the last, overlaps and extends as a result of the wars to the early 300s when they were cause for what followed. The Christians were blamed!
 
 
5. From 300 to 313, “a little season,” the history of the Roman empire is characterized by persecution. It is the last and most severe of the ten great persecutions against the Christian religion which were authorized by the emperors of Rome. Many thousands died, many church buildings and Bibles went to the flames. Every elder, (bishop) was arrested and killed and all other Christian leaders went into hiding or suffered death in the arenas publicly, as sport for the spectators. Diocletian resigned midway and his successor and son-in-law carried on the extremities. He it was who issued the edict of persecution. He would later admit defeat and would issue the edict of toleration which ended the OFFICIAL persecution on a world scale forever. Christians have never faced death on such a scale since. Historians all epitomize this historical period as an epoch of persecution.
 
 
6. Following the end of the persecution, Constantine the Great left York in Britain and marched against Galerius and his successors. His conquests and subsequent emperorship are characterized by turning the imperial system of Rome upside down. Rather than merely tolerating Christianity, he issued in 325 the Edict of Milan, which made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. The pagan temples were closed and they were given to Christian churches; the pagan gods were swept away, not only from their pedestals but from peoples’ hearts.
 
 
The figures of the stars falling and heaven being rolled up could not better describe the disappearance of the old religious and ethical order and the taking of its place by the Christian religion. Imagine being paid to become a Christian when only four or five years ago your family was being torn by lions for the same faith!
 
New government took the place of the old order; the church would play a large part in the affairs of state; and the capitol would be moved from Rome to Constantinople. There could not possibly be a better set of figures to epitomize this great, eventful period than mountains and islands moving, a great earthquake and the day of Jesus Christ’s vengeance, and the shaking and disappearance of secure heavenly powers in favor of Jesus! There is much more to say about the fulfillment of these figures and while this is necessarily an outline it is extraordinary in its completeness and simplicity.
 
 
7. The period of history that follows this sequence in any history book is always characterized by the expansion of the Christian religion. The interlude of chapter seven predicts that the history of the period would be characterized in this way. The chapter headings in text books on world history that one finds after the discussions of Constantine, and the consequences to the sweeping changes wrought by him are: The Triumph of Christianity, or The Rise of the Church, or The Expansion of Christianity, or The Rise of the Christian Church. With the end of persecution and the support of the empire, Christianity became the most popular life style world wide and grew to undreamed of proportions. The difficulties that resulted from that triumphal expansion is not what is noticed here but rather that the association of the figure, of ingathering of souls, with what historians say actually happened in the world, is too accurate to be mere coincidence.
 
 
The History in a Secular Outline
 
 
It may be valuable to go over this outline one more time using Barnes and Noble’s College Outline.* This is a book that was written for review for College students who want a quick review of the course of study. We begin at the year 96. I will supply the scriptural symbols and let the book outline the periods.
 
* Rickard, J.A., and Hyma, Albert; Ancient, Medieval, and Modern History; Published by Barnes & Noble, Inc. 1962. The material here is quoted in gleanings from pgs. 62 to 66
1. The White Horse is the good period. College Outline follows:
“Nerva (96-98). Nerva was the first of the so called “five good emperors.”
 
As a member of the senate he increased the importance of that body. (5) Trajan (98-117). This war-like ruler subdued Dacia and established a Roman colony there. He also conquered Arabia, Armenia, and Parthia, and made these regions into Roman provinces. (6) Hadrian (117-138). This emperor gave up some of Trajan’s conquests, built a wall across Britain, and established a federal civil service system. He also reorganized the army by introducing morals and discipline, extended citizenship to many provincials, and encouraged learning. (7) Antoninus Pius (138-161). He improved the lot of the slave and adopted the principle that a man is innocent until proved guilty. He neglected the defence of the frontier. (8) Marcus Aurelius (161-180). He was a stoic philosopher and writer.
 
While his Meditations approach Christianity in spirit, yet he persecuted Christians. He died while defending the frontier against barbarians.”
 
Could this period be better epitomized than by the symbol of something good, and conquering and to conquer?
 
2. The Red Horse, when they kill each other with a great sword.
 
“So low had Rome sunk that Julianus bought the throne at public auction… Eighty emperors occupied the throne within a period of ninety years, and most of them met death by violence.”
 
Thus the period of the next ninety years from 180-270 was a period of civil war, disorders and disruption, just as the symbol states.
 
 
3. The Black Horse or hard times.
 
It would be difficult not to predict hard times following ninety years of civil war. This and the next symbol actually overlaps the time of the Red Horse and continues on.
 
Thus in Barnes and Noble for this overlapping
period: “Lacking money the government paid soldiers in land, and received taxes in grain… the army through force put incompetent rulers in power… Wasteful methods of villa farming led to decreased productiveness.”
 
 
4. The Pale Horse with Death
 
 as the rider and the symbols of a twenty five per cent loss of population due to war, disease, wild animals and famine. This period overlaps the last as would be obvious. Barnes and Noble say:
 
“The Decline of Population. Increased luxury produced a lower birth rate, while higher cost of living made for smaller families. The Asiatic Plague also caused the death of many.” and on the next page: “War, slavery, plague, and unprofitable living conditions also caused a decline in population.”
 
This absolutely incredible coincidence between the history and the symbols continues in Barnes and Noble to about 300 A.D.
 
5. Saints Under the Altar.
 
This can hardly be missed as predicting a final persecution after a series of the same. This persecution started right on time from about 300 to 313. Barnes and Nobel describe Diocletian:
 
“The Work of Diocletian. Diocletian made Rome into an undisguised Oriental monarchy. He… assumed the role of a god-king… Finally, he engaged in the last and bitterest persecution of the Christians in Roman history.”
 
 
The coincidence continues
 
. 6. The Earthquake, Islands, Mountains Moving and Day of Jesus’ Wrath.
 
This symbol of disruption and revolution follows the last of Persecution. Barnes and Noble describe this next period:
 
“Diocletian’s…period…was ended by the triumph of Constantine. This Emperor (323-337) is chiefly important for two acts: the recognition of Christianity as the state religion, and the removal of the capital to Constantinople… the period as a whole is a sad story of anarchy and confusion.”
 
Thus the six seals are paralleled in Barnes and Noble as they simply tell the story of the historical periods. The next period of the interlude of the seventh chapter indicates that what follows hard on this should be a multitude of people becoming Christians. They dip their garments in the blood of the Lamb!
 
 
The next chapter in Barnes and Noble that covers the period after Constantine from 325 to 460 is called:
 
“THE RISE OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH”
 
And it should be, because that is what the book of Revelation says should be next! This is quite an astounding review and should impress the most skeptical.
 
7th Seal
 
 Then after the interlude of ingatering We are to see “Let the Winds Blow. see the map 2 above as a reminder Click the back button to return to this page.
 
 
It might be possible to create one symbolic figure of an historical period and pick it out in history by mere accident. But if one says, as John did, that there will be periods of history, the first one to begin soon, the pattern of which will be identical to symbols that outline and epitomize briefly the events in the epochs to come, what would be the odds of getting eight out of eight right on the money?
 
 
The rest of the book of Revelation’s symbols can be paralleled right up to the present, and an attempt can even be made of predicting the near future based on what has been gleaned. It would at least be more meaningful than a mere guess, to base your predictions on what has gone before, and then use the similar symbols to project the future.
 
In the light of these prophecies, anyone who would believe in some other God appears ignorant in the presence of the God of history who pre-wrote the outline in the book of Revelation.
 
 
Also in this light, if men would put aside this remarkable historical coincidence so they could follow some remote theory or obscure method of interpreting Revelation, we would look in wonder at what has to be unbelief in the proper intentions of the God who wrote the book of prewritten history.
 
Perhaps they are ignorant through neglect, which is excusable if study would banish the ignorance. We cannot accuse the Futurists, who make great efforts to project their position, of neglect nor indecision, but we speak of others of who cloud the air with their uncertainty.
 
To write a book and have nothing to say is not excusable, although it may mask a poor claim to scholarship, because little effort is needed to take a position of no posture, or give an indefinite application to these wonderful symbols.
 
 It takes significantly more time, thought, study, and application, to arrive at definite conclusions of what is the Truth; while it takes little or none to be a skeptic, or simply to be indefinite.
 
 
In other words, while any one can read the book, and anyone can print the book, and anyone can make unmeaningful comments on the book in the name of caution, it takes a bit more effort to show its design and tell what it means.
 
 
If you are moved to faith in this God and his book, I recommend that you obey him. You begin that obedience by placing faith, or trust, in Jesus Christ; the first act of faith is your submission to baptism, an immersion in water, into his life-giving death to effect your resurrection. This first act of obedience as the start of a life of obedience is a part of every truly repentant believer’s Christian experience.


The Woman in the Wilderness – The Church of All Ages



The Church of All Ages

Revelation 12

 

1. And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
Woman with Child: There can be little doubt that the woman described here is Zion, the mother of us all, described in Isaiah 66.
 
 
3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. 5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
 
 
The Dragon Beast is identified in verse 9 below as Satan himself. But he is garbed in the figure of the Roman Empire. This figure is explained in Chapter 13 in detail where it is seen to be based on the fourth beast of the seventh chapter of Daniel and is almost universally seen to be fulfilled in the Roman Empire.
 
 
Here Satan appears in the Garb of the Roman Empire. He appears again in history in the form of the Dragon Beast again after the demise of the Roman Empire, in the historical attempts to restore godless secular pagan government: He is mentioned in this way in Chapter 11:7 where he appears as the godless secular paganism of the French Revolution and again as the political power in the atheistic pagan Soviet Union. He is pictured at the Dragon Beast in the Soviet Union in Revelation 16. Read the comments on Armageddon.
 
 
The Man Child: The picture here is of the Messiah being born from a Jewish Mother and the history of the persecution of the Messiah by the Roman Empire is easy to see but after struggling with Satan He obtained Divine protection at the throne of the Almighty where he can no longer be reached by Satan. But more on the struggle with Satan before he was “caught up” below
 
 
6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and sixty days.
 
 
1260 Days or 3 and 1/2 lunar years which contain 42 months: This period: This figure is one of several that describe the same period of time and events that synchronize during this period of time. It is elaborated on below in verse 14 where the same period is called “time times and half a time.” see 14 below
 
 
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
 
 
Satan not Found anymore in Heaven This verse describes the Spiritual warfare which resulted in the casting out of Satan from the presence of God’s throne to a limited realm in the physical universe. He could not walk any longer in the presence of God as he did in the patriarchal dispensation as described in the Book of Job. There he assumes the role given to him in verse 10 below as the “accuser of our brethren.” The war and its results and when it took place in relationship to earth time is described below.
 
 
 
 
Cast out: Where he was cast out from is described in the verse above. He is cast out of heaven but into the earth. He was not cast out of earth in this war mentioned here. On the contrary earth (the physical universe) is now the limit of his province and he is called the Prince of demons in Mt 9:34; and 12:24 and in Mk. 3:22. He is still the Prince of the Power of the Air (Eph 2:2) and John record’s Jesus’ words calling him the Prince of this world three times in Jo. 14:30 and 16:11 and in the verse below.
 
John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
It is this verse which marks the point in “time” when Satan was cast out of heaven. Jesus said that his death on the cross would be the event that would cause the casting out of Satan. Since that time Satan can not appear before God as the “accuser of our brethren” or in any other way. The next verse gives it more plainly.
 
 
10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
 
 
Accuser of our brethren is cast down The comments in the verse above quote the verse that marks the terminal point in the conflict in heaven. The final battle is fought in the earth and is still raging. Salvation and the Kingdom come as a result of the Cross to the earth to those who accept the covenant.
 
Verse 11 makes it very clear how we in the earth overcome in the battle which is still raging here. We overcome by the blood of Jesus and by the word of our own testimony and we certainly do not love our own earthly lives in relation to that which is promised. If physical death is necessary let it come.
 
 
12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
 
 
A Short time: The cross of Christ is the point at which Satan was cast out of heaven and he now rages because his time is short. He is to have a temporal end.
 
 
13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
 
 
He persecuted the woman: There are many levels of persecution which the Remnant Church has endured including 300 years of actually being put to death at the hand of Roman rulers followed by the adoption of the false religion of the Papal system which persecuted the true believers for many centuries.
 
 
It is that period: The period when the true church was obscured in history and the false Papal System pretended to be the church, fusing the secular and false spiritual power in one system for the period that comprises the 1260 days. Another symbol of this period is given in the next verse.
 
 
 
 
The woman was given two wings of a great eagle: The woman who is the Church, the continuing Zion of God, the Remnant Church of all ages, then fled before the persecution into the wilderness of obscurity.
 
 
Here the period is called “time times and 1/2 time” which identifies this figure as the same period of 1260 days in verse 6 above. The figure in this verse was given first in Daniel 7 and 12. Here it is plain that “time times and a half” is also 1260 day/years. See the explanation of this period in Daniel 12. Also see the synchronizing of all the figures of the same period (1260 days, 42 months, and 3 and 1/2 years) in the chapter that deals with these numbers.
 
 
15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
 
 
The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed The continuation is confirmed here of the same spiritual battle which was waged in heaven and on that field was won by the greatest event of history on earth at Mount Calvary. This battle will continue to rage on through the centuries and not be complete until well after Armageddon. But it will be won by individuals in the manner described in verse 11:
 
 
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
The next chapter of Revelation, Chapter 13, describes in detail the beast with 7 heads and 10 horns and how Satan used it, and its two other entities. against the woman (the church) in history. Only a small remnant of that beast, a shadow of former power, remains at this time in history but its end is very near.

 

Revelation 13 The Little Horn of Daniel Chapter 7

THE LITTLE HORN AND 666

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.

 let 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.”

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 will


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.

“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.


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 readinghis 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.

Irenaeus
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

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

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.

Scolia
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

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.

The Plan and Design of the Revelation of Jesus! Part 1

 

The following book which I will post one chapter at a time has helped me to no end to understand Gods plan in the last days.

The Plan and Design of Revelation

All works by Fred P Miller Copyright 1999. All rights reserved
This Commentary is for sale in hard cover. Description and review here.

  The view taken here:
 

There are many schemes of interpretation of the Book of Revelation but only three can be thought of as major methods. The position taken in this book is that most of the symbols in Revelation have been fulfilled as historical epochs through which the Church has lived and survived. There is therefore in this book a parallel historical event linked to the symbols of Revelation. This is called the Historical Method.
 
The writer believes this to be the one and only correct method of interpreting the book and gives valid reasons why other methods are not in harmony with the purpose of the Holy Spirit in the design and plan of the book..
 
This book is available for you to study at will. Please ask permission before copying for reproducion in multiples. A hard cover version is available of these files. If you would like a copy for your library it can be bought for 50% less than the cover price. The same is true for the commentary on Zechariah. A paper bound book is available of these files A course of study with 21 lessons is also available.
  

Chapter 1.
The Plan and Design of Revelation
 
 
This book should be read from the first page to the last to get the most out of it. Since it is a book based on historical fulfillment, it is essential to follow the historical development.
 
 
 The Book of Revelation is also a book whose understanding is cumulative, that is, when you learn something it is possible to build more on the base. Some things, however, will not be understood if the foundation for them has not been laid.
 
 
We recommend therefore that you read from the beginning to the end for the greatest benefit.
 
 
Commentaries are not often read from beginning to end, and the scholar may want to pick and choose. Often someone will pick up a book on Revelation only to see what method is being followed.
 
 
If it is not the one to which he has already been exposed, he may put it aside as a book that he does not agree with, and thereby miss a great blessing.
 
 
On the other hand, we have read many books on Revelation, and, surprisingly, there is a blessing for the one reading, when the purpose of the writer is to unlock the mystery of the will of God, even when his system is not clearly discernable.
 
 
However, we are not setting forth with an uncertain tiller or a wobbly compass. Not that this author has special endowments, but rather, this book is based on a line of interpreters stretching over many generations.
 
 
These former voyagers over the centuries have assessed their past, charted their position, and pointed the way forward. By them, the direction that we are taking is clearly marked and the destination is well in view.
 
 
We have a vision of the truths that are in the Book of Revelation –they will be clearly unfolded. We invite you to start the voyage and stay with it until the mists have rolled away.
 
 
Study in history and in the Book of Revelation led me to what I had thought were some startling conclusions which were made public as early as 1966.
 
 
Those conclusions caused me to make some predictions that within a short span of time, about 35 to 50 years, Russia would undergo changes that would transform her anti-Christian perspective to one of, at the least, not being an enemy of the Christian religion. At that time that did not look possible in the near future.
 
 
At that point I saw a revival of the Christian faith coming into Russia, centered in a movement in the Ukraine that would engulf Russia and spread from there to the nations. This prediction, made publicly in 1966 for the first time, has been expressed numerous times in seminars in the USA and England.
 
 
The scriptural, prophetic and historical basis behind that prediction, and the fallout of thought derived from this is part of the subject of this book.
 
 
Some political predictions that were made at that time have been borne out or are in the process of coming to pass. One major projection was that there would be an end to nationalism in Europe.
 
 
More startling in that time frame (1966) was the prediction that Ethiopia would become an openly hostile Marxist state and that Iran would join the Soviets in anti-western influence. This was impossible to foresee under the Shah, and some of my early listeners asked in disbelief, “How could that happen when Iran is so pro-USA?”
 
 
A similar anti-West stance was forecast for Libya but at that time, admittedly, I was not sure whether Libya should be considered as the present state or black Africa as the classical historians used the name.
 
 
The Second Coming of Christ is not Imminent
 
 
Another startling conclusion that I came to in that period was that the second coming of Christ was not imminent. This was based on the conclusions from prophecy that these above-mentioned events needed to unfold before the plan of God was complete.
 
 
Those who predicted the return of the Lord at any moment had not the foggiest notion of the times and seasons that the apostle Paul spoke about in Thessalonians. I have not predicted the time of the second coming; I have said as did Paul that that day will not come until certain events happen.
 
 
 It was my conclusion, from 1966 onward, that one, but not the only, event which must happen in our lifetime is that Russia must cease to be an enemy of the church of Christ before the way can be clear for the second coming.
 
 
There are other historical events as well but the overthrow of Russian, official, anti-Christian activity is to be cataclysmic, either physically (a great disaster) or spiritually (a great revival).
 
 
The second coming of Christ is after that event which will take place in historical time. Perhaps His coming may be sooner than I think (at least 300 or so years) but no sooner than the events that are predicted and outlined in this book come to pass.
 
 
In some evangelical circles the concept of the imminent return is something sacred, and to express the belief in a non-imminent return is just short of heretical. Significantly, the section of this book which deals with what the church fathers of the first three to five centuries said about the second coming indicates that they did not think it imminent in their time.
 
 
Their major premise was that the Roman Empire had to pass away before the second coming of Christ. They were correct in reading the future on both counts, i.e. the Roman Empire, thought to be eternal, would pass the way of all flesh, and the second coming was after that event, as well as after the disappearance of the last vestige of Roman authority seized by the predicted entity who would seize the power of God and man.
 
 
What power, still existing but in greatly reduced influence, entered the vacuum of authority left by the fallen Roman Empire and seized the power of both God and men for well over 1000 years, is apparent for all to see. It, too, must pass before the second coming of Christ.
 
 
This book presents the proposition that there will be an historical period without the presence of the Papal system before the great day comes.
 
 
There are a great number of commentaries on the book of Revelation. More than enough to keep a student occupied for many days exploring the different schemes of interpretation. For this reason I have hesitated for many years to write a book on Revelation since so many others have done so.
 
 
 I have been urged by many to do so but my reply has been that almost all I would write has already been written by authors who have been recognized as established scholars.
However, I have gleaned some insight that is unique to my own study and not in print anywhere else.
 
 
Those portions are the justification for writing this book. The most important contribution that I have to make is to be found in the exposition of the pouring out of the seven bowls of wrath in chapter nine of this book.
 
That is probably the most important chapter in this book as it contains the most faith building material. The chapter collates a number of writers through the centuries and notices what they saw in the immediate and distant future concerning world events. Their collective insight is little less than incredible.
 
 
The chapter also contains my own attempts in seeing, in outline form, the next one hundred years of world history. That chapter is the highlight of this book.
 
 
There is a second portion that deserves mention as worthwhile found in chapter two of this book. The exposition of Daniel chapters two and seven and Revelation thirteen deserves to be read.
 
 
 The chapter contains quotations from a number of Ante-Nicene Fathers relating to what they thought the future would be, based on Daniel’s and John’s prophecies. Some unique thinking that may add to the collective thought of believers through the centuries is to be found there.
 
 
 
Thirdly, in the appendix, the essay on the “2300 Day” prophecy in the eighth chapter of Daniel contains what surely is the proper exposition of that chapter. I have not seen it in print in any of the most eminent commentaries.
 
 
If it is not the unique solution to that prophecy, it so clearly and accurately opens the prophecy that it deserves a place in accessible Christian literature. In the appendix you will also find an exposition of the ninth chapter of Daniel. The conclusion there is unusually valuable.
 
 
Because of the great number of different commentaries on Revelation that have been written, it has seemed to me a little presumptuous to add another one. However, as explained already, there are a few things that are unique to my own insight and these form the justification for writing. But it does not seem wise to write a complete commentary or explanation of every relevant item.
 
 
Just enough has been written to establish credibility in the areas where we can refer to other more complete and extensive works. I would recommend that they be read. Recommended works are noted in the text and a bibliography appears at the end of this document for that purpose.*
 
*Foremost among the many historical interpreters to be recommended is Albert Barnes, Barnes Notes on The New Testament, usually available from Christian book stalls. His style is not surpassed. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, publishes Barnes Notes on Revelation in a single volume.
The Time of the Publication of Revelation
 
 
Victorinus of Petau, one of the Ante-Nicene fathers, (he was martyred in the persecution under Diocletian) also made a commentary on the book of Revelation in the late third century. He held the view that the thirteenth chapter of Revelation pictures Rome as the first beast.
 
 
He mistakenly ascribes the seven heads to emperors living just before and at the time of John’s writing. This “mistake” is helpful in dating the book. His comment on Rev 17:10:
“The time must be understood in which the Apocalypse was published, since then reigned Caesar Domitian; …One remains under whom the Apocalypse was written — Domitian, to wit.”
There is no reason to suspect Victorinus of an historical mistake! Living as close as he did to the period and his life overlapping those of others who commented on the Revelation just before him, assures us that this date is correct. This understanding is attributed to earlier writers who handed it down to Victorinus.
“Dionysius Barsalibi states that Hippolytus, like Irenaeus, holds the Apocalypse to have been written by John the Evangelist under Domitian. (Gwynn; Hermathena vii. p. 137)”
(Lightfoot, J.B. ed.; Apostolic Fathers; Pub: Hendrickson, 1989. vol. 1, pg. 394.)
Eusebius is known as the Father of Church History. He was contemporary with Constantine. In his work, he quotes Irenaeus’ Book V where Irenaeus was speaking of the Book of Revelation. Irenaeus, born about 135, overlaps the lives of those who would have seen the apostle John. In the following quotation Irenaeus is speaking of the relatively recent time of the writing of Revelation. He says:
“For it was not seen a long time back, but almost in my own lifetime, at the end of Domitian’s reign.”
(Eusebius Book V, 8:9)
Irenaeus was born barely thirty five years after Domitian and the publishing of Revelation. Hippolytus wrote about the year 200 A.D. and was a pupil of Irenaeus.* Lightfoot’s discussion of the date includes the fact that Polycarp, the martyred disciple of the Apostle John, was intimate with Irenaeus.
The source of Irenaeus’ information on the writing of Revelation is obvious. There is, therefore, a direct line of actual teacher-disciple relationship among these men, direct from the Apostle John with only one person between John and Irenaeus. Those who insist on an earlier date must reject this, the only documentary evidence there is, in place of their own speculation and opinion.
* See Lightfoot; Apostolic Fathers Part One; Clement, Vol. 2, pg. 383.
There is no reason to doubt the authorship of Revelation and the time of its publication in the reign of Domitian. Domitian was killed in the year 96.
 
 
The Historical Method of Interpretation Is Followed
Of the variety of methods of interpretation there are three into which most commentaries on Revelation can be classified.
 
 Finding the right one of these to proceed with requires some prerequisites — the most important of which is a belief in the inspiration by God through John of the prophetic material and faith in the integrity of the book, that is, that it was written about 96 A.D. and describes a vision the prophet actually saw.
 
 
There are only three schemes of interpretation that deserve attention. One scheme deserves attention only because it won’t go away but ought to: that is the preterist view.
 
 
Any scheme of interpretation that does not see the book as predicting things that are future from the time of Emperor Domitian is not in harmony with the internal intention of the writer of Revelation and should on that account be discarded.
 
 
This historical method of interpreting Revelation was followed by most scholars until fairly recently. The currently popular doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture only gained this position within the last 150 years.
 
 
 It arose amidst a fervor of hope regarding the return of Jews to Palestine. The Zionists have actually recognized this as a positive force among Protestants toward their aims and an assistance to the establishment of the present state of Israel. In a semi-official Israeli history of Zionism this doctrine is recognized and described
.
“Among Protestants… the belief that Jews should return to the Holy Land, in accordance with biblical prophecies, became popular among pietistic Protestants… It was based on the millenarian concept which held, on the basis of a literal interpretation of apocalyptic prophecies, that the second coming of Jesus was at hand and that he would rule from Jerusalem for 1,000 years (the millennium).
The millenarians not only anticipated the return of the Jews to their land but also their conversion to Christianity as important conditions and “signs of the times” prior to the second coming.
“[Proponents of these ideas] requested heads of state to take political measures in order to obtain rights for the Jews to settle in the Holy Land. Their activity remained without any practical results until the nineteenth century…when essential changes took place in the… motivation of Christians who supported the return of the Jews to the Holy Land.
Some of the new sects which arose placed this belief at the center of their theology as the fulfillment of the escatological prophecies which would bring on the end of days and the millennium. In 1830 the Plymouth Brethren were founded in England by John N. Darby (1800-82)* whose doctrine of dispensationalist premillenialism asserted that all the biblical prophecies relate to the return of the Jewish people to its homeland prior to the Advent.

Before the second coming the Jews and all the other nations will be judged during a period of tribulation, after which Jesus and the Jewish remnant will rule over all the nations from Jerusalem. Many Protestant Fundamentalist churches adopted this outlook and continue to promote it to this day.”
*Emphasis mine.
** Kressel, Getzel (and at least nineteen other contributing writers); Zionism; Keter Publs., Jerusalem, Israel, 1973. pg. 232

 
It goes without saying that Zionists look kindly upon this doctrine among Protestants. Premillenial doctrine (predicting only the last seven years of this age’s history) has become so popular that Christians are currently unaware that a different means of interpreting Revelation was most popular for most of the centuries of the Christian age.
 
 
The historical method of interpreting Revelation was the only method known to interpreters for centuries! The transition, which also gave rise to indefiniteness as a convenient way of avoiding controversy, is described in a popular commentary published in 1910, in which the historical view’s age and influence is also rehearsed.
“The “Continuous Historical theory regards the book as giving a continuous history of the church from the first century to the end of the age. Among the leaders of this method of interpretation are Luther, Bengel, Isaac Newton, Elliott, Alford, Barnes, Grattan, Guiness. From the thirteenth century until recently this theory has had almost universal sway.”
Eaches, O.P.; Clarks’ People’s Commentary, Revelation; Philadephia, 1910. pg. xxvi.
Today, however, the historical view is a minority view due mainly to the popularity of premillenialism but also to lack of definiteness. Illustrating this transition, this above mentioned commentary is filled with pious platitudes as though the book of Revelation was a kind of visionary book of Proverbs instead of a book of prophecies of future events, which it claims to be.
 
 
A Book Predicting Future Events
 
 
The book opens with the words that it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to him relating to “things which must shortly come to pass.” Whatever else one sees in those words they mean that much of what follows must be of events in the future of the time that John heard and saw the revelatory symbols.
 
 
 Some think that it may mean that all the events predicted by the symbols in the book will be fulfilled in a short period of time. The most popular scheme applies most of the events to the last seven years of the history of this age. Another view (to which I adhere) is that the symbols in Revelation are shortly (after the book was written) to begin to be fulfilled.
 
That is that the symbolism is sequentially fulfilled beginning with the first seal being opened in chapter six. This first seal represents the period of history just after John wrote, and each symbol follows on the heels of the last, or overlaps the last, as an epoch of history. The first of the sequence is to shortly begin to come to pass — not come to pass in a short time, but to begin shortly — and then follow to picture all of history from that event to the end of that which God has in mind.
 
 
Any scheme that implies that John is speaking in a kind of code language about events that are purely contemporary to him, or just before his time, is against the intent of the book and should not be regarded with the same respect due to a believer. If academic respect is due to such a scheme, then it is only due to an unbelieving system in what the book itself says of itself.
 
 
For instance John is told in Chapter one verse nineteen to write the things that he has already seen, and the things that are, and the things that shall be hereafter. Obviously some of the material is past, some contemporary, and some is to be future. Again we see that any attempt to interpret the book which rejects the predictory nature of the book from John’s time is not in harmony with the scheme of the book.
 
 
Chapter 1:19 is the outline of the book.
 
That is: 1. what you have seen — the recent past;
 
2. the things that are — the present;
 
3. the things which must be hereafter — the future.
 
In Rev 4:1 the author is addressed by an angelic voice which invites him to “come up here and I will show you things which must be hereafter.”
 
 
A reading of the first part of the book will show that the things past are the visions of chapter one while the “things that are” refer to the letters to the seven churches. where events describing what actually was happening in the churches at that time, are outlined.
 
Or perhaps what is described is the condition of the churches in any period. They are perpetually “the things that are.”
 
 
There can be little doubt that the writer of the book expects us to foresee the future through the symbols beginning with the opening of the book with seven seals. Those and what follows are “things that must be hereafter.”
 
That is, “hereafter” to John’s time, not necessarily ours.
The scheme of interpretation which accepts the above mentioned truths of inspiration and integrity must see the prophetic material in the book as predictory from the time of 96 A.D. If the scheme does not, it is not in harmony with the stated intent of the book itself.
 
 
The Historical or Historical Parallel View is Followed
One of the two systems of interpretation which the design of the book would allow is the historical view.
 
 
This view parallels events of history, beginning with the period shortly after Domitian, with the symbolic visions and then proceeds through history sequentially.
 
 
It then finds a sequential historical parallel for each of seven seals, followed by seven more symbols of seven trumpets, each predicting an epoch through which the church will live and remain triumphant, and following then to seven bowls of wrath, the end of which is the consummation of that which is predicted by the vision. I accept that this is the correct scheme of interpretation to the exclusion of others.
 
The Futurist View
 
The other system, which though rejected here, is, none the less, in harmony with this basic intent of the book. That is, that the visions are future from John’s time.
That system is unashamedly connected with the doctrine of the second advent called Pre-Millenialism. Generally the Futurist scheme sees none of the symbols fulfilled as yet and expects that all will be fulfilled in a short space of time (seven years) just before the second coming.
There are flaws in this system of interpretation based on clear mistakes* in Matthew 24; and Daniel 2, 7, and 9. These are treated in the text and in the appendix.

* We see this system as one that makes religious mistakes but as a system that attempts to honor Christ and is not in the same class as an unbelieving, or even an indefinite, system.
Sequential not Concurrent
The three groups of symbols (Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls) are to be interpreted sequentially. That is, they are to follow from the first to the last one after the other in time. The design of the book confirms this. The view that sees the symbols being fulfilled concurrently does not observe the scheme and design of the prophecy.
 
 
Schemes which see the book as cyclical, that is each age having its own interpretation for it, are in a similar category, as is the preterist view which interprets the book as though most of the material refers to the time of Nero and the persecutions which followed.
 
 
The concurrent scheme asserts that the three systems of seven periods, (seals, trumpets, and vials), are concurrent and thus all the “ones” are grouped together and determined to predict the same period in history, then all the “twos,” and so on.
 
That this is not the design is seen by noting that the concurrent scheme admits some sequence. That is, that two comes after one and five comes after four and six comes before seven. That seems simple enough but please follow this thinking to the conclusion. It means that the seventh seal is after the sixth (and those preceding) in time. And since (as we will show next) the seventh seal contains all of the seven trumpets, then all the trumpets must be after the first six seals in time.
 
 That is the design of the book.
See in Rev. 8:1, ff:
8:1 And when he had opened the seventh seal there was silence in heaven for about the space of half an hour.
Silence: probably because of the awe produced by what they saw in the seventh seal. And what did they see? They saw seven trumpets.
 
8:2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
 
The rest of chapter eight contains the sounding of the first four trumpets which predict calamities falling on earth, sea, rivers, and lights, on one third of the earth, in that sequence. Then a clue to the sequence is given.
 
8:13 And I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, Woe, Woe, to the inhabitors of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels that are yet to sound!
Trumpets five, six, and seven are therefore woe trumpets. Trumpets five and six are verified as such upon their conclusions. At the conclusion of the fifth trumpet:
 
9:12 The first woe is past, behold, There are two woes yet to come. 9:13 And the sixth angel sounded …
 
The end of the second woe (the sixth trumpet) comes at the close of the four figures of the religious interlude showing that they come to pass during the time and before the end of the sixth trumpet. In chapter eleven after the vision of the two witnesses and the great earthquake which happen at the same time, (“the same hour”) the second woe ends.
 
 
11:14 The second woe is past; behold, the third woe comes quickly. 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ and he shall reign for ever and ever.
 
 
The seventh trumpet is again called a woe trumpet or “the third woe.” But verse fifteen contains no woe, rather, great blessing, as does the rest of the description of the seventh trumpet except for a few words in the last sentence. These, however, are clues to where the woes of the seventh woe trumpet are to be found.
 
 
As the seventh seal contains the seven trumpets, and the trumpets must therefore be designed to follow after all the first six seals in time, then the design of the book continues, showing the seventh trumpet contains all of the seven bowls of woe.
 
 Therefore, as comprising the seventh trumpet, the seven bowls of woe must all be after the first six trumpets. They cannot therefore be considered as concurrent with them. The scheme of the book is to understand the symbols in sequence of order and of time.
 
To repeat, the first six seals are opened, followed by a religious interval, followed in time by opening the seventh seal which contains seven trumpets. The seventh seal is the seven trumpets! Then the first six trumpets are sounded. They close with the interval of the trumpets. The seventh trumpet is a woe trumpet.
 
 
The woes are found in chapter 16 under the bowls but according to the scheme of the book they are the seventh trumpet, and if not, then there is no third woe trumpet! Thus, to repeat again, in time, the first six seals are opened sequentially, i.e “after this I saw, etc.” and then the seventh seal is opened introducing seven trumpets, all of which are after the first six seals since they are in the seventh seal.
 
 
 Then six of the trumpets are sounded and the seventh follows (immediately) after the sixth. The seventh woe trumpet contains the seven woes. Therefore the bowls of woe can not be concurrent with the other families of symbols, i.e. seals and trumpets, because comprising the seventh trumpet they are after the first six trumpets.
I feel constrained as I labor this obvious point.
 
 
But it is necessary to repeat the obvious, because seeing the book out of sequence and the symbols as running concurrently is now, (but has not always been,) the most popular way of interpreting the book. Yet it is obviously not in harmony with the way the Author of the book designed it.
You will notice here that we are not saying what the symbols mean, but how the book is designed.
 
 
If you know nothing of the design and order (and there is design and order) of the book, how could you possibly interpret it? It is true! If you do not take into consideration the design and order of the book then you cannot have a proper beginning, development or conclusion to your scheme of interpretation.
 
 God Almighty designed the order of this book, and He warns you not to handle it improperly.
Why are the Woes in Chapter 16?
 
 
There is a separation of the Bowls from the Trumpets, which they must follow, by over four chapters.
 
 Why?
 
Answer: There is a new entity which has been introduced for the first time in the book in chapter eleven: the beast.
11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them and kill them.
 
 
No reference to this beast has been made in the book up to this place. Because the beast plays a very important part in the rest of the book and because all the bowls of woe are to be poured out on him or things related to him, he must therefore be identified.
 
 
Chapter 12 begins a new section showing the church under the symbol of the woman fleeing into the wilderness.
 
 
12:3 And there appeared another great wonder in heaven; and behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
 
 
The dragon is the devil but he is directing the power of a seven-headed, ten-horned beast. That beast is further identified in chapter thirteen as a threefold entity and great detail is given to his identity.
 
In chapters fourteen and fifteen it is made clear that the beast of chapter thirteen is to be visited with all of the last seven woes.
 
Therefore the reason that the Woes are separated in the book from the seventh trumpet, with which they synchronize, is to identify clearly the beast on whom all seven bowls are to be poured.
 
 Also chapters fourteen and fifteen are similar to chapters four and five in intent. They build up the reader to the importance and climax of what is coming in the bowls in chapter sixteen.
 
 
Chapters seventeen to nineteen are supplemental visions related to the seven last plagues in chapter sixteen. Chapter seventeen is a fuller description of the beast, primarily under the symbol of Babylon, but the threefold nature of the beast mentioned in the seventh bowl is more completely revealed.
 Chapter eighteen is completely given to the event of the fall of Babylon. The fall of Babylon is announced first in Rev. 14:8 as coming soon in the seven plagues. The time in the sequence of the fall of Babylon is given as being a part of the seventh bowl in Rev. 16:19.
Thus, chapter eighteen is a supplement, to be fitted into the outline of symbols at that point. Chapter nineteen has two visions, both of which fit into the scheme at the close of Armageddon. The first is the triumph and victory supper of the Lamb, and the other is the end of the beast and false prophet.
 These synchronize with Rev. 16:16 and Ezek. 39:17-21 and Rev. 20:9. Chapter twenty is a review of the panorama of the Gospel age.


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