1. What did John see in vision?
“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy,” Revelation 13:1.
2. What was the descriptive characteristic of this beast?
“And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion,” Revelation 13:2.
NOTE: We see that this beast partakes of all the characteristics of the four beasts of Daniel the seventh chapter, viz., the lion, bear, leopard, and the beast with ten horns, amalgamated into one beast. The lion having one head, the bear one, the leopard four, and the other beast one, making the seven heads, and the last beast was the only one with horns, and it had ten, making upon this beast the seven heads and ten horns. See lesson, The Four Beasts on another page.
3. From what source did this beast receive its power and authority?
“And the dragon gave him power, and his seat and great authority,” verse 2, last part.
NOTE: The dragon of the preceding chapter was the power that stood before the woman ready to devour her child as soon as it was born, and this was shown to be Pagan Rome that gave power and great authority to Papal Rome represented by this beast, with the seven heads and ten horns. It will be noted that the dragon could not have given something away that it did not possess, therefore in order for Pagan Rome or the dragon to give to this beast its seat, and power and great authority the dragon, beast, or Pagan Rome, would have to possess great power. By consulting the history of the world, we find that about the fourth century A.D. Pagan Rome gave to Papal Rome, its seat, power and authority, therefore we have here the transaction brought to view. And as Daniel in chapter seven said the fourth beast was the fourth kingdom to rule the whole world, and as it embraced all the territory occupied by the three beasts or empires preceding it, so here we have this beast symbolizing all of the territory controlled by the fourth world kingdom, the Roman kingdom. The seven heads, however, symbolize powers and events of a different and far reaching character.
4. What further was given unto this beast, or kingdom?
“And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies, and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months,” verse 5.
NOTE: This was the same period of time allotted to the fourth beast in Daniel seventh chapter. Forty two months at 30 days to the month (See Bible reading on Little Horn Power) equals 1260 days, or 1260 years. In Ezekiel 4:6 and other places in the word we have the instruction and example given to take each day for a year in reckoning prophetic time.
5. During the period of 1260 years what did this power do to the saints of God?
“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them, and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues and nations,” verse 7.
6. Everybody living on earth were going to worship him, except what people?
“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” verse 8. Those whose names are written in the book of life therefore will not worship the beast.
NOTE: Papal Rome is spoken of in all histories as the great persecuting power which continued to rule the whole earth for exactly 1260 years just as this prophecy said it should. The beast represents Papal Rome, which after church and state were united in the year 538 persecuted and put to death the true Christians by the millions. Some histories state that fifty millions suffered death as martyrs in almost every conceivable form, other historians put the number who were killed under the rule of this power to one hundred million. See Buck’s Theological Dictionary, Encyclopaedia Britannica, the old family Bible, or any history of the middle ages, which will tell in detail of these facts. After the Catholic Church became united to the civil power, and the Pope was world pastor, the kings of the different nations made strict religious restrictions, and anyone not fully conforming to them was classed and punished as a heretic. This resulted in wholesale martyrdom, bringing to pass the prophetic prediction above, continuing the exact period of 1260 years until 1798 when, under Napoleon, Berthier captured and made the pope prisoner, unfurling the banners of Protestantism in the city of Rome and declaring Catholicism down forever.