|How does a
Christian, then, recognize the Beast?
Elementary, my dear Watson (which, by the way, Holmes never said).
|The Fatal Wound
is the first clue. The wound is to one
of the “heads” -- obviously, to a king or kingdom. Those who hold this Beast to be an
individual man (largely futurists, some poetic) feel that this would be
either an assassination attempt followed by a miraculous recovery or a fake
resurrection. (Poetic types seem
enamored of the Nero redevivus idea, that “another Nero” will show
up. This seems a little strained).
and some futurists (Talbot, McGee), taking the Beast as kingdom, not king,
see a revived Roman Empire. Again,
timing is everything. The pagan Roman
Empire died. The historicist says it
came back -- as the papacy. The
futurist, as a future Roman empire.
|Beast worship is
next. Again, the papacy or a future
empire would fit. But note well: Satan wants to be worshipped -- he
wants to “be like God.” Even if that
worship is not (immediately) to his name.
slander come next. For the
historicist, this is a touching point.
Kindly remember that the claim is made that this beast is the papacy,
particularly from 533 AD to 1793 AD. -- the time of the Pope’s temporal
reign. In that time, the Pope claimed
to control forgiveness of sin (blasphemy); placed Mary as nearly part of the
Godhead (slandering his name); claimed
to structure heaven with layers of angels, etc... (slandering his dwelling
place) and determining who was -- and who was not -- a saint (slandering
those who dwell there).
|The 42 months
are, as before, literal for the historicist.
These would be the second half of the Tribulation, or the Great
Tribulation. (Note that the 42 month
period is pretty consistent in that).
The historicist would see this as 1260 years, usually cited as
above. Note one thing: if this view is correct, then the idea that
the churches in Revelation 2 and 3 are the seven ages of the church also
shows up here. 533 AD is the reign of
Justinian. It would be the church of
Pergamum -- “where Satan’s throne is”
|In that time, the
Beast makes war on the saints. For the
historicist, this includes such things as the Inquisition. One author estimated that during this
period the Catholic church executed over 50 million people for heresy. By such means was their control
maintained. The authority over every
tribe? Why does Brazil speak
Portuguese? Because the Pope gave that
land to Portugal by decree. For those
1260 years, the Pope was the predominant political figure in Western
|To the futurist,
this may serve as warning: this figure
will exercise great political power.
|Lessons: It should be clear that the identity of
the beast is not certain to all, though each theory has its points. What must be learned is this: to each of us may come the choice of “worship”
or suffering. We don’t think much of
worship today; how often have we heard
from the pulpit “it’s just a ritual.”
It matters; it matters very
much -- for the ritual on the outside may reflect the truth or falseness on
the inside. And that very much matters
to the Lamb’s book of life.
|The warning here
comes as a composite of two sources:
Jeremiah 15:2 (where Jeremiah is warned of suffering to come) and
Matthew 26:52 (where all who live by the sword, die by the sword). The weapon of the Christian is still
patient endurance in the face of suffering.