The 'Beast' of the Third Angel's Message
What is the “Beast” of the third angel's message? Is it a single person? What clues are given in Revelation to identify the “beast”? Why is it important that I have an accurate understanding of the “beast” of the third angel's message?
The message of the third angel contains the most solemn warning in all the Bible, but it is a message of love from a compassionate God Who wants all to receive the truth and be saved. It contains a startling warning about a “beast” which has a “mark” which must be avoided at all costs. In this study and the next we will identify the “beast,” and discover that, contrary to the ideas of many, it does not represent a computer or a single individual, but it represents the kingdom of the historical papacy. There is danger now, just as there was in the days of Jesus of “excessive literalism.” These truths are encoded in symbols, and the Bible gives us the answers to identify these clues. Remember! This is talking about the “system” or “hierarchy” of the papacy. God loves Catholics! This is not about “Catholics,” but about “Catholicism.” He is calling all of His people out of “Babylon” and into His truth to prepare us to stand when Jesus comes back.
The “beast” of the third angel’s message is the “beast from the sea” brought to view in Revelation 13. We’ll look briefly at 6 identifying clues given in this chapter which will lead us to unmistakable conclusion that it is identifying the historical papacy. This “beast” came from the “sea.” In Bible prophecy, a “beast” represents a kingdom. “The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom.” Daniel 4:23. “Water” in symbolic prophecy represents people. “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are people, multitudes, nations, and tongues.” Revelation 17:15. The papacy developed in the populated area of western Europe.
1. This “beast” was given its power by the “dragon,” a symbol in Revelation representing Satan (Revelation 12:7), but also Satan working through pagan Rome. Revelation 12:4. History confirms that when the kingdom of civil Rome was falling, she left her capitol and moved to Constantinople, the vacancy being filled by the Church of Rome.
2. The “beast” would become a world-wide power. “They worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” Revelation 13:4. “Authority was given him over every tribe, tongue and nation.” Revelation 13:7. “All who dwell on earth will worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life.” Revelation 13:8. The papacy fulfills this specification.
3. The “beast” makes blasphemous claims of equality with God. “He opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.” Revelation 13:6. The papacy fulfills this specification. “We hold on this earth the place of God Almighty.” Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII, p. 304. According to Scripture, this is blasphemy. John 10:30, 31. The papacy claims the power to forgive sins, something only God can do. Luke 5:21. The papacy claims creative power in changing the host into the actual body of Christ, making herself the “creator” of the Creator!
4. The “beast” is a persecuting power. “It was granted to him to make war with the saints and top overcome them.” Revelation 13:7. History tells us of the martyrs who died for their faith during the middle ages, when Church and State power combined to oppress and persecute. Millions perished because they would not yield truth and conscience. By the rack, by the scaffold or by the flame these heroes sealed their testimony with their blood.
5. The “beast” would enjoy an uninterrupted reign of 1260 “days.” In symbolic prophecy, a “day” is equal to a literal year. Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 14:34. Thus this period refers to 1260 actual years and is the most often mentioned time prophecy in the Bible. Daniel 7:25; 12:7; Revelation 11:2, 3; 12:6, 14; 13:5. This was fulfilled in the papacy which assumed unrestrained power in 538 A.D. which continued through 1798 A.D., the French general Berthier, under orders from Napoleon taking Pope Pius VI captive that year. Many thought the papacy was finished. However, although prophecy had predicted a “deadly wound” (Revelation 13:3), it also predicted that this “deadly wound” would be healed. Remarkably, the papacy revived, and in 1929 was granted the 108 acres of the Vatican. It’s world-wide influence and impact today nearly approach the days when she reigned in the Middle Ages.
6. The “beast” has the mysterious number of “666.” This number is described as being the “number of his name.” Revelation 13:17, 18. One of the titles of the pontiff is “Vicarious Filii Dei,” which means “vicar of the Son of God.” Though she denies today that this is an “official title,” there is strong historical evidence to indicate that she indeed has used it. Moreover, the concept the title conveys is most certainly accurate as to their claims to equality with Christ. The sum of the Roman numeral values of this title adds up to 666.
V = 5 F = 0 D = 500
I = 1 I = 1 E = 0
C = 100 L = 50 I = 1
A = 0 I = 1 = 666
R = 0 I = 1
I = 1 = 53
O = 0
U = 5
S = 0
Number of Name 666
We can choose to worship the “beast” or the “Lamb,” Jesus Christ. Which will it be for you?