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The Grace of God - The Book of Revelation
Weeky 46, 2017
Now we come to Revelation 13:1-10. I will share comments after each part:
And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.
Of course, the dragon is the devil, and he stands at the edge of the sea until a beast comes up out of the sea. As we see in Isaiah 17 and later in this prophecy, the sea represents the multitudes—the peoples or nations. So this beast arises among the people. The heads, horns, and diadems speak of different kings and powers that came forth in this period.
And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.
These three beasts are all dangerous beasts of prey that kill their food and people. So this beast is especially associated with killing, and the devil gives it his power and authority.
I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast;
they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?"
As we have covered, the reformers believed that the “fatal head wound” came when Napoleon imprisoned the Pope, who claimed to be the head of the church. This was the greatest humiliation in history of the papacy that claimed to be “God on earth.” The Pope died in prison and Napoleon would not allow another Pope to be appointed. It seemed to the world that the papacy was dead. Several years later, Napoleon had a son that he wanted invested with the “divine right of kings,” so he allowed another Pope to be appointed. It seemed like the “fatal head wound” had been healed, and the papacy quickly regained its strength. This entire sequence of events got the whole world’s attention.
There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.
And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.
The Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy, as they explained in John 10:33: "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God." Here we see blasphemy defined as claiming to be God when you are not. The Pope not only claimed to be the head of the church, which is Christ’s rightful place, but over time the institution claimed virtually every title given to God and Christ in the Scriptures. It is easy to verify this in Catholic literature today.
It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.
All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.
If anyone has an ear, let him hear.
If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.
The ones declared “heretics” and killed during the persecution of the Middle Ages were mostly Christians who held to the belief that Jesus alone was the Head of the church. They had many other differences with Catholic doctrine, but this was the main one. This doctrine supplanted Christ Himself and was the fulfillment of the prophecy about the man of sin taking his seat in the temple of God—the church—declaring himself to be God. Protestant history sees those that were persecuted as the true saints and martyrs for the faith. During this time, they were killed by the millions in what is still the darkest period in history, which is why some refer to it as “The Dark Ages.”
This is an inconvenient and uncomfortable truth, but it is one we must address and derive the lessons given to us in Revelation so that the causes of such terrible evils can be recognized and overcome. However, many of the Protestant movements that grasped these things about the papacy used the knowledge arrogantly, assuming themselves to be better than the Roman church. Then many of the Protestant movements went on to do basically the same things the Catholics had done to those who would not submit to their views.
This portrayal of an apostate and harlot church is not just about one denomination, but about what we will all become without the grace of God. He gives His grace to the humble. It is a dangerous thing to point the finger at others, or think we are better than they are. The Lord did not give us Revelation so that we can point the finge
next week 47