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Daniel and Revelation

Committee Series
Volume 7
Editor Frank B.
Biblical Research Institute General Conerence o
Seventh!da" #dventists Silver S$rin%& 'D ()*)+
Daniel and Revelation
Committee Series
Volume 1 Selected Studies on Prophetic Interpretation
Volume 2 Symposium on Daniel
Volume 3 The Seventy Weeks, Leviticus, and the Nature of Prophecy
Volume 4 Issues in the Book of Revelation
Volume 5 Doctrine of the Sanctuary: A Historical Survey (!"#$%!&'(
Volume 6 Symposium on Revelation) Book 1
Volume Symposium on Revelation) Book 2
S"m$osium on
E,e%etical and General
Book (
Co$"ri%ht - .**( b" the Biblical
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Silver S$rin%& 'D ()*)+ #ll ri%hts
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2he authors assume ull res$onsibilit" or the accurac" o all 3uotations cited in this book.
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S"m$osium on Revelation
:Daniel and Revelation Committee series; v. <!79
Includes biblio%ra$hical reerences and inde,.
I.Bible. =.2. Revelation>Criticism& inter$retation& etc. I.Holbrook& Frank B. II. Biblical
Research Institute :General Conerence o Seventh!da" #dventists9.
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A!cie!t C"#i$tia! %#ite#$ Assem*lies du Sei+neur
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4!te#!atio!al C#itical Comme!ta#5
Interpreter@s Dictionary of the Bi*le
Israel 7;ploration /ournal
Irish 1heolo+ical 3uarterly
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (revA ed. 166)
1677( Journal of Biblical 0iterature
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/RS /ournal of Roman Studies
8CC T"e 8i2#a#5 of C"#i$tia! Cla$$ic$
8C8 8oe2 Cla$$ical 8i2#a#5
8S EUe! G0 %"ite0 0ife Sketches
899 Septua'i!t
Af, 4aterialdienst
NICNT *e: 4!te#!atio!al Comme!ta#5 o! t"e *e:
NovT Novum 1estamentum
NSRB *e: Scofiel- .efe#e!ce Bi2le &166(
*;*+ *ice!e a!- ;o$t)*ice!e +at"e#$
N1A Ne, 1estament A*stracts
N1D D.S Neue 1estament Deutsch
N1S Ne, 1estament Studies
PG Mi'!e1 Patrolo+ia +raecaB Mi'!e1 e-0
PC Pulpit 2ommentary
PL Patrolo+fa latino) Mi'!e0 e-0
RB Revue *i*li9ue
R>> Die Reli+ion in >eschichte und >e+en,art
.H Revie, and Herald
R1hPh Revue ae 1heolo+ie et de Philosophic
SBT Stu-ie$ i! Bi2lical T"eolo'5
S0;0C0K0 Societ5 fo# t"e ;#omotio! of C"#i$tia! K!o:le-'e
1DN1 1heolo+ical Dictionary of the N1
1:N1 1heolo+isches :orter*uch 5um Neuen 1estament
1h= 1heolo+ische =eitschrift) -niversity of Basel
CSp 0a Cie Spirituelle &;a#i$(
C1 Cetus 1estamentum
C1Sup C1) Suppleme!t$
=N: =eitschrift fur die neutestamentliche
ST =eitschrift fur systematische 1heolo+ie
Guide to
ons . .
#o the
Reader .
E,e%etical Studies
I. #$e Saints% &nd-#i!e 'ictory (ver t$e )orces of &vil .... *
Filliam G! Aobnsson
#$e C$urc$ in Conflict+ (vervie ........ *
#$e C$urc$ in Conflict+ &,egesis ........ -.
II. #$e /ark of t$e Beast ............. .-
C. 'erv"n 'a,4ell
#$e /ark ............... .-
Ro!an Cat$olicis! and t$e 0nited States ..... 12
So!e 3uestions Ansered .......... -4-
III. Conte,tual #$$roach to the Seven 5ast 1la%ues ..... .77 Hans D.
I'. Babylon+ Anti-C$ristian &!5ire .......... -6-
Hans D. 5aRondeIle
'. #$e Seven 7eads+ Do #$ey Re5resent Ro!an &!5erors8 . . . .77
Denneth #. Strand
'I. #$e #o Su55ers .............. 492
Richard 5ehmann
VIL The Millennium .............. 225
Aoel Badma
'IIL :e ;erusale!-#$e 7oly City .......... 4.*
Roberto Badenas
General Studies
I". Sanctuar" and Aud%ment ............ (7/
Aan 1aulsen
v vii
#$e Re!nant C$urc$ and t$e S5irit of Pro5$ecy . <
=er$ard Pfandl #$e /odern Pa5acy+ Clai!s and
Aut$ority . . <
;o$ann 7ein> Ar!ageddon+ Si,t$ and Sevent$ Plagues ...
7ans ?. LaRondeIle Sabbat$ 7y!ns for t$e 7eavenly
Sanctuary (3u!ran@
Filliam H. Shea C$rist+ Son of /an+ La!b .......
Herbert Diesler
III A55endices
A. :ote on &AAen (7as Co!e@ ......
C. /ervyn /a,ell B. Ar!ageddon+ 7istory ofAdventist
Hans D. 5aRondeIle
C. Daniel and Revelation Co!!ittee+ )inal Re5ort A. Richard
5esher& Frank B. Holbrook
#o t$e Reader
#dventist teachin% and $reachin% rom the book o Revelation has al4a"s
dra4n heavil" rom its last hal :cha$s. .(!((9. 2he studies com$osin% book ( o
the Sm!osium on "e#elation are devoted almost e,clusivel" to this $ortion o
Aohn@s vision.
24o cha$ters e,e%ete Revelation .(!.+ and discuss amon% other thin%s the
ima%e and mark o the beast. In this connection the reader 4ill a$$reciate an u$date
on the role o the $a$ac" in our times& cha$ter .)& H2he 'odern 1a$ac"E
Claims and #uthorit".H
2hree studies elucidate and a$$l" valid $rinci$les o $ro$hetic inter$retation to
the subIects o the seven last $la%ues :Rev ./!.<9& Bab"lon the Great :Rev .7!.?9&
and #rma%eddon :Rev .<9. # histor" o #dventist inter$retation o the latter subIect
is a$$ended as an illustration o ho4 im$ortant it is or $astors and evan%elists to let
Scri$ture& not current events& $oint us to sound inter$retations o the $ro$hecies.
Since Seventh!da" #dventists stand virtuall" alone on their understandin% o
the crucial subIect o the millennium& 4e believe!the e,$osition o this to$ic 4ill be
4elcomed b" ministers and members alike.
General articles anal"Je ke" $assa%es dealin% 4ith the themes o Iud%ment& the
$ro$hetic %it in the remnant church& and Christ@s titles. 0ne article $rovides an
insi%ht rom Kuroran that im$acts on the inter$retation o the e,$ression& Hthe
5ord@s da"H :Rev .E.)9. 24o e,e%etical studies o Revelation .* and (.!(( $rovide
e,cellent insi%hts on the second advent o Christ and the =e4 Aerusalem& the Hol"
Cit" o the redeemed.
Finall"& 4e e,$ress our a$$reciation to the several authors :si, rom outside
=orth #merica at the time o 4ritin%9 4hose ine contributions are included in book
Robert Badenas 7erbert ?iesler Aan Paulsen ;oel Badina
7ans ?- LaRondelle Gerhard 1andl Aohann 7ein> Ric$ard
5ehmann Filliam 7. S$ea Filliam G. Aohnsson C. 'erv"n
'a,4ell ?ennet$ #! Strand
D#=IE5 #=D REVE5#2I0= C0''I22EE =eneral
Conerence o Seventh!da" #dventists
&"&=&#ICAL S28DIES
Revelation .(!.+
Revelation ./!.<
Revelation .7!.?
Revelation .*
Revelation ()
Revelation (.!((
C$a5ter I
#$e Saints
&nd-#i!e 'ictory
(ver t$e )orces of &vil
Filliam G. Aohnsson
#$e C$urc$ in Conflict+ (vervie
&ditorial Syno5sis. 2he scenes that com$ose the core o Revelation@s visions&
cha$ters .(!.+& are im$ortant to the Seventh!da" #dventist mission and messa%e
and $resentl" are o interest to various %rou$s in the contem$orar" 4orld.
2he inter$retation o the $assa%e& sa"s the 4riter& H4ill be lar%el" determined
b" the decisions 4e have reached about the nature and structure o the book !rior
to$ our stud" o it. Four maIor HschoolsH o inter$retation contend or $ride o $lace
in inter$retin% this %rand summation o Scri$ture. 2he $reterist method inter$rets
the $ro$hec" in terms o events related to Aerusalem and Rome& but ails to see the
movements o the $ro$hec" rom Aohn@s da" to the second comin% o Christ and a
Hne4 heaven and a ne4 earth.H Futurism $laces the ulillment at the end o the a%e
and ne%lects the e$istolar" orm o the document addressed to actual Christian
con%re%ations in #sia 'inor. 2he timeless& s"mbolic HschoolH is to be reco%niJed
as the descendant o the unsatisactor" alle%orical a$$roach to Scri$ture that
lourished in the 'iddle #%es.
2he evidence o the visions themselves su$$orts the continuous!historical
method as 4e see the %enerall" se3uential movement in the visions. Histor" be!
comes the unrollin% o the $ro$hetic scroll itsel. # res$onsible e,e%esis o Revela!
tion .(!.+& sa"s the 4riter& should address the te,t at three levelsE that o its
s"mbolic $atterns& its meanin% or Aohn@s da"& and its historical ulillment intended
b" God be"ond an" meanin% irst centur" Christians 4ould have ound in it.
#$e book of Revelation is i!5regnated it$ (# allusions& and Revelation
.(!-. $as its s$are of t$is biblical i!agery. Alt$oug$ the $assa%e must be
e,e%eted in its on rig$t< t$ere is strong evidence t$at links t$e subCect matter
o Revelation -4--. it$ t$e subCect !atter o the $ro$hecies of Daniel 7!?. 2he
5assage centers in conflict as t$e forces of evil o55ose C$rist and 7is $eo$le&
but t$e latter are 5ortrayed as e!erging ulti!ately victorious and trium$hant.
rne saints End!2ime Victor" 0ver the Forces o Evil
Section (utline
I. Introduction
II. Si%niicance of t$e 1assa%e
III& Issues in Inter$retation
I'. Consideration o Conte,t
V. 5iterar" Structure

2he dramatic $ro$hec" o Revelation .(!.+ $rovides the ke" to the entire book.
Central in location and $ur$ose& it brid%es the unoldin% o Christian histor" rom
Aohn@s da" to ours :cha$s. .!..9 4ith the concentration on the inal events o earth@s
histor" :cha$s. ./!((9. 8nsur$assed in the %randeur o its themes& it ran%es rom 4ar
in heaven to God@s $eo$le saved at last on 't. Cion. It $redicts a rei%n o terror
a%ainst the $eo$le o God& in 4hich the lines o demarcation 4ill be shar$l" dra4n&
orcin% the choice o either 4orshi$ o the HbeastH or death.
# series o colorul characters 5arades throu%h these c$a5ters. Ae see the
4oman& the 5amb& and the 5eo5le of =od< oten suerin% and dying or their aith. #
%reat red dra%on& 5oerful and dece5tive< orks throu%h a conederac" o evil&
seekin% to subvert and destroy =od%s folloers. Ae see a %ri$$in% $arod" o God@s
kin%dom& as a satanic trinity a$e not !erely the $ersons o the Godhead but also t$e
divine activities and ors$i5.
#nd the $assa%e intri%ues us 4ith its m"ster" and cr"$tic clues. It calls or
4isdom@s insi%ht to deci$her the meanin% o the number <<<. #lthou%h Aohn
a$$arentl" intended this number to $rovide the inal& decisive identi"in% mark o the
beast& it has en%endered discussion and dis$ute rom the second centur" to our da"!
#nd 4e ind other $uJJlesE Fho or 4hat is
the beast itsel and its alter ego 4hich causes all the 4orld to follo it& and 4hat is the
HmarkH o the beastL
2his cha$ter seeks to unlock the meanin% o Revelation .(!.+. It endeavors to
disclose the overall structure o the $assa%e and to inter5ret its leadin% motis. It does
not ai! to set fort$ an e,egesis o eac$ detail of ever" verse. 2o do so 4ould re3uire
a ver" len%th" study.
0ur task o inter$retin% Revelation .(!.+ 4ill take us throu%h si,ste$s. Fe shall
take u$ in order the si%niicance o the $assa%e& issues in inter!
2he Saints@ End!2ime Victor" 0ver the Forces o Evil
$retation& conte,t& structure& and e,e%esis. Finall"& 4e 4ill indicate briel" the
im$ortance o the $assa%e or Seventh!da" #dventist $roclamation. In this section 4e
4ill e,$lore the irst our areas& reservin% the e,tended e,e%esis and conclusion or the
second section o the cha$ter.
Sini!i"#n"e o! the P#ss#e
From the earliest da"s o our movement Seventh!da" #dventists have considered
Revelation .(!.+ a hi%hl" si%niicant $assa%e. Kuite recentl" it has attracted
considerable attention amon% man" other Christians also.
2he books o Daniel and Revelation sha$ed #dventist sel!understandin%. Daniel
7!* and Revelation .(!.+& 4ith Revelation .+E<!.( in $articular& %ave our $ioneers a
sense o $ro$hetic identit" and messa%e. Fe call men and 4omen back to the 4orshi$
o the livin% God and a4a" rom that o the beast. Aust as the beast rom the earth in
cha$ter .7 seeks to $romote the beast rom the sea and its 4orshi$& so the three an%els
o cha$ter .+ 4arn a%ainst this alse conederac" and challen%e the 4orld to %ive
alle%iance to the Creator o the heaven and earth. 2hus& in vital as$ects Revelation .7
and .+ are counter$arts& each ine,$licable 4ithout consideration o the other. 2hou%h
to a lesser e,tent& cha$ter .( has been im$ortant to us also. Fe have looked to verse
.7& cou$led 4ith Revelation .*E.)& as a ke" te,t in our sel!understandin%.
#$e locus classicus or the understandin% o Revelation .(!.+ is 8riah Smith@s
Thoughts on %aniel and the "e#elation&
Here 4e ind those inter$retations so
inluential amon% the $ioneers o the "oun% Seventh!da" #dventist Church& cradled in
=orth #mericaE the 1a$ac"& the rise o the 8nited States o #merica and its eventual
re$udiation o reli%ious libert"& the universal Sunda" decree& and the Vicarius (ilii %ei
o the $a$al tiara.
&llen F2iite %ave her su$$ort to the maIor lines o the $ioneers@
In this cha$ter 4e do not $ur$ose to embark u$on a deense o Smith@s e,egesis<
even as e are not $rimaril" concerned 4ith criti3uin% it. 0ur chie aim is to stud"
Revelation in its o4n ri%ht& so ar as $ossible allo4in% the te,t to $oint the 4a" to its
o4n inter$retation.
I 4as reminded o this need or the $rimac" o Scri$ture in dramatic
- Rev. ed. :=ashville. .*++9. Smith@s irst e,e%esis o Revelation& Thoughts, )riticaland *ractical, on the
Book of Revelation, a$$eared in .?</.
( Ibid.& //?!<(7
7 Ellen =. A$ite< The Great )ontro#ers :'ountain Vie4& CA< .*..9& /+&+7*!/)&/7*!?)&<)+.
2ne2SamtsM End!2ime Victor" (ver t$e )orces of &vil
ashion some time a%o. I visited Salt Lake City< 0ta$DEion for the 'ormons. 2he
$arallels it$ #dventism are striking< al!ost eerie. Bot$ arose in the northeast o
the 8nited States near t$e same ti!eF bot$ clai! t$at the $ro$hetic %it has been
restored; bot$ give #merica a 5ro!inent 5lace in their teachin%s; both claim to set
orth the true gos5el after t$e a5ostasy o the 'iddle #%es; both direct attention to
t$e sanctuaryF both call or obedience to God@s commandments; bot$ claim to be
the true church o the last da"s beore Christ returns. #nd both look to Revelation
-..- 4as shocked to hear Revelation -.+1< 2 Guoted by the /or!on %uide and then
to be told that the $ro$het /oroni fulfilled t$ese versesH
But not onl" #dventists and 'ormons intensivel" stud" Revelation .(!.+. #s 4e
a$$roach the "ear #D. ())) an a$ocal"$tic mood has suddenl" a$$eared in the
Festern 4orld. 2he $ressin%& seemin%l" insoluble $roblems that have %ri$$ed societ"
>behavioral& economic& international>e,acerbate the s$irit o %loom.
#lon% 4ith the secular a$ocal"$tic man" evan%elical Christians sho4 a ne4
interest in eschatolo%". In $articular& the theor" o a Hsecret ra$tureH has %ained
4ides$read acce$tance. Fhile details var"& man" inter$retations o Revelation b"
adherents to the Hra$tureH attribute almost the entire book :+E(!.*E(.9 to a seven!"ear
$eriod o antichrist that ollo4s the Hra$tureH :itsel su$$osedl" indicated b"
Revelation +E.>HCome u$ hitherH9. Fith hei%htened e,$ectations o an imminent
Hra$ture&H the $ortra"al o antichrist in Revelation .(!.+ assumes ne4 $rominence.
0ccasionall" stories o a national cons$irac" centerin% in the m"stic number <<< :or
e,am$le& involvin% the Internal Revenue Service o the 8nited States9 %ain credence.
0ur stud" o Revelation .(!.+& thereore& $roceeds a%ainst the back%round o
si%niicant #dvcntist histor" and contem$orar" s$eculation.
Issues in Inter5retation
Beore 4e can undertake an inter5retation of t$e !ain sy!bols of Revelation
>the dra%on& the sea beast< t$e eart$ beast< t$e !ark< and t$e number <<<>4e
must take u$ %eneral issues. Into no book of t$e Bible
Geor%e 0r4ell@s +,-. attracted e,traordinar" attention as the actual "ear
Denneth II. Food@s editorial& H2he IRS Rumor& et al.&H Ad#eniist "e#iew, 'arch
5ike4ise& ilms such as the H0menH scries have attached <<< to a salanic& end!
+ #s an e,am$le&
/ See& or e,am$le&
.(& .*?.&7& .+.
ti!e i%ure.
2he SaintsM End!2ime Victor" (ver the Forces o Evil
!ay the res$onsible e,e%ete sim$l" $lun%e& disre%ardin% 3uestions o the historical
settin%& $ur$ose& structure& and so on. Fith Revelation these $rior considerations are
even more 4ei%ht".
1he interpretation of Revelation %$%" ,ill *e lar+ely determined *y the
decisions ,e have reached a*out the nature and structure of the *ook prior
to e;aminin+ these chaptersA
2hese decisions involve our understandin% o the unit" o the book& the nature o
a$ocal"$tic $rediction& and the relation o Revelation to the 02 and in $articular to
the book o Daniel. #n inter$retation o an" $ortion o Revelation 4ill be %overned
b" one@s $reunderstandin% in each o
these matters.
0bviousl"& a ull!blo4n e,amination o these areas 4ould reach be"ond the
limited sco$e o the $resent cha$ter. Indeed& each $oint itsel has called orth much
scholarl" stud" and could occu$" a mono%ra$h in its o4n ri%ht. R9r our $ur$ose&
res$onsible e,e%esis su%%ests that 4e la" out our $reunderstandin%& not attem$tin% an
e,haustive deense& but sho4in% an a4areness o other o$tions and briel" indicatin%
4h" 4e have chosen our $osition on each $oint.
0nity of t$e Book
Since the time oH. Grotius :.<+.9& much critical stud" o Revelation has
endeavored to account or its diiculties b" $ositin% a theor" o underl"in% sources.
It has been conIectured that various Ae4ish or Christian a$ocal"$ses orm the basis o
the book& or that Revelation 4as $ut to%ether out o t4o dierent 4ritin%s rom the
same author.
For instance& Erbes and S$itta sa4 in Revelation .7 an a$ocal"$se
4ritten in the rei%n o Cali%ula and relectin% the condition o 1alestine in #.D. 7*!
+.; Fellhau!sen and A. Feiss& ho4ever& $ostulated t4o sources behind the cha$ter.
#$art rom a e4 recent scholars 4ho continue to advance literar"!critical
theories :or e,am$le& A. 'ass"n%berde Ford@s thesis
>surel" aberrantN>o t4o
HBa$tistH sources& cha$ters +!.. rom Aohn the Ba$tist and .(!(( b" a disci$le o his9&
careul stud" o Revelation in %eneral has turned a4a" rom such conIectures. Fhile
the author dre4 u$on the und o 02 and nonbiblical s"mbolism& it seems clear that
Hneither connected
< 1aul Feine& ;o$annes Be$! and Ferner Geor% Dummel& Introduction o/ the New Testament, tr. #. A.
'altill& ;r. :=ashville& .*</9& 7(/.
2 R. II. C$arles< A )ritical and E0egetical )ommentar on the "e#elation o/ St& John (&dinburg$<
.*<79& .E77?!.).
? "e#elation, AB :=e4 Oork& .*7/9.
#ne saints@ lind!2imerVrctor" (ver the Forces o Evil
sources nor secondar" inter$olations can be demonstrated.H
2he e,$osition o Revelation .(!.+ in this cha$ter thus $resu$$oses the
essential unit" o the cha$ters in vie4 and the entire book.
:ature of A5ocaly5tic Predictions
Fe 4ill conine our considerations here to the visions o Revelation& raisin% the
3uestion o the ulillment o these $redictions. #re 4e to look or s$eciic events in
histor" to 4hich the visions $ointL Do the visions ocus on the end!time& so that
onl" the inal %eneration>those 4ho live throu%h the %reat tribulation immediatel"
beore the Second Comin%> see that ulillmentL #lternativel"& do the visions
belon% to Aohn@s o4n era& linked to alse e,$ectations o an imminent 1arousiaL 0r
are 4e to understand them in "et another 4a"L
Inter$reters o Revelation in %eneral all into one o our cate%ories vis!a!vis
these 3uestionsE
#$e 5reterist sc$ool. 2he S$anish Aesuit #lcaJar :d. .<.+9 4as the irst to
inter$ret Revelation +!.* as allin% totall" 4ithin the a%e o Aohn and the centuries
immediatel" ollo4in%. 1reterist inter$reters o Revelation commonl" see the all
o Aerusalem or the all o Rome as ulillments o maIor $redictions o the book.
2he" see in the evil conederac" o cha$ter .7 the hostile i%ures o $a%an Rome&
aided and ostered b" the im$erial cult
#$e futurist sc$ool. 0n the other hand the uturist school rele%ates most o the
book to the uture. It stems in lar%e measure rom the late si,teenth centur" S$anish
Aesuit Ribera :Ribera& ho4ever& 4as not an out!and!out uturist; he $aid attention
also to the historical settin% o Revelation9.
#$e ti!eless sy!bolic sc$ool. 2his $ers$ective does not look or s$eciic
ulillments. Fhereas three schools are historical in $ers$ective& locatin%
ulillments at the be%innin%& end& or durin% the $eriod o Christian histor"& this
methodolo%" is nonhistorical. It sees the visions o Revelation in terms o basic
$rinci$les b" 4hich God acts in histor". Fe ma" 4ith Iustiication see this school as
the descendant o the alle%orical method o inter$retation 4hich lourished in the
'iddle #%es.
Continuous-$istorical sc$ool. Fhereas the above schools eectivel" remove
Revelation rom the Christian Era that intervenes bet4een Aohn@s
* Feine& 7(/.
.) I have ada$ted this section rom a hel$ul summar" o the subIect in Robert H. 'ounce& The Boo1 o/
"e#elation, =.C=2 :Grand Ra$ids& .*779& 7*!./.
.. 2hat is& the $eriod intervenin% bet4een Aohn@s da" and the last thin%s is not in vie4E ibid.& +).
2he SaintsM End!2ime Victor" 0ver the Forces o Evil
century and the $eriod Iust $rior to the end& the continuous!historicist a55roac$
sees histor" as the unrollin% o the divine $redictions. Smith@s Thoughts on %aniel
and the "e#elation and #dventist inter$retation %enerall" belong to this school.
Ae shall not attem$t to anal"Je the stren%ths and 4eaknesses o each o these
schools. Rather& 4e list the actors that orm the basis or the a$$roach 4e ado$t in
this e,$ositionE
.. 2he Revelation had meanin% or the $eo$le o God to 4hom it 4as irst
directed. Ae must not ne%lect the e$istolar" orm&
rememberin% that there were
actual Christian con%re%ations at E$hesus& Sm"rna& 1er%amos& and so on. =or can
e b"$ass the inIunction to read it aloud :.E79& 4ith the $romised blessin% on those
4ho should hear it. 1resumabl"& the Revelation was read to the earl" Christian
con%re%ations& and the" did receive a messa%e fro! =od. In m" Iud%ment& the
uturist school comes to %rie on this datum.
(. But the Revelation also looked be"ond Aohn@s da". 2he visions all
move to the end& lookin% to the second comin% o Christ and the eventual
emer%ence o Ha ne4 heaven and a ne4 earthH :(.E.9. 8nder the $reterist vie4& a
lar%e $art o the book>and indeed& that %oal to4ard 4hich the 4hole 4ritin% moves
>is devoid o meanin%. 1resumabl" it belongs amon% the dusthea$s o ailed
$ro$hec". #s one 4ho a4aits the =lad Return& I reIect this inter$retation.
7. Further& the book itsel $rovides evidence or a %enuine se3uential
movement. Fe should note .E.*>H=o4 4rite 4hat "ou see& 4hat is and
4hat is to take $lace hereater.H Fhile it is haJardous to ar%ue or a strict order o
events& the ver" $resentation o the visions& all o 4hich culminate in the end&
su%%ests some sort o develo$ment in time.
Cha$ter .(& or instance& %ives evidence o se3uence. 2he 4oman is $re%nant;
she %ives birth; the child is snatched a4a"; the 4oman lees to the desert; she inds
$rotection in the 4ilderness or .(<) da"s; the dra%on makes 4ar 4ith the rest o her
Consider also cha$ter .7 itsel and its counter$art& cha$ter .+. In cha$ter .7 4e
see a $arade o monsters>dra%on& sea beast& land beast 2hat a se3uence o some
sort is bein% ollo4ed is su%%ested b" the ollo4in% evidenceE
a. 2he land beast $romotes the sea beast& 4ho in turn derives e,istence rom the
dra%on. 2hat is& the land beast unctions because the sea beast alread" has a $lace
:and the dra%on beore the sea beast9.
b. 2he dra%on& havin% ailed to destro" the hol" Child& $ursues the
-4 Rev -+.<--F (E.; etc.
2he Saints@ End!2ime Victor" 0ver the Forces o Evil
HseedH o the 4oman :.(E.7&.79; in seekin% to accom$lish this $ur$ose he %ives
H$o4er& seat& and authorit"H to the sea beast :.7E(9.
c. 2he sea beast receives a mortal stroke& but is healed :.7E79. d. 2he sea beast@s
$eriod o su$remac" is H+( monthsH :.7E/9. e. 2he three an%els o .+E<!.( sound a
$roclamation couched in the settin% o the dece$tions o the land beast; their 4ork is
consummated b" the Second Comin% :.+E.+9.
2hus& the ver" orm o the vision orces us to understand some sort o historicist
ulillment. Revelation .(!.+ ocuses on the $eriod bet4een the First and second
advents o Christ& hi%hli%htin% the inal conederac" o evil and the inal messa%e o
4arnin% to the 4orld.
+. Fhile 4e should look to events in histor" as 4e seek to understand
Revelation& 4e must also ackno4led%e that its s"mbols embod" a $hiloso$h" o
divine activit"& a timeless $ortra"al o the stru%%le bet4een the orces o %ood and
evil. 2hus& Revelation brin%s more than ho$e or the Second Comin%; it s$eaks
e,istentiall" to all lo"al ollo4ers o the 5amb& es$eciall" to those 4ho are
under%oin% o$$ression.
In m" Iud%ment& thereore& a res$onsible e,e%esis o Revelation .(!.+ should
address the te,t at three levelsE that o its s"mbolic $atterns& its meanin% or Aohn@s
o4n da"& and the historical ulillment o the vision. 0nl" b" such means ma" 4e be
true to the com$le, nature o the data. In our e,$osition 4e shall %ive some
attention to the irst t4o levels. Holdin%& ho4ever& that the vision had ulillment
intended b" God be"ond an" meanin% that the irst centur" Christians ma" have
ound in it& 4e shall %ive most stud" to the third& or historicist& level.
Relation to t$e (ld #esta!ent
For man" "ears students o Revelation have been a4are o the book@s close
relation to the 02 Revelation is im$re%nated 4ith 02 allusions& althou%h it does not
contain a sin%le verbatim 3uotation rom that source.
Clearl"& Revelation .(!.+ embodies s"mbolism and ideas rom Daniel 7!?. 2he
sea beast is a com$osite o the our beasts o Daniel 7>leo$ard& bear& lion& and ten
homs. It like4ise e,hibits characteristics o the Hlittle hornH o Daniel 7>
blas$hem" and $ersecution. Ae ind the same time $eriod as in Daniel 7E(/>.(<)
da"s :time& times and a hal; or +( months& Rev .(E<&.+; .7E/9.
.7 0ur inter$retation& thereore& is in continuit" 4ith t$e a$$roach o 8riah Smith but s$os a
develo$ment or enlar%ement be"ond it.
2he SaintsM End!2ime Victor" 0ver the Forces o Evil
2he sea beast also sho4s $arallels 4ith the Hhorn rom littlenessH o Daniel ?.
Indeed& the e,$licit descri$tions o the Daniel ? horn@s deiance o God>not onl"
blas$hem" but standin% u$ a%ainst Hthe $rince o the hostH :vs. ..9& attackin% the
sanctuar" :vss. ..!.+9& and causin% lar%e!scale a$ostas" rom true 4orshi$ :vss.
.(&(+9>closel" $arallel the account o the sea beasts de$redations. Further& the
element o dece$tion& brou%ht out b" the land beast@s activities in Revelation .7& to
some de%ree corres$onds 4ith the account o this Hhorn@sH $ractices in Daniel ?E(7!
Fhile e must e,e%ete the vision o Revelation in its o4n ri%ht& it is
nevertheless a$$arent that our $rior inter$retation o Daniel 4ill inluence the
outcome. In this cha$ter 4e shall merel" state& 4ithout attem$t at $roo& our
understandin% o the visions o Daniel 7!?E
.. 2he "ear!da" relationshi$& a bastion o historic #dventist inter$retation&
underlies the time $eriods o these cha$ters :recent studies have advanced
convincin% su$$ort or the "ear!da" idea9.
(. 2he visions o Daniel 7 and ? outline a continuous!historical develo$ment
rom the time o Daniel to the Second Comin%.
7. 2he Hlittle hornH o Daniel 7 and the Hhorn rom littlenessH o Daniel ? $oint
$rimaril" to the s"stem o alse 4orshi$ embodied in the ideas o the $a$ac"&
$articularl" durin% its he"da" in the 'iddle #%es.
Consideration of Conte,t
Fe 4ill notice both the immediate and the lar%er settin% o cha$ters .(!.+& as
4ell as the thematic elements o the $assa%e.
I!!ediate Setting
2he $assa%e is bounded b" Revelation ..E.* and ./E+. 2his section o
Revelation comes in the midst o the our se$tets>the seven churches& the
seven seals& and the seven trum$ets $recedin% it& and the seven bo4ls
ollo4in% it.
Fhile 4e ind no mention o the number 7 in the section& 4e ma" in act
see it in terms o seven scenes. 2he author@s re$eated HI sa4@M :or
e3uivalent9 marks o the scenes :.(E.!7; .7E.&..; .+E.&<&.+; ./E.9. #s 4e
-. See Aillia! 7. Shea& Selected Studies on *ro!hetic Inter!retation, DARC(/ series& vol. . :Silver
S5ring< /D+ Biblical Researc$ Institute< .*?(9& /<.*7.
-6 Sec )rank B. 7olbrook. ed&& Sm!osium on Daniel, DARC(/ series& vol. ( :Silver S$rin%& /D+
Biblical Researc$ Institute& .*?<9.
-1 Ibid.
2he Saints@ End!2ime Victor" 0ver the Forces o Evil
have alread" su%%ested& the section centers in con/lict>the orces o evil o$$ose the
$eo$le o God but eventuall" the latter emer%e victorious. Fe ma" title thesection
H2he Saints Victorious 0ver the Conederac" o Evil&H and break do4n its
constituent $arts as ollo4sE
.. .(E.!.7>2he Dra%onMs 4arare a%ainst Christ and the 4oman.
(. .7E.!.)>2he sea beast@s attacks on the saints.
7. .7E..!.?>2he land beast@s conederac" 4ith the sea beast a%ainst the saints.
+. .+E.!/>2he saints& God@s lo"al ollo4ers.
/. .+E<!.7>God@s last 4arnin% to the 4orld.
<. .+E.+!()>2he Second Comin%& harvest o the 4orld.
7. ./E.!+>2he saints trium$hant.
24o eatures o this conte,t call or $articular comment. First& the entire vision
o the conlict o the orces o evil and the saints is set a%ainst the backdro$ o the
'ost Hol" 1lace o the heavenl" sanctuar" :..E.*9. Fhile each vision o Revelation
has a heavenl" settin%& the descri$tion o ..E.* marks an advanceE in this vision
$eo$le 4ill choose either antichrist or Christ& so the Hark o the covenantH rom the
outset reminds the reader o the 4orshi$ o the true God and His hol" la4.
Second& cha$ter .7 ma" be understood as the am$liication o .(E.7!.<. In both
cases the dra%on is $ersecutin% the church& or .(<) da"s. Revelation .(E.7!.<
$resents this $eriod rom the $ers$ective o the $eo$le o God>ho4 the" are
hel$ed& their lo"alt" to God& and the $eriod o their 4itness. #s in Daniel 7E(/& this
$eriod is Htime& times& hal a time.H Revelation .7 turns the coin& $ortra"in% the
same $eriod rom the $ers$ective o the dra%on. Instead o three and one!hal times&
4e read o +( months o $ersecution and blas$hem" :as in ..E(>the $eriod o this
$articular rei%n o evil9. 2he dra%on& deeated in his eorts a%ainst the Hol" Child&
unleashes his 4rath a%ainst the ollo4ers o the Child. He 4orks throu%h t4o
$articular a%encies>the sea monster and the land monster.
5ar%er Settin%
Fe also must see the $assa%e in terms o the overall develo$ment o the book.
Scholars diver%e 4idel" in their understandin% o the $attern o Revelation. In
%eneral& 4e ind three vie4sE :.9 no $attern can be ound;
-2 Fe have ada$ted this outline rom Aohn Fick Bo4man& The %rama o/ the Book o/ "e#elation
:1hiladel$hia& .*//9& 7/.
.? See Rev .E.); +E.; <E.; 7E.& (; ..E.*; ./E.&/.
2he Saints@ End!2ime Victor" 0ver the Forces o Evil
:(9 se3uential& so that the visions sho4 a $ro%ression in time& each buildin% on the
$revious one& rom the time o Aohn to the Second Comin%;
and :79 reca$itulation&
each vision %oin% over the same %round as the other.
In m" Iud%ment& the most insi%htul solution so ar to this $roblem comes rom
Denneth #. Strand o #ndre4s 8niversit". #lert to the literar" $atterns o the book&
he sees Revelation as a chiasm and divides Revelation into HhistoricalH and
Heschatolo%ical&H ./E. bein% the turnin% $oint. 8nder the historical section& the
visions are to be inter$reted essentiall" by the continuous!historical $rinci$le. From
./E. to the close o the book& ho4ever& the" ocus on the events o the end. In this
eschatolo%ical section the uture is described in terms that re3uentl" echo the
historical $ortion o Revelation.
Fhile 4e do not a%ree 4ith ever" detail o 1roessor Strand@s a$$roach&
acce$t his essential outline o Revelation. Doin% so has im$ortant im$lications or
the inter$retation& as 4e shall notice.
Literary Structure
0ur considerations alread" in this cha$ter indicate that cha$ters .7 and .+ bear
a distinctive relationshi$ to each other. 2he literar" structure underscores this
.. Cha$ter .7 closes 4ith the account o those 4ho 4orshi$ the beast in
orehead or in hand& si%ni"in% either voluntar" or involuntar" 4orshi$ o the anti!
God $o4er. 2he descri$tion o this %rou$ is ollo4ed immediatel" b" a descri$tion
o the $eo$le lo"al to God>the .++&))) 4ho ollo4ed the 5amb 4herever He %oes.
2he contrast is radical and dramatic& the literar" device is $o4erul.
(. Cha$ter .7 sets out the means used to $ro$a%ate the 4orshi$ o the beast
:vss. ..!.?9. In cha$ter .+ God also communicates 7is invitation and 4arnin%s to
the 4orldE 2he three an%els o verses <!.( $ortra" the divine !edia blitJ.
7. 2hus& Revelation .7E..!.? and .+E.!.( sho4 a corres$ondin% liter!
-B &.g.< Paul S. 'inear& 6 Saw a New Earth2 An Introduction to the Visions o/ the A!ocal!se
:Fashin%ton& DC< .*<?9. 'inear& ho4ever& sees s"mbolic 5atterns in the book; he does not ind
an" unoldin% o histoi" in Revelation.
49 &.g.< Ada! darke< #lbert Barnes& and E. B. Elliott.
(. Interpreting ihe Book o/"e#elation :Forthin%ton& (7< .*7<9.
(( &.g.< e see ./E+ rather than ./E. as the end o the vision that commences at ..E.*.
#$e Saints@ End!2ime Victor" 0ver the Forces o Evil
ar" structure. 2he $attern is a chiastic one. Strand has $ointed out the overall
chiasms o RevelationE It seems clear that these structures e,tend to details.
Fe ma" sketch the chiasms o Revelation .7E..!.+E.( as ollo4sE
0ur structure indicates that cha$ters .7 and .+ are counter$arts& 4ith cha$ter .(
$rovidin% the introduction& backdro$& and summar" o their content. Cha$ter .(
makes it $lain that& 4hile the $eo$le o God in their stru%%le a%ainst the conederac"
o evil occu$" center sta%e or most o the time& the leaders in the conlict are Christ
and Satan.
#$e C$urc$ in Conflict+ &,egesis
&ditorial Syno5sis. Fhile Revelation .( initiates a ne4 line o $ro$hec"& its
surve" o salvation histor"& $articularl" its inclusio :vss. 7!.(9 ! Christ@s victor" at
the cross and the moral castin% do4n o Satan > introduces the scenes and
$rovides the reasons or the church@s conlict durin% the Christian Era.
S"mboliJed b" a %reat red dra%on& the allen Satan stands& as it 4ere& at the
meetin% o land and sea to orm an unhol" trinit" 4ith his a%ents in an on%oin% 4ar
a%ainst God and 7is $eo$le. 0ne a%ent 4ill come rom the sea :the leo$ardlike
monster& .7E.!.)& .?9; another& rom the land :the t4o!horn beast& .7E..!.79&
su%%estin% the 4orld4ide sco$e o satanic o$$osition.
Revelation .7 unveils in detail the t4o eras o $ersecution $reviousl" sum!
mariJed in cha$ter .(E the .(<) "ears o the 'iddle #%es& and the inal end!time
attack a%ainst God@s $eo$le over the la4 o God !PcharacteriJed b" the enorce!
2he Saints@ End!2ime Victor" (ver the Forces o Evil
ment o the Hmark o the beastH or the rece$tion o the Hseal o God.H
#%ainst the risin% tide o coercion instituted b" the t4o!hom land beast& the
three an%elsM messa%es > God@s last 4arnin% and a$$eal to the inhabitants o
1lanet Earth > 4ill reach an intensit" not hitherto attained. 2he messa%es 4ill
distin%uish the true $eo$le o God as observers o His commandments& includin%
the Sabbath& and as kee$ers o the aith& the scri$tural bod" o teachin%s that center
in Aesus.
#$e d"namic o the three an%els@ messa%es lie in their certaint"& authorit"& and
timeliness > and es$eciall" in their u$holdin% o Aesus Christ as the %reat center o
attraction to a 4orld acin% doomsda".
Section (utline
I. E,e%esis o Revelation .(
II. E,e%esis o Revelation .7
III. E,e%esis o Revelation .+
IV. Si%niicance or 1roclamation
4e have seen alread"& the cha$ter breaks in Revelation .(!.+ corres$ond to
the main divisions o the $assa%e. Fe hereore ind it convenient to
se$arate the e,e%esis b" cha$ters. #
&,egesis of Revelation -4
Cha$ter .( alls into three distinct sectionsE
.. 2he leaders in the stru%%le bet4een %ood and evil :vss. .!<9
7eaven :sk"L9
Radiant 4oman& dra%on& the 4oman@s child Dra%on
4aits to devour the ne4born child Child cau%ht u$ to
heaven& 4oman lees into
4ilderness (. Conlict in heaven :vss. 7!.(9 Settin%E Heaven 'ain
charactersE 'ichael and His an%els& the devil and his an%els
- "Sky" 4ould distin%uish t$e settin% rom the HheavenH o vss. 7!.(; sun& moon& and stars urther
su%%est the translation $s1&$
'ain charactersE
Chie actionE
2he Saints@ End!2ime Victor" (ver the Forces o &vil
#ctionE Cosmic 4arare ResultE Satan and an%els deeated& cast
out into the
7. 2he dra%on $ursues the 4oman :vss. .7!.79 Settin%E
'ain charactersE 2he 4oman& the dra%on& the 4oman@s descendants
#ctionE 0n%oin% $ersecution b" the dra%on ResultE 2he 4oman
$rotected; dra%on no4 attacks her
#$art rom the inter$retation o the s"mbols& the chie issue concerns the
relationshi$ o verses 7!.( to the rest o the cha$ter. 2he irst si, verses $resent an
on%oin% narrative that breaks o abru$tl" 4ith the be%innin% o verse 7 and
continues in verse .7. Fhat then are the role and tem$oral relationshi$ o verses 7!
.( to this narrativeL Ae can better address these 3uestions ater 4e have inter$reted
the main characters o the cha$ter.
Commentators o Revelation .( re3uentl" $oint out a$$arent similarities
bet4een the narrative o the dra%on& the 4oman and the child& and $a%an m"ths. For
2hat $artial $arallels can be ound in the ancient olklore o man" nations
cannot be denied. In Greek m"tholo%" the $re%nant %oddess 5eto& $ursued b"
the dra%on 1"thon& is brou%ht sael" to the island o 0rt"%ia :Delos& in a
variant orm o the m"th9 4here she %ives birth to #$ollo& 4ho then returns
and kills the dra%on. In E%"$tian m"tholo%"& the red dra%on Set!2"$hon
$ursues Isis and is later killed b" Horus& her son. Bab"lonian m"th tells o the
overthro4 o 2iamat& the seven!headed 4ater monster& b" 'arduk& the "oun%
%od o li%ht.
Fhile Aohn 4as $robabl" a4are o such ima%er" in the thou%ht 4orld o his
da"& it seems much more likel" that the s"mbols o Revelation .(& like those
else4here in the book& are sha$ed b" the 02 rather than b" $a%an m"tholo%".
Dragon. 2he dra%on& the chie villain o Revelation .(& is identiied or
( 2he sentence 4hich is to be translated& H#nd it Qthe dra%onR stood on the seashore Qreadin% estaths
:he stood9 rather than the variant estathSn :I stood9R&H is not included in the outline since it more
naturall" links 4ith the action o cha$ter .7.
7 'ounce& "e#elation, (7/.
2he SaintsM End!2ime Victor" (ver the Forces o Evil
us in this cha$ter. 2he descri$tion o verse * desi%nates it as the ancient ser$ent& the
devil& Satan& and the deceiver o the 4hole 4orld. 2his ourold account is
si%niicant or the inter$retation o cha$ter .( and the entire $assa%e& cha$ters .(!
2he ancient Hser$entH takes us back to the account o the tem$tation and Fall in
Genesis 7>an allusion 4hich& I 4ill su%%est later& is si%niicant for understandin%
this cha$ter. HDevilH 3diabolos4 means slanderer& and in the ne,t verse the dra%on is
described as the accuser o the brothers& 4ho accuses them da" and ni%ht beore
God. HSatanH ori%inall" meant Hadversar"H and Satan is the adversar"& the
$rosecutor 4ho accuses God@s $eo$le in the heavenl" court. Finall"& Hthe deceiverH
$re$ares us or Revelation .7& 4here Satan 4ill 4ork throu%h his cohorts& the sea
beast and the land beast< to subvert the entire 4orld to his 4orshi$.
Revelation .(E7 describes the dragon as havin% seven heads and ten homs 4ith
cro4ns on its heads. 2he allusion is to Daniel 7E7. Revelation .7E* and .) indicates
that the heads re$resent kin%doms throu%h 4hich Satan has orked to o$$ress
God@s $eo$le throu%hout the a%es. Revelation .7E. marks an interestin%
develo$mentE here the sea beast, 4hich also has seven heads and ten homs& has
cro4ns on its homs rather than on its heads. 2he sea beast& $oever< receives rom
the dra%on its $o4er& seat& and authorit".
Ao!an. 2he radiant 4oman stands in $eril o the dra%on. #lthou%h she is not
s$eciicall" identiied in Revelation .(& the account makes the meanin% clear.
Encircled 4ith the radiance o sun& moon& and stars& bearer o the Hol" Child& she is
the obIect o the dra%on@s 4rath. 2he dra%on seeks to attack her at the time o the
birth and subse3uentl" $ursues her relentlessl"; but she is hel$ed miraculousl". 2he
4oman re$resents God@s aithul o all a%es& althou%h the thrust o Revelation .( is
the $eriod subse3uent to the comin% o Aesus Christ.
Cion as the mother o the $eo$le o God is a common biblical theme :see Isa
/+E.; Gal +E(<9. Fe oten ind the church likened to a $ure 4oman or a bride.
Revelation the radiant 4oman o cha$ter .( stands in stark contrast 4ith the 4hore
o cha$ter .7 decked out in %old& scarlet& and $recious stones.
2he order o the s"mbols in Revelation .( is si%niicant or understandin% the
entire $assa%e cha$ters .(!.+. Fe immediatel" meet the 4oman and the dra%on that
o$$oses her; the vision does not start 4ith the heavenl" conlict bet4een the orces
o %ood and evil. 2he theme that runs
+ Son% of Sol <E.); Isa (<E.7; /+E/; <<E7!*; ;er (E(; 7E.+; <E(!+; /ic +E.); ( Cor ..E(.
Sae,cDaR ce4'Ha$4a
The Saints@ End!2ime Victor" 0ver the Forces o Evil
throu%hout cha$ter .(& suracin% even in the central section verses 7!.(& is the
dra%on@s relentless $ursuit o God@s $eo$le& and their aithulness to God des$ite all
its eorts.
C$ild. 2he 4oman@s Child like4ise leaves us in no doubt. # male& He 4ill rule
all nations 4ith an iron rod :c. 1s (E*; Rev .*E..!./9. Further& He 4as cau%ht u$ to
God and to His throne. 2he descri$tion $oints conclusivel" to the incarnation o the
Son o God. 2he %ra$hic account ocuses on the dra%on@s eorts to devour the child
at the moment o birth& remindin% us o Herod@s slau%hter o the inants at
It seems likel"& ho4ever& that more than this %rim incident is intended. Aust as
the account $asses over the ministr" o Aesus and His crucii,ion& colla$sin% the
entire Christ!event into this one incident& so Herod@s eort to destro" the Christ
child enca$sulates the eorts o Satan to destro" Christ and His mission throu%hout
the entire $eriod o His ministr".
#i!e $eriods. 2he time $eriods mentioned in the cha$ter are no4here deined.
2he inormation %iven& ho4ever& is hel$ul in several 4a"sE
.. 2he $arallel descri$tions in verses < and .+ make clear that H.(<) da"sH is
e3uivalent to Htime& times& and hal a time.H
(. 2hese time reerences not onl" link the $ro$hec" o cha$ters .(!.+ 4ith
Revelation ..E(&7 and .7E/& but lock in this dramatic central vision o Revelation
4ith the book o Daniel :Dan 7E(/; .(E79.
7. 2he "ear!da" relationshi$ cannot be established rom this cha$ter;
ho4ever& the descri$tion indicates that literal time is not intended. 2he .(<)
da"s6three and a hal times era re$resents a s$eciic $eriod 4hen God $rovidentiall"
cared or His aithul ones in the ace o Satan@s $ersecutions. 2hat $eriod does not
e,tend to the Second Comin%. 2he vision makes clear that a/ter the .(<) da"s6three
and a hal times the dra%on 4ill concentrate its eorts on the 4oman@s descendants.
Deliverance. 2he deliverance :nourishment9 o the 4oman is inter4oven 4ith
E,odus t"$olo%". Satan@s $ursuit is similar to 1haraoh@s chasin% ater the children o
Israel as the" led rom E%"$t :E,od .+E?9. 2he t4o 4in%s o the %reat ea%le remind
us o E,odus .*E+ and Deuteronom" 7(E.)&... God rained do4n bread rom heaven
and nourished His $eo$le in the desert :see E,od .<E+.; c. Hos (E.+9.
#lthou%h some commentators have endeavored to $in$oint s$eciic $laces on
earth& such as =orth #merica& as the ulillment o these verses& it seems more
likel" that the intent is thisE God assures the suerin% Christians that no matter ho4
ierce the trials the" ma" be called u$on to bear& He is 4atchin% over His church
and 4ill sustain them.
2he Saints@ End!2ime Victor" (ver the Forces o Evil
(ffs5ring. 2he e,$ression denotin% the rest o her descendants :vs. .79 ocuses
the intent o cha$ter .(>and indeed o Revelation .(!.+. 1anoramic in s4ee$& the
ull $assa%e embraces the histor" o God@s $eo$le rom the comin% o Christ to the
end o all thin%s& but concentrates on the trials the" 4ill ace in the end!time.
Aar in 7eaven
Fhat is the relation o verses 7!.( to the rest o the cha$terL 24o distinct
$ossibilities o inter$retation conront us.
-. Ae ma" understand these verses as an interru$tion o the narrative. Verses
7!.(& $laced in a dierent time settin%& describe the castin% out o Satan and his
an%els rom heaven lon% beore the events described in verses .!<.
8nder this inter$retation& verses 7!.( 4ould unction as a HlashbackH that
hel$s to e,$lain the on%oin% stor" o cha$ter .(. 2hese verses 4ould sho4 that the
conlict on earth has 4ider ramiications; it is the se3uel to& and continuation o&
4ar in heaven.
(. Ho4ever& 4e ma" understand verses 7!.( in a dierent li%ht& indin% in
them the heavenl" counter$art to Christ@s victor" on the cross. Several reasons
ar%ue $ersuasivel" or such an inter$retationE
a. Verses .!< and .7!.7 clearl" run in continuous narrative.
b. Verses < and .+ corres$ond to each other. 2hese verses orm an in5clusio
around verses 7!.(. 2hus the inclusio unctions to e,$lain the nature o the conlict
bet4een the 4oman and the dra%on described in verse < and in verses .7!.7.
c. Verse .7 links the castin% out o the dra%on into the earth 4ith its
$ersecutin% o the 4oman 4ho had borne the Child. 2hat is& the dra%on@s ailure to
destro" the Christ child seems to be e3uated 4ith its deeat in the heavenl" 4arare
o verses 7!*.
d. Verse .) tells us that 4ith the castin% out o Satan& salvation& $o4er& God@s
kin%dom& and the authorit" o Christ ha#e come&
Verses 7!.( seem to echo t4o other scri$tures in $articular. #s Aesus told o
His comin% death and its results& He said& H=o4 is the Iud%ment o this 4orld& no4
shall the ruler o this 4orld be cast outH :Aohn .(E7.9. 2he second $assa%e is
Genesis 7E./E HI 4ill $ut enmit" bet4een "ou and the 4oman& and bet4een "our
seed and her seed; he shall bruise "our head& and "ou shall bruise his heel.H
/ #s described in The Great )ontro#ers& 'ilton in H1aradise LostI $resents a similar $icture.
2he Saints@ End!2ime Victor" (ver the Forces o &vil
Revelation .(E7!.( describes the bruisin% o Satan@s head& as he suers
irreversible deeat rom Christ@s victor" on the cross; Iust as verses .!< allude to his
bruisin% o Christ@s heel. 0ther verses o the =2 reer to Christ@s victor" over the
hosts o evil an%els throu%h His death :Col (E./;
. 1et 7E((; Aude<9.
&,egesis of Revelation -*
5eavin% aside s$eculations about allusions to the m"thical 5eviathan and
Behemoth& 4e shall $robe the reli%ious $atterns or structures that the s"mbols
Dualis!. Revelation .7 is a strikin% cha$ter. Seen in its immediate conte,t the
vivid ima%er" su%%ests dualism, con/lict, and !arod&
2he ollo4in% table %ives insi%ht into the stron% dualism that under!%irds this
section o Revelation.
< Ellen Fhite also a$$lies Rev .(E7..( to Christ@s victor" on the crossE H2he castin% do4n o Satan as
an accuser o the brethren in 7eaven 4as accom$lished b" the %reat 4ork o Christ in %ivin% u5
7is lieH 3S!irit o/ *ro!hec QFashin%ton& DC< .*<*& acsimile re$roduction of .?7? editionR&
)orces of =ood
'ichael :.(E79 5amb:.(Ell;.+El9
#o%els o 'ichael :.(E79
Voice o man" aters :.+E(9
7@6( times o 4itness (-4+1<.+9
.++&))):.+E.9 Father@s name
:.+E.9 2hrone o God :.(E/;
Foreheads:.+E.9 Forshi$ o God
:.+E<&79 Praise to =od :.+E79
Glor" to God :.+E<&79 Deat$ to
enemies :.+E.7!()9 5o"alt" to
God :.+E.(9
Fithout %uile :.+E/9 Call to e,alt
=od :.+E<!.(9 0niversal
invitation :.+E<9 Faithul remnant
)orces of &vil
Dra%on :.(E7; .7E(9
#n%els o the dra%on :.(E79
Seashore :.7E.9
Sea :.7E.9
+( months of success :.7E/9
HEarth!d4ellersH :.7E.(!.<9
=ame o beast :.7E.79 2hrone o
beast :.7E(9
Foreheads :.7E.<9 Forshi$ o
beast :.7E?9 1raise to beast
Blas$hem" :.7E.&/&<9 Death to
enemies :.7E./9 #lle%iance to
beast :.7E.+!.79
Dece$tion :.7E.+&./9 Call to
e,alt beast :.7E.(!.79 8niversal
com$ulsion :.7E.(9 'ass
alle%iance :.+E.<9
2he Saints@ End!2ime Victor" (ver the Forces o Evil
2hus& in Revelation .7 the lines are dra4n shar$l". 24o leaders& t4o orces&
t4o reli%ions are $ortra"ed. 2he 4orld is divided into t4o cam$s>and onl" t4o.
Conflicts. 2he element o conlict is $rominent. Fe read o 4ar in heaven
itsel& then 4ar on earth. #lthou%h the dra%on is unsuccessul in his schemes to
devour the Hol" Child& he $ursues his evil eorts b" attackin% the ollo4ers o the
Child. He seeks to com$el& to deceive& to threaten& and to annihilate& 4orkin% no4
throu%h the t4o monsters set orth in Revelation .7. He aims at a 4orld s"stem in
4hich he himsel 4ill be the obIect o 4orshi$. #n" and all 4ho %et in the 4a" o
the ulillment o his schemes are to be sin%led out and eliminated.
In this conlict God is not 3uiescent. #s dece$tions and threats o bo"cott and
e,ecution multi$l"& 7e 4orks throu%h His $eo$le& 4ho stand ast b" Hthe
commandments o God and the aith o AesusH :.+E.(9. 2he" too seek to 4in the
4orld>but or the 5amb instead o the dra%on. 2he" earlessl" unmask dece$tions
o the draconic orces& declare the bankru$tc" o t$e s"stem o $seudo!reli%ion
4hich the dra%on throu%h his a%ents seeks to brin% about& and sound a 4arnin% o
un3ualiied doom on those 4ho& b" 4ill or b" e,$edienc"& become $art o the
universal draconic movement.
Parody. 2he element o $arod" is hei%htened in Revelation .7. Fe see an
unhol" trinit" emer%in%E the dra%on& the sea monster& and the land monster. 2he
$arallels are strikin%& $articularl" bet4een the sea beast and the 5amb. Both receive
a stroke :Hdeadl" 4oundH>but the monster receives it in the head9; both e,$erience
a HresurrectionH; both have a Hsanctuar"H :the heavenl" as o$$osed to the earth
itsel9; both have ollo4ers; both elicit 4orshi$. 1erha$s& even the cr"$tic number
o the sea beast& <<<& is desi%nated to hei%hten the $arod". 2he number < :in con!
trast 4ith the number 7 and com$leteness9 ma" re$resent im$erection& dece$tion&
and blas$hem" tri$led& raised to a hei%htened de%ree.
2he third member o the satanic trilo%" a$es the 4ork o the Hol" S$irit 2his
t4o!hom monster arises out o the earth& 4hich had hel$ed the 4oman :.(E.<9& and
has the a$$earance o a lamb. But he serves the sea beast& $erormin% miracles
:note that the ire rom heaven o these dece$tions has its counter$art in the ire o
the t4o aithul 4itnesses o Revelation ..E/9& and thereb" deceivin% the earth!
2hus& Revelation .7 sets out the dra%on@s messiah and his re$resentative. 2he
satanic trinit"& their activities& their claims& their 4orshi$& their ollo4in%>all
caricature God& 7is bein%& His character& His church& His 4orshi$.
2 Sec ;.P./. S4eet@s co!!cntaiy< "e#elation :1hiladel$hia& .*7*9& ()7!.*& for develo$ment of this
2he Saints@ End!2ime Victor" 0ver the Forces o Evil
#t this irst level& then>the level o %eneral s"mbolism>Revelation .7 is a
%ra$hic descri$tion o the %reat controvers" bet4een %ood and evil. Ellen Fhite
occasionall" uses such %eneral s"mbolism. For e,am$le& H#ntichrist& meanin% all
4ho e,alt themselves a%ainst the 4ill and 4ork o God& 4ill at the a$$ointed time
eel the 4rath o Him 4ho %ave Himsel that the" mi%ht not $erish but have eternal
Revelation sho4s the conlict bet4een %ood and evil is universal and reaches
even into heaven itsel. It teaches that orce& dece$tion& and su$ernatural
$henomena are brou%ht to bear on all those 4ho seek to 4orshi$ the true =od. It
indicates that there can be no neutralit" in this controvers"& that 4e %ive our
alle%iance to either Christ or Satan. #nd it also $oints to the outcome o the
conlictE #lthou%h the ollo4ers o Christ suer hardshi$ and $ersecution on earth
because o their aith& inal victor" 4ill be theirs.
#$e /eaning for ;o$n%s Day
Christians in ever" time and $lace ma" take the s"mbolic $atterns 4e have
su%%ested above and ind si%niicance or their times. Because the %reat controvers"
is a%elon% and universal& the $rinci$les o Revelation .7 ind re$eated a$$lications
in the histor" o God@s $eo$le. Scri$ture al4a"s unctions thus to instruct& admonish&
and comort the $eo$le o God.
=o doubt Christians livin% at the end o the irst centur" 4ould have ound
contem$orar" si%niicance in the s"mbols o Revelation .7. # small& illicit sect&
the" 4ould have seen satanic orces and desi%ns behind the mi%ht o im$erial
Rome& raised a%ainst them b" =ero and Domitian and to all ever more heavil" in
the succeedin% ()) "ears. Fe notice a stron% movement rom Romans .7 to
Revelation .7. In the ormer the state is ordained o God& but in the latter it has
become an a%ent o Satan.
1erha$s the" sa4 also elements o the im$erial cult behind the land beast 4hose
eorts 4ere directed to4ard the e,altation o the sea beast. 2he combination o
reli%ion and state $ortra"ed b" Revelation .7 4ould have evoked echoes o their
current e,$eriences.
Havin% made these observations& ho4ever& 4e must raise this 3uestionE
=o matter 4hat a$$lications Christians o the irst centur" or later ma" have seen in
Revelation .7& are these the /ul/illment o the $ro$hec" itselL Fe turn& then& to the
historicist inter$retation o the $assa%e.
$arod". J &llen =. Fhite& Selected 6essages, Book 7 :Fashin%ton& DC<
.*?)9& +)(.
2he Saints@ End!2ime Victor" (ver the Forces o Evil
7istoric )ulfill!ent
Revelation .7 is built around our leadin% subIects>the sea beast& the land
beast& the Hmark&H and the cr"$tic number <<<. Ae shall take u$ each
in turn.
.. Sea Beast :vss. .!.)9. Fe note the characteristics o the sea beast
as brou%ht out in the $assa%eE
a. It arises rom the sea. 2he dra%on is $ictured as a4aitin% the a$$earance o
the beast rom the sea in order that it :the dra%on9 ma" advance it@s evil $lans. 2he
dra%on stands at the meetin% o land and sea. 0ne o its a%ents 4ill come rom the
sea and the other rom the land. B" this means the 4orld4ide sco$e o the draeonic
activit" is indicated.
b. 2he beast that arises rom the sea is termed a therion :.7E..9. 2his term is
used or 4ild animals& or ra$acious beasts& or animal!like bein%s o a su$ernatural
In vie4 o the use o this 4ord and the activities o the beast& 4e are Iustiied
in callin% it the Hsea monster.H
c. 2he sea monster has ten horns and seven heads. In this res$ect it is like the
dra%on himsel :.(E79 and the beast o Revelation .7 :vs. ..9.
d. 2he sea monster has diadems on it@s horns; the dra%on has them on it%s heads.
In Revelation .7 a beast o similar a$$earance is uncro4ned :vs. 79.
e. 2he sea monster has a blas$hemous name on its heads. 2he beast o
Revelation .7 is ull o blas$hemous names :.7E79.
. 2he sea monster has characteristics o a leo$ard& a bear& and a lion. 2hus& it is
a com$osite o the beasts o Daniel 7& in both t"$es and number :the beasts o
Daniel 7 to%ether orm seven heads and ten horns9.
%. From the 4aitin% dra%on& the sea monster receives it@s $o4er& throne& and
authorit" :.7E.!(9.
h. 0ne o its heads received a deadl" stroke 3!tSge4&
2his 4ound 4as not
merel" on one head; the monster itsel 4as stricken unto death :vs. .+9. In order to
catch the orce o the $arod" 4e must realiJe that the e,$ression used or the blo4&
hos es!hagmeriSn, is identical 4ith the descri$tion o the slain 5amb o Revelation
:.7E?; /E<9. In .7E.+ this stroke is said to be Hb" the s4ord.H
i. 2he severe blo4 4as healed. 2he recover" o the monster rom its mortal
stroke is like a resurrection rom the dead :.7E.+9.
B R.C.7. 5enski& The Inter!retation o/ St& John7s "e#elation :Columbus& (7< .*+79& also !entions
t$e source o t$e beast :rom beneath9 as $ointin% to its brutish nature.
.) #$e sa!e 4ord is translated as H$la%ueH else4here in Revelation.
2he SaintsM End!2ime Victor" (ver the Forces o Evil
I. 2he recover" o the sea monster causes 4onder :vs. 79.
k. Earth d4ellers 4orshi$ the dra%on because o the sea monster :vs. +9.
.. 2he" 4orshi$ also the monster itsel because o its seemin% invincibilit"E
HFho is able to i%ht 4ith itLH :vs. +9.
m. 2he beast e,ercises authorit" or +( months :vs. /9. Fe are not to consider
that this +(!month $eriod be%ins a/ter the healin% o the atal 4ound. Rather verses
/!.) o the cha$ter are in $arallel thou%ht 4ith verses . !+. 2he irst our verses
introduce the sea monster and %ive an overall descri$tion; the ollo4in% si, verses
re$eat the account b" elaboratin% and e,$lainin%.
n. 2he sea monster s$eaks H%reat thin%sH :close $arallels 4ith Daniel
o. 2he sea monster blas$hemes GodE it blas$hemes His name& His sanctuar"&
and those 4ho d4ell in heaven.
H2hose 4ho d4ell in heavenH stands in contrast
4ith Hthose 4ho d4ell on earthH in verses ?&.(&.+.
$. 2he sea monster i%hts a%ainst the saints and overcomes them or +( months
:vss. /&79.
3. It has universal authorit" :vss. 7&?9.
r. 2he edothe :it 4as allo4ed9 o verses /& 7 sho4s that& 4hile the sea monster
seeks to 4in the alle%iance o the 4orld and to rule over all& an" $o4er that it has
comes about onl" b" God@s $ermissive decree. It has no inherent ri%ht to rule or
Inter5retation. 2his descri$tion o the sea monster and his activities is
remarkabl" ull. Fe are to look or a reli%io$olitical $o4er to arise bet4een Aohn@s
time and the Second Comin%>one that 4ill continue or H+( months&H demand and
command 4ides$read alle%iance& %o into decline& recover& and in the events
immediatel" $recedin% the Return& be aided b" the land monster.
Fe $reviousl" have %iven reasons in su$$ort o a historicist inter$retation o
the vision. Inasmuch as the maIorit" o commentators still ado$t a $reterist vie4&
ho4ever& it is necessar" to $oint out that no satis/actor /ul/ilment in the /irst
centur A&%& can be ad#anced& #ttem$ts to identi" the Hdeadl" strokeH 4ith the
rei%ns o Cali%ula or =ero all short o the s$eciication o the $ro$hec". 2he
Roman Em$ire sim$l" 4as not mortall" hurt b" the rule or death o either o these
or an" other em$eror. In a nut!
-- #$e RS' !issed the sanctuar" settin% o the vision& translatin% vs. < as I$is d4ellin%& that is& t$ose
4ho d4ell in $eaven.I
.( #$ereby the reader is assured that& re%ardless of t$e sea !onster%s dominance or a time& he 4ill at
len%th be dealt 4ith b" =od.
#$e Saints@ End!2ime Victor" (ver the Forces o Evil
shell& historians search in vain or a irst!centur" event big enough to it the
vision. Some scholars o Revelation are no4 admittin% the untenabilit" o
the $reterist $osition.H
I 4e rule out the $reterist vie4& 4e are let 4ith three o$tions or un!
derstandin% the visionE :.9 AohnMs vie4 o the uture 4as 4ron%& :(9 his
$redictions 4ill "et ind ulillment :uturism9& or :79 4e must ind develo$!
ments in histor" on a scale lar%e enou%h to match the s$eciications o the
vision. #cce$tin% Revelation as ins$ired& 4e reIect the irst o$tion; 4e $re!
viousl" sho4ed the 4eakness o the uturist vie4; 4e thereore look to a
historicist $osition.
#n obIection oten raised a%ainst historicism is that it is too subIective
>every inter$reter inds ulillment in the ne4s$a$er headlines.
Ae grant
the $roblem o subIectivit" and admit that this school o inter$retation has
suered at times rom misuse. But 4e su%%est that e are on saer %round
4hen e ado$t a broad vie4& a wide $ers$ective in scannin% histor" to
understand the $ro$hec".
In m" vie4& Daniel 7!? $rovide the ke" to Revelation .7. 2he cor!
res$ondences are im$ressive in activities and time $eriodE Revelation is
echoin% Daniel and elaboratin% u$on it. Fe are %iven a clue too obvious to
miss in the com$osite character o the sea monsterE Revelation .7
$resu$$oses the vision o Daniel 7. #s the latter cha$ter $oints to the line o
kin%doms and ocuses on the blas$hemous Hlittle homH $o4er& so Revelation
.7 be%ins 4ith a terse descri$tion that locks the vision in 4ith DanielP
$ro$hec" and elaborates the ver" same $o4er.
Seventh!da" #dventists have $ointed to the rise and 4ork o the 5a5acy
as a ulillment o these t4o visions. 0ur $ioneer inter$reters o Daniel and
Revelation sho4ed clearl" its reli%ious!$olitical nature& its usur$ation of the
$riesthood o Christ in the heavenl" sanctuar"& its $ersecution o Hheretics&H
its $eriod o su$remac" durin% the 'iddle #%es& its decline 4ith the comin%
o the #%e o Reason& and its resur%ence in !ode! ti!es.
2b inter$ret the sea monster o Revelation .7 as the $a$ac" seems
some4hat out o kee$in% 4ith the s$irit o the times. In an a%e 4hen Chris!
.7 E.%.& 5cnski& 'inear.
-. /ouocc< .4.
-6 #$e I.4 !ont$sI is usually reckoned to be the .&(<) "ear 5eriod A.D. /7?!.7*?. Some
Adventists understand t$e $ealing o t$e deadl" stroke to be 'ussolini@s concordat 4ith the
$a$ac". (t$ers suggest t$at the H4oundH is the se5aration of church fro! state& 4ith t$e
I$ealingI bein% a reunitingDa 5rocess still incom$lete.
2he SaintsM End!2ime Victor" 0ver the Forces o Evil
tianit" in %eneral aces the onslau%hts o secularism and 4hen amon% Christians
ecumenism has become $o$ular& the inter$retation smacks o narro4ness and
bi%otr". In res$onse 4e su%%est that three actors must be ke$t in mindE
:.9 Fe dierentiate bet4een individual believers and the $a$ac". 2he latter is a
sstem o doctrine and 4orshi$ 4hich the $ro$hec" addresses. Fe do not raise
3uestions as to the sincerit" and $iet" o individual Roman Catholics. :(9 I the
inter$retation seems harsh 4e should remember that the 1rotestant Reormers 4ere
$ersuaded o its validit".
:79 Fe need a lon% vie4 o histor"& one that is able to
hold to%ether the s4ee$ o develo$ments rom Aohn@s da" to ours& one that is not
undul" distorted b" our o4n times.
Beore leavin% the e,$osition o Revelation .7E.!.) 4e should briel" notice a
maIor obIection to our inter$retation. #t times adherents to the $reterist vie4 have
ar%ued that the Revelation .7 beast $rovides the identit" o the sea beast in
Revelation .7. 2he" su%%est that the seven heads and ten homs sho4 that the same
$o4er is reerred to. It is ar%ued that the descri$tion>Hthe seven heads are . . . seven
kin%s& ive o 4hom have allen& one is& and the other has not "et comeH>clearl"
locates the beast in Aohn@s o4n centur".
2his solution is not as 4aterti%ht as it irst a$$ears& ho4ever. First& 4e should
be4are o colla$sin% the visions o Revelation .7 and .7. 2he act that the sea beast
is cro4ned 4hile the beast o cha$ter .7 is not should alert us to dierentiation.
Second& neither the HmountainsH
:vs. *9 nor
the Hkin%sH :vs. .)9 identi" Rome& as some scholars no4 reco%niJe.H Com!
mentators cannot a%ree as to the identit" o the / S . S .& nor can the Roman
em$erors be made to it the subse3uent descri$tions in .7E..!.7. 2hird&
under Strand@s anal"sis o Revelation& the vision o cha$ter .7 comes 4ithin
the Heschatolo%icalH section. 2hat is& the sea monster o cha$ter .7 e,hibits
characteristics that 4ill be seen a%ain in the orces o evil that coalesce
immediatel" beore the Second Comin%.
Fhat then o the seven heads and ten horns o the dra%on and the sea
monsterL 2he dra%on& alone o the unhol" trilo%" o Revelation .7& is iden!
tiied>it is Satan :.(E*9. 2he sea beast is Satan@s a%ent; this is 4h" the
Hearth d4ellersH actuall" 4orshi$ Satan as the" 4orshi$ the sea monster.
.< 'ounce& +)& notices that t$e ollo4ers o Aoachim of Flora :t4elth century@ identified the Po5e as
the beast. 2his anti$a$al inter$retation as ado5ted b" the Protestant Refor!ers.
.7 #$e a55eal to Ro!e as the cit" of the seven I$illsI is aretchcd.
.? Bg.< 'inear& (7/!+<.
.* Strand& +*./+!//.
2he Saints@ End!2une Victor" 0ver the Forceso2Evil
Fith both entities& the seven heads and ten homs echo the beasts o Daniel 7&
su%%estin% b" this s"mbolism the $olitical $o4ers throu%h 4hich Satan 4orks to
urther his ends. It ma" be the case that 4e should endeavor to locate seven actual
nations and ten actual kin%s and kin%doms in histor" as o$$ressors o the saints and
the ulillment o the vision. 0n the other hand& the numerolo%" o seven and ten
su%%ests rather that the totalit o $olitical a%encies is in vie4& since Satan al4a"s
em$lo"s $olitical $o4ers to
$romote his $ur$oses.!H
2he detail concernin% the diadems is $robabl" si%niicant. 2he" are on the
dra%on@s heads& but on the sea beast@s homs. #%ain Daniel 7 %ives us the clueE 2he
chan%e or ne4 develo$ment ma" be due to the la$se o time. Satan@s de$redations
throu%h the sea monster come lon% a/ter his eorts to kill the hol" Child. 2he
descri$tion o the sea beast in the Greek te,t lists the homs be/ore the heads :a
uni3ue detail 4hen com$ared 4ith the other descri$tions o these similar!lookin%
i%ures& Rev .(E7; .7E79 and thus also dra4s attention to this chan%e in em$hasis.
4. Land !onster :vss. ----2@. 2he second beast o Revelation .7 is o interest
because o its relation to the sea monster. 2he descri$tion o its activities ocuses to
Iust one $ointE It unctions to e,alt the sea monster. It is& in act& the alter ego o the
irst beast. In $ursuin% this %oal its hallmark is dece$tion. It is called the Halse
$ro$hetH in Revelation .<E.7& and the alse $ro$het 4ho does miracles in Revelation
2hese eatures o the second beast 4ill become obvious as 4e list its
characteristics rom Revelation .7E..!.7E
a. It also is termed therion :4ild animal9. Des$ite docile a$$earances to the
contrar"& the second beast in act is ra$acious in nature. Fe ma" term it the land
monster to brin% out this hostile character :vs. ..9.
b. It arises out o the earth :vs. ..9. #t times Seventh!da" #dventist
commentators have contrasted earth 4ith sea :vs. .9& su%%estin% that $ereas the
latter si%niies densel" $o$ulated areas& the ormer reers to uninhabited re%ions.
2his inter$retation ma" be correct.
HEarthH 3ge4, ho4ever& has several distinct usa%es in Revelation.
It seems
likel" that 4e are to understand HearthH in .7E.. rom the descri$tion o the dra%on@s
attacks on the 4oman in cha$ter .(. Here 4e read that Hthe earth came to the hel$ o
the 4omanH :vs. .<9. 2he act that the beast
49 (r< t$at t$e entire $olitical $rocess has beco!e subIect to $is schemes.
4- 'inear& (<7& notes that eart$ Horms the common denominator or all the antichristic orces!beasts<
kin%s& $otentates& milionaires& merchants& and d4ellers.H 0n $. (<+ he %ives our denotations
o%1 :earth9& the final one bein% t$e realm in 4hich =od inlicts 7is $unishments.
##ie SaintsM End!2ime Victor" (ver the )orces of &vil
o Revelation .7E.. arises out o the land& then& 4ould be in kee$in% 4ith its
dece$tive character. 2he vision is sa"in%& in the re%ion o a$$arent saet" the
dra%on 4ill 4ork dece$tivel" to continue its 4arare a%ainst the 4oman.
It thereore seems reasonable to iner that HearthH in verse .. is the
com$lement o HseaH in verse .& both to%ether si%ni"in% the universal
s$here o the draconic de$redations. Such a vie4 is su$$orted b" .(E.(T
HFoe to "ou& ) earth and sea& or the devil has come do4n to "ou in %reat
4rath& because he kno4s that his time is shortNH
c. 2he land monster has t4o horns like a lamb :vs. ..9. 1resumabl" the
horns are in kee$in% 4ith the dece$tive nature o the land monster>instead
o draconic horns& it a$es the 5amb.
d. =evertheless its true nature reveals itsel. 2he 1ai :and9 is adversa!
tiveE $8But9 it s$oke as a dra%onH :vs. ..9. 5ike the sea beast& the second
beast is an a%ent o the devil in its attacks on the church.
e. #uthorit"E 2he land beast e,ercises all the authorit" o the irst beast
and in its $resence :vs. .(9.
. It com$els the Hearth d4ellersH to 4orshi$ the sea beast& that has been
healed rom the mortal stroke :vs. .(9.
%. It does H%reat miraclesH :as in .*E()9& causin% ire to come do4n
rom heaven :vs. .79. 2he nature o this HireH is unclear; $resumabl" it is
the satanic counter$art to the si%ns $erormed b" the t4o 4itnesses :..E/9.
h. 2he miracles o the land monster deceive the Hearth d4ellersH :vs.
i. It causes an Hima%eH to be made to the sea monster and %ives it breath
in order that it mi%ht Hs$eakH :vss. .+&./9.
I. It enorces 4orshi$ o the ima%e o the sea monster& on $ain o death
:vs. ./9.
k. 2hus& it brin%s about a $arod" o the universal church& b" causin%
$eo$le o all stations in lie to ado$t its $seudo4orshi$ :vs. .<9.
.. It enorces a HmarkH 4hich is termed the HnameH o the sea beast and
the Hnumber o his name&H b" bo"cottin% those 4ho reuse to acce$t it :vss.
m. 5ike the sea monster beore it& the activities o the land beast do not
stem rom inherent ri%ht or authorit". 2he" come about onl" because God
has $ermitted them :edoths, Hallo4ed&H vss. .+&./& RSV9. But that $ermis!
sion im$lies its eventual 4ithdra4al. 5ater in Revelation the land beast& also
described as the dece$tive alse $ro$het o the end!time& 4ill meet an
in%lorious ate :cha$. .*E()9.
Inter5retation. Can 4e identi" this second monster o Revelation .7L
2he SaintsM End!2ime Victor" (ver the Forces o Evil
#$e vision indicates that 4e are to look or a maIor $o4er that 4ill& b" dece$tive
means& urther the cause o the $a$ac". Further& this $o4er 4ill a$$ear to4ard the
close o human histor"& ater the $eriod o the H+( monthsH o$a$al mi%ht. It is to be
a $o4er that is avo4edl" reli%ious in
0ur #dventist $ioneers sa4 in the rise o the 8nited States o #merica
a ulillment o the land beast. 2he" $ointed to eatures such as the t4o homs&
re$resentin% a re$ublican orm o %overnment and reli%ious libert". 2he" also sa4
in nineteenth centur" develo$ments& such as Sunda" la4s& evidence that the
dra%onlike character o certain reli%ious elements o the 8nited States 4as bein%
Let us rankl" ackno4led%e that the ull understandin% o the ulillment o this
$ro$hec" o the land monster still a4aits us. 2he irst monster@s activities as set out
in Revelation .7 have alread" been ulilled& and histor" 4itnesses to the $a$ac" as
the $o4er desi%nated. Si%niicant eatures of t$e second monstes dece$tions are
not "et clear& ho4ever>es$eciall" t$e miracles that cause man" to be led astra"&
and the Hima%eH to the sea monster. Further& the vision indicates a sta%e o action
4hich embraces the 4hole 4orld. # Sunda" la4 a$$licable onl" to the 8nited
States clearl" is inade3uate. Ho4 the entire mass o humanit" 4ill be dra4n into the
vorte, o dece$tion is not a$$arent at $resent.
B" these remarks 4e do not su%%est that the inter$retation o our s$iritual
oreathers 4as 4ron%. 2he 8nited States occu$ies a uni3ue $lace in 4orld aairs&
one ar %reater than nineteenth centur" observers could have antici$ated. In this
res$ect the #dventist $ioneers had oresi%ht 4ell ahead o their contem$oraries. Fe
merel" su%%est that the ull disclosure o the meanin% o the land monster still
a4aits us and that the inal dece$tive activities o the %reat controvers"& 4hile
heavil" involvin% the 8nited States& 4ill be 4orld4ide.
*. /ark of t$e beast 2he Greek charagma si%niies an im$rinted mark& a
%raven mark or line& character& inscri$tion.
In the descri$tion o Revelation .7E.<&.7 the mark identiies the ollo4ers o
the sea monster. It is enorced b" the land monster 4ho seeks thereb"
44 C$artes< 7<(!<7& observes that charag;na 4as a technical desi%nation o t$e im$erial cult :rom
Deiss!ann@. 7e sees the $uttin% o the !ark on t$e ri%ht hand and the bro4 as a travest" o t$e
tepnulim. $But ultimatel the mar1s on the brows o/ the /aith/ul&&& and o/ the worshi!ers o/ the
east had the same origin& Both were intended to show that the wearers o/ the mar1s are under
su!ernatural !rotection 5 the ormer under t$e $rotection o =od< the latter o SatanH :$. 7<7&
italics bis@.
2Se SaintsM End!2ime Victor" (ver the Forces of &vil
to se$arate and eliminate all 4ho reuse to receive the mark. 2he bo"cott described
in verse .? is not or the $ur$ose o causin% hardshi$ to the saints. Rather& it is to
e,$ose them $ublicl"& so that the" ma" be killed :vs. ./9.
Christians suerin% under the $ersecutions o the im$erial cult 4ould have
seen in the certiicates o conormit" an a$$lication o the HmarkH o Revelation .7.
2he settin% o the Hmark&H ho4ever>Iust $rior to the Second #dvent>sho4s that
its ull meanin% is "et uture.
Fhat is this HmarkHL It centers in the name o the sea monster. 2his is sho4n b"
the ollo4in%E :.9 Fe ma" translate the $hraseolo%" m verse .7 as Hthe mark>the
name o the monster or the number o its nameH;
:(9 the monster has a blas$hemous name :.7E.9; :79 the saints are victorious over the
monster& its ima%e& and Hthe number o its nameH :./E(9;
and :+9 the saints have the names o the Father and o the 5amb 4ritten in their
oreheads :.+E.9.
2he Hmark&H then& centers in lo"alt". It is the counter$art o the Hseal o GodH o
cha$ter 7. In the inal events o 1lanet Earth& as the entire human race is divided into
Iust t4o cam$s& one %rou$ 4ill %ive alle%iance to the sea monster and the other&
des$ite all o$$osition& 4ill remain lo"al to God. 2he HmarkH and the HsealH
res$ectivel" identi" all $eo$le.
In that inal crisis the commandments o God 4ill emer%e as a standard o
lo"alt" :.(E.7; .+E<!.(9. 2he Sabbath in $articular 4ill be the litmus test; one@s
relationshi$ to it 4ill disclose his basic relationshi$ to God and His la4. 2hus& 4hile
the nonobservance o the Sabbath! or Sunda"!observance is not the HmarkH $er se
Iust no4& both are inte%ral to its end!time enorcement. 2he Sabbath& ancientl" the
Hsi%nH o the $eo$le o God :E,od 7.E.7; &>ek ()E()9& 4ill a%ain come to the ore to
sho4 the 4orld those 4ho $ut God irst.
.. Cry5tic nu!ber <<<. =o verse o Revelation has attracted more attention
than this. Oet onl" here does it occur in the book and onl" one other allusion is made
to it :./E(9. Further& des$ite the man" attem$ts to deci$her it& no consensus has been
In m" vie4& the ollo4in% observations are $ertinentE :.9 arithmos gar
anthro!ou estm :literall"& Hor a number o a man it isH9 ma" mean either Hit is a
human number&H or Hit is the number o a man.H 2he ormer is to be $reerred& since
the vision is identi"in% the sea monster& 4ho is clearl" a reli%io$olitical $o4er and
more than an individual. #ttem$ts to see =ero:n9 as the ulillment o the $ro$hec"
have erred at this $oint.
Corn!(7 #$$l"in% <<< to =ero calls or s$ellin% his name
as =ero:n9; the te,tual variant o <.< is to be
#ne SamtsPDnd!22meVicor" 0ver tHB202ceS 02EV8
$utations that re3uire a chan%e o lan%ua%e& doin% the arithmetic in 7ebre or 5atin&
also seem to %o be"ond the te,t. :79 #ttem$ts to ar%ue
fro! the trian%ular
are even more unlikel".
#n" e,$lanation o the cr"$tic number 4ill have to be tentative. It is $ossible
that the inscri$tion #icarius/ilii del o the $a$al tiara is the name indicated b" the
$ro$hec"& as man" Seventh!da" #dventist e,$ositors have tau%ht. But in m" vie4
the te,t su%%ests that <<< is the code or the name of the sea monster& 4hich is
blas$hem". It $oints to a $arod" o $erectionE
im$erection u$on im$erection& des$ite the beast@s monstrous claims.
&,egesis of Revelation -.
Like cha$ter .(& cha$ter .+ alls into three distinct sections. Fe ma" see more
readil" the construction and thematic lo4 o the cha$ter rom the ollo4in%
&art$%s )ilial =eneration
#. 2he 1eo$le 5o"al to God :.+E.!/9
.. 2heir leader > the 5amb
(. 2heir $lace > 'ount Cion
7. 2heir number !.++&)))
+. 2heir character>undeiled
/. 2heir devotion > ollo4 the 5amb B.
God@s 'edia BlitJ :.+E<!.(9
.. First an%el>Iud%ment announced
(. Second an%el>Iud%ment delineated
7. 2hird an%el>Iud%ment described
:#. 1arenthetical #side!.+E.79 C. Earth@s
Final Harvest :.+E.+!()9
.. Harvest o the ri%hteous
(. Harvest o the 4icked
c$ained on t$is basis.
4. Si, hundred si,ty-si, is t$e trian%ular o a trian%ular 2he trian%ular o ? is 7< and the trian%ular of *1
is 111. See S4eet& (.?!.*. (t$er com$utations su%%ested include lateinos and he latino asiteia,
each of $ic$ e,$ressions totals <<< in =reek.
2nePmePEna!2PmeVlctor"0verthe Forces o Evil
Leading /otifs
In this section 4e 4ill isolate the ke" terms and themes o Revelation .+&
attem$tin% to e,$lain them and their role in the develo$ment o the $assa%e.
2he La!b. 2his term& the chie desi%nation or Christ in Revelation& occurs (?
times in the book. It is a marvelous choice. Fhen 4e stand back& as it 4ere& and
behold the $anorama o the book& 4ith the orces o evil $aradin% as a series o
monsters& 4e catch our breath at the 5ord@s ans4er to these evil& ra$acious creatures
>a 5ambN Furthermore& a slain 5ambL
As Revelation .+ o$ens& the contrast 4ith cha$ter .7 is brilliantl" eective.
Instead o the land and sea 4e ind 'ount Cion; instead oeree& dece$tion& and
reli%ious $ersecution 4e see the 5amb.
Fe should notice that the Greek term here or Hlamb&H as throu%hout Revelation&
is amion& 2he term or the sacriicial lamb in Aohn@s Gos$el& ho4ever& is amnos
:Aohn .E(*& 7<9. 2he 5amb o Revelation derives His authorit" rom His sacriicial
death :see cha$. /E<!.79& but H5ambH b" no means denotes 4eakness. Amion $oints
to martial characteristicsE 2he 5amb is leader o the hosts o heaven and the $eo$le
lo"al to God on earth. 2he ver" title H5ambH enca$sulates the $arado,ical nature o
the %oodE
a$$arentl" hel$less but in realit" enormousl" stron%& stru%%lin% 4ith dece$tion and
o$$ression& and victorious at last.
#$e .++&))). #s the beast has its number& a cr"$tic number si%ni"in% $arod"
and im$erection& so God has the number o His $eo$le. 2hat number $oints to
com$leteness. 0n the basis o the $arallel occurrence :Rev 7E+!.79 it seems unlikel"
that a literal inter$retation is intended.
2he .++&))) are characteriJed b"E
-. A C$ristlike c$aracter. 2he" bear the name o the 5amb and the name o the
Father in their oreheads>no HhandH mark or them.
4. 0ndefikd. In a 4orld that has $rostituted true 4orshi$& the" are $ure in heart.
HVir%insH :or& HchasteH9 si%niies idelit" to God :c. Rev (E.+& ()9& not celibac".
*. =uileless. 2he beast and its ima%e :cha$. .79 are characteriJed b" dece$tion&
orce& and m"ster"; but the .++&))) b" o$enness& clarit"& and honest".
.. &,5erience. 2he son% o the .++&))) stems rom the conlict throu%h
(/ :ote the s$eciication o .(&))) rom each o the .( tribes o Israel :vss. +!/9 and the descri$tion o vs.
*. Sec Beatrice =eall& I=ood =e4s #bout the .++&)))&H Ad#entist "e#iew, #$ril (&.*?7.
T"e Samt$>?-)TTmeV#ct2i5O/efl!e)#oTCCS)o#T:!
4hich the" have $assed. 2he" have Hcon3uered the beast and its ima%e and
the number o its name@M :./E(9. 2heir lo"alt" has been tested and reined
in the crisis o the end!time.
6. Devotion to t$e La!b. 2he" have $ut the 5amb irst on earth&
choosin% to be identiied 4ith Him in ace o o$$osition& ar%ument& hardshi$&
and denial; no4 the" ollo4 the 5amb 4herever He %oes.
Angels. Si, an%els are mentioned in this cha$ter& the irst three $ro!
claimin% God@s invitations and 4arnin%s to the 4orld Iust beore the Second
Comin%& the last three rea$in% the harvest o earth. 1resumabl" these t4o
sets o three corres$ond>divine Iud%ments ollo4 divine messa%es.
8n3uestionabl"& the an%el i%ures o the cha$ter are s"mbolic. 2he last
t4o an%els are $ortra"ed in a scene rom the %ra$e harvest>e,ce$t that in
the last verse o the cha$ter the HAuiceH lo4in% rom the 4ine$ress o God@s
4rath is bloodN Fhen Christ returns He Himsel is the rea$er and an%els
assist Him :c. 'att .7E(+!7)&7<!+79.
5ike4ise 4ith the irst three an%els o Revelation .+. 2he" $ortra" three
divine messa%es that are to encircle the %lobe :4e should remember that the
Greek aggelos is not restricted to an%el i%uresE its basic meanin% is
Hmessen%erH or Henvo"H9. 2hese messa%es in turn call the last!time
%eneration back to the 4orshi$ o the livin% God& declare the bankru$tc" o
s$iritual Bab"lon& and 4arn a%ainst the 4orshi$ o the beast.
#$ree an%elsM messa%e. Revelation .+ is much more concerned 4ith
the irst three an%els than 4ith the second three. Fe should note es$eciall"
three as$ects o the irst three>the time o their messa%es& their sco!e,
#nd t"ei# content:
-. #i!e. 2hat the messa%es o Revelation .+E<!.( are to be located in
the $eriod immediatel" $recedin% the return o Aesus and not throu%hout the
Christian Era is sho4n b" t4o lines o evidence in the $assa%e. First& the
messa%es call men and 4omen to 4orshi$ God instead o the beast and its
ima%e. Revelation .7& ho4ever& has sho4n that the ima%e o the beast onl"
comes into bein% ater the H+(!monthH :.(<) "ears9 $eriod o the beast@s
su$remac". Second& the three messa%es are ollo4ed b" the Second Comin%
>4hich comin% is described in terms o Iud%ment on those 4ho have
chosen alle%iance to the beast rather than to God.
4. Sco5e. 1roclamation rom midheaven& sho4in% the orce o the im!
(< Some commentators have su%%ested a corres$ondence bet4een t$e latter three an%els o Rev .+
it$ the three H4oesH of Rev ?E.7. Such an inter$retation& ho4ever& 4ould involve a uturistic
vie o Rev * > somethin% to be discarded on ot$er %rounds.
me ##iilu'(I)ni!!le*i"to'+,ve'*he To'"es o! (vil
$act; 4orld4ide in reach& crosses continents and barriers o ethnicit"& lan%ua%e& and
*. Content In a later $art o the e,$osition& 4here 4e s$eci" the characteristics
o God@s $eo$le as revealed in Revelation .+& 4e 4ill elaborate as$ects o the
content o the messa%es o Revelation .+E<!.(. Here 4e merel" list items o that
In vie4 o the data o the te,t itsel& the 'ormon a$$lication o Revelation .+ is
ound to be invalid. #lthou%h 'ormons could make a case or themselves based on
the time element and the sco$e o their activities& in several res$ects their teachin%s
all short o the s$eciications o the $assa%e. In $articular& 'ormon doctrine
conuses the Creator6creature relationshi$& lacks the doctrine o the Iud%ment 4ith
the accom$an"in% 4arnin% o the third an%el& and ails to em$hasiJe all the
commandments o the Decalo%ue.
+& ;udg!ent In Revelation& God@s Iud%ments are $ut s3uarel" in the uture. Far
rom bein% somethin% alread" done at the cross& the time o divine Iud%ment is the
time 4hen God intervenes to 4ra$ u$ the %reat controvers". 2he $eo$le o God& in
Revelation oten sho4n as a suerin%& $ersecuted minorit"& lon% or God@s Iud%ment.
God@s Iud%in% 4ill be the time o their vindication as the o$$ressin% orces 4ill be
$ut to rout :Rev <E*!..9.
Revelation .+E7 announces that the time o God@s Iud%ment has come. 2he
conte,t o Revelation .(!.+& as 4ell as the other occurrences o the Iud%ment theme
in the book&
indicate that the ulillment o this messa%e must be in the $eriod Iust
beore the Second Comin%. It 4ill be a/ter the +( months o the sea monster@s
o$$ressive rule :Rev .7E.!.)9 and "et be/ore the return o Aesus :Rev .+E.+9.
2hus& the Seventh!da" #dventist doctrine o the $readvent Iud%ment&
(7 2he Sabbath commandment is a source o embarrassment to man" 'ormons. #r%uin% that true
doctrine 4as lost durin% the 'iddle #%es and has been restored in these times& the" are at a loss to
ind a biblical basis or settin% aside the ourth $rece$t o the Decalo%ue; their a$$eal is onl" to
HrevelationH :Aose$h Smith9.
(? Aohn uses a variet" o Greek 4ords to denote the conce$t o Iud%ment. See Rev ./E+ 3di1aiSma4<
.7E.; ()E+ :ta4io9; .+E7; .<E7; .?E.); .*E( 3/cnsis42 <E.); ..;.?; .<E/; .?E?; .*E(&..; ()E.(&.7 31rinV4&
An eternal %os$el
# Iud%ment!hour messa%e
A call to 5ut =od first
)alse religious s"stems re$udiated
Aarnings against beast< ima%e& !ark
Co!!and!ents of =od )ait$ of
2he SaintsM End!2ime Victor" (ver the Forceso2Evil
usuall" called the investi%ative Iud%ment& inds conirmation in Revelation .+.
#lthou%h the time element is not as s$eciic as Daniel ?E.+& it dovetails
4ith that $ro$hec".
6. Aors$i5. #$is is a leadin% moti o Revelation .+. 2he .++&)))& 4ho ollo4
the 5amb 4herever He %oes& are sin%le!minded in their adoration. Likeise the
messa%es o the three an%els are linked b" the common thread o 4orshi$. 2he irst
an%el issues a call to 4orshi$ God the Creator in the settin% o the Iud%ment hour;
the second declares and e,$oses the s"stem o alse 4orshi$; the third issues a dire
4arnin% a%ainst the 4orshi$ o the
beast and its ima%e.
Indeed& the theme o 4orshi$ runs throu%hout Revelation. 2he action takin%
$lace in the various visions is re3uentl" interru$ted b" son%s o $raise& $ra"ers& and
adoration. 2he book in its overall em$hasis leads the reader to e,alt the true and
livin% God& to $ut Him irst in the lie no matter ho4 severe the o$$osition ma" be.
It is not sur$risin%& thereore& that in the account o the end!time crisis bet4een the
orces o %ood and the orces o evil :Rev .7!.+9& the moti o 4orshi$ should ind a
$rominent $lace.
1. Babylon. In the 02& t4o cities $la" a leadin% role>Aerusalem and Bab"lon.
2he" stand or more than $olitical and national entities. 2he" re$resent the reli%ion
o Oah4eh and the alse& counter reli%ious s"stem.
In Revelation& 4here all the books o the 02 lo4 to%ether& Aerusalem and
Bab"lon a%ain a$$ear. Aerusalem no4 is the ne4 cit"& the abode o the redeemed&
4here the %ates are never shut& and the 5ord God is the li%ht. Bab"lon& b" contrast&
is the 4orld!s"stem that is doomed to come to nau%ht at the Second Comin%.
Bab"lon re$resents all human attem$ts to $rovide the 4a" o salvation& all those
$lans and $ro%rams that& because the" are built alone on human reason and devices&
attem$t to rustrate the divine $lan or the 4orld. #s ancientl" Bab"lon& Hthe beaut"
o the Chaldees e,cellenc"H :Isa .7E.*& DAV9 ell in a s$ectacular demise& so
s$iritual Bab"lon& des$ite its a$$arent stren%th and conidence& 4ill crumble in ruins
4hen Aesus returns to earth.
2hus& the messa%e o the second an%el o Revelation .+ is the com$lement o
the irst. 'en and 4omen in all nations& as the" are directed to return to the 4orshi$
o the Creator& must be led to re$udiate all s"stems and schemes& avo4edl" reli%ious
or other4ise& that run counter to alle%iance to Christ.
(* See F. D. =ichol& ed.& The S%A Bible )ommentar 7 :Fashin%ton& DC& .*/79E ?(?!7). 7/
. ne aamis Dnd! . ii%%PicIbl"GLverHtPe2brces<2EviI
Seventh!da" #dventists believe that the" are $roclaimin% the three
an%els@ messa%es $redicted in Revelation .+. 2he irst and second an%els@
messa%es seemed es$eciall" si%niicant to the #dvent believers in the .?+7!
.?++ $eriod. 2he" elt the orce o the time element that located their da"
in the $ro$hetic time scheme. 2he" observed the re$udiation o the
$reachin% o the Second Comin% b" the $o$ular churches.
Clearl"& the three an%els o Revelation .+ have even %reater si%!
niicance to #dventists toda". In a manner that the 'illerites could not
have ima%ined& the call to 4orshi$ the Creator!God is %oin% to ever" na!
tion& kindred& ton%ue and $eo$le. 2he rise and s$read o evolutionar"
theor" has invested the irst an%el@s messa%e 4ith relevanc" be"ond the
conce$tion o the irst believers. HBab"lonH toda" embraces ar more than
a$ostate Christian churches. It includes them& but has a 4orld dimension
commensurate 4ith the 4orld thrust o the irst an%el.
2hese messa%es& 4e believe& 4ill s4ell louder and still louder. In $ar!
ticular& the voice o the third an%el is "et to reach its ull intensit". 0nl" in
the scenes o the last %reat conrontation bet4een the ollo4ers o Christ
and the ollo4ers o Satan 4ill the 4arnin% a%ainst receivin% the mark o
the beast ind its com$lete ulillment.
=odKs Peo5le Identified
Given the various motis o Revelation .+& it is eas" to become cau%ht
u$ in discussion o details o the $assa%e and to ail to %ive due 4ei%ht to the
chie concern. In li%ht o the overall vision o Revelation .(!.+& it seems
clear that the main si%niicance o Revelation .+ is its delineation o the
$eo$le o GodE those lo"al to Him des$ite the dece$tion and o$$osition
associated 4ith the end!time crisis.
2his is the $oint o the irenic& beautiul o$enin% scene :.+E.!/9; it is also
the $oint o the inal scene o the vision that be%ins at ..E.*& as those 4ho
have overcome the beast and its ima%e stand on the sea o %lass :Rev
In the $revious section 4e noted characteristics o the .++&))). Goin%
be"ond these $oints& in li%ht o the total descri$tion o Revelation .+& 4e
ma" identi" ten marks o the $eo$le o GodE
.. 2he" $ave t$e everlasting %os$el. 0nl" in Revelation .+E< is the
%os$el termed Heternal.H 2he messa%e o the irst an%el is everlastin%& in
contrast to the teachin%s o Bab"lon and the conce$ts associated 4ith the
beast and its ima%e.
God@s $eo$le o the last da"s have %ood ne4s to %ive to the 4orld. 0ur 7<
2he SaintsM End!2ime Victor" 0ver the Forces o2Bvil
messa%e centers in the $erson and 4ork o ;esus Christ& 7e 4ho is our
2he Greek reads& $an eternal %os$el.@M Fhile there is onl" one true
%os$el& one 4a" o salvation under the $rovisions o the everlastin% cove!
nant& that %os$el is sha$ed in its $resentation b" circumstances and times. In
the end!time the $roclamation o the %ood ne4s is %iven in the conte,t
o the arrival o the Aud%ment hour.
4. #$ey $ave a orldide 5rocla!ation. 2hrou%hout the t4entieth
centur" God has been $erormin% a modem miracleE He is %atherin% to%ether
a societ" rom the nations& a ello4shi$ 4ithout e3ual amon% the various
denominations and or%aniJations o the 4orld. 2he Seventh!da" #dventist
Church is small& but it is uni3ue. #mon% the entities listed b" the 8nited
=ations& 4e have 4ork in about .*) countries& and or the most $art those
4here 4e have no 4ork do not involve lar%e numbers o $eo$le.
2he sense o 4orld4ide mission and 4orld4ide ello4shi$ is $art o the
%enius o #dventism. It never must be lost.
*. #$ey call u5on 5eo5le to 5ut =od first 2he challen%e o Revelation
.+ is the challen%e o the irst commandmentE H2hou shalt have no other
%ods beore meH :E,od ()E79. God@s $eo$le have His name 4ritten in their
oreheads and their messa%e to earth@s last %eneration be%ins& H1ear God.H
2hus& the issue 4ith 4hich the histor" o 1lanet Earth closes is the issue 4ith
4hich the %reat controvers" be%anE Fill the created bein% let God be GodL
0ut o the inal race o human bein%s on earth 4ill be those 4hose lo"alt" to
God is un3uestionin%& 4ho $ut Him above ever" human s"stem and ever"
human inducement.
.. #$ey ors$i5 =od as t$e Creator. Revelation airms that the true
God is 4orshi$ed as the Creator. 2his is a theme o the irst $raise chorus o
the book :Rev +E..9 and it a$$ears rom time to time. In Revelation .7!.+&
4here God and His 4orshi$ are o$$osed b" countereit s"stems& the true
God is kno4n b" His creatorshi$. Fhen men and 4omen are destro"in% the
earth He made& His true $eo$le are mindul o the Creation and call the
4orld to ackno4led%e Him as its author.
6. #$ey announce the time of =od%s Cudg!ent. 2his is the time or
4hich God@s $eo$le have lon%ed and $ra"ed& to 4hich the book o Revela!
tion has been movin% :see& or e,am$le& Rev <E.)9. Beore God@s acts o
Iud%ment in the $ast& as at the Flood& the $la%ues u$on E%"$t& and the
destruction o Aerusalem& He sent messa%es o 4arnin%. =or does the $eriod
o the inal Iud%ment at the close o human histor" $ass b" 4ithout His
$rovidin% 4atchmen or the times.
TtiieSal!fe)B!a)TTme Victo#5 O/e# f"eTo#ce$ o1BvS
2he theme o Iud%ment is out o ste$ 4ith the thinkin% o modem $eo$le& but it
is thorou%hl" biblical. #dventists must constantl" inorm and remind the 4orld that
Hthe hour o God@s Iud%ment has come.H Even no4 4e are in the time o God@s inal
4ork Iust beore the Second Comin% that 4ill rin% do4n the curtain on 1lanet Earth.
For the unbeliever& the 4ord o God@s Iud%ment is a thin% o terror; but or the
believer& the kno4led%e that 4e are in the time o the Iud%ment si%nals ho$e and the
$ros$ect o our everlastin% home. Revelation .+E<&7 is %ood ne4s to us>it sho4s
God acting as moral arbiter o the universe.
1. #$ey call or se$aration fro! all alse syste!s of ors$i5. God is a
HIealousH God& that is& He shares His 4orshi$ 4ith no other. 0nl" He is entitled to
4orshi$. 0urs is a $luralistic societ"& and the reli%ions o mankind $rolierate. But i
God is one& i Christ is the onl" name %iven on earth 4hereb" 4e must be saved& i
His cross stands uni3ue as the dividin% $oint o human histor"& the $eo$le o God
must not shrink rom the scandal o $articularit". Fith love and tolerance to4ard all&
4e nonetheless airm the sin%ularit" o God@s s"stem o 4orshi$. From its ince$tion
Christianit" has been a divider o $eo$le. Its call to ackno4led%e Aesus as Saviour
and 5ord inevitabl" im$lies se$aration rom other s"stems.
2. #$ey call for lo"alt" to God. 2he" a$$eal to the 4orld to 4orshi$ God& not
the beast $o4er& and 4arn a%ainst receivin% its mark. In the events that characteriJe
the close o human histor"& God@s $eo$le emer%e as men and 4omen o coura%e and
ortitude. 2he" are alert and inormed b" the Scri$tures& so as not to be deceived b"
the miraculous $henomena associated 4ith the alse s"stem o 4orshi$; the" are
resolute in their convictions& not s4a"ed b" $ersuasion or coercion; above all the"
are lo"al to their God& $re$ared to suer loss& $h"sical hardshi$ and even death itsel
to maintain their relationshi$ 4ith Him.
J. #$ey kee5 t$e co!!and!ents of =od. Devotion to Christ is sho4n& not so
much b" $roession and cries o H5ord& 5ord&H as b" actions. In the inal crisis& the
ourth commandment assumes a si%niicant $lace. 2he call o the irst an%el dra4s
attention to the Creator. Dee$in% the Sabbath is evidence o one@s acce$tance o this
call. From a certain $oint o vie4 one da" ma" a$$ear to be as %ood as another as a
da" o 4orshi$; but 4hen God has desi%nated the $eriod o hol" time& obedience
must be e,$licit.
B. #$ey kee5 t$e aith of Aesus. 2his e,$ression does not mean that the $eo$le
o God have aith in Aesus :althou%h the" do9& because the aith o Aesus is
somethin% the" 1ee!& H2he aithH $robabl" reers to the Christian tradition& the bod"
o teachin%s that center in Aesus. Aude 7 ma"
2he SaintsM End!2ime Victor" (ver the Forces o Evil
$rovide a $arallelE Hthe aith 4hich 4as once or all delivered to the saints.H Fhen
God@s lo"al ollo4ers kee$ the aith o Aesus the" remain true to basic Christianit">
the" Hkee$ the aith.H 2he =EB& in a ree translation& has ca$tured the essential ideaE
Hremainin% lo"al to Aesus.H
-9. #$ey a4ait 5atiently t$e return of t$eir Lord. In Revelation .+E.(&
H$atienceH 3hu!omone4 is better translated as Hendurance.H #lthou%h the comin% o
Aesus seems to be dela"ed& althou%h doubts and ears assail& His $eo$le never lose
ho$e. 2he" endure to the end. 2he" kno4 that He 4ho $romised is aithul and one
da" He 4ill return. Bueted b" alse ideas& assaulted b" reli%ious conederac"&
threatened b" the civil $o4ers& the" kee$ on 4aitin% 4ith steadast lo"alt".
Si%niicance or 1roclamation
Ever" Seventh!da" #dventist should read Revelation .(!.+ oten. He should
read the $assa%e until he understands it thorou%hl"& and return to it a%ain and a%ain
or orientation in the herita%e o the $ioneers. He must catch the orce o the
distinctive doctrines& the distinctive 4a" o lie& and the distinctive 4orldvie4 and
sense o mission that the $assa%e sets orth.
#nd havin% absorbed the $assa%e& his $roclamation should take on
characteristics and 3ualities that link u$ 4ith the $ast. Ae do not su%%est that
#dventists toda" can rest content 4ith re$eatin% the 4ords o $ast $reachers& or
$roclamation must al4a"s come resh and directed to the needs and situation o the
ever chan%in% Hno4.H =or do 4e su%%est that Revelation .+ should orm the basis
or ever"& or most& sermons& or the cha$ter itsel $resu$$oses the bod" o Christian
belies& somethin% that $reachers dare not take or %ranted in their audiences.
Ho4& then& 4ill Revelation .(!.+ be si%niicant or $roclamation toda"L #$art
rom the content o the $assa%e itsel>somethin% not to be overlooked>4e must
catch the dnamic o the $roclamation& namel"E
-. In t$e note o certaint that characteriJes t$e $assa%e. Certaint" that 4e live
in the da"s Iust $rior to the Second Comin%. Certaint" that God is callin% out a
$eo$le lo"al to Him rom ever" nation and tribe. Certaint" that true 4orshi$ is not
to be com$romised. Certaint" that the 2en Commandments& and the Sabbath in
$articular& sho4 our lo"alt" to God.
4. In t$e note ofauthorit t$at !arks t$e $assa%eM 2hree an%el messen%ers l"
in midheaven& and the" %ive God@s invitation and 4arnin% to men and 4omen. =o4&
reli%ious authorit" itsel is a trick" matter; in the name o God various misdeeds
have been& and are& committed. Various
@1he Sai!t$> E!-)lime Victo#5 O/e# t"e +o#ce$ of E/il
$eo$le claim to be God@s mouth$iece or to have been instructed b" a divine
voice to conve" messa%es or to do evil or craJ" thin%s. Let< i 4e are to take
seriousl" the Bible and Revelation in $articular& e cannot avoid the matter
o authorit".
2he #dventist $reacher& standin% in the $ul$it& is ulillin% the $rediction
o Revelation .+. It is a sta%%erin% claim. 2hat claim can lead to $ride&
$resum$tion& hi%h!handedness& and lovelessness. Fe need a s$ecial measure
o humilit" and %race to live 4ith it. But live 4ith it 4e must. 0ur $reachin%
cannot be o smooth thin%s. It must come 4ith the conviction and 4insome
a$$eal o the an%el messen%ers o Revelation .+.
*. In t$e timeliness of t$e !essage. 2he $assa%e s$eaks directl" to our
da"& alertin% us to the si%niicance o our times in God@s eternal $lan. It calls
us to 4ake u$& to o$en our e"es& and to see ourselves in li%ht o eternit"& to
be read" to meet our returnin% 5ord.
.. In t$e sole!n warning in $ic$ t$e !essages of Revelation -. are
couc$ed. 'ost Christians b"$ass the book o Revelation. Some theolo%ians
have used dero%ator" lan%ua%e to describe it& su%%estin% that in some
as$ects its inluence is Hevil.H Doubtless cha$ters .(!.+& amon% other
$ortions o the book& contain ideas that 4ould sound stran%e rom man"
modem $ul$its. 2hese cha$ters& 4hich center in lo"alt" to the 5amb and
adoration o Him& also set orth in terrible terms the terrible 4rath o the
5amb. 2he three an%els are urgent in their summons& or time is short and
the ate o the beast!4orshi$ers is too horrible to contem$late.
#dventist $reachers must not ail to %ive the 4arnin% messa%e. Fe are
4atchmen on the 4alls o Cion and 4e dare not be delin3uent in our
res$onsibilities. 2here is a heaven to 4in and a hell to shun& and the end!
time sets orth the o$tions 4ith dramatic clarit".
5et us be careul& ho4ever& to sound the note o 4arnin% in the conte,t
o the Heverlastin% %os$el.H Aesus& the 'an o matchless charms& is to be the
center o ever" sermon. He is the 5amb& and His cross must ever be u$lited
beore the $eo$le. =o sermon& no matter 4hat the audience or the occasion&
should ail to $oint the 4a" to ho$e and healin% in Him. 2o %ive 4arnin%
4ithout directin% to Christ is merel" to shout& H2he house is on ireNH to
$eo$le tra$$ed in a burnin% buildin%.
Certaint"& authorit"& 4arnin%>these characteristics 4ill link our $roc!
lamation 4ith that o the $ioneers. Like them& 4e must be %rounded in the
Scri$tures& dail" nurtured b" the livin% Ford. 2hat Ford 4ill enable us to
$reach 4ith $o4er so that the three an%els 4ill s$eak in mi%ht" voices to the
4hole 4orld.
C$a5ter 7 #$e /ark of
t$e Beast
C. 'erv"n 'a,4ell
&ditorial Syno5sis. #lthou%h man" commentators o the $ast have linked the
Hmark o the beastH 4ith the church o Rome& Seventh!da" #dventists have
advanced a ste$ urther and have identiied it 4ith the coercive& end!time enorce!
ment of Sunda" observance in o$$osition to the seventh!da" Sabbath o the 2en
Commandments. Sunda" observance is an institution that the Roman communion
$as ostered throu%hout its lon% career as a $rime evidence o its authorit" in
s$iritual matters in the Christian church.
#$e #dventist $osition is based s3uarel" on the identiication o the sea beast
4hose HmarkH is to be enorced. 2he sea beast :Rev .7E.!.)9& the little horn 4ith
t$e e"es and mouth o a man that emer%es rom the head o Daniel@s ourth beast
:Dan 7E?&(/9& and the Hman o sinH or Hla4lessnessH in 1aul@s $ro$hec" :( 2hess (E.!
?9 have been identiied b" Christians rom the earliest times as the same $o4erE
the Hantichrist.H 1re!Reormation 4riters re%arded the antichrist as a sin%le indi!
vidual :a conce$t that has become $o$ular a%ain toda" amon% man" conservative
Christians9. But the 1rotestant Reormation brou%ht the insi%ht that these $assa%es
$ortra" not an individual& but an ecclesiastical sstem, lon% $resent in the church&
namel"& the $a$ac".
Seventh!da" #dventists acce$t the 1rotestant anal"sis o these $assa%es as cor!
rect& and hold that to be true to the Scri$tures& 4e must ind the HmarkH in associa!
tion 4ith the $a$ac". 24o lines o $ro$hec" conver%e on this $ointE :.9 Daniel@s
$ro$hec" that the little horn 4ould Hthink to chan%e the times and the la4H :Dan
7E(/9& a orecast that could have reerence onl" to God@s la4 o the 2en Command!
ments; and :(9 the $ro$hec" o Revelation that characteriJes God@s $eo$le as
1ee!ers o/ =is commandments :Rev .(E.7; .+E.(9 4ho 4ill ace the end!time en!
orcement o the mark under $enalt" o bo"cott and death.
Histor" is re$lete 4ith evidence that the Roman communion>e,ertin% 4ide
inluence in the Fest >ver" earl" ado$ted and coerdvel" enorced Sunda" sacred!
ness in o$$osition to the Sabbath. 2he $ro$hetic assessment is correctE 2he $a$ac"
has sou%ht to chan%e the 2en Commandments& $articularl" at the $oint o the ourth
$rece$t. God@s seal to His la4 and& thereb"& a si%n o His authorit" as Creator.
2ieFark oFthe Beast
2he $redicted inal conlict in this 4orld over the la4 o God>centerin% on the
enorcin% o Sunda" observance contrar" to the seventh!da" Sabbath command is more than
a contention over da"s. It 4ill involve the s$iritual condition o all classes. 2his is indicated
b" the airmations b" God that %enuine observance o His Sabbath is a si%n o the believer@s
rece$tion and submission to 7is sancti"in% %race :E,od 7.E.7; EJek ()E.(9. 2hose 4ho are
lo"al or dislo"al to God in the inal crisis and 4ho receive either God@s seal or the beast@s
mark 4ill thereb" dis$la" the kind o characters the" have develo$ed in their $robationar"
C$a5ter (utline
I. 2he 'ark
II. Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States III.
Some Kuestions #ns4ered
#$e /ark
Section (utline
I. Introduction
II. 1rinci$les o Inter$retation 2he 'ark
in Vision IV 2he 'ark 0utside
Vision IV
V. Identi"in% the Beast
VI. Summar"
Seventh!da" #dventists ri%htl" vie4 the mark o the beast as one o the
most im$ortant to$ics in the book o Revelation. God@s o4n 4arnin% about
it is the most earul in Scri$ture. It orms the core o the third an%el@s
messa%e o Revelation .+E*!.(>
2he 'ark
#nd another an%el& a third& ollo4ed them& sa"in% 4ith a loud voice& IIf
an" one 4orshi$s the beast and its ima%e& and receives a mar1 on his
orehead or on his hand& he also shall drink the 4ine o God@s 4rath& $oured
unmi,ed into the cu$ o his an%er& and he shall be tormented 4ith ire and
sul$hur in the $resence o the hol" an%els and in the $resence o the 5amb.
#nd the smoke o their torment %oes u$ or ever and ever; and the" have no
rest& da" or ni%ht& these 4orshi$ers o the beast and its ima%e& and 4hoever
receives the mar1 o its name.H Here is a call or the endurance o the saints&
those 4ho kee$ the commandments o God and the aith o Aesus.
Fhen Seventh!da" #dventists think about the mark o the beast& the" think o
HSunda" observance.H It@s an identiication that %oes back to the $ioneer o Sabbath
observance in #dventist histor"& Aose$h Bates. In the second edition o his irst
book on the Sabbath Bates asked&
Is it not clear that the irst da" o the 4eek or the Sabbath or hol" da" is
a mark o the beast. It surel" 4ill be admitted that the Devil 4as and is the
ather o all the 4icked deeds o Im$erial and $a$al Rome. It is clear then
rom this histor" that Sunda"& or irst da"& is his Sabbath throu%hout
By .?// A. =. #ndre4s had matured the conce$t o receivin% the mark
of the beast to include kno4led%eable observance o Sunda" as a traditional
Catholic hol" da" in o$$osition to the true SabbathE
Fe s$eak o those 4ho have the li%ht o truth and act contrar" to it.
2hose 4ho have never "et understood that the observance o Sunda" is a
tradition o the QCatholicR athers 4hich makes void the ourth command!
ment& are not reerred to. It is the brin%in% o this Sabbath o the a$ostas" to
the test that 4ill constitute it the mark o that $o4er that should think to
chan%e times and la4s.
Elle! G0 %"ite>$ comme!t$ i! t"e 1777 a!- 1611 e-itio!$ of 1he >reat
2ontroversy "a/e 2ecome cla$$ic@
. Aose$h Bates< The Seventh Day Sabbath a *er!etual Sii, (d ed. :=e4 Bedord& /A< .?+79& /*. C.
;a!es Fhite& The !resent Truth, =o. B< #$ril .?/)& <7E IIt is ... the observance o the irst da"
o the eek as a hol" da" of rest instead of t$e Sabbat$.I
( A. =. #ndre4s& I#$e #$ree /essages of Revelation "I'< <!.(&H Revie" and =erald, #$ril 7&.?//&
7 :'ountain Vie4& CA< -JJJ and .*.. cds.9& <)/. Cf. &llen =. A$ite< The S!irit o/ *ro!hec .
:Fashin%ton& DC< -B1B< acsimile re$roduction o .??+ edition@+ +(7& similar but states t$e mat!
ter more briel".
2he 'ark o the Beast
=ot one is made to suer the 4rath o God until the truth has been brou%ht
home to his mind and conscience& and has been reIected. ... #$e decree
Qdemandin% Sunda" observance in $lace o Sabbath observanceR is not to be
ur%ed u$on the $eo$le blindl". Ever"one is to have suicient li%ht to make
his decision intelli%entl".
2he Sabbath 4ill be the %reat test o lo"alt"& or it is the $oint o truth
es$eciall" controverted. Fhen the inal test shall be brou%ht to bear u$on
men& then the line o distinction 4ill be dra4n bet4een those 4ho serve God
and those 4ho serve Him not.... Fhile one class& b" acce$tin% the si%n o
submission to earthl" $o4ers& receive the mark o the beast& the other&
choosin% the token o alle%iance to divine authorit"& receive the seal o God.
Relection toda" on all that the term has come to mean to Seventh!da"
#dventists su%%ests an enriched deinition such as thisE
#$e !ark of t$e beast Is illful< knoledgeable< end-ti!e a55roval
of coercive Sunday observance in opposition to clear lig$t on t$e Sabbat$
Guestion and in harmony it$ classic Ro!an Cat$olicis!. As suc$K t$e
!ark of t$e beast is evidence of 5ersonal character !atured in o55osition
to =od.
2o this deinition 4e must add the observation that the mark o the
beast& 4hen it is received in ulillment o $ro$hec"& 4ill be a 4orld4ide
$henomenon. #ccordin% to Revelation .7& the lamb!homed earth beast 4ill
all, both small and %reat& both rich and $oor& both ree and slave& to be
marked on the ri%ht hand or the orehead& so that no one can bu" or sell
unless he has the mark& that is& the name o the beast or the number o its
#$ree /aCor 'ies
Fe reco%niJe& o course& that man" deinitions o the mark o the beast
have been oered b" $ersons 4ho are not Seventh!da" #dventists. 1ret!erist
scholars& or e,am$le& 4ho locate the ulillment o all $ro$hec" in the $ast&
sa" that the mark o the beast 4as somethin% inlicted on Christians b"
=ero. =ot that $reterists have ever $roved that =ero did a$$l" a mark to
Christians; the" are Iust certain that =ero 4as the beast.
Dis$ensationalists on the other hand have said that the mark o the beast
is the number <<<& to be branded on $eo$le in the end!time b" the ruler o a
revived Roman Em$ire.
2hese dierent deinitions>#dventist& $reterist& and dis$ensation!
2he 'ark
alistDcannot all be ri%ht. But it is strikin% that all o them see the mark as havin%
somethin% to do 4ith RomeE the $reterists& 4ith an ancient Roman em$eror; the
dis$ensationalists and other uturists& 4ith a uture Roman ruler; and the Seventh!
da" #dventists and other bistoricists& 4ith the Roman Catholic Church.
(ur Pur5ose
It is the $ur$ose o this cha$ter to ree,amine the basis or the Seventh!
da" #dventist inter$retation %iven above. It 4ill anal"Je :e,e%ete9 the
$rinci$al Bible $assa%es involved& trace the ulillment o $ro$hec"& and
a$$l" 4hat is learned to the mission o the Seventh!da" #dventist move!
ment and to the Christian@s $rivate lie.
Princi5les of Inter5retation
It is 4ise& 4hen undertakin% serious Bible stud"& to revie4 the $rinci$les o
inter$retation :hermeneutics9 under 4hich one intends to o$erate. 7ere are ei%ht
hermeneutical $rinci$les that seem es$eciall" a$$ro$riate to this $resent stud".
Princi5le -
Inasmuch as all Scri$ture is %iven b" ins$iration o God :( 2im 7E.<9& and
inasmuch as the God o truth s$oke throu%h all His dierent 4riters :Heb .E.; . 1et
.E..& etc.9& the Bible is an ins$ired unit and one $art o it can be used le%itimatel" to
hel$ e,$lain another $art o it.
Princi5le 4
2he themes o Revelation are closel" linked to the themes o Daniel and
also to the themes o 'atthe4 (+!(/ and ( 2hessalonians (.
Because t$e
themes o these our $ortions o the Bible are closel" linked& the" are hel$ul
in inter$retin% Revelation& and vice versa.
Princi5le *
2he maIor $ro$hecies o Revelation& like those o Daniel& 'atthe4 (+!
(/& and ( 2hessalonians (& have much in commonE :a9 the" stretch rom the
$ro$het@s da" to the Second Comin% as Iust noted; :b9 the" deal mainl"
. In Daniel& the $ro$het our times outlines histoi" rom $is o4n da" to the end!time. In 'att (+!46
C$rist $redicted the uture rom the all o Aerusalem to t$e Second Comin%. In ( 2hess ( Paul
traced $ro$hec" fro! his o4n da" to the Second Co!ing.
2he 'ark o the Beast
but not e,clusivel"
4ith the harsh side o $olitical and reli%io$olitical entities; :c9
the" 4arn o maIor a$ostas" and $ersecution; and :d9 the" $romise a Christ!
centered outcome 4ith re4ards or the ri%hteous and destruction or the 4icked.
2hou%h these $ro$hecies have much in common& the" are not identical. Each
$ro$hec" makes its o4n contribution to our inormation. #nd thou%h in %eneral
the" $ro%ress rom the $ro$hets da" to the end o time& the" do not necessaril" do so
in sim$le se3uential narrative orm. Revelation .(!.+ in $articular $resents a braid
rather than a strand o histor"& re$eatedl" antici$atin% inormation that is elaborated
later and revie4in% and au%mentin% inormation %iven earlier.
Princi5le .
2he historicist a$$roach is the onl" Iustiiable ke" to inter$retin% the $ro$hecies
involvin% man" Hda"sH and H4eeks.H Evidence that a da" in such $ro$hecies
re$resents a calendar "ear and that a 4eek re$resents seven calendar "ears is
abundant in Scri$ture as demonstrated in volume . o this current Daniel and
Revelation series.
Princi5le 6
Fhen Daniel& 'atthe4 (+!(/&( 2hessalonians (& and Revelation deal
$ro$heticall" 4ith maIor reli%ious and $olitical entities& the" deal selectivel" 4ith
those entities that most directl" aect God@s 4orshi$ers& $rimaril" ;es and
Christians and secondaril" 'uslims. Ae4s and Christians have been the $eo$le best
ac3uainted 4ith Bible $ro$hec" and thus have been the best able to beneit rom it.
'uslims& besides 4orshi$in% the true God& esteem both Aesus and the 0ld
2estament& makin% Bible $ro$hec" valuable or them also.
#s God@s 4orshi$ers have e,tended their areas o habitation rom the 'iddle
East to Euro$e& to the #mericas& and to most $ortions o the %lobe& $ro$hetic
oresi%ht has ke$t $ace 4ith them.
In the irst centur" #D.& 4hen $ro$hetic ulillment ocused on events
/ In contrast to Dan 7 and ?& 4hich $ortra" 4orld em$ires as ierce animals& Dan ( $resents human
%overnment at its bestE #$e i!age is o Ie,ceeding bri%htness.H In Revelation& t$e beasts< alse
5ro5$et< scarlet!clothed 4oman& and man" other sy!bols $ortra" the dark side o human e,!
$erience& but in cha$s. ( and 7 Aesus oers com$liments to !ost o the seven churches. Even to
2h"atira& the !ost hostile o t$e churches and the one man" historicist commentators identi" 4ith
medieval Roman Christianit"& ;esus sa"s in Rev (E.*& HI kno4 "our orks< "our love and aith and
service and 5atient endurance& and that "our latter 4orks e,ceed the irst.H =onetheless& Daniel and
Revelation deal mainl" 4ith Ihc harsher as$ects of eart$ly realities.
2he 'ark
and $ersons in the Roman Em$ire& our em$ires la" shoulder to shoulder across
EurasiaE the Roman& 1arthian& Dushan& and Han Em$ires;
but o these our em$ires&
the Roman covered the territor" 4here most o the Ae4s and Christians lived at the
time. 2hus it4as that the Roman Em$ire occu$ied the maIor ocus o Daniel@s
$ro$hecies a$$licable to the irst centur". But 4hen& in the medieval centuries& the
most d"namic orm o Christianit" 4as to be ound in 4estern Euro$e& the em$hasis
o $ro$hec" shited to 4estern &uro5e< the area o the Hten tribes.H Fith the rise o
the earth beast& the $roclamation o the three an%els@ messa%es& and the %lobal
s$read o Christianit"& t$e ocus o $ro$hec" enlar%ed to include the 4hole 4orld.
Princi5le 1
Revelation& 4ith its numerous Hsevens&H marvelous s"mbols& colorul
descri$tions& re$etitive $hrases& and lar%e and small mirrorlike arran%ements
:HchiasmsH9& is obviousl" a master$iece. In so hi%hl" 4rou%ht a literar" 4ork as
Revelation& a$$ro$riate attention should al4a"s be $aid to the im$lications o
literar" structure. 0ur stud" o the mark o the beast ill be es$eciall" aided b"
lookin% at such elements o literar" structure as Hintroductor" sanctuar" scenes&H
Hintroductor" enca$sulatin% scenes&H and H$arenthetical scenes.H
Princi5le 2
The 4ritin%s o Ellen G. Fhite have $roved a %reat blessin% to millions o
$eo$le o various aiths. Seventh!da" #dventists ou%ht not to de$rive themselves o
somethin% that others $riJe>es$eciall" no4ada"s& as challen%e ater challen%e
serves to make her ins$iration the more a$$arent. Conse3uentl"& Ellen Fhite@s
inter$retations o the Bible should be taken seriousl" i she has 4ritten on the
subIect under stud".
Princi5le J
=od is no res$ecter o $ersons :#cts .)E7+9& and $ro$hec" is o no $rivate
inter$retation :( 1et .E()9. 2hus& it ollo4s that $ro$hetic inter$retations oered b"
Bible students in the $ast should not be overlooked. #t the same time& 4e remember
that human understandin% o truth is $ro%ressive>and also that some as$ects o
Daniel@s $ro$hecies 4ere closed b" God until the end o the .(<) da"s :Dan .(; Rev
< See Filliam H. 'c=cill& The "ise o/ the Afot :Chica%o& .*<79& 7.7; also& C. 'erv"n 'a,4ell& God
#ares, (vols. :Boisc& Idaho& .*?.&.*?/9& .E7<.
2he 'ark o the Beast
#$e /ark in 'ision I'
2o ind out most directl" 4hat the Bible sa"s about the mark o the beast& 4e
be%in 4ith an outline o Revelation@s Vision IV :the H%reat controvers"H division&
Rev .(!.+9. 2he $rocess demands some concentration but is re4ardin% and
#s observed above& Revelation .(!.+ does not $resent an uncom$licated thread
o histor" but rather a 4oven braid. # clear $ro%ression rom Aohn@s da" to the
Second Comin% is readil" discerned& but there is much HintroductionH and
Henca$sulation6M 4ith considerable $assin% a%ain over the same %round to $rovide
additional inormation. Ever"one kno4s that Daniel ..& the ourth s4ee$!o!histor"
vision in the book o Daniel& is more com$le, than the ima%e vision in Daniel (.
Similarl"& Revelation .(!.+& the ourth s4ee$!o!histor" division in the book o
Revelation& is considerabl" more com$le, than the seven!church vision.
Introductory Sanctuary Scene (--+-B@
2he %reat controvers" division o Revelation& nominall" cha$ters .(!.+&
actuall" be%ins 4ith the inal verse o cha$ter ... 2his verse :Rev ..E.*9 $rovides
the division@s Hintroductor" sanctuar" scene.H 2he ark is seen in heaven@s 'ost Hol"
1lace. HGod@s tem$le in heaven 4as o$ened& and the ar1 o/ his co#enant 4as seen
4ithin his tem$le; and there 4ere lashes o li%htnin%& voices& $eals o thunder& an
earth3uake& and heav" hail.H
Each o the our visions in the irst hal o Revelation :cha$s. .!.+9 is
introduced b" a sanctuar" scene involvin% a dierent item o urniture and ocused
on each division@s $rinci$al messa%e. 2he seven!letters division is introduced b" a
lam!stand scene& callin% attention to Christ@s $ersonal interest in His church. 2he
seven!seals vision is introduced 4ith a scene
around God@s hol"!$lace throne :the table oshe4bread& $erha$s9& revealin%
God@s $o4er and Christ@s redem$tive %race and assurin% us o heaven@s
concern or souls under $ersecution and distress. 2he seven!trum$et se%!
ment is introduced b" a scene at the golden altar, the $lace 4here $ra"ers
are heard rom God@s $eo$le and 4here Iud%ments are dis$atched a%ainst
their enemies.
2he introductor" sanctuar" scene that be%ins the %reat controvers"
2 In one o her earliest visions< &llen =. Fhite sa4 Ha throneH on 4hich bot$ the )at$er and the Son
4ere seated and /rom which the" !oved successivel" into the /ost Hol" 1lace. See Ellen =.
A$ite< Earl >itings :Fashin%ton& DC< .*+/9& /+!/<. 2his throne outside t$e 'ost Hol" 1lace is
$resumabl" located in the hol" $lace and is $resumabl" t$e one referred to in Rev + and /.
2he 'ark
division reveals the ar1 o/ the co#enant in the 'ost Hol" 1lace. It thereb"
s$otli%hts the la4 o God as the $rinci$al concern o the %reat controvers"
division& or Vision IV
2he im$ortance o this sanctuar" scene or the inter$retation o the
!ark o the beast cannot be overestimated.
2he onl" division in the irst hal o Revelation 4hich identiies God@s
saints as commandment 1ee!ers is the %reat controvers" division. It iden!
tiies the saints as commandment kee$ers t4ice& in .(E.7 and .+E.(. Inas!
much as commandment kee$ers are shar$l" distin%uished rom those 4ho
receive the mark o the beast& 4e $erceive at once that commandment
brea1ers are the ones 4ho 4ill receive the mark o the beast.
2he introductor" sanctuar" scene is ollo4ed b" nine additional scenes&
to o them a$$ro$riatel" described as H$arenthetical scenesH and t4o as
Hintroductor" enca$sulatin% scenes.H
Scene - (-4+--1@+ An Introductory< &nca5sulating Scene
2he %reat red dra%on& the 4ar in heaven& the $ure mother and her Seed&
and the 4oman@s li%ht into the 4ilderness or .(<) da"s are all introducedE
#nd a %reat $ortent a$$eared in heaven& a 4oman clothed 4ith the sun&... she 4as
4ith child.... #nd another $ortent a$$eared in heaven;
behold& a %reat red dra%on.... His tail s4e$t do4n a third o the stars o
heaven& and cast them to the earth. #nd the dra%on stood beore the 4oman. U.
that he mi%ht devour her child.. U but her child 4as cau%ht u$ to God and to
his throne& and the 4oman led into the 4ilderness& 4here she has a $lace
$re$ared b" God& in 4hich to be nourished or one thousand t4o hundred and
si,t" da"s.
Because the 4ar in heaven& summariJed here& is enlar%ed on in the
second scene& and because the .(<) da"s& summariJed here& are enlar%ed on
in the third and ith scenes& this scene ma" be called an Hintroductor"
enca!sulating$ scene. 5ike several other scenes in Revelation& it resembles
one o those Chinese bo,es that has a series o other bo,es nested inside.
Scene 4 (-4+2--4@
2he controvers" bet4een Christ and Satan& enca$sulated in the irst
scene& is described more ull" in this second one. 2he dra%on@s deeat is
considerabl" enlar%ed u$on.
=o4 4ar arose in heaven& 'ichael and his an%els i%htin% a%ainst the
dra%on;... #nd the %reat dra%on ... 4as thro4n do4n to the earth& and $is
an%els 4ere thro4n do4n 4ith him. #nd I heard a loud voice in heaven&
T"e Ma#k of t"e Bea$t
sa"in%&H... the accuser o our brethren has been thro4n do4n.... #nd the" have
con3uered him....H
Scene 7 :.(E.7!.79
2he dra%on $ersecutes the 4oman; but the earth& 4hich later 4ill
$roduce a $ersecutin% beast o its o4n& on this occasion $rotects the 4oman
or a time& times& and hal a time :V.(<) da"s9.
2he 4oman 4as %iven the t4o 4in%s o the %reat ea%le that she mi%ht l"
rom the ser$ent into the 4ilderness& to the $lace 4here she is to be
nourished or a time& and times& and hal a tune.
2he ser$ent $oured 4ater like a river out o his mouth ater the 4oman&
to s4ee$ her a4a" 4ith the Hood. But the earth came to the hel$ o the
4oman& and the earth o$ened its mouth and s4allo4ed the river 4hich the
dra%on had $oured rom his mouth.
Follo4in% the $eriod o $ersecution& the dra%on $ersecutes the 4oman@s
remnant& 4ho are described as kee$ers o God@s commandments.
2hen the dra%on 4as an%r" 4ith the 4oman& and 4ent o to make 4ar
on the rest Q V remnantR o her os$rin% Q V seedR& on those 4ho 1ee! the
commandments o/ God and bear testimon" to Aesus QGreekE have6hold the
testimon" o6rom AesusR.
Scene + :.7E.!+9E Introductor"& Enca$sulatin% Scene
# leo$ard!bodied beast rises out o the sea. 2his ne4 beast combines the
characteristics o the our beasts o Daniel 7& 4hich also rose out o the sea. 2he
dra%on hel$s to establish this sea beast b" %ivin% it the dra%on@s o4n $o4er& seat&
and %reat authorit".
I sa4 a beast risin% out o the sea& 4ith ten horns and seven heads....
#nd the beast that I sa4 4as like a leo$ard& its eet 4ere like a bear@s& and
its mouth 4as like a lion@s mouth. #nd to it the dra%on %ave his $o4er and
his throne and %reat authorit".
In s$ite o the dra%on@s e,trava%ant s$onsorshi$& the sea beast eventuall" suers
an a$$arentl" mortal 4oundE
0ne o its Qthe sea beast@s sevenR heads seemed to have a mortal 4ound.
Sur$risin%l"& the beast recovers>and both it and the dra%on are 4orshi$ed b"
Hthe 4hole earth&H 4hich :in scene 79 had $reviousl" o$$osed the dra%onE
T"e Ma#k
Its mortal 4ound 4as healed& and the 4hole earth ollo4ed the beast 4ith 4onder.
2his Hintroductor"H scene is Henca$sulatin%H in that it tells about the.
seemin%l" mortal 4ound& 4hich is discussed in %reater detail in the ith
scene& and it tells about the earth@s 4orshi$ o the beast& 4hich is discussed
in %reater detail in the si,th scene.
Scene / :.7E/!.)9
For +( months :V.(<) da"s9 the sea beast behaves like the little horn o
Daniel 7E
2he beast 4as %iven a mouth utterin% hau%ht" and blas$hemous 4ords&
and it 4as allo4ed to e,ercise authorit" or ort"!t4o months; it o$ened its
mouth to utter blas$hemies a%ainst God& blas$hemin% his name and his
d4ellin%& that is& those 4ho d4ell in heaven. #lso it 4as allo4ed to make 4ar
on the saints and to con3uer them.
#ter its $eriod o success& ho4ever& the beast is ca$tured and seriousl"
If an" one is to be taken ca$tive& to ca$tivit" he %oes; i an" one sla"s 4ith the
s4ord& 4ith the s4ord must he be slain.
2hat the sea beast 4as to blas$heme God@s dwelling recalls at once the
introductor" sanctuar" scene& in 4hich Aohn@s attention 4as called to the ark o God@s
covenant in the 'ost Hol" 1lace o the heavenl" sanctuar". 7ere is another
indication that the central sin o the sea beast is desecration o one or more o God@s
Scene 1 (-*+----J@
2he earth& 4hich had $rotected the 4oman durin% the .(<) da"s& no4
$roduces another beast& one 4ith lamblike horns.
I sa4 another beast 4hich rose out o the earth; it had t4o horns like a lamb....
2his earth beast has onl" t4o horns& not ten like the dra%on and the sea
beast. It a$$arentl" has but one head :no other is mentioned9& not
? Fora discussion o the literar" arran%ement o Rev .7;l!.)&secFiNNiamH. Shea& H2ime 1ro$hecies o
Daniel .( and Revelation .(!.7&H in Sm!osium on "e#elation, Book .& DARC(/ scries& ed.
Frank B. Holbrook :Silver S$rin%& 'DE Biblical Researc$ Institute& .**(9& 7/.!<).
2he 'ark o the Beast
seven like the dra%on and the sea beast. #nd unlike the dra%on& 4hich has seven
cro4ns :.(E79& and the sea beast& 4hich has ten :.7E.9& the lamb!homed earth beast
has no cro4ns at all. Kuite evidentl"& it re$resents a $olitical entit" uni3ue in
$ro$hetic histor"& unlike an" that have come beore it.
Bel"in% its mild a$$earance& ho4ever& this ne4 beast turns out to $ractice the
same old behavior as the dra%on and the sea beast. For 4hen it s$eaks& it s$eaks Iust
like the :hau%ht" and blas$hemous9 dra%on& and ater the sea beast is healed& the
earth beast sets u$ an ima%e o the sea beast and demands that $eo$le 4orshi$ it.
... and it s$oke like a dra%on. It e,ercises all the authorit" o the irst beast ...
and makes the earth and its inhabitants 4orshi$ the irst beast& 4hose mortal
4ound 4as healed.... biddin% them make an ima%e or the beast 4hich 4as
4ounded b" the s4ord and "et lived.... #lso it causes all... to be marked on
the ri%ht hand or the orehead& so that no one can bu" or sell unless he has
the mar1, that is& the name o/ the beast or the number o its name.
2his is the irst mention in the Bible o the mark o the beast. Fe no4 come to t4o
H$arenthetical scenes.H 1arenthetical scenes are as characteristic o the literar" st"le
o Revelation as are introductor" sanctuar" scenes and introductor" enca$sulatin%
Scene 2 (-.+--6@+ Parent$esis A
In a lea$ be"ond histor"& the .++&))t>4ith God@s name on their oreheads>
are revealed sae 4ith the 5amb on the sea o %lass ollo4in% the Second Comin%E
2hen I looked& and lo& on 'ount Cion stood the 5amb& and 4ith him a
hundred and ort"!our thousand 4ho had his name and his Father@s name
4ritten on their oreheads ... and the" sin% a ne4 son% beore the throne.
2hese .++&))) ha$$" sin%ers are identical to the .++&))) servants o God 4ho
receive God@s HsealH in their oreheads in Revelation 7E.!7. HIn their mouth no lie
4as ound& or the" are s$otlessH :.+E/9. 2hus Revelation $rovides us 4ith t4o end!
time %rou$sE those 4ho bear the name or seal o God and those 4ho receive the
name or mark o the beast.
2he 'ark
Scene J (-.+1--4@+ Parent$esis B
2hree an%els $ublish the everlastin% %os$el and call ever"one to 4orshi$ the
Creator. 2he" $roclaim the arrival o the Iud%ment hour and the all o Bab"lonE
2hen I sa4 another an%el Qthe irst o a ne4 %rou$ o threeR l"in% in
mid!heaven& 4ith an eternal %os$el... and he said 4ith a bud voice&H...
4orshi$ him 4ho made heaven and earth& the sea and the ountains o
#nother an%el& a second& ollo4ed& sa"in% HFallen& allen is Bab"lon the
2he third o these an%els hales the $atient endurance o Christ@s aithul
commandment kee$ers and 4arns about the dire $unishment a4aitin% those 4ho
4orshi$ the beast and receive its markE
#nd another an%el& a third& ollo4ed them& sa"in% 4ith a loud voice& HI an"
one 4orshi$s the beast and its ima%e& and receives a mar1 on his orehead or
on his hand& he also shall drink the 4ine o GodMs 4rath& $oured unmi,ed
into the cu$ o his an%er& and he shall be tormented 4ith ire and sul$hur in
the $resence o the hol" an%els and in the $resence o the 5amb. #nd the
smoke o their torment %oes u$ or ever and ever; and the" have no rest& da"
or ni%ht& these 4orshi$ers o the beast and its ima%e& and 4hoever receives
the mar1 o its name&$ Here is a call or the endurance o the saints& those 4ho
1ee! the commandments o/ God and the aith o Aesus.
Scene B (-.+-4-49@
2he Son o man a$$ears at the Second Comin% to rea$ earth@s harvest.
2hen I looked& and lo& a 4hite cloud& and seated on the cloud one like a
son o man& 4ith a %olden cro4n on his head& and a shar$ sickle in his hand.
2he %rain :the ri%hteous9 are ound to be ull" ri$e& and the %ra$es :the
4icked9 are also ound to be ri$e. Both are rea$edE
#nd another an%el came out o the tem$le& callin% 4ith a loud voice to
him 4ho sat u$on the cloud& H1ut in "our sickle& and rea$& or ... the harvest
o the earth is ull" ri$e.H So... the earth 4as rea$ed.
#nd another an%el came out o the tem$le in heaven& and he too had a
shar$ sickle. 2hen another an%el came out rom the altar&... and he called
4ith a loud voice to him 4ho had the shar$ sickle& @2ut in "our sickle&
2he 'ark o the Beast
and %ather the clusters o the vine o the earth& or its %ra$es are ri$e.H So the an%el
s4un% his sickle on the earth and %athered the vinta%e o the earth.
2he Em$hasis on Forshi$
Ae have come to the end o the outline& but lookin% back at Revelation
.(!.+ 4e realiJe that the ke" verb H4orshi$H occurs no e4er than ei%ht
times& a eature that deserves comment.
.!(. H'en worshi!ed the dra%on&... and the" worshi!ed the beastH
7. H#ll 4ho d4ell on the earth will worshi! it Qthe sea beastR& ever" one
4hose name has not been 4ritten... in the book o lie o the 5amb that 4as
slainH :.7E?9.
+. HIt Qthe earth beastR... makes the earth and its inhabitants worshi! the
irst beast& 4hose mortal 4ound 4as healedH :.7E.(9.
/. HIt Qthe earth beastR deceives those 4ho d4ell on earth& biddin% them
make an ima%e or the beast 4hich 4as 4ounded b" the s4ord and "et
lived; and it 4as allo4ed to %ive breath to the ima%e o the beast so that the
ima%e o the beast should even s$eak& and to cause those 4ho 4ould not
worshi! the ima%e o the beast to be slainH :.7E.+!./9.
<. 2he irst o three end!time an%els calls on ever"one to $worshi! him
4ho made heaven and earth& the sea and the ountains o 4atersH :.+E79.
7!? Q2hird an%elR& IIf an" one worshi!s the beast and its ima%e& and re!
ceives a mark on his orehead or on his hand& he also shall drink the 4ine o
God@s 4rath.... and the" have no rest& da" or ni%ht& these worshi!ers o the
beast and its ima%e& and 4hoever receives the mark o its nameH :.+E*!..9.
2hese ei%ht $assa%es sho4 that the core o the end!time issue 4hich
involves the mark o the beast is the 3uestion o 4orshi$. Fhile the Hirst
an%elH calls the attention o ever"one on earth to the beauties o the %os$el&
the realit" o the Iud%ment& and the truth that God is in act the Creator o
heaven and earth& an inernal Htrinit"H o dra%on& sea beast& and earth beast
is bus" deceivin% humanit" 4ith the debasin% alsehood that it has $o4er to
create somethin% in its o4n ima%e and breathe into it the breath o lie& even
as God in Genesis ormed man in 7is o4n ima%e and breathed lie into him.
2he inernal trinit" does orm an ima%e and breathe lie into it& but onl" as
Hit is allo4edH to do so :.7E./9& and the result is an entit" rebellious&
vicious& and deadl".
B God #ares (E+./.
#$e 'ark
)ro! this scene!b"!scene surve" o Vision IV :Rev .(!.+9 4e have
co!e to learn a %reat deal about the mark o the beast.
An end-ti!e $henomenon. #s or the time 4hen the mark o the beast is
to be im$osed on $eo$le& 4e have observed that it 4ill be im$osed a/ter the
dra%on has ou%ht his 4ar in heaven and been cast out :scene (9& a/ter the
dra%on has attacked the 4oman@s bab" :scene .9& a/ter the dra%on has %iven
its $o4er& seat& and authorit" to the beast :scene +9& a/ter the .(<) "ears o
$ersecution :scenes .&7&/9& a/ter the inliction o the mortal 4ound :scenes
+&/9& a/ter the mortal 4ound is healed :scenes +&<9& and a/ter the ima%e o
the healed beast has been set u$ :scene <9; and it 4ill be e,$erienced at or
a/ter the time 4hen the three an%els announce the arrival o the inal
Iud%ment and deliver their startlin% 4arnin% about the mark :scene ?9& and
Iust be/ore the comin% o the Son o man or the inal harvest :scene *9. Fe
conclude that the mark o the beast is an end!time
Its basic nature. #s or the nature o the mark o the beast& 4e have
observed that it is associated 4ith the 4ron%ul 4orshi$ o the beast& as also
4ith the 4ron%ul 4orshi$ o the dra%on and o the ima%e o the beast
:scenes /& <9& in contrast to the true 4orshi$ o the Creator :irst an%el@s
messa%e& scene ?9. Fe have also seen that the mark o the beast has to do
4ith commandment breakin%.
Fe kno4 that the mark o the beast has to do 4ith commandment
breakin% because :a9 the sanctuar" scene 4hich introduces the %reat con!
trovers" division ocuses on the commandments :Hthe ark o his testament
4as seenH9& because :b9 the beast attacks God@s d4ellin%& the heavenl"
sanctuar" 4here the Hark o QHisR covenantH can be seen& and because :e9 the
onl" $eo$le 4ho don7t receive the mark o the beast are t4ice deined :in
.(E.7 and .+E.(9 as commandment 1ee!ers& From these observations 4e
conclude that the mark o the beast is a si%n o rebellion a%ainst God and
His sanctuar" and constitutes disobedience to His la4.
Further& as to the nature o the mark o the beast& 4e have observed t$at
it is identiied 4ith the HnameH o the beast :scene < and scene ?& the t$ird
an%elMs messa%e9 in contrast to the HnameH o the 5amb& 4hich is on t$e
oreheads o the .++&))) :scene 79. In the Bible& the 4ord HnameH is
commonl" associated 4ith character. Fhen God $roclaimed His HnameH in
E,odus 7+& 7e $roclaimed His character as com$assionate and kind.
;acob%s na!e !eant Hsu$$lanterH or Ic$eat.I A$en $e overcame his
2he 'ark o the Beast
name 4as chan%ed to Israel& Ha $rince o GodH :Gen (/E(<; 7(E(?9. Aesus called
Ce$has H1eter&H because he 4as like a stone :Aohn .E+(9. #nd so on. Fe relect on
the character o the beast as $ortra"ed in Revelation .(!.+ and note that the beast
not onl" rebelled a%ainst God but also $ersecuted God@s $eo$le. Fe conclude&
thereore& that inasmuch as the mark o the beast is the same as the name o the
beast :Rev .7E.79& $eo$le 4ho 4ill carr" the mark o the beast 4ill be $eo$le 4ho&
like the beast& not onl" rebel a%ainst God and His d4ellin% but also share in
$ersecutin% God@s true $eo$le.
Relection on the ri$e harvests at the end o Revelation .+ directs us to vie4 the
characters :names9 o the t4o %rou$s as com$letel" $olariJed and thorou%hl"
matured. 2he %ra$es are ri$e; the %rain is ull" ri$e. 2he 4orshi$ers o God have
chosen b" aith to acce$t Christ@s sancti"in% %race until the" have become
%raciousl" and invincibl" like Aesus. 2he 4orshi$ers o the beast have ado$ted the
beast@s attributes until the" have become 4illull" and unchan%eabl" like the beast.
#$e /ark (utside Vision I'
So ar 4e have conined our stud" o the mark o the beast to Revelation .(!.+&
because this is 4here the beast and its mark are s$oken o $rimaril". But the mark is
reerred to in our other $laces in Revelation. Besides& much can be learned about
the mark b" lookin% at God@s HsealH in Revelation and His Hsi%nsH in the 0ld
#$e /ark in Revelation -6-49
2he mark o the beast is reerred to& e,$ressl" or b" clear inerence& our times
in Revelation ./!()E
Revelation -6+4. 2he $eo$le :the .++&)))9 4ho 4ill stand on the sea o %lass
one da"& sin%in% the victorious son% o 'oses and the 5amb& 4ill be those 4ho
have Hcon3uered the beast and its ima%e and the number o its name&$ Fe recall that
the number and name o the beast are the same as its markE Hso that no one can bu"
or sell unless he has the mar1, that is, the name o the beast or the number o/ us
name$ :.7E.79.
So Revelation ./E(& 4hen com$ared 4ith scene 7 :.+E.!/9& conirms that
an"one 4ho receives the mark o the beast 4ill be e,cluded rom the .++&))).
Revelation -1+4. 2he irst o the seven last $la%ues causes Houl and evil soresH
to break out on the $eo$le H4ho bore the mark o the beast and
2he 'ark
4orshi$ed its ima%e.H Inasmuch as the seven last $la%ues all on $eo$le 4ho are
livin% in the end!time&
here is conirmator" evidence that the !ark o the beast is
an end!time $henomenon. Com$arison 4ith the third an%eFs messa%e is also
hel$ul& or that messa%e sa"s that $eo$le 4ho %et t$e mark o the beast 4ill suer
HGod@s 4rath& $oured unmi,ed&H and Revelation ./E. sho4s that it is in the seven
$la%ues that the 4rath o God is $oured out ull stren%th.
2he mark o the beast
must be a ver" evil thin% to arouse such ri%hteous indi%nation on the $art o a lovin%
Revelation -B+49. #t the be%innin% o the millennium the lamb!horned earth
beast& here called the Halse $ro$hetH
4ho deceived $eo$le into 4orshi$in% the sea
beast and receivin% its mark& is to be thro4n 4ith the sea beast into the lake o ire.
Revelation 49+.. 2he $eo$le 4ho sit on thrones durin% the thousand "ears ill
be $eo$le 4ho have not received the mark o the beast.
#ter this $assa%e :()E+9 there is no urther reerence to the mark o the beast.
2here is no reerence to it amon% the $eo$le resurrected at the
-9 Ae ill not $ere ar%ue the distinction bet4een the tru!5ets and t$e $la%ues. #s lon% a%o as #$ril
-2<.S//& on $. ()* of t$e Revie" and =erald o t$at dale< ;. :. Andres 5ointed out that t$e
seven last $la%ues are identical 4ith the 4rath of =od 4hich is to all under the seventh tru!5et.
And eleven years earlier& in A >ord to the $?ittle (loc1$ :.?+<9 Aames Fhite sho4ed t$at t$e
5lagues 4ere all uture :in contrast to the vie4 Filliam 'iller had $eld that the $la%ues began in
t$e Reormation and only t$e last one or to 4ere still uture9. In !ore recent times ?ennet$ A.
Strand& Inter!reting the Boo1 o/ "e#elation, 4d. cd.& rev. and enl. fro! The $pen Gates of
%eaven, .*7)&.*7( :Forthin%ton. (7< .*7<&.*7*9 has abl" de!onstrated t$at the tru!5ets
belong in t$e historical $alf of Revelation :cha$s. .!..9& stretchin% rom the $ro$het@s da" to t$e
Second Co!ing< 4hile t$e $la%ues belon% in the end&time hal o t$e book :cha$s. ./!((9. I have
s$on t$e same& buildin% on Strand@s argu!ents< in God #ares 4+6.-14<.4--46. #$e !ark o
t$e beast is an end-ti!e 5$eno!enon. 2he first $la%ue& $ic$ alls after the heavenl" sanctuar"
doses at the veiy end o t$e end!time& alls on $eo$le $o at that ver" time bear t$e mark o the
-- Revelation ./E.& RS'< sa"s that in the $la%ues the 4rath o God is Hended&H but this choice of 4ord
!ust be a !istake< inasmuch as t$e dreadul 5unis$!ent at the close of t$e !illenniu! is stilt
future. #$e ke" underl"in% =reek ord is translated in ( Cor .(E* as I!ade $erectHE I/y
%race is made !er/ect in eakness.I God@s grace 4as not HendedH in 1aul@s 4eaknessN It orked
full stren%th to !eet Paul%s need. #$e idea in Rev ./ is t$at in t$e $la%ues =od%s rat$ is
5oured out ull stren%th& 4ithout additive or dilution. A$at is 5oured out is .)) $ercent 5ure
$erect rat$.
-4 #$e la!b-$o!ed earth beast is s$oken of as a IbeastI onl" 4hen irst seen :Rev .7E..9. #s such it
rounds out t$e t$ree animals of Rev -4--. as (-@ t$e great red dragon< :(9 t$e leo$ard!bodied
sea beast& and :79 itsel& the la!b-$o!ed eart$ beast. #$ereafter< t$e earth beast is reerred to as
It$e false $ro$het.H In Rev .<E.7& ro%s e!erge fro! t$e mouths of It$e dragon... the beast ...
and the alse $ro$het.H In Rev .*E()& Hthe beastH is ca$tured and it$ it Hthe alse $ro$hetH 4ho
had orked si%ns to deceive $eo$le into receiving its mark. In Rev ()E.)& It$e devilH :4hich in
-4+B is identiied 4ith the dra%on9 is thro4n into t$e lake o fire< $ere Hthe beastH and Hthe false
$ro$hetH had been thro4n earlier.
#$e 'ark o the Beast
close o the thousand "ears. 2he sea beast 4hose character :or name9 is the
mark o the beast& and the alse $ro$het :the earth beast9 that coer!civel"
im$osed the mark o the beast& are both destro"ed at the be%innin% o the
millennium. Durin% the millennium onl" the dra%on remains o the unhol"
trio. #nd at the end o the millennium the dra%on is called b" his true name&
sim$l" HSatan.H Stri$$ed o his $retensions and o the various beast masks
that he has 4orn& he stands naked in his rebelliousness& as do his miserable
ollo4ers. God s$are us rom their ate.
/arks and Seals in Bible #i!es
# e4 4ords in %eneral about marks and seals in Bible times ma" $rove
hel$ul. 2he Roman %overnment& in $o4er in =2 times& oten branded
convicts. #t times it also branded militar" recruits& usuall" 4ith a tattooed
abbreviation o the name o the rei%nin% em$eror. 04ners sometimes
branded $ersistent runa4a" slaves on their oreheads& oten 4ith the letters
(@G :orAug@i#us or u%itive. :2he idea that slaves 4ere routinel" e,ecuted
in =2 times is not authentic.9 H2he slave 4as marked on the orehead&H sa"s
the Theological %ictionar o/ the New Testament, Hand the soldier 4as
usuall" marked on the handH
>Hon the orehead or on the hand&M@ as in
Revelation .7E.<&.7.
Fe read that Hthe S"rians consecrated themselves to the %ods Hadad
and #tar%atis b" si%ns branded on the 4rist or neck.H Forshi$ers o other
%ods 4ere %iven marks on other $arts o their bodies. 2he earl" historian
Herodotus sa"s that a runa4a" slave 4ho %ot the mark o Hercules at a
certain tem$le in E%"$t became the slave o the %od& and even his ormer
o4ner 4as orbidden to la" hands on him.
So a mark could be the si%n o a
%od@s servant and a %uarantee o the %od@s $rotection. In the vision o EJekiel
*E.!? ever"one in Aerusalem 4as to die durin% =ebuchadneJJar@s invasion
e,ce$t the sincere and earnest $eo$le 4ho received God@s $rotectin% mark
on their oreheads. God@s HservantsH 4ho receive His HnameH and HsealH on
their oreheads in the end!time are $rotected rom the seven last $la%ues.
2he ordinar" Greek 4ord or the bod" marks 4e@ve been talkin% about
4as stigma& 0ther 4ords used 4ere semeion :si%n9& s!hragis, and charag5
ma& In the Bible te,ts 4here the terms actuall" occur& s!hragis is used or
.7 Dittell@s T%NT 7E</*. For several references to !arks on slaves see #$o!as Aicdc!ann< Greek
and "oman Sla#er (Balti!ore< .*?.9& es5. .*7!*+.
.+ Herodotus& The *ersian >ars (E..7; /ode! 5ibrar" edition& .7). Cf. ?ittell< TD'T 7E<<).
2he 'ark
t$e IsealI o =od and charagma or the HmarkH o the beast& but research
sho4s that or $ractical $ur$oses in %eneral Greek usa%e& all the terms ere
more or less interchan%eable.
#$e Seal of =od
Revelation s$eaks o t4o %rou$s bearin% t4o dierent insi%niaE the
.++&))) 4ho carr" the seal o God :4hich is e3uivalent to God@s name9 and
t$e $eo$le 4ho receive the mark o the beast :4hich is e3uivalent to the
beast@s name9. 2he $eo$le 4ho receive the mark o the beast 4ill 4orshi$
t$e beast and its ima%e. 2he $eo$le 4ho receive the seal o God are the
$eo$le 4ho 4ill res$ond $ositivel" to the irst an%el@s call to 4orshi$ God
and 4ho are described in the third an%el@s messa%e as the saints 4ho kee$
=od%s commandments.
2hus& t$e HsaintsH :.+E.(9 o the third messa%e are the HremnantH :.(E.79
o the 4oman 4ho kee$ the commandments o God>and 4ho are
$ersecuted b" the an%r" dra%on. 0ne o the 4a"s the dra%on $ersecutes t$ese
commandment kee$ers is throu%h the eorts o the lamb!homed earth beast&
4ho commands ever"one to 4orshi$ the beast and its ima%e or be denied the
ri%ht to bu" and sell.
=od%s #o (ld #esta!ent Signs
In 02 times God marked His $eo$le 4ith t4o reli%ious si%nsE ritual
circumcision and the seventh!da" Sabbath.
Circu!cision. Ritual circumcision& ori%inall" %iven to #braham as a
si%n or s"mbol o the covenant& became in time& re%rettabl"& little more than
an ethnic distinction. #ccordin% to 1aul it ceased to have savin% si%niicance
4hen the Ae4ish $eo$le as an ethnic %rou$ ceased to be uni3uel" God@s
chosen $eo$le :Gal /E.!<; <E./!.<9.
Sabbat$. 2he other si%n& the seventh!da" Sabbath& 4as besto4ed on t$e
entire human race at Creation. H2he Sabbath 4as made or manH>or
mankind :'ark (E(79. 2hus& it 4as oered to the Ae4ish $eo$le 4hen their
race a$$eared on the scene. God said to the Israelites at 'ount Sinai& HOou
shall kee$ m" sabbaths& or this is the sign bet4een me and "ou throu%hout
"our %enerations& that "ou ma" kno4 that 6& the ?ord, sancti/ ou&... It is
Sisign or ever bet4een me and the $eo$le o Israel that in si, da"s the ?ord
made hea#en and earth, and on the seventh da" he rested& and 4as
rereshedH :E,od 7.E.(!.79.
-6 Sec Dittell& T%NT 7E</?.
2he 'ark o the Beast
2he Sabbath is a si%n sho4in% that God made us and that He sanctiies
or remakes us.
2he settin% or God@s statement at Sinai 4as im$ressive. 2here 4ere
Hthunders and li%htnin%s& and a thick cloud u$on the mountain& and a ver"
loud trum$et blast.... and the 4hole mountain 3uaked %reatl"H :E,od .*E.<!
.?9. Fhen the tabernacle& the earthl" model o the heavenl" sanctuar" :and
the $recursor o Solomon@s tem$le9& 4as com$leted& God had 'oses $lace a
co$" o the 2en Commandments& carved in stone& inside the Hark o the
covenantH :or Hark o the testament@M9 in the tabernacle@s innermost room& the
'ost Hol" 1lace.
In the sanctuar" scene 4hich introduces Vision IV :..E.*!.+E()9 the
heavenl" tem$le o$ened so Aohn the Revelator could see dee$ inside. He
sees heaven@s Hark o his covenant.H #s he looked& there 4ere Hlashes o
li%htnin%& loud noises& $eals o thunder& an earth3uake& and heav" hail.H
Evidentl" God 4as takin% Aohn back to 'ount SinaiN God is callin% us
too back to 'ount Sinai& back to the sanctuar"& back to Aesus our Hi%h
1riest& to the 2en Commandments& and the Sabbath.
=o4 4hat about the seal o GodL In ancient times $eo$le si%ned their
documents in the same 4a" the" sealed them. 2he" stam$ed them 4ith a
si%net rin% or seal. So Hto si%nH and Hto sealH 4ere the same thin%. God@s
Hsi%nH in the oreheads o the .++&))) is the same as His HsealH and the same
as His Hname.H
#braham 5incoln& 1resident& the 8nited States.
Aohn Smith& 'ana%er& )irst Federal Bank.
God si%ned His name this 4a" on the Sabbath commandmentE H5ord
God& Creator& Heaven and Earth.H
HRemember the sabbath da"& to kee$ it hol".... the seventh da" is a
sabbath to the ?ordow God&... or in si, da"s the ?ord made hea#en and
earth, the sea& and all that is in them& and rested the seventh da"; thereore
the 5ord blessed the sabbath da" and hallo4ed itH :E,od ()E?!..9.
2he HsealH o God in Revelation is the same as God@s Hsi%nH in the 02;
it is the Sabbath a$$ro$riatel" observed as a 4itness to God@s creatorshi$ and
as an evidence o His re!creatorshi$& His role as sanctiier.
So 4hat is the mark o the beastL 5on% beore there 4as a Seventh!da"
#dventist& Sir Isaac =e4ton observed that the mark o the beast and the seal
o God are o$$osites.
He ma" not have been the irst to do so& or it is
.< See &,od 7(E./&.<; (/E.<&4-F :u! .)E77.
.7 See Seventh&day Ad#entists Answer (uestions on Doctrine :Fashin%ton& DC< .*/79& .?).
2he 'ark
as 4e have seen above& that the .++&)))4ho receive the seal o God are 4holl"
distinct in the end!time rom the $eo$le 4ho receive the mark o the beast
Ae have noticed that those 4ho receive the seal 4orshi$ God and kee$ 7is
commandments; 4hereas those 4ho %et the mark o the beast disobe" =od%s
commandments and 4orshi$ the beast and its ima%e. Forshi$ o =od and obedience
to God@s commandments are $rominent eatures o our stud" o the mark o the
#s 4e have Iust observed& the Bible calls or a 4eekl" da o 4orshi$;
the seventh!da" Sabbath o the ourth commandment& a$$ointed in honor o the
Creator o heaven and earth. In Revelation .+& the an%el 4ho calls $eo$le to 4orshi$
God identiies Him as the Creator o heaven and earth& virtuall" 3uotin% rom the
ourth commandment. 2hen another an%el identiies the $eo$le 4ho res$ond
$ositivel" to this a$$eal as saints 4ho kee$ the commandments o God and sa"s that
those 4ho res$ond ne%ativel" b" 4orshi$in% the beast receive the mark o the beast.
2he inerence is unmistakable that the mark o the beast has somethin% to do 4ith
alse 4orshi$ on a da" other than the seventh!da" Sabbath.
#ccordin% to Daniel 7E(/ the little horn 4hich& like its Revelation .7
counter$art the sea beast& 4as to $ersecute God@s $eo$le durin% the .(<) da"s& not
onl" $ersecuted and blas$hemed but also thou%ht Hto chan%e the times and the la4.H
It did not seek to remove the 2en Commandments& onl" to modi" or chan%e them&
in the $rocess reusin% to obe" 4hat God had e,$ressl" re3uested. Here is a $arallel
to the sea beast@s reusal to 4orshi$ God and kee$ His commandments.
#$e /ark of t$e Beast and Personal C$aracter
Fe have reco%niJed that the mark o the beast is the same as its name
:.7E.79; thus the $eo$le 4ho %et the mark o the beast in their orehead or
hand %et the name o the beast in their orehead or hand. B" contrast& the
.++&))) commandment kee$ers stand on 't. Cion 4ith the 5amb@s name
and His Father@s name in their oreheads :.+E.9.
Fe recall that the Sabbath o the ourth commandment& as God@s Hsi%nH
and Hseal&H 4as %iven as a s$ecial means or hel$in% 4orshi$ers o God
develo$ characters like His o4n. Fe conclude that rece$tion o the Wark o
the beast involves ne%ative character develo$ment& the cultivation o
characters resemblin% that o the beast& 4ho breaks the Sabbath com!
mandment& blas$hemes God and His sanctuar"& and $ersecutes God@s true
iiicfviarR(##ne Beast
Identifying t$e Beast
Fe have $aid close attention to the content o Revelation .(!.+ and to
4hat the Bible sa"s about the mark o the beast and its counter$art& the seal
o God. In order to identi" the mark o the beast as certainl" as $ossible& it
is a$$ro$riate that 4e make a careul stud" o the sea beast& the beast o the
Hmark o the beast.H Doin% so re3uires us to look at Daniel 7& 'atthe4 (+&
and ( 2hessalonians (& as 4ell as Revelation.
In makin% this com$arison& 4e are bein% true to our hermeneutical
$rinci$les :.9 that because all Scri$ture is ins$ired o God& one $art o it can
be used le%itimatel" to hel$ e,$lain another $art; and :(9 that because the
themes o Daniel& 'atthe4 (+!(/& and ( 2hessalonians ( are closel" linked
to the themes o Revelation but are not $recisel" identical& the" are
$otentiall" useul in inter$retin% Revelation and also in makin% their o4n
Identifying )eatures of t$e Sea Beast (Rev -*@
Descri5tive introduction.
.. Its multi$le bod" is com$osed o $arts o the our beasts o Daniel 7&
4ith the same total number o heads and horns :vs. (9.
(. It has cro4ns on its ten horns& but none on its seven heads :vs. .9.
BeginningMduring t$e .4 !ont$s.
7. 2he dra%on %ives it H$o4er&H H%reat authorit"&H and the dra%on@s o4n
HthroneH :vs. (9.
40 4t #ecei/e$ A:o#$"ipA &/$$0 417(0
/. It utters Hhau%ht" and blas$hemous 4ordsH a%ainst God@s HnameH and
His Hd4ellin%H :vss. /& <9.
<. It makes H4ar on the saintsH and overcomes them :vs. 79.
7. It is allo4ed to o$erate or +( months :vs. /9.
?. It under%oes Hca$tivit"MM and a Hmortal 4oundH H4ith the s4ordMM :vss.
)olloing t$e .4 !ont$s (esc$atological@.
*. Its 4ound is healed.
.). In res$onse to the dece$tive& miracle!4orkin% $ro$a%anda o the
earth beast& it acce$ts coerced 4orshi$ rom almost ever"one on earth :vss. ..!
... It coo$erates 4ith the dra%on and the alse $ro$het :the earth beast9
in tellin% the lies that brin% the kin%s and armies o the 4orld to the battle o
#rma%eddon :.<E.7!./9.
.(. It has a mark& 4hich the earth beast im$oses on $eo$le& and it
a numberE <<< :vss. .<!.?9.
.7. #t the Second Comin%& it and the alse $ro$het :the earth beast9
are thro4n alive into the lake o ire :.*E()9.
Identifying )eatures of t$e Little 7orn (Dan 2@
Prior to t$e -419 days.
-. It arises out o the Hourth beastH :vss. ?&(+9.
(. It a$$ears ater ten other horns are in $lace :vs. (+9.
7. It is HlittleH 4hen irst seen but in time becomes H%reater than its
fellosI :vss. ?&()9.
+. It H$utQsR do4n three kin%s&H so that as it arises Hthree o the irst
hornsH are H$lucked u$ b" the rootsH :vss.
?&(+9. During t$e .(<) days.
/. It has He"es like the e"es o a man& and a mouth s$eakin% %reat
thin%s&H and it s$eaks H4ords a%ainst the 'ost Hi%hM@ :vss. ?&(/9.
1. It is to H4ear out the saints o the 'ost Hi%hH :vs. (/9.
7. It is to Hthink to chan%e the times and the la4H :vs. (/9.
?. It is allotted s$ecial $o4ers or Ha time& t4o times& and hal a
&/$0 25(0
)olloing t$e -419 days (esc$atological@.
*. 2hen Hthe court shall sit in Iud%mentH and take a4a" its
dominion :vs. (<9.
.). It is ultimatel" Hconsumed and destro"edH :vs& (<9.
Related &le!ents in C$rist%s Pro5$ecy (/att 4.@
.. 2he Second Comin% 4ill not occur until ater Hman"
all a4a"& and betra" one another& and hate one anotherH
:vs. .)9.
(. 2he Hdesolatin% sacrile%eH :a alse reli%ious entit" that causes
desolation and 4hich in 5uke (.E() reers to desolatin% armies
surroundin% Aerusalem9 s$oken o b" the $ro$het Daniel& is at some
$oint to be seen standin% in the hol" $lace& God@s tem$le :vs. ./9.
During t$e IdaysI of t$e great tribulation.
7. 2here is to be a H%reat tribulation& such as has not been rom the
be%innin% o the 4orld until no4& no& and never 4ill beH :vs. (.9.
+. HFor the sake o the electH 4ho 4ould other4ise not be let
-J #$e 4ord HbelieversH is su$$lied here because onl" believers can Hall a4a".H 8nbelievers
are alread" in a allen state.
2he 'ark othe Beast
the Hda"sH o the tribulation are to be HshortenedH :vs. ((9. After It$ose
daysI oft$e great tribulation (esc$atological@.
/. HImmediatel" ater the tribulation o those da"sH si%ns are to a$$ear in sun&
moon& and stars :vs. (*9.
<. Follo4ed at last b" the Second Comin% :vss. (*&7)9.
Related &le!ents in Paul%s Pro5$ecy (4 #$ess 4@
.. 2he second comin% o Christ 4ill not occur until the HrebellionH :the
Hallin% a4a"&H DAV; the Ha$ostas"6@ Greek9 comes irst :vs. 79. Prior to t$e
(. H2he m"ster" o la4lessness is alread" at 4ork Qin 1aul@s da"RH :vs.
7. 2he Hman o la4lessnessH :Hman o sin&H DAV9 is to be revealed :vss.
+. For the time bein% :in 1aul@s da"9& Hhe 4ho no4 restrainsH is $revent!
in% ull develo$ment o the m"ster" o la4lessness and 4ill continue to do
so until he is removed Hout o the 4a"H :vs. 79.
/. But Hthe man o la4lessnessH 4ill be revealed Hin his timeH :vs. <9.
Later< Iin $is ti!e.I
<. H2he la4less one 4ill be revealedH :vs. ?9 and the m"ster" o la4!
lessness 4ill be develo$ed :vs. 79.
7. 2he la4less one Htakes his seat in the tem$le o God& $roclaimin%
himsel to be God@M :vs. +9.
Probably esc$atological< involving 5eo5le $o $ave already c$osen
to refuse t$e trut$.
?. 2he la4less one 4ill o$erate Hb" the activit" o SatanH 4ith $o4er
and H$retended si%ns ... and 4ith all 4icked dece$tion or those 4ho...
reused to love the truth.H God sends a Hstron% delusion& to make them
believe 4hat is alse& so that all ma" be condemned 4ho did not believe the
truthH :vss. *!.(9.
*. 2he la4less one 4ill be destro"ed b" Christ at His second comin% :vs.
Even a casual readin% o these our lists Iustiies the conclusion o man"
commentators that the our $ro$hecies reer to the same entit"& that the beast
o the Hmark o the beastH is the same as the little horn o Daniel 7& the
abomination o desolation o 'atthe4 (+& and the HmanH and Hm"ster"H o
la4lessness in ( 2hessalonians (.
2he 'ark
'atthe4 (+ and ( 2hessalonians ( are $lainl" linked to each other& 4ith
their reerences to an u$comin% a$ostas"& time restraints& and the Second
Comin%. Both reer to somethin% evil encroachin% on God@s d4ellin% $lace
:Htem$le&H ( 2hess (; Hhol" $lace&H 'att (+9.
Daniel 7 and Revelation are $lainl" linked to each other& 4ith their
reerences to our beasts :Dan 79 and to a beast com$osed o the same our
beasts :Rev .79& to seven heads and ten homs& to blas$hem"& $ersecution& to
encroachments on God@s hi%hest $rero%atives :His la4& Dan 7; His d4ellin%
$lace& Rev .79& and to the same s$eciied time rame :Ha time& t4o ti!es<
and hal a time&H Dan 7; +( months. Rev .79.
2hat 'atthe4 (+ is linked to Daniel is indicated e,$ressl" b" Christ@s
reerence to the behavior o the desolatin% sacrile%e Hs$oken o b" the
$ro$het Daniel.H
#ll our $ro$hecies are oriented to a time rame 4hich e,tends into t$e
end!time& and all our are concerned about a $o4er that 4as to encroach on
God@s uni3ue $rero%atives.
Inasmuch as all our $ro$hecies are linked to%ether in si%niicant 4a"s
and a$$ear to overla$& 4e are Iustiied b" the rule o econom" in seekin%
their tar%et in a sin%le entit". 0n this assum$tion& the data can reasonabl" be
com$iled into a sin%le scenario somethin% like thisE
Before t$e -419 days (t$e .4 !ont$s< t$e days< t$e ti!e@. (-@ (n t$e
$ead o the ourth beast& :(9 ater the our beasts have a$$eared& and :79
ater ten horns have been observed& and :+9 ater cro4ns have been observed
on the ten homs& an entit" 4as to a$$ear that :/9 combined the attributes o
all our beasts o Daniel 7 and that 4ould also :<9 constitute a movement o
rank a$ostas". Beore it lourished it 4ould be $resa%ed b" :79 the Hm"ster"
o ini3uit"&H its more robust $otential bein% :?9 restrained b" an unnamed
During the .(<) da"s :the .4 !ont$s< t$e days< t$e ti!e@. 5ater& :*9
4ith the restrainer removed& the evil entit" 4ould :.)9 $luck u$ three o the
other homs& :..9 receive le%itimac"& $o4er& and site o o$eration :HthroneH9
rom the dra%on& and :.(9 increase remarkabl" in siJe until it 4as notabl"
lar%er than the other horns. It 4ould even :.79 assume manlike acial
eatures& 4hich it 4ould use :.+9 to blas$heme God. It 4ould successull"
:./9 claim 4orshi$ or itsel :.<9 as i it 4ere God& even schemin% to :.79
enter God@s d4ellin% :His tem$le or sanctuar"9& :.?9 sit on God@s seat& and
:.*9 alter God@s la4s :Hchan%e the times and the la4H9. It 4ould :()9
horribl" $ersecute God@s saints& killin% man" o them& but in God@s %race
:(.9 its $ersecution 4ould be limited to Ha time& t4o times& and hal a time&H
or Hort"!t4o months.H
2he 'ark o the Beast
After t$e .(<) da"s (t$e +( !ont$s< t$e days< t$e ti!e@. 2he termination o
its da"s or $ersecution 4ould be ollo4ed at once b" :((9 astronomical 4onders&
:(79 a ca$tivit" and an intended!to!be mortal blo4 4ith a s4ord& and :(+9 the
seatin% o the Iud%ment. But :(/9 it@s deadl" 4ound 4ould heal and :(<9 it 4ould be
allo4ed one last lin% at trul" dauntin%& miracle!4orkin% deceitulness& %atherin% the
4orld to #rma%eddon in coo$eration 4ith the dra%on and 4ith the earth beast&
4hich 4ould im$ose the beast@s mark on $eo$le& and then at last :(79 Christ 4ould
a$$ear and utterl" destro" it.
Fe 4ill discuss these identi"in% items more ull" in the ne,t section under the
title& H2he Beast #s Roman Catholic.H
So ar e have done little more than read the Bible relectivel". Fe have
adhered to our inter$retational $rinci$les& allo4in% the 4hole Bible to e,$lain its
$arts& reco%niJin% that the irst our maIor $ro$hecies o Revelation run rom the
$ro$het@s da" to the end!time& %ettin% hel$ rom the literar" or%aniJation o
Revelation& and so on.
Fe have learned that the beast o the Hmark o the beastH $arallels the career o
the little horn o the ourth beast o Daniel 7& and it 4as to be s$onsored b" the
dra%on o Revelation .(. It 4as to blas$heme& $ersecute& and encroach on God@s
$rero%atives or a $eriod o .(<) da"s& ater 4hich it 4ould suer an ecli$se. But it
4as to be revived immediatel" $rior to its ultimate destruction at the Second
Comin%& and durin% this interval o revival it 4ould deceive and $ersecute a%ain&
coerce alse 4orshi$ a%ain& and %ather $eo$le to #rma%eddon& 4hile the earth beast
im$osed on all its ollo4ers the Hmark o the beast.H
Fe have learned that the mark o the beast is an end!time $henomenon o
ultimate %ravit". #cce$tin% it 4ill $rovoke the utmost 4rath o God and 4ill
certainl" kee$ $eo$le out o heaven. 2he nature o the mark is the character o
$eo$le 4ho are matured in rebelliousness& bent on Fi%htin% Christ& disobe"in% God@s
commandments& blas$hemin% the Creator and His heavenl" sanctuar"& and
attem$tin% to coerce God@s true $eo$le& under $ain o death& to disobe" God alon%
4ith them. 2he s$eciic as$ect o commandment breakin% $articularl" to be noted is
violation o God@s sacred si%n and seal& the seventh!da" Sabbath.
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited
Ro!an Cat$olicis! and t$e 0nited States
Section (utline
I. Introduction
II. 2he Beast #s Roman Catholic
III. RomeE Chie E,$onent o Sunda" 0bservance
IV. 2he 8nited States and the 'ark
V. Fhat Dierence Does It 'akeL
Be%innin% at least in the ourteenth centur" #.D.& the sea beast o
Revelation .7& the beast o the Hmark o the beast&H has been $erceived
as Roman Catholic. Commentators 4ho have e,$ressed this $erce$tion
have included Aohn 1urve" :F"clie@s associate9& #ndreas 0siander&
=ikolaus von #msdor& Heinrich Bullin%er& and =icholas Rid!le" :all
4ell!kno4n Reormers9& Sir Isaac =e4ton :the British scientist9& Sir
Aohn =a$ier :the Scottish mathematician9& Aohn Cotton :the earl"
#merican $reacher9& 2imoth" D4i%ht :1resident oOale9& and a variet"
o other amous $ersons. It 4as a standard $erce$tion also durin% the
international Second #dvent a4akenin% and continues to be so amon%
Seventh!da" #dventists. It should be noted& ho4ever& that no
commentator $rior to the rise o #dventism a$$lied the mark o the
beast s$eciicall" to the Sabbath!Sunda" issue.
0ne o our inter$retational $rinci$les holds that because God is no
res$ecter o $ersons :#cts .)E7+9& and $ro$hec" is o no $rivate
inter$retation :( 1et .E()9& it ollo4s that $ro$hetic inter$retations
oered b" Bible
. 2he list and the observation are su$$lied b" Se#enth5da Ad#entists Answer
Buestions on %octrine :Fashin%ton& DC< .*/79& .?)!?.& based on inormation in
5eRo" Ed4in Froom& *ro!hetic (aith o/ Cur (athers, + vols. :Fashin%ton& DC<
2ne@'arD oFine Beast
students in the $ast should not be entirel" overlooked toda". #t the same time&
4e remember that human understandin% o truth is $ro%ressive and that some
as$ects o Daniel@s $ro$hecies 4ere closed b" God until the end o the .(<)
da"s :Dan .(; Rev .)9.
2he $ortion o the mark o the beast $ro$hec" that 4as not inerred until
the nineteenth centur" is the $art dealin% 4ith Sabbath and Sunda". Fe 4ill
duscuss this as$ect a little urther on. But no4 4e 4ish to e,amine the 4idel"
held conviction that the beast is Roman Catholic.
Fe ri%htl" res$ect this $osition on the basis o our seventh inter$reta!
tional $rinci$le but& o course& 4e must e,amine it.
2he chie alternate vie4s current toda" are the $reterist& 4hich holds that
the beast 4as one or more Roman em$erors :=ero or e,am$le9& and the
dis$ensational!uturist& 4hich holds that the beast is a 4orld dictator slated to
a$$ear durin% the Hseventieth 4eekH o Daniel *.
But neither =ero nor an" other Roman em$eror is kno4n to have im$osed
a mark on $eo$le to %et them to 4orshi$ him; and racturin% the sevent"
4eeks has been discredited else4here in this Daniel and Revelation series.
I 4e look or other $ossibilities& 4e must be %uided b" our inter$reta!
tional $rinci$les. #n" $ossibilit" must it the historicist stand on Ha da" or a
"earH and be located in a $rinci$al area inhabited b" or havin% a stron% im$act
on $eo$le 4ho 4orshi$ the true God. 1erha$s the Islamic 0ttoman Em$ire
comes to mind. It re$laced the Eastern em$ire in some 4a"s similar to the 4a"
the Roman Church re$laced the Festern em$ire& and it had a %reat im$act on
the course o Christianit". But such a su%%estion must be reIected. In no sense
can Rome be described as H%ivin%H Constantino$le to the 0ttomans& 4ho
ou%ht lon% and hard to %et it. #nd the 0ttoman Em$ire& %reat and lon%!lived as
it 4as& endured not .(<) "ears but less than hal as man"& rom .7(< to .*(7.
So is the leo$ard!bodied sea beast Roman CatholicL Scientists charac!
teristicall" be%in 4ith a h"$othesis& then test it. Biblical researchers should not
be denied the same method.
Fe tarr" 4ith the identit" o the beast not because the Iob has not been
done 4ell else4here& or it has& but in the ho$e o addin% a e4 ne4 con!
siderations and because some $eo$le 4ho see themselves as historicists have
be%un recentl" to 3uestion the identiication. Fe 4ill conine ourselves to a
e4 hi%hli%hts in this section but $rovide additional data and assessments in the
third section o this cha$ter.
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
#$e Beast As Ro!an Cat$olic
#$e Ro!anness of t$e Sea Beast
Commentators have been ri%ht in seein% the leo$ard!bodied sea beast as Roman.
2his is irst o all im$licit in its relationshi$ to the %reat red dra%on o Revelation .(
and also in its links to the beasts and horns o Daniel 7.
2he %reat red dra%on& 4hich %ives its $o4er& throne& and %reat authorit" to the
leo$ard!bodied sea beast :Rev .7E(9& is the Roman Em$ire. 2o be sure& in .(E* the
dra%on is introduced as Hthe Devil& and Satan.H But $lainl" it reers also to the Roman
Em$ire& actin% as a mask or the devil. 2he entit" that historicall" Hstood beore the
4oman .. . that he mi%ht devour her child 4hen she brou%ht it orthH :.(E+9 4as Herod
in the irst instance and 1ilate in the second& both o$eratin%>one as a local kin%& the
other as a $rocurator>under the authorit" o the Roman Em$ire.
5ike4ise& the little horn o Daniel 7 arose on the ourth beast& that is& as a kind o
e,tension o the Roman Em$ire. #nd 4e have seen in the $revious section that the little
horn and the sea beast s"mboliJe the same $o4er or entit".
IRo!eI and IRo!anI Defined
Fhen 4e read that the armies that %ave Rome to the $a$ac" 4ere commissioned in
Constantino$le& it@s eas" to become conused. So a brie e,$lanation is in order.
Fhen the Roman Em$ire %re4 lar%e& eective em$erors ound the" had to travel
around it e,tensivel">attended b" literall" thousands o clerks& bureaucrats& soldiers&
and servants& %luttin% the roads or miles and causin% ininite consternation in the to4ns
4here the" chose to s$end the ni%ht6
#o reduce the diicult" o %overnin% the entire Roman Em$ire rom a sin%le
center& the Em$eror Diocletian :(?+!7)/9 divided the em$ire into t4o maIor $arts&
Eastern and Festern& 4ith a se$arate but coo$eratin% em$eror in each $art. 2he $lan
under4ent several revisions. =ominall"& the ca$ital o the Festern em$ire 4as the cit"
o Rome& 4here the ancient Senate still continued to meet>but the em$eror hardl" ever
lived there& $reerrin% 'ilan& or locations in 4hat 4e no4 call Ou%oslavia and France.
In the +))s the Festern em$eror normall" resided in Ravenna& in north!
4 See A.7./. Aones& The ?ater "oman Em!ire, D-.5EFD :=orman& (?< .*<+9. 7<<!<7.
1he Ma#k of t"e Bea$t
east Ital". 8nder Constantine :7)<!7779 the ca$ital o the Eastern $art o the em$ire
became Constantino$le& aectionatel" kno4n as =e4 Rome& even thou%h the Eastern
em$eror oten did not live there either. But the entire em$ire& thou%h divided and
hardl" ever ruled rom Rome& still 4as kno4n as the Roman Em$ire. 5a4s
$roclaimed in one $art ere le%all" bindin% in both $arts and 4ere kno4n as Roman
la4s; and an arm"& even 4hen commissioned in Constantino$le& 4as kno4n as a
Roman arm".
2he conce$t o HRomeH 4as not limited to either s$ace or time. Fhen
Charlema%ne came to the cit" o Rome or his coronation at Christmas& #!D. ?))& he
claimed to be the ne4 Roman em$eror& even thou%h his ca$ital 4as at #achen in 4hat
is no4 kno4n as 4estern German". #nd 4hen Charles V aced 5uther at the Diet o
Forms in ./(. he did so as head o the HHol" Roman Em$ire&H ounded b" 0tto I in
#.D. *<(.
2his brie e,ercise in deinin% terms hel$s us see that 4hen the 0stro%oths
eliminated the Heruls under orders rom the em$eror in Constantino$le& the" did so
under Roman orders. Similarl"& 4hen General Belisarius 4as commissioned in
Constantino$le to eliminate the #rian Vandals in =orth #rica and the #rian
0stro%oths in Ital"& he obe"ed as a Roman %eneral in char%e o a Roman arm". 2he
%reat red dra%on o im$erial Rome did indeed %ive the cit" o Rome to the $a$ac".
0ur e,ercise also hel$s us see ho4 Christians in the 'iddle #%es and be"ond
could continue to vie4 their Christianit" as HRoman.H Indeed& in one sense their
church 4as more Roman or centuries than the em$ire itsel& or its head3uarters 4ere
almost al4a"s located in Rome.
#lthou%h the ancient Roman Em$ire as such lon% a%o ceased to e,ist& Catholics
believe that Rome continues in a vital sense in their denomination toda". 2he Catholic
Church is avo4edl" Roman. Its oicial name toda"& as it has been throu%hout most o
its lon% histor"& is the Hol" Catholic and #$ostolic Church o Rome. 1roessor Aohn
5. 'cDenJie o the 8niversit" o =otre Dame has stated clearl" since the second
Vatican Council& that HRoman Catholics believe that their Romanism is a relection o
the authentic Christianit" o their church.H
7 #lternativel"& as time 4ent on& the %overnment of the Eastern em$ire came also to be kno4n as
HB"JantineH ater B"Jantium& the ancient village on the site o 4hich Constantine ounded Con!
+ 2here ere e,ce$tions& es$eciall" durin% the so!called Bab"lonian Ca$tivit" o .7)*!.777& 4hen t$e
$o$es 4ere com$elled to reside in Avignon< in southern )rance.
/ Aohn L< 'cDenJie& S;.< The "oman )atholic #hurch, ed. &. 9. ;a!es< 7istory of Religion Series
:=e4 Oork& .*<*9&,ii. (n the other hand& attem$ts have been made b" some #merican Cat$olics to
mute this Romanness& evidentl" to ease the 4a" or 1rotestant A!ericans to become
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
0 course& durin% the 'iddle #%es there 4as much more Romanness in the
Roman Catholic Church than location& im$ortant as that 4as. 0ne thinks o the $o$e@s
dictatorial $o4ers& similar to those o a Roman em$eror. #nd o $ersecutions>
actuall" ar more severe than the $a%an em$ire inlicted on Christians>that Christian
Rome inlicted on $ersons it sus$ected o Hheres".H 2he crusades a%ainst the Cathari
and the #lbi!%enses& brutal su$$ression o 1rotestantism in the =etherlands& and the
shameul massacre o St. Bartholome4@s Da"& all come to mind. #nd the so!called
S$anish In3uisition. Even the New )atholic Encclo!edia ackno4led%es that& HIud%ed
b" contem$orar" standards& the In3uisition& es$eciall" as it develo$ed in S$ain to4ard
the close o the 'iddle #%es& can be classiied onl" as one o the darker cha$ters in
the histor" o the Church.H
1articularl" $ainul is the observation that in carr"in% out its $ersecutions
Catholic Rome as late as the t4elth centur" ado$ted rom $a%an Rome the $ractice o
Iudicial torture.
8nder the em$ire& Roman civil la4 3Aus ci#ile4 allo4ed sus$ects to be tortured in
court in order to %et them to coness their assumed crimes. In contrast 4ith the
Festern standard toda"& until $roved %uilt" a $erson is to be considered innocent
Romans assumed that an accused $erson 4as $robabl" %uilt">thus Iudicial torture
4as a reasonable $art o the $unishment
2he invadin% Germanic tribes held the modern Festern $osition& innocent till
$roved %uilt".
But 4hen volumes o the old Roman civil la4 4ere rediscovered in the
.())s& the Roman Church almost immediatel" a$$roved Iudicial torture o sus$ected
A$ t"e Ne, 2atholic 7ncyclopedia #epo#t$1
8nder the inluence o Germanic customs and conce$ts& torture 4as little
used rom the *th to the .(th centuries& but with the re#i#al o/ "oman law the
$ractice Qo tortureR 4as reestablished in the .(th centur".... In
Catholics. See& e.%.& the 4idel" distributed The (aith o/ 6illions :Huntin%don& I:< .*<7&.*7+9& b"
Aohn (%Brien 4ho& like 'cDenJie& tau%ht at the 8niversit" o =otre Da!e.
1 Sec articles< HIn3uisition&H H#uto!da!Fe&H and HSt. Bartholome4@s Day< 'assacre o.H
2 A$en around ?/) a church court tortured the monk Gottschalk or his non!Catholic vie4s on
$redestination& a stron% $rotest 4as lod%ed b" the $eo$le o 5"ons& 4ho 4ere descendants o the
invaders. 2hese $eo$le reminded their Ro!an Catholic bisho$ that even 4hen $eo$le are overtaken
in a ault& the Bible sa"s t$ey should be Hrestored in a s$irit o %entleness.H See =eorge &.
/cCracken and #lien Cabaniss& cds.< Earl 6edie#al Theolog, in ;o$n Baillie& Aohn 2. 'c=eill&
and 7enry P. 'an Duson& eds.< LCC :1hiladel$hia& .*/79. *E.<?!<*.
#$e /ark of t$e Beast
-464 NPo5eO Innocent I' sanctioned t$e infliction of torture by t$e civil
aut$orities u5on $eretics< and torture came to have a recogni)ed place in t$e
5rocedure of t$e inGuisitorial courts.
2hus in the most brutal and non!Christian as$ect o its medieval activit"& the
Roman Church 4as a direct and d"namic descendant o the Roman Em$ire.
Audicial torture 4as not the onl" as$ect o the church@s Romanlike cruelt".
Durin% $ersecutions& $o%roms& and other $unishments insti%ated or a$$roved b" the
Roman Church& $eo$le mi%ht be hun% rom their eet so their torsos could be sa4n
do4n the middle rom %roin to scal$. 0thers mi%ht be slo4l" $ierced throu%h b"
s$ikes inside the Iron 'aiden o =urember%. 2here 4ere man" %houlish tools o
cruelt">and an estimated t4o& three& or even our million victims. Ei%ht"!ive
$ercent o the victims are believed to have been 4omen& e,cruciatin%l" done to
death 4ith the red hot $incers& the breast ri$$er& the e,$andable va%inal $ear& and
other devices.
So the Roman Church ulilled the $ro$hec" about Hmakin% 4ar on the saints.H
It also ulilled the one about utterin% hau%ht" and blas$hemous 4ords. 0ne 4ell!
kno4n e,am$le 4ill suice& as historicist 4orks on $ro$hec" $rovide man" others.
#t the Fith 5ateran Council in ./.(& Iust beore the Reormation be%an& Christo$her
'arcellus addressed 1o$e Aulius II& H2hou art the She$herd& thou art the 1h"sician&
thou art the Governor& thou art the Husbandman& inall"& thou art another God on
earth 3tu enim !astor,&&& tu deniGue alter %eus in terns4$ His 4ords are $reserved in a
maIor Catholic historical collection.
2he Catholic Church also ulilled the $ro$hec" about thinkin% to chan%e the
times and the la4. But no4 4e must look at the be%innin% and endin% dates or the
.(<) "ears.
#$e -419 Days
2he Seventh!da" #dventist $osition& like that o the 'illerite #dvent!ists
beore them& is that the .(<) da"s o $ro$hec" 4ere ulilled bet4een /7?
and .7*?& or bet4een a$$ro,imatel" those dates. Fe need to ask& Is there
reall" a basis or the amiliar Seventh!da" #dventist understandin%
7 Ne, 2atholic 7ncyclopedia) #'t. /To'tu'e0/ italic$ $upplie-0
& Ro1e't Held) InDftiisition6In9uisici&n: A Bilin+ual >uide toAAA 1orture Instruments (PEoaace)
1< 2. ,. M#nsi0 ed.0 Sacro!! 2oncilionanAAA 2olleclio) =2@610
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
2he 3uestion is im$ortant not onl" because Seventh!da" #dventists em$hasiJe
the .(<) da"s but also because the .(<) da"s are mentioned in Scri$ture not once or
t4ice but seven times. #$ree times the" a$$ear as Ha time& t4o times Qor @times&@ Rev
.(E.+R& and hal a timeH :Dan 7E(/; .(E79;
tice the" a$$ear as Hort"!t4o monthsH :Rev ..E(; .7E/9; and t4ice& sim$l" as Hone
thousand t4o hundred and si,t" da"sH :Rev ..E7; .(E<9.
#$e Lear 6*J
Fe read a%ain& in scene + :.7E.!+9& that the dra%on :in this case& the
Roman Em$ire9 %ave to the leo$ard!bodied sea beast Hhis $o4er and his
throne and %reat authorit".H
Fe note the location o the cro4ns 4hen the %reat red dra%on %ave these
elements o authorit" to the beast. 2he dra%on had cro4ns on its se#en heads
and none on its ten horns; the beast& ho4ever& had cro4ns on its ten horns
and none on its seven heads. 2hus the arrival o the sea beast in Revelation
.7 announced a de$arture rom the era o the Roman Em$ire and an entrance
into the era o the invadin% tribes.
Fhereas Revelation .( be%an 4ith the
birth o Aesus& Revelation .7 be%ins around #.D.+7<.
In Daniel 7E(+ Daniel did not become a4are o the little horn that re$!
resented Catholic Rome until ater the ten horns 4ere in $lace; and he ob!
served that the little horn arose Hout o this kin%dom&H that is& out o the
ourth beast!kin%dom& im$erial RomeE
#ter the ten horns :the invadin% Germanic tribes9 4ere essentiall" in
5lace :that is& ater +7<& the nominal date or the all o Festern Rome9&
little hom :Catholic Christianit"9 took on %reat $o4er; as it did so& three o
the other homs :three o the invadin% tribes9 4ere $lucked u$.
# HthroneH is an obvious s"mbol o authorit". Inasmuch as this $assa%e
already contains the 4ords H$o4erH and Hauthorit"&H 4e e,$ect the term in
this instance to conve" a more literal meanin%. Basicall"& a throne is a $lace
4here an im$ortant $erson sits. 0ther ancient 4ords or HthroneH are t$e
=reek cathedra, used or a bisho$@s throne& and the 5atin sedes, $ic$
sho4s u$ in En%lish as Hsee.H In the Catholic church& the building in
-- #$at t$e cro4ns do serve as time !arkers is conirmed b" com$arison o the dra%on and sea beast
it$ t$e red beast in Revelation .7. 2he red beast $as seven $eads and ten homs& like the dra%on
and the sea beast& but it has no crons at all. An an%el inormed Aohn that $e had entered the ti!e
o Iud%ment. HCome. I 4ill s$o you theAudneitt o the %reat harlotH :.7E.9. 2he era since
.7*?6.?++ has been notable as an era o dcmocratiJation& es$eciall" in Euro$e.
-4 H#lmost t$e 4hole o the Aestern em$ire 4as... b" +7< ruled b" German kin%s.H Aones& The ?ater
Roman *mpire, 4.6.
2he 'ark o the Beast
4hich a bisho$@s throne :or cathedra4 is located is called a Hcathedral.H 2he cit in
4hich a cathedral is located is called a Hsee.H
2he ultimate see in Catholicism is the Hol" See< the cit" 4here the throne o the
bisho$ o Rome& the $o$e& is located. 2his is the cit" o Rome& 4hich or man"
centuries 4as 4holl" under the $o$e@s control. Since the .*(* 2reat" o the 5ateran
4ith Ital"& the $o$e@s see has been conined to Vatican Cit"& but this .)?.7 acre tract
lies on Vatican Hill& 4holl" 4ithin the cit" o Rome.
So ho4 did the dra%on& the Roman Em$ire& %ive its $o4er& its authorit"& and the
!lace o its rulershi$ :its Hthrone&H or see& or cit"9 to the Roman ChurchL #nd 4hen
did it do soL
Fe have alread" noted that Em$erors rarel" lived in Rome>even thou%h Rome
remained the nominal ca$ital o the em$ire. 2he Senate continued to meet there until
at least /7?& and the $lace 4as re%arded 4ith m"stical reverence as the Eternal Cit".
B" livin% else4here& the Em$erors allo4ed a ca$able $o$e to become the most
visible leader in the cit".
In addition& several em$erors oered s$eciic elements o authorit" to the
$a$ac". For e,am$le& 4hen Bisho$ Hilar" o #ries :in 4hat 4e call France toda"9
reused to obe" a command issued b" 1o$e 5eo I :++)!+<.9& 1o$e 5eo $ersuaded the
Roman Em$eror Valentinian III :+(/!+//9 to issue a decree re3uirin% %overnors o
$rovinces to enorce the 1o$e@s commandsE
=othin% shall be attem$ted b" the Gallican bisho$s& or b" those o an"
other $rovince& contrar" to the ancient custom& 4ithout the authorit" o the
venerable $o$e o the Eternal Cit". But 4hatsoever the authorit" o the
#$ostolic See has enacted& or shall enact& let that be held as la4 or all. So that
i an" bisho$ summoned beore the $o$e o Rome shall ne%lect to attend& let
him be com$elled to a$$ear b" the %overnor o the $rovince.
2here 4as another actor inluencin% the uture& the estates in Ital"& France& and
north #rica 4hich various em$erors and Roman nobles besto4ed on the $o$e.
Income rom these estates enabled $o$es to $rovide si%niicant 4elare beneits to the
$oor in times o distress& thereb" considerabl" increasin% their o4n $o$ularit" and
2hus even beore +7< the Roman Em$ire :the dra%on9 had been
.7 Edict o Valentinian III& #.D. ++/; trans. in Hcni" Bcttcnson& %ocuments o/ the )hristian )hurch, (d.
ed. :5ondon& .*<79& 7(!77.
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
$re$arin% the 4a" or the transer o $o4er& throne& and %reat authorit" to the
Catholic Church :the beast9.
=evertheless& in +7< the $o$e did not immediatel" come into undis$uted
$ossession o Rome. #t irst a mi,ture o tribes controlled the area& led b" 0dovacar&
a member o the Herul tribe. By +*7 the 0stro%oths& actin% under orders rom the
Catholic Roman Em$eror Ceno& head3uartered in Constantino$le& neutraliJed the
#rian Heruls and their allies :the irst o the three horns to be u$rooted9 and $laced
themselves in char%e o Ital". But the 0stro%oths themselves 4ere #rian.
2he 0stro%oths 4ere kind to the Catholics most o the time& but not alays.
Fhen the Bur%undian tribe :located in 4hat 4e call France toda"9 became Catholic
and be%an $ersecutin% local #rians& 2heodoric $unished them severel"& killin% some
o them and takin% a4a" a number o their churches.
#nd in /(<& 4hen the Eastern
Em$eror& Austin& a Catholic& 4as $ersecutin% #rians in his $art o the em$ire& Din%
2heodoric bundled o Po5e Aohn I to Constantino$le& char%in% him to $ersuade
Austin to sto$ the $ersecution. Fhen the $o$e returned to Ital" onl" $artiall" success!
ul& 2heodoric an%ril" humiliated him and ke$t him in e,ile at Ravenna& until he died
a short time later.
2hus ar the dra%on had not "et delivered Rome into the $o$e@s hands. But
Eastern Em$eror Austinian :/(7!/</9& a devout Catholic and ne$he4 o Austin I< sent
his General Belisarius rom Constantino$le 4ith a Roman ar!y to eliminate the
#rian Vandals in =orth #rica. B" /7+ that Iob 4as done and the second horn 4as
u$rooted. H2he Vandals disa$$eared like a mist.H
2hen Austinian ordered Betisarius
to enter Ital" and 4i$e out the third horn& the #rian 0stro%oths.
2he 0stro%oths made a strate%ic retreat. #s Belisarius and his small arm"
entered Rome in December /7< b" one %ate& the 0stro%othic %arrison %uardin% the
cit" marched out b" a dierent %ate.
But soon the 0stro%othic arm" arrived& in %reat numbers. 2hus as late as the end
o /77& Belisarius@s arm" 4as dramaticall" outnumbered b" the 0stro%oths and 4as&
in act& held ca$tive 4ithin the cit" o Rome& besie%ed by the 0stro%oths the" had
come to con3uer. Ho4ever& disease and inade3uate %eneralshi$ decimated the Goths&
4hile brilliance and darin% aided Belisarius. In the s$rin% o /7? the Gothic arm"&
lar%el" demoraliJed& 4ith!
-. ;. B. Buiy< %istory o/ the *a!ac in the +,th )entur 3+-E.5+-H-4 :5ondon. .*7)9& ..7.
-6 ;.:.D. Dell"& The $+ford %ictionar o/ the ,hpes :0,ord P :e Oork& .*?<9& /+!//& insists t$at
t$e re$orts t$at 2heodoric 5ut Aohn in Iail Iare certainly alse.H
-1 C A. Previte-(rton< The Shorter )ambridge 6edie#al =istor :Cambrid%e& .*/79& .?*.
2he 'ark o the Beast
dre4 rom Rome& its numbers ade3uate to cause considerable dama%e to Ital" over
the ne,t several "ears but ver" %reatl" reduced Hrom tens o thousands to a e4 men&
survivors 4ho hadH suered the rava%es both o the $estilence and o the enem".
Fhen Belisarius 4as recalled to Constantino$le& the tattered Goths& in the absence o
im$erial troo$s& attem$ted to recon3uer Ital". But u$on the rea$$earance o an
im$erial arm" in //.& this time led b" =arses& the real Gothic 4eakness became
a$$arent In //7 the 0stro%oths& decisivel" deeated in /7?& inall" ceased to e,ist as
a tribe.
2he turnin% $oint or the histor" o Rome came in /7?& 4hen the Catholic arm"
o the Roman Em$ire drove the atall" eneebled #rian 0stro%oths a4a" rom the
HEternal Cit".H
In the amous 4ords o 2homas Hod%kin@s multi!volume 4ork&
Ital and =er In#adersI the calamitous deeat in /7? Hdu%H the H%rave o the Gothic
monarch" in Ital".H #ntici$atin% the inevitable termination o 0stro%othic control
alread" in /77& Austinian had a$$ointed a $raetorian $reect to %overn the
B" /7?& thereore& the sti$ulations o $ro$hec" had been met and the $ro$hetic .(<)
"ears could be%in. 2he ten horns 4ere in $lace and cro4ned;
three o them had subse3uentl" been u$rooted& and the %reat red dra%on o
Revelation .( and .7 had eectivel" handed over to the leo$ard!bodied sea beast its
$o4er& seat& and %reat authorit".
-2BJ and t$e /ortal Aound
Fhenever Seventh!da" #dventists think o the close o the .(<) da"s& the"
recall that on Februar" ./&.7*?& t4elve hundred and si,t" "ears ater /7?& the $o$e
4as taken into ca$tivit" b" a French militar" unit. It ha$$ened as Revelation had
oretold& 4ith remarkable accurac". H0ne o its heads seemed to have a mortal
4oundH :.7E79.
In verse .) 4e ind a $ro$hetic $roverb that s$eciies the nature o the mortal
4ound; it 4ould involve a Hs4ordH :militar" action9 and a Hca$tivit"HE HI an" one is
to be taken ca$tive& to ca$tivit" he %oes; i an" one sla"s 4ith the s4ord& 4ith the
s4ord must he be slainH :.7E.)9.
.7 1roco$ius& =istor o/ the >ars, <.<..; 5ocb 7&777. Proco5ius accom$anied Belisarius.
.? In the 4ords o 2homas Hod%kin& Ilat and =er In#aders, (d. ed.& ? vols. in * :0,ord& .??/!.?**9&
+E</7& H2he" disa$$eared.H
.* 2he event has been described in some detail in various $laces. See C. 'erv"n 'a,4ell& IAn &,e-
%etical and Historical E,amination... o the .(<) Da"s o 1ro$hec"H :'.#. thesis& Seventh!da"
#dventist 2heolo%ical Seminar"& .*/.9; and& or a less detailed account& God #ares .E.(7&.7*!+..
() Vol. +& (/).
(. Aones& The ?ater "oman Em!ire, (?7.
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
Durin% the French Revolution& under orders rom the revolutionar"
French %overnment& General #le,ander Berthier issued a $roclamation in
Rome on Februar" ./& .7*?& inormin% 1o$e 1ius VI and the $eo$le o
Rome that the $o$e should no longer $e0ercise an /unction& $
General Berthier 4as carr"in% out an order issued b" the central French
%overnment. Fhen the armies o France 4ere enIo"in% victories in Ital" in
.7*7& =a$oleon received a communication rom the Director" dated .7
1luviose o the "ear O si%ned b" 5a Revelliere!5e$eau,& Barras& and
Reubell& sa"in% that Hthe "oman religion Qitalics su$$liedR 4ould al4a"s be
the irreconcilable enem" o the Re$ublic.H It must be struck in France; but
Hthere is one thin% more essential& to the attainment o the end desired& and
that is to destro"& i $ossible& the centre o unit" o the Roman Church; and it
is or "ou Q=a$oleonR... to realiJe this aim i "ou consider it $racticable.H
Ho4 the $o$e 4as arrested 4hile celebratin% the t4ent"!third anniver!
sar" o his coronation& then hurried o to one $lace ater another; and ho4
$e died in e,ile a "ear or so later& his bod" let l"in% around or some time
unburied& has oten been told. #nd it is none the less an im$ressive ulill!
ment o $ro$hec" or the retellin% o it.
Fe conclude that evidence is abundant that the leo$ard!bodied sea beast
o Revelation .7 is Roman Catholic. It a$$eared as Festern Rome 4as
$assin% a4a". It received le%itimac"& authorit"& and ca$ital seat rom the
Roman Em$ire. It e,$erienced the s$eciic events $ro$hesied to mark the
be%innin% and endin% o a uni3ue .(<) "ear career. #nd durin% its .(<)
"ears it maniested the blas$hemin% and $ersecutin% character traits s$e!
ciicall" oreseen.
'ore can be said about the ull meanin% o /7? and .7*?; the matter is
addressed a%ain in the third section o this cha$ter& HSome Kuestions
#ns4ered.H But no4 4e 4ill e,amine the 3uestion 4hether Roman
Catholicism has ulilled the little!hom $ro$hec" about chan%in% the times
and the la4.
44 Aohn #dol$hus& The =istor o/ (rance D :5ondon& .?)79& *16.
4* A. #ulard& )hristianit and the (rench "e#olution, trams& ?ad FraJer :5ondon& .*(79& ./.&
e!5$asis su$$lied.

2he 'ark o the Beast

Ro!e+ C$ief &,5onent of Sunday (bservance
In our search to understand the mark o the beast& 4e have been led to identi"
the leo$ard!bodied sea beast :the beast o the Hmark o the beastH9 4ith the little
horn o Daniel 7 and to identi" both the beast and the little hom as HRoman
Catholic.H Fe have not com$leted the identiication& ho4ever. Fe have let until
no4 a discussion o the $hrase&H QheR shall think to chan%e the times and the la4H
:Dan 7E(/9.
2his $hrase& HQheR shall think to chan%e the times and the la4&H thou%h s$oken
about the little horn& a$$lies e3uall" to the sea beast& inasmuch as the little horn and
the sea beast constitute the same entit". 2he sea beast is hostile to God@s la4. 2his is
evident rom the %eneral messa%e o Vision IV& the %reat controvers" division :Rev
.(!.+9& in 4hich the $ro$hec" o the sea beast occurs. God@s true $eo$le& those 4ho
do not submit to the dra%on and 4ho do not receive the mark o the beast& are
described t4ice& in .(E.7 and .+E.(& as commandment kee$ers& im$l"in% that the
beast is a commandment breaker. #dditionall"& the %reat controvers" division is in!
troduced 4ith a sanctuar" scene :..E.*9 that calls attention to God@s tem$le& His
heavenl" dwelling, containin% the ark o God and the 2en Commandments. 2his
introductor" scene $re$ares us to $erceive an attack on God@s la4 4hen 4e read in
.7E<& Hit o$ened its mouth to utter blas$hemies a%ainst God& blas$hemin% his name
and his dwelling&
Is it conceivable that a Christian church could o$enl" advocate disobedience to
the 2en CommandmentsL 2he Catholic Church does not normall" teach $eo$le to
commit adulter" or murder. 0n the other hand& it is common kno4led%e that the
Catholic Church boldl" claims to have chan%ed the Sabbath commandment; and its
attitude to4ard the Sabbath is es$eciall" si%niicant in vie4 o our earlier stud" that
the mark o the beast is the o$$osite o the seal o God& and that the seal o God has
to do 4ith Sabbath!kee$in%.
But almost all Christian churches or centuries have $reerred Sunda" to the
Sabbath. Is there evidence that the Roman Catholic Church has in the $ast $la"ed an
outstanding role in coerci#et avorin% Sunda" at the e,$ense o the SabbathL
(+ Diiculties in t$e =reek te,t or the remainder o Rev .7E< should not obscure t$e $lain meanin%
o the $art cited.
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
#$e Ancient C$urc$es
Ae consider irst the $lace o the Catholic Church amon% the other ancient
churches o Christendom.
In the si,th centur"& the centur" in 4hich /7? ell& in addition to the Festern
Roman :or Roman Catholic9 Church& 4e ind the =orth #rican Church& 4e ind the
E%"$tian or Co$tic Church& the Ethio$ian Church& the #rmenian Church& the
=estorian Church& and the Greek!s$eakin% Eastern branch o the Catholic Church
:4hich in time became the Greek 0rthodo, Church9. 0 these churches& the Roman
Catholic Church 4as in earl" times>and remained or centuries>the most
cons$icuous in coercive advocac" o Sunda" and coercive deni%ration o the
But Rome@s uni3ue role re%ardin% Sabbath and Sunda" 4as not evident until
near the end o the second centur".
Survey of &arly State!ents and Conditions
2o vie4 the role o the Roman Church in true $ers$ective& it is hel$ul to %o
back at least to the second centur" :the #.D. . 00s9. Fe have s$ace to e,amine
onl" a $ortion o the available evidence& the totalit" o 4hich s$os convincin%l"
that even in the second and third centuries the Sabbath 4as alread" %enerall" lost
si%ht o& and that Sunda" 4as alread" 4idel" celebrated. 2his reIection o the
Sabbath in avor o Sunda" 4as not conined to Rome>nor to #le,andria and
Rome>des$ite a 4ides$read im$ression amon% seventh!da" Sabbatarians toda"
that this 4as the case.
&,a!ination of t$e literature fro! t$e second and early t$ird centuries
reveals t$at essentially t$e sa!e Sabbat$ and Sunda" theolo%" as tau%ht all
around t$e Ro!an &!5ire at t$at time. Sunda" as $onored in recognition o
the resurrection of C$rist< and Sabbat$ 4as do4n%raded as a55licable onl" to
;es< not to C$ristian Gentiles.
;ustin /artyr :ca. -99--16@. It is 4ell kno4n amon% Sabbatarians that in the
middle o the second centur" Austin re$orted in his (irst A!olog, HSunda" is the
da" on 4hich 4e all hold our common assembl".H
Ho4ever Austin 4as a 4ell!
traveled $erson& 4hose re$ort ma" not re$resent $ractices in Rome alone.! Internal
evidence $rovides an a$$ro,imate date o
(/ 2he issue o Sabbath6Sunda" observance in the earl"& $osta$oslolic centuries 4as nol a to$ic dis!
cussed b" D#RC0'. 2he thesis advanced :$$. 7*!*.9 re$resents the $ersonal inter$retation of t$e
data b" the author& not that o the committee. > Ed.
41 ;ustin< (irstA!oloI, <7. A:)< .E.?<.
42 In $is mart"rolo%" Austin is 3uoted as sa"in% at his trial that he 4as then in Rome or the second
2he 'ark o the Beast
around ./). Ae 3uote no4 rom his (irst A!olog, cha$ter <7E
#nd on the da" called Sunda"& all 4ho live in cities or in the countr"
%ather to%ether to one $lace& and the memoirs o the a$ostles or the 4ritin%s
o the $ro$hets are read.... Sunda" is the da" on 4hich 4e all hold our
common assembl"& because it is the irst da" on 4hich God... made the 4orld;
and Aesus Christ on the same da" rose rom the dead. For He 4as cruciied on
the da" beore that o Saturn; and on the da" ater that o Saturn& 4hich is the
da" o the Sun& havin% a$$eared to His a$ostles and disci$les& He tau%ht them
these thin%s& 4hich 4e have submitted to "ou also or "our consideration.
Austin here He %ives the reasons or meetin% on Sunda" as he understands them&
namel" that God be%an His 4ork o creation on Sunda" and Christ rose rom the
dead on Sunda". He identiies Sunda" careull" as Hthe da" ater that o SaturnH
:Saturda"9. He sa"s that Hall Christians 4ho live in cities or in the countr"H %ather
or their common assembl" on Sunda". He does not sa" that onl" those 4ho live in
Rome do so. He sa"s that HSunda" is the da"H on 4hich the" meet& not one o the
#s or the Sabbath& Austin elt no obli%ation to observe it& even thou%h he
considered himsel a commandment kee$er.
2he elderl" Christian 4ho converted
him had told him not to chan%e his manner o lie on the Sabbath.
In an" case the
Sabbath 4as not needed b" Gentiles& 4ho had been converted. It 4as %iven onl" to
the ;es< on account o their stubbornness and the hardness o hearts. 2o the Ae4ish
rabbi& 2r"$ho& Austin said& a$$arentl" 4hile in the cit" o E$hesus& HFe QChristiansR
too 4ould observe the leshl" circumcision& and the Sabbaths&... i 4e did not kno4
or 4hat reason the" 4ere enIoined "ou QAe4sR&>namel"& on account o "our
trans%ressions and the hardness o "our hearts.H
Sunda" observance& to the detriment o Sabbath observance& 4as 4ell
established and 4ides$read b" the middle o the second centur".
Irenaeus :5 ca. .7/!ca. -B6@. In Gaul :France9 4e encounter Ire!neaus& 4ho
came rom near E$hesus around #.D. .?) to re$lace a bisho$ in Gaul 4ho had Iust
been mart"red. #s Irenaeus took u$ his ne4 4ork& he ound man" Gnostic
Christians u$settin% his churches. 2o o$$ose them& he 4rote a siJable volume on
man" as$ects o the Christian aith.
ti!e. See #=F& -+*96.
(? Austin& (irst A!olog& </& A:)< .E.?/.
(* Austin& %ialogue with Tr!ho, 77& A:)< .E()<.
7) Austin& %ialogue with Tr!ho, .?& #=F& .E()7.
7. Irenaeus& Against =eresies, A:)< .E7./!<7.
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
0n the Sabbath 3uestion& Irenaeus insisted that the Gnostics 4ere 4ron% 4hen
the" ar%ued that Aesus broke the Sabbath. Irenaeus e,$lained that Aesus did not
break the Sabbath 4hen He healed $eo$le on that da".
Irenaeus em$hasiJed this
$oint so stron%l" that he sounded like a Sabbath!kee$er himsel. =ot so& or he
$ointed out that Aesus ke$t the Sabbath HAerusalem bein% as "et in saet".H
meant b" this that it 4as ri%ht or Aesus to kee$ the Sabbath as lon% as the Aerusalem
2em$le 4as still standin%; but once the tem$le 4as destro"ed :as it 4as in #!D. 7)9&
the la4 o the Sabbath 4as terminated. Since then& Christians have not needed to be
told to Hkee$ one da" idle&H because the" 4orshi$ God in their hearts ever" da".
Irenaeus s$oke o three kinds o la4E one to be obe"ed b" all& another or Ae4s
until the all o Aerusalem& and another a$$licable to no one. But>incredible as this
ma" sound>Irenaeus tau%ht that the Sabbath commandment 4as not a $art o the
Decalo%ue& the onl" one o the three kinds o la4 that $eo$le still need to kee$;
thereore& no one needs to kee$ the literal Sabbath.
#$eo5$ilus of Antioc$ (late second century@. # contem$orar" o Irenaeus&
but resident o the 5evant& he tau%ht a vie4 o the Sabbath similar to that o
Irenaeus& even omittin% the Sabbath rom the decalo%ue.
#ertullian :c. .<)67)!c. 4-6M49@. In the Roman colon" o Cartha%e& =orth
#rica :near modem 2unis9& near #!D. ())& the brilliant la4"er and Christian
la"man& 2ertullian& deended Aesus a%ainst the Gnostics& as Irenaeus did. 5ike
Irenaeus& 2ertullian insisted that Aesus ke$t the Sabbath and did not break it.
7e QAesusR maintained the Sabbath as 7is o4n institution.... 2hus Christ
did not at all rescind the Sabbath; He ke$t the la4 thereo& 4hile im$artin% to
the Sabbath!da" itsel& 4hich rom the be%innin% had been consecrated b" the
benediction o the Father& an additional sanctit" b" 7is o4n beneicent action.
For He urnished to this da" divine sae%uards.
2o $rove that Aesus did not break the Sabbath& 2ertullian 3uoted 'atthe4 /E.7&
HI am not come to destro" Qthe la4R& but to ulilH :DAV9. Is it $ossible that
2ertullian 4as a Sabbathkee$erL
32 I'en#eus0 "#ainst $eresies, 4071 A*+1 1@4<)10
33 *eaaeusAA+ainstHervsies) 40121 A*+1 1@460
3- I'"n#"us0 The Proofofthe "postolic Preackin# &.0 3C40 $.5$%..
35 1mu-tan)A+ainst4arcion) 40121 A*+0 =@=6=)640
2he 'ark o the Beast
=ot at allN For he $roceeded at once to sa" that the Sabbath 4as abolished. It
4as not abolished b" some =e4 2estament God distinct rom the 0ld 2estament
Creator God& as the Gnostics ar%ued. But it 4as abolished. It 4as abolished b" the
one true God>b" the ver" same Creator God o both 2estaments 4ho made the
Sabbath in the irst $lace.
2he abolition o the ancient la4 4e ull" admit& and hold that it actuall"
$roceeds rom the dis$ensation o the Creator.
Instead o the Sabbath& 2ertullian avored Sunda"& 4hich& like most other
Christians& he sometimes called Hthe 5ord@s da"H and at other times called Hthe
ei%hth da"H :the da" ater the seventh9.
Fe count astin% or kneelin% in 4orshi$ on the 5ord@s da" to be unla4ul.
2o the heathens each estive da" occurs but once annuall"E "ou QChristiansR
have a estive da" ever" ei%hth da".
Ignatius :ca. *?6..79. 2he statement b" Bisho$ I%natius o #ntioch :S"ria9
dated as earl" as ../& the amiliar one about Hno lon%er sabbatiJ!in% but livin%
accordin% to the 5ord@s da"6lie&H can be seen as a statement in o$$osition to the
Incredible as the thou%ht ma" a$$ear at irst %lance& I%natius $robabl"
4as sa"in% that the Sabbath 4as reIected even b" the 0ld 2estament $ro$hets
(rigen :ca. .?/!ca. (/+9. Christians in #le,andria :E%"$t9 avored
alle%oriJin%& and in the earl" third centur" 0ri%en& teacher at the catecheti!cal school
there& 4as a $rince o alle%oriJers. 5ater he carried his talent to Caesarea. In one o
his more elaborate alle%oriJations& 0ri%en once described true Sabbathkee$in% in
terms that make him a$$ear to have been a Sabbathkee$er himsel.
7< 2ertullian& Against 6arcion, /.(. A:)< 7E+7..
77 2ertullian& The )ha!lel, 7& A:)< 7E*+.
7? 2ertullian& $n Idolatr, .+& A:)< 7E7).
7* I%natius& To the 6agnesians, J-BF cf. A:)< .E<(!<7. =ote that onl" t$e shorter version o the letters
%iven in #=F is %enuine. #$e lon%er version is later& $ossibl" rom the ourth centur".
+) H2he divine $ro$hets lived accordin% to Aesus C$rist 31ola )hriston lesoun eJesan4& 2hereore the"
also ere $ersecuted&... If then the" Qthe $ro$hetsR $o alked in ancient customs came to a ne4
ho$e& no lon%er livin% or the Sabbath :nic1ed sabbatiJontes4 but or the 5ord@s Day :or Lord%s
lieR 3alia 1ola 1uria1en Ko6es4 on Qor throu%hR 4hich also our lie s$ran% u$ throu%h him and his
deat$<... $o then shall e be able to live 4ithout him of $o! even the $ro$hets 4ere disci$les
in the S5irit8 :I%natius& To the 6agnesians, ?!*& LCL< .E()+!/.9 Austin. Irenaeus& and 2ertullian all
believed that the $atriarchs $rior to /oses did not observe the Sabbath& and ;us-tin 3%ialogue, +<;
A:)< .E(.?9 sa"s that 2r"$ho the rabbi a%reed it$ him on this.
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
I "ou la" aside all secular 4ork and kee$ a4a" rom all mundane thin%s and do
onl" s$iritual 4orks& attend church& 5ay attention to the divine lecture and literature&...
and look not at $resent visible thin%s but onl" at invisible and uture thin%s > that is
the ri%ht observance o the Christian Sabbath.H
But 0ri%en 4as alle%oriJin%& describin% a liest"le rather than a 4eekl"
In his a$olo%"& Against )elsus 3)ontra )elsum4, 0ri%en said e,$licitl" that
Christ Himsel abandoned H$h"sical circumcision& and a literal sabbath.H Ho4ever&
or the sake o believers 4ho need Hda"sH because the" have not "et matured into a
ull s$iritual liest"le& Christians& instead o Sabbath& observe the 5ord@s da" and
1re$aration da"
4eekl" and 1assover and 1entecost annuall".
Sabbat$k5ers< 4ides$read. 2he evidence does not& ho4ever& indicate that no
one at all observed the true Sabbath in the second and third centuries.
Austin kne4 o some Ae4ish and even some Gentile Christians 4ho observed
the Sabbath.
2ertullian kne4 a Hcertain e4H $eo$le 4ho anno"ed $i! b" standin%
Io"ousl" or $ra"er on Sabbath& the 4a" ever"one did on Sunda".
#nd 4e ma"
assume that the anti!Sabbath comments made b" Baraabas in #le,andria&
I%natius to the 'a%nesians&
and later b" Clement o #le,andria
and Victorinus
im$l" the e,istence in local areas o observers o the true Sabbath in the
second and third centuries.
=onetheless& the evidence indicates that a maIorit" o the Christians in the lar%e
centers %ave u$ the Sabbath ver" earl".
Robert '. Aohnston has sho4n us& in act& that some rabbis Iealousl" insisted
that Gentiles ought not to kee$ the Sabbath. For e,am$le& Rabbi ;ose ben Hanina
said& H# non!Ae4 4ho observes the Sabbath 4hilst he is uncircumcised incurs
liabilit" or the $unishment o death. Fh"L Because non-;es 4ere not
commanded concernin% it.H
+. =omC DL on Numbers, *G .(E7+?!/7& trans. Ra$hael GonJales& cited in C. 'erv"n 'a,4ell and 1.
Gerard Damstee%t& cds.& Source Boo1 /or the =istor o/ Sabbath and Sunda :HBerrien S$rin%s& 'I&
.4 A!ong second- and third!centur" Christians& Frida" 4as almost universall" a ast da".
+7 0ri%en& Against )elsus 3)ontra )elswn4, (.7; ?.((& trans. Henr" Chad4ick; c. #=F& +E+7(& <+7.
.. ;ustin< %ialogue with Tr!ho, A Jew, +7& #=F& .E(.?!.*.
.6 #ertullian< $n *raer, (7& #=F& 7E<?*.
.1 Bamabas, E!istle, ./. A:)< .E.+<!+7.
+7 Sec above.
.J See cs5. )lement, 6iscellanies, <..<& A:)< (E/.(!.+.
.B 'ictorinus< $n the )reation o/ the >orld, A:)< 7E7+.P(.
69 'idrash Deuteronom" Rabbah .E(.; Soncino cd.& (7!(+. See Robert '. Aohnston& IPatriarc$s<
The 'ark o the Beast
2he Sabbath& the rabbis said& 4as a si%n o the union bet4een God and
the Ae4s& so or a Gentile to kee$ it 4ould be like an intruder thrustin%
himsel bet4een a kin% and his 3ueen.
Su!!ary of secondMt$ird century data. E,amination o the Christian
literature that has come do4n to us rom the second and earl" third centuries
:that is& e,amination o ar more e,am$les than 4e have had s$ace or here9
su%%ests that essentiall" the same Sabbath and Sunda" theolo%" 4as tau%ht
all around the Roman Em$ire at that time. Sunda" 4as honored in
reco%nition o the resurrection o Christ& and Sabbath 4as do4n%raded as
a$$licable onl" to the Ae4s and nona$$licable to Christian Gentiles.
Constantine%s )irst Sunday La
Constantine and his sons issued several Sunda" la4s& the irst o 4hich
has become Iustl" amous. Issued 'arch 7&7(.& it readE
#ll Iud%es and cit" $eo$le and the cratsmen shall rest u$on the venerable
Day o the Sun. Countr" $eo$le& ho4ever& ma" reel" attend to the cultivation
o the ields& because it re3uentl" ha$$ens that no other da"s are better
ada$ted or $lantin% the %rain in the urro4s or the vines in trenches. So that
the advanta%e %iven b" heavenl" $rovidence ma" not for the occasion o a
short time $erish.
It has oten been noted that this 4as a secular rather than a reli%ious la4& and
ri%htl" so. E,amination reveals& urther& that it directl" aected onl" a small
$ercenta%e o the $o$ulation. #imed at cit" $eo$le& it s$eciicall" e,em$ted armers
and villa%ers>and most $eo$le at the time 4ere armers and villa%ers.
Sabbat$ Revival
Documents that have come do4n to us rom the middle and later $arts o the
ourth centur"& the same centur" as Constantine@s irst Sunda" la4& re$resent a
chan%e in attitude to the Sabbath. Christian 4ritin%s no4 e,$ress Io" in the Sabbath
and vie4 the Sabbath as a s$ecial da" second onl" to Sunda". 2he chan%e in
attitude to4ard the Sabbath is remarkable!Sur$risin% as it ma" sound& the Council
o 5aodicea& 4hich around 7<) orbade idleness on the Sabbath& 4as $art o the
$rocess 4hereb" the Sabbath under4ent a revival. 2hat ver" same Council reGuired
the %os$els to
Rabbis< and the Sabbath&H -.SS +D;D :Aul" .*7+9E *+!.)(.
6- Preseived in #ode+ /ustmiar"s, *.-4.*.
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
be read and the 5ord@s su$$er to be celebrated on Sabbath. 2he inluence o this
council 4as lon% lastin%.
#$e A5ostolic constitutions. #bout this same time :77/L9 the author o the
A!ostolic )onstitutions, a hi%hl" inluential document& tau%ht that Hsolemn
assembliesH 4ere to be held on both Sabbath and Sunda". It called on em$lo"ers to
allo4 their servants time to attend these solemn assemblies on both Sabbath and
Sunda". Fhile insistin% that the Sabbath 4as not a da" or idleness& the A!ostolic
)onstitutions held that the 2en Commandments demand observance o the
>a ar cr" rom Austin and Irenaeus in the second centur" and 2ertullian
in the earl" third& each o 4hom ound 4a"s to neutraliJe the Sabbath o the 2en
In Constantino$le in 77<& Christians assembled in church on Sunda".
But b"
the end o the centur"& the Christians in Constantino$le assembled on both Sabbath
and Sunda".!
In #sia 'inor& Gre%or" o ="ssa called the Sabbaths and the 5ord@s
da"s Hsisters.H
#nd in 1ontus around +))& #sterius o#masea s$oke o Sabbath
and Sunda" as a HteamH o HmothersH and HnursesH 4ho %ather the $eo$le to%ether
or instruction.
The ?ausiac histor& 2he revived res$ect or the Sabbath is clear in The
?ausiac =istor, 4ritten b" 1alladius ater he traveled rom 1alestine in 7?? and
s$ent .( "ears livin% amon% the monks in E%"$t. He ound monks observin% both
Sabbath and Sunda". Some celebrated communion on Sabbaths and Sunda"s. Some
monks s$ent the ive da"s alone& con%re%atin% or 4orshi$ onl" on Sabbaths and
Sunda"s. #nd t4o monks in dierent $laces asted ive da"s a 4eek& enIo"in% ood
onl" on Sabbaths and Sunda"s.
:#u%ustine said in 7*< that man monks in
monasteries ate onl" on Sabbaths and Sunda"s.
1alladius@s observations are
im$ortant& or the revival o interest in the Sabbath that be%ins around the middle o
the ourth centur" coincides 4ith the s$read o monastidsm out o E%"$t about that
same time.
&5i5$anius :ca. 7./!+)79. 2his bisho$ o Salamis reIoiced in his *ananon that
a sabbatic liest"le had re$laced literal Sabbath observance.
2his conce$t& that a
ne4 lie!st"le re$laces literal Sabbath obser!
64 -postolic )onstitutions (E7<; /E(); ?E77& A:)< 7E+.7&..B<+*/.
6* Ae read t$at in order to meet 4ith the local church& Arius $ad to ait to Hassemble 4ith the
church on t$e day folloing the Sabbath.H :Socrates& #hurch %istory. ..7?& :P:P Q(R& (E7+!7/.9
6. So>o!en< #hurch =istor, ?.?& :P:) :(9& (E+)+.
66 De #astigat"ne 0$n Reproof1, !G .1+*9B< cited in SD- Bile Students7Source Boo1, an& +.+S&
/< #sterius& =omil M, on 6at? +,2+L, *G +)E((/& cited in S%A Bible Students7Source Boo1&art&@DA&
62 Palladius< 2ausiac =istor, 7&()& 7(&+?& ACA< (+E+.. 7)!7.&*(&.7..
6J Augustine< Letter 7<& to Casulanus& +.?& :P:) :.9& .E(<7.
6B &5i5$anius< *ananon, -.J.1< !G +.E(.7.
2he 'ark o the Beast
vance& 4as held b" man" earl" 4riters& includin% Austin& Irenaeus& and 2er!tullian&
4hose names 4e have mentioned.
=evertheless& 4hen E$i$ha!nius had occasion to
mention the Sabbath a%ain some4hat later& he noted that b" this time Hin a e4
$lacesH some Christians 4ere actuall" assemblin% on the literal Sabbath.
Socrates (b. ca. 7?)9. Hal a centur" later Christian meetin%s on Sabbath 4ere
so 4ides$read that around #.D. ++) Socrates o Constantino$le could re$ort that
Halthou%h all churches throu%hout the 4orld celebrate the sacred m"steries on the
sabbath o ever" 4eek& "et the Christians at #le,andria and at Rome& on account o
some ancient tradition& have ceased to do this QGreekE do not do thisR.MM
2his statement b" Socrates has oten been inter$reted to mean that Sab!
bathkee$in% had continued 4ithout a break since the time o Christ #ctuall" the
statement is not addressin% kee$in% the Sabbath hol"& but celebratin% the 5ord@s
Su$$er :the Hsacred m"steriesH9 b" $riests on the Sabbath. 2his observance o the
5ord@s Su$$er on Sabbath 4as in harmon" 4ith the vote taken at the Council o
5aodicea& but in contrast to the noncelebration o the 5ord@s Su$$er on Sabbath in
the second and third centuries. Fhat Socrates@ statement illustrates is a re#i#al o
interest in the Sabbath.
'an" actors contributed to this interest in the Sabbath& one o 4hich a$$ears to
have been the s$read omonastidsm rom E%"$t in the late 7))s and earl" +))s
4hich 4e mentioned. It is notable that the e,istence o Sab!bath!and!Sunda"
lectionaries :collections o Bible selections or use in monasteries9 is attested onl"
rom the ourth centur" on4ard. It is notable& too& that in Festern Euro$e& it 4as
Cassian& a mon1 4ho around +./!+7) unsuccessull" advocated some kind o
Sabbath observance alon% 4ith Sunda".
=eneral su!!ary. Fe summariJe beore $roceedin%. Sunda" observance and
Sabbath reIection 4ere not characteristic o the Roman Church alone in the earl"
centuries; the" 4ere characteristic o the state o Christianit" at the time. 2his
observation is in harmon" 4ith 1aul@s statement in ( 2hessalonians (E7 that the
m"ster" o ini3uit" :or Hla4lessnessH9 4as
<) )or e,a!5le< Justin, %ialo//u with Ti!ho, -4< #=F&.;())E H2he ne4 la4 re3uires "ou to kee5 5cr-
$etual sabbath.... I there is any $erIured $erson or a thie amon% "ou& lei him cease to be so;
if any adulterer& let $i! re5entF then he has ke$t the seet and true sabbaths of =od. If any one
$as i!5ure hands& let him 4ash and be $ure.H Cf. Irenaeus& Against %eresies, +..<; #=F& .E+?.&
%#$e Sabbaths tau%ht that 4e should continue day b" da" in =od%s service.I Irenaeus& *roo/ o/ the
A!ostolic *reaching, B1F ACA< .<& H=or 4ill he be commanded to leave idle one day of rest& $o
is constantly kee$in% sabbat$< t$at is& %ivin% $o!age to =od in t$e te!5le of =od< $ic$ is
man@s bod"& and at all ti!es doin% the 4orks o Iustice.H
<. E$i$hanius.Fanarion& 7.(+& *G +(E?(*&?7..
<( Socrates& )hurch =istor, /.((& :P:) :(9& 4+-*4.
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
alread" at 4ork even in the middle o theAirst centur".
Ae have also taken note o evidence or a revival o the Sabbath be%innin% in
the ourth centur"& coincidin% 4ith the s$read o monasticism out o E%"$t.
Ro!e and t$e Sabbat$
Ae have been tracin% the %eneral histor" o Sabbath and Sunda" in the
Christian churches o the irst ive centuries. =o4 4e 4ill see ho4 the attitude o
the HRoman Church&H the Catholic Church in Festern Euro$e& diered rom that o
the other $rinci$al churches amon% 4hich Christianit" came to be divided.
Durin% the ourth and ith centuries& the Sabbath 4as res$ected alon%side
Sunda" in the Co$tic& Ethio$ian& #rmenian& and Greek!s$eakin% churches. 2he
=orth #rican Church also honored it 4ith o$tional $reachin% on that da".
But the
=orth #rican Church 4as destro"ed b" the 'uslim invasion o the seventh centur".
2he #rmenian Church clun% lo"all" to the Sabbath or centuries&
the Co$tic
Church observes it in some orm even toda"& and the =estorian Church& 4hich b"
e,ce$tion did not acce$t the Sabbath!>these too 4ere overrun b" the 'uslims.
#lthou%h the" 4ere $ermitted b" their 'uslim overlords to continue to e,ist& the"
became stereot"$ed and 4eak. 2he Greek!s$eakin% church celebrated the Sabbath
alon% 4ith Sunda" or man" centuries and still observes it in certain 4a"s;
ho4ever& Islam overran much o its broad territor" :modern 2urke"& and the
Balkans& but not Greece9 and con3uered Constantino$le in .+/7.
So the church that remained the most dnamic o/ all the churches 4as the
church o the Roman Fest& and it 4as this "oman )hurch 4hich& durin% the .(<)
"ears& most cons$icuousl" o$$osed the Sabbath& enorcin% Sunda" in its $lace. 2he
Roman Church became the authentic ulillment o the little horn o Daniel 7 and o
the sea beast o Revelation .7. In addition to ulillin% other s$eciications o
$ro$hec"& it did more than the other churches to Hthink to chan%e the times and the
la4@M and to Hblas$heme God@s d4ellin%.H 2he Roman Church 4as characteriJed&
mar1ed, b" a coercive attitude avorin% Sunda" and o$$osin% the Sabbath.
1* See ;. :. #ndre4s and 5. R. Conradi& =istor o/ the Sabbath and (irst %a o/ the >ee1
:Fashin%ton& DC& .*.(9& +<<.
1. ?ennet$ #. Strand& ed.& The Sabbath in Scri!ture and =istor :Fashin%ton& DC< .*?(9& .<(!<7&.<7
16 BenIamin =eorge Filkinson. Truth Trium!hant2 The )hurch in the >ilderness :'ountain 'ie<
CA< .*++9 4as a $ioneer& i an inaccurate one& o this inter$retation 4hich sees the Roman Church
as ($e $rinci$al o$$onent of ihe Sabbath.
2he 'ark o the Beast
Against t$e 3uartodeci!ans. 2o ollo4 characteristic develo$ments in
the Roman Church& 4e observe that the Roman Church@s $otential or
coercive endorsement o Sunda" a$$eared ver" earl"& indeed& beore the end
o the second centur"& 4hen Victor I& bisho$ o Rome& became irritated b"
the so!called Kuartodecimans :HFburteenthersH9. 2he Kuartodecimans& 4ho
lived in and near E$hesus& observed Easter on 1assover da"& the .+th o the
Ae4ish month =isan& re%ardless o the da" o the 4eek on 4hich it ell.
Rome 4anted Easter celebrated e,clusivel" on a Sunda".
2his much is %enerall" kno4n. Fhat is not so 4idel" reco%niJed is that
in its $reerence or celebratin% Easter on Sunda"& the church o Rome 4as
little dierent rom man" o the other cit" churches.
Fhen $re$arin% to launch his attack a%ainst the Kuartodecimans&
Bisho$ Victor o Rome conducted a $oll o the $astors o the main cit"
churches in the Roman Em$ire. Eusebius& the amous church historian& tells
us that Hvictor received re$lies in /a#or o/ the Sunda Easter rom the
bisho$s o Caesarea& Aerusalem& Corinth& Gaul& 0srhoene& and the various
bisho$s in 1ontus& alon% 4ith& he sa"s& Ha %ood man" others.H 5ater in his
account& Eusebius reers to additional bisho$s& those in #yre< 1tolemais& and
#le,andria& 4ho also avored the Sunda" Easter. 2hus 4e conclude that
around #!D. .*) virtuall" all kno4n con%re%ations& e,ce$tin% onl" the
Kuartodeciman con%re%ations in the $rovince o #sia& 4ere in the custom o
celebratin% Easter on Sunda". It is inaccurate to assume Rome 4as the onl"
church to observe Easter on Sunda".
But>and the HbutH is most im$ortant>the onl" church that e,com!
municated the Kuartodecimans or their nonobservance o the Sunda"
Easter& 4as the church in Rome.
#ter Bisho$ Victor o Rome e,communicated the Kuartodecimans& he
4as rebuked b" several o the other bisho$s. 2he rebuke sent to him b"
Irenaeus o Gaul is $reserved or us b" Eusebius. Irenaeus and these other
bisho$s all observed Easter Sunda"; but the" diered rom Rome in a cru!
cial res$ect. 2he" did not 4ant to $ersecute the Kuartodecimans the 4a" the
Roman Christians did.
Here is a be%innin% o Rome@s characteristic coerci#e $reerence or
#$e Ro!an Sabbat$ ast #round the "ear ())& shortl" ater the Kuar!
todeciman controvers"& the church o Rome be%an to enorce a Sabbath
11 &vidence that t$e Ro!an Sabbat$ fast be%an around the year ()) comes in $art fro! #crtullian%s
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
2his Sabbath ast& 4hich 4as $robabl" not a com$lete ast but ma" have
orbidden 4ine and an"thin% made o %rain and oil& like bread& 4as a con!
tinuation o the re%ular Frida" hal!ast 4hich man" Christians at the time
4ere observin% all around the Em$ire. Bein% a ast& it $revented the
celebration o the 5ordMs Su$$er.
(nce a%ain& as in the Kuartodeciman controvers"& most other churches
reused to %o alon% 4ith this Roman innovation. Indeed& $racticall" the onl"
churches 4hich ever observed RomeMs Sabbath ast 4ere the churches
located in Festern Euro$e. #nd or some time not all even o these Festern
con%re%ations observed it. 2he lar%e cit" con%re%ation in 'ilan& for
e,am$le& ca$itulated to the Roman Church in this re%ard onl" ater man"
"ears o stru%%le.
#lread" Rome 4as $la"in% its $ro$hetic role as $rinci$al coercive
$ro$onent o Sunda" and o$$onent o the Sabbath.
Resistance to Sabbat$ revival. In the ourth centur"& as Sabbath obser!
vance s$read alon% 4ith monasticism rom E%"$t to other $arts o the
Roman 4orld& the Christians in Festern Euro$e 4ere cons$icuous or not
ado$tin% the conce$t. Fe have mentioned that the monk Cassian tried in
vain to introduce a kind o Sabbath observance in southern France.
'ore recentl" The )on#ert7s )atechism
7 has been 4idel" 3uoted or its
statement that the Catholic Church at the Council o5aodicea around 7<)
transerred the solemnit" o the da" rom Sabbath to Sunda".
#lto%ether& the s"nod o5aodicea $assed our canons dealin% 4ith the
Sabbath 3uestion. Canon .< re3uired the Gos$els to be read on Sabbath& and
Canons +* and /. re3uired that durin% 5ent the 5ordMs Su$$er 4as to be
celebrated on Sabbath as 4ell as Sunda"& and onl" on those t4o da"s.
5#0DICE#& C#=0= .<. ! 2he Gos$els are to be read on Sabbath& 4ith the
other Scri$tures Qa$$arentl" at Communion services; see canon +*& belo4R.
5#0DICE#& C#=0= (*. > Christians must notIudaiJe b" restin% on the
Sabbath& but must 4ork on that da". rather honorin% the 5ord@s Da"; and& if
the" can& restin% then as Christians. But i an" shall be ound to be IudaiJers&
let them be anathema rom Christ.
5#0DICE#& C#=0= +*. > Durin% 5ent& the Bread must not be oered e,ce$t
on the Sabbath Da" and on the 5ord@s Da" onl".
attack on it in his $n (asting :#=F& +E.)(!..+9& dated around ()?& and fro! the seventh!centut"
Liber Pontificalis< "hich attributes the authoriJation o t$e fast to 1o$e Callistus :(.7!((9. <7 Peter
Gciermann& The #onvert3s )atechism o/ )hristian Doctrine :St. Louis< .*7)9& /).
2he 'ark o the Beast
5#0DICE#& C#=0= /.. > 2he nativities o 'art"rs Qactuall"& the death da"s& on
4hich mart"rs 4ere considered to have been born to eternal lieR are not to be
celebrated in 5ent& but commemorations o the hol" 'art"rs are to be made on the
Sabbaths and 5ord@s da"s.
Canon (* is ver" stron% in its o$$osition to com$lete rest on the Sab!
bath. It can be e,$lained onl" on the basis that b" #.D. 7<) the Sabbath had
lon% since sli$$ed out o vie4 as a da" o com$lete rest or most Christians;
"et 4e can ri%htl" iner that some $eo$le 4ere still restin% on the Sabbath&
or the council 4ould have elt no reason to enact the rule a%ainst doin% so.
Because 5aodicea is in the Eastern $art o the Roman Em$ire& this canon
reveals that Eastern :as 4ell as Festern9 Christians o$$osed the Sabbath& at
least to some e,tent. But the other three canons reveal a res$ect or the
Sabbath in the East. Canons .<& +*& and /. re3uire the Gos$els to be read
:at church services9 on the Sabbath& and the 5ord@s Su$$er to be celebrated
on Sabbath even durin% 5ent.
2hat amous claim m The )on#ert7s )atechism that at the Council o
5aodicea the Catholic Church chan%ed the solemnit" rom Sabbath to
Sunda" is remarkable as a claim& but as histor" it is la4ed.
#s 4e have seen& the Council o 5aodicea 4as not a Festern council;
it 4as a local Eastern& Greek!s$eakin% s"nod at 4hich& so ar as 4e kno4&
Rome had no voice.
For another thin%& the Roman Catholic >est reused to heed one o the
canons in 3uestion $assed b" the Council o 5aodicea. 2he re3uirement that
the 5ord@s Su$$er be celebrated on Sabbath 4as i%nored in Rome until ater
.)/+& seven hundred "ears ater the 5aodicean CouncilN 2his hel$s
illuminate Socrates@ statement that the sacred m"steries 4ere observed in all
the churches :around #.D. ++)9 e0ce!t at #le,andria and Rome.
In 7?.& some t4ent" "ears or so ater the 5aodicean Council& Roman
dele%ates 4ere $resent at the First Council o Constantino$le& 4here the"
took $art 4ith a lar%e number o dele%ates rom other churches in a$$rovin%
the man" canons o 5aodicea alon% 4ith attendin% to man" other items o
#nd over the centuries& be%innin% $erha$s ()) "ears later& the
canon about not 4orkin% on Sunda" 4as invoked in various $laces in the
Fest a%ainst $eo$le 4ho 4anted to rerain rom 4orkin% on Sabbath. But
the Council o 5aodicea 4as not 3uite the Roman Catholic 4atershed some
have at times thou%ht it to have been. In an" case& the Festern church
<? )or a list of Festern docu!ents that included t$e canons o 5aodicea over t$e centuries< see
Bemhard Blumcn%ranJ& Jui/s et )hretiens dans Ie 4onde Cccidental, .LF5+F,E :1aris and La
7aye< .*<)9& .7<& n. <<.
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
sim$l" i%nored the canon o 5aodicea 4hich re3uired the 5ord@s Su$$er to be
celebrated on Sabbath.
Some three centuries ater the Council o 5aodicea :that is& in <*(9 the
im$ortant Kuinise,t Council met in Constantino$le. 2his Eastern council
com$lained about the continuin% Roman $ractice o astin% on Sabbath. In act& it
$assed a canon attem$tin% to $ersuade the Romans to dro$ the $ractice and take
their re%ular meals on Sabbath& Iust as Eastern Christians did.
K8I=ISEG2& C#=0= //.>Since 4e understand that in the cit" o the
Romans& in the hol" ast o 5ent the" ast on the Saturda"s QGreekE Sab5
baths9, contrar" to the ecclesiastical observance 4hich is traditional& it
seemed %ood to the hol" s"nod Qthe 0uinise,t Council itselR that also in the
Church o the Romans the canon shall immovabl" stand ast 4hich sa"sE HI
an" cleric shall be ound to ast on a Sunda" or Saturda" :e,ce$t on one
occasion onl" Qthe Sabbath beore Easter Sunda"R9 he is to be de$osed; and i
he is a la"man he shall be cut o.H
#n ancient scholar commented rueull"& H2he s"nod took in hand to correct this
ailin% o the 5atins; but until this time the" have arro%antl" remained in their
$ertinacit"& and so remain toda".H
Re-Cat$olici>ing of t$e Aest
2he tribes that invaded the Roman Em$ire in the ith centur" 4ere
either $a%an or& i Christian& o the #rian variet". #$e three HhornsH that
ere Hu$rooted&H the Heruls& Vandals& and 0stro%oths& 4ere #rian. 0ver an
e,tensive $eriod& the survivin% tribes ultimatel" turned Catholic. 2he Salian
Franks be%an the $rocess b" acce$tin% Catholicism in +*<.
Council of (rleans< /7?. So 4hat do 4e ind ha$$enin% to Sabbath and
Sunda" in ne4l" CatholiciJed FranceL In /7?& the "ear 4hen the H%raveH o
the 0stro%oths 4as Hdu%H at Rome and the .(<) "ears be%an& a 4ell
attended church council in 0rleans $assed its Canon (?& a re%ulation 4hich
orbade com$lete rest on the 5ord@s da" :indicatin% that some $eo$le in
France 4ere alread" advocatin% a sabbatic Sunda"9 but 4hich re3uired
abstinence rom heav" arm 4ork>$lo4in%& harvestin%& $runin%& attendin%
to hed%es& etc.>on Sunda" to $rovide reedom or $eo$le to attend church.
Fe 3uote rom Heele@s abbreviated $ara$hrase.
1B :P:P :(9& .+E7*..
7) Ibid.
2- C$arles Aose$h Heele& A =istor o/ the )ouncils o/ the )hurch, trans. Filliam R! Clark& / vols.
0R5E#=S& C#=0= (?. > It is a Ae4ish su$erstition that it is unla4ul to ride or
drive on Sunda" Q5atin& 5ord@s da"R or do an"thin% or the decoration o house or
$erson. But ield labours are orbidden& so that $eo$le ma" be able to come to church
and 4orshi$. I an"one acts other4ise& he is to be $unished& not b" the lait"& but b"
the bisho$.
2his Catholic Sunda" la4& 4hich ma" be the irst reli%ious Sunda" la4
$assed in the Fest& diered rom Constantine@s earlier la4 o 'arch 7& 7(.&
in three res$ectsE :a9 it re%ulated a%ricultural 4orkers& the bulk o the
$o$ulation& 4ho 4ere not re%ulated b" Constantine@s la4 o 7(.& :b9 its
$ur$ose 4as stated as reli%ious& namel"& to allo4 4orkers to attend church&
and :c9 it 4as enacted b" the church rather than b" the state.
Isidore of Seville. In /)7 the Franks deeated the Visi%oths in France
and in /)? drove the survivors over the 1"renees to Ioin the rest o their
tribe in S$ain. Intermittent 4arare bet4een the tribes continued throu%h
most o the centur". In /*<& ho4ever& the Visi%oths became Catholics& like
the Franks.
#round the "ear <))& Bisho$ Isidore o Seville e,$ressed contem$t or
the Visi%othic arm" that let itsel be annihilated on a Sunda" b" reusin% to
i%ht on a hol" da".
=onetheless& he considered Sunda" %reater than the
Sabbath on account o Creation& Christ@s resurrection& and :like 0ri!%en9 the
irst allin% o the mannaE
It is clear that Sunda" 4as alread" ver" solemn in the Hol" Scri$tures. It is indeed the irst
da" o the 4orld& the da" 4hen the an%els 4ere created;
the da" 4hen Christ 4as resurrected; the da" 4hen the Hol" S$irit ell u$on the
a$ostles; the da" 4hen the manna 4as %iven or the irst time in the 4ilderness....
For the Ae4s alread" then our Sunda" 4as %reater than Sabbath.
Daniel #u%sbur%er
tells us that this statement 4ritten b" Isidore in
S$ain 4as co$ied verbatim b" the amous churchman and Bible translator
(&dinburg$< .?*7!.?*<9& +E()?!*.
7( #$e full Latin te+t is available in 'ansi& Sacrorum )onci=orum B+-B. #$e translation in #ndre4s
and Conradi< %istory of the Sabbath, +?/& is $el5ful in t$at it re$resents t$e entire Latin te,t&
$ereas 7cfcle %ives onl" a reduced 5ara5$rase. But t$is translation is sin%ular in t$at it has
the council reGuiring 5eo5le onl" Hre3uentl"H to abstain fro! far! ork on t$e 5ord@s da". 2he
translator overlooked t$e fact that t$oug$ se!e :orta"49&4hen standing alone can be t$e
adverb Ioften< re3uentl"&H $en used in t$e construction vel... vd, Heither... or&H it can onl" be a
for! o the nounse!es 3see!es4, Ha hed%e.H As 7efelc%s $ara$hrase de!onstrates< this canon for-
bade $eo$le to en%a%e in far! 4ork on t$e Lord%s da" every eek< not Iust IfreGuently.I
77 Isidore of Seville< %istory of the Goths, Vandals, and Sue#i, .D, trans. =uido Donini and Gordon B.
)ord ;r.< 4nd cd. (Leiden. .*7)9& ().
7+ 3uoted by Daniel #. #u%sbur%er in Strand. The Sabbath in Scri!ture and =istor, .*..
7/ Ibid.
Roman Catholicism and t$e 8nited States
Bede in Britain; b" #lcuin& the British scholar 4ho served cons$icuousl" in the
court o Charlema%ne in France and German"; and b" Rabanus 'aurus& the ninth!
centur" #rchbisho$ of the German cit" o 'ainJ.
Po5e =regory t$e =reat #t about this same time& around #.D. <))& /o!e
Gre%or" the Great came u$on Hcertain men o $erverse s$irit&H as he called them&
4ho 4ere teachin% $eo$le to abstain rom all 4ork on Sunda" and also to abstain
rom all 4ork on the Sabbath. His remarks about them& delivered in a letter to the
citiJens o Rome& have become amous amon% Seventh!da" #dventists. #mon%
other thin%s he asked& HFhat else can I call these but $reachers o #ntichrist& 4ho&
4hen he comes& 4ill cause the Sabbath da" as 4ell as the 5ord@s da" to be ke$t ree
rom all 4ork.H
Gre%or" 4ent on to sa" that in $lace o the literal Sabbath& Christians Hhave the
true Sabbath in our Redeemer Himsel.H 2o sa" e must restore t$e literal Sabbath
4ould re3uire us also to reinstate literal circumcision
and animal sacriices.
Describin% $eo$le 4ho advocate restin% on Sabbath as H$reachers o
#ntichristH is stron% lan%ua%e. Here a $rominent $o$e o Rome used such lan%ua%e
around #D. <)).
Alleged letter fro! t$e Lord. #lso around <)) the amous ?etter /rom the
?ord, suraced& sometimes kno4n as the ?etter /rom =ea#en& It seems to have
a$$eared irst on one o the 'editerranean islands o the east coast o S$ain. From
there it traveled to the north and east and 4as still bein% 3uoted centuries later.
8nder the most terrible threatenin%& this document called on $eo$le to Hkee$ '"
commandments and venerate the hol" da" o the 5ord.H
Remember Qit saidR the tables o 'oses '" servant& and the la4 and
$rece$ts 4hich I %ave him to $reach to the $eo$les& that the" mi%ht ear 'e
and kee$ '" la4....
I "ou do not correct "our 4a"s I 4ill send "ou 4orms and locusts that
4ill eat "our harvests and ra$acious bulls that 4ill devour "ou& because "ou
did not kee$ the hol" da" o the 5ord. #n"one 4ho does not kee$ it 4ill be
accursed. 0n the 5ord@s da" "ou must not 4ash "our clothes nor 4ash or cut
"our hair. Fhoever does so& let him be accursed. I tell "ou once more that I
4as ... resurrected on the 5ord@s da".... In that da" I made heaven and earth...
and sanctiied the da" o the 5ord and established the observance o the rest
to ever"one on that da".... Be ver" aithul in kee$in% the da" o the 5ord&
not even %atherin% ve%etables rom "our
21 See SD- Bile Students7 Source Boo1 :Fashin%ton& DC< .*<(9& art. .+7..
77 =regory I< Selected E!istles, :P:) :(9. .7E*(.
2he 'ark o the Beast
%ardens on the da" o the 5ord. I "ou 4omen dare to do such thin%s& I 4ill send u$on
"ou 4in%ed snakes to beat and devour "our breasts. .. . #liction ater aliction 4ill
come u$on "ou.... #nd i "ou do not 4ant to correct "ourselvesP be read" or a
$unishment in the month o =ovember.
2his ?etter /rom the ?ord is note4orth" or its le%alistic Sunda" obser!
vance $ur$ortedl" based on the ourth commandment& underscored 4ith
erocious threats. 5ocaliJed at irst& the document itsel and the conce$t it
re$resented s$read 4idel" over time& hel$in% to ulill the $ro$hec" about
chan%in% times and the la4.
#$e =reat Sc$is! of -96.. #r%uabl" the most dramatic evidence o
Rome@s coercive $reerence or Sunda" in o$$osition to the Sabbath comes
rom the Great Schism o .)/+. 2he researches o R. 5. 0dom& re$orted in
the irst issue otAndrews @ni#ersit Seminar Studies :.*<79 under the title&
H2he Sabbath in the Great Schism o #. D. .)/+&H sho4 that Hone o the
main issues involvedH in this momentous se$aration o East rom Fest in
.)/+ H4as the matter o astin%... on the Sabbath& the seventh da" o the
Sabbath observance 4as not the onl" bone o contention. 2he use o
unleavened bread in the communion service& celibac" o the lo4er cler%"&
and o course the $rimac" o the $o$e 4ere other issues. But Sabbath
observance tri%%ered the inal 3uarrel that brou%ht about the schism.
0icial corres$ondence 4as e,chan%ed& the ire o 1o$e 5eo DC 4as
aroused& and le%ates 4ere dis$atched rom Rome to Constantino$le to
demand that the 0rthodo, leadershi$ chan%e its 4a"s and conorm to Rome.
In brie& around *E)) on Sabbath mornin%& Aul" .<& .)/+& the Roman
le%ates an%ril" $laced on the hi%h altar o the Church o Ha%ia So$hia& the
$rinci$al ediice o the Greek 0rthodo, Church& a document e,com!
municatin% the cler%" and churches o the Greek 0rthodo, $ersuasion.
2he Roman le%ates chose this $lace and this moment because the
deacons 4ere bus" then $re$arin% to celebrate the 5ord@s Su$$er on a
Cardinal Humbert& one o the Roman le%ates& soon ater4ard 4rote a
treatise in 4hich he criticiJed the Greek 0rthodo, Christians or carr"in%
7? See Robert 1riebsch& ?etter /rom =ea#en on the Cbser#anceo/7the?ord7s %a((,ford+ Basil Black-
4ell& -B*1@. A $artial translation is available in A. =. #ndre4s and L. R. Conradi< =istor of the
Sabbath and (irst Day o/ the >01 :2akoma Park< /D< .*.(9& /..!.(. # uller translation< b"
Ra$hael =on>ale>< is available in 'a,4ell and Damstee%t& Source Boo1 /or the %istory o/ Sabbath
and Sunda&
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
on Han observance o the Sabbath similar to that o the ;es.I In his treatise
t$e Cardinal recited a statement& $robabl" le%endar" but attributed to Po5e
S"lvester I o the time o Constantine& in 4hich that $o$e said that Hever"
Sabbath da" Qon accountR o the burial Qo ChristR is to be estimated
in e,ecration o the Ae4s.H
0n the other hand& 1atriarch 'ichael Cerularius& $rinci$al $riest o
the Greek 0rthodo, Church& 4ent so ar on behal o the Greek Christians as
to sa" that H4e are commanded also to honor the Sabbath eGuall with the
?ord7s da 8SundaN, and to kee$ :it9 and not to wor1 on it&$
Fhat ha$$ened ne,t in Ital" is in itsel o considerable interest. Fith
attention ocused or a 4hile on the 3uestion o Sabbath observance& the
Roman Church res$onded to $o$ular a%itation b" rela,in% the Sabbath ast
and b" dedicatin% the Sabbath>not to Aesus& 5ord o the Sabbath& but
to t$e Hblessed vir%in.H
Let us note careull" that Roman Christianit" in .)/+ 4as 4illin% to
e,communicate and consi%n to eternal hellire millions o ello4 Christians
because the" insisted on doin% somethin% s$ecial to honor the Sabbath. #$is
decisive act o reli%ious coercion in the matter o Sabbath observance
e$itomiJes Rome@s eli%ibilit" as the uliller o the little hom o Daniel
7E(+&(/ and the sea beast o Revelation .7E.!.).
#$o!as AGuinas. But the Roman Church did not sto$ there. In the
thirteenth centur" 2homas #3uinas& 4hose authorit" as a Catholic theo!
lo%ian is une3ualed& declared s$eciicall"& HIn the =e4 5a4 the kee$in% o
the Sunda" su$$lants that o the Sabbath& not in virtue o the $rece$t o the
la4& but throu%h determination b" the church and the custom o the
Christian $eo$le.H
7ere is a salient develo$ment. 2homas& the sin%le most res$ected
teacher o Roman Catholicism& tau%ht that the chan%e rom Sabbath to Sun!
da" 4as indeed brou%ht about b" the Roman Catholic Church>Hthrou%h
determination b" the church and the custom o the Christian $eo$le.H
2homas urther distin%uished bet4een moral and ceremonial as$ects of
the Sabbath commandment. He insisted that the da on 4hich the com!
mandment 4as to be observed 4as ceremonial and subIect to the church@s
5oer o the ke"s. Even the Sabbath@s moral as$ects& he said& 4ere to be
observed less strictl" under %os$el reedom.
6 Thom#s ABui!a$1 S,mna Iheolo+iae) 2a2ac0 122)4 a- 41 cite- i! St#a!-1 Sa**ath in
Scripture and History) 2<5)<60
6% Se" St#a!-1 Sa**ath in Scripture and History) 2<60
Tne4#'!" 1'ine Be#st
Havin% %one this ar& 2homas $roceeded to declare the literal kee$in%
o the Sabbath commandment to be both HdeadH and Hdeadl".@M
Fhen an honored church leader in the name o Christ declares the
kee$in% o a commandment to be Hdeadl"&H that leader and the church that
honors him have surel" Hs$oken %reat thin%s a%ainst the most Hi%h.H Fhen
that same church transers the authorit" o the ourth commandment to
Sunda" and does so 4himsicall" on the basis o 4hat it eels is im$ortant&
it has surel" sou%ht to Hchan%e the times and the la4.H
H2he $o$e can modi" divine la4&H said 1etrus de #ncharano.
H2he Sabbath& the most %lorious da" in the la4& has been chan%ed into
the 5ord@s da" ... b" the authorit" o the church&H thundered the #rchbisho$
oRe%%io at the crucial Council o 2rent.
IIt o$ened its mouth to utter blas$hemies a%ainst God& blas$hemin% his
name and his d4ellin%H :Rev .7E<9.
Aorldide o55osition to Sabbat$. I toda" much o the 4orld outside
Euro$e has been more or less ChristianiJed& much credit %oes to Festern
Euro$e. 2he s$read o Christianit" has been carried out mostl" b" Festern
Christians>b" Roman Catholics& and b" 1rotestants 4ho& or the most $art&
continue some o the $ractices o Rome. #mon% the eatures o Rome 4hich
1rotestants have taken 4ith them around the 4orld have been both the
observance o Sunda" and an insistence that Sabbath ou%ht not to be
Sunda" observance in $reerence to Sabbath observance has charac!
teriJed most o Christianit" rom the second centur" to toda". Coercive
o$$osition to the Sabbath and coercive enorcement o Sunda" in its $lace
have constituted a characteristic mark o the leo$ard!bodied sea beast rom
its irst a$$earance.
But our e,e%etical stud" led us to see that the Hmark o the beastH is an
end!time $henomenon a$$lied to humanit"& not b" the leo$ard!bodied sea
beast but b" the Iamb!horned earth beast. Fe $roceed no4 to a stud"
o the earth beast& then to some inal conclusions re%ardin% the nature o the
mark o the beast itsel.
71 T"oma$ 38uin#s0 Summa theolo+iae) 2a2ae0 12204 a- 11 "ited in St#a!-1 Sa**ath in
Scripture and $istory, 2<60
72 See Lu"ius +c##a#i$1 Prompia Bi*liotheca) 7 /ol$0 &Ve!ice@ Ca$pa Sto#ti1 12(1 a#t0 /P#9#0
7= M#nsi0 Sacror,n 2onciliomm ==@52615=<C seeS%" Bi*le Students@Source Book) a#t$0
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
#$e 0nited States and t$e /ark
Enorcement o the mark o the beast is done b" a ne4 beast& mentioned in
Revelation .7E..!.7. Aohn sa4 it comin% u$ out o the earth.
2hen I sa4 another beast 4hich rose out o the earth; it had t4o horns
like a lamb and it s$oke like a dra%on. It e,ercises all the authorit" o the
irst beast in its $resence& and makes the earth and its inhabitants 4orshi$
the irst beast& 4hose mortal 4ound 4as healed....
#lso it causes all& both small and %reat& both rich and $oor& both ree
and slave& to be marked on the ri%ht hand or the orehead& so that no one
can bu" or sell unless he has the mark& that is& the name o the beast or the
number o its name.
#ttem$ts made in the 'iddle #%es to understand the lamb!homed beast 4ere
doomed to ailure. Durin% the .(<) "ears& and es$eciall" to4ard the end o that
$eriod& the earth 4as hel$in% the 4oman& s4allo4in% u$ $ersecution b" the
leo$ard!bodied beast :the Hirst beastH9 on behal o the dra%on. It 4as scarcel"
$ossible or $eo$le to understand the s"mbolism until the leo$ard!bodied beast
received its mortal 4ound. 1ro$hec" is best inter$reted ater it has been at least
$artiall" ulilled. Aesus said&
N have told "ou beore it takes $lace& so that when it
does ta1e !lace, "ou ma" believeH :Aohn .+E(*9.
2he mortal 4ound came to be understood correctl" durin% the French
Revolution& 4hen it 4as in $rocess o bein% inlicted. 2he French Revolution
occurred in the "ears ollo4in% .7?*. 2he $o$e 4as taken $risoner in .7*?.
C$aracteristics of t$e La!b-7o!ed Beast
Inasmuch as the lamb!homed beast causes $eo$le to 4orshi$ the irst
beast H4hose mortal 4ound 4as healed,$ 4e kno4 that the $ro$hec" about
t$e lamb!homed beast ocuses on events ater the 4ound 4as inlicted& that
is& ater .7*?.
2he lamb!horned beast has onl" t4o horns& not ten horns like the %reat
red dra%on and the leo$ard!bodied beast o Revelation .7 and the monstrous
beast o Daniel 7. Evidentl" it has onl" one head. :It is not said to $ave our
heads or seven heads like some other s"mbolic animals.9 Its horns are
lamblike. =othin% about it resembles an" $art o the %reat red dra%on or the
leo$ard!bodied& lion!headed& bear!ooted sea beast. Fe conclude that the
lamb!horned animal is a uni3ue beast& a distinct s"mbol o a ne4 entit"
4hose e,istence is essentiall" dierent rom the others in the se3uence o
animal em$ires.
2his ne4 beast is not Rome or an" $art o the ormer Roman Em$ire.
Ae must look or its arrival some4here else than in Euro$e.
(rigin and activit". 2he lamb!homed beast emer%es out o the earth.
2he our beasts o Daniel 7 rose out o the sea& a storm" sea. 2he leo$ard!
bodied beast& 4hich 4as com$osed o Daniel@s our beasts& also rose out o
the sea. 2he harlot o Revelation .7 sat on a beast that stood in the sea. But
the lamb!homed beast rose out o the earth& 2he dierence must be
H2he 4aters that "ou sa4& 4here the harlot is seated& are $eo$les and
multitudes and nations and ton%uesH :Rev .7E./9.
Fhen in closel" related $ro$hecies HearthH is contrasted 4ith HseaH
and HseaH re$resents vast $o$ulations& 4e $erceive that HearthH re$resents an
area 4ith a limited $o$ulation.
2his ne4 animal@s homs are lambli1e&I 24ent"!ei%ht times in Revela!
tion :(* in the RSV9 HlambH reers to Aesus Christ. Horns are used
re$eatedl" in Daniel and Revelation as s"mbols o %overnmental $o4er. So
the earth beast& 4hen Aohn irst sa4 it& 4as usin% its %overnmental $o4er in
a %entle& almost Christlike manner.
But it Hs$oke like a dragon&$ 2he dra%on is a s"mbol or Satan and or
earthl" %overnments that carr" out Satan@s dece$tive and o$$ressive $lans. In
the %reat controvers" division o Revelation the dra%on re$resents Rome. So
dierent rom Rome in its a$$earance :lamblike& not dra%on!like9& so
dierent in the area 4here it arose :the earth rather than the sea9& and so
dierent in the time o its emer%ence :around .7*?& not in ancient times9& the
lamb!horned beast nonetheless ends ultimatel" in deceivin% and o$$ressin%
Iust like Rome. It s$eaks like the Roman dra%on and e,ercises the $o4er that
the Roman dra%on %ave to the irst beast.
HIt 4orks %reat si%ns Qor miraclesR& even makin% ire come do4n rom
heaven to earth in the si%ht o menH :.7E.79.
I this $rediction reers to 4hat ha$$ened to Hiroshima and =a%asaki in
.*+/& it has been dramaticall" ulilled. 1robabl" there is a more si%ni icant
ulillment to come that 4e have not ima%ined.
@#lso it causes all, both small and %reat& both rich and $oor& both ree
and slave& to be marked on the ri%ht hand or the orehead& so that no one can
bu" or sell unless he has the mark& that is& the name o the beast or the
number o its nameH :.7E.<!.79.
?+ 'an" breeds of s$ee5 have no homs& on either t$e males :rams9 or the emales :e4es9. Ho4ever& t$e
rams o the co!!onest shee$ in biblical 1alestine& the broad!tailed shee$ 3C#islaacaudata4
did have horns& $rominent curled ones. See an" Bible dictionar". 2he s"mbolic ram o Dan 2 also
$ad horns.
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
# nation that can cause all $eo$le to do somethin%& God@s ollo4ers
alone e,ce$ted& must be a $o4erul nation& a 4orld leader.
Identity. Fhat is this %entle& lamb!homed s"mbol that Aohn sa4 risin%
out o the earth& out o a relativel" uninhabited area& the =e4 Forld& around
the time o the French Revolution& 4hen the 0ld Forld leo$ard!bodied sea
beast 4as receivin% its mortal 4oundL Fhat nation alone its all these
s$eciications and is also a $reeminent 4orld leaderL 2he 8nited States o
#merica comes to mind at once.
But it is clear that the $ro$hec" does not concern the 8nited States o
#merica alone. 2he lamb!horned beast is to cause $all, both small and %reat&
both rich and $oor& both ree and slave&H to receive the mark o the beast. It is
%oin% to see to it that $no one$ can bu" or sell 4ithout 4earin% the mark.
#nd it 4ill do so in coo$eration 4ith the HbeastH o revived 0ld Forld
Catholicism. Ever" $erson and ever" nation comes under the $urvie4 o this
remarkable $ro$hec".
But 4hen irst seen& the lamb!horned beast is not "et e,ercisin% such
o$$ressive 4orld leadershi$. Its horns are like a lamb@s& tin" and sot.
#$e 0nited States of A!erica
0n Aul" +& .77<& the Declaration o Inde$endence stated& HFe hold
these truths to be sel!evident& that all men are created e3ual& that the" are
endo4ed b" their Creator 4ith certain unalienable ri%hts& amon% 4hich are
lie& libert"& and the $ursuit o ha$$iness.H 2hese are beautiul& %entle&
almost Christlike 4ords.
HCon%ress shall make no la4 res$ectin% an establishment o reli%ion& or
$rohibitin% the ree e,ercise thereo&@M said the First #mendment& ado$ted
4ith the rest o the Bill o Ri%hts in .7*..
2he %randest achievement o the #merican Constitution 4as the cre!
ation o a nation 4ith a riendl" se$aration o church and state. 2he 4orld
had never seen such a thin%. Ever" other nation since ancient times had
ta,ed its $eo$le to su$$ort a state reli%ion& and most had o$$ressed reli%ious
dissidents. 2he French Revolution& a little later than the #merican
Revolution& e,$erimented 4ith a hostile se$aration o church and state. In
time& 'ar,ist countries e,ceeded France@s tem$orar" e,am$le.
But #merica& 4ith its riendl" se$aration o church and state& salaried no
and ta,ed no con%re%ation. It $ermitted denominations to
J6 /ilitary cha$lains are salaried b" the A!erican %overnment as re$lacements or the civilian $astors
4hom soldiers are de$rived o 4hen the" enter the militar". See& e.%.& 5eo 1eer& )hurch, State,
and /reedom, re#& cd. :Boston& .*/7&.*<79& .<*E HCha$lains in the armed orces ma" be
2BelFarkonhe Beast
$rolierate and su$$orted none o them. Its Con%ress said& HIn God 4e trust&H but
elected not to identi" Him e,clusivel" as the God o Christians.
2he 8nited States its the $ro$hec" 4ith $recision. #t its rise it revealed
lamblike 3ualities and emer%ed in a relativel" un$o$ulated area& Hthe earthH in
contrast to the 0ld Forld@s seethin% and cro4ded Hsea.H =ative #mericans :or
HIndiansH as the" 4ere then called9 roamed the shores and $lains 4hen the ne4
settlers arrived& but in small numbers. #n inormed estimate $laces their number at
a million or so in the more than three million s3uare miles 4hich later became the
8nited States.
2he Htou%hest battle... ever ou%ht on =e4 En%land soilH bet4een settlers and
Indians involved onl" 7))) native #mericans and lasted no lon%er than three
La!blike $ornsMdragonlikc voice. But the $ro$hec" sa"s that the lamb!homed
beast 4ould s$eak Hlike a dra%on.H S$eciicall"& it 4ould erect an Hima%e o the
beastH 4hich had received the mortal 4ound& causin% it to Hbreathe&H and 4ould
attem$t to com$el ever"one to 4orshi$ it.
#nd b" the si%ns 4hich it is allo4ed to 4ork in the $resence o the beast&
it deceives those 4ho d4ell on earth& biddin% them make an ima%e or the
beast 4hich 4as 4ounded b" the s4ord and "et lived; and it 4as allo4ed to
%ive breath to the ima%e o the beast so that the ima%e o the beast should
even s$eak& and to cause those 4ho 4ould not 4orshi$ the ima%e o the beast
to be slain. :.7E.+!./9
#n ima%e is somethin% that closel" resembles somethin% else. # statue
4orshi$ed b" idolaters is a likeness& an ima%e& o the %od bein% 4orshi$ed. In .7E.+!
.7 the Hima%e o the beastH is a re$lica or co$" o the beast. 2he 0ld Forld leo$ard!
bodied beast 4as a $ersecutin% union o church and state& a reli%ious s"stem 4edded
to national %overnment and em$o4ered b" it to o$$ress dissidents and heretics. In
$articular& it 4as outstandin% in its o$$osition to the Sabbath and in its advocac" o
Sunda". 2he ima%e o the beast 4ill thereore be a $ersecutin% union o church and
state& a reli%ious s"stem 4edded to national %overnment and em$o4ered b" it to
o$$ress dissidents and heretics& es$eciall" those dissidents and heretics
necessary under t$e constitutional guarantee of freedo! of conscience. A solder drafted into
t$e armed forces and sent to cam$ ar fro! home is de5rived o the o$$ortunit" to visit his church.H
?< See< e.%.& Sa!uel &liot 'orison& The $+ford %istory of the -merican !eople (:e Lork< .*</9& ./;
and 'er4"n S. Garbarino& IIndian< #merican&H >orld Boo1 Encclo!edia :.*779& .)E.(7&-*Jn.
?7 'orison&!Pmencon !eople, ..)& reerrin% to t$e =reat S4am$ Fi%ht o =ovember .*&.<7/& 4ith the
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
4ho kee$ the Sabbath and reuse to observe Sunda".
A de!onic trinity. 2here is a trinit" here& a demonic trinit"E the dra%on& the sea
beast& and the earth beast. #ll unite in one $ur$ose& to set u$ an ima%e o one o
them :the sea beast9 and breathe lie into it. Fhat a distortion o the Creation
account in Genesis . and (N #nd the" celebrate the healin% o the beast>its virtual
resurrection rom its mortal 4ound>b" viciousl" enorcin% 4orshi$ on Sunda"& the
da" lon% a%o set u$ in o$$osition to the Sabbath to do alle%ed honor to the
resurrection o Christ.
Sevent$-day Adventist inter5retation. 2hat Revelation .7 oretells uture
Sunda" le%islation& Aose$h Bates reco%niJed as earl" as Aanuar" .?+*&
4hen he
4rote in h'sA Seal o/ the ?i#ing God, $. 77& H2his un%odl" $o4er Qo Rev .7E.<R...
4ill "et& as it no4 a$$ears& enact a la4 or the e,$ress $ur$ose o makin% all bo4
do4n and kee$ the 1o$e@s Sabbath.H
2hat the 8nited States 4as the Hun%odl" $o4erH that 4ould enact the Sunda"
le%islation& 4as $resented irst amon% #dventists t4o "ears later& 4hen A. =.
#ndre4s so inter$reted the $ro$hec" in the "e#iew and =erald or 'a" .*&.?/..
#ndre4s observed :as 4e also have observed in this cha$ter9 that Hthose $o4ers
4ith 4hich the $eo$le o God are connected& are the onl" ones noted in $ro$hec".H It
seemed HevidentH to #ndre4s Hthat the territor" o this last $o4er is to be the ield o
the QthreeR an%elsM messa%es Qo Rev .+E<!.(R& the land 4here the cro4nin% truths o
the %os$el& ere it inishes its course& are to be brou%ht out.H
2o hel$ conirm his inter$retation o the lamb!horned beast as the 8nited States&
#ndre4s 3uoted e,tensivel" rom a note4orth" .?/) editorial in the Irish %ublin
Nation, 4hich contrasted the contem$orar" develo$ment o t4o ver" dierent
em$ires& the Russian in the east and the #merican in the 4est.
JJ &llen =. A$ite< in Testimonies /or the #hurch :'ountain 'ie< CA< .*+? ed.9& /E.77& sa"s that
It$irty-si, years a%o I as sho4n t$at... the observance o an institution o the $a$ac" 4ould be
enorced u$on the $eo$le b" a Sunda" la< 4hile t$e sanctiied restda" o Aehovah 4ould be
tra!5led underoot.H 7er reerence a55ears to be to her vision o #$ril 7&.?+7& $ublished b"
;ose5$ Bates 4ith t$e dateline #$ril 7&.?+7. #$e $ertinent $ara%ra$h is& II sa all that Svould not
receive the mark o the Beast< and o $is Ima%e& in t$eir oreheads or in their hands&@ could not buy
or sell. I sa t$at t$e nu!ber :<<<9 of t$e I!age Beast as made u$; and that it 4as the Beast
t$at c$anged t$e Sabbath& and t$e Ima%e Beast had folloed on ater& and ke$t the 1o$e@s& and
not =od%s Sabbath. #nd all e ere re3uired to do& as to give u$ =od%s Sabbath& and kee$ t$e
Po5e%s< and t$en 4e s$ould have t$e mark of the Beast< and o his I!age.I (#$is $ara%ra$h is
o!itted fro! t$e re5rint in*arty />tings QFashin%ton& DC< .*+/R& 7(!7/& 5er$a5s because o t$e
ambi%uit" o t$e ter! HIma%e Beast.I #$e vision 4as ori%inall" 4ritten in the orm o a 5ersonal
letter to ;ose5$ Bates< early in Ellen A$ite%s career.9
2he 'ark o the Beast
In the east Q4rote the Dublin editor in .?/)R there is arisin% a colossal centaur
called the Russian Em$ire. Fith a civiliJed head and ront& it has the sine4s o a hu%e
barbaric bod". 2here one man@s brain moves 7)&)))&))). 2here all the traditions o
the $eo$le are o a%%ression and con3uest.... 2here but t4o ranks are distin%uishable
> sers and soldiers.
B" contrast& 4rote the Irish editor& in the 4est an
#merican em$ire is E'ERGI=G. Fe Islanders have no conce$tion o the
e,traordinar" events 4hich amid the silence o/ the earth, are dail" addin% to
the $o4er and $ride o this %i%antic nation. Fithin three "ears territories
more e,tensive than ... France and Ital" $ut to%ether& have been Guiet/, and
in almost Hmatter o courseH ashion anne,ed to the 8nion.
#lread" has 'innesota its ca$ital& > St. 1aul > 4hich has its Iournals&
churches& schools& $arties& interests and s$eculations.... 2he settlers in
Caliornia are oundin% cities& electin% dele%ates& ma%istrates& sheris& and
Con%ressmen& as methodicall" and as intentl" as i the" trod the beaten $aths
o lie on the #tlantic shore o the continent. QEm$hasis as in the "e#iewN&
A. =. #ndre4s com$ared the t4o lamblike horns 4ith the little horn o Daniel 7.
He noted that the little horn re$resented the union o the o$$ressive $a$al church
4ith the various o$$ressive Euro$ean state %overnments. He ar%ued that b" contrast
the t4o lamblike horns re$resented the nono$$ressive 1rotestant denominations in
#merica and the nono$$res!sive Re$ublican %overnment o the 8nited States.
But& #ndre4s mourned& the lamb!homed beast is to s$eak like the dra%on and is
the same entit" as the alse $ro$het Its t4o!homed reli%ious and secular mildness
becomes thereore a sham. #lread"& indeed& the #merican %overnment in #ndre4s@s
da" 4as condonin% slaver"& and #merican churches had disello4shi$ed members
4ho cherished the Second Comin%.
I Hall men are born ree and e3ualH Q#ndre4s askedR& ho4 do 4e then hold
three millions o slaves in bonda%eL ... Fh" are men Qi.e.& #dvent!istsR or no other
crime than that o lookin% or the comin% o Aesus Christ& e,$elled rom the churches
o those 4ho $roess to love His a$$earin%QLR
?* 2he ounders o t$e 0nited States re%arded Ide!ocracyI as undesirable. Instead the" set u$ a
Hre$ublicanH for! o %overnment& 4ith re$resentative delegates voted into e,ecutive& Iudicial& and
le%islative oices b" !en (not 4omen9 $o met s5ecified 5ro5erty Gualifications.
*) In .?// 0ria$ S!it$ made a 4oodcut sho4in% t$e 8nited States as a kind o t4o!homed lion 4ith a
ho%like face and vicious teeth. After the Civil Aar resulted in t$e e!anci5ation o the slaves&
t$e animal@s a$$earance softened noticeabl". &arly in t$e t4entieth century Adventist artists
be%an $icturin% #merica as an #merican bison :or bualo as it is amiliarl" kno4n9& snortin%
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
#ndre4s@s understandin% o the lamb!homed beast became standard amon%
Seventh!da" #dventists. It has been im$roved in detail but remains
essentiall" unchan%ed.
2he accurate 4a" in 4hich $ortions o the $ro$hec" have been ulilled
encoura%es conidence in the ulillment o the rest o it. #merica did arise in a
relativel" $eaceul ashion& in a relativel" un$o$ulated area& and about the time o
the deadl" 4ound; com$arativel" s$eakin%& she has maniested %entle behavior& and
she has %ro4n stron% and $o4erul. 2he 8nited States has become the $reeminent
4orld leader in si%niicant 4a"s& ollo4in% the colla$se o the Soviet 8nion.
=onetheless& it is natural to 4onder about the unulilled $arts o the $ro$hec". In
vie4 o #mericans 4onderul Constitution and marvelous record o lamblike libert"&
is it reall" easible to e,$ect that the 8nited States 4ill some da" stoo$ to en%a%e in
0ld Forld!t"$e $ersecution o a reli%ious minorit"L #nd in vie4 o %lobal
disunities& 4ill the 4orld ever be suicientl" interested in the Sabbath and Sunda"
issue to care enou%h to enorce Sunda" le%islationL
In res$onse& 4e remember that Bible $ro$hec"& not histor" or s$eculation& is the
ke" to our kno4led%e o the uture. Aust the same& the $ro$hec" of .7E.)!.? can be
better a$$reciated ater a %lance at selected events in #merica@s $ast& certain eatures
o the 8nited States Constitution& and the $osition that Sunda" occu$ies at $resent
around the 4orld.
Sunday Around t$e Aorld
Does Sunda" have an" $articular standin% at the $resent time in countries
around the 4orldL 2he ans4er is Oes& on all ive continents. =orth and South
#merica are obviousl" HChristianH areas& and in them %overnment oices and lar%e
actories are closed virtuall" ever"4here on Sunda". In Euro$e the same situation
a$$lies& even thou%h the 4estern Euro$ean countries are oten described as H$ost!
ChristianH and the eastern ones have been under the rule o Communism. In eastern
Euro$e :no4 includin% Russia& the Baltics& and 8kraine9 either Catholicism or
0rthodo," has remained si%niicantl" stron% in s$ite o Communism. Sub!Saha!ran
#rica is increasin%l" comin% under Christian inluences and there& too&
smoke. See< e.%.& the illustrations in Aonathan Butler@s article& 2he Seventh!da" #dventist Drea!<I
Ad#endst =eritage, Summer .*7<&7!.).
B- #$e 0.S. e!erged as t$e $reeminent 4orld leader ater the Second Aorld Aar but soon $ad to
s$are Its $reeminence 4ith the Soviet 8nion. #$e =ulf Aar o .**)!.**. and the colla$se o the
Soviet 0nion in .**. reestablished #merican leaders$i5. :For a hel$ul article& see Cliord
Goldstein& HSu$er$o4er A!erica in 1ro$hec"&H in Ad#entist "e#iew, December/&.**.&.(!.+.9
The M#': o! the Be#st
%overnment oices and maIor actories choose to close on Sunda". #nd 4hat about
#siaL 2he 1hili$$ines are ChristianiJed and South Dorea is becomin% more so.
Sunda" is the da" o rest in those lands. Even in non!Christian China& 4ith its ...
billion inhabitants& actories choose to close on Sunda".
2hus in all ive continents& =orth and South #merica& Euro$e& #rica& and #sia&
Sunda" has a uni3ue status almost ever"4here even at the $resent time.
#$e 0nited States Su5re!e Court
Inter5reting t$e Constitution. Fe turn no4 to the 8nited States in
$articular. 2he 8nited States Su$reme Court durin% the nineteenth centur"
achieved the ri%ht to determine the Hconstitutionalit"H o both state and na!
tional la4s and to annul la4s it deemed unconstitutional.
For the most $art&
the Su$reme Court has been a bul4ark o $ersonal liberties in the name o
the Bill o Ri%hts. Ho4ever& human nature bein% 4hat it is& the Su$reme
Court has on occasion been o$$ressive and on other occasions has reversed
itsel. In .??.& or e,am$le& it ruled that the Constitution a$$roves income
ta,es& but in .?*/ it ruled that the Constitution o$$oses income ta,es.
2he inamous Dred Scott decision o .?/7 is an e,am$le o its abilit" to
inter$ret the Constitution o$$ressivel". 2he Court solemnl" sanctioned
slaver" and ormall" airmed that under the Constitution no =e%ro could be
a citiJen o the 8nited States. In reachin% this astonishin% inter$retation& the
Court misa$$lied the Fith #mendment in the Bill o Ri%hts& the
#mendment 4hich $rotects ever"one@s Hlie& libert"& or $ro$ert".H 2he Court
deined a slave as a slave owner7s !ro!ert, even thou%h in doin% so& it
4illull" disre%arded the slave@s ri%ht to enIo" his o4n $ersonal libert&
2he authorit" o the Su$reme Court to inter$ret the Constitution in its
o4n 4a"& even in o$$osite 4a"s as $o$ular sentiments chan%e& im$lies that
no ne4 #mendment 4ould be needed or the national %overnment to
*( 0rdinaril" the 0.S. Su5re!e Court rules on a $articular state or ederal la4 onl" ater :.9 the la4
has been enorced to t$e 5oint of a conviction& and :(9 an a$$eal $as been made to a ederal circuit
court and finally to t$e Su5re!e Court itsel. 2hus t$e nu!ber o las t$at the Su$reme Court
revie4s is relativel" small.
B* #$e cases involved ere S!ringer#& @nited States :.??.9 and *olloc1 #& The (armers7?oan and
Trust #ompany :.?*/9. Income ta,es beca!e le%al again in t$e 0nited States it$ t$e ado5tion
in .*.7 of the Si,teent$ A!end!ent. See #lred 7. ?elly and Finred #. Harbison& The
American )onstitution2 Its $rigins and %e#elo!ment, 7rd ed. :=e4 Oork& .*+?&.*//&.*<79& /<(!
*+ Dclt"and Harbison& The American )onstitution, 7?+!*..
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
im$ose antireli%ious le%islation& des$ite the Bill o Ri%hts. #ll that 4ould be
needed is a Su$reme Court 4illin% to alter $revious inter!retations o the
Constitution in res$onse to $erceived $o$ular demand.
#s Charles Evans Hu%hes& 4ho became Chie Austice in .*7)& said :in
.*(<9& For $ractical $ur$oses Hthe Constitution is 4hat the Su$reme Court
sa"s it is.H
Prea!ble 'ersus Bill of Rig$ts. Fhen the Su$reme Court reverses it!
sel or a$$ears to misinter$ret the Constitution& it is not 4orkin% rivolousl".
2hou%h man" #mericans are una4are o the act& in $erormin% its duties&
the Court oten balances the $rovisions o the Bill o Ri%hts 4ith the
$rovisions o the 1reamble. 2he 1reamble is the $ara%ra$h that be%ins 4ith
the amous $hrase& HFe the $eo$le o the 8nited States.H It lists the lot"
reasons 4h" the Constitution 4as created in the irst $laceE H2o orm a more
$erect 8nion& establish Austice& insure domestic 2ran3uilit"& $rovide or the
common deence& $romote the %eneral Felare& and secure the Blessin%s o
5ibert" to ourselves and our 1osterit"....H
In the .??)s& 4hen 'ormons 3uoted the First #mendment to Iusti"
$ol"%am" as a eature o their unusual reli%ion& the Su$reme Court 0$$osed
them on the basis that the 1reamble $rotects Hdomestic 2ran3uilit"H and the
Hcommon Felare.H 2he court decided it unthinkable that $eo$le should be
allo4ed to $er$etrate harmul acts in the $ursuit o their reli%ion>or such
acts 4ould violate the reedom o other individuals.
But man" thinkin% #mericans dee$l" re%retted the action o the
Su$reme Court 4hen& in .*+)& it authoriJed elementar" schools to com$el
children to salute the #merican la%& even thou%h some o the children& as
Aehovats Fitnesses& believed it 4as idolatr" to do so. In this instance the
Su$reme Court treated the reli%ious reedom o the Bill o Ri%hts as o less
value than the Hmore $erect QnationalR 8nionH and the Hcommon deenceH
mentioned in the 1reamble. H=ational unit"&H declared the Court& His the
basis o national securit".H Ho4ever& intense $ublic criticism obli%ed the
court to reverse itsel three "ears later.
Durin% the Second Forld Far& 7)&))) Aa$anese #mericans 4ere sud!
denl" $laced in Hrelocation centersH under orders issued b" an #rm" %eneral
at the re3uest o the 1resident and 4ith the a$$roval o Con%ress.
Austi"in% the le%al inIustice o treatin% national citiJens in this manner&
the Su$reme Court insisted in the name o Hcommon deenceH that a
&5 See )ell+ #nd $arhisoa, "!erican 2onstitution) 41$-20=2)==0
&. Se" Pfeffer, 2hurch) Stale) and <reedom) 6=4)440 The fi#$t ca$e :a$ 4inersville School
District vA &obias &164<(C t"e $eco!- ;#s Wst C,yma Stale Board of 7ducation vA
Bamette &164=(0
2Re 'ark o2ie@Beast
e4 #mericans o Aa$anese ancestr" 4ere traitors& a 4ar 4as in $rocess at the time&
and H4ar is an a%%re%ation o hardshi$s.H
Commentin% on #merica@s treatment o these 7)&))) lo"al citiJens o Aa$anese
ancestr"& t4o 4idel" read constitutional authorities have since solemnl" 4arned us&
In uture 4ars& no $erson belon%in% to a racial& reli%ious& cultural& or
$olitical minorit" can be assured that communit" $reIudice and bi%otr" 4ill
not e,$ress itsel in a $ro%ram o su$$ression Iustiied as Hmilitar"
necessit"&H 4ith resultin% destruction o his basic ri%hts as a member o a
ree societ".
2his 4arnin% that in a time o militar" crisis Hno $erson belon%in% to a
$religious &&& minorit"H can be assured that communit !reAudice 4ill not use the
situation to Iusti" destruction o his basic ri%hts hel$s uncomortabl" to make our
understandin% o Revelation .7 believable.
Sunda"!closin% las. 2he colonies that develo$ed into the ori%inal thirteen
states o the 8nited States all had reli%ious Sunda" closin% la4s& inherited lar%el"
rom Euro$e. Establishment o the 8. S. Constitution did nothin% to remove these
Sunda" la4s or the ne4 Sunda" la4s enacted b" states rom time to time& because
the First #mendment a$$lied to HCon%ress&H not to the states.H But the Raurteenth
#mendment :.?<?9 made the First #mendment a$$licable to the states& ollo4in%
4hich states be%an to do4n$la" the reli%ious %oals o their Sunda" la4s in avor o
the 4elare %oals.
2he state!enacted Sunda" la4s o the $ast do not constitute a ulillment o
.7E..!.?. In Revelation .7 it is the lamb!horned beast as a 4hole& not an" o its
$arts :such as the states9& that im$oses the mark o the beast. Further& 4e have seen
that no one receives the mark o the beast until the true issues come clear.
#merica@s state Sunda" la4s alread" have been enacted; the clari"in% o the issues
is "et uture. It is instructive to observe that the 8nited States Su$reme Court has
consistentl" ound the state Sunda" la4s that have come under its Iurisdiction to be
*7 2he Su$reme Court case is Oorematsu #& @nited Slates :.*++9. Sec e.g.< Cart Brent S4isher& =is5
toric %ecisions o/ the Su!reme )ourt, an #nvil Book :1rinceton& =A& .*/?9& -14.
*? Dell"and HartYison&.6lmX4an )onstitution, ?+..
** #$e First #mendment be%ins& $)ongress s$all !ake no la4 res$ectin% an establishment o reli%ion&
or $rohibitin% t$e ree e,ercise thereo;...H
.)) 2he 8.S. Su$reme Court did not a$$l" t$e reli%ion clauses o the First #mendment b" means o the
Fourteenth #mendment to slate la4s until t$e .*+)s& but much earlier than t$is ($e slates 4ere
a4are that it had the ri%ht to do so. See< e.%.& Filliam Addison Blakely< American State *a!ers and
"elated %ocuments on (reedom in "eligion, +th rev. ed. :Fashin%ton& DC< for the Reli%ious
5ibert" #ssociation& .*+*9& +77&/)7.
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
2he irst Sunda" case to come to the Court 4as Soon =ing #& )rowle :.??/9.
Soon Hin% 4as a Chinese laundr"man 4ho violated a Caliornia la4 that orbade
laundr" labor ater .) o@clock at ni%ht and all da" Sunda". Soon Hin% 4as arrested
or 4orkin% late one ni%ht& not or 4orkin% on Sunda"& but the Court took an interest
an"4a" in the Sunda" $rovisions o the Caliornia la4 in 3uestion. Austice Ste$hen
A. Field& in statin% the decision o the Court& declared& H5a4s settin% aside Sunda" as
a da" o rest& are u$held not rom an" ri%ht o %overnment to le%islate or the
$romotion o reli%ious observance& but rom its ri%ht to $rotect all $ersons rom the
$h"sical and moral debasement& 4hich comes rom uninterru$ted labor.H
2o .*<. no e4er than our Sunda" cases reached the Su$reme Court to%ether.
24o concerned discount stores that 4anted to sta" o$en on Sunda" to enhance their
sales in s$ite o state la4s that re3uired them to close. #$e other t4o involved
0rthodo, ;es 4ho o$ened their stores on Sunda" to com$ensate or closin% them
on Sabbath in sincere observance o the Ae4ish reli%ion.
#ttorne"s 4ho deended the store o4ners in all our cases reerred the Su$reme
Court Austices to the reli%ious histor" o earl" #merican Sunda"!closin% la4s and
claimed the ri%ht o all our stores to sta" o$en on the basis o the First #mendment.
Ei%ht o the nine Austices reIected this ar%ument& notin% instead that the la4s in
3uestion 4ere not reli%ious but 4ere elfare la4s intended to $rotect $eo$le rom
over4ork and to $rovide a eekly da" or amilies to s$end to%ether.
2he Court divided si, to three on the Ae4ish cases& Gallagher #& )rown Oosher
Su!er 6ar1et and Braun/eld #& Brown&
2he three dissentin% Austices 4ere dee$l"
concerned about the hardshi$ im$osed on 0rthodo, ;es b" bein% orced to sta"
closed on Sunda" ater conscientiousl" closin% sho$ on the Sabbath. But the
maIorit" o the Austices 4ere unmoved. Austice Dou%las& one o the three dissenters&
earnestl" $rotested that Hthe Court balances the need o the $eo$le or rest&
recreation& late slee$in%& amil" visitin%& and the like a%ainst the command o the
First #mendment that no one need bo4 to the reli%ious belies o another. 2here is
in this real! no room or balancin%.H
.). See Farren 5. Aohns& %ateline, Sunda, V&SA& :'ountain Vie4& C#& .*<79& *7!*+.
-94 3uoted in #nson 1hel$D Stokes< #hurch and State in the @nited States, 7 vols. :=e4 Oork& .*/)9
-9* See Pfeffcr< #hurch, State, and ,reedom, (?.!?7; Aohns& %ateline Sunda, .77!/*.
-9. 3uoted in ;o$ns< Dateline Sunda, .//!/<.
2he 'ark o the Beast
Histor" su%%ests that no ne4 #mendment to the Constitution 4ill be needed
4hen $o$ular o$inion demands a national Sunda"!closin% la4. 2he Su$reme Court
4ill need onl" to ind a con%enial 4a" to inter$ret the Bill o Ri%hts in terms o the
1reamble and $o$ular demands.
State Sunday las and t$e 5oer of 5reCudice. Since the earl" .*<)s& 4hen
the our cases Iust mentioned 4ere revie4ed b" the 8.S. Su$reme Court&
enorcement o Sunda"!closin% la4s in the 8nited States has lar%el" allen b" the
4a". 'an" Sunda" la4s lon% on the books o various states and cities have been
removed. 'ost businesses that choose to o$en on Sunda"s seem able to do so
4ithout hindrance. So is the enorcement o Sunda" le%islation less likel" in
#merica@s uture toda" than it 4as& sa"& t4o hundred "ears a%oL
2he ans4er is that it seems so& but a$$earances are oten deceivin%. For
instance& durin% much o the nineteenth centur"& 4hen most states had Sunda" la4s
in $lace& the Sunda" la4s either 4ere not enorced or 4ere not enorced 4ell. #ter
decades o indierence& in certain states& notabl" 2ennessee and #rkansas& Sunda"
la4s 4ere ener%eticall" enorced durin% the .??)s and on into the earl" .*))s. 2he
sudden ne4 enorcement 4as ocused $rinci$all" on Seventh!da" #dventists.
2"$icall"& #dventists 4ere arrested or 4orkin% 3uietl" on their arms out o
si%ht o an" $ublic road. 0ne #dventist 4as arrested or $aintin% the back side o
his church or an hour or t4o on a Sunda". #nother 4as arrested or cho$$in%
4ood or the kitchen stove; another& or re$airin% a 'ethodist 4ido4@s roo in rain"
4eather 4ithout e,$ectation o $a". In man" cases non!#dventists in the area
4orked on their arms and cho$$ed 4ood on the same Sunda"s 4ithout bein%
arrested. In most cases the #dventists 4ere ined b" local courts& man" s$ent time
in Iail& a e4 did time in a chain %an%. #$$eals to state su$reme courts and even to
ederal circuit courts usuall" brou%ht no relie. Sevent" or more #dventists suered
in these 4a"s& one o 4hom died in conse3uence o his $rison term.
#nd 4hat brou%ht about this sudden enorcement o lon% dormant Sunda"
la4sL In some cases& at least& it 4as resentment over the conversion o local citiJens
to the Seventh!da" #dventist aith.
2he eective $roclamation o the Sabbath to
ever" nation& tribe& ton%ue& and $eo$le in the ver" last da"s $redictabl" 4ill
%enerate resentment a%ain& even amon% $eo$le 4ho 4ill not have bothered about
Sunda" la4s $reviousl".
.)/ Blakel".6t4ncon Stale *a!ers, +/7!/.(.
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
Ree!erging Cat$olic Po5ularity
Fhen the status o Roman Catholicism toda" is com$ared 4ith 4hat it 4as in
the .?))s& there can be no doubt that the healin% o the deadl" 4ound is advancin%
C$anging orld attitudes. In .7*? =a$oleon intended there 4ould never be
another $o$e. In .?).& ho4ever& he si%ned a church!state treat" or HconcordatH 4ith
a ne4 $o$e. #s $ro$hec" had oreseen& the mortal blo4 4ould onl" 4ound& not
kill& the Catholic Church. 0n the other hand& in .?7) the ne4l" emer%in% nation o
Ital" dee$ened the church@s 4oes b" takin% a4a" the 1a$al States. 2he 1a$al States
constituted an inde$endent countr" 4hich occu$ied .<&))) s3uare miles in the
center o the Italian $eninsula& counted a $o$ulation o 7&)))&)))& and had been
o4ned b" the $a$ac" or centuries. De$rived o his o4n countr"& 1o$e 1ius IG in a
hu& and all the $o$es ater him till .*(*& conined themselves in an ancient
residence& the Castel Gandolo& $ortra"in% a $icture o the once!%rand $a$ac"
suerin% under house arrest.
But in .*(* Benito 'ussolini si%ned a concordat %rantin% the $o$e ull
authorit" over the State o Vatican Cit"& .)?.7 acres inside the cit" o Rome $ic$
included St. 1eter@s Cathedral. 0nce acain the $o$e 4as a monarch
< l't=
as 4ell as a $riest. 2he mortal 4ound 4as bein% healed. M
Genial& o$en!hearted 1o$e Aohn GGIII :$o$e .*/?!.*<79 and the $rocedural
reorms voted at his Vatican Council II urther restored Catholic inluence in the
4orld. 2oda"& 1o$e Aohn 1aul II ma" be the most res$ected man alive.
In .*?< leaders o man" dierent reli%ions& includin% non!Christian reli%ions&
assembled in #ssisi& Ital"& to $ra" or $eace at the $ersonal invitation o 1o$e Aohn
1aul II.
C$anging attitudes in A!erica. 2he on%oin% healin% o the deadl" 4ound
has been clearl" relected in #merican $o$ular o$inion. 2he ne4 trend can best be
evaluated b" com$arin% it 4ith attitudes a centur" or more a%o. In the .?))s stron%
tides o #merican hostilit" lo4ed a%ainst the Roman Church.
Ibr e,am$le& in .?/( 4hen 1o$e 1ius IG sent a block o %ranite to be included
in the Fashin%ton monument& then under construction& mass $rotests occurred. So
intense 4as #merican outra%e that the masons did
-91 At the ti!e and for so!e time ater4ards Seventh!da" #dventists s$oke of t$e .*(* concordat as
t$e actual Hhealin% o the deadly ound.I )ro! the $ers$ective o the .**)s e can sa" that the
-B4B concordat 4as a ver" si%niicant ste5 in the $ealing $rocess.
2he 'ark o the Beast
not dare hoist the stone into $lace. 24o "ears later eelin%s 4ere still runnin% so
hi%h that irate #mericans ound 4here the stone la" in a stora%e shed& itted a chain
around it& and dra%%ed it into the 1otomac River.
#merican distrust o Catholicism 4as still ver" much alive a centur" later& even
ater 'ussolini@s .*(* concordat. In .*/. 4hen 1resident Harr" S 2ruman asked
the Senate to a$$rove his nomination o an ambassador to the State o Vatican Cit"&
#merica 4as $lun%ed into a vorte, o $rotest. HHardl" a 1rotestant church %rou$ in
the countr" ailed to e,$ress its o$$osition ormall" and oten acrimonioust".H
1resident 2ruman 4ithdre4 his $ro$osal.
But in 'arch .*?+& thirt"!three "ears later& 1resident Ronald Rea%an@s
nomination o Filliam #. Fison as ambassador to Vatican Cit" 4as 3uickl"
a$$roved b the Senate& ?.!.7. 0nl" a e4 voices 4orried about church and state.
In the meantime& in .*<) the 8nited States had elected Aohn F. Denned"& a Roman
Catholic& to be its $resident. In .*</& .))&))) #mericans had illed Oankee
Stadium to hear 1o$e 1aul VI sa" mass. In .*?) 1o$e Aohn 1aul II had also been
tumultuousl" 4elcomed to the 8nited States. Conservative 1rotestants 4ho o$$ose
abortion be%an vie4in% the 1o$e not as a threat but as an all".
Insoar as these chan%es re$resent a reduction o bi%otr"& 4e reIoice. Fe are
concerned& ho4ever& that the" also re$resent a denial o histor" and& more seriousl"&
a tendenc" a4a" rom the se$aration o church and state to4ard the union o the
t4o& 4hich al4a"s in the $ast has brou%ht much inIustice and miser".
A$at Does t$e )uture 7old8
Havin% 4atched Daniel@s em$ires ollo4 one another $recisel" as $redicted&
havin% seen Aesus ulill the 7) 4eek $ro$hec"& the little horn rise and think to
chan%e times and la4& and the .(<) da"s come to an end& there is somethin% o
4hich 4e can be $erectl" sureE Bible $redictions come true. 2he $ro$hec" about
the 8nited States 4ill be ulilled. #merica 4ill le, her a4esome $olitical $o4er to
im$ose a $attern o reli%ion that 4ill directl" o$$ose the 2en Commandments. She
4ill lead the 4orld to
.)7 Stokes& )hurch and State in the @nited Slates .E?77.
.)? 1eer& )hurch& Slate, and /reedom, 7)(.
.)* In another s4itch o attitudes& the H2hird Dudle" 5ectureH at Harvard 8niversit"& ori%inall" endo4ed
:in the .7/)s9 to sound a 4arnin% ever" our "ears a%ainst the HRomish Church&H 4as assi%ned to
1o$e Aohn 1aul IIN 2he $onti a$$reciated the invitation but had to decline! See Geor%e Huntston
Filliams& H2he Ecumenical Intentions o 1o$e Aohn 1aul II<I ffTR 7/6( :.*?(9E.+.!7<.
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
ollo4 her e,am$le. #nd she 4ill not be alone. #ccordin% to the $ro$hec" she 4ill
have the coo$eration o a ull" healed Roman Church& o$eratin% 4ith old!ashioned
Jeal in countries throu%hout the 4orld.
2he event or condition that 4ill stimulate #merica and the Roman Church to
behave this 4a" cannot be oreseen $recisel". Factors likel" to $rom$t the ne4
attitude to4ard $ersecution are some %lobal calamit" combined 4ith success in the
$roclamation o the three an%els@ messa%es. 2hese could be linked in the
$ro$a%anda o the three Hro%sH that come rom the mouths o the dra%on& the beast&
and the alse $ro$het to %ather the 4orld to #rma%eddon :.<E.7!.<9.
2he 8nited States its the $ro$hec" o the lamb!horned earth beast insofar as
the $ro$hec" has been ulilled. Its $ast behavior hel$s make understandable its
urther role in ulillin% the $ro$hec". 2he chan%in% attitude o #mericans to4ard
Catholicism su%%ests an eas" transition to the enforce!ent o Catholic values. #nd
the 8.S. Su$reme Court@s acilit" at reinter$retin% the Constitution sho4s that& in
res$onse to a chan%e in 5ublic o$inion& the Court can easil" discover a
constitutional $rete,t or endorsin% coercive reli%ious le%islation. Sunda" is alread"
a da" set a$art in most countries o the 4orld. Some unoreseen calamit"& combined
4ith t$e activities o the three an%els o Revelation .+ and o the three Hro%sH of
Revelation .<& 4ill stimulate the Catholic Church and other coo$erative reli%ious
%rou$s to Ioin 4ith the 8nited States in settin% u$ a 4orld4ide Hima%e o the beastH
and in inlictin% the mark o the beast on all 4ho sanction this& their ultimate orm
o Sabbath!Sunda" t"rran".
A$at Difference Does It /ake8
#$$ro,imatel" one billion $eo$le toda" consider themselves Christian. 2he"
acce$t the $rinci$le o one s$ecial da" ever" 4eek. Fhat dierence does it make to
God 4hether the" 4orshi$ on Saturda" or Sunda"L Does God reall" care about
such mattersL
#mericans in $articular have been educated to treat ever"one the sa!e
H4ithout re%ard to race& color& %ender& or creed.H Such characteris!
--9 Revelation .<E.7!.< can be readily construed as $arenthetical material interru$tin% the $resenta!
tion o the seven $la%ues. #s such& it can be a$$ro$riatel" inter$reted as not bein% conined to t$e
si,th $la%ue but rather as re$resentin% activities that both $recede and coincide 4ith the 5lagues.
2he 'ark o the Beast
tics come 4ithout a $erson@s choice and cannot be chan%ed. But one@s belie
s"stem is another matter entirel"& or it can be chan%ed at 4ill.
/ark of t$e Beast+ &nd-#i!e P$eno!enon
Does the s$eciic da" become si%niicantL In our e,e%esis section 4e
concluded that the mark is an end!time $henomenon. #ccordin% to the
$ro$hec" in Revelation .7 the mark is not $laced on an"one until ater
#merica has eected a coercive union o church and state. Coincident 4ith
this develo$ment is the inal ulillment o 'atthe4 (+E.+ about the %os$el@s
bein% $reached Hthrou%hout the 4hole 4orldH beore the end comes and the
$roclamation o the three an%els@ messa%es Hto ever" nation and tribe and
ton%ue and $eo$leH beore the Son o man a$$ears on the clouds.
Hence the mark o the beast 4ill not be a$$lied until $eo$le have had
o$$ortunit" to kno4 the truth and make a res$onsible decision. #cts .7E7)
comes to mind& H2he times o i%norance God overlooked Q4inked at& DAVR&
but no4 he commands all men ever"4here to re$ent.H
(bedience and e,cuses. #r%uments that de$reciate the im$ortance o
the Sabbath are heard& even in the hi%hest theolo%ical circles& /enced not
kee$ the Sabbath& or Christ nailed the la4 to the cross. Fe should not kee$
the Sabbath& or doin% so 4ould be le%alism. Fe cannot kee$ an" o the
la4& or 4e are born 4ith human natures marred b" ori%inal sin.
#o thousand "ears a%o Christ sho4ed that heartelt obedience is not
le%alism but love& HI "ou love me& "ou 4ill kee$ m" commandmentsH :Aohn
.+E./9. So 4e should obe". #nd 4hen the H.++&)))H are livin% on earth
4ithout %uile in their mouths and 4ith the seal o God u$on them& ever"one
4ill have indis$utable evidence that throu%h the $o4er o Christ the la4 o
God can be obe"ed.
2hose 4ho receive the mark o the beast 4ill be those 4ho $ersist in
disobe"in% the Sabbath commandment 4hen doin% so has become in ever"
sense ine,cusable.
(bedience and ors$i5. #ccordin% to the three an%elsM messa%es&
$eo$le in the end!time either 4orshi$ God H4ho made heaven and earth&H or
the" 4orshi$ the beast. Forshi$ is thus basic in determinin% 4ho receives
the mark o the beast.
2he En%lish 4ord H4orshi$H comes rom H4orth!shi$&H meanin% some!
thin% that 4e do in res$onse to 4hat 4e think someone is 4orth. #nd trul"
our 4orshi$ choices>4hom 4e choose to 4orshi$ and ho4 4e choose to
4orshi$>reveal our inmost sense o values.
Fhen 4e 4orshi$ God e choose the ri%ht God; but i 4e 4orshi$
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited
God in a 4a" o our o4n choosin% rather than His& 4e sho4 that
ater all 4e do not value God as hi%hl" as 4e value ourselves or
someone else. Becomin% an%r" 4ith $eo$le 4ho obe" God is
characteristic o $eo$le 4ho
insist on 4orshi$in% God in their o4n 4a".
2he seventh!da" Sabbath is the $reeminent da" or 4orshi$.
God& the Creator o heaven and earth& sa"s that Hthe seventh da" is
the Sabbath o the 5ord "our God.H He e,$lains that it is a
reminder o His creatorshi$& Hor in si, da"s the 5ord made heaven
and earth& the sea& and all that is in them.H 2he seventh!da"
Sabbath is God@s chosen reminder that 4e are His creatures and He
is our 5ord. Fhen at the end o time $eo$le have a clear chance to
kno4 the truth about the Sabbath but insist on 4orshi$in% God on
their o4n chosen da"& the" 4ill reveal that the" are 4orshi$in%
someone or somethin% other than the God the" sa" the" are
2he" 4ill be 4ithout e,cuse& e,chan%in% the truth about God
or a lie and 4orshi$in% and servin% the creature rather than the
Creator :Rom
(bedience and fait$. 2he issue o Sabbath versus Sunda" is a
matter o aith& o ri%hteousness b" aith. Do 4e %enuinel" belie#e
that the Bible is true& that God is our Creator and RedeemerL Do
4e have the Haith o AesusHL
#$e Bible sa"s& HI 4ill $ut m" s$irit 4ithin "ou& and cause "ou
to 4alk in m" statutes and be careul to observe m" ordinancesH
:EJek 7<E(79. I#$is is the covenant 4hich I 4ill make it$ the
house o Israel ater those days< sa"s the 5ordE I 4ill $ut m" la4
4ithin them& and I 4ill 4rite it u$on t$eir heartsH :Aer 7.E779. Do
e believe that God@s S$irit can transorm us. make us hol"& and
thus enable us to kee$ the Sabbath hol"L
#t the end o time& 4hen there is no more e,cuse or
disobedience& or a $erson to $ersist in breakin% the Sabbath 4ill
be Hunri%hteousness throu%h doubt.H It 4ill be tantamount to
accusin% the true God o not tellin% the truth.
(bedience and t$e %os$el of t$e kingdo!K In 'atthe4
(+E.+& Aesus sa"s& H2his %os$el o the 1ingdom shall be $reached
throu%hout the 4hole 4orld& as a testimon" to all nations '!asin
tois ethnesin, Mall the Gentiles@9;
and then the end 4ill come.H
2he term H%os$el o the kin%domH im$lies the headshi$ o a
kin%; and kin%shi$ im$lies a relationshi$ o obedience. 2he term
HlordH is similar to Hkin%&H and in Romans .)E*& 1aul sa"s that 4e
4ill be saved i 4e belie#e in our hearts that God raised Aesus rom
the dead and i 4e coness 4ith our mouths that Jesus is ?ord&
'illions o Christians are ha$$" to ackno4led%e Christ as
Saviour rom
2he 'ark o the Beast
the $enalt" o sin but do not acce$t Him as Saviour rom the $o4er o sin in dail"
lie. 'illions are ha$$" to ackno4led%e Him as the 5ord the" can $ra" to or
miracles but not as a 5ord 4hose 4ord the" intend to obe" ull". 'an" in the
Iud%ment 4ill $oint to miracles the" $erormed in the name o the 5ord Aesus Christ
but 4ill be turned a4a" 4ith the verdict& HI never kne4 "ou; de$art rom me& "ou
evildoersH :'att 7E(.!(79. 'an" 4ho call Aesus H5ordH are buildin% houses on sand;
thou%h the" have heard His 4ords& the" have not obe"ed them :'att 7E(+!(79.
2he onl" obedience that God can acce$t in the inal anal"sis is that 4hich is
done 4ith all our hearts& minds& and stren%th throu%h the $o4er o the ind4ellin%
S$irit& or He is savin% 4hole $ersons& not 4ords or out4ard $roessions.
Beore Christ returns& the %os$el o the kin%dom>the true %os$el o heartelt
obedience>4ill be $roclaimed throu%hout the 4orld as a 4itness to all Gentiles.
0$$osition to this true %os$el& the %os$el o the kin%dom& the %os$el that includes
God@s beautiul truth about His Sabbath& 4ill 3uali" a $erson or the mark o the
Religious Coercion in t$e &nd-#i!e
'ost cultures throu%hout histor" have $racticed reli%ious coercion& and man"
still do so& 4ithout their $eo$le@s receivin% the mark o the beast. Fhat 4ill make
the dierence at the end o timeL
Reli%ious coercion at the end o time 4ill take on ne4 $ro$ortions. 2he
coercive anti!Sabbath theolo%" o the 'iddle #%es had about it an aura o naivete.
'an" $eo$le seem not to have realiJed that the Sabbath could $ossibl" be the ri%ht
da". Fith the rise o 1uritanism in Britain around .<))& there arose a %reat a%itation
about the Sabbath 3uestion&
but even then the Sabbath 3uestion had nothin% to do
4ith the choice o the da" to be observed& onl" 4ith the wa in 4hich it 4as to be
observed. Fe4 o the sabbatic 1uritans seem to have %ras$ed the idea that Sunda"
could be the 4ron% da". 2he" believed that the seventh da" 4as a $er$etual si%n o
the ne4 covenant. Fith reasonin% that seems absurd to us& but seemed $erectl"
lo%ical to those intelli%ent $eo$le& the" insisted that God had shited the seventh da"
rom Sabbath to Sunda"& 4hile still kee$in% it the seventh da".
Recent research
sho4s that some 1uritans& al4a"s in
... See& e.%.& Finton 8. Solber%& "edeem the Time :Cambrid%eE 7arvard 0niversity 1ress& .*779&
..( See& c. %.& the 1uritan classic b" =icolas Bo4nde& The %octrine o/7the Sabbath, *laine/ ?ade (orth
:5ondon& ./*/9; and Denneth #. Strand& ed.& The Sabbath in Scri!ture and =istor :Fashin%ton&
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited
the minorit"& discovered the biblical Sabbath and ar%ued a%ainst Sunda"
2hose 4ho live in the end!time have s$ecial insi%hts& based on
uller kno4led%e o the Scri$tures and centuries o e,$erience 4ith
true reli%ious reedom. 2his $rovides o$$ortunit" to contrast the
4ickedness o coercive Sunda" le%islation 4ith the relative
innocence o true reli%ious reedom. 2his makes the observance o
Sunda" and the reIection o Sabbath ar more serious than in the
'iddle #%es.
H2he $o$e can modi" divine la4&H claimed 1etrus de
#ncharano. H2he Sabbath& the most %lorious da" in the la4& has
been chan%ed into the 5ord@s da"... b" the authorit" o the church&H
declared the #rchbisho$ o Re%!%io at the crucial Council o 2rent.
1erha$s in the 'iddle #%es $eo$le could be e,cused or sa"in%
such thin%s. Fe cannot. 2oda" 4e kno4 better.
2he o$enin% o the 'ost Hol" 1lace in the heavenl" sanctuar"&
revealin% the ark o the covenant& has called attention in a
substantiall" ne4 4a" to the on%oin% intercessor" ministr" o
Christ. Fhat a contrast bet4een coercin% believers to break God@s
la4 and intercedin% or sinners and teachin% them ho4 to kee$ the
1eo$le in man" $laces $ossibl" can be e,cused or believin%
that the 1o$e has divine authorit" to chan%e God@s la4 and to
coerce $eo$le to kee$ Sunda" at the e,$ense o the Sabbath. But
under the inal $roclamation o the %os$el o the kin%dom and the
three an%els@ messa%es& and o Chriss ministr" in the /ost Hol"
1lace& the" 4ill have a chance to kno4 better& much better& 4hat
the real truth is. I then the" insist on doin% 4ron% and on tr"in% to
make others do 4ron%& their $ersistence 4ill be $eculiarl"
(bedience and inal decision ti!e. Aust beore Aohn sa4 the
Son o man a$$ear on the clouds o heaven& he sa4 three an%els
l"in% 4ith earth@s inal $resentation o the %os$el. He heard the u$!
to!date version o the everlastin% %os$el that the" 4ould $reach&
announcin% that the inal Iud%ment had b" then alread begun,
callin% $eo$le to 4orshi$ the Creator& and 4arnin% them that i
the" chose to 4orshi$ the beast& the" 4ould have to suer the
seven $la%ues :the 4rath o God9 and eternal loss. It 4as to be a
messa%e or a time o ultimate decision makin%.
Immediatel" $rior to $robation@s close a ourth an%el Ioins the
other three 4ith an ur%ent messa%e rom Christ Himsel& HCome
out o her QBab"lonR& m !eo!le, lest "ou take $art in her sins& lest
"ou share in her
DC< .*?(9& ((*!+7.
$$3 B'i#n %0 Ball1 1he 7n+lish 2onnection: 1he Puritan Roofs of Seventh$day
Advenast Belief &Cam2#i-'e@ 2#mes Cl#':0 1671(1 1=7)50
2he 'ark o t$e Beast
$la%ues; or her sins are hea$ed hi%h as heavenH :Rev .?E+& /9.
Here Christ conronts $eo$le 4hom He ackno4led%es as His o4n 4ith their
des$erate& ur%ent need to make a ne4 decision. Fith Bab"lon@s sins havin% become
more enormous than ever and the seven last $la%ues loomin% closer Christ@s lo"al
ollo4ers in Sunda"kee$in% churches must make a decision to ollo4 Christ utterl"
or be lost.
2he 4ords o Aoel come to mind& directed as the" are to the Iud%ment hour at
the end o timeE H'ultitudes& multitudes& in the valle" o decisionN For the da" o the
5ord is near in the valle" o decisionH :7E.+9.
2he 4ords o EliIah on 'ount Carmel also itE HHo4 lon% 4ill "ou %o lim$in%
4ith t4o dierent o$inionsL I the 5ord is God& ollo4 him; but i Baal& then ollo4
himH :. D%s .?E(.9.
Aoshua@s inal a$$eal to the Israelites takes on ne4 meanin%E HChoose this da"
4hom "ou 4ill serve& 4hether the %ods "our athers served in the re%ion be"ond the
River Qthat is& be"ond the Eu$hrates& in 'eso$otamiaR& or the %ods o the #morites
in 4hose land "ou d4ell; but as or me and m" house& 4e 4ill serve the 5ordH :Aosh
For a %eneration acin% the mark o the beast& Aoel@s a$$eal or totall" sincere
re$entance seems uni3uel" a$$ro$riateE
HOet even no4&H sa"s the 5ord& Hreturn to me 4ith all "our heart& 4ith
astin%& 4ith 4ee$in%& and 4ith mournin%; and rend "our hearts and not "our
%arments.H Return to the 5ord& "our God& or he is %racious and merciul&
slo4 to an%er& and aboundin% in steadast love& and re$ents o evil. :(E.(!.79
(bedience and =od%s love. God& our heavenl" Father& has %iven us a la4 that
is Hhol" and Iust and %oodH :Rom 7E.(9. I He had chan%ed it at an" time& it 4ould
have become unhol"& unIust& and bad. 2he Sabbath in $articular He Hmade or manH
:'ark (E(79& on our behal& or our %ood. Fhen our irst $arents broke His la4& God
mi%ht have chan%ed the rules to avoid $unishin% them& but this 4ould onl" have
been or their harm. Rather& or the sake o all o us& God chose to leave his Hhol"
and Iust and %oodH la4 e,actl" the 4a" He made it in the irst $lace& send the Hol"
S$irit to hel$ us obe" it& and take the H4a%es o sinH u$on Himsel& at ininite cost.
In the Christian Era& a bod" o church leaders elt ree to do 4hat God Himsel
reused to do. 2he" elt ree to chan%e God@s la4& and also to harass& $ersecute& and
e,communicate Christians 4ho lo"all" chose to obe" it.
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
In the near uture& $eo$le 4ho still eel ree to honor this chan%e in
=od%s la4 in s$ite o %reat li%ht to the contrar" 4ill 3uali" themselves
or the mark o the beast.
(bedience and t$e seal of =od. 2he H.++&)))H 4ho receive God@s
seal in their oreheads :7E.!?9 are described as havin% God@s name and the
5amb@s name in their oreheads :.+E.!/9.
Full" matured Sabbathkee$ers have =od%s name in their oreheads in
t$e sense that the" have allo4ed God@s S$irit to chan%e their characters
until the" resemble God@s character.
God is love. His la4 is love. Fhen $eo$le obe" Him ull"& the" love.
God is hol". His la4 is hol". Fhen $eo$le obe" Him ull"& the Hol" S$irit
lives out in their lives the $urit"& honest"& and unselishness that mark the
character o God Himsel.
2o kee$ the Sabbath hol"& $eo$le need a distinct and dee$!seated
chan%e in their basic thou%ht $atterns& a chan%e that is maniested ever"
da" o the 4eek. Aesus told =icodemus that even a %ood man like he
needed to be Hborn a%ainH>that is& to be Hborn rom aboveH :as the mar%in
sa"s9 and Hborn o the S$iritH :see Aohn 79. Aesus sa"s the same to all o us.
Fe can never kee$ a 4hole Sabbath da" hol" unless 4e come into such
ello4shi$ 4ith Christ& come under the inluence o the Hol" S$irit so
consistentl"& that 4e live $urit"& honest"& com$assion& hel$ulness& and
lo"alt" to God ever" da" o the 4eek.
God@s $eo$le at the ver" end o time will be Hs$otless&H ree rom lies&
true and honest& chaste& $ure& and kind. In the $o4er o the Hol" S$irit&
the" 4ill kee$ God@s commandments even 4hen aced 4ith starvation and
e,ecution. But ho4L 2he" 4ill con3uer the dra%on Hthrou%h the 4ord o
their testimon"&H and the" 4ill love not their lives Heven unto deathH :Rev
.(E..9. 'ore than this& the overcomers have Hthe blood o the 5amb.H In!
deed& the" have the 5amb. 2he" have 'ichael the %reat 1rince 4ho stands
u$ or His $eo$le :see Dan .(E.9. In some marvelous and m"sterious man!
ner Christ has come knockin% and has been 4elcomed into their hearts. 7e
has brou%ht 4ith Him all the H%old& e"esalve& and 4hite raimentH the" can
$ossibl" need :see Rev 7E./!((9.
HOou shall kee$ m" sabbaths& or this is a sign bet4een me and "ou...
that "ou ma" kno4 that M< the ?ord, sancti/ ou$ :E,od 7.E.79.
2his is ho4 the H.++&)))&H the Hsaints&H God@s Hremnant&H "oun% and
old& esca$e the mark o the beast and kee$ all the commandments o God
and stand com$lete in holiness and $urit" as God@s ull" ri$ened %rain.
By contrast& b" reIectin% Christ@s $ersonal a$$eal to come out o
2he 'ark o the Beast
Bab"lon and to let Him come victoriousl" into their hearts& $eo$le at the end o time
4ill 3uali" or the mark o the beast.
#$e /ark As C$aracter Develo5!ent
#s the seal o God :true Sabbath holiness9 re$resents the character o the ull"
ri$ened %rain o Revelation .+E./& so the mark o the beast re$resents the character
o the ri$ened %ra$es o Revelation .+E.7!().
Because the mark $ertains to events so ver" late in earth@s histor"& 4e kno4& as
4e have alread" observed& that it relates to a situation ater the %os$el o the
kin%dom has been $reached throu%hout the 4orld :'att (+E.+9. Individuals 4ill
receive the mark onl" 4hen the" have had a chance to hear the evidence $reached
and to see it lived in the beautiul Christ!like lives o the H.++&))).H 2he mark is a
si%n o rebellion& a kind o (@G
7 stam$ed on $eo$le 4ho deliberatel" and
kno4in%l" run a4a" rom God in the li%ht o this sort o evidence.
#s A. =. #ndre4s noted in the 'a" .*& .?/. "e#iew and =erald, the mark o
the beast a$$lies to Hthose 4ho understandingt turn a4a" rom the commandments
o God& and in their stead obe" the institution o the beastH :em$hasis su$$lied9.
HFhoever 1nows 4hat is ri%ht to do and ails to do it& or him it is sinH :Aas +E.79.
2he mark o the beast in the HoreheadH re$resents mental assent to erroneous
belie and behavior. 2he mark in the HhandH re$resents activit" carried on in
harmon" 4ith such assent. # $erson@s HoreheadH ma" not be entirel" comortable
4ith 4hat the HhandH does& but actions s$eak louder than 4ords.
#$e !ark of t$e beast is illful< knoledgeable< end-ti!e a55roval of
coercive Sunday observance in opposition to clear lig$t on t$e Sabbat$ Guestion
and in harmony it$ classic Ro!an Cat$olicis!. As suc$< t$e !ark of t$e beast
is evidence of 5ersonal character !atured in o55osition to =od.
..+ (or/ugiti#us, or u%itive. See earlier remarks on Roman custom& $. /?!
../ # modern deinition o t$e number <<< reinorces the conce5t of the mark o t$e beast as c$aracter
develo$ment. It comes rom Beatrice =eall& The )once!t o/ )haracter in the A!ocal!se with
Im!lications /or )haracter Education :Fashin%ton& DC< .*?79& ./7!//& %ivin% credit or some o
her ideas to Herman 7ockse!a and 7ans 5aRondelleE HSi, is le%itimate 4hen it leads to sevenF
it re$resents man on the irst evenin% o his e,istence enterin% into the celebration o =od%s creative
$o4er. 2he %lor" o the creature is ri%ht i it leads to the %lor" o =od. Si, hundred si,ty-si,&
ho4ever& re$resents the reusal o man lo $roceed to seven& to %ive %lor" to God as Creator and
Redeemer. It re$resents man@s i,ation 4ith himsel& man seekin% %lor" in himsel and his o4n
creations. It s$eaks o the ullness o creation and all creative $o4ers 4ithoul =od Dt$e $ractice o
the absence o God. It demonstrates that unre%eneratc man is $ersistentl" evil. #$e
Roman Catholicism and the 8nited States
#o Sides at t$e &nd of #i!e
Scri$ture indicates clearl" that at the end o time $ersonal choices 4ill cause
ever"one to be on one side or the other. =o one 4ill be let in the middle.
0ne side 4ill 4orshi$ the Creator :Rev .+E79. #$e other side 4ill 4orshi$ the
beast and its ima%e :.7E.(; .+E*; .<E(; .*E()9.
0ne side 4ill be trust4orth" and true& 4ithout an" lies in their mouths :.+E/9.
2he other side 4ill have acce$ted the lies o the alse $ro$het :.*E()9.
0ne side 4ill be $ure and s$otless :.+E+& /9. 2he other side 4ill be co4ardl"&
aithless& $olluted& murderers& omicators& sorcerers& idolaters&
liars :(.E?9.
(ne side 4ill have their names in the book o lie :Dan .(E.9. 2he other side
4ill have had their names blotted out o the book o lie :Rev .7E?9.
0ne side 4ill be unable to bu" or sell but 4ill esca$e the $la%ues :.7E.7;
.?E+9. 2he other side 4ill be able to bu" and sell :or a time9 but 4ill then suer the
$la%ues :.7E.7; .+E*!..; .<E(9.
(ne side is com$osed o %uests invited to the 5amb@s Io"ous 4eddin% su$$er
:.*E*9. 2he other side is ed to birds o $re" at the terrible su$$er o God :.*E.7!
(ne side $raises God and sin%s Io"ull" in the $resence o the 5amb :./E(!+;
.+E79. 2he other side curses God and suers torment in the $resence o the 5amb
:.<E*!..&(.; .+E*!..9.
0ne side enters the eternal kin%dom :Dan 7E(7; Rev ((E.+9. 2he other side
suers $ermanent $unishment :Rev .+E*!..9.
(ne side has the seal o God :7E.!79. 2he other side has the mark o the beast
:.7E.<; .+E..9.
2he easiest thin% to do 4hen the ima%e o the beast is set u$ 4ill be to go 4ith
the cro4d. 1eo$le 4ho have believed the ser$ent@s lies& that God@s las either
should not& ou%ht not& or cannot be obe"ed& 4ill ind com$liance easy. 2he" 4ill be
inluenced b" Satan@s si%ns and 4onders :see ( 2hess (E*!.(9. 2he" 4ill Hbo4H
do4n to the ima%e>and receive the mark o the beast& indicatin% their submission
and obedience to human authorit".
beasts o Rev .7 re5resent man e,ercisin% his soverei%nt" a$art rom =od< man conormed to t$e
ima%e of t$e beast rather than to t$e ima%e of =od. 'an a$art rom =od becomes bestial&
de!onic... - #$e mark o t$e beast& then& is a reCection o the soverei%nt" o =od ! the Sabbath
$rinci$le 4hich is desi%ned to encoura%e man to seek his di%nit" not in himsel or in nature& but in
co!!union 4ith God and $artici$ation in =od%s rest. It is t$e Sabbath 4hich distinguis$es
bet4een the creature and the Creator& 4hich reveals $o deserves 4orshi$ and 4ho does not. It is
the Sabbath 4hich demonstrates =od%s soverei%nt" and !an%s de$endence. Si, $undred si,ty-si,
b" contrast is the s"mbol o the 4orshi$ o the creature rather than t$e Creator.I
2he /ark o the Beast
But those $o c$eris$ Aesus and t$e Ifait$ of ;esusI and $ave learned to
Hcon3uerH as C$rist con3uered (Rev 7E(.9. ill c$oose at t$e risk of t$eir lives to
honor =od and ors$i5 7i! in t$e ay 7e $as directed. #$ey 4ill consider
lo"alt" to t$eir Creator and Redee!er t$e most i!5ortant consideration $ossible.
#$ese coura%eous ones 4ill soon find t$e!selves singing on t$e sea of
%lass :./E.!/9.
A55eals by &llen =. A$ite
Inas!uc$ as t$e end-of-ti!e co!!and!ent kee5ers c$eris$ t$e gift o
$ro$hec"& it is a$$ro$riate to close this 5ortion of the cha$ter it$ a$$eals fro!
&llen =. A$ite< selected fro! The Great #ontroversy.
Ae are livin% in the most sole!n $eriod o t$is orld%s $istory. #$e
destiny of earth@s teemin% !ultitudes is about to be decided. (ur on
future 4ell!bein% and also the salvation of ot$er souls de5end u5on t$e
course $ic$ e no $ursue. Ae need to be guided b" t$e S5irit of trut$.
&very ollo4er of Christ s$ould earnestl" inGuire+ ILord< $at ilt #$ou
have me to do8I Ae need to bumble ourselves before t$e Lord< it$ astin%
and $ra"er& and to meditate !uc$ u$on 7is ord< es5ecially u5on t$e scenes
o the Cudg!ent. Ae should no seek a dee5 and living e,5erience in the
thin%s o =od. Ae have not a !o!ent to lose. Events of vital i!5ortance
are taking 5lace around usF e are on Satan@s enchanted %round. Slee$ not&
sentinels of =odF t$e oe is lurkin% near< read" at any !o!ent< should "ou
become la, and drosy< to s$rin% u5on you and make you his $re".
Fearul is the issue to 4hich t$e 4orld is to be brou%ht. #$e 5oers of
earth& uniting to ar a%ainst the commandments o =od< ill decree t$at
Hall& both small and %reat& rich and $oor& ree and bondH (Revelation .7E.<9&
shall confor! to the custo!s o t$e c$urc$ b" t$e observance of the false
sabbath. All $o reuse com$liance ill be visited 4ith civil $enalties& and it
4ill finally be declared that t$ey are deserving of death. (n the ot$er $and<
t$e la4 o =od enCoining t$e Creator@s rest day demands obedience and
t$reatens rat$ against all $o transgress its
But not one is !ade to suer t$e rat$ of =od until t$e trut$ $as
been brou%ht home to $is mind and conscience< and $as been reCected.
2here are !any $o $ave never $ad an o55ortunity to $ear t$e s5ecial
trut$s for this time. #$e obli%ation o the fourt$ co!!and!ent $as never
been set
..< The Great )ontro#ers, <)..
..7 Ibid.< 19..
Some 3uestions #ns4ered
beore them in its true li%ht. He 4ho reads ever" heart and tries
ever" motive 4ill leave none 4ho desire a kno4led%e o the
truth& to be deceived as to the issues o the controvers". 2he
decree is not to be ur%ed u$on the $eo$le blindl". Ever"one is
to have suicient li%ht to make his decision
2he Sabbath 4ill be the %reat test o lo"alt"& or it is the $oint o truth
es$eciall" controverted. Fhen the inal test shall be brou%ht to bear
u$on men& then the line o distinction 4ill be dra4n bet4een those
4ho serve God and those 4ho serve Him not. Fhile the observance
o the alse sabbath in com$liance 4ith the la4 o the state& contrar"
to the ourth commandment& 4ill be an avo4al o alle%iance to a
$o4er that is in o$$osition to God& the kee$in% o the true Sabbath& in
obedience to GodMs la4& is an evidence o lo"alt" to the Creator.
Fhile one class& b" acce$tin% the si%n o submission to earthl"
$o4ers& receive the mark o the beast& the other choosin% the token o
alle%iance to divine authorit"& receive the seal o
So!e 3uestions Ansered
Dates+ #$eir 7istorical Setting
I HVarious obIections are sometimes raised even b" historicists to
56 the s$eciic datin% Seventh!da" #dventist commentators have "
a$$lied to the .(<) da"s. But these obIections can be ans4ered.
(bCections to 6*J
Some $arts o Euro$e remained un!CatholiciJed or u$ to t4o
centuries ater /7?. Some countries in northern Euro$e reIected
the $o$e durin% the Reormation& several centuries beore .7*?.
So the obIection is sometimes raised that /7? is too earl" to be%in
the .(<) "ear $eriod and .7*? is too late to end it. Several
s$eciic obIections are sometimes raised
--J Ibid.< <)/.
2he 'ark o the Beast
as ell. )or e,am$le& in //.& t$irteen "ears ater 6*J< Po5e 'igilius< on a visit to
Constantino$le& as c$ased don t$e street by t$e &!5eror%s $olice& and $en
$e $ad barely !ade $is ay into a c$urc$ and grabbed the altar or reu%e& as
dra%%ed aay and co!5elled by t$e &!5eror to si%n a $articular document.
5o5es ere i!5risoned or in ot$er ays denied their reedom so!e ort" or !ore
ti!es beteen 6*J and -2BJ. #$e e,uberant Cardinal 'annin% once observed<
5er$a5s it$ e,aggeration< H2hirt" Q$o$esR ere com$elled to leave Ro!eF four
ere i!5risoned< four ere unable to set oot in Ro!eF seven reigned in e,ile in
#vi%non; !aking in all ort"!ive& or one-fift$ in t$e line of t$e Sovereign
#$ese obIections are valid& but the" do not !ean t$at the leo5ard-bodied sea beast
o Revelation .7 is not a sy!bol of Ro!an Cat$olicis!F
and t$ey do not mean that the little $orn of Daniel 7 is not eit$er. In fact< the" hel$
to conirm this identiication. #t t$e sa!e ti!e< t$ey caution us to deine our
terms. #$e little horn and t$e sea beast are not to be taken as s"mbols o !erely
an individual 5o5e or even o the lon% line o 5o5es taken to%ether :the H$a$ac"H9.
=or are t$ey to be seen as sy!bols of t$e Roman Catholic Church considered
sim$l" as a reli%io$olitical institution< or o .(<) "ears o unbroken do!ination b"
t$e 5o5e over all 5olitical issues in Aestern Euro$e or& or that !atter< of -419
years of absolute $a$al su$remac" over the Cat$olic c$urc$es :let alone t$e
Protestant churches9 in Aestern &uro5e. 'o such period e+ists.
Fe 4ill return to a discussion o /7? shortl"& but irst let us deine certain terms.
Definition of t$e Beast and t$e Little 7orn
Ae must look intelli%entl" or $at t$e 5ro5$ecy foresa. The sea beast o
Revelation .7 and t$e little hom o Daniel 2 are sy!bols of an institution< a kind
of kin%dom. Second #$essalonians 4 s5eaks of t$e I!an of sin<I suggestive of
t$e $a$ac"& and also about a5ostasy< a Ifalling aay<I and a I!ystery o
ini3uit"&H directin% our attention to the ideals< beliefs< and 5$iloso5$ies o a for!
o Christianit" that $as de5arted seriously fro! t$e Scri5tural nor!.
. A.=.D. Dcll"& The C0/ord %ictionar o/ the *o!es :0,ord& :L< .*?<9& <.; 2homas Hod%kin& Ital
and =er In#aders, (nd cd.& ? vols. in * :0,ord& :L< .??/!.?**9& +E/*+!*/. 2he document con!
demned the so!called Hthree cha$tersH and in eect ne%ated the Christolo%" o the Council o
Chatcedon that tau%ht that Christ had t4o natures in one $erson. Festern Catholics 4ere in avor o
the Chalcedonian Chrislolo%"& but Austinian 4as attem$tin% to $lacate numerous 'ono$h"sites in
his Eastern em$ire&
( Henr" Ed4ard 'annin%& The Tem!oral *ower o/ the View o/ Jesus )hrist, (nd cd. :5ondon& .?<(9&
Some Kuestions
Fe conclude that the sea beast o Revelation .7 and the little horn o
Daniel 7 are s"mbols ot"oman )atholicism as a s"stem>:a9 a set o
ideals& belies& and $hiloso$hies :b9 maniested in certain $ractices and
institutions& notabl" the Roman Catholic Church& and :c9 summed u$ in
the line o $o$es :the $a$ac"9.
Fith this deinition in mind& 4e can s$eak o Roman Catholicism :the
m"ster" o ini3uit"9 commencin% in 1aul@s da" and continuin% ri%ht
throu%h .7*? until it is destro"ed b" the bri%htness o Christ@s second
comin%& in the $rocess under%oin% various e,$eriences.
Essence o the .(<) da"s. 2hen& as 4e look at $ro$hec" a%ain& 4e see
that 4ithin the overall career o the sea beast .(<) $ro$hetic da"s have
been marked o 4ith s$eciic delineators.
2he $eriod be%ins 4ith the %ivin% o $o4er& throne& and %reat
authorit" to the $o$e as the visible head o the s"stem; it ends 4ith the
inlictin% o a ca$tivit" and an a$$arentl" mortal 4ound.
#$e Hmortal 4oundH s"mbol a$$lied to the beast in its ideolo%ical as$ect
si%niies a marked decrease in the eectiveness o Catholicism;
a$$lied to t$e beast in its institutional as$ect it reers to an attem$t to
neutrali>e the central head3uarters o the Catholic Church; and a$$lied to
its administrative as$ect& it reers to the $o$e@s $ersonal ca$tivit" in .7*?.
#$e beast as Ro!an Cat$olicis!. Fhen 4e look at the beast as a
s"mbol o a set o ideas& 1o$e Vi%ilius@s li%ht do4n the streets o
Constantino$le reveals not the 4eakness but the stren%th o )atholicism&
2he document the em$eror 4anted si%ned 4as un$o$ular 4ith man"
others& but the em$eror did not chase them all do4n the street. His $olice
chased Vi%ilius because o his status as $erceived Hhead o all the hol"
churchesH :as Austinian had declared him to be in /779. 2he em$eror 4as
determined to modi" Catholic belie in a 'ono$h"site direction& and he
believed that i had this one man@s si%nature& his %oal could be achieved.
In a moment o 4eakness the $o$e ultimatel" si%ned the document& but
the se3uel 4as a t4o!4a" stren%thenin% o Catholicism in Festern
Euro$e. Austinian@s behavior to4ard the $o$e %alvaniJed the Festern
bisho$s to increased activit" in deense o their )atholic /aith& Second& the
em$eror elt bound to re4ard Vi%ilius 4ith the 1ra%matic Sanction o //+&
4hich made him the chie le%al oicer in Rome.
* I#$e novel of 66. Nt$e Prag!atic Sanction of 66.O has this %reat im$ortance that it
le%all" made t$e bisho$ of Ro!e t$e su5ervisor of t$e ad!inistration Qof Ro!e@....
NItO is e3uivalent to the 5o5e taking t$e %overnment o t$e C$ristian ca5ital in his
o4n hands.H A. Calmette& 2e 6ond
2he 'ark o t$e Beast
#nd 4hat about the dela"ed conversions o some o the tribesL 2he
Hlittle hornH 4as little 4hen Daniel irst noticed it& ater he had seen the
other horns. But it %re4. #nd as it %re4& three o the other horns 4ere
removed to %ive it s$ace. In time& it blas$hemed and $ersecuted. #nalo!
%ousl"& the sea beast arose out o the sea& revealin% more and more o itsel
as it did so. 2hus the lan%ua%e o $ro$hec" alerts us to look or de#elo!ment
in the maniestations o Roman Catholicism. S"mmetricall"& a $attern o
%ro4th in the earl" sta%es su%%ests a $attern o decline in the later sta%es.
Fe should not be sur$rised 4hen 4e leam that the Visi%oths did not
acce$t Catholicism until the Council o 2oledo in /?*& or En%land till the
<))s& or the 5ombards till <*?. =or are 4e to be sur$rised that Catholicism
be%an to lose its %ri$ on Euro$e as earl" as .7)) 4ith the emer%ence o
nationalism& and continued to lose its %ri$ 4ith the rise in the same centur"
o Hnominalism&H a $hiloso$h"4hich ar%ued that individuals are more
im$ortant than institutions. Several northern Euro$ean countries %ave u$
Catholicism durin% the Reormation o the ./))s. 5osses durin% the 2hirt"
Oears Far :.<.?!.<+?9& 4hich be%an as a conlict bet4een Catholics and
1rotestants& 4ere so disastrous that all Euro$ean %overnments& even the
Catholic ones& concluded the" 4ould never a%ain i%ht to deend reli%ion&
Catholic or an" other. #nd in the .7))s& a ne4 $hiloso$hical movement& the
HEnli%htenment&H led most remainin% Catholic intellectuals to become
In the $rocess 4e must not or%et Daniel (E+7& 4hich sa"s that the
kin%doms into 4hich the Roman Em$ire 4ould be divided 4ould never en!
tirel" Hcleave one to anotherH :DAV9. 2hus& $ro$hec" 4arned that nothin%>
b" im$lication& not even Roman Catholicism>4ould com$letel" unite
Euro$e at an" time.
Roman Catholicism& vie4ed as a $articular set o ideals& belies& and
$hiloso$hies& enIo"ed increasin% in/luence o#er the minds o/ >estern Euro5
!eans durin% the earl" $art o the .(<) "ears :around /7?!.)))9& 4as
dominant durin% the central $art :.)))!.7))9& and 4aned durin% the last
$art :.7))!.7*?9. #nd the $ro$hetic $eriod 4as to be marked at its be%in!
nin% and endin% b" s$eciic events& the %rantin% o $o4er& throne& and
authorit" and later b" a ca$ture and the stroke o a s4ord.
5et us clari" urther ho4 Catholicism as a conce$t could be dominant
even 4hen the $o$e as a ruler 4as momentaril" in contem$t. #s the $o$es
feodal (Paris@< 7(& (((; sec also Daniel #. #u%sbur%cr& I#$e Beginning o the .(<) Days of
Pro5$ecyI :un$ublished 5a5er 5resented to the Bible Researc$ )ellos$i5< .*/(; a co$" is on
file at t$e A$ite &state Researc$ Center< #ndre4s 0niversity< Bcrrien S$rin%s& 'I9.
Some Kuestions #ns4ered
ca!e into o4nershi$ o ever lar%er $a$al estates& the" came also into
numerous $olitical and militar" skirmishes. 2he $o$e@s intererence in the
internal aairs o Euro$ean countries also brou%ht him into conlict. =o
onder he 4as oten im$risoned and several times $revented rom settin%
foot in Ro!e.
But the $eo$le 4ho ou%ht the $o$e in such dis$utes 4ere ordinaril"
%ood Catholics. # strikin% e,am$le o this discrimination o lo"alties
occurred in .)/7& 4hen some =orman adventurers 4ere $lunderin% villa%es
in southern Ital". 1o$e 5eo DC led an ill!trained arm" to disci$line the
=ormans but 4as deeated at the Battle o Civitate. 2he victorious =ormans
trium$hantl" $re$ared a sti treat" or the $o$e to si%n& but the" $resented it
to him as $enitent sinners& on their 1neesP
2hou%h the" dominated the $o$e
as a $rince& the" 4ere dominated b" him as a Catholic.
Better kno4n toda" is the HanticlericalismH o man" Catholics around
t$e 4orld. 'an" Catholics 4ho hold devoutl" to the $o$e as the Hol" Father
4hose ministr" is essential to their salvation& nonetheless insist that $e and
his bisho$s have no ri%ht to involve themselves in $olitics.
#lthou%h durin% the .(<) "ears& the $o$e 4as oten deeated and several
times im$risoned& his treatment in .7*? 4as 3ualitativel" dierent. In .7*?
he 4as over$o4ered and im$risoned 4ith the $ur$ose o terminatin% his
religious si%niicance.
6*J Set in a /aCor #ransitional &ra
Fe return no4 to /7?& not to look at it as a s$eciic date but as a date set
in an era o e$ochal chan%e 4ith momentous conse3uences. Historians 4ho
tem$oriJe 4ith s$eciic dates can dra4 conidence rom broad brushstrokes
that $aint the .(<) "ears as stretchin% rom the e$ochal era o the all o
Rome and the rei%n o Austinian to the e$ochal era o the French Revolution.
2he close o the ith and be%innin% o the si,th centuries marked a
%enuine turnin% $oint in human aairs
So %reat 4ere the chan%es that
Ed4ard Gibbon be%an the second division o his monumental %ecline and
(all o/ the "oman Em!ire 4ith the a%e o Austinian I :Eastern em$eror& /(7!
In the ourth centur" the Festern em$ire& 4hich had under%one much
civil strie in the third centur"& 4as lar%el" uniied and stabiliJed. # remark!
. C A. Previte-(rton< The Shorter )ambridge 6edie#al %istory :Cambrid%e& .*/79& +7*.
/ See #u%sbur%cr& H2he Be%innin% o the .(<) Days o 1ro$hec"&H on the vast cultural chan%es t$at
!arked t$e onset of t$e si,th centur" and 4hich hel$ to su$$ort the date /7?.
2he 'ark o the Beast
abl" uniorm HGreco!RomanH culture $revailed almost ever"4here& evidenced b"
$ublic baths& im$ressive basilicas& collonnaded cit" streets& and the use o 5atin.
Roman civil la4 3Aus ci#ile4 4as ever"4here the norm. Even more im$ortant or our
$ur$oses& about A.D. +)) both Eastern and Festern $arts o the em$ire 4ere
nominall" ChristianiJed. B" +)) the em$erors 4ere Catholics& 4ho re3uired the
$eo$le to be Catholics. Bisho$s& churches& and church councils lourished.
But in the ith centur" this stabilit" 4as broken u$ and its Catholicit"
challen%ed. Invadin% tribes carved u$ the Festern em$ire& each controllin% as lar%e
an area as it could %ras$. 2"$icall"& the tribes allo4ed man" as$ects o established
la4 and culture to continue. But chan%es 4ere inevitable. 5atin be%an to be re$laced
4ith earl" orms o the Euro$ean lan%ua%es 4e kno4 toda". 2he invaders
coniscated one!third :sometimes t4o!thirds9 o a lando4ners@ $ro$ert". 2o$
%overnment oicials 4ere likel" to be members o the rulin% tribes. Si%niicant to
our stud" is the 4arare that 4ent on bet4een the tribes and amon% clans 4ithin
some o the tribes no4 that the overarchin% control o the em$ire had been
removed. Results& es$eciall" in Ital"& included the destruction o traditional rulin%
amilies& the de%radation o industr" and a%riculture& devastatin% bouts o amine
and $estilence> and an o$$ortunit" or the $a$ac" to assume to$ leadershi$.
Fhen Belisarius entered Rome in /7< as $art o the Eastern em$eror@s Catholic
cam$ai%n to be rid o the #rian 0stro%oths& Rome 4as still a s$lendid and
lourishin% metro$olis. It 4as still a cit" o baths& tem$les& $alaces& collonnaded
streets& and e,trava%ant entertainments. 2he old Roman Senate continued to sit
there. 2he 0stro%othic Din% 2heodoric had 4anted it this 4a".
But ater the earul deeat o the 0stro%othic orces at Rome in the s$rin% o
/7?& a determined remnant o the 0stro%oths continued a ho$eless stru%%le that 4as
e,tremel" dama%in% all over the Italian $eninsula& accom$anied b" amine&
$estilence& and even bubonic $la%ue. Fithin a decade or so&
classical civiliJation $erished in Rome and throu%hout Ital". In cities burnt&
desolated and mutilated& ruins remained the sole evidence o ormer
s$lendor.... 2he ni%ht o barbarism had descended on the 5atin 4orld& a
darkness in 4hich no li%ht 4as visible& other than o the ta$ers o the church
and the lonel"&student!lam$ o the monk broodin% in his cloister.
< Ferdinand Gre%orovius& =istor o/ "ome in the 6iddle Ages, trans. Annie Hamilton& ? vols. :5on!
Some Kuestions #ns4ered
Sa"s one t"$ical 'edievalist& the $eninsula seemed almost de$o$u!
lated>and Hnothin% remained or the inhabitants but to die.H 2hus Hthe
Gothic Far makes a breakH in Ital"@s histor"& brin%in% the land to Hthe
threshold o the Dark #%es.H
# Seventh!da" #dventist medievalist has this to sa"E
2he vacuum created in Rome b" the crumblin% o the Gothic
monarch" had been elt durin% the 4ar "ears and it 4as durin% these
disastrous "ears that the 1a$ac" 4on the hearts and the minds o the
ill!ated Romans b" its irm stand and liberalit". Should 4e settle
or the be%innin% o the recon3uest in /7<L 2he real sho4do4n or
Rome& 4hich is the essential element as ar as the 1a$ac" is
concerned did not come until /77!/7?.
2he si,th centur" 4as one o transition. #s it be%an& Ital" 4as ruled
b" the 4ise 0stro%oths; as it closed& she 4as the un4illin% host o the
barbarous 5ombards. #s it be%an& Ital" 4as united; as it closed& she 4as
torn a$art under the divided rule o 5ombards& B"Jantines& and $o$es. #s
it be%an& a dim %lo4 o enli%htenment still lickered in Euro$e; as it
closed& She li%ht 4as nearl" out. #s it be%an& the $o$es 4ere limited b"
the 4hims o the kind but overbearin% Cloths; as it closed& the $o$es 4ere
su$reme in Rome. #s it be%an& Euro$e 4as dominated mostl" b" $a%ans
and #rians;
as it closed& the #rians 4ere %one and Catholicism 4as makin% %reat
strides. #s it be%an& 2heodoric 4as the arbiter o Euro$e; as it closed&
1o$e Gre%or" the Great
had taken his $lace.
But 4e return to the most im$ortant issue& that o reli%ious chan%e.
#$e tribal invasions and the subse3uent colla$se o the em$ire and o
Festern Roman civiliJation as a 4hole brou%ht a severe challen%e to
Roman Catholicism. 2he #n%lo!Sa,ons& #lemans& and Franks 4ho in!
vaded 4hat 4e kno4 as En%land& 4estern German"& and northern France
4ere $a%an. 'ost o the other tribes 4ere Christian& but the" 4ere o the
#rian variet". Indeed& the #rian list included three $articularl" stron%
tribes& the Visi%oths& the 0stro%oths& and the Vandals. #s earl" as +.)&
the #rian Visi%oths became the irst enem" to invade the cit" o Rome
since $rehistoric times. 0nl" ort"!ive "ears later :in +//9 the #rian
Vandals invaded Rome& literall" HvandaliJin%H it. 2he #rian Visi%oths
settled in east!
don< .?*+!.*)(9. (E(!7. in #u%sbuiPcr& H2he Be%innin% o the .(<) Days<I J.
2 Previte-(rton< 6edie#al =istor, .*)!*(.
J Augsburger< IBeginning of the .(<) Days<I (+.
B ;. B. Bury< =istor o/ the *a!ac o/ the Nineteenth )entur 3+-E.5+-H-4 :5ondon&
.*7)9& .7(. =regoly !ediated bet4een Em$eror /aurice and t$e Visi%oths.
2he 'ark o t$e Beast
ern France and S$ain& 4here the" allo4ed the Catholics onl" %rud%in% reedom. #$e
#rian Vandals settled in =orth #rica& 4here the" vi%orousl" $ersecuted Catholics
and e,iled lar%e numbers o bisho$s. 2he #rian 0stro%oths settled in Ital" and under
2heodoric %ave the Catholics a lar%e measure o reedom; but 4hen #rians in the
eastern $art o the em$ire 4ere bein% $ersecuted under Em$eror Austin I< 2heodoric
thorou%hl" humiliated the $o$e& as e have seen above.
2hus the tribal invasions 4ere not onl" an over4helmin% $olitical and
demo%ra$hic challen%e to the em$ire; the" constituted also a severe challen%e to the
Catholic Church& or to a considerable de%ree the" achieved a de!CatholiciJation o
Here 4as a ver" serious situation or the Roman Church. I it 4as to become
dominant in Euro$e& the situation 4ould have to be reversed. #nd& o course& it 4as&
over time.
In act& b" the time the three #rian tribes had been eliminated and their #rian
orm o Christianit" had been eliminated 4ith them& the vi%orous Franks& b" +*<&
had taken on the Catholic aith and& b" /)? had humbled i not converted the #rian
Visi%oths. :2he" deeated the Visi%oths in /)7 and drove the survivors over the
1"renees into S$ain in /)?.9
#nd the $rocess did %o on& until ater a cou$le o
centuries or so& Roman Catholic theolo%" and $ractice 4ere once more trium$hant
in Festern Euro$e.
B" contrast& 4e mi%ht mention that the Greek 0rthodo, Church e,$erienced a
stead" decline in territor"& membershi$& and economics& mainl" as a conse3uence o
'uslim e,$ansion. Its decline contributed in various 4a"s to the Catholic success.
(bCections to -2BJ
#n obIection sometimes raised to .7*? as a terminatin% "ear or the
.(<) da"s is that the Catholic Church didn@t die then& even tem$oraril".
'illions o Catholics remained and& in act& $ressure rom them led =a$o!
leon to si%n a ne4 concordat 4ith the ne,t $o$e& in .?)..
2he res$onse is that the $ro$hec" does not re3uire that the beast
.) #u%sbur%er& IBeginning o t$e .(<) Days," +.& 2his first decisive use of force b" the Catholic
)ranks in o$$osition to t$e #rian Visi%oths !akes a convenient startin% 5lace or the .(*) "ear!
da" $ro$hec" o Daniel .(E... H2he rise o Chlodovec QKovisR.. .seems in man" 4a"s ar more
e$och!makin% t$an t$e event o +7<.... It !arks t$e beginning o a ne era... throu%h its lastin%
conseGuences for civiliJation.H H. Grisar& =istor o/ "ome and the !opes .E..)!..; in #u%sbur%er&
HBe%innin% o the .(<) Days<I ./.
.. See& c.%.& Audith Herrin& The (ormation o/ )hristendom :1rinceton& .*?79.
So!e 3uestions #ns4ered
@I actuall" die. 2rue& the $roverb!$ro$hec" in Revelation .7E.)
sa"s that Hhe P; that kills 4ith the s4ord must be killed 4ith the
s4ordH :=DAV9&
but the , direct $ro$hec" in .7E7 is more
$reciseE H0ne o its heads seemed to have @ a mortal 4ound&
but the mortal 4ound 4as healed.H
2he $assa%e sa"s ;
nothin% about a resurrection& onl" a healin%. So 4e are not to
look or an actual death& but onl" or a serious 4oundin%.
#nother obIection holds that because verse 7 :about the 4ound9 comes
beore verse / :about the +( months9& the 4ound 4as to be ulilled
beore the .(<) da"s 4ere to be%in and so could not reer to an event in
U; .7*?. 2his obIection overlooks the literar" arran%ement o the ull
# urther obIection $oints out :as 4e observed at the be%innin% o this
@ section9 that the $o$e had been taken $risoner several times $rior to
eliminatin% .7*? as uni3ue.
2he $a$ac" had e,$erienced other militar" deeats and even
ca$tivities durin% its lon% .(<) "ears& but the .7*? ca$tivit" 4as
uni3ue in at least t4o si%niicant as$ects. :.9 It came as the clima0
o/ se#eral centuries o/ decline in the inluence o Catholicism on
the minds o Euro$eans& and :(9 it 4as not merel a militar or
!olitical cou! but 4as a stroke deliberatel" intended
to terminate the $a$ac" orever.
Catholic inluence in Euro$e had be%un to decline in the .7))s
4ith t$e rise o nationalism and nominalism& and 4as hastened b"
the Reormation& the 2hirt" Oears Far& and the so!called
Enli%htenment. Evidence o its lo state even in survivin%
Catholic countries can be ound in Catholic
Reli%ious eelin%& H4hich had lon% since %ro4n cold in German"&H had
become in #ustria H4ell!ni%h e,tinct to4ard the close o the ei%hteenth
In France& Hthe ei%hteenth centur" 4as the least Christian and the least
French centur" in the histor" o France.H
S$ain 4as lon% more lo"al to the $o$e than Ital"& but 4hen the e,iled
.( So the RSV and similarl" the DAV and some other versions. 2he =IV and AB and
some other versions ma" be $reerred; HI an"one is to be killed 4ith the s4ord& 4ith
the s4ord he 4ill be killedH :=IV9; H2he s4ord or those 4ho arc to die b" the
s4ordH :AB9.
-* So t$e RS' has it. 2he underl"in% =reek< translated literall"& is IAnd one of its
$eads havin% its t$roat cut as if in order to cause death& and its stroke o death as
:successull"9 treated.I
-. )or a discussion& o the literar" arran%ement o Rev .7& see n. ?& in t$e irst section o
this c$a5ter :H2he /arkI@.
-6 ;o$n #lJo%& %istory o/ the #hurch, trans. F. ;. 1abisch and 2homas S. By!e< *
vols. :=e4 Lork<
.*.(9& 7E<7*.
-1 =eorges =oyau< art. HFrance&H )atholic Encclo!edia <E.7(.
2he 'ark o the Beast
$o$e sou%ht as"lum in S$ain& it 4as denied him& e,ce$t on such conditions as could
not in reason be com$lied 4ith.
Fhen 1ius VI died the ne,t "ear in FranceP Hhal QoR Euro$e thou%ht .. ! that
4ith the 1o$e the 1a$ac" 4as dead.H
#s e,$lained earlier& $revious deeats and ca$tivities had been carried out b"
lo"al Catholics 4hose %oals 4ere $olitical. In .7*? the settin% 4as the least
Catholic era thus ar in modern Euro$ean histor"& and the %oals 4ere both $olitical
and reli%ious. #s e observed& the French instructions to =a$oleon 4ere that Hthere
is one thin% more essential& to the attainment o the end desired& and that is to
destro"& i $ossible& the centre o unit" o the Roman Church; and it is or "ou
Q=a$oleonR... to realiJe this aim i "ou consider it $racticable.H
-2BJ Set in a /aCor #ransitional &ra
2he lo4 ebb o Catholicism at the end o the ei%hteenth centur" is not the onl"
indication that .7*? ell in a maIor transitional era. 2here 4ere man" other
indications as historians have observed.
1roessor Filliam H. 'c=eill& or e,am$le& in his hi%hl" acclaimed
master4ork& The "ise o/ the >est, s$eaks o a %reat HFestern e,$losionH that
carried Euro$ean conce$ts and technolo%" around the 4orld. In %eneral harmon"
4ith numerous other scholars& 'c=eill dates this Festern e,$losion as
commencin% in .7?*& the "ear 4hen the French Revolution be%an.
H#t the outbreak o the French Revolution in .7?* Qobserves 'c=eillR& the
%eo%ra$hical boundaries o Festern civiliJation could still be deined 4ith
reasonable $recision. B"... .*.7& this 4as no lon%er the case. Festern histor" had
mer%ed into 4orld histor".H
'c=eill anal"Jes the Festern e,$losion under three maIor subheads& Hterritorial
e,$ansion&H Hindustrialism&H and Hdemocratic revolution.H #ll three as$ects have a
direct bearin% on the $ro$hecies that 4e are e,aminin%.
2he 4ell!kno4n e,$ansion o colonialism& es$eciall" the British Em$ire in the
.?))s 4as onl" $art o a %iant $rocess that thrust Euro$ean cul!
.7 Ric$ard %u!!a, A Brie/ Account o/ ihe Sub#ersion o/ the *a!al Go#ernment& +H,,, (nd ed. :5ondon&
G. G. and ;. Robinson< .7**9& /7.
.? =eorge 2revor& Rome7 (rom the (all o/ the >estern Em!ire :5ondon& n.d.9& ++..
.* #ulard& )hristianit and the (rench "e#olution, trans. 5ad" FraJer :5ondon& .*(79& ./..
() Filliam H. 'c=eill& The "ise o/ the >est :Chica%o& .*<79& 77)!<(.
(. Ibid.& 77).
Some Kuestions
ture and civiliJation over ver" lar%e areas o #rica and #sia and %reatl"
e,$anded their inluence over =orth and South #merica. In addition& the
industrial revolution& 4hich be%an in Britain in the second hal o the
.7))s& $rovided Festern technolo%">such as steam en%ines or actories&
steam trains& steam boats& $o4er $rintin% $resses& the tele%ra$h& and
advanced 4ea$onr">or the rest o the 4orld.
Festern territorial e,$ansion& combined 4ith the ne4 industrialism&
made $ossible the %rand distribution o Christianit" that led Denneth Scott
5atourette to call the .?))s the HGreat Centur"H o Christian missions& a
centur" o Haboundin% vitalit" and un$recedented e,$ansion.H>
2hus& Festern e,$ansion :both secular e,$ansion and missionar" e,!
$ansion9 and Festern industrialism ma" be seen as strikin% ulillments o
the $ro$hecies around the close o the .(<) "ears. Daniel .(E+ $redicted
that at the end o the .(<) "ears Hman" shall run to and ro& and
kno4led%e shall increase.H Aohn heard a voice at the end o these "ears
callin% or the $roclamation o the %os$el to Hman" $eo$les& and nations&
and ton%ues&
and kin%sH :Rev .)E..& DAV9.
2he third as$ect o 'c=eill@s Festern e,$losion& the Hdemocratic
revolution&@M brin%s us to the French Revolution& 4hich surel" deserved a
$lace in $ro$hec"N It chan%ed 4orld histor" b" inducin% the s$irit o
modem nationalism and b" $roducin% modern universal conscri$tion&
leadin% in turn to the immense armies and drasticall" murderous 4ars that
characteriJe our times.
2ra%icall"& the rise o democrac" led directl" to %eneral conscri$tion
and the mass armies 4e kno4 toda"& based on the $hiloso$h" that i a na!
tion belon%s e3uall" to all citiJens& all citiJens should be e3uall" 4illin%
i%ht or it.
H8ntil the French Revolution all Euro$ean 4ars had been ou%ht 4ith
mercenar" and $roessional armies& $aid or b" the %overnment&H a
historian reminds us. 2he irst %eneral conscri$tion& the 777le#ee en masse,$
4hich the French %overnment im$osed as a conse3uence& H4as the irst
modern e,am$le o conscri$tion o the man$o4er o an" Euro$ean
nation.... So 4as bom the idea o a national 4ar& and& 4ith the le#ee en
masse, the means 4ere made available or 4a%in% it... Euro$e 4ould
never be the same a%ain. H
(( Denneth Scott 5atourette& A =istor o/ )hristianit :=e4 Oork& .*/79& .)<..
4* )or an e,cellent brief discussion o modem nationalism and its relation to the French
Revolution& sec Ste4ard C Easton& The =istem =eritage /rom the Earliest Times to
the *resent :=e4 Oork& .*<.9& cha$. .7.
4. Easton& >stem =eritage, /)/!<.
2he 'ark o the Beast
2he "ear .7*? 4as o %reat si%niicance in and o itsel& but it also 4as
surrounded b" ver" im$ressive develo$ments that marked the evolution
o a ne4 era>actuall"& the commencement o the Htime o the end&H earth@s
last era.
In an earlier section 4e looked at s$eciic events in /7? and .7*? that
ulilled s$eciic as$ects o $ro$hec". In this res$onse to some 3uestions 4e
have looked at e$ochal chan%es that surrounded the t4o dates. His!toricists
can be conident that the .(<) da" $ro$hec" 4as ulilled in the career o
Roman Catholicism.
C$a5ter !
Conte,tual A55roac$ to
t$e Seven Last Plagues
Hans D. 5aRondelle
&ditorial Syno5sis. #dventist interest in the seven last $la%ues :Rev
./!.<9 has usuall" ocused on the si,th& the battle o #rma%eddon.
#lthou%h Aames Fhite asserted in .?<( that Hthe %reat battle is not
bet4een nation and nation& but bet4een earth and heavenH :RH& Aanuar"
(.& .?<(9& #dventists in %eneral have $roIected a $olitical scenario.
#ttention irst centered on the dissolution o the 2urkish Em$ire as the
ulillment o the $la%ue@s s"mbolismE the dr"in% u$ o the Eu$hrates
river. 2hen& bet4een Forld Far I and II the ocus shited to the
Ha4akenin%H nations o the 0rient as the conlict came to be $erceived as
a 4ar bet4een the nations o the east and 4est& centerin% in 1alestine.
But the advent o the =uclear and S$ace #%e have rendered such
s$eculations untenable& and there has been a health" return to the
Scri$tures& $ermittin% them to deine their o4n terms and s"mbols.
2hus& the 4riter o this cha$ter ar%ues or a conte,tual a$$roach to
the entire $ro$hec" of the seven last $la%ues > an a$$roach that dra4s
on both 02 ima%er" and end!time em$hasis as 4ell as on the =2 and the
immediate conte,t in the book o Revelation. #llo4in% the Bible to
e,$lain itsel has led to the discover" o its e,tensive use o t"$olo%".
For e,am$le& Israel@s historical e,$eriences& the E,odus rom E%"$t and
the later deliverance rom Bab"lon& orm a t"$olo%ical substructure in
the =2& es$eciall" in the book o Revelation.
In the =2 Christ becomes the antit"$ical 1assover 5amb 4hose
sacriicial death liberates the ne4 Israel& the church. #s the 'essiah& He
leads the church out o this 4orld to rei%n in the ne4 earth :Canaan9
orever. 0n the sea o %lass& like the reIoicin% thron%s o ancient Israel at
the Red Sea& the redeemed 4ill sin% the son% o 'oses and the 5amb.
2he seven last $la%ues are like4ise tied into the E,odus t"$olo%".
Four o them relect the $la%ue Aud%ments God sent u$on their E%"$tian
o$$ressors :blood& boils& darkness9. 2he si,th and seventh $la%ues on
Bab"lon the Great relect the ancient dr"in% u$ o the Eu$hrates and the
subse3uent all o Bab"lon b" the con3uerin% armies o C"rus. Aust as
the colla$se o that ancient em$ire brou%ht
Conte,tual #$$roach to the Seven 5ast 1la%ues
reedom to the Israelite ca$tives& so the t"$olo%icall" e,$ressed $ro$hec" o the
destruction o s$iritual Bab"lon indicates deliverance or God@s end!time $eo$le
rom their oe.
Revelation .<& the $ortra"al o the seven last $la%ues& is locked into the vision o
Revelation ./ 4here the seven $la%ues are declared to originate /rom the Htabernacle
o 2estimon"H :./E?& =IV9& another e,odus moti. #t the same time the cha$ter is
locked into Revelation .7E.!.*E.) 4hich $rovides an elaboration and e,$lanation o
the si,th and seventh $la%ues& the colla$se and destruction o Bab"lon the Great.
I the Bible student studies the inal a$ocal"$tic 4ar :#rma%eddon9 in the li%ht
o its 02 antecedents and in the immediate conte,t o Revelation& takin% co%niJance
o the Bible@s t"$olo%"& he 4ill be led to inter$ret this Hbattle on the %reat da" o God
#lmi%ht"H as a 4ar o cosmic and universal dimensions a%ainst God& His Christ& and
His aithul& remnant $eo$le b" an end!time Bab"lonian reli%ious!$olitical
2hus& the conte,tual a$$roach > vie4in% this subIect throu%h the total 4itness
o the Bible>rules out a $urel" $olitical 4orld 4ar& and $rotects the Bible@s teachin%
on the end!time stru%%le bet4een %ood and evil rom the instrusion o elements
orei%n to the Scri$ture $ers$ective.
C$a5ter (utline
I. Im$ortance o the 1roblem
II. 1rinci$les o Inter$retation
III. E,odus 2"$olo%"E # Biblical Substructure
IV. E,odus 2"$olo%" in Revelation
V. Revelation .<E Correlations Fith Conte,t
VI. Si,th6Seventh 1la%uesE E,$lained b" Revelation .7!.*
VII. Har!'a%edonE 2he Bible@s Final Far
I!5ortance of t$e Proble!
In the book o Revelation the seven last $la%ues are $resented as the
out$ourin% o the 4rath o God in ull stren%th :Hunmi,ed&H .+E.);
./E.& RSV9 on a 4orld in rebellion a%ainst God. 2he last and most terrible
$la%ue>the seventh>is the decisive moment o the colla$se o HBab"lon the
GreatH and the disa$$earance o this creation :Rev .<E.*!()9.
Conte,tual #$$roach to the Seven 5ast
#lthou%h the %atherin% o the reli%ious and $olitical $o4ers to H#rma!
%eddonH is $ictured 4ithin the rame4ork o the si,th bo4l or $la%ue
:.<E.(!.<9& it is %enerall" a%reed that the actual Hbattle on the %reat da" o
God #lmi%ht"P@!4ill take $lace durin% the se#enth $la%ue.
In .?** Ellen G. Fhite 4rote& IAe need to stud" the $ourin% out o
the seventh vial. 2he $o4ers o evil 4ill not "ield u$ the conlict 4ithout a
stru%%le. But 1rovidence has a $art to act in the battle o #rma%eddon.H
It is a 4ell!kno4n act that or several %enerations Seventh!da" #d!
ventist $ublic evan%elism has relied es$eciall" on Revelation .<& the si,th
and seventh $la%ues in $articular& to su$$ort the imminence o the second
comin% o Christ. 0n the other hand it is no secret that stron% obIections
have been raised b" Seventh!da" #dventist Bible teachers& and serious
3uestions have been asked b" some o our denominational leaders 4ith
re%ard to the s$eculative nature o the 'iddle East em$hasis and the
secular H#rma%eddonH 4ar $ro%nostications.
2"$ical o the conusion $resent in our a$ocal"$tic inter$retation o
the last $la%ues is the testimon" o Elder #. V. 0lsen durin% the .*/(
Bible Conerence in Fashin%ton& DCE
Oears a%o I overheard one o our ministers& 4ho had re3uentl"
4ritten articles or the ne4s$a$ers o his cit" on the 2urkish
3uestion& sa" to a %rou$ o 4orkers& HI 4ill never 4rite another
article on this subIect or the $ublic $ress& because ever" time I tell
4hat the 2urk is %oin% to do he makes a ool o me b" doin%
somethin% entirel" dierent.H B" his erroneous inter$retations and
his un4arranted $redictions& this %ood brother had created
embarrassment both or himsel and or the church.
2he most recentl" $ublished challen%es are& H2he 5ocation and Si%!
niicance o #rma%eddon in Revelation .<E.<& H
and HFho Fill Fi%ht the
Battle o #rma%eddonLH
In these articles the 'iddle East ocus is radi!
call" removed rom the #dventist inter$retation o #rma%eddon.
In this cha$ter 4e 4ill address the $articular $roblem area o the
seven last $la%ues.
. 2he =IV is used throu%hout this cha$ter unless other4ise noted.
( F. D. =ichol& ed.& The S%A Bible )ommentar H :Fashin%ton& DC& .*/79E *?7.
* A. '. (lsonM#$e 1lace o 1ro$hec" in (ur 1reachin%&H in $ur (irm (oundation (
:Fashin%ton& DC< .*/79E /+7.
+ F. H. Shea& mA@SS .? :.*?)9E ./7!<(.
/ R. Camora& in These Tones, Februar" .*?(&?!.).
Conte,tual #$$roach to the Seven 5ast 1la%ues
Princi5les of Inter5retation
# milestone in the $ro%ressive understandin% o Hol" Scri$ture 4as reached in
the $ublication o the book& A Sm!osium on Biblical =er5meneutics,
$re$ared b"
the Biblical Research Institute and $ublished on behal o the .*7+ =orth #merican
Bible Conerences in the Seventh!da" #dventist Church. It contains our cha$ters
s$eciicall" on H1rinci$les o Biblical Inter$retationH :cha$s. .)!.79.
#otal Scri5ture 5rinci5le. B" 4a" o summar"& 4e advance the $ertinent
hermeneutical $rinci$les that aect our a$$roach to the last Bible book.
From the investi%ative vanta%e $oint the conte,t o the 4ord is the
sentence& unit& book& or books b" the same author. Be"ond this the conte,t o
each o the books o the =2 is the canon o the =2 and the canon o the 02 is
the conte,t o each o the books o the 02. Finall" the entire Scri$ture is the
conte,t or each 4ord& sentence& unit& and other division.
2he conce$t o allo4in% the Scri$ture in its totalit" to illuminate the meanin% o
a $articular te,t>the sola scri!tura $rinci$le>o$ens u$ the dimension o a dee$er
level o meanin% and a uller im$ort than could be seen b" the immediate conte,t.
#%ainst the dan%er o subIectivism in inter$retation& Hasel states& H# sae %uide to
lead to the ri%ht understandin% o the uller im$ort and dee$er meanin% o Scri$ture
is another ins$ired
00E>1EE >?6
2"$olo%" 5rinci5le. 2he ull si%niicance o Scri$ture as intended b"
God is brou%ht to li%ht not onl" b" 4a" o the actual ulillment o $redic!
tive $ro$hecies but also through the t!ological sense o Israel@s histor".
2hus the t"$e is al4a"s incom$lete until the antit"$e brin%s out the uller
im$ort and dee$er meanin% o the t"$e. God as the author o Scri$ture $laced
4ithin the t"$e a $rei%uration o 4hat is later identiied as antit"$e.... 2here
is a stron% t"$olo%ical relationshi$ bet4een the 02 and the =2.
2he essa" b" A=.C. 'urdoch& in the same book& elaborates more on
the nature o biblical t"$olo%" :$$. (.7!.?9. His conclusion is basicall"&
1 =. /. 7yde< cd. :Fashin%ton& DC. .*7+9.
2 =. ). 7asel< IPrinci5les of Biblical Intci$retation&H in - Symposium on Biblical %enneneutics, ed.
=ordon /. 7yde :Fashin%ton& DC+ Biblical Researc$ Institute. .*7+9& .?(!?7.
? Ibid.& .?<.
B Ibid.< .?7.
Conte,tual #$$roach to the Seven 5ast 1la%ues
H2"$olo%" can be le%itimatel" used in inter$retation o the 02 to brin% out
the corres$ondence bet4een God@s methods o dealin% 4ith His $eo$le
beore and ater the cross o Christ>thus sho4in% that His overall $lan o
salvation is one.H
Finall"& the $resent 4riter has tried to deine and a$$l" the theolo%ical
$rinci$le o t"$olo%"& statin% that the 02 t"$es are e,$ressions o a
relationshi$ 4ith Oah4eh& 4hile the =2 antit"$es are deined b" their
relationshi$ 4ith Christ.
Ever" time the a$ocal"$se o Aohn mentions and a$$lies a Hebre4 name
or $lace or reers to an 02 $erson or event& the t"$olo%ical $attern calls or
determination o the ori%inal redem$tive!historical value o such a term in
relation to God@s covenant 4ith ancient Israel. 0nl" then can the $ro$er
Chnstolo%ical and ecclesiolo%ical meanin% be dra4n b" structural analo%".
2he t"$olo%ical $rinci$le a$$lies not onl" to the name Israel but also to
the names o Israel@s enemies > such as Bab"lon& E%"$t& and Edom > so
that the ancient enemies o God@s $eo$le unction as t"$es o the enemies o
the true church o Christ Aesus& :c. Rev .*E.7&./& and Isa <7E.!<9
&,odus #y5ology+ A Biblical Substructure
# t"$olo%ical inter$retation o Israel@s historic E,odus rom E%"$t 4as
initiated b" the 02 $ro$hets themselves as the" oretold an e,odus rom the
Bab"lonian ca$tivit".
#lthou%h Israel@s subse3uent e,odus out o Bab"lon under Cerub!babel
and EJra in /7< and +/7 B.C. ma" be inter$reted as I!artial /ul/illment o
these t"$olo%ical $ro$hecies& the aith o Israel ke$t lookin% or4ard to the
eschatolo%ical deliverance b" the 'essiah Himsel. 0nl" His comin% 4ould
restore to Israel all the covenant blessin%s :Cech *&.+;
Bemhard F. #nderson@s outstandin% anal"sis o the E,odus t"$olo%" in
Isaiah concludesE
-9 A.=.C /urdoc$< HIntroduction o S"mbols& #y5es< #lle%ories& and 1arables&H in A Sm!osium
on Bilical %ermeneutics, (.<.
-- 7ans?. LaRondellc< HInter$retation o 1ro$hetic and #$ocal"$tic Eschatolo%".H in- Sm!osium
on Bilical %ermeneutics, (77. #s a concrete e,a!5le< t$e &liCa$-5ro!ise of 'al +E/!< has
been orked out !ore fully on $$. (7*!+.. Sec also 2he EliIah to Come>'an or 'essa%eLH in
6m5uo"& Aanuar"& .*?.&+!?.
-4 Ibid.< 4*..
-* 7os 4+-.--6F ;er (7E/!?; &>ek ()E77!+(; and Isa ..E.)!.(; +7E.<!.*; /.E.)!..; /(E.!.(.
-. B-A.Anderson< I&,odus T!cAog7mSecondlsaiah,$ Israel7s *ro!hetic =eritage, cd&O&>&A&ndeT5
son and A. 7arrelson :=e4 Lork< .*<(9& cha$. .(& 3uotations fro! .*)&.*(&.*+!*/.
Conte,tual #$$roach to the Seven 5ast 1la%ues
It is erroneous to assume that the ne4 e,odus is the same as the old& as thou%h
the end!time 4ere a return to $rimeval time.... In the ne4 e,odus& historical
conditions 4ill be marvelousl" transormed. . .. 2he ne4 e,odus is not a return to the
old in a %reat historical c"cle. It is a ne4 event& a ne4 creation QIsa +?E<!7 3uotedR&...
2he E,odus& then& is a Ht"$eH o the ne4 e,odus 4hich 4ill ulill in a more
4onderul ashion& 4ith a dee$er soteriolo%ical meanin%& and 4ith 4orld!4ide
im$lications& Oah4eh@s $ur$ose revealed b" 4ord and deed in the be%innin%.
2he God 4ho 4ould accom$lish this eschatolo%ical e,odus is the I #'& that is&
the God o Israel@s historic E,odus rom E%"$t :Isa +7E.); E,od 7E.+9. 2he ne4
#%ent o the uture %atherin% o the aithul remnant 4ould be the Servant
oOah4eh& the 'essiah :Isa +*E<9.
2his t"$olo%ical relationshi$ bet4een Israel@s E,odus under 'oses and the
uture messianic act o liberation is oten e,$ressed in rabbinic literature. 2he
'essiah 4as e,$ected to re$eat 4hat 'oses had done. He 4ill send ne4 $la%ues
u$on the o$$ressors o the eschatolo%ical Israel. He 4ill a%ain brin% orth 4ater out
o the rock and send do4n manna rom heaven. Aust as in E%"$t& the inal
deliverance 4ill take $lace at 1assover. 2he standin% ormula used is& Has the irst
deliverer& so the last deliverer.H 'ore than has been commonl" realiJed& the
t"$olo%ical structure bet4een the historical E,odus and the 'essianic deliverance is
also undamental or the =e4 2estament. 2his has been demonstrated no4 b"
several scholars or the books o 'atthe4&
o Luke and #cts&
o Aohn&
1aul@s theolo%"
and or the =2 as a 4hole.
2he Christolo%ical 1assover t"$olo%" is e,$ressed most e,$licitl" in .
Corinthians /E7; . 1eter .E.?!.*; and Aohn .E(*& 7<; .*E77& 7< :E,od
./ C. E. Aacob& Theolog o/ the $ld Testament (7ar5er< .*/?9& 77*; F. Foulkes& The Acts of God
:2"ndale& .*//9& (.!((.
.< Documentation b" A. Acrcmias& in T%NT :Diltcl!Freidrichsert9& vol. +; s.v. 'ouses& #7b; and in
Strack!Billerbeck.Go4nenBarJ4n NTaus Talmudund6idrash .E?/!??.
.7 F. D. Davies& The Sermon on the 6ount :=e4 Oork& .*<<9; R. #. )rance< HIn all t$e Scri5tures !A
Stud" o Aesus@ 2"$olo%"&H Tndale Bulletin, .*7)&.+!./.
.? A. 'anek& H2he :e E,odus in the Books o 5uke&H No#T ( :.*/?9E ?!(7.
.* R. H. Smith& HE,odus 2"$olo%" in the Fourth =os5el<I 8B2 ?. :.*<(9E 7(+!+(.
() 7. Sa$lin< I#$e :e E,odus of Salvation #ccordin% to St. 1aul&H The Root o/ the Qme, ed. A.
Fridrichsen :Festminster& .*/79& cha$. /.
(. R. E. =i,on& The E0odus in the NT :Fheaton& IL< .*<79; ). #. 1i$er& H8nchan%in% Pro!ises+
E,odus in the :#<I fnt .. :.*/79E <!((. )or a general biblical overvie4& see 7. ?. 5aRondcllc&
H2he Sensus 1lenior o Israel%s Restoration Pro!ises+ 2he :# #y5ology o Israel%s E,odi )ro!
E%"$t and Bab"lon&H 8n$ublished lecture given or the &vang. #$eol. Society in 2oronto& Canada&
December (?&.*?..
Conte,tual #$$roach to the Seven 5ast 1la%ues
.(E+<9. It ma" be traced back to Christ Himsel 4hen He substituted the
emblems o the 5ast Su$$er or the 1assover ritual or His church as the
ne4 Israel :'att (<E(?9
2he =2 has develo$ed rom its Christolo%" an ecclesiolog in
4hich the church stands or a ne4 e,odus $eo$le& commissioned b"
'essiah Aesus to be the li%ht o the 4orld and to $roclaim salvation to all
$eo$les on the earth.
Fe need reer onl" to . Corinthians .)E.!..; .
1eter (E*!.); and Hebre4s ?E?!.7 to conirm the conclusion that the
ne4!covenant church has been constituted b" Christ and His a$ostles as
the eschatolo%ical e,odus $eo$le& a chosen $eo$le and a Hro"al
$riesthood.H 2he same blessin%s and curses o the old covenant a$$l"&
thereore& in an intensiied 4a" to the ne4!covenant $eo$le.
2he $ur$ose o the t"$olo%ical use o Israel@s E,odus b" the =2
seems clearE the old covenant contains the divine admonitions and
historical $re!i%urations& both in deliverance and Iud%ment& re%ardin%
God@s actions in the last Iud%ment and the inal deliverance o His
aithul covenant $eo$le.
=o4 these thin%s occurred as e,am$les 8tu!oi9, to kee$ us rom
settin% our hearts on evil thin%s as the" did. :. Cor .)E<9
2hese thin%s ha$$ened to them as e,am$les Qtu$ikosR and
4ere 4ritten do4n as 4arnin%s or us& on 4hom the ulillment o
the a%es has come. :. Cor .)E..!.(9
In his valuable dissertation T!olog in Scri!ture,I Richard '.
David!son concludesE
2here is an historical corres$ondence bet4een 02 and =2
$ersons& events& and institutions. B" divine desi%n the 02 realities
are advance!$resentations o corres$ondin% :but absolutel"
HescalatedH9 =2 realities& and there is a de#oir5etre relationshi$
bet4een the 02 realities and the =2 ulillments.
7e discerns three as$ects in the eschatolo%ical ulillment o the
.. HInau%uratedH eschatolo%" at the irst advent o Christ.
44 #. 7olt>< Die )hrisiologie derA!o1a/!se des Johmnes :Berlin& .*<(9& ++!+/&
reerrin% to others.
4* Sec 7. ?. 5aRondelle& *ro!hec in Scri!ture, *rinci!les o/ Biblical Eschatolog,
cha$. 7& H2he &cclcsiological Inter$retation o Israel@s RemnantH :Berrien S$rin%s&
/I< .*?79; also HIsrael and t$e C$urc$<I in 6inistr, ;uly .*?.&.(!.+; IIs the
C$urc$ S$iritual IsraelLH in 6inistr, Se$tember .*?.&.7!.*.
4. Andres 0niversity Seminar" Doctoral Dissertation Series& vol. ( :Berrien
S$rin%s& /I< .*?.9& 7*7.
Conte,tual #$$roach to the Seven 5ast 1la%ues
(. H#$$ro$riatedH eschatolo%" in the church :cor$oratel"& individuall"& and
7. HConsummatedH eschatolo%" in conIunction 4ith the 1arousia.
He names
these three as$ects o ulillmentE the HChristolo%ical&H the Hecclesiolo%ical&H and the
Ha$ocal"$ticH res$ectivel". 2he a$ocal"$tic as$ect o t"$olo%ical ulillment is the
s$eciic ocus o the book o Revelation.
&,odus #y5ology in Revelation
Passover La!b+ C$rist. 2he most re3uentl" used title or Christ in the
Revelation is amion, H5ambH :(? times9.
2he irst time Christ is introduced as a
lamb& it is Hstandin%& as i slainH in the center o the throne o God :Rev /E<&
=#SB9. #$$arentl" this ima%e intends to conve" a $roound theolo%ical messa%eE
Christ is $resented in the heavenl" council as H4orth"H to break the seals and to
o$en the scroll& because He& as $the ?ion o the tribe o Audah& the Root o David&H
as $o4erul 'essiah& has sacriiced Himsel as the lamb to set a 4hole $eo$le ree.
Heaven considers the most essential and 4orth" characteristic o Christ to be
=is sacri/icial death on behal o others. 2his death is made the oundation and
condition or His ri%ht to o$en the scroll that contains the destin" o the 4orld and
o each $erson in it. #ll Christ@s unctions as the a$ocal"$tic 4arrior& deliverer& and
Iud%e are based on His redeemin% death as the 5amb.
2he e,odus theme o Christ& e,alted as the 1assover 5amb& becomes a$$arent
in the e,$lanator" acclamation o the (+ elders 4hen the" res$ond in Ha ne4 son%HE
Oou are 4orth" to take the scroll
and to o$en its seals& because "ou 4ere slain&
#nd ,ith your *lood you purchased !en for &od
!'om e/e#5 t#i2e a!- la!'ua'e #nd people #nd
n#tion. Fou have made them to *e a kin+dom and
priests to
serve our &od,
and they ,ill rei+n on the earthA @Rev 5@6)1<(
(/ Ibid.& 7*<.
(< #. 7olt>< +)!+.& eectivel" reutes the $osition o F. S$itta& Strdt/ragen der Geschichte Jesu
:Gottin%en& .*)79& .7(!77& 4ho contends that onion should be translated HramH in t$e #$ocal"$se.
(7 Rev <E.<; 7E.+&.7; .7E.+; .+E.&.); .7E?.
(? 7olt>< +/+<; reerrin% to others. E. Schiissler FiorenJa& IRede!5tion as 5iberationE #$oc l+6f.
Conte,tual #$$roach to the Seven 5ast 1la%ues
2his do,olo%" o the elders in heaven reveals the nature and
the conse3uence o Christ@s uni3ue worthiness to become the 5ord
and Saviour o the 4orld. He alone has stood the test o lo"alt" to
God in suerin% and death and revealed a su$reme 4orthiness o
character 4hich entitles Him to receive a cosmic rei%n and
2he victor" o Christ is e,$ressed in the 4onderul
$arado,E an omni$otent 1ersona%e :seven homs9 is the slain 5amb
:/E<9. But the conse3uence o this uni3ue sacriicial death is the
liberation o a universal $eo$le or God.
2his is 4ell summariJed b" F. C. Van 8nnikE
He is the one 4ho died and is alive or ever more :...?9. He
has been tested in his suerin%s and has %ained the victor". 2he
%reatness o his 4ork is described in vs *E rom all nations he has
ransomed slaves and he has made them& ormer slaves& rom all
$eo$les& even $a%ans :N9& to be the hol" $eo$le o God& $riests and
kin%s& the t"$ical $rero%ative o Israel :E, lP.9.P
2he salvation o a $eo$le rom all nations and lan%ua%es has
not been accom$lished b" sheer orce but throu%h the $rice o
Christ@s lieblood. HFith "our blood ou!urchased men or GodH
:/E*9. 2his is the 1assover!5amb moti to%ether 4ith the e,odus
theme. In this 4a" the book o Revelation connects its Christolo%"
and ecclesiolo%" in an unbreakable union.
&sc$atological e,odus. 2he Hne4 son%H :/E*!.)9 deinitel"
ocuses on the uture eschatolo%ical e,odus o the church
trium$hant out o this 4orld order to serve God on the earth made
ne4. 2his is e,$ressed in the concludin% $hrase& Hand the" will
rei%n on the earthH :/E.)9
and is later more oll" unolded in the
=e4 Aerusalem vision :Rev (.E.&7; ((E/9.
2his a$ocal"$tic e,odus moti 4ith its uture!eschatolo%ical
rei%n o the saints on earth has been 4orked out im$ressivel" b"
Elisabeth S. FiorenJa in her dissertation& *riester(ur Gott,
4hich she contrasts this
and /E*.&H )BB 7< :.*7+9; (()!7(& see ((?.
4B SccA.C'an 0nnik<I IAort$y Is the La!b%-#$e Back%round o
A!ocM$in6elangesBibliGues& &n $o!!age au R. P. Beda Ri%au,.& cds.< A.
Desca!5s and R-PA. dc Halleu, :Duculot& .*7)9& ..6-1-F ;. ;crc!ias< s.v. amnos
1tl, TD'T -+*.4RK6< concludes& I#$e statements of the #$oc. about C$rist as
am"n 5ortray Him as Redee!er and AoridrulerI :7+/9.
*9 'an 0nnik< .19.
*- )or t$e uture tense 3basileusousin, /E.)9& see B. /. /et>ger<R Te+tual )ommentar
on the Gree1 New Testament :=e4 Oork. .*7/9& 77<.
*4 !riester ,ur Gott. Stuaien )um =errscha/tsund !riestermo%fin derA!o1a/!se
:'inister& .*7(9& 41*-B9F also& IReligion und 1olitik in der (ffenbarung dcs
;o$annes<I in Biblische "and5emerhmgen, )estsc$rift fur R- Sc$nackenburg. 7.
'crklein und ;. Lang in &c$ter Veria%&
Conte,tual #$$roach to the Seven Last 1la%ues
a$ocal"$tic or4ard look 4ith the enthusiastic!%nostic misunderstandin% o the
rei%n o the saints as bein% a s$iritual matter alto%ether.
Her conclusion is
Aust as the slau%hter o the $assover lamb initiated the E,odus o Israel
rom the bonda%e o E%"$t clima,in% in the covenant at Sinai& so the death o
Christ liberated a $eo$le rom the 4hole 4orld to become the universal& ne4
Israel or God.
#s ancient Israel& so this $eo$le o God is the basileia Qkin%domR or
=od. But the basileia tou theou Qkin%dom o GodR :.(&.)9& 4hich 4ill be the
basileia tou 1osmou Qkin%dom o the 4orldR :..&./9& is still uture and must
break throu%h rom heaven to earth b" means o the eschatolo%ical $la%ues
> to be released b" the 5amb and the 4itnesses o God > because the earth
no4 is still dominated b" the anti%odl" $o4ers and their ollo4ers.
2his elaboration on the meanin% o the 5amb@s o$enin% o the scroll indicates
4h" Revelation />in the 4ords o Van 8nnik>has Ha decisive $lace in the
structure o the 4hole book; 4hat has been described there cannot be let out or
missed& because then the se3uel becomes unintelli%ible.H
Seal of =od. #nother element o the E,odus t"$olo%" has been reco%niJed in
the sealing o .++&))) servants o God rom all the tribes o Israel :7E.!?9. 0nl"
those 4ho have the seal o God on their oreheads 4ill be $rotected a%ainst the
comin% 4rath o God and the 5amb :<E./!.79. 0ne cannot miss the echo rom
Israel@s E,odus 4hen a mark o blood rom the 1assover lamb had to be $laced over
the door o ever" Israelite house in E%"$t to $rotect those 4ho trusted God rom the
$la%ue o death :E,od .(E7&((!(79
Ailderness andering. 2he s"mbolic H4oman led into the desert to a $lace
$re$ared or her b" GodH :.(E<&.+9& 4hich recalls the E,odus stor". 2he Iud%ments
o the seven trum$ets in Revelation ?!* dra4 clearl" rom the $la%ues 4hich 'oses
called do4n on E%"$t. But the series o the seven last $la%ues in Revelation ./!.<
orm& in the 4ords o G. B. Caird& Ha more
77 See es$. E. S. FiorenJa& H#$ocal"$tic and Gnosis in the Book o Revelation and 1aul&H JB? *(
:.*779E /</!?..
7+ *riester (ur Gott, (?*& o4n translation.
7/ Van 8nnik& ++/.
7< See Ellen G. Fhite& in "e#iew and=erald, Februar" <&.*))& 3uoted in The S%A Bible )ommentar
7E*<?!<*; G. B 5add&# Theolog o/ the NT, <(7. 0ne should not overlook& ho4ever& the blendin%
o the e,odus mark 4ith that o EJek *.
Conte,tual #$$roach to the Seven 5ast 1la%ues
co!5lete and s"stematic use o E,odus t"$olo%" than in an"
other $art o AohnPsbook.H
Last 5lagues. 2he theme o the last $la%ues is basicall" the
same as that o the ten irst $la%ues>the endin% o $ersecution b"
the removal o the $ersecutor. #s Oah4eh vindicated His covenant
and liberated Israel rom the house o bonda%e b" means o a
series o $la%ues& so Christ 4ill brin% about the inal deliverance
o His aithul $eo$le b" sendin% a%ain a series o $la%ues in
4hich the 4rath o God is com$leted :Rev ./E.9.
Song of /oses and t$e La!b. 2he e,odus t"$olo%"
culminates in the vision o the trium$hant aithul ones in heaven&
4ho 4ill sin% $beside the sea$ $the song o/ 6oses the ser#ant o/
God and the song o/ the ?amb$7&
Great and marvelous are "our deeds&
5ord God #lmi%ht". Aust and true are "our
Ki!' of t"e a'e$ Fo# !atio!$G1000 for your
ri+hteous acts have *een revealedA &.e/ 15@=)4(
2his is the son% o the remnant church ater her trium$h over
the beast and its ima%e. Its obvious allusion to the son% o the irst
deliverance& sun% by 'oses and the Israelites on the shore o the
Red Sea&
makes Israel@s e,5erience under 'oses a t"$e o the
inal deliverance o the church b" C$rist as her %lorious #ntit"$e
:E,od ./E.!.?9. 2he em$hasis o the h"mnic litur%" o Revelation
./E(!+ is not the Iud%ment o God on His ene!y but the
ri%hteousness o His %reat redem$tive acts.
Allusions to bot$ &gy5t and Babylon. #n im$ortant eature
o the seven last $la%ues is the act that 4hile our eschatolo%ical
$la%ues ind a strikin% corres$ondence to the $la%ues o Eg!t
:4aters turned to blood, E,od 7E.7& .*!(.; boils, E,od *E?!..;
dar1ness, E,od .)E(.!(79& the si,th and seventh $la%ues>the
dr"in% u$ o the %reat river Eu$hrates and the all o Bab"lon :Rev
.<E.(& .*9>are obviousl" borro4ed rom the all o ancient
Bablon :Isa ++!+7; Aer /)!/.9. 2he e,e%esis o the seven last
$la%ues needs to 4ork out this structure in detail.
2he intent o the announcement about the all o a$ocal"$tic
Bab"lon is clear :Rev .+E?9E God calls His $eo$le now to an actual
e,odus rom Bab"lon& in vie4 o her im$endin% retributive
$la%ues :.?E+!<9. 2he $la%ues o
*2<. #ommentary on the Revelation of St. /ohn the Divine :=e4 Oork& .*<<9& .*7.
*J #$e reading of ethnBn, Hnations&H is eGually su$$orted as aionon, but His more in
accord 4ith the conte,t :vs. +9H :B. /. /et>ger< - Te+tual )ommentar on the
Greek NT, 7/79.
*B Sec R. 7. 'ouncc& The Boo1 o/ "e#elation :Grand Ra5ids< .*779& (?<!?7.
Conte,tual #$$roach to the Seven 5ast Plagues
Revelation combine the t"$olo%ical& historical Iud%ments on E%"$t and on Bab"lon
in order to assure the remnant church& be"ond all shado4 o doubt& o the certaint"
o the comin% Iud%ment o God on end!time HBab"lonH and HE%"$t.H
Christ thus comorts His $eo$le 4ho stand irm in the inal crisis that their
uture e,odus rom the house o bonda%e to the =e4 Aerusalem is unshakabl"
%uaranteed b" the same aithul covenant God 4ho brou%ht about Israel@s e,oduses
rom E%"$t and Bab"lon. 2his t"$olo%ical $ers$ective rom 02 histor" $rovides the
theolo%ical meanin% and messa%e o the inal $la%uesE the cosmic5uni#ersal e0odus
o/ the new5co#enant !eo!le& 2hus this t"$olo%ical li%ht re3uires a Christ!church
a$$lication o 02 s"mbols and ima%er".
Revelation -1+
Correlations Ait$ Conte,t
#nal"sis o the literar" com$osition as 4ell as o the theolo%ical theme o
Revelation is im$ortant& because its structure and theolo%ical $ers$ective are closel"
interrelated and orm an or%anic 4hole. =umerical structure dominates the
com$osition. It is %enerall" a%reed that the number 7 is the or%aniJin% $rinci$le o
the book.
Colin Bro4n discerns Hseven $arallel but cumulative visions o histor"
culminatin% in the vision o the =e4 Aerusalem& corres$ondin% to the seven da"s o
creation o Gen. I.H
0thers divide Revelation into si, main $arts 4hich in turn
oten consist o seven smaller $ortions.
2he unit" o Revelation>includin% the
$reace :.E.!79 and the e$ilo%ue :((E<!(.9>is e,$ressed in a meanin%ul 4a"& b" a
sevenold Hblessin%.H
2hree recent outlines o the structural com$osition o Revelation are those
oered b" D. #. Strand& in Inter!reting the Boo1 o/ "e#elation5I #! Oarbro Collins&
in The )ombat 6th in the Boo1 o/ "e#elation5I
+) For an e,tensive treat!ent o t$is hermcneutic sec LaRondelle< !rophecy in Scri!ture, cha$s. .<6.
+. In Colin Bron< ed.< #$e New International Dictionary o/ the New Testament Theology, 7 vots.
:Grand Ra5ids< .*7?9& (E*7. :trans. 4ith additions and corrections& rom the German Theo5
lo//schesBei//sle0icon aim Neuen Testament, cd. Lot$ar Coencn& Erich Beyreut$er< and 7ans
+( B Lo$se< Das'eue Testament %ewsch .. :Goltin%en& .*7.9E ?!*; E. 5ohme"er& Die C//enbarung des
Johannes, 7:#< -1 :2iibin%en& .*/79E -J6F /. C. #enney< Inter!reting "e#elation, 7rd $r.
(=rand Ra$ids& .*779& *J.
+7 Rev .E7; .+E.7; .<E./; .*E*; ()E<; ((E7&-..
++ :#nn #rbor& 'I& .*7<9& outlines on /.!/(.
+/ Harvard Diss. in Rcl :o. * :'issoula& '2& .*7<9& outline on .-.
Conte,tual #$$roach to the Seven 5ast 1la%ues
E. Schiissler FiorenJa& in HCom$osition and Structure o the
Book o Revelation.H
For our $ur$ose 4e limit ourselves to the
basic settin% o Revelation -1 in its immediate conte,t
Fe acce$t the tentative outline o D! Strand :in cha$ter /9
4hich discerns in Revelation t4o maIor $arts& related to each other
b" a clearl" demonstrable $arallelism o themesE a mostl" historical
$art :.E.(!.+E()9 and a/uture5eschatolog1al $art :./E.!((E/9. 2his
classiies Revelation .< as the comin% Iud%ment on a 4orld4ide
Bab"lon 4hich is in rebellion a%ainst God and at 4ar a%ainst His
saints :.<E.&/!<9.
2he narrative o Revelation .< is related structurall" to the
$recedin% cha$ter ./& 4here the origin o the seven $la%ues is
revealed as comin% rom the tem$le in heaven& rom Hthe tabernacle
o 2estimon"H :./E/!?9& another E0odus moti/@&
2he $la%ues even
constitute the substance o the 4arnin% o the third an%els@ messa%e
in cha$ter .+ :.+E*!.)9E
I an"one 4orshi$s the beast and his ima%e and receives his
mark on the orehead or on the hand& he& too& 4ill drink o the 4ine
o God@s ur"& 4hich has been $oured ull stren%th into the cu$ o his
4rath. He 4ill be tormented 4ith burnin% sulur in the $resence o
the hol" an%els and o the 5amb.
2his 4arnin% identiies the 4rath o God 4ith the 4rath o the
5amb. Revelation .< unolds this 4rath o the 5amb as the seven
last $la%ues.
Revelation .< is also connected structurall" 4ith the
subse3uent cha$ters .7E.!.*E.). 2hese unction as subordinate
e0!lanator discourses on Revelation .<. 2he" have been called the
HBab"lon #$$endi,H :Collins9 or Ha$$ended interludeH to
Revelation .< :FiorenJa9.
It is im$ortant& urthermore& to observe that an antithetical
$arallelism e,ists bet4een the an%elic e,$lanations o the Iud%ment
o/ Bablon, the harlot :.7E.!.*E.)9 and o the descent rom heaven
o the =ol )it, Jerusalem, the wi/e o/ the ?amb :(.E*!((E/9.
Si%niicantl"& each e,$lanator" discourse is %iven b" one o the
bo4l an%els :o Revelation .<9E
0ne o the seven an%els 4ho had the seven bo4ls came and
said to me& HCome& I 4ill sho4 "ou the $unishment o the %reat
$rostitute& 4ho sits on man" 4aters.H :.7E.9
.1 #B( 89 :.*779E 7++!<<& outlines on *1*-1..
+7 Cf. E,od 7.E.?; 7?E(.; =um .E/).
.J Collins< The #omat 4odf, 7(; )ioren>a< HCom$osition&H *-< calls Rev .7E.!.*E.) an
Ha$$ended interlude to t$e bo4l se5tet.I The SD- Bile #ommentary also
inter$rets Rev .7 as a clari"in% elaboration of t$e si,t$ and sevent$ 5lagues o
Rev .< :7E?+*9.
+* C. H. Giblin& HStructural and 2hematic Correlations in the 2heolo%" o Revelation .<!
((&H Bib // :.*7+9E +?7!/)+.
Conte,tual #$$roach to the Seven 5ast 1la%ues
0ne o the seven an%els 4ho had the seven bo4ls ull o the seven last $la%ues
came and said to me& HCome& I 4ill sho4 "ou the bride& the 4ie o the 5amb.H :(.E*9
2hese t4o indicators :.7E.; (.E*9 correlate s$eciicall" 4ith the clima0 o the
$la%ues in Revelation .<. Bab"lon unctions $rimaril" as the antithesis o the =e4
Aerusalem. 2he disa$$earance o the $resent creation :.<E()9 $re$ares or the
$resentation o the ne4 creation :(.E.9. 2he correlation o the $assa%es o
Revelation .<E.7!(. and .*E..!(. is one o a $ro%ressive unoldin% and
clariication o the last $la%ues.
2he narrative o the seventh $la%ue must& thereore& be inter$reted throu%h the
correlated section o Revelation .*E..!(.E? 4ith its t4oold theme o re3uital and
re4ard. 2he correlation inds e,$ression in the seventh $la%ue b" the divine voice
rom the throne& HIt is doneNH :.<E.79& 4hen the 4rath o God destro"s Bab"lon& and
once a%ain b" the same voice rom the throne 4hen the =e4 Aerusalem has come
do4n on earth& HIt is doneNH :(.E<9.
2hese structural correlations o Revelation .< 4ith the e,$lanator" discourses
and the Iud%ment narratives o the ollo4in% cha$ters orm the literar" settin% o the
last $la%ues. 2he" should e,ercise a deinin% unction in the inter$retation o these
$la%ues. It re3uires that 4e inter$ret each $la%ue in the li%ht o the 4hole series&
and the series in the li%ht o its immediate literar" conte,t. 2he thematic unit" o
Christ@s vindication o His ne4!covenant $eo$le in Revelation .(!(( $oints to the
harmon" and continuit" o the theolo%" o Revelation 4ith 02 theolo%".
Si,th6Seventh 1la%uesE
E,$lained b" Revelation .7!.*
2he ne4 element in Revelation .7 is the unoldin% o a ormal distinction
4ithin Bab"lon itselE Bab"lon sits as a harlot :cit"9 Hon man" 4atersH
4ith 4hom
the kin%s o the earth are committin% adulter" and 4ho makes the inhabitants o the
earth into,icated 4ith the 4ine o her adulteries :.7E.!(9. In the scene that ollo4s
the 4oman Bab"lon is $ortra"ed sittin% on a scarlet beast& covered 4ith
blas$hemous names and havin% seven heads and ten horns. In her hand she holds a
%olden cu$ illed 4ith abominable thin%s& 4hile she is drunk 4ith the blood o the
saints& o those 4ho bore 4itness to Aesus :.7E7!<; c. .?E(+9.
2he main distinction 4ithin Bab"lon is bet4een the cit" and the 4aters&
/) # t"$olo%ical $ers$ective based on ;er 6-+-*.
Conte,tual #$$roach to the Seven 5ast 1la%ues
bet4een Bab"lon and the Eu$hrates& bet4een the harlot and the beast
4ith the ten homs. 0r to state the matter 4ithout s"mbolic
terminolo%"& the distinction is bet4een the reli%ious leaders and the
$olitical $o4ers o Bab"lon. 2he essence o the an%elic inter$retation
:.7E?!.?9 o the divine Iud%ment on Bab"lon is the victorious
soverei%nt" o God 4ho 4ill allo4 the mutual destruction o the t4o
constitutive $arts o Bab"lon; the Bab"!Ionian beast 4ill destro" the
Bab"lonian harlot.
2he beast and the ten homs "ou sa4 4ill hate the $rostitute.
2he" 4ill bring her to ruin and leave her naked; the" 4ill eat her
lesh and bum her 4ith ire. :.7E.<9
2his an%elic discourse in Revelation .7E?!.? is the ke" not onl" to
the structural and thematic unit" o cha$ters .< and .7 :the Iud%ment o
Bab"lon& $la%ues < and 79 but also to the theolo%ical inter$retation o
#rma%eddon and the dr"in% u$ o the Eu$hrates 4aters o Bab"lon& the
fall o Bab"lon& and the comin% o the kin%s rom the cosmic East. 2he
S%A Bible )ommentar airms the structural and thematic unit" o
Revelation .<!.* in its comment on Revelation .7E.>
Bab"lon@s criminal career reaches a clima, under the si,th
$la%ue :see on ch. .<E.(!.<9& 4hereas the sentence decreed is
e,ecuted under the seventh :see on chs. .<E.7!.*; .7E.7!.7; .?E+&
?; .*E(9. #ccordin%l"& $art one is concerned most $articularl" 4ith
events under the si,th $la%ue& and $art t4o 4ith those under the
seventh. 2hus ch. .7 is a delineation o the inal crisis& 4hen Satan
$uts orth his su$reme eort to annihilate God@s $eo$le :c. ch.
.(E.79 and 4hen all the $o4ers o earth are arra"ed a%ainst them
:c. GC <7+9. God $ermits Satan and the human a%encies allied
4ith $i! to carr" or4ard to the ver%e o success their $lot to
annihilate the saints. But at the moment the blo4 is to be struck
God intervenes to deliver 7is $eo$le. 2he hosts o evil& arrested in
the ver" act o attem$tin% to sla" the saints& stand 4ithout e,cuse
beore the bar o divine Iustice :see Dan. .(E.; c. EF (?(!(?/;
GC <7/&<7<; 5S ..79.
Har!'a%edonE #$e Bible%s )inal Aar
2he subsection o Revelation .<E.7!.?>in the settin% o the si,th
and seventh $la%ues>develo$s the $reviousl" introduced theme o the
cosmic!universal 4ar o a 4orld demonicall" united in rebellion a%ainst
5$ The S%" Bi*le 2ommentary @7460
Conte,tual A55roac$ to t$e Seven Last Plagues
Christ& and His covenant $eo$le.
2his 4ar theme is urther unolded in
Revelation .7E.(!.+ and .*E..!(. 4here Christ is $ortra"ed as the divine
4arrior 4ho comes rom heaven to make 4ar on behal o His threatened
covenant $eo$le& His aithul remnant. He 4ill deliver them rom their
eschatolo%ical enem"& the Satanic trinit"E the ser$ent!dra%on and his t4o
allies& the beast and the alse $ro$het.
24o basic $rinci$les ohermeneutical 4ei%ht need to be irml" estab!
lished beore an" deinite historical a$$lication o =ar56agedon, $o$ularl"
called #rma%eddon& can be undertakenE
.. 2his a$ocal"$tic 4ar needs to be inter$reted in kee$in% 4ith its
$ro%ressive clariication 4ithin the book o Revelation. In other 4ords& the
H#rma%eddonH 4ar must be e,$ounded b" means o its o4n biblical end!
time conte,t so that its theme its harmoniousl" and or%anicall" 4ithin the
Christocentric structure o Revelation.
(. 2he theme o the a$ocal"$tic 4ar needs to be inter$reted in un!
damental harmon" 4ith the 02 revelation o the inal 4ar as its basic
ta$root& in kee$in% 4ith the biblical theolo%" o the total canon o Hol"
Both a$$roaches>via its immediate =2 conte,t and via its 02 root
conte,t>inter$ret the//ar56agedon 4ar in $rinci$le as a reli%ious!$olitical
4ar o cosmic and!universal dimensions a%ainst God& His Christ and His
aithul remnant $eo$le. 2his conte,tual a$$roach sae%uards the thematic
unit" o biblical eschatolo%". It does not authoriJe a secondar" a$$lication
o the a$ocal"$tic 4ar to an" secular& $olitical 4orld 4ar or even to an anti!
Semitic 4ar. 2he Christocentric ocus o the a$ocal"$tic 4ar a%ainst God
comes in basic conlict 4ith the 02 'iddle East ocus. 2he =ar56agedon
4ar o Revelation .(!.* is ine,orabl" subordinated to the %os$el
hermeneutic and& thereore& must be vie4ed and deined in terms o Christ
and His end!time $eo$le.
0ld 2estament terms and ima%es :Israel& Bab"lon& 'ount Cion& etc.9 are
a$$lied in the =2 4ithout their ethnic and %eo%ra$hic literalism. 2he theme
o the =ar56agedon 4ar deserves a s$ecial anal"sis rom its 02 t"$olo%ical
and a$ocal"$tic $ers$ectives.
64 Rev .E7; <E./!.7; .(E.7; .7E./!.7; .+E.7!().
6* Rev -1+.7; .7E.+; -B+.*!(). See /. Rissi& /:ie ,uture o/ the >orld, #n E,e%etical Stud" o Rev
.*& ..!((&-6. SB#. Sec. Ser.& (7 :=a$crville& I5& .*<<9& .?!(? :on Rev .*E...(.9& 4ho states& H#
decisive feature in t$is $icture of t$e $arousia is t$at ;o$n never gives u$ $is Christolo%ical con!
ce$tion. )or him t$ere is only one battle and victor" of C$rist< 4hich already lies in the $ast....
Since t$e issue $as alread" been decided in t$e death of ;esus< the eschatolo%ical 4ar& or 4hich
=od%s ene!ies 5re5are< 4ill not take 5laceI :$$. (<!(79.
Conte,tual #$$roach to the Seven Last 1la%ues
Finall"& one as$ect o this end!time 4ar needs to be noted. Fe ma"
$hrase it as a 3uestionE Fhat is the nature o the $artici$ation o the ne4!
XZvenant saints in the a$ocal"$tic 4arL #ns4erE In Revelation the saints are
s$irituall" active in the 4arare a%ainst the orces o darkness>H2he"
overcame him QSatanR b" the blood o the 5amb and b" the 4ord o their
testimon"; the" did not love their lives so much as to shrink rom deathH
2he church is admonished e,$licitl" to reIect an" militar" action or
revolutionar" resistance :.7E.); c. 'att (<E/(9 and is called to ado$t a $as!
sive role in the uture!eschatolo%ical conlict& even to the $oint o mart"r !
2he saints 4ill $artici$ate in Christ@s victor"& not in His battle
2errible as the" 4ill be& the seven last $la%ues carr" a comortin% and
reassurin% messa%e or God@s $eo$le. 2he divine Deliverer& 4ho rescued
ancient Israel rom E%"$t and Bab"lon& 4ill intervene a%ain. 7e 4ill
deliver 7is ne4!covenant& remnant $eo$le rom the 4orld4ide a$ocal"$tic
E%"$t and Bab"lon and take them to the =e4 Aerusalem above.
6. Rev (E.)&-*F 7E.)...; <E*!..; ()E+. Sec discussion in A. L. Collins& I#$e 1olitical Pers5ective o
t$e Revelation to ;o$n<I /B2 B1 :.*779; (+.!/<. es5. (+<!+*.
66 9. A. Dlasscn& I'engeance in the #$ocal"$se of ;o$n.I #B( (? :.*<<9E 7))!7..; #. O. Collins&
I#$e Political 1ers$ective&H (+7!+?.
C$a5ter I'
Anti-C$ristian &!5ire
Hans D. 5aRondelle
&ditorial Syno5sis. 1o$ular amon% both Roman Catholic and 1rotestant
scholars is the vie4 that the Bab"lonian harlot :Rev .79 s"mboliJes the ancient cit"
o Rome& situated on seven literal hills and ruled b" seven selected d"nasties o
Roman em$erors rom #u%ustus to Domitian. Some have attem$ted to combine this
$reterist $osition 4ith a uturist ulillment& so that the Bab"lonian harlot6beast ma"
have both a irst!centur" and an end!time a$$lication.
=either vie4& ho@vever& is in a%reement 4ith the $ro$hetic data in the scri$tural
settin%. 2he $reterist6historical!critical $osition ails to take into account all the
described eatures o the related beasts in Revelation .7 and .7. #ctuall"& Revela!
tion .(!.7 $rovide the scri$tural oundation or identi"in% the harlot6beast s"mbol.
2he Bab"lon o Revelation .7 is not a $olitical but a reli%ious entit". 2he =2
Bab"lon 4ill $la" a maIor role in the inal events that lead u$ to the seven last
$la%ues and #rma%eddon.
2he second vie4& Ha moderate uturism&H i%nores the act that Daniel is the
main $ro$hetic model or the book o Revelation. Daniel@s uni3ue st"le o a con5
tinuum or histor"> a continuous historical $ers$ective that culminates in the end!
time events > is embodied in the substructure o Revelation. 2here are no %a$s
$ortra"ed in Christian histor" bet4een its initial settin% and its end!time culmina!
tion in the restoration o God@s eternal kin%dom.
2he 4riter demonstrates his ar%ument b" s$ellin% out the stron% links bet4een
the sea beast :Rev .79 and the little horn :Dan 79. 2he t4o $ro$hecies identi" the
same anti!Christian $o4er. In turn. Revelation .(!.7 $rovide the immediate con!
te,tual basis or identi"in% the Bab"lonian harlot. 2he t"$olo%ical links bet4een
the =2 harlot :Rev .79 and the 02 harlotr" o ancient Israel indicate that the
Bab"lonian harlot is not bein% used as a s"mbol o $olitical Rome but o a $redicted
Christian a$ostas" that 4ould develo$ 4ithin the church& break covenant 4ith God&
become an o$$ressor o His true ollo4ers& and $la" a si%niicant role in the events
o the end!time.
Bab"lonE #nti!Christian Em$ire
)or furt$er study on t$e configuration of end-ti!e Babylon t$e =reat (Rev -2--J@<
t$e reader is directed to t$e riter%s article< IAr!ageddon%s Si,t$ and Sevent$ Plagues<
c$a5ter -4 in t$is volu!e.
C$a5ter (utline
I. Revie4 o Inter$retations
II. Covenant Conte,t
III. Conte,tual Foundations
I'. Satan@s Countereit 2rinit"
V. Biblio%ra$h"
Revie of Inter5retations
PrcteristM7istorical-Critical Positions
/ [7r most e,e%etes the harlot Bab"lon s"mboliJes the ancient cit" o rI
Rome 4hich ruled over the Roman Em$ire& re$resented in turn b" !#! the
blas$hemous beasts o Revelation .7 and .7. 2he seven heads o the beasts&
inter$reted b" the an%el to si%ni" Hseven hills on 4hich the 4oman sitsH and
also Hseven kin%sH :.7E*9& are a$$lied to the literal hills on 4hich Ro!e 4as
built and to seven selected d"nasties o Roman em$erors rom #u%ustus to
# stron% ar%ument in avor o Rome is the $resent tense o the verb Hto
ruleH in Revelation .7E.?& =IV :literall"& Hhas dominionH9. H2he 4oman "ou
sa4 is the %reat cit" that rules over the kin%s o the earth.H In act& both Ae4s
and Christians used to call Rome a second HBab"lon.H
# modem re$resentative o this $reterist vie4 is Elisabeth Schiissler
FiorenJa. She states that Aohn@s #$ocal"$se is a H$ro$hetic inter$retation o
the situation o the Christians in #sia 'inor at the end o the irst cen!
tur".HH 2o her& the book o Revelation concentrates solel" on the universal!
$olitical conlict bet4een Christ@s claim as ?ord and the Roman civil
- #$e inter$retation that a$ocal"$tic Bab"lon re$resented the Roman Em$ire 4as common amon% the
church fat$ers and is 5o5ular amon% Ro!an Cat$olic and 1rotestant Bible scholars.
( See TtVNT&S@& S$eciic references are ( Baruch ..E.; Sib. (r. 6+-.*<./?; . Pet /E.7; Hi$$ol"tus&
)hrist and Antichrist, 7<; #u%ustine& De #iv. Dei, .<..7; .?.(.(7.
7 TheA!ocat!se, 7erald Bibl. Booklets :Chica%o& .*7<9& +7.
Babylon+ #nti!Christian Em$ire
reli%ion and its im$erial cult that claimed totalitarian $o4er and divine
honorsE Caesar is 5ord and God.
2hus& the basic messa%e o Revelation is that Christians must resist the
idolatrous totalitarianism o an" o$$ressive 4orld 5oer< because the"
s$are in the kin%shi$ o Christ. 8nortunatel" rom her $ers$ective& the idea
has not inluenced Hestablished Christianit"H in an" real sense& admits t$is
Roman Catholic author.
'ainline Christianit"& in her o$inion& has reduced
end!time salvation to a $urel" s$iritual deliverance o the soul rom this
4orld. #s a conse3uence& the mainline churches have acce$ted t$e
theolo%ical $olic" o Aohn@s o$$onentsE Hada$tation o the $resent societal
rulin% $o4ers.H
2his vie4 is attractive or its reli%ious!moral a$$lication to our $resent
a%e. Ho4ever& its diicult" is that the Roman Em$ire does not ulill all the
described eatures o the beasts in Revelation .7 and .7. 2he ne4 Bab"lon
4ill $la" a maIor role in the /inal events& leadin% u$ to the Iud%ment o the
seven last $la%ues and #rma%eddon :Rev .<9& and thereore& cannot be
restricted to the ancient Roman Em$ire and its em$eror 4orshi$.
PreteristM)uturist Co!binations
2hese e,e%etical data 4ere ackno4led%ed b" some older Roman Cath!
olic scholars. 2he" resolved the matter b" inter$retin% Bab"lon as the $a%an
cit" o Rome in the $ast and, more s$eciicall"& as a !agan "ome again in
the /uture&
But here a%ain this uturism does not a%ree 4ith the $ro$hetic
s4ee$ o the $ro$hec". Aohn the revelator outlines an unbroken succession
o $ersecutin% $o4ers rom $a%an Rome until the inal Iud%ment&
s"mboliJed b" the seven successive HheadsH on the beast. 2he inter$retin%
an%el e,$lained& H2he" are also seven kin%s Qor kin%domsR& ive o 4hom
have allen& one is& the other has not "et comeH :Rev .7E*&.)9. =o %a$ o
time is su%%ested here.
Geor%e E. 5add& nevertheless& tried to combine both o$$osin% vie4s in
his arran%ement o a double ulillmentE HRome 4as a historical orerunner
o #ntichrist.... 2he beast is both Rome and the eschatolo%ical #ntichrist
and... an" demonic $o4er 4hich the church ma" e,$erience at the
. Ibid.< /.!/*.
6 Ibid.< 19.
1 Ibid.
2 Sec t$e statements of Ribcra& Bellannine& Vie%as& /alvenda< Cornelius of La5ide< and /anning<
in L. B Froom& The *ro!hetic ,aith of $ur ,athers 4 (Aas$ington< DC< .*+?9E +?<!/)/; also
vol. * (-B.1@< 2**-*2.
Bab"lonE #nti!Christian &!5ire
hands o the 4orld& 4hether b" Grst!centur" Rome or b" later evil $o4ers.P Fhen
5add o$ts or a method o Hblendin% the $reterist and the uturist methods&H he
thereb" acce$ts a 4ide %a$ o man" centuries o church histor". 2hus& the Christian
Era remains lar%el" outside the ocus o the Revelation.
5add@s vie4 o a Hmoderate uturismH reco%niJes the validit" o both the
contem$orar" and the end!time ocus o $ro$hec"& that is to sa"& the amiliar
double!ocus $ers$ective o the 02 $ro$hets. But he i%nores the uni3ue st"le o a
continuum o histor" in Daniel@s $ro$hetic outlines. 5add@s method disre%ards the
main $ro$hetic model o Aohn@s #$ocal"$seE
the uni3ue Danielic $attern o/ a continuous historical !ers!ecti#e that culminates in
the end!time events o the divine Iud%ment and the restoration o the kin%dom o
Israel@s God.
#$eological Idealis!
Ernest 5ohme"er deended an e,treme $osition. 2he %reat $rostitute :Rev .79
could not s"mboliJe Rome or an" historical cit"& because all cities 4ould have been
destro"ed durin% the seventh $la%ue :recorded in Rev .<9. Conse3uentl"& the harlot
must si%ni" a demonic i%ure& the satanic $o4er o the a$ostate 4orld& as in ancient
2his detachment o end!time Bab"lon rom actual histor" is based on the alse
$remise that cha$ter .7 ollo4s chronolo%icall" ater cha$ter .<. In actual act
Revelation .7!.? are a urther elaboration o the si,th and seventh $la%ues. 'ost o
all& the inter$retation comes in basic conlict 4ith the realism o biblical t"$olo%"&
4hich al4a"s retains its concrete salvation!historical ulillment.
Literalist A55roac$
0$$osite this theolo%ical idealism is the absolute literalism deended b" some
dis$ensationalists 4ho e,$ect the literal rebuildin% o the old cit" o Bab"lon& in
conIunction 4ith the end!time restoration o national Israel andAudah.
Because several ke" elements o the 02doom oracles on Bab"lon have
? A )ommentar on the "e#elation o/ John (=rand Ra$ids& .*7(9& .7&.+.
B Die C//enbarungdesJoharmes, 7:#< .< :2iibin%en& .*/79E .7?!+7.
.) C$arles 7. Dyer< I#$e Identity of Babylon in Rev +H5+S,$ BSac .++6/7/ :.*?79E 7)/!7.<; +7+!
+*& concludesE IIn summar" it has been s$on t$at Aeremiah /)!/. is describin%a still uture
destruction o the literal city of Babylon. P.. the Bab"lon in Revelation .7!.? is t$e uture rebuilt
cit" of Bab"lon on the &u5$ratesI :$. ++*9.
Babylon+ #nti!Christian Em$ire
never been ulilled literall" :Aer /)&/.9& it is assumed that the"
re3uire an absolutel" literal ulillment in the time o the end. 2his
conce$t o literalism suers rom a undamental misconce$tion o
the nature o biblical t"$olo%" 4hich never e3ualiJes t"$e and
antit"$e. B" deinition the antit"$e e,$ands& intensiies& and
sur$risin%l" rene4s the historical t"$e throu%h its ulillment in and
throu%h ChristH
0ne evan%elical =2 e,e%ete comes to the radical conclusion
that Bab"lon :Rev .7!.?9 does not si%ni" an" $olitical or reli%ious
$o4er& but is solel" an Heconomic entilv&H 4hich 4ill o$$ress all
men b" an international commercial colla$se.
He ar%ues that the
term HharlotH 3!omK4 is not used in Scri$ture to reer to an
ecclesiastical entit"& but Hto actual Q$urel" commercialR cities
similar to that in cha$ter .?.H
2his reductionist e,e%esis does not %ive $ro$er 4ei%ht to the
theolo%ical ocus o Hol" Scri$ture. 2he cities o Bab"lon& 2"re&
=ineveh& and Aerusalem 4ere not $rimaril" commercial harlots.
Rather& the" 4ere reli%ious a$ostates in their sel!e,altation&
idolatr"& and hostilit" a%ainst Oah4eh& His truth& and His true
covenant $eo$le.
;erusale!-Babylon A55roac$
Aose$hine 'assin%berde Ford deends the thesis that the harlot
Bab"lon re$resents Aerusalem& 4here the $ro$hets 4ere slain& not
Rome :'att (7E(*!7*9. She ar%ues this $osition on the assum$tion
that Revelation +!(( 4as 4ritten $rimaril" as a Ae4ish!Christian
a$ocal"$se be/ore the all o Aerusalem in #.D. 7).
BasAc to this identiication is the author@s theolo%ical statementE
HIt is the co#enant 4hich makes the bride& the breakin% o it 4hich
makes the adulteress.H
2he =e4 Aerusalem o Revelation (. then
becomes the counter$art o the old& deiled Aerusalem.
)ord sees the name HBab"lonH on the harlot@s orehead as an
-- See !y The Israel of God in !rophecy (Berrien S5rings< /I< .*?79& cha$. +. Even t$e
New Sco/ield Reference Bible :.*<79 suggests that Bab"lon in Rev .7!.? should be
understood s"mbolicall" for Ro!e< as an alliance o an end-ti!e $olitical e!5ire
and an ecclesiastical a5ostate C$ristendo! 0'SRB, .7<7!7). on Revelation .?E(9.
-4 #$o!as R. Ed%ar& IBabylon+ &cclesiastical< 1olitical& or FhatLH JETS (/67
:Se$tember .*?(9E 777!.-.
-* Ibid.< 7+). 7e $oints to #yre and =ineveh as commercial cities bein% com$ared 4ith a
harlot in ba(7E.7;=ah7E+.
-. Sec =ah .E(.7!..&.7!./& or =ineveh; &>ck (<E(; (?E( :c. ( #$ess (E+9& .7!.?& or
-6 Revelation, AB (=arden City< =O& .*7?9& 7&+ :rom t$e circle o Aohn t$e Ba$tist9.
A55eal is made to Rev --+J.
-1 Ibid.< (?/!?<& oer ive reasons or Bab"lon@s identiication 4ith the aithless
Aerusalem; in kee$in% it$ t$e t$eology of Kumran :em$hasis in citation is added9.
Bab"lonE #nti!Christian &!5ire
s"mbol o Aerusalem@s le4d $riesthood& 4hose hi%h $riest 4ore the name
Oah4eh on his orehead :E,od (?E7<!7?9. 2his harlot is thereore a H$riest!
harlotH :c. EJek .<E7(!+79. 2he author e,$andsE HIn the $icture o the
adulteress 4hat one ma" have is a $arod" o the hi%h $riest on the Da" o
#tonement 4earin% the vestments s$eciall" reserved or that occasion and
holdin% the libation oerin%.H
2he attraction o this ori%inal inter$retation is its continuation o the
covenant rame4ork o the 0G in $articular& its reerence to the cultic da" o
Iud%ment. Its 4eakness is the im$licit denial o the undamental Chris!
tocentricit" o Aohn@s #$ocal"$se. 2he Aerusalem a$$lication remains
oriented to the old!covenant $eo$le o God& instead o to the ne4!covenant
$eo$le& the church o Aesus Christ& as stressed in Revelation .!
$ A
Furthermore& ho4 can one conceive o this Aerusalem harlot as Hsittin%
u$on&H or Hac3uirin% soverei%nt"H over&
im$erial Rome :the beast9L
Sy!bolic-0niversal A55roac$
Some evan%elical e,e%etes have o$ted or the smbolic5uni#ersal inter!
$retation o a$ocal"$tic Bab"lon. 2he s"mbols o Revelation are taken as
$icture lan%ua%e or a timeless and universal realit" 4hich has man" his!
torical counter$arts. As 1aul S. 'inear e,$lains& HBab"lon embraces more
than one em$ire or culture. It is deined rather b" dominant idolatries than
b" %eo%ra$hical or tem$oral boundaries.@
#ccordin%l"& Aerusalem and
Rome are onl" some o the multi$le maniestations o Bab"lon in histor".
2his vie can be ado$ted convenientl"& thereore& b" those $reterist inter!
$reters 4ho seek a timeless relevance o biblical a$ocal"$tic.
#dela O. Collins Aud%es that HAohn@s $robable e,$ectations Qa revived
=ero comin% rom the east to con3uer RomeR 4ith re%ard to historical events
4ere not ulilled.H But she discerns& nevertheless& in the clima, o
Revelation .7 :4hich $redicts the destruction o the harlot b" the beast and
the ten kin%s9 a moral lesson, 4hich is valid or similar historical situationsE
the 4ill to $o4er Hdoes not unite; it divides.H
1aul #lthaus& more than others& has combined the $reterist a$$lication o
Revelation to the Roman Em$ire 4ith the $er$etuall" actualiJing
-2 Ibid.< 4JJ.
.? A. '. Ford considers Rev .!7 and ((E.<a& ()b& (. as later additions b" a ;eis$ C$ristian disci$le
of ;o$n the Ba5tist. Ibid.< *.
.* #s A. '. Ford e,$lains Rev .7E. 31aihSmenSs4< ibid.& (77.
() HBab"lon&H I%B .E77?.
4- A. ;o$nson< *+pB# -4+61*.
(( The -pocalypse, *rd5r. :Filmin%ton& D&< .*?79& -44.
Bab"lonE #nti!Christian Em$ire
in historical events o the battle bet4een Christ and Satan.!H To
him the historical actualiJations o $ro$hec" :or e,am$le& in
Rome and =ero& or in the medieval $a$ac"9 are merel" t!ical
tem$orar" embodiments o the essentiall" s$iritual conlict o the
a%es. He& thereore& dra4s a shar$ distinction bet4een the
!ro!het7s!rediction o non!essential historical events and his basic
religious message o God@s redem$tive 4ill.
2he church should seek the antichrist constantl" as a realit" in
the $resent or consider him as a threatenin% $ossibilit" in her
immediate uture.
#ll rivalr" 4ith Christ& each eort to su$$lant
Him or to usur$ His authorit"& is anti!Christendom.
2hus& various $henomena in church histor" have been Austl"
identiied& accordin% to #lthaus& as the antichrist in their timeE the
late medieval idea o the $a$ac"& the social %os$el movement 4ith
its $ros$ect o the millennium& the messianism o 'ar,ist
communism& the sel!dei"in% nationalism. HBut the church should
consider irst o all the $ermanent $ossibilit" o becomin% anti!
Christian hersel.@
2he $roession o the Reormers that the $a$ac" 4as the
antichrist& in his o$inion& must not be do%matiJed into a timeless&
orthodo, creed. Such a statement o aith can be %enuine and
res$onsible onl" Hi the battle a%ainst Rome or us toda" carries
the same %ravit" and actualit" as it had or 5uther& t$at is& i at
this ront is re3uired rom us the decision bet4een aith and un!
belie& bet4een obedience and disobedience to the truth o the
Fhile #lthaus stresses %enuine biblical moments o truth& his
theolo%ical method o actualiJin% the $ro$hetic messa%e does not
do ull Iustice to the as$ect o the continuous historical
develo$ment o a$ostas"& as $resented in the a$ocal"$tic outline
series o Daniel and Revelation.
Coven#nt ConteDt
Revelation $laces the ne4 Bab"lon in a ne4!covenant
conte,t. 2his is because the #$ocal"$se is a uniied 4hole&
centered in Christ as the kin% and in His church as the ne4 Israel
:Rev .E/& <9. #cce$tin% Aesus as the true lamb and hi%h $riest
means %ivin% u$ the old Aerusalem and the
4* Die 2ei)ten Dinge :Giiteisloh& .*/79& (<+!7).
4. Ibid.& (?7.
46 Ibid.& (?+& HGc%ensatJ %e%en ihn in der Form dcr A$ntic$kcit !it ihm& der
@Stcllvertrctun% Christi.@H
41 Ibid.& (?+!?/.
(7 Ibid.< (?/.
Bab"lonE #nti!Christian Em$ire
s"na%o%ue as cultic centers :Rev (E*; 7E*9& so as to 4alk b" the li%ht o the ne4!
covenant tem$le in heaven :Rev .E.)!.(; ..E.*9.
2he literar" structure o Christ@s messa%es to the seven churches :Rev (!79 is
no4 reco%niJed to be that o a biblical covenant.
It reminds the universal church
that Christ is her 5ord& 4ho besto4s at once covenant blessin%s on His lo"al ones
and covenant curses on the alse $ro$hets and the im$enitent a$ostates. 2he church
lives in a covenant ello4shi$ 4ith the same God 4hom Israel 4orshi$edE
HConsider thereore the kindness and sternness o GodH :Rom ..E((& =IV9.
2he intent o the book o Revelation is not to %rati" human curiosit" b"
unctionin% as a $olitical almanac o the uture. Rather& its $ur$ose is to ur%e the
church to remain aithul to the eternal %os$el o God :Rev .+E<& 79 in her inal
conrontation 4ith the antichrist as the alse messiah
and his countereit reli%ious cultus :Rev .7E..!.79.>
I the church in her ecclesiastical structure and 4orshi$ becomes an a$ostate&
alse church& she 4ill become a harlot church like old Aerusalem. #s such she 4ill
ultimatel" receive God@s covenant 4rath& the 4rath o the 5amb :Rev <E.<9. But
Christ 4ill al4a"s sustain and $rotect His /aith/ul remnant $eo$le :Rev .(E.7;
.+E.(9& described s"mbolicall" as Hvir%insH 4ho have not "ielded to idolatr" :Rev
.+E+& =DAV9.
In Aohn@s #$ocal"$se all the 02 $romises and threats are transormed into
blessin%s and curses o Aesus Christ
Revelation is Christ@s covenant book to His
church& alertin% her to reli%ious dece$tion and theolo%ical heresies 4ithin the
church& and incitin% her to be aithul to His covenant. Revelation ma" be vie4ed&
thereore& as Hthe most $roound and movin% teachin% on Christian doctrine and
disci$leshi$ ound an"4here in Hol" Scri$ture.H
Bab"lon in the #$ocal"$se is com$osed theolo%icall" as the antichrist& as the
archenem" o Christ@s aithul ollo4ers :Rev .7E<9. Ho4ever& the covenant
rame4ork is the basic $oint o orientation or understandin% the ne4 Bab"lon. #s
G. R. Beasle"!'urra" has said& H2he burden o the Revelation is one 4ith that o the
0ld 2estament $ro$hec"& but trans$osed into a ke" determined b" the ne4
(? Sec D. #. Strand& H# Further :ote on the Covenantal )or! in the Book of Revelation&H A@SS (.67
:.*?79E (/.!<+; A. S$ea< K#$c Covenantal Form of t$e Letters to t$e Seven C$urc$es<I A@SS
(.6.:.*?79E 7.!?+.
(* Cf. 7. Oia/t,%ieC//mbaningdesJohannes, 7:#< .<a :2ubin%en& .*7+9; (.*.
7) a. Ellen G. Fhite& The Acts o/ the A!ostles :'ountain Vie4& CA< .*..9& 6J6F IIn t$e Revelation all
t$e books o the Bible !eet and end.H
7. #. Aohnson& in E0!B) .(E7**.
7( IRevelation<I The New #entury Bile )ommentar :Grand Ra5ids< .*?79& (<..
Babylon+ #nti!Christian Em$ire
2he s"mbolic lan%ua%e o Bab"lon as the %reat H$rostitute@M in
Revelation .7 is co#enantal language that continues the
rame4ork o the covenant o the 02 $ro$hets. 2he $ro$het
Cechariah had $ortra"ed Israel7s PckednessH as a hidden
Bab"lonian 4oman :Cech /E/!..9. Isaiah& Hosea& Aeremiah& and
es$eciall" EJekiel&
described a$ostate Israel and Aerusalem as the
wi/e o/Qahweh 4ho had become in their time the %reatest $rostitute
on earth. She 4ould not esca$e her Iud%ment& the covenant 4rath
o God.
;e>ebel !odel. # strikin% e,am$le is the manner in 4hich
Aeremiah described the aithless Aerusalem o his o4n da"sE a
harlot& adorned and $ainted like AeJebel so as to seduce the nearin%
enem"& but 4ho 4ould nevertheless be desolated b" her ormer
#nd "ou& ) desolate one&
4hat do "ou mean that "ou dress in scarlet&
that "ou deck "oursel 4ith ornaments o
%old& that "ou enlar%e "our e"es 4ith $aintL
In vain "ou beauti" "oursel. Oour lovers
des$ise "ou;
the" seek "our lie. :Aer +E7)& RSV9
It has not esca$ed some Bible translators and e,e%etes
Aeremiah and EJekiel a$$arentl" too1JeJebel as the model or their
reli%ious characteriJation o a Aerusalem that had orsaken the
covenant oOah4eh :see ( D%s *E7); EJek (7E+)9. Kueen AeJebel
4as res$onsible or the $ersecution and murder o GodMs $ro$hets
:. D%s .?E+; .*E(; (.E./9& and Aehu 4as sent b" the 5ord to
Haven%e the blood o '" servants the $ro$hets&... at the hand o
AeJebelH :( D%s *E7& =#SB9.
0 decisive im$ortance& ho4ever& is the act that Aesus
conirmed the theolo%ical $attern that the co#enant !eo!le mi%ht
turn to shed the blood o their o4n $ro$hets and saints. He called
the teachers o the la4 and 1harisees o His time Hdescendants o
those 4ho murdered the $ro$hets&H and Aerusalem the cit" that
killed the $ro$hets and stoned those sent to it :'att (7E7.&77&
=2V9. He also $ronounced this Iud%mentE H#nd so u$on "ou 4ill
come all the ri%hteous blood that has been shed on earthH :'att
(7E7/& =IV; c. 5uke ..E/)9. #s Aeremiah o old& He announced&
H5ook& "our house is let to "ou desolateH :'att (7E7?& =IV;
Aer +E7)a; ((E/9.
** ba -+4-F 7os 4+4<+; ;er 7E.!7&?&*; &>ek .<E./!7+.
7+ =#SB& =DAV& Jerome Bible )ommentar&
*6 #$e ter! ervmos (desolate@ should be retained and not deleted< as some manuscri$ts
do; see B. /. /ct>gcr<-. Te+tual #ommentary on the Greek 'e" Testament
02ondon, .*7/9& <..
Bab"lonE #nti!Christian &!5ire
Christ summed it u$ in 7is e,clamation& HSurel" no 5ro5$et can die outside
AerusalemNH :5uke .7E77& =IV9. ;esus% covenant theolo%" thus sheds li%ht on
the meanin% o the all o the harlot cit"& Bab"lon& in Revelation .7!.*.
2he henneneutical ke" to understand the covenant lan%ua%e o Aohn@s
#$ocal"$se lies in discernin% its Christian!t"$olo%ical $ers$ective& as estab!
lished b" Christ 4hen 7e s$oke out a%ainst HAerusalemH and her blood"
covenant a$ostas".
In Revelation .7!.* Bab"lon is $ictured as the end!time H3ueenH AeJebel&
drunk 4ith the blood o Christian saints:.7E+&<; .?E7; c. .?E(+;
.*E(9. Earlier the risen Christ had identiied AeJebel 4ith the dece$tive
teachin%s and the alse 4orshi$ that arose within the church o 2h"atira :Rev
(E()9. 2hus& Christ $oints His in%er at an un/aith/ul church rather than at the
Roman Em$ire.
I the 02 stor" o Bueen JeJebel and her cruel reli%ious rule over
=orthern Israel receives t"$olo%ical si%niicance in the book o Revelation
:(E()!(7; .7E7!<; .*E(9& then the $arallel stor" oBueen Athaliah, 4ho had
usur$ed the throne in Aerusalem and murdered all le%itimate heirs rom the
house o David& ma" be considered to $ossess no less t"$olo%ical im$or !
5ike AeJebel& #thaliah>the dau%hter o AeJebel and 4ie o
Aehoram& kin% o Aerusalem>had introduced Baalism& includin% its coun!
tereit tem$le 4orshi$ and $riesthood& to Aerusalem :( D%s ..E.!(); ( Chr
(nly one heir o the house o David had esca$ed the massacre& the in!
ant Aoash& 4ho as hidden sael" in the $riests@ 3uarters o the tem$le o
the 5ord.
#ter si, "ears the aithul hi%h $riest& 4ith the hel$ o the
tem$le %uards& restored the Davidic kin%shi$ b" e,ecutin% #thaliah :( Chr
(7E..!./9. 2he $eo$le o the land then rene4ed their covenant 4ith Oah!
4eh and destro"ed the tem$le o Baal& its $riests and idols :( Chr (7E.<&
7ere e can observe ho4 God allo4ed reli%ious a$ostas" to rule within
3. C!. L. 3. Vos0 The Synoptic Tradition in the"pocafypse &Kampe!1 $&.5E. 225)260$ #m
inde1ted e$pe-alt5to C CGndet,aaE)Hal0indseyandBi*lical Prophecy &St0 Cat"e#i!e$1 FN0
167(1 $2.<=60
77 G. B. Caird. I#$e Revelation o St. ;o$n<I %arper3s 'T )munen> :.*<<9& (.7E IIt is thereore
5ossible that ;e>ebel 4as t$e 3ueen who sat or t$e $ortrait $e is no $aintin%H :on Rev .7E(9.
7? #$e t$e!atic corres$ondence bet4een #thaliah and t$e $ariot Bab"lon o Revelation .7 has been
reco%niJed by &. ;. Bruns :sec n. +)9.
*B A. )arrar< The Rev. of St. /ohn ((,ford< .*<+9& -.-. reco%niJes a t$e!atic corres5ondence
bet4een ;oas$ and At$alia$< on the one hand& and the /essianic c$ild and t$e ser5ent of Rev
.(& on the ot$er $and.
Bab"lonE #nti!Christian Em$ire
His old!covenant $eo$le& on such a 4ide scale and 4ith such a $olitical en!
orcement that a$ostate reli%ion seemed to have trium$hed com$letel" in
Israel. =evertheless& God had ke$t alive a aithul remnant 4ithin a$ostate
Israel. In God@s $rovidence& His truth and kin%dom emer%ed victoriousl" in
this most critical e$och o Israel@s histor".
2he #$ocal"$se vie4s Israel@s e,$erience as a maniestation o the 4ar
bet4een the ser$ent and the 4oman@s seed& announced in Genesis 7E./ :see
Rev .(E.!+9. But ater the 'essiah@s enthronement as the heavenl" kin%& the
ser$ent@s 4ar a%ainst the 4oman and her seed onl" intensiies.
S5iritual Babylon+ a ne $arlot 2he $ro$hetic drama in Revelation .(
and .7& in 4hich the HharlotH :Bab"lon9 $ersecutes and murders the children
o the $ure 4oman :the Israel o God& Rev .(E.7; .7E<9& su%%ests a basic
re$etition o the histor" o AeJebel and her dau%hter #thaliah or the ne4!
covenant $eo$le o God& the church. Because Revelation .7 $ictures the ne4
Bab"lon as the $ersecutin% arch!$rostitute& a eature not ound in Aeremiah@s
$ortra"al& indicates all the more Aohn@s intention to desi%n an e,act antithesis
bet4een t4o basicall" reli%ious bodies in Revelation .( and .7. #s E. A.
Bruns describes the contrast&
2he 4oman o ch. .( bears a child to 4hom she %ives birth; the 4oman o ch. .7
holds a cu$ illed 4ith the blood o the other 4oman@s seed;
moreover she is no mother but a $rostitute. Finall"& the 4oman o ch. .( is
rescued and $reserved rom dan%er 4hereas the 4oman o ch. .7 is destro"ed.
Essential is the act that AeJebel and #thaliah im$osed their reli%ious
a$ostas" on Israel b" their $olitical $o4er within Israel. 2he ne4 Bab"lon&
like old Aerusalem& re$resents an a$ostate reli%ious $o4er that has become
bitterl" hostile a%ainst the unadulterated& a$ostolic 4orshi$ and the true
saints. Because the bride o Christ is the true church&
the harlot in Aohn@s
#$ocal"$se re$resents the allen Christian church. She behaves basicall"
like AeJebel& 4ho has used her husband& Din% #hab& to $ersecute EliIah
and the aithul ones.
#$ostate Christianit" 4ill& thereore& receive the same aven%in% Iud%!
ment rom Christ as AeJebel receivedE 7e has Haven%ed the blood o his
servants at herhand$ :Rev .*E(& last line& DAV9.
#s unaithul Aerusalem
.9 #$e Contrasted Ao!en of #$ocal"$se .( and .7&H #B( (< :.*<+9& +/*!<7; citation is rom +<).
.- ;o$n *+4BF 4 Cor ..E(; &5$ /E(/!(7; Rev 4-+4.
.4 Literally< ek cheiros aules, Hrom her $and<I as in mar%in of :ASBF c. ( ?gs *E7& $at the hand o/
/e)eel," :ASB.?;'.
Bab"lonE #nti!Christian Em$ire
earlier& so 4ill the ne4 harlot cit" be made Hdesolate.@
Since the harlot Bab"lon rides on and em$lo"s the Hbeast&H or the $olitical
4orld $o4ers& in her battle a%ainst the true saints :Rev .7E.!<9& the 4ider sense o
Bab"lon seems to include the union o church and state on a 4orld scale. 2his
conclusion airms that a$ocal"$tic Bab"lon consists o an alliance o ecclesiastical
and civil!$olitical $o4ers.
Revelation .7E.< announces the verdict o heaven that
ecclesiastical Bab"lon is to be destro"ed b" $olitical Bab"lon.
Conse3uentl"& 4e
concur 4ith C. Van!der4aalE
HRevelation .7 and .? are not talkin% about a heathen
cit" or em$ire; the" are talkin% about Israel& the covenant $eo$le 4ho killed the
$ro$hets :. Dn%s .*E.)&.+; 5am +E.79... the unaithul church rather than the
Svicked 4orld.MH
2he %ro4in% church o Christ allo4ed to develo$ within her bosom a ne4
AeJebel& 4ho created dece$tivel" a alse reli%ious cultus :see Rev (E()!(79 and
inall" accom$lished the death o man" saints throu%h an alliance 4ith the $olitical
$o4ers :Rev .7E.!<9.
Revelation describes God@s Iud%ment on the ne4 Bab"lon in terms o the 02
covenant curses. Becomin% a H$rostituteH :.7E.9& to be burned 4ith ire&
brin%in% to an end o music and marria%ePare all 02covenan!tal curses directed to
Aerusalem or her enemies. S$eciicall"& the destruction o Bab"lon b" her o4n
ormer lovers :Rev .7E.<9 is modeled ater the doom oracle o the harlot cit"
Aerusalem in EJekiel .<E7/!+.. 2he #$ocal"$se $roIects HBab"lon&H thereore& not
as the Roman Em$ire
but rather as HAerusalemH that kills her o4n $ro$hets and
2his covenant rame4ork has been reco%niJed b" A. 'assin%berde in the
#nchor Bible commentar" on Revelation.
Ho4ever& not the old!covenant harlot cit" is in vie4& but the new5co#enant
harlot cit"N 2he theolo%ical nature o this ne4 a$ostate 4oman6 cit" is not $rimaril"
her $olitical or economic $o4er& but her dece$tivel"
+7 Rev .7E.<; .?E.7&.*; c. 'att (7E7?; each time orms o the same term eremos are used.
++ C. 1. D. =ichol& cd.< The SD- Bible )ommentar 7 :Fashin%ton& DC< .*/79; ?/.E HIt $as ever been
characteristic of a$ostate C$ristianity to atte!5t a union o c$urc$ and state< in order to
consolidate reli%ious control over $ublic $olic" :c. +E?779.H
+/ See The S%A Bible )ommentar 7E?/?; c. NS"B, .77)& n. on Rev .?E(.
+< =al 2indsey and Bilical *ro!hec, .7/&.77.
+7 Rev .7E.<; cf. 5ev (.E*; &>ek .<E+..
+? Rev .?E((& 4*F c. ;er (/E.); EJek 41+-*.
+* Ait$7. B. S4ete 4e basicall" airm& Hthe city of t$e Caesars 4as the contem$orar" re$resentative o
Bab"lon. .. . But Rome does not& of course& e,haust St. Aohn@s conce$tion o Bab"lon.H
3)ommentar on "e#elation (=rand Ra$ids& .*77& re$r! o .*..R& ((<.9
/) Sec Rev .?E(+ and &>ek (+E<; La! +E.7; 'att (7E(*!7?.
Bab"lonE #nti!Christian Em$ire
religious natureE her idolatr"& and her bloodshed o the true saints.
0n this account Aohn 4as dee$l" aectedE HI 4as %reatl"
astonishedH :Rev .7E<& =IV9. His %reat sur$rise 4as not, o course& that
$a%an Rome 4as $ersecutin% the saints& but rather that a )hristian Rome
4ould be drunk 4ith the blood o the saints.
#s e,$lained b" Carl
2he 4onder o Aohn inds its o4n e,$lanation in the
e,traordinar" chan%e 4hich had $assed over the Foman Qsince
Aohn had seen the 4oman o God in Rev .(R; the im$ression made
on Aohn ma" be e,$ressed b" the 4ords o Isaiah :.E(.9E HHo4 is
the aithul cit" become a harlotNH 2his moves his ver" heart o
hearts... that the Church o Christ should all so lo4.
Conte,tual )oundations
In5ut of Revelation -4--*
In order to attain the $ro$er $ers$ective on Revelation .7& it is
essential to understand irst the meanin% o its oundational cha$ters&
Revelation .(!.7. 2hose inter$reters 4ho restrict the identit" o the
beasts o Revelation .7 and .7 to Im$erial Rome and to seven s$eciic
em$erors are orced to conclude that John miscalculated the course o
uture events b" ollo4in% the $olitical e,$ectations o his o4n time.
2his conclusion i%nores and denies the solemn declarations o
Revelation that its $ro$hec" comes to the church as the authoritative
and trust4orth" 4ord o the risen Christ.
Ho4ever& Revelation .7 should not be made the startin% $oint and
the controllin% cha$ter o the 4hole book.
# more valid and ruitul
theolo%ical method 4ill be to relate the #$ocal"$se theolo%icall" to its
or%anic 02 ta$roots& s$eciicall" to the $ro$hetic books o Daniel and
In this li%ht it becomes a$$arent that Revelation .(!.7 and .7
are Aohn@s
/. #$is is stressed b" Chr. Fords4orth& The NT in the Criginal Greek :5ondon& .?7(9&
(E(/+& statin%& S#$e C$urc$ o Rome has stained hersel 4ith the blood o
Christians&H throu%h It$e =ot C//ice of t$e In3uisition in Ital"& S$ain& #merica&
and India.H
64 I#$e Pro5$ecies of Daniel and the Revelation o St. ;o$n<I &nglis$ trans.
:Edinbur%h& .?/<9& (77!7?. #uberien $resents ei%ht co%ent argu!ents or his
thesisE H2he $arlot Bab"lon& is the church confor!ing to t$e 4orldH :(7/9; see
/7 R. H. Charies& "e#elation o/ St& John, ICC< (E7..77&?7 :Hin our author the demonic
6. Rev .E.!(; .*E.); ((E<&-1<.?!.*.
// P. S. /inear. ISawaNew Earth :Fashin%ton& DC< .*<?9& (7<!+)& has sho4n the
inade3uac" o the $revailin% a$$roach to Rev .7 :o callin% the roll o Roman
61 Present scholarshi$ has establis$ed t$ai the book o Revelation is siructurally and
thematicall" de$endent s$eciicall" on Daniel and EJekiel. See the dissertation o
G. D. Beale& The @se o/ %aniel in Jewish A!ocal!tic ?iterature and in the
"e#elation o/ St& John :8niv. o #m. Pr.< .*?+9;
A. '. Vo%cl%esan%& The Inter!retation o/EJeldelin the Boo1 o/ "e#elation :Harvard 8niv.&
Bab"onE #nti!Christian Em$ire
$ro%ressive historical a$$lications o/ %aniel7s a$ocal"$tic orecast o the satanic
4ars a%ainst the Israel o God.
Revelation .? is Aohn@s death son% over the anti!Christian Bab"lon& as the
eschatolo%ical consummation otEJe1iel7s $oetic lament over the doom o Israel@s
trade $artner& 2"rus :EJek (<!(?9 and o Aeremiah@s Iud%ment oracles on old
Bab"lon :Aer /)!/.9.
In$ut o Aesus Christ
Illuminatin% as the discover" is o the man" literar" and theolo%ical
$arallels bet4een Revelation and the CT
the hermeneutical 1e to the
understandin% o the #$ocal"$se lies rather in determinin% the thou%ht
$atterns b" 4hich Aesus Christ inter$reted the 02 s"mbols& t"$es& and
$ro$hecies& and ho4 He a$$lied them to His time and to the uture. 2his
re3uires a basic insi%ht into the ormative inluence o the Gos$el 4ritin%s
:s$eciicall" o Aesus@ $ro$hetic discourse9 on the )hristocentric $ers$ective
o the visions o Revelation.
Some scholars have established the hermeneutical !rinci!le that a
kno4led%e o Aesus@ use o a$ocal"$tic terms :in the Gos$els9 is necessar" or
the correct inter$retation o the #$ocal"$se o Aohn.
2here is a deinite
$ro%ression o historical a$$lication to Christ and His enemies;
ho4ever& in the #$ocal"$se Christ& the risen and ascended Din%& is seated on
a heavenl" throne. #s Henr" B. S4ete
indicated& Hthe Christ o the
#$ocal"$se is the Christ o the Gos$els& but a chan%e has $assed over Him
4hich is be"ond 4ords.H
2he conce5t of t$e victorious< %loriied C$rist in Revelation is unsur-
5assed in the =2; e,ceedin% every (# !essianic 5ro5$ecy. It !eets t$e
need of t$e church in ti!es of 5ersecution and suffering at t$e $ands of
5olitical rulers and in times of te!5tation by t$e dece5tively religious
claims and cultus o a5ostate church rulers. #$e A5ocaly5se stresses
vi%orousl" t$e messa%e that t$e living Christ is never se5arated fro! 7is
$eo$le. 7e is in t$eir !idst throu%h 7is S5irit and regulates t$e affairs of
/7 See the im$ressive list in R. H. Charles& The "e#elation o/ St& John, ICC& .E5GVIII!5GGVII. The
Gree1 NT, eds. D. #land& et al. :H.B.S. 5ondon& .*<<9& ?*7.*()& lists over /)) 02 $assa%es as
alluded to in Revelation.
/? 5. #. Vos& The Sno!tic Traditions in the A!ocal!se :Dissertation& Free 8niversit"& #msterdam&
Dam$en& .*</9; see cha$s. 7& +& <. 0n Rev .7!.?& see $$. ./7!<7. R. Bauckham& HS"no$tic 1arousia
1arables and the #$ocal"$se&H NTS (7 :.*779; .<(!7<. See also R. H! Charles. The "e#elation o/ St&
John, ICC& .E5GGIV!5GGVI :list o $arallels bet4een Revelation and other books o the =29. 0n
the $ro$hetic discourse o Aesus in 'ark .7; 'att (+; 5uke (.& see 5aRondelle& HDid Aesus intend to
return in the irst centur"LH 6inistr, 'a" .*?7&.)..7.
/* )ommentar on "e#elation, CL".
Bab"lonE #nti!Christian Em$ire
His churches do4n throu%h the a%es& 4ithout an" %a$ o time& until He
returns in %lor". Characteristic is the eature that Revelation oers ho$e
and comort& re4ards and $unishment& or the uture in the covenant lan!
%ua%e o the $ast.
In5ut of Daniel
#lthou%h Aohn alludes to virtuall" all the books o the F+, the
one he uses most com$rehensivel" is Daniel. S4ete comments&
HIn $ro$ortion to its len%th& the Book o Daniel "ields b" ar the
%reatest number Qo allusionsR.H
It can be said that Aohn $ortra"s
the HChristian truth throu%h the lens o Daniel&H as Christ had
done earlier in His $ro$hetic discourse o 'ark .7.
ado$ts s$eciicall" the Daniel model& the $eriod!iJation o
salvation histor" b" means o successive kin%doms& the last o
4hich is destro"ed b" God@s Iud%ment and re$laced b" the divine
Si%niicant is the a$$arent $ro%ress in salvation histor".
Fhile Daniel@s vision intended to sho4 H4hat 4ill ha$$en in das
to come Qin the latter da"s& RSVRH :Dan (E(?; c. (E+/9& Aohn@s
#$ocal"$se 4ants Hto sho4... 4hat !ust soon 8tachei9 take
$laceH :Rev .E.9. 2he added e,$ression HsoonH su%%ests
Hulillment in the imminent uture& 4hich $erha$s has alread"
be%un in the $resent.H
2his conirms 1aul@s disclosure that Hthe
secret $o4er o la4lessness is alread at wor1$ :( 2hess (E79.
Daniel 2 !odel. Revelation .(!.7 allude s$eciicall" to
Daniel@s $ro$hetic $eriod o the 7P( times o $ersecution o the
saints b" the blas$hemous Hlittle hom.H
Both Daniel and
Revelation $ortra" the same eschatolo%ical enem" o God& o His
sanctuar" truth& and o the $eo$le o God. But 4hile Daniel $aints
him as the comin% antimessmh& Revelation de$icts him as the
antichrist& 2he descri$tion o the sea beast :HHe 4as %iven $o4er
to make 4ar a%ainst the saints and to con3uer them&H .7E79
aithull" relects the 4ords o Daniel concernin% the Hlittle
hornHE H2his hom 4as 4a%in% 4ar a%ainst the saints and
deeatin% themH :Dan 7E(.9.
2hese and other $hrases indicate Hthat Revelation .7 is
modeled on
Daniel 7@H! and intends to be a Christ!centered a$$lication to the
church a%e o Daniel 7. Revelation .7 inte%rates the s"mbolic
eatures o the our
19 Ibid.. CLIII-
1- Beale< (*7!*+. 7e demonstrates t$at alread" Rev .E.&.*&() is $atterned after Dan
(E(?!7)&+/P7& because of their identical 5$rases in =reek :$$. -1J<(7/!7*9.
14 Ibid.. (7<.
1* Dan 7E(/; .(E7; c. Rev .(E<&.+; .7E/.
1. Beale< (+7.
Bab"lonE #nti!Christian Em$ire
beasts or 4orld kin%doms o Daniel 7 into one a$ocal"$tic sea beast :Rev .7E.& (9.
2his sea beast carries ten ro"al cro4ns on its ten horns& a clear allusion to the ten
kin%s or kin%doms that 4ould emerge rom the ourth 4orld em$ire :the Roman
Em$ire9 in Daniel 7E7&(+.
2his eature o the ten simultaneous horns leads us beond the colla$se o the
ancient Roman Em$ire in A.D. +7<. Both Daniel 7 and Revelation .7& thereore&
lead into the 'iddle #%es. 2heolo%icall" s$eakin%& the blas$hemous sel!deiication
o the sea beast o Revelation .7E.!7 continues the blas$hemies o the HlittleH horn
o both Daniel 7E?&(/& and ?E.)!l(.
Revelation indicates the historic !rogression in
Daniel 7 :rom the cruel ourth beast to the blas$hemin% little horn amon% the ten
horns9 b" declarin%& H2he dra%on %ave the beast his $o4er and his throne and %reat
authorit"H :Rev .7E(9.
2he intimate relationshi$ o the dra%on and the beast is a$$arent in that both
$ossess seven heads and ten horns :c. .(E7; .7E.9. 2he historical $ro%ression o
ulillment is su%%ested in the ne4 eature that the ten horns are cro4ned :.7E.9&
4hich the" 4ere not "et in Revelation .(. In the li%ht o the total historical
$ers$ective o Daniel 7& the dragon in Revelation .(& 4ho stood in ront o the
4oman o God read" to devour the messianic child :.(E7!+9& unctions as the ourth
beast o Daniel 7& that is& as the $ersecutin% Roman Em$ire.
2he dra%on@s 4ar a%ainst the 4oman continues& ho4ever& a/ter she has brou%ht
orth the 'essiah :.(E<& .+!.79. 2hat is& Satan no4 $ursues the true church o
Christ. 2he =2 testiies to the mart"rdom and $ersecutions o the Christians b" both
the s"na%o%ue and the Roman Em$ire.
But 4hile Rome %ranted the status o a
religio licita to Audaism& e,em$tin% Ae4s rom the lo"alt" test o $atriotism b" the
cultic act o em$eror 4orshi$& it 4a%ed a le%aliJed 4ar a%ainst the Christians&
es$eciall" under the rule o Domitian& Decius& and Diocletian.
Develo5!ent of c$urc$-state union. 0scar Cullmann e,$ressed it cor!
</ Ibid.< (7+.
11 Cf. /att (E.7!(); 'ark ./E./!(). 1. *ngeat,A!ocat!se ++ %istoire de I3e+egese (#iibingen<
.*/*9& avors the vie4 that behind the dra%on is t$e idea o a 5olitical 5oer o55osed to t$e
/essia$< as 7erod and Pilate. &. =. Fhite states it $erectl"E I#$us 4hile the dragon< $rimaril"&
re5resents Satan< it is< in a secondar" sense& a s"mbol o $a%an Ro!eI 3The Great #ontroversy
N/ountain Vie4& CA< .*/)R& +7?9.
<7 #cts 7; .(; (..(?; Rev .E*.
1J See 7. Berkho& Oirche und Oaiser :.*+79. See SD- Bile Students7 Source Book, Co!!entary
Reerence Series& vol. * :Fashin%ton& DC< .*<(9& :os. ..?+&..*(&--B1---BJ. 7. 7. /il!an<
The =istor o/ )hristianit :=e4 Oork& .??.9& (E()7!(++ :bk. (& c$a5. B< %#$e Persecution
0nder DiocletianH9.
Bab"lonE #nti!Christian Em$ire
rectl"E H#t this $oint Qthe demand o a lo"alt" test to em$eror 4orshi$R
the Roman State remained continuousl"& u$ to the time o Constantine&
a satanic $o4er.H
# historic chan%e occurred& ho4ever& 4hen Em$eror
Constantine in #.D. 7.( ado$ted the Christian church as the means b"
4hich to realiJe his dream o rulin% the Roman 4orld.
2he Roman
em$eror acted as the head o the church& orderin% an ecumenical council
to create do%matic unit". #s the 1ontie, 'a,imus& he conerred ull
Iudicial $o4ers on the bisho$s 4ho no4 censured and e,communicated
even hi%h civil oicials. He enIoined b" la4 the civil observance o
Sunda" :#.D. 7(.9. 2hus Constantine Hseated Christianit" on the throne
o the
Ro!an 4orld.H
Em$eror 2heodosian the Great 4ent a ste$ urther b" declarin% that
only 2rinitarian Catholics 4ere le%all" reco%niJed and that all
nonmem!bers o the state church 4ere Hheretics&H 4ho Hshall be smitten
irst b" divine ven%eance and secondl" b" the retribution o 0ur o4n
initiativeH :#.D. 7?)9.
Ca$ital $unishment 4as inlicted on the
Buarto5deciman Christians merel" because the" celebrated Easter on
the da" o the Passover< instead o on the Sunda" i,ed b" the church
#u%ustine Iustiied the coercion and $ersecution o heretics and
schismatics b" declarin% that the Christian State stood in the hi%her
service o the church to $reserve Catholic unit" and church disci$line
b" the orce o im$erial la4s. 2his he called hol" 4ar 8helium %eo
He claimed that the millennium o Revelation () 4as
ulilled b" the rulershi$ o the church 4hose bisho$s 4ere to Iud%e
others no4& on behal o Christ.
2he church ulilled the $romise o
the :e Aerusalem.
Develo5!ent of Pa5al intolerance and 5ersecution. 2hus&
#u%ustine became the ramer and the re$resentative o the theolo%" o
1B The Stale in the New Testament, 7*!?) :3uoted b" Beasle"!'urra"& "e#elation, (.(9.
7) R. Seeber%& ?ehrbuch der %ogmengeschichte, Book (&+. For the ollo4in% $istorical
sketch& I am lar%el" indebted to Aohannes Sch4ital& Gross1irche und Se1te
:Hambur%& .*<(9& /7!<7.
2- &. =ibbon< The %ecline and (all o/ the "oman Em!ire :=e4 Oork& .*+<9& .E/7<.
7( Code, #$eod. .<...( :intended $rimaril" a%ainst $a%anism9; 3uoted in S%A Bible
Students 3Source Book, =o. .()(9.
77 See Gibbon& .E?//!/<.
7+ E!istula, *7&.<..?..*; ?7& 7.?; .?/& (7!(<; "etract, (. /. See 7. *. Deane. The
*olitical and Social Ideas o/ St& Augustine :=e4 Oork& .*<79& cha$. /. 1. Bro4n&
HSt. #u%ustine@s #ltitude to Reli%ious coercion&H J"S /+:.*<+9E .)7!.<; also in
Bro4n& "eligion and Societ in the Age o/ St. Augustine :5ondon& .*7(9.
7/ Buaest& in =e!? <..) 3C!era 7. 7.+(?. and %e )i#itate%ei, .. (.9.
21 De )i#@ate %ei, ().*.
77 Ibid.. ()....
7? #u%ustine contended that it 4as merciul to $unish heretics& even b" death& i this
could save them or others rom the eternal suerin% 3)ontra Gaudentium +,.*;
E!isl&, .)/9.
Bab"lonE #nti!Christian Em$ire
Heres" 4as treated as a crime a%ainst civil societ" and 4as declared $unish!
able 4ith death. Finall"& the $o$e in Rome claimed that he $ossessed& b"
divine ri%ht& the su$reme Iudicial $o4er over both church and state.
diver%ence rom the church and her ecclesiastical norms became branded as
heres" and 4as $unished b" the aid o the civil $o4er. 2he Italian bisho$
#nselm o 5ucca $rovided the canonical oundation and the scholastic Ius!
tiication or the so!called Hhol" $ersecutionH o heretics and schismatics b"
the $a$al church.
2homas #3uinas Iustiied the e,termination o heres" b" e,communi!
catin% heretics and $uttin% them to death.
2hrou%h the establishment o the
HCon%re%ation o Rome and 8niversal In3uisitionH and its $risons& in A.D.
.(./& later called the HHol" 0ice&H $a$al Rome sanctioned the church as a
$ersecutin% and& throu%h civil enorcement also& an e,ecutin% $o4er.
%ave the $o$es a terrible 4ea$on to use in $olitical a%%randiJement& in order
to establish the kin%dom o Christ on earth b" human orce.
1o$e Gre%or" VII :Hildebrand9 in the %ictatus *a!ae claimed the ri%ht
to enthrone and dethrone kin%s& to 4ear the im$erial insi%nia& and that all
em$erors had to kiss his eet. 2he $a$al church had become a $o4er o this
4orld& claimin% theocratic su$remac" over all kin%doms. Bet4een .)*/ and
.+)) the $o$es summoned and authoriJed si, crusades or Christian Hhol"
4arsH a%ainst the 'uslims in the 'iddle East& to con3uer the Hhol" landH
4ith its Hhol" se$ulcherH or Christ& or restore other territories to the
Christian church& Hthe onl" true soverei%n State o Christ on earth.H
'arch .()? 1o$e Innocent III even issued a call or a Hhol"H
7* =rcg3iy 'II in t$e Dictatus *a!ae o A.D. .)?7; Po5e Innocent III established the InGuisition in
A.D. .()? and Boniace 'III< 4hose Bull I0na! SanctamH :.7)(9 created the doctrine o the
t4o s4ords o the Po5e+ t$e s$iritual and the te!5oral. Sec L. &. )roo!< The *ro!hetic (aith o/
$ur ,athers - :Fashin%ton& DC< .*/)9& <<+!?(& I#$e Su!!it o Pa5aH Poer #ttained.H
?) In books .( and -* of #nsclm@s canonical collection :bet4een .)?. and .)?<9; in !2, .+*&+?/.
See detailed docu!entation in Cari Erdmann& I#$e 0ri%in o t$e Idea o Crusade<I &nglis$
trans. rom =er!an :1rinceton 8nrv. 5r.< .*779& (++!+7 :cha$. ? is very revealin%9. See also I.
von Dollinger< Das!apsttum, ne4 cd.< ;. )ricdric$ :'unich& .?*(9& re$rinted& Darmstadt& .*<*.
?. Swwna Theologica, D& 3. ..& art. 7. 7is Swuna Theologica 4as endorsed b" Po5e Leo "III as the
classical e,5osition o Catholic Doctrine.
?( Sec Henr" C. 5ca&6l =istor o/ the InGuisition o/ the 6iddle Ages, 7 vols. #lso the historical reer!
ences or HIn3uisitionH in the S%A Bible Students7Source Boo1, =os. ?7/!??(; see es$eciall" the
1a$al 1rocedures o In3uisition& =o. ?77. Chr. Fords4orth& TheN&T (E(// on Rev .7E<& comments&
HShe has inserted an 0ath in her 1ontiical& 4hich re3uires Bisho$s to @$ersecute and 4a%e 4ar
a%ainst all@ 4hom she calls 7heretics7$ 3*onti/icale "omanus, <7& ed. Rom. .?.?9. 2he S$anish
In3uisition alone re$orts to have burned to death 7.&*.( $ersons; see S%A Bible Students7 Source
Boo1, =o. ??(.
?7 See #$e Age of the Crusades.I Ten E!ochs o/ )hurch =istor, ed. ;. Fuller (:e Lork< .?*<9& vol.
Babylon+ #nti!Christian Em$ire
4ar a%ainst the heretics in southern France& the #lbi%ensians.
1a$al Rome sustained her totalitarian rule b" $h"sical re$ression and the
secular s4ord& Iust as Im$erial Rome had done beore. 2he 4a%in% o 4ar
4as al4a"s a $olitical act. HHol" 4ars.H ho4ever& 4ere the result o the
ateul union o the reli%ious and the secular order& the so!called )or!us
Even Catholic theolo%ians such as 2homas and Gertrude Sartor" came
to the a$$allin% conclusionE H=o reli%ion in the 4orld :not a sin%le one in
the histor" o mankind9 has on its conscience so man" millions o $eo$le
4ho thou%ht dierentl"& believed dierentl". Christianit" is the most mur!
derous reli%ion there has ever been.H
Hans Dun% rankl" admits&
H2o our
horror 4e are becomin% increasin%l" aware toda o the act that all this
Qsendin% heretics& schismatics& Ae4s& and others to hell b" means o tortureR
has nothin%>nothin% at all>to do 4ith Him in 4hose name it 4as sta%edE
Aesus o =aJareth. =o& no one can sa" that He 4illed an" o this.H Church
rulers claimed to act in )hrist7s stead& But Christ& our e,am$le& never
sou%ht the $o4er o earthl" %overnments.
C$urc$-state alliance+ c$aracteristk of antic$rist 7istory
over4helmin%l" demonstrates the demonic conse3uences o the corru$tion
o $o4er b" the church. )hrist e,$licitl" declared& H'" kin%dom is not o
this 4orldH :Aohn .?E7<& =IV; Hdoes not belon% to this 4orld&H =EB9. 2hus&
one cannot esca$e the conclusion that the alliance o the church 4ith
earthl" %overnments stands in direct o$$osition to Christ@s 4ill& and thereb"
constitutes the essential characteristic o the antichrist& Christ@s kin%dom
bears no relation to $olitical kin%doms.
2he French la4 $roessor Aac3ues Ellul has sho4n that the legislation
aad!olitical en/orcement o the do%matic unit" o the church b" the Chris!
tian em$erors& in their obsession to $arallel the $olitical unit" o the Roman
Em$ire& 4as the be%innin% o the subversion o Christianit"& and in act& the
chie/ /orm o/ anti5)hristianit&
I In his anal"sis& the mutation o
Christianit" took $lace %raduall". 2he church ado$ted $a%an belies and
J. ?. /. Setton< - %istory of the #rusades (/adison< AI< .*<*9& vol. (. cha$. ?& H2he #lbi%ensian
J6 In der%olle Brennt ;ern ,euer :'unich& .*<?9& ??!?*& as 3uoted in 7. ?ung< Eternal ?i/eR :Gar!
den Cit"& =O& .*?+9& .7(. #$e historical sc$olar A.&.7. 5cck"& =istor o/ the Rise and
In/luence of the S!irit o/ "ationalism in *urope :re$rint; :e Lork. .*//9& (E+/& like4ise
concluded& HIt can surely be no e,a%%eration to say t$at the Church o Ro!e $as inlicted a
%reater amount o un!erited suffering t$an any other reli%ion that has ever e,istedI :as Guoted
in Source Boo1 /or Bile Students, =o. .(.( NAas$ington< DC< .*((R& 7+); in t$e .*(/ cd.& $.
J1 Dun%& Eternal li/eR -*4.
J2 The Suversion o/ )hristianit :Grand Ra5ids< .*?<9& c$a5. 4.
Bab"lonE #nti!Christian Em$ire
rituals alien to the %os$el& and it inall" re$laced the messa%e o Christ 4ith an
abstract $hiloso$hical s"stem o theolo%"& 4hich it im$osed on all.
# statue o St. 1eter and a cross 4ere $laced on all the ancient monu!
ments o Rome. 2he countereect 4as the $a%aniJin% o the church@s
Christianit". 2he a$ostles and $ro$hets became $riests in the most socio!
lo%icall" reli%ious sense o the term& that is& successors o the $ontis Q$a%an
$riestsR& the Salians& the #rvales& the sacriicin% $riests& the vestals& the
au%urs& the lamens& etc. In the e"es o the $eo$le the" had the same
unctions. 2he church ada$ted itsel inte%rall" to the $a%an 4orld. It acce$ted
its orms and even its moralit".
Fhile $a%anism a$$eared to be con3uered& its theolo%" and $hiloso$h"
nevertheless trium$hed in the %i%antic com$romise o a subverted Christianit".
1olitical action to establish the kin%dom o Christ 4ith the hel$ o human la4s and
e,ternal enorcement reveals a s$irit in undamental conlict 4ith the S$irit o
Christ. 2he subversion o the Christian aith basicall" means Hthe trans%ression 4hat
God has $osited.H
#s Ellen G. Fhite e,$lains 4ith $roound insi%ht& H=ot b" the
decisions o courts or councils or le%islative assemblies& not b" the $atrona%e o
4orldl" %reat men& is the kin%dom o Christ established& but b" the im$lantin% o
Christ@s nature in humanit" throu%h the 4ork o the Hol" S$irit.@
2hrou%h the %os$el o Christ and the Hol" S$irit& God ke$t alive and nourished
the bod" o Christ& the 4oman in the 4ilderness :Rev .(E<&.+9. 2he church cannot
die& because God@s aithulness al4a"s maintains a true remnant o saints& chosen b"
%race :Rom ..E/9. Resur%ences o truth have occurred re3uentl". 1erversions o the
truth have been redressed& es$eciall" 4hen darkness seemed to $revail& b" a return
to the biblical authenticit" o $ro$hetic truth.
From 4ithin the Roman Catholic Church there arose an increasin% number o
voices& startin% 4ith #rchbisho$ #mol o 0rleans at the S"nod o
?? A. Ellul& (/& mentions as an e,a!5le t$e ado$tion o the =reek idea of the immortalit" o t$e soul.
Diin%& Eternal ?i/eR .(+!+(& e,5oses the !agan ori%in o the $o$ular C$ristian conce$ts o an
eternall" burnin% $ell< o $ur%ator"& and of the understandin% of C$rist%s Hdescent into $ell.I
?* Ibid.& 7*. See also t$e ad!ission o Cardinal ;. 7. :e!an<-.n *ssay on the Development of
#hristian %octrine, 7/*!<); c. Froom& .E7?(.
*) See The Great )ontro#ers, /).
*. Ellul& (...
*( The %esire o/ Ages, /)*. She sa"s also& HOet t$e Saviour atte!5ted no civil refor!s.... 7e did not
interere it$ the authorit" or administration o those in 5oerI :/)*9. Cf. &llul< --1< IBabylon<
4hich s"mboliJes Ro!e< orms the ocus o all earthl" evil in the orm of $olitical 5oer.I
Babylon+ #nti!Christian Em$ire
Reims in A.D. **. and #rchbisho$ Eberhard n o SalJbur% in #.D. .(+.& 4ho
identiied the universal $a$al church& 4ith her $riestl" sacramentalism and claims o
secular absolutism as Bab"lon or the antichrist o $ro$hec".
Revelation .7E( is& thereore& o church!historical si%niicanceE H2he dra%on Qas
the satanic Roman Em$ireR %ave the beast Qas $a$al RomeR his $o4er and his throne
and %reat authorit".H 2his trans/er o $olitical authorit" and the throne Qor ca$ital
cit" o Im$erial Rome to $a$al RomeR took $lace in several sta%es. 2he $rocess
be%an in #.D. 77) 4hen Constantine transerred his throne to Constantino$le in the
east and 4as com$leted in #.D. /77 4ith the im$erial Code o Austinian& 4hich
le%aliJed the $o$e@s ecclesiastical su$remac" as Hhead over all churchesH in the east
and the 4est and $laced the civil s4ord at his dis$osal.
2his union o reli%ious and $olitical $o4er 4as dissolved onl" 4hen 1ius VI
4as dethroned on Februar" .)&.7*?& and the Re$ublic o Rome 4as $roclaimed b"
=a$oleon@s re$resentative& General 5ouis #. Ber!thier.
2he Civil Code o
=a$oleon :.?)+9 made a distinct se$aration bet4een church and state& and thus
re$udiated the Code o Austinian o /77. Caesaro!$a$ism had received a mortal
2he cit" o Rome 4as not destro"ed 4hen the Goths ca$tured it in #.D. +.)&
nor 4hen the Roman Em$ire 4as re$laced b" the nations o Euro$e in #!D. +7<.
2he $ro$hec" o the utter destruction and eternal desolation o the harlot cit" in
Revelation .7!.? 4as& thereore& not ulilled in the all o the ancient Roman
Em$ire. Rather& the cit" became the ne4 HHol" Cit"H o Christendom& because o
the HHol" SeeH or throne o the Hhol" ather&H 4ho or man" centuries has stood Hin
a more lot" eminence than had ever been attained b" the Caesars.H 2he Iud%ment
visions in Revelation .7!.? 4ill ind their ulillment onl" in the uture doom o the
Bab"lonian Harlot& the inal coni%uration o reli%ious a$ostas".
Links beteen Revelation -4 and -*. Fe summariJe in si, conclusions the
connection bet4een the red dra%on o Revelation .( and the sea!beast o Revelation
B* See )- =ci'cr,A@drchlicheAutonomiewui!a!stlicherSentralismus :.*+.9& (?7& or documentation. L.
&< Froom& The *ro!hetic (aith o/ Cur (athers :.*+?9& (E(.!7. :on Dante and 1etrarch9;
c$a5. < :Savonorola9; cha$. ( :F"cli9; .E7*<!?)< :Eberhard II9.
B. )or t$e significance of t$e Code of ;ustinian< see )roo!< .E/)7!/.7; The Great )ontro#ers, /+!
B6 See Froom& (E7+*!<+& I#$e Deadly Found Ends the .(<) Oears&H es$. $$. 7/*!<).
B1 See ibid.& c$a5. 7/.
B2 Aordsort$ :on Rev .7E(9& (/.. 7e adds& I#$e Bis$o5 of Rome& 4hen he is cro4ned& is saluted as
Rector $reis, Ruler o the ForldH :(/(9. 7e reers also to the $a$al coins that declare his clai!s
to universal su5re!acy.
Bab"lonE #nti!Christian &!5ire
.. Both satanic $o4ers orm an essential unit"& because each $ossesses the
same seven heads and ten horns :.(E7; .7E.9.
(. 2heir intimate relationshi$ reveals a $ro%ressive historical develo$mentE the
dra%on :Im$erial Rome9 %ave the sea!beast :$a$al Rome9 his throne and $o4er and
%reat authorit" :.7E(9.
7. 2he $ur$ose o both the dra%on and the sea!beast is to 4a%e 4ar a%ainst
Christ and the Christian saints :Rev .(E.7; .7E79& in ulillment o Daniel@s vision o
the ourth beast and its subse3uent little horn :cha$. 79. 2he ultimate %oal is that all
earth d4ellers 4ill 4orshi$ the beast and the dra%on :.7E+&?9.
+. 2he $ro$hetic time $eriod o +( months :Rev .7E/9 o the sea!beast and o
the .(<) da"s or L
/D times o the dra%on :Rev .(E<&.+9 corres$ond uni3uel" to the
unhol" 4ar o the little horn o Daniel 7 :vs. (/9. 2he" brin% the Christian 'iddle
#%es and the $a$al 4arare 4ithin the ocus o a$ocal"$tic $ro$hec".
/. Revelation .7 continues in %reater detail the 4arare o the dra%on a%ainst
the 4oman in Revelation .(. 2he dra%on summons u$ t4o earthl" a%ents into his
serviceE the sea beast and the earth beast& the result bein% the ormation o a satanic
<. 2he literar" st"le& de$ictin% the sea beast as a $arodic imitation o Christ&
identiies the sea beast as the antichrist2
a. 2he investiture o the beast stands in direct o$$osition to the enthronement
o the 5amb :c. /E.(&.7 and .7E(9.
b. 2he authoriJation clause that %ives the beast authorit" Hover ever" tribe&
$eo$le& lan%ua%e and nationH so that it is 4orshi$ed :.7E+&7!?9 orms an ironic
rea$$lication o the soverei%n authorit" o the Son o man and His rece$tion o
universal 4orshi$ in Daniel 7E.+.
c. 2he beast is described as receivin% a mortal 4ound 3hos es!hag5menen, Has
i slainH9 but is ater4ard resurrected rom death :stated three timesE .7E(& .(& .+9.
2he $hraseolo%" is similar to the descri$tion o the 5amb 4hich looks Has i slainH
:hos es!hagmenon4 but is no4 resurrected to eternal rulershi$ :/E<&*&.(; .7E?9. 2his
ironic $arod" o Christ@s mission $ortra"s the beast as a counter/eit lamb&$
&6 Se" G. ). Be#l"0 The -se of Daniel in /e,ish "poc( 0itA and in the )evelation of St(
/ohn &U!i/0 ;#e$$ of Am0(1 2=4)=0
66 So H0 80 ,>A#a'o!1 S2.0 i! t"e /erome Bi*le 2ommentary o! Rev 1=@1)1<1 vol. 20 9. 47=0
Bab"lonE #nti!Christian Em$ire
S#t#nBs Counte'!eit T'init+
Role of #o-7orn BeastM)alse Pro5$et
In order to establish his countereit trinit"& the dra%on em$lo"s a second
4orld $o4er& the earth beast :Rev .7E..!.79 4hich has $two horns S1e a
lamb$ but s$eaks like a dra%on :.7E..9. 2he eature o Ht4o horns like a
lambH is reco%niJed %enerall" as Ha $arod" o the messianic lamb and has an
ironic relation to it.H
Its mission 4ill be to e,alt the sea beast and& b"
means o dece$tive miracles& to make the 4hole 4orld 4orshi$ the revived
sea beast :.7E.+9. 2he #$ocal"$se reers to the second beast as Hthe alse
$ro$hetH :.*E(); .<E.79.
H2he alse $ro$hetH unctions as the countereit o the Hol" S$irit.
Fhile God@s S$irit came as the S$irit o truth to brin% %lor" to Christ :Aohn
.<E.7& .+9& the alse $ro$het b" his miracles deceives the 4hole 4orld b"
orcin% all men to 4orshi$ an Hima%eH o the antichrist :.7E.+&./9. 2he su%!
%estion o countereit imitation a$$ears a%ain 4hen this alse $ro$het $er!
orms H%reat and miraculous si%ns& even causin% ire to come do4n rom
heavenH :.7E.7& =IV9& Han ironic echo o the acts o the %reat 02 $ro$h!
and o the t4o $ro$hetic 4itnesses o the Christian #%e in Revelation
..E/. Fhile the sea beast 4as $rimaril" characteriJed b" his $ersecutin%
$o4er& the earth beast or alse $ro$het unctions at irst more as the
demonic medium or reli%ious dece$tion 4ithin the a!ostate church,
as$ect ound also in Daniel@s antimessiah :Dan ?E(/9 and sel!4illed kin%
:Dan ..E7(9.
Daniel *MRevelation -* Links
#$e ormation o an eschatolo%ical Hima%eH o the resurrected sea!
beast< to create a lo"alt" test to Bab"lon :Rev .7E.+& ./9 $rovides a
t"$olo%ical connection 4ith the command o Din% =ebuchadneJJar to
4orshi$ the %olden ima%e o himsel on the 1lain o Dura :Dan 7E.9.
illuminatin% corres$ondence bet4een Daniel 7 and Revelation .7 clariies
the real issue or the end!time $eo$le o God. In both the Danielic t"$e and
Aohn@s a$ocal"$tic antit"$e the rulin% $o4ers enorce alse 4orshi$ as a
lo"alt" test to Bab"lon. Both Daniel 7 and Revelation .7 mention
-99 Bcale< (+..
-9- Ibid< (+(.
-94 By P. S. 'inear& I Saw a New Earth, (/<& a$$lied t$e Ifatse $ro$hetH o Rev .7E..!.7 to Hdece$!
tive $ro$hec" 4ithin t$e Church.H
-9* Bcale& (+7.
Bab"lonE #nti!Christian Em$ire
a $olitical death decree, issued b" la4makers concernin% a reli%ious issue. Daniel@s
messa%e o ho$e throu%h the miraculous deli#erance o the aithul remnant
serves as the $rotot"$e and assurance or the inal deliverance in the end!time crisis
o the remnant church o Christ.
2he literar" unit on the antichrist :Rev .79 demonstrates ho4 the continuous5
historical outline o Daniel 7 and the t!ological deliverance!e,$erience o Daniel
7 are united and to%ether a$$lied to Christ and His aithul church. Daniel 7 $lainl"
and demonstrabl" serves in Revelation .7 as the undamental standard and matri,
or the location and timin% o the comin% antichrist. Daniel 7 4ith its continuous!
historical $ers$ective is the controllin% $attern o Revelation .7.
2he ne4
develo$ment and advance in the #$ocal"$se o Aohn is its historical and theolo%ical
orientation to Christ& to His S$irit& and to His ne4!covenant $eo$le.
Revelation .(!.7 reveal that Satan& as the ruler o this 4orld
has erected a
satanic kin%dom& consistin% o a countereit triunit"& 4hich is $ortra"ed b" Aohn as
Ha $arodic imitation o the structure o God@s kin%dom.H
2he d"namic $arallelism
o Revelation .( and .7 indicates that the anti!Christian sea beast :Rev .7E.)!?9
o$erates durin% the .(<) $ro$hetic da"s o the 4oman in the 4ilderness :Rev .(E<&
.7!.<9. 2he earth beast :Rev .7E..!.79 arises to s$eak as the dra%on onl" a/ter the
mortal 4ound o the sea beast has been healed& in order to 4a%e the inal 4ar
a%ainst the saints. 2his inal 4arare o the satanic trinit" corres$onds to the last
4ar a%ainst the church in Revelation .(E.7.
2he 3uestions are not ans4ered in Revelation .(!.7 on how Hthe mortal
4oundH o the beast is healed& and when the antichrist resumes his $olitical $o4er&
and how he reactivates his $olic" o 4ar a%ainst the aithul saints in the time o the
end. Furthermore& ho4 should the earth beast& that is& the alse $ro$het& be identiied
and a$$lied historicall"L Fhat H4isdomH 4ill decode convincin%l" the number o
the beast or #ntichristE <<<L
Revelation .7 4as desi%ned to e,$and e,$licitl" on Revelation .7 as 4ell as on
the si,th and seventh $la%ues :Rev .<9.
.)+ Cf. Dan 7E./&.7&(?&(*; .(E..
.)/ See 5aRondelle& #hariots o/ Sal#ation, .//!/*& or more historical ty5es o the inal drama.
.)< For an in!de$th investi%ation o the connection bet4een Rev .7 and Dan 7& see Beale& ((*!+?.
.)7 Luke +E/&<; Aohn .(E7.; E$h (E(; <E.(.
.)? P.S. /Ainear,ISmTaNewEarth, (7..
.)* See cha$. .( in t$is volume& H#rma%eddonE Si,th and Seventh 1la%ues.H
Bab"lonE #nti!Christian Em$ire
Source /aterial on Babylon
#$e )ommentaries on "e#elation, es$eciall" b" E. B. #llo& A. 5.
D@#ra%on :in Jerome Bible )ommentar4, C. #. #uberlen& F.
Barcla"& I. 2. Beck4ith& '. Buttcher& F. F. Bruce& C. B. Caird& R.
H. Charles& #. O. Collins& S. Ellul& #. Farrar& A. '. Ford& D. F.
Hadora& #. Aohnson& F. Hendriksen& #. Du"$er& G. E. 5add& E.
5ohse& A. 1. 5an%e& C. '. 'a,4ell& R. H. 'ounce& E. Schussler
FiorenJe& H. B. S4ete& A. F. Falvoord& '. Filcock& Chr.
Books and Articles
#ndre4s& A. =. Three 6essages o/ "e#elation, cha$s. 7!+. Herita%e
5ibrar"& Revie4 and Herald 1ubl. #ssoc.& .?*( :re$r.& .*7)& b"
Southern 1ubl. #ssoc.9.
Beale1 G0 K0 1he -se of Daniel in /e,ish Apocalyptic 0iterature and in
the Revelation of StA /ohnA U!i/e#$it5 of Ame#icaC *e: Io#k1
8o!-o!1 16740
Bruns& A. Ed%ar. @2he Contrasted Fomen o #$ocal"$se .( and .7&H
)BB (< :.*<+9& +/*!<7.
Collins& #. Oarbro. HRevelation .?E 2aunt!Son% or Dir%eLH
m?7A!ocal!seAohan5niGueetl7A!ocal!tiGuedansleN&T&, .?/!()+.
Ed.A. 5ambrecht! 5euvenE 8niv. Press< .*?).
C#u31 V0 A0 1he 4ark of the Beast: A Study of2hara+ma in the
ApocalypseA Am$te#-am@ Aca-0 ;#e$$1 16=0
,"o#me1 E0 0es Reli+ions de Ba*ylonie et d@AssyrieA ;a#i$1 ;#0 U!i/0 -e
+#a!ce1 16460
(Gul0 H0 1he Su*version of 2hristianityA ET0 G#a!- .api-$@ Ee#-ma!$1
Hoe'ste'0 %0 A,ie Bil-e# i! Offe!2a#u!' 12f0 u!- 1f0A 1heolA Studien
und?ritiken 1<4 &16=2( 26)=<0
Gi2li!1 C0 H0 1he 1hreat of <aithA A!alecta Bi2lica =10 .ome@ ;o!tifical
Bil0 4!$t1 166&o!2T"e$$2(0
Heme#1 C0 H0 1he 0etters to the Seven 2hurches of Asia in 1heir 0ocal
Settin+A HS*T Suppl0 Se#0 110 S"effiel-@ HSOT ;#e$$1 16760
Hi$lop1 A0 1he 1,o Ba*ylonsA *e: Io#kC 8oi3eauJ B#ot"e#$1 16470
McC#ea-5 ;#ice1 G0 1ime of the 7nd) c"ap0 0 *a$"/ille@ Sout"e#!
;u2l0 A$$oc01 1660
Bab"lonE #nti!Christian Em$ire
'inear& P.S. M Saw a New Earth& Fashin%ton& DC+ Cor5us Books< .*<?&.7/!/7.
1ri%ent& *& A!ocal!se +D2 =istoric de I7e0egSse& 2ubm%enE 'ohr& .*/*.
Ramse"& F. '. The ?etters to the Se#en )hurches o/ Asia&, cha$s. *!.). Baker
Schlatter& #. %asAlte Testament in derJohanneischenA!o1at!se& Gutersloh& .*.(.
Sch4ital& A. Gross1irche undSe1te& Hambur%E Saatkom!Verla%& .*<(. Shea& F. H.
HChiasm in 2heme and b" Form in Revelation .?.HP @SS ()E7 :.*?(9&
(+*!/<. Sie%bert& 8. HDie 2"$olo%ische Bedeutun% des Be%ris Bab"lon.H
A@SS .(E(
:.*7+9& ..(!(/. Standish& R. R. and C. D. Standish. Ad#entism *roclaimed,
cha$s. ..!.7. Hist.
2ruth 1ubl; Ra$idan& V#E Hartland Inst.& .*?+. Strand& D. #. M24o #s$ects o
Bab"lon@s Aud%ment 1ortra"ed in Rev .?.H A@SS
2<@1 &1672(1 5=)6<0
DD. ISo!e /odalities of Sy!bolic 0sage in Revelation .?.H -.SS (+E.
:.*?<9& 77!+<.
>>. H2he Ei%ht Basic Visions in the Book o Revelation.HP @SS (/E. :.*?79& .7)!
((. VanHo"e& #. H5@8tilisation du 5ivre D@eJechiel dans 5@#$ocal"$se.H Biblica +7
:.*<(9& +7<!7(. Vo%el%esan%& A. '. The Inter!retation o/EJe1iel in the Boo1 o/
"e#elation& Harvard
8niversit"& .*?/. #nn #rbor& 'IE 8.'.I. Vos& 5. #. The Sno!tic Traditions in
the A!ocal!se, ./7!<7. Dam$enE Dok& .*</. Falsh& '. The >ine o/ "oman
Bablon& =ashvilleE Southern 1ubl. #ssn.& .*+/. Farren ;r.< F. L. A!ostas in the
Boo1 o/ "e#elation, .77!?/. Southern Ba$tist
2heol. Seminar"& .*7?; #nn #rbor& 'IE 8.'.I.& .*?7. Fere& 5. F. The (all o/
Bablon in T!e and Antit!e& 'elbourne& #ustralia& .*/(.
>>. The >oman and the Beast in the Boo1 o/ "e#elation& Berrien S$rin%s& 'IE
First Im$ressions& .*?7 :re$r. in #ustr. ed.& .*/(9. Fords4orth& Chr. @nion
>ith "ome& 5ondonE Chas. A. A. 2h"nne B Aames& .*(+&
.7th ed.
>>. Is the *a!ac *redicted b St& *aulR An InGuir& Cambrid%eE 2he Harrison
2rust& .*?/&7rd ed. ed. .??)9.
C$a5ter '
#$e Seven 7eads+
Do #$ey Re5resent Ro!an &!5erors8
Denneth #. Strand
&ditorial Syno5sis. 2hree times in the visions o the book o Revelation a s"m!
bolic beast 4ith seven heads and ten horns is $resented :cha$s. .(& .7& .79& 2he first
and third are red in color& 4hereas the second is described as a leo$ard!bodied
animal. 2he irst has cro4ned heads; the second has cro4ned horns; the third
a$$ears 4ithout cro4ns on either heads or horns.
2raditional $reterist inter$retation identiies the second or leo$ard!bodied beast
4ith the Roman Em$ire and its seven heads 4ith a succession o seven Roman
rulers 4ho rei%ned durin% the irst centur" o the Christian Era.
2he $reterist vie4 rests on the assum$tion that Revelation is limited in sco$e to
Aoint@s o4n era& the irst centur". 2hereore& the leo$ardlike beast that blas$hemes
God and $ersecutes His $eo$le must be the em$ire o Rome under its several rulers.
Ho4ever& as the author demonstrates& this assum$tion mires do4n in diiculties the
moment an attem$t is made to harmoniJe the $reterist identiication 4ith the actual
biblical data. 2he marks o identiication su$$lied b" the 5ro5$ecy $oint to a $o4er
that 4ould unction uture to Aohn@s da". Furthermore& eleven men :not seven9 ruled
the Em$ire durin% the irst centur"& and $reterists are not in a%reement on 4hich
seven to select and on 4hat rationale; none o the maIor $reterist inter$retations are
able to $lace Aohn under the si,th head 4here t$e biblical data indicates he should
In the a$ocal"$tic book o Daniel Hanimal headsH are never used to denote
sin%le individuals. 2he our heads o the leo$ard :Dan 7E<; c. ?E?&((9 s"mboliJed
Hkin%doms.H 5ike4ise& 4e 4ould e,$ect the seven heads o the Revelation beasts to
re$resent kin%doms or 4orld $o4ers as 4ell. In Revelation .7E* the seven heads are
also inter$reted as Hseven mountains.H 2he author observesE In the 02& mountains
are used as i%ures or s"mbols or HnationsH or Hem$iresH :Dan (E7+!7/&++!+/; Aer
/.E(/9& but ne#er or individual rulers.
Fhile this cha$ter@s e,e%esis of the biblical material :es$eciall" $ertainin% to
t$e seven!headed leo$ard!bodied sea beast9 reutes the $reterist claim& it also s$eaks
to a current inter$retation that has arisen amon% some historicists. In recent
2he Seven HeadsE Do 2he" Re$resent Roman Em$erorsL
"ears the idea has been advanced that the seven heads re$resent seven individual $o$es& the
$resent $o$e bein% identiied as the si,th head. 2he biblical act alread" established>that the
Bible never uses animal heads or mountains as s"mbols o individual rulers>clearl" rules
out as unsound an" attem$t to identi" the seven heads o Revelation 4ith individual $o$es&
livin% or dead.
C$a5ter (utline
I. Introduction
II. 5eo$ard!Bodied Sea Beast
III. 2he Seven Heads
IV. 2he Founded6Resuscitated Head
V. 2he =umber <<<
VI. Conclusion
I U [he book o Revelation $ortra"s three s"mbolic animals that have
\ seven heads and ten hornsE :.9 the dra%on in the sk" :Rev .(9& !#! :(9 the
leo$ard!bodied beast rom the sea :Rev .79& and :79 the scarlet!colored beast in the
4ilderness :Rev. .79.
#ccordin% to traditional H$reterism&H the most common and $ervasive vie4 o
Revelation held b" $resent!da" =2 scholars& the leo$ard!bodied sea beast o
Revelation .7 is a s"mbol or the Roman Em$ire o Aohn@s o4n da".
2he beast@s
seven heads are understood to re$resent a succession o seven irst centur" Roman
Some uturists :inter$reters 4ho believe that almost all o Revelation is to be
ulilled at the end o the a%e9 have also ado$ted $reterism as a
- #$e 4ord Hem$ireH is %iven an initial ca$ital letter in t$is cha$ter 4hen reerence is to the Ro!an
Em$ire& t$e reason being that such reference is to a s$eciic 5eriod and t"$e o %overnmental
administration in Roman histor". #$e &!5ire thus stands in contrast to t$e earlier Roman
Re$ublic& 4hich 4as a HRoman e!5ireI in the more %eneral sense. 2he Em$ire $eriod itsel is
divided b" historians into t$e 1rinci$atc :(7 B.C.-A.D. (?+9 and t$e #utocrac" :(?+!+7<9. 0ur
ocus& o course& is on the earl" decades o t$e 1rinci$ate& and thereore the ter!s H$rince$sH
:Horemost citiJenH9 and Hem$erorH are used interchan%eabl" herein to designate t$e Roman ruler.
Fhen 0ctavian :#u%ustus9 instituted the Princi5atc in (7 B.C< and throu%hout his entire rei%n as
ell< he ostered a orm@o govern!ent 4hich consisted o authorities and institutions ado$ted and
ada$ted rom those o the Ro!an Re$ublic. In this 3uasi!Re$ublican orm o %overnment& t$e
HrulerH 4as thus a!rince!s&
2he Seven HeadsE Do 2he" Re$resent Roman Em$erorsL
$art o their inter$retational stance.
2hese H$reterists6uturistsH %ive
Revelation .7 a double ocus& so that or them the leo$ard!bodied beast
re$resents both the ancient Roman Em$ire and a still!uture antichrist.
1reterist commentators and e,e%etes ind in Revelation .7 several
basic clues that alle%edl" substantiate their inter$retation; thereore& the
cha$ter becomes a ke" in elucidatin% the central messa%e o the book.
Since other im$ortant clues to the identit" o the seven heads are %iven in
Revelation .7& that cha$ter also is im$ortant or the ormulation o the
$reterist $osition.
Preterist 'ie
In short& $reterists see the book o Revelation as a $ortra"al o the
reli%io$olitical situation in Aohn@s o4n time and locale& the late irst cen!
tur" #.D. and the Roman $rovince o #sia :a se%ment o 4estern #sia
'inor borderin% on the #e%ean Sea9. 2o4ard the end o Em$eror Domi!
tian@s iteen!"ear rei%n :?.!*<9& a severe $ersecution o Christians broke
out in Roman #sia.
Durin% this distressul time& Aohn& 4ho had overall char%e o the
Christian con%re%ations throu%hout that area& 4as e,iled to the Isle
o1atmos. 'ean4hile& his $arishioners suered severel" at the hands o
their Roman $ersecutors& even acin% im$risonment and death. It 4as
durin% this e,ile on 1atmos that Aohn $enned the book o Revelation about
#.D. */& a date acce$ted b" most =2 scholars& $reterists and non!
$reterists alike& and substantiated b" stron% e,ternal and internal
4 &.g.< =eorge Eldon Ladd< A )ommentar on the Revelation o/ John (=rand Ra5ids<
.*7(9; and Leon 'orris& The "e#elation o/ St& John2 An Introduction and
)ommentar, 2"ndale =e4 2estament Commentaries& () :Grand Ra5ids< .*<*9.
* Ladd< 5. .+& states his conclusion that It$e correct method o inter$retin% the Revelation
is a blend!In%o the $reterist and the uturist methods.H For him& the Hbeast is both
Ro!e and the eschato!lo%ical #ntichrist&H but then he also e,$ands this idea so as to
include Han" demonic $o4er4hich the church !ust ace in her entire histor".H 'orris&
$. (+& 3uotes a$$rovin%l"the ollo4in% some4hat si!ilar comment !ade earlier b"
5add in Ba1er7s %ictionar o/ Theolog :Grand Ra5ids< .*<)9& /7E I#$e beast is
Rome and at the sa!e time an eschatolo%ical #ntichrist 4hich cannot be ull"
eGuated it$ historical Rome....H It s$ould be noted that in the commentar" sections
of their 4orks& 5add maniests a ver" clear and stron% uturist stance o
nondis5cnsationalist variet"& 4hereas 'orris is 3uite va%ue in this res$ect.
. #$e testimon" o Irenaeus& ca. .?/& is ver" e,$licit in indicatin% t$at Hthe a$ocal"$tic
visionH > i.e.& the book o Revelation > H4as seen not ver" lon% time since< but
almost in our da"& to4ards the end o Domitian@s rei%nH 3Against =eresies /.7).7&
A:)O< .E//*!/<)9. Cle!ent o Ale,andria a e4 "ears later makes reerence to
;o$n%s release fro! Pal!os and e,$erience in seekin% a la$sed "outh 4ho had
become a robber& this occurrin% 4hen Aohn 4as HoldH 3Bms ai#essal#etw, +(; c$a5. +(
in En%lish translation is given in #=F& (E<)7!<)+ Qtitle o the ort in the #=F edition
is >ho Is the Rich 6an That Shall Be Sa#edR94& #$e atmos$here o $ersecution t$at is
stron%l" relected in Revelation is $robabl" the !ost si%niicant $iece o internal
2he Seven 7eads+ Do #$ey Re$resent Ro!an Em$erorsL
#$e Seven 7eads Sy!bol
0ur s$eciic task is to determine 4hether the seven heads o the
leo$ard!bodied beast in Revelation do indeed re$resent seven em$erors o
the ancient Roman Em$ire& as the $reterists contend. 2he ollo4in% dis!
cussion 4ill ocus on those $articular elements o the $reterist stance that
relate most directl" to the 3uestion o the identit" o the heads. 2hese ele!
ments are as ollo4sE
.. 2he identit" o the leo$ard!bodied sea beast itsel :said to be the
Roman Em$ire9.
(. 2he identiication in Revelation .7E*!.) o the seven heads as both
Hseven hillsH and Hseven kin%s.H
7. 2he reerence in Revelation .7E7 to the mortal 4oundin% and sub!
se3uent resuscitation o one o the heads.
+. 2he number clue <<< %iven in Revelation .7E.? as an identiier o
the beast.
Leo5ard-Bodied Sea Beast
2he $recise identiication o the leo$ard!bodied sea beast :Rev .79 is
obviousl" a undamental concern or ascertainin% the identit" o its heads. I
the sea beast should be ound to re$resent the ancient Roman Em$ire& the
heads mi%ht conceivabl" re$resent a succession o Roman em$erors :thou%h
the" need not do so necessaril"9. 0n the other hand i the sea beast is ound
to s"mboliJe some other entit"& the heads could not and 4ould not
s"mboliJe Roman em$erors. 0n 4hat %rounds& then& have $reterists come to
the conclusion that the sea beast is a s"mbol re$resentin% the Roman
Preterist Line of Argu!ent
1reterist reasonin% be%ins 4ith the basic assum!tion that the sea beast
re$resents the $articular entit" that brou%ht about the $ersecution in the
Roman $rovince o #sia in the time o Aohn. In other 4ords Aohn@s descri$!
tion o the sea beast $ersecutin% the saints& blas$hemin% God& etc. :.7E/!79&
is assumed to $oint s$eciicall" to the situation 4hich Aohn and his
Christian $arishioners aced>a situation 4herein Rome& o course& 4as the
In and o itsel& the ore%oin% ar%ument seems lo%ical enou%h& thou%h it
cannot be considered deinitive :that is& there is nothin% in the te,t that
#$e Seven 7eads+ Do #$ey Re5resent Ro!an &!5erors8
s$eciicall" re3uires it9. Its s$ecial $lausibilit" or $reterists rests on certain
other data mentioned in the biblical te,t (and $articularl" on the $reterist
inter$retation o those data9. Ae mention s$eciicall"E the mortal 4ound
and subse3uent resuscitation :.7E7&.(&.+9& the number o the beast :vs. .?9&
and the rise o a second beast that causes mankind to 4orshi$ the sea beast
:vs. .(9. 0nl" the last o t$ese items needs attention at t$is $oint inasmuch
as the others 4ill be treated se$aratel" later on in this cha$ter.
Second beast identification. 7< $reterists& it seems obvious that the
second beast :.7E..!.79& a t4o!homed animal that rises rom the earth& a$tl"
re$resents the cult o HRoma and #u%ustus&H re3uentl" reerred to as the
Him$erial cult.H
In the "ear .( B.C. #u%ustus oiciall" made this cult a $art
o state 4orshi$. In Ital" and in Rome@s western $rovinces the em$eror
himsel 4as not 4orshi$ed& but rather the vo4s and $ra"ers that 4ere
oered 4ere directed to #u%ustus 7genius :the tutelar" deit" or divine s$irit
4ho& accordin% to Roman thou%ht& $rotected and blessed him and his
In the eastern $rovinces& ho4ever& #u%ustus& rom the be%innin% o his
rei%n as!rince!s in (7 B.C. :and even earlier9&
ostered 4orshi$ o the
Roman ruler& buildin% on a lon%!entrenched tradition throu%hout the East o
ruler 4orshi$. 2he im$erial cult in those eastern $rovinces o the Roman
Em$ire 4as& thereore& or%aniJed in such a 4a" as to brin% about 4orshi$ul
obeisance not onl" to Roma& the deit" o Rome& but also to the $erson o the
rulin% em$eror. 2hus it 4as that in the Roman $rovince o #sia and
else4here in the East& the local inhabitants had to declare& and at times to
demonstrate $ublicl"& their religious lo"alt" to the em$eror.
2o4ard the end o the rei%n o Domitian there a$$ears to have been an
intensiication o the culs activities in the Roman $rovince o #sia. Heav"
sanctions>includin% death>4ere im$osed or ailure to submit to t$is kind
o Hem$eror 4orshi$.H 2here a$$ears to have been some $ersecution o
Christians in Rome as 4ell.
#lthou%h the era o em$ire4ide
6 /ost standard histories o Ro!e describe the cult. # s$ort but 5oignant 5resentation< 4hich
clarifies t$e differences beteen East and Aest and 5rovides so!e illustrative documents&
a55ears in :a5$tali Leis and /cycr Rcinhold& Roman )i#iliJation, vol. (& The Em!ire :=e4
Lork. -B66@< 1--16.
1 In 4B B.C.< e.%.& (ctavian establis$ed 5rovincial asse!blies in the Eastern 5rovinces. (ne o t$e
maIor functions o these assemblies 4as to !aintain and oster the im$erial cult in t$eir res$ec!
tive $rovinces.
2 2iel; :HcertiicatesH o com$liance9 $ave been discovered fro! a later 5eriod (t$at o t$e
Dccian $ersecution& ca. (/)9.
J In A.D. B6 Domitian had $is cousin<t$e consul )lavius Ctemcns e,ecuted& and $e had his niece
2he Seven HeadsE Do 2he" Re$resent Roman Em$erorsL TTTTTTT
$ersecution had not "et arrived& the attitude o t$e em$eror 4as oten a stimulus or
local outbursts that 4ere ver" severe in their res$ective locales.
#nd Domitian& it
must be noted& 4as an em$eror 4ho coveted divine titles& such as H5ordH and
>a title 4hich Christians could not ackno4led%e as a$$l"in% to an" human
bein%& no matter ho4 $resti%ious and $o4erul that $erson mi%ht be.
(verlooking biblical s5ecification. Various as$ects o the $reterist line o
ar%ument or identi"in% the sea beast :and also the earth beast9 seem on the surace
to be co%ent enou%h. But 4e ask. Have $reterists noted and6or inter$reted 4ith
suicient care the s$eciications o the biblical te,t and the events o histor" to
assure that their inter$retation is correctL #s 4e shall see& our ans4er to this 3uestion
must be em$haticall" in the ne%ative.
2here are certain clues>decisive ones>4hich indicate that the leo$ard!bodied
sea beast o Revelation .7 s"mboliJes somethin% 3uite other than the ancient Roman
Em$ire o Aohn@s time. 2his bein% the case& the t4o!homed earth beast could not
re$resent the Roman im$erial cult& but must si%ni" instead an entit" havin%
relationshi$ to 4hatever the sea beast does re$resent.
Fe note in $assin% that in the biblical te,t& the earth beast rises a/ter the sea
beast>in act& subse3uent to the sea beasts suerin% a mortal 4ound and
e,$eriencin% a resuscitation :.7E..!.79. Roman histor" o the irst centur" #.D. has
nothin% that can be considered a ulillment o this s$eciication. #nd thus histor"
itsel re$udiates the $reterist $osition re%ardin% the sea beast and earth beast
Biblical Identity of t$e Sea Beast
SeGuences co!5ared+ Revelation -4--*. Fe come no4 to the basic
3uestionE Fhat are the real biblical clues that identi" the sea beastL First& a
Iu,ta$osition o the material in Revelation .7 4ith the inormation %iven in
Revelation .( su%%ests that there is a chronolo%ical dierence that the
$reterist reconstruction overlooks 4hen it $laces the sea beast in Aohn@s o4n
time in histor".
Flavia Domitilla& demons@ ife< banished td2andateria. See& e.%.& Dio Cassius& "oman =istor, <7..+.
B #$e irst trul" 4ide!scale :Hcm$irc4ideH9 Roman $ersecution o C$ristians as the one ordered b"
&!5eror Decius :(+*!/.9.
.) Dio Cassius& "oman =istor, <7/.7& reers in stron% terms to Domitian@s insistence on bein% con!
sidered divine and to that em$eror@s $leasure in bein% called H5ordH and HGod.H
2he Seven HeadsE Do 2he" Re$resent Roman Em$erorsL
Fhen the ull conte,t o these t4o closel" related cha$ters is
e,$lored& 4e ind that in cha$ter .( a three5ste! historical se3uenceE 2he
dra%on o$$oses irst the man!child :Christ9& then the 4oman& and inall"
the remnant o the 4oman@s seed or os$rin%. In cha$ter .7 4e ind onl"
a two5ste! se3uenceE the era o the leo$ard!bodied sea beast alone& and
then the era 4hen the t4o!homed beast emer%es rom the earth& creates an
ima%e to the leo$ard!bodied beast& and commands all human bein%s to
4orshi$ it and the leo$ard!bodied beast.
Aust ho4 do the three ste$s o cha$ter .( and the t4o ste$s o cha$ter
.7 relate to each otherL # basic clue is the act that the identical time
$eriod is mentioned in both cha$ters>as H.(<) da"sH and as @P6J "earsH
:.(E<&.+9& and as H+( monthsH :.7E/9. 2his time $eriod comes in the initial
sta%e o the t4o!ste$ se3uence o cha$ter .7& but is connected 4ith the
second sta%e o the three!ste$ se3uence o cha$ter .(. Fe illustrate this
relationshi$ in i%ure ..
)igure -. C$ronological Relations$i5
Beteen Revelation -4 and -*
Revelation -4
Apostolic 7ra
.. 2he dra%on attacks the Child
post*"postalic Era
+& 2he dra%on attacks the 4oman
H.(<) da"sH H7P "earsH
7nd$1ime 7ra
7. 2he dra%on attacks the 4oman@s
Revelation -*
Apostolic 7ra
Post$Apostolic 7ra
.. 2he leo$ard!bodied sea
beast H+( monthsH
7nd$1ime 7ra
+& 2he t4o!horned earth
Since the irst sta%e in cha$ter .( obviousl" relates to the #$ostolic
Era& e 4ould assume that the second sta%e :e3uivalent to the era o the
leo$ard!bodied sea!beast in .7E.!.)9 must be !ost5A!ostolic&
Croned $orns indicate 5ost-A5ostolic &ra. 2his conclusion is
conirmed b" urther te,tual evidence. In the e,$lanator" section o
Revelation .7& 4here the ocus is rom the time rame o the 4riter& the
sea beast@s ten horns are said to be Hten kin%s 4ho have not "et received a
2he Seven 7eads+ Do 2he" Re5resent Ro!an &!5erors8
:vs. .(& =IV9;
that is& the had not et arisen as ruling entities in John7s
Fhere do 4e ind an animal 4hose ten homs are crownedI In one
$lace>and on/ one>in the entire book o Revelation do 4e ind this&
namel"& cha$ter .7. 2here the cro4ned homs are on the leo$ard!bodied beast
:vs. .9. :In contrast& the heads are cro4ned in .(E7& but neither heads nor
homs are cro4ned in .7E7.9 2hus& on the basis o the e,$lanator" inormation
4e ind in Revelation .7E.(& 4e must deduce that the $articular era in the
beast@s e,istence that is re$resented in cha$ter .7 4as "et uture or Aohn. In
this manner& the book o Revelation itsel clearl" indicates that the leo$ard!
bodied sea beast is an entit" other than the ancient Roman Em$ire o the irst
Leo5ard-bodied beast linked to t$e laless one. 0ur conclusion is
urther stren%thened b" the conce$tualiJation underl"in% 1aul@s discussion o
the Hla4less oneH in ( 2hessalonians (. 1aul@s descri$tion o that entit"@s
character and activities matches that o the leo$ard!bodied beast. Both
descri$tions obviousl" relate to Daniel@s Hlittle hornH $ortra"ed in Daniel 7
:see es$eciall" vs. (/9. 2he three s"mbols re$resent the same $o4er. 2his&
incidentall"& is also ho4 the matter 4as vie4ed b" the Church Father
Irenaeus :ca. .?/9& the earliest $atristic 4riter 4hose e,$ositions on the to$ic
are e,tant.
1aul adds that there is an entit" 4hich kee$s the la4less one rom
a$$earin% immediatel" :( 2hess (E<!79. 2hat entit" holdin% back the anti!
christ ma" be identiied as the Roman Em$ire& since accordin% to Daniel@s
$ro$hec"& the Hlittle homH 4ould arise onl" ater the ten horns had arisen
:Dan 7E?&(+9. 2hat is& in act& the ver" 4a" $rominent earl" Church Fathers
sa4 the matterE the" looked or the rise o the antichrist in connection 4ith
the Roman Em$ire@s dissolution.
Irenaeus and 2ertullian stated that the time o antichrist@s a$$earance
4as still uture&
but Aerome :ca. +))9 believed that antichrist 4as ver"
-- )or Scri5ture Guotations< t$e :I' ill be used t$roug$out t$is c$a5ter.
.( It is im$ortant to reco%niJe that t$is verse is in t$e e0!lanation section or t$e vision& and that
t$erefore it is fro! t$e riter%s $ers$ective in time. :Sec the irst cha$ter in Book . o this 4-boofc
DARC(/ series on Revelation for a discussion o hermencutical $rinci$les.9 #$e clue to the shit
fro! t$e vision 5ro5er to t$e e,$lanator" !aterial is the statement in .7E*E H2his calls or a mind
4ith 4isdomH 0node ho nous ho esSSn so!hian4&
-* In -gainst %eresies /.(/..7& Irenaeus first Guotes rom ( #$ess (; then& ater referring to t$e end
of t$e last kingdo! 4hen the ten kings arise< $e Guotes rom Dan 2 regarding the Hlittle $o!I
$ose a$$earance as more IstoutI than the others and beore 4hom three kin%s ere u5rooted.
7is discussion !oves< in /.(<..!(& to t$e Istill clearer li%htH shed b" Aohn in the A5ocaly5se $en
;o$n refers to the same ten $orns mentioned by Daniel.
-. Irenaeus< Against %eresies, 6-41.-< s5eaks of t$e Hlast ti!esI 4hen ten kin%s shall arise< Hamon%
$o! t$e em$ire NRo!eO $ic$ no rules Nt$e earthR shall be $artitioned.H :2ranslation in
The Seven 7eads+ Do #$ey Re$resent Ro!an Em$erorsL
near at hand. He connected the rava%es o the barbarian invasions
and the dismemberment o the Roman Em$ire 4ith the $ro$hesied
rise o the ten horns o Daniel 7 and Revelation .7.
Some o
Aerome@s contem$oraries had a similar vie4.
Fhat conclusion can 4e no4 reach re%ardin% the leo$ard!
bodied sea beast and its seven headsL Fe have ound& s$eciicall"&
that this beast s"mboliJed an entit" that 4ould unction in an era
uture to AohnMs time. Fith this conclusion& all urther $reterist
ar%uments relatin% to that beast and its seven heads also crumble.
Fe could conse3uentl" terminate our stud" at this Iuncture& or
our assi%ned task has been ulilled.
=evertheless& it ma" be useul to %ive some attention to the
other $oints u$on 4hich $reterists build their ar%ument. In
reiteration& these $oints are as ollo4sE :.9 2he seven heads o the
beast are identiied in .7E*!.) as Hseven hillsH and also Hseven
kin%sH; :(9 there 4as a 4oundin% and resuscitation o one o the
heads o the beast; and :79 <<< is a urther ke" b" 4hich to
identi" the beast.
#$e Seven 7eads
#nal"sis o the $reterist identiication o the seven heads o
the leo$ard!bodied beast : P a succession o seven Roman
em$erors9 naturall" should be%in 4ith the biblical evidence
adduced or that inter$retation. 2he te,tual startin% $oint or
$reterists is .7E*!.)E H2he seven heads are seven hills on 4hich
the 4oman sits. 2he" are also seven kin%s. Five have allen& one
is& the other has not "et come.H 1reterists also take note& as 4ell&
A:)< .E//+.9 2ertullian& -pology, 7(& is even more e,5licit. 7e irst mentions the
need o $ra"er or It$e e!5erors< nay< or t$e com$lete stabilit" of t$e em$ire& and
or Ro!an interests in %eneral.H 7e then goes on to say< HFor e kno that a
mi%ht" s$ock i!5ending over the 4hole eart$ > in fact< t$e ver" end o all t$ings
t$reatening dreadful oes D is only retarded by the continued e,istence o t$e
Ro!an em$ire.H (#ranslation in #=F& *+.4-.*.@
-6 ;ero!e in A.D. .9B rote (referring to 4 #$ess 4+2.J@+ I7e t$at lettct$ is taken
out of t$e ay< and yet e do not reali>e t$at Antic$rist is near. Les< Antic$rist
is near $o! t$e Lord ;esus C$rist %s$all consu!e it$ t$e s5irit of $is
!out$.%I Letter -4*< to Agenic$ia< sect. -1< in t$e :P:)<4d series< 1+4*1.
-1 A!ong ;ero!e%s contem$oraries 4ith a vie so!e$at si!ilar to his ere
Sul5icius Scvcrus and /artin of #ours. Sut5icius reers to /artin< $o died in
*B1< as $aving said that =ero 4ould reign in t$e Aest and t$at antichrist $o as
already bo!< ould rei%n in t$e East& it$ antic$rist finally defeating :ero and
becomin% the universal ruler. Sul$icius see!s to $ave $ad t$e sa!e vie4 as
/artin concerning t$e nearness of antic$rist%s a55earance< but $e docs not
see! to $ave acce5ted fully ot$er as$ects o 'artin@s cschatolo%"! Sul$icius
Sevcrus< Dialogues (..7..+ :sec :P:)< 4d series. ..E+/9& and Sacred =istor, (.(*
:sec :P:)< (d series. ..E...9.
2He Seven 7eads+ Do 2he" Re5resent Ro!an Em$erorsL
o the reerence in .7E.. to the beast itsel as bein% an Hei%hthH kin%.
2he double identiication in .7E*!.) o the $eads as Hseven hills@M and Hseven
kin%sH is considered to be a clinchin% $iece o evidence. 1reterist inter$reters eel
that the e,$ression M@seven hillsH must $oint to Rome& the Hcit" o seven hills&H
then ollo4s naturall" that the term Hseven kin%sH must reer to Roman rulers!that is&
to Roman em$erors.
ISeven 7illsI or ISeven /ountainsI8
2he most crucial $oint that $reterists overlook or i%nore in identi"in% the
HhilIs2kin%sH :.7E*!.)9 4ith Roman em$erors is the act that the term HhillsH
o the =IV and a number o other En%lish versions is an im$ro$er& or at least
$oor& translation. In the ori%inal Greek the 4ord is oros and should be
translated Hmountains&H as it is in the DAV and =#SB and in other
occurrences o the same 4ord in the book o Revelation.
Since the 4ord HmountainsH is obviousl" s"mbolic in .7E*& $ro$er $rin!
ci$les o inter$retation 4ould re3uire that e look or the scri!tural usa%e o
the term HmountainH in cases 4here the term is em$lo"ed as a s"mbol. Fhen
4e do so& we ne#er /ind 77mountain $ used to smboliJe an indi#idual
monarch or ruler& Instead& e ind it used as a s"mbol or a nation or em$ire.
In =ebuchadneJJar@s dream& or instance& the stone that strikes the ima%e
on the eet subse3uentl" becomes a %reat mountain& illin% the 4hole earth
:Dan (E7+!7/9. 2his mountain is s$eciicall" identiied as GodMs everlastin%
kin%dom :vss. ++!+/9. #nother e,am$le is %iven b" Aeremiah& 4ho reers to
the ancient Bab"lonian Em$ire as a Hdestro"in% mountainH that is to become a
Hburnt mountainH :Aer /.E(/9.
2his biblical usa%e o HmountainH as a s"mbol should lead us to look or a
similar identit" o the seven heads in Revelation& since the" are called
Hmountains.H 2he second identi"in% term in .7E*!.)& namel"& Hkin%s&H can
.7 2hat Ro!e as knon as the Hcit" o seven hillsH is attested by amed classical riteis< suc$ as
Vir%il :d. .* B.C.@ and 7orace :d. ? B.C.@. #lso the C$ristian 4riter 2crtullian :ca. A.D. .*79
reers to Iin$abitants of Ro!eI as bein% the Hnative $o$ulation o t$e seven $illsI 3A!olog, LM,
-J An im$ortant $oint t$at $as been broug$t to attention b" 1aul S. /inear< M Sciw a New Earth
:Fashin%ton& DC< .*<?9& (77& is that in Revelation all seven of t$e ot$er references tooros have
been translated I!ountain<I not I$illI :actuall" four of t$e ei%ht occurrences< includin% t$e one
in Rev .7E*& are in t$e $lural& 4e9. #$oug$ 5er$a5s there arc e,a!5les o oros $ic$ mi%ht ell
be translated Hhill&H =reek also has anot$er ter! or HhillHE ounos.
.* In the Daniel reference the ter! is t$e #ramaic tEr, in Aeremiah it is t$e 7ebre har. HIn 9- reer!
cnccs $ere bot$ I$illI and HmountainH a55ear :c.%&& ba +)E+; and in the 5lural in .4+-6F /+E.);
and //E.(9& t$e ormer iU//b>i, and the latter is #or :both Hebre49. It !aybe ort$ noting that
t$e e,$ression in ba .-+-6 concernin% Hthe hillsH bein% reduced to c$aff a55ears in t$e #argu! as
It$e kin%domsH 4ill be cha.
#$e Seven 7eads+ Do #$ey Re5resent Roman Em$erorsL
fee understood in the same 4a"& as Hrulershi$s&H Hkin%doms&H or
Ro!e%s ISeven 7illsI+ SeGuential8
#mon% other incon%ruities in the $reterist inter$retation is the
act that RomeMs Hseven hillsH 4ere not chronolo%icall"
successive. Since the heads o the beast arose& e,isted& and ell one
ater another& the same should be true o the hills o Rome& i the
$reterist vie4 4ere correct. $reterist inter$reters& ho4ever& have
never been able to& nor can the"& e,$lain satisactoril" ho4 those
seven literal& $h"sical hills on 4hich Rome as built have arisen
and allen se3uentiall".
)irst Century Succession of Ro!an &!5erors
Fe turn no4 to the matter o ho4 the irst centur" succession
o Roman em$erors matches the re3uirements o the biblical te,t.
Had ive em$erors alread" terminated their rei%ns 4ith a si,th one
rulin% at the time 4hen Aohn 4rote the book o RevelationL
list o Roman em$erors& be%innin% 4ith the Em$ire@s ounder&
#u%ustus :Gaius Aulius Caesar 0c!tavianus& the ado$tive son o
Aulius Caesar9& and continuin% to Aohn@s time o 4ritin% is as
.. #u%ustus :(7 B.C.!#.D. .+9
(. 2iberius :.+!779
7. Gaius Cali%ula :77!+.9
+. Claudius :+.!/+9
/. =ero :/+!<?9
<. Galba :<?!<*9
7. 0tho :<*9
?. Fellius :<*9
*. Ves$asian :<*!7*9
-9. 2itus :7*!?.9
... Domitian :?.!*<9>#$$ro,imate time Aohn 4rote
49 &.g.< 4hen Daniel said to =ebuchadneJJar& HOou are that head o %oldH :Dan (E7?9&
he 4as s$eakin% of :ebuc$adne>>ar%s kingdo! o Bab"lon. #$is is evident fro!
the conte,t+ H#ter "ou& anot$er kin%dom 4ill rise< inerior to yours. =e,t& a third
kin%dom& one o bronJe& 4ill rule over t$e $ole eart$. Finall"& there 4ill be a
fourt$ kin%dom& stron% as ironH :vss. 7*!+)9.
(. #$e vantage $oint rom 4hich t$e s$eciic identiication o these em$erors is to be
!ade is& o course< ;o$n%s on day. See n. .(& above. #lthou%h the te,t itself is
clear& adherents o t$e 5reterist 5osition are not a%reed as to $ic$ head as
5resent in Aohn@s da" > the si,th :4hat a nor!al readin% of t$e biblical te,t
indicates@< the seventh& or even an Hei%hth kin%H that is !entioned in Rev -2+--.
#ne Seven 7eads+ Do #$ey Re$resent Ro!an Em$erorsL
2his list obviousl" contains too man" em$erors to meet the necessar"
s$eciications. Ho4 then shall a list be constructed that has Iust ive
em$erors in se3uence $rior to the time 4hen Aohn 4rote Revelation& has
a si,th em$eror rulin% at the ver" time o Aohn@s 4ritin%& and has a seventh
one "et to comeL
5o%icall"& such a list should be%in 4ith #u%ustus& not onl" because he
instituted and inau%urated the Roman Em$ire :as distin%uished rom the $re!
cedin% Roman Re$ublic9& but also because it 4as durin% his rei%n that =2
histor" be%an. Some inter$reters $reer& ho4ever& to make 2iberius& #u%us!
tus@ immediate successor& the irst em$eror in their succession list. It 4as
durin% 2iberius@ rei%n that Christ@s ministr"& death& and resurrection occurred.
2hen too& there are still other inter$reters 4ho 4ould %o back in Roman his!
tor" be"ond the 1rinci$ate so as to be%in their se3uence 4ith Aulius Caesar
:d. ++ B.C.9. Finall"& there are a ver" e4 e,$ositors :the Hrare e,ce$tionH
no4 and then9 4ho 4ould look or a later startin% $oint& 4ith =ero& or
In all o the ore%oin% cases $reterist inter$reters are let 4ith an e,!
cessive number o em$erors. Conse3uentl"& the matter o determinin%
$recisel" 4hich em$erors 4ere su$$osedl" intended b" Aohn has created
endless conusion or such inter$reters. 2he various $ossibilities& but not all o
them& are summariJed in i%ure (.
#ccordin% to the table in i%ure (& there are /our $ossible startin% $oints
used b" most $reterists& thou%h it is some4hat uncommon to ind =ero $laced
in the initial $osition :as in column G4& #lso a$$arent rom that table is the
act that several o the lists omit the names o three em$erors> Galba& 0tho&
and Vitellius>4ho had onl" short rei%ns durin% the "ears <?!<*. In act& most
$reterist inter$reters do e,cise these three names.
2he historical circumstances $rovide absolutel" no 4arrant or omit tin%
these rulers. 22iese three 4ere in ever" sense %enuine em$erors& havin% had
ull conirmation b" the Roman Senate.
In this connection& it is interestin% to
note that Victorinus o1ettau :ca. #!D. 7))9& the Christian 4riter 4ho
$rovided the earliest e,tant 5atin commentar" on the book
(( Aose$hine /assyngbcrdc Ford& Revelation, AB< *J :=e4 Oork& .*7/9& (*)& refers a$$rovin%l" to S.
=ict%s re!ark t$at t$e t$ree s$ort-reigned cm$erore of <?!<* ere not in t$e series of Caesars<
and s$e $erself goes on to add+ I(nly the Caesars of the ;ulian and )lavian dynasty had eective
5oer over t$e territoly in$abited by t$e ;eis$ $eo$le.H But this sort of language betrays a lack
of knoledge of t$e realities of Ro!an $istory. 0 the so-called ICaesars<I HAulius CaesarI as
t$e onl" real ICaesarI by amil". (ctavian :H#u%ustusH9 as such b" ado5tion. And t$e Claudian
line also beca!e suc$ b" ado5tions< 4ith t$e I;ulio-ClaudiansI being #iberius< Caligula<
Claudius< and :ero. #$e )lavians used ICaesarI as a title of $onor< so!et$ing $ic$ =alba<
(t$o< and 'itellius had also done. /oreover< those three short!rci%ned em$erors had as !uc$
control over 1alestine as =ero had $en he reigned.
2he Seven HeadsE Do 2he"Re$resentHR<man Em$erorsL
Fi%ure (. Some 1reterist Identiicatioi nso theSi even Head S
"oman "ulers
Aulius Caesar
#u%ustus 2iberius
Cali%ula Claudius
=ero Galba 0tho
Ves$asian 2itus
+? B&)&5.. B.C. (7
B.C.!#.D. .+ #.D.
.+!77 #.D. 77!+.
#.D. +.!/+ #.D. /+!
<? #.D. <?!<* #.D.
<* #.D. <* #.D. <*!
7* #.D. 7*!?. #.D.
. (
7 +
/ <
( 7
+ /
. (
7 +
/ <
( 7
+ /
. (
7 +
/ <
( 7
/ <
. (
7 +
/ <
2he irst si, colun
o/ "e#elation :=e
Aose$hine 'ass"i
table& 4hich she a
t4o o 4hich are i
here is her ourth
unIustiied $roce no
scholar 4ho u G is a
rather at"$
nns are ada$ted rom a table %iven b" 2homas S. De$ler& The Boo1
s4 Oork& .*/79& .77. Column G is ada$ted rom a table %iven b"
n%berde Ford. "e#elation, #B& 7? :=e4 Oork. .*7/9& (?*. In Ford@s
redils to Ed4ard Sie%man& there are a total o our columns& the irst
dentical 4ith De$ler@s A and C :also m" desi%nation above9. 0mitted
column& 4hich stran%el" doubles the name HVitelliusH and b" that
dure %ets Domitian into the si,th $lace in the se3uence. I kno4 o
iliJes this $articular se3uence. Indeed& even the se3uence in column
ical one and does not have man" $ro$onents.
o Revelation& actuall" be%an his seven!head se3uence 4ith Galba& thus
revealin% his ull acce$tance o the three short!rei%ned em$erors.
Even 4ith the elimination o Galba& 0tho& and Vitellius& the lists that are
usuall" %iven b" $reterists sto$ short o $lacin% Domitian as si,th in the
se3uence. In act& the t4o lists that come closest :F and G9 make 2itus&
Domitian@s immediate $redecessor& the si,th em$eror in the se3uence.
contrast& the ancient e,$ositor Victorinus $laces Domitian in the si,th $lace
b" be%innin% 4ith Galba. #lthou%h he omits =ero com$letel" rom the
seven!$erson se3uence& he stran%el" reers to him as the Hei%hthH kin%
mentioned in Revelation .7E...
(7 Victorinus& )ommentar on the A!ocal!se of the Blessed /ohn, comment on Rev .7E.) :see #=F&
(+ #$ere are& of course< 5reterist co!!entators and e,egetes $o believe that Revelation 4as
durin% t$e reign o 2itus or t$at o Ves$asian. Some su%%est a ti!e even as ar back as the end
of =ero@s rei%n.
(/ Victorinus& comments on Rev .7E.) and .7E...
##SeRSeven7eads+#61#Bey re5resent Ro!an Em$erorsL
In the inal anal"sis& all $reterist identiications o the seven heads o the sea
beast re3uire some adIustment o the biblical te,t and6or o histor". Such a $rocedure
is& o course& hi%hl" sus$ect and can hardl" lead to sound conclusions. Indeed& an"
mani$ulation o the evidence undercuts the ver" oundation on 4hich sound
inter$retation must be based.
Some Vit#l Aue'ies
Fe have no4 looked at several inconsistencies and anomalies in the
$reterist identiication o the beast@s seven heads. 2here are& nevertheless&
some urther vital 3uestions that need to be asked concernin% an" list o
em$erors that $reterist inter$reters mi%ht submitE
.. Fould Aohn@s readers6hearers in the Roman $rovince o #sia have been
an" less $er$le,ed than is modern scholarshi$ in tr"in% to determine a list o
Roman em$erors that 4ould it the te,tual re3uirementsL
(. Fould there be an" se3uence o seven Roman em$erors that mi%ht be
es$eciall" meanin%ul or o $articular interest to those #sian ChristiansL
7. Could 4e e,$ect those irst centur" Christians to have been able& in the
ourteenth or iteenth "ear o Domitian& to recall rom memor" a correct
se3uential list o ive earlier Roman em$erors :e,cludin%& as $reterists toda"
4ould do& the three em$erors 4ith short rei%ns in <?!<*9L #ll three o these
3uestions obviousl" deserve ne%ative ans4ers.
2he oll" im$lied b" the third 3uestion above has been hi%hli%hted b"
1aul S. 'inear in a rhetorical 3uestionE HHo4 man" #mericans can im!
mediatel" name the last seven $residentsLH
2his 3uestion $osed b" 'inear
$oints in the ri%ht direction& but hardl" does Iustice to the ma%nitude and
ormidabilit"othe task thatAohn@sori%inal readers and hearers 4ould have
aced in tr"in% to think o a se3uence o earlier Roman em$erors. #ter all&
most #mericans have learned the se3uence o 8nited States $residents in
elementar" or secondar" school& i no4here else. 2his
kind o lu,ur" 4as not available& o course& to the irst centur" Christians in
Roman #sia.
2he len%th o $residential time in oice $er 8nited Sstates $resident is
about si, "ears :hal4a" bet4een one and t4o terms o our "ears each9&
4hereas the avera%e len%th o rei%n or a Roman em$eror u$ to Aohn@s da"& but
e,cludin% the three em$erors o <?!<*& 4ould be iteen "earsN In act& rom
the time #u%ustus established the Em$ire in (7 B.C. until Aohn 4rote the
Revelation 4as a$$ro,imatel" .(7 "earsN Even i 4e 4ere to e,!
(< /inear< (+).
#$e Seven 7eads+ Do 2he" Re$resent Roman E2m$erorsL
elude the unusuall" lon% rei%n o #u%ustus& the time la$se 4ould be
about ?. or ?( "ears and the avera%e len%th o rei%n 4ould be about
t4elve "ears.
2he crucial $oint to consider in connection 4ith the ore%oin%
anomalies is that none o them 4ould have arisen i the biblical te,t
had been read and treated $ro$erl"& 4ith due 4ei%ht %iven to the
best translation and the correct meanin% o Revelation .7E*. 2he
reerence in that te,t to Hseven mountains&H immediatel" alerted
Aohn@s #sian $arishioners to the act that the s"mbol re$resented a
series o successive world em!ires&
Fas there such a series o 4orld em$ires $rior to Aohn@s da"&
4ith one em$ire in e,istence at the ver" time 4hen he 4rote
RevelationL Indeed so. #nd the evidence or this is suicientl"
clear in the 02& a source 4hose contents 4ere both 4ell kno4n and
trul" meanin%ul to the irst!centur" Christians in the Roman
$rovince o #sia :E%"$t& #ss"ria& Bab"lon& 1ersia&
Grecia& Rome9.
#$e Aounded and Resuscitated 7ead
#nother im$ortant item that su$$osedl" under%irds the $reterist
identit" o the beast@s seven heads as Roman em$erors is the
reerence to the mortal 4oundin% and resuscitation o one o those
heads :.7E79. 'ost $reterist inter$reters eel that here is an a$t 4a"
to reer s"mbolicall" to the death o Em$eror =ero and to the
subse3uent Nero redi#i#us m"th :=ero@s alle%ed return to lie9.
Ho4ever& a e4 inter$reters 4ould choose another Roman em$eror&
such as Gaius Cali%ula or Ves$asian.
:ero%s Reign and De!ise
2he lie and rei%n o =ero& the ado$tive son o Em$eror
Claudius& 4ere notoriousl" 4icked. 0 more interest to him than
matters o state 4ere music :in act& he elt that at his death the
4orld 4ould lose a %reat vocalist
9& theatrical $erormance& and
es$eciall" $artici$ation in chariot races.
(7 Cali%ula took ill and t$en as restored to health& and Ves$asian 4as e,iled b" =ero
and then recalled. #$ere even are inter$reters 4ho believe t$e mortal 4ound 4as a
relection o Aulius Caesar%s assassination in ++ B.C. and t$at the resuscitation took
effect throu%h #u%ustus@ establishment of t$e Princi5ate.
4J #acitus< Annals, A!!endi0 to Book +E, .+& states that durin% =ero@s directin% o the
$re$aration or his deat$ and inter!ent< he sig$ed in a $iteous manner and then
added the remark here
Guoted. See also Suetonius& Nero, .B.
4B Cf.< e.%.& #acitus< Annals, .+../&.<; ./.7/&77; .<.7; A!!endi0 to Boo1 +E,/&7&.(.
#$eRevenR#eads+ Do #$ey Re5resent Ro!an &!5erors8
the Roman mind& these activities 4ere not a$$ro$riate for an em$eror.
B" #.D. <7& the "ear beore the end o =ero@s rei%n& riots broke out
a%ainst his rulershi$& $articularl" in Gaul and S$ain. #bout mid"ear in #D.
<? he 4as deserted b" the 1raetorian Guard :the cohort o troo$s assi%ned to
$rotect the em$eror9 and re$udiated b" the Senate. Indeed& the Senate
3uickl" $roceeded to a$$oint Galba as em$eror. In vie4 o these
circumstances& =ero kne4 he must lee. But 4hereL 5ocations raced throu%h
his mind& es$eciall" E%"$t and S$ain. Ho4ever& earin% or his saet" in an"
Roman $rovince& he o$ted instead to acce$t an invitation to the suburban
villa o his aithul reedman riend& 1haon.
#t that locale& some our miles rom the cit" o Rome& =ero received
4ord that the Senate had declared him a $ublic enem" and that he 4as to be
e,ecuted 4ith all the Hancient ri%or.H 2his kind o death 4ould be both
e,tremel" humiliatin% and e,traordinaril" $ainul& or it entailed stri$$in%
the condemned $erson o all clothin% and beatin% him to death in a $ublic
ceremon". Fhen the soldiers 4ho had been dis$atched to arrest him
a$$roached 1haon@s villa& =ero& in order to avoid ca$ture and urther
A%nom"& committed suicide b" slittin% his throat 4ith a s4ord. 2his took
$lace on Aune *& #.D. <?.
Ru!ors about :ero
#ter =ero@s death& rumors s$ran% u$ :es$eciall" in the East9 that he 4as
not reall" dead but had led to 1arthia :a nation located east o 'eso$otamia&
in 4hat toda" is kno4n as the Iranian 1lateau9. From there he 4as e,$ected
to return 4ith an arm" to retake his throne. In a later sta%e o the m"th& the
realit" o =ero@s demise 4as acce$ted& but it 4as believed that there 4ould be
either a resuscitation o =ero himsel or the rise o a $erson 4hose character
and activities 4ould be similar to those o =ero. 'ost modem $reterist
inter$reters assume that Aohn looked u$on Em$eror Domitian as the
ulillment o the Nero redi#i#us m"th.
Several 3uestions must no4 be asked about the $reterist identiication o
=ero@s death and the Nero redi#i#us m"th 4ith the 4ounded and resuscitated
head o the beast :.7E79E
.. Ho4 4ell does =ero@s death meet the biblical s$eciications concernin%
the mortal 4ound and the healin% o that 4oundL
(. Ho4 $rominent and si%niicant 4as the Nero redi#i#us m"th durin% the
latter $art o the irst centur"L
3% The -etail$ #'e iven 1+@CacEtvs)Annals) Appendi; to Book +,,$3<$-.
#$e Seven 7eads+ Do #$ey Re5resent%P.o!an%&!5erdrs8
7. Did Christians in %eneral>or an"one else& or that matter>
believe that Domitian re$resented a sort o HreincarnationH o =eroL
:ero%s Suicide Co!5ared Ait$ t$e Biblical #e,t
In res$onse to the irst o these 3uestions& 4e $resent several
salient $oints hi%hli%hted b" 1aul S. 'inear :the or%aniJation and
%iven these $oints is& ho4ever& mine9E
.. In the biblical te,t Hthe 4ound& althou%h irst assi%ned to one
o its Qthe beast@sR heads& is later assi%ned t4ice to the beast itsel
:Rev .7E.(& .+9.H #lthou%h the em$ire and the rulin% em$eror ma"&
in a sense& be considered as interchan%eable in that Han em$ire@s
authorit" is vested in the em$eror&H this identiication ceases 4hen
the em$eror leaves oice.
(. #s a corollar" to the $oint Iust noticed& 4e ma" add that
=ero@s death Idid not Ieo$ardiJe the $o4er o the em$ire& because
he died as a u%itive and enem" o the state.H Rather& his death
demonstrated Hthe su$erior
$o4er o the state.H
7. 2he healin% o the 4ound led $eo$le Hto ackno4led%e the
invulnerabilit" o the beast :not o the head9H; it Hencoura%ed the
beast to %reater blas$hem"H and increased the beass $o4er o
dece$tion. 2here is Habsolutel" no evidence that the rumored
resuscitation o =ero actuall" had such eects as these&H but rather&
the Hle%end o =ero@s $endin% return rom 1arthia 4as even
considered a threat to the em$ire and its rulers.H
+. 2he beass H4ound 4as not sel!inlicted& but Q4asR %iven to
the beast b" its enem".H Furthermore& can H4e ind an" case in
a$ocal"$tic literature in 4hich the beast intentionall" commits
/. Consideration must be %iven not onl" to Aohn@s t"$ical usa%e
o the 4ord Hs4ordH but also to his t"$ical usa%e o the 4ord
H4ound.H In Greek the 4ord translated @M4oundH O!tegS, a term
4hich is consistentl" rendered as H$la%ueH in its other t4elve
occurrences in Revelation. =ever does Aohn use either o these
terms>Hs4ordH or H$la%ueH>or a sel!inlicted 4ound& such as
=ero@s suicide. 2hus& i 4e Hare %uided b the vocabular" o the
$ro$het&H 'inear $oints out& H4e must conclude that the s4ord 4as
the s"mbol o God@s 4rathH and that the H4ound 4as a God!
inlicted $la%ue.H
#mon% these and other ar%uments b" 'inear& some
considerations are
7. 'inear& (/)!/..
*4 Ibid.< (/..
** Ibid.< (/(.
7+ Ibid.
*6 Ibid.. (/7.
iseRff 7eads+-61 2ie" Re$resent Roman Em$erorsL
relativel" stron%er than others. 2heir combined orce and total 4ei%ht& ho4ever& are
im$ressive and the" certainl" colla$se the $reterist thesis that =ero@s death and the
Nero redi#i#us m"th meet the s$eciications o the biblical te,t in Revelation
#$e :ero Redivivus /yt$
Sibylline oracles. Fe res$ond no4 to the second basic 3uestion& 4hich
re3uires that 4e scrutiniJe a bit more closel" the Nero redi#i#us m"th itsel and its
alle%ed $lace in histor". It a$$ears that the main literar" e,$ression o this m"th
occurred in& and 4as $er$etuated b"& some o the doom utterances in the Siblline
Cracles, book + :dated to4ard the end o the irst centur" o the Christian Era9 and
book / :com$iled about the middle o the second centur"9. 2hese so!called oracles
4ere 4ritten bet4een the second centur" B.C. and the ith centur" #.D. in imitation
o the Greek Sib"l>a $a%an $ro$hetess. 2he t4elve e,tant books :out o an ori%inal
./ 4orks9 contain a mi,ture o $a%an& Ae4ish& and Greek items.
In book +& 4ithin the conte,t o a broad historical surve" dealin% 4ith 4orld
kin%doms rom #ss"ria to Rome and settin% orth doom $roclamations a%ainst a
variet" o $laces :such as& Sicil"& Greece& 2hebes& Rhodes& Corinth& Cartha%e&
5aodicea& and #rmenia& et al.9& there is an allusion to the Roman attack on
Aerusalem that laid 4aste the tem$le o God :obviousl" the destruction o #D. 7)9.
It is here that 4e ind the ollo4in%E
... and then shall a %reat kin% rom Ital" lee a4a" like a deserter& unseen&
unheard o& be"ond the ord o Eu$hrates& ater he has $olluted his hands
4ith the hateul murder o his mother& doin% the deed 4ith 4icked hand.
#nd man" round his throne shall drench the soil o Rome 4ith their blood&
4hen he has led be"ond Qor& HoverHR the land o 1arthia.... 2hen shall come
to the 4est the strie o 4ar stirred u$& and the e,iled man o Rome& linin%
u$ a mi%ht" s4ord& crossin% the Eu$hrates 4ith man" tens o thousands.
7< 2hou%h 'inear has been vei" $erce$tive in his obIections to the traditional $reterist $osition& his on
alternative solution is also so!e$at deective& $articulari" in that it )ails to ado5t the a$ocal"$tic
$ers$ective o a continuum in histoi". Rat$er than ollo4in% t$e lead 4hich could have been
obtained in Dan 7& he colla$ses the seven $eads more or less into sim$l" a matter o Aohn@s intent to
focus Iu5on the $resent sta%e in t$e messianic stru%%leH :$. (+79. 2here is& o course& a ocus on that
sta%e& but a good deal o the em$hasis also is u$on a $hase uture to Aohn :namel"& the era o t$e sea
beast and t$en o its com$anion& t$e earth beast9.
77 Siblline Cracles, +.+*!.(+&.77!.7* :4ith the 3uoted material bein% rom +...*!.(+&.77!.7* in the
edition o H. =. Bate& The Siblline Cracles2 Boo1s III5V Q5ondon& S1CD& .*.?R& ??!]*9. In the
edition o 'ilton S. 2en"& The Siblline Cracles, Translated /rom the Gree1 into English Blan1
V1rse :=e4 OorkE #'S 1ress& .*77; re$rinted rom the edition o .?**9& the material a$$ears on $$.
.).!7 and is identiied as +.<.!.<(&.7<!.?).
2he Seven 7eads+ Do #$ey Re$resent@RbmanHEm$er<rs7
In Book / there are several reerences that clearl" allude to
=ero. 0ne o these statements $ro$hesies %reat evil at the
return o a $erson H4ho shall make hone"!s4eet son%s 4ith a
voice o melod"& $la"in% the actor& and shall sla" both his
4retched mother and man" besides.H
Else4here in book /
there is mention o a $erson havin% Hthe letter it"&H 4ho be!
comes kin% and s$reads %reat conusion and evil. He is a
$erson 4ho Hshall return& makin% himsel e3ual to God&H but
4hose Hnothin%nessH 4ill be revealed b" God.
Some o the
reerences in book / could 4ell have ed the notion held b" a
e4 later Christian 4riters that =ero 4as to return as
the end!time antichrist.
But Iust ho4 inluential 4ere the Sibllmes
2hese oracles took the
orm o a cr"$tic& o!beat kind o literature that b" no means
%ained 4ides$read acce$tance. In act& the so!called oracles o the
sib"ls& eminine soothsa"ers& 4ere commonl" held in lo4 esteem
b" the more educated and kno4led%eable classes o $eo$le. Fhile
it is true that the above!cited statements aorded the Nero
redi#i#us m"th a sort o He,tension o lieH or chronolo%ical
lon%evit"& this act cannot be considered as Iustiication or the
s4ee$in% statements made b" man" modem commentators and
e,e!%etes that the m"th 4as ver" 4idel" kno4n and believed>
even Huniversall"H so in the East>durin% Aohn@s time.
Ru!ors. Some rumors that =ero had not reall" died did
surace& a $oint 4e have alread" noted. Fhat is im$ortant to
reco%niJe& ho4ever& is that the most reliable o the secular
sources o the irst several centuries #!D.>includin%& or
e,am$le& the Roman historian 2acitus :4ho 4rote his Annals and
=istor earl" in the second centur"9>reIected such rumors as
bein% mere abrications that 4ere s$urred on b" the rise o
various individuals im$ersonatin% =ero. 5ike4ise& the earliest
and most credible amon% the Christian 4riters %ive no credence
or credibilit" to the Nero redi#i#us m"th& i in act the" even
kne4 o it.
(fficial recognition of :ero%s deat$. 2he alsit" o the
conce$t that =ero actuall" survived his suicide and 4as in hidin%
amon% the 1arthians or else4here is evidenced& irst o all& b" the
events that immediatel" ollo4ed his death. 2hese included
$ublic reco%nition o his demise& the trans!
7? Ibid.& /..+.!.+7 :Bate ed.& **; in the 2err" ed.& the reerence a$$ears on $. .(. and is
desi%nated as/..*...*79. C./.7<.!7?/ :Bate ed.& ..)!...; in the 2err" ed.& .77!7+&
4ith desi%nation as/.+?/!
7* Ibid-< /.(*!7+ (Bate cd.& *+; in the #eny ed.& ../& 4ith desi%nation as 7*P+*9.
+) See es$eciall" t$e second reference cited in n. 7?. )or that section in book 6< Bate
has inserted a headin% t$at reads< I#$e comin% of #ntichrist :=ero9E the %reat
Far& and the $eace o the ri%hteous.H Regarding the Christian 4riters& sec n. +*&
#nPSeRn/eadsnR#$ey Re5resent Ro!an &!5erors8
er o his remains to #u%ustusM mausoleum& and the su%%estion b" an em!
bass" rom the 1arthian ruler Volo%eses that $onor be $aid to =ero@s
memor" :the $rimar" unction o the embass" 4as to con%ratulate Galba as
the ne4 em$eror9.
2o this clear evidence o the stron% oicial reco%nition o =eroMs
%enuine demise 4e ma" add the unanimous testimon" o the Roman his!
torians o the irst several centuries o the Christian Era.
=one o these
historians had an" notion 4hatever that =ero mi%ht have esca$ed death
someho4 on his ateul suicide da" in Aune o the "ear <?.
#s urther evidence o the realit" o =ero@s death and the reco%nition
%iven it& 4e ma" take note o the act that there 4ere $ublic acclamations
reerrin% to Em$eror 0tho as H=ero 0tho.H
2his 4ould have been hi%hl"
unlikel" i the real =ero had still been around. Indeed& even the rise o =ero
$retenders& a matter 4e mention belo4& is an indication that =ero 4as no
lon%er alive. 2he act that some o these im$ostors resided or a 4hile in
1arthia is rather stron% evidence a%ainst the validit" o the Nero redi#i#us
m"th. 2he" could hardl" have resided in 1arthia i the real =ero 4as there
too& makin% $re$arations or an invasion o Rome.
I!5ersonators. Im$ersonators o =ero be%an to a$$ear 4ithin a "ear
ater his death. 2he irst such 4as a =ero Hlook!alikeH 4ho in #!D. <*& 4ith a
%rou$ o Hva%rants&H landed on the island oC"thnus.
2he man not onl"
resembled =ero in $h"sical eatures& but also had a sin%in% voice much like
that o =ero. 2he dece$tion 4as rather limited in outreach& thou%h it
tem$oraril" aroused considerable local interest 2he Hillusion&H as 2acitus
calls it& vanished 3uickl"& ho4ever& 4hen the $retender 4as ca$tured and
In #!D. 7* 2erentius 'a,imus& another individual re$uted to be much
like =ero& also im$ersonated the latter.
He led 4ith some adherents to
1arthia and there caused a stir b" $lannin% to invade Rome. E. F. Benson has
concluded that it 4as the esca$ades o this individual that %ave rise to the
Nero redi#i#us m"th in the orm in 4hich it is set orth in book + o the
Siblline Cracles& Reerence is made there to the east4ard li%ht o Ha %reat
kin% rom Ital"H 4ho had murdered his mother :4hich the real =ero had
41 See1 eA+A)1aAdtvs)A,ta*) Appendi; to Book %&)%")
.D E.%!& #acitus and Suetonius in t$e earl" second centiu" and Dio Cassius in the early third centur"!
+7 Sec 2acitus& =istw, ..7?.
++ Ibid.& (.?!*.
+/ Ibid.& (.*.
+< Conaras. --.-JF c. 2acitus& =istor, ..(. (;o$anncs Conaras as a By>antine historian who early in
t$e t4elth century 5re5ared an e5ito!e or HversionH of Dio Cassius% Roman =istor&4
#$e Seven 7eads+ Do #$ey Re5resent Roman Em$erorsL
indeed done9 and 4ho 4ould cross the Eu$hrates River 4ith a
lar%e arm".
#bout a decade later& "et another =ero $retender ound
tem$orar" reu%e in 1arthia& but he 4as e,tradited to Rome.
his case and in the case o the other im$ostors& the ollo4in% 4as
small. =one received an" trul" substantial endorsement as bein%
the real =ero. #nd& as ar as 4e can tell& this recurrin% conce$t o a
Nero redi#i#us terminated 3uickl" 4hen the res$ective $retender
and his ollo4ers 4ere discredited and su$$ressed.
2hat 4hich did %ive the m"th some4hat o an e,tended lie
4as& as 4e have seen& its incor$oration into the Siblline Cracles&
2hese cr"$tic and m"stical messa%es ma" have inluenced a e4
Christian 4riters in the ourth and ith centuries to think that =ero
4ould be resurrected :or that he had been miraculousl" ke$t alive9
and 4ould a$$ear either as a orerunner o the last!da" antichrist or
be an HantichristH himsel.
But the earliest Church Fathers& as
4ell as the earliest and most reliable secular 4riters& did not a$$ear
to $lace much trust in the so!called oracles o the sib"l> oracles
that 4ere considered to be not onl" s$eculative but 4ere oten
4orded so as to be o$en to dierin% inter$retations.
:ero Redivivus and Do!itian
Fe e,amine no4 the issue o our third 3uestionE Fas the
em$eror Domitian re%arded as a HreincarnationH o =eroL 'odem
$reterist inter$reters 3uite %enerall" believe that Aohn looked u$on
Domitian as bein% the HresuscitationH o =ero. But Iust ho4 co%ent
is this o$inionL #nd ho4 does it mesh 4ith th- re3uirements o
the biblical te,tL
.. First& the biblical te,t indicates that it is the #er same head
that suers the mortal 4ound that e,$eriences a subse3uent
healin% or reviviication :.7E79. 2hereore& i =ero is considered to
be the reci$ient o the 4ound& it must also be =ero :not Domitian9
4ho $ersonall" is resuscitated.
(. 2he biblical te,t reers rather em$haticall" to the
blas$hemies uttered b" the sea beast :.7E/!<9. =ero& ho4ever& did
not covet divine titles& nor did he vaunt an air o divinit"; hence he
does not meet this s$eciication o the biblical te,t. Domitian did&
o course& ind $leasure in bein%
.2 &dard Fhite Benson& The A!oca/!se2 An Introductor Stud ofthe "e#elation o/
St& John the Divine (London< .*))9& .</.
.J Suetonius& 'ero, /7.
+* Benson& .<?!7)& reers to 5actantius :ca. 7.+9& Sul$icius Severus& and /artin o
2ours :as 3uoted b Sul$icius9. 2he" are t$e only C$ristian riters 4hom he
could find 4ith a belief that =ero ould be returning as an eschatolo%ical Fi%ure.
7e adds that Augustine o 7i55o :d. +7)9& a contem$orar" o /artin and
Sul$icius& indicated t$at some $ersons elt =ero had been ke$t alive& Ha
5resu!5tion Q4hichR 4as to $i! ver" marvclous.H
The Seven Heads20o 2he" Re$resent Roman Em$erorsL
called H5ordH and HGod&H
an attitude that mi%ht readil" be considered
blas$hemous. But here he stood more in the tradition o Gaius Cali%ula than
in that o =ero.
7. 2here are urther contrasts bet4een =ero and Domitian. (or instance&
=ero@s $ersecution o Christians 4as $rinci$all" one s$asmodic outburst.
Domitian on the other hand a$$ears to have ostered a more HstudiedH or
H$lannedH attitude to4ard $ersecution& but one 4hich the Christian 4riter
2ertullian described as not lastin% lon%& because Domitian Hhad somethin% o
the human in him.H
#%ain& =ero 4as a lavish H$la"bo"H em$eror& 4hereas
Domitian 4as basicall" a concerned and able administrator>althou%h also
morose& sus$icious& and t"rannical& es$eciall" to4ard the end o his rei%n.
+. In the biblical te,t& the sea beast is Ioined b" an assistant& the t4o!
horned earth beast& 4ho enters the scene 4hen the sea beast@s deadl" 4ound is
healed& makes an idol to that irst beast& and calls u$on all $eo$le to 4orshi$
the sea beast. #s ar as I have been able to determine& no one has ever
discovered or su%%ested an" $erson that 4ould meet these s$eciications in
connection 4ith Domitian.
/. Finall"& there is no evidence 4hatsoever in an" o the reliable secular
sources or in the earliest Christian $atristic 4riters to su%%est that Domitian
4as ever considered& in an" sense& a HreincarnationH o =ero or a
HreviviicationH o the s$irit o =ero. 2he closest e come to such a statement
is 2ertullian@s mention in his A!olog :4ritten about the "ear .*79 that =ero
4as the church@s irst $ersecutor and that Domitian like4ise 4as a cruel
2ertullian& ho4ever& %ives no hint 4hatsoever that he
himsel :or an"one else9 looked u$on Domitian as ulillin% the Nero redi5
#i#us m"th.
Benson& 4ho made a thorou%h%oin% investi%ation o the historical status
o the so!called Nero redm#us m"th& has careull" scrutiniJed both secular
/) Dio Cassius& "oman =istor, <7./.7.
/. Cali%ula 4as so ena!ored it$ the thou%ht o bein% divine that he built an i!5ressive bridge rom
the 1alatine hill to t$e Ca$itoline hill& this in order to be able to co!!unicate !ore readily it$ his
Hbrother %od&H ;u5iter Ca$itolinus.
/( rcrtu@ian, A!olog M :in A:)< 7E((9.
/7 Dio Cassius& Roman ffistmy, <7..7!.<& %ives !any details o Do!itian%s rei%n of terror fro!
#.D. *7!*<. #ctuall"& as re$orted in <7../& there 4ere already evidences in A.D. *. that Do!itian
4as t"rannical.
/+ 2ertullian& A!olog M&
2he Seven HeadsE Do 2he" Re$resent Roman Em$erorsL
and Christian ancient sources. His conclusions are 4orth notin% here. 0n
the basis o the inormation obtained rom secular 4riters& Benson statesE
2he circumstances Qrelatin% to =ero@s deathR 4ere es$eciall" $ro!
vocative o $retenders. But this is no e,ce$tional dis$la" o them > #
batch o im$ostors in the "ear ollo4in% his Q=ero@sR death& all
insi%niicant& one ten and one t4ent" "ears ater his death& both in the
interests o 1arthia > and Dion Chr"sostom@s %ibe.
2he %ibe to 4hich Benson reers is ound in Dion@s MM4ild&
coarse& sarcastic Dialo%ue on the Foll" o 'ankind&H and is to the
eect that HallH o Dion@s contem$oraries 4ished that =ero 4ere
still alive and that $most$ of them ancied that he 4as so. Dion@s
$oint is that Hbad as he 4as& =ero as ver" lavish& and that the
$eo$le care or nothin% but this& es$eciall" in the time o stin%"
It so ha$$ens that =ero@s immediate successor& Galba&
4as reno4ned or stin%iness and austerit"& even den"in% soldiers
some unds that had been $romised them.
Concernin% the evidence rom secular sources& Benson states
urther& Hthat the idea Qthat =ero had survived his re$orted suicideR
4as loated is certain enou%h& QbutR to attribute im$ortance to it is
absurd. It 4as credited b" no one o credit.H
#s e turn to Benson@s conclusion re%ardin% t$e 4itness o the
earl" Christian 4riters& 4e must note that he scrutiniJed ever"
$ertinent statement o eminent Church Fathers do4n to the ith
centur". He then set orth his conclusion as ollo4sE
2here is no mention amon% these real teachers :in the earl"
Christian churchR o =ero@s ever havin% been alive ater his suicide
>none o a Huniversal Christian e,$ectationH o his return > none
o Domitian@s oerin% an" re$roduction o him& or an" ulilment o
an" $ro$hecies about
In vie4 o the evidence dra4n rom the best in both ancient
secular and Christian sources& it 4ould a$$ear that i Aohn believed
Domitian to be some sort o reincarnation o =ero& he 4ould have
been entirel" uni3ue in this belieN Fe can be ull" conident that
Domitian 4as b" no means
66 Benson& .<<.
61 Ibid.< .</!<<.
/7 Re$orted& e.%.& b" 2acitus& =istor, IS< also b" Dio Cassius& "oman =istor, <+.7.
6J Benson< .<<.
/* Ibid.& .7(.
#lieSeven7eads+ #6o #$ey Re5resent Ro!an &!5erors8
envisa%ed in the book o Revelation as re$resentin% a reviviication o =ero. Indeed&
as 4e sa4 in the earlier $art o this cha$ter& the entit" re$resented b" the sea beast
4as still uture in Aohn@s da"; $ence< neither =ero
nor Domitian could have had an" relationshi$ to the $articulars set orth in the
biblical te,t.
The Num1e' ...
Fe e,amine no4 a inal ar%ument that $reterists use as evidence or
identi"in% the leo$ard!bodied beast as the em$ire o RomeE the numeral
<<< :.7E.?9. 2hat te,t states& H2his calls or4isdom 3so!hia42 I an"one has
insi%ht 8ho e0//n noun9, let him calculate the number o the beast& or it is
man@s number. His number is <<<.H 2he beast here reerred to is the leo$ard!
bodied sea beast& as the conte,t makes clear.
In the %eneral $reterist vie4& this number <<< is an e,am$le o/gema5
tria, a cr"$tic $rocedure 4herein letters o the al$habet stand or numbers
that are meanin%ul in identi"in% names. #ccordin%l" most $reterists ind in
.7E.? a urther si%niicant clue to substantiate the identiication o the
sea beast 4ith the Roman Em$ire and its heads 4ith a succession o Roman
It is usuall" su%%ested that number values o the letters in the name o
Em$eror =ero add u$ to <<<. 2he 4a" this is accom$lished 4ill be noted
later& to%ether 4ith an evaluation o that $rocess.
I!5ortant =eneral Considerations
Beore $roceedin% to anal"Je the name o Em$eror =ero and its alle%ed
numerical value& 4e state here three %eneral considerations that are o vital
.. #ccordin% to the Bible the number <<< is a$$lied to the beast itsel&
not to one o its heads. But =ero& accordin% to the $reterist vie4& 4as one o
the seven heads.
(. 'inear has observed thatgematria a$$ears to be orei%n to the book o
It is a $henomenon that is not at all characteristic o Aohn@s
4ritin%. 2his bein% the case& 4ould 4e here :.7E.?9 have a sole e,ce$tionL
Should not Aohn@s normal a$$roach to the use o numbers lead us to look in
some other direction than the e,$loration o ho4 the letters in Em$eror =ero@s
name could add u$ to <<<L
<) /inear< (/7.
#$e Seven HeadsE Do #$ey Re5resent Roman Em$erorsL
7. 'inear has also $ointed out that the ver" %reat ran%e o $ersons
4hose names have become candidates or the ulillment o the <<<
renders the 4hole $rocedure sus$ect.
Ro!an :a!es< and t$e :a!e of I:eroI
Fe discuss briel" the nature o Roman names as a $reliminar"
ste$ beore assessin% ho4 the name o =ero is %enerall" utiliJed b"
to match the number <<<.
Roman names characteristicall" consisted o three $artsE the
!rae5nomen :%iven name9& the nomen :the name o the gens or
HclanH9& and the cognomen :amil" name9. #do$tions :had occurred
or several o the em$erors beore =ero& as 4ell as in his o4n case9
could chan%e and6or enlar%e the names. Furthermore& Roman
em$erors oten tended to use honoriic titles& the most common o
these bein% H#u%ustusH :Greek& sebas5tos4, a avorable acclamation
%iven to 0ctavian or his victories and activities that led to an era o
securit" and $eace 4ithin t4o decades ater the assassination o
Aulius Caesar in ++ B.C.
2he name HCaesarH eventuall" became a title or Roman
em$erors& thou%h it 4as ori%inall" a amil" name>the amil"
name o Gaius Aulius Caesar :HAulius CaesarH9& and also transmitted
:alon% 4ith the clan name HAuliusH9 to
someohissuccessorsb"means o ado$tion. For instance& 2iberius
4as b" birth a member o the )'awiiangens :2iberius Claudius
=ero9& but 4hen ado$ted b" #u%ustus he entered the Aulian gens
and the Caesar amil".
#s or =ero& he 4as the son o Gnaeus Domitius #henobarbus
and bore the name 5ucius Domitius #henobarbus. Fhen he 4as
ado$ted b" Em$eror Claudius in the "ear #.D. /)& he became a
member o the daudianPe4& a ste$ 4hich made $ossible his
succession to the em$eror!shi$ 4hen Claudius died in #.D. /+.
2hrou%h this ado$tion 5ucius 4as also %iven a ne4 nameE H=ero
Claudius Caesar&H or more ull" H=ero Claudius Caesar #u%ustus
Drusus Germanicus.H
2o4ard the end o his rei%n =ero added as a sort o titular
!raenomen the desi%nation Him$eratorH :the term rom 4hich our
4ord Hem$erorH derives9. 2his 4as an honoriic title 4hich in
earlier Roman histor" had been accorded to victorious Roman
%enerals at their trium$hal a$$earance in the cit". Durin% the
Em$ire $eriod& ho4ever& it 4as the $rero%ative o the !rince!s to
hold that title as commander!in!chie o all the Roman militar"
1- Ibid.. (/<.
2he Seven HeadsE Do 2he" Re$resent Roman Em$erorsL
2o 4hat does the ore%oin% discussion add u$L 2he $oint to notice is that there
are& in realit"& man" o$tions 4hen decidin% on Iust 4hat name o =ero should be
chosen or the <<< calculation. 0icial contem$orar" documents bearin% Em$eror
=ero@s name commonl" identiied him as H=ero Claudius CaesarH or H=ero
Claudius Caesar Germanicus.H #t times the desi%nation H#u%ustusH 4as also
incor$orated into the series o names.
2he Roman historians& ho4ever& tended to reer to him sim$l" as H=ero&H
$erha$s to distin%uish him rom 2iberius Claudius =ero :H2iberiusH9 and 2iberius
Claudius Drusus =ero Germanicus :HClaudiusH9& 2here are also some documents
that reer to him as H=ero Caesar&H and others that use sim$l" the desi%nation
HCaesarH or Hthe Caesar.H It is interestin% to note that 4hen the a$ostle 1aul
a$$ealed or a hearin% b" Em$eror =ero& onl" the term HCaesarH 4as used. !
Preterist 5rodecure. #lthou%h it 4ould seem lo%ical to include the name
HClaudiusH in the calculation o <<< :inasmuch as it 4as =ero@s ado$tion into the
Claudian gens that o$ened the 4a" or him to become em$eror9& the orm o the
name actuall" chosen b" most $reterists is H=ero Caesar :or Caesar =ero9.H
#n n is then added to H=ero&H thus $roducin% H=eron.H =e,t& a transliteration is
made into Hebre46#ramaic characters& resultin% imoL iru 3mwnGsr4& Finall"& the
number values o those Hebre4 characters are totaled to e3ual <<<. I H=eroH rather
than H=eronH 4ere to be used& the total 4ould be <.<
#lthou%h there is some
manuscri$t evidence in avor o the number <.<& the $re$onderance o evidence
su%%ests that <<< is the ori%inal and correct number.
2here is obviousl" an intentional $la" on the number <& hei%htened b" the tri$le
re$etition o it.
It is a Hhuman number&M@
and thus re$resents incom$leteness and
inade3uac". 2his contrasts 4ith the number 7 that is
<( #cts (/E.)!..; see also (/E.(& (.; (<E7(; (7E(+.
<7 2homas S. De$ler& The Boo1 o/ "e#elation :=e4 Oork& .*/79& .+?& $oints out an alternative method
used b" some $reterist inter$retersE namel"& to %ive to the letters in the Latin 4ord Neron numerical
e3uivalents 4hich total <<<>4ith <.< i the name ere %iven si!5ly as Nero :as it ri%htull"
ou%ht to be9. 2his 4a" of com$utin% the <<< and <.< is& in an" case< not 4idel" used& and it
certainl" is not re$resentative o mainstream $reterist tradition.
<+ Ireaaeus, Against =eresies, /.7)..& indicates his belie that the <<<> t$at is& si+ hundreds $lus si0
tens $lus si0 units > indicates a ullness o a$ostas" and that <.< is indeed a faulty nu!ber 4hich
he is Hinclined to thinkH ha$$ened as a sli$ on the $art o co$"ists. 7e states urther that $ersons
assumin% the 4ron% number or antichrist H4ill easil" be led a4a" b" himH $en $e a$$ears& not
reco%niJin% him. :2ranslation rom #=F& .E//?!/*.9
</ 2he $hrase arilhmos anthr!ou can $ro$erl" be translated& Ha human nu!ber.I In fact< concernin%
Rev .7E.7b!.?& 'inear& (/?& su%%ests that Hit 4ould be 3uite in order to translate t$e $hrase QasR
@2he brand& the name o Ihe beast& or the number o its na!e... is an ordinar human number& His
number is <<<.@ H
#$e Seven HeadsE Do 2he" Re$resent Roman Em$erorsL
used re3uentl" throu%hout the book o Revelation and else4here in
Scri$ture to desi%nate totalit"& ullness& and com$lete ade3uac". 2he
number 7 !ay thus be considered as a Hdivine number&H the number <& a
Preterist 5roble!s. Fith the ore%oin% back%round& 4e are no4
read" to comment on the $roblems inherent in the $reterist linka%e o the
numeral <<< 4ith the name H=eron CaesarHE
.. Since there are a number o choices as to 4hich o =ero@s several
names to use& is it not arbitrar" and artiicial to select H=ero CaesarHL
(. #ddin% the n to H=eroH a$$ears to be an unIustiiable device& in
s$ite o a so!called illustration rom 'urabbarat.
# statement $enned by
7enry #. Sanders in .*.7 is still relevant. #ter reerrin% to the trans!
literation o H=eron CaesarH into Hebre4 characters& Sanders %oes on to
state that H4e ma" 4ell 3uestion& 4hether even an i%norant Ae4 could
have so s$elled the name o =ero durin% the irst centur".M@
7. 2he $rocedure o transliteratin% a 5atin name into Hebre4 charac!
ters is hi%hl" 3uestionable.
.. #$e transliteration o HCaesarH into Gsr is 3uite at"$ical. In
numerous e,am$les I have ound S-9%K8 :Gsr4 to be the orm
consistentl" used. 2his as5ect o the $reterist transliteration $roblem 4as
also noted b" Sanders.
/. 2he biblical te,t calls or Hinsi%ht.H Ver" little insi%ht 4ould be re!
3uired or the $reterist t"$e o mani$ulation that secures <<< rom H=eron
<. Fhat is even more si%niicant about the Hinsi%htH needed is the
act t$at it is s!iritual discernment that is called or& as the %eneral
content and tone o Revelation make absolutel" clear. 2he ollo4ers o
God and the
11 D. R. 'illers& HRevelation .7E.? and a Scroll rom 'urabba@at&H BASC", no. .7)& $.
</& has called attention to an #ramaic document $ublished& discussed& and %iven in a
$artiall" reconstructed te,t in the I#e,tcsI volume :1art .9 o/ %isco#eries /rom
theJudaen %esert, Vol. (& no. .?& and given in 5$otogra5$ic re$roduction in the
H1lanchesH volume :1art (9 o the same 4ork& 1I. (*. In lookin% at the $hoto%ra$h o
this rather ra%mentar" document as it is $ieced to%ether& I do not $ave t$e sa!e
confidence as 7itlers that there is no roo! or aod/i ater the Go!h& Forkin% fro!
5$otogra5$s is $a>ardous< in an" event. :evert$eless< in this te,t as it a$$ears in
the 5$otogra5$< a s!alt $art of the Go!h is missin% :this letter can nevertheless be
identiied9& but lacking too is t$e rest of t$e 4ord > indeed& also t$e rest o the line.
2he assum$tion is that the s5elling is "r on t$e basis of esti!ated s$ace or t$e
letters& but throu%hout the te,t the scribe as not consistent in his s$acin% o letters&
sometimes even runnin% them to%ether. In an" case& even if Gsr docs occur
occasionally in te,ts :as Hillers indicates& based on Aastro4@s Tatmudic ?e0icon4,
$y should e %ive $riorit" to an uncommon orm o the 4ord rather than to the
usual fonnT8
<7 7enry #. Sanders& H2he =umber o the Beast in Revelation&H JB? 77 :.*.?9& *7.
1J Ibid.
2he Seven 7eads+ Do #$ey Re$resent Ro!an Em$erorsL
5amb are to distin%uish bet4een the 5amb@s activit" on the one hand and the
o$$osition activit" on the other.
7. #s a corollar" to the ore%oin% $oint& 4e take note o the act that the
em$hasis in Revelation is not sim$l" on the number o the beast but even
more so on the mark and name o the beast
2hese& to%ether 4ith the
number& stand in direct antithesis to the seal o God and the name o God and
the 5amb.
?. Indeed& the battle dealt 4ith in Revelation .7 and else4here throu%h!
out the book is a s$iritual stru%%le o such ma%nitude that it seems trivial to
brin% =ero :or or that matter& Domitian9 into the $icture as the direct anti!
divine& antithesis to the slain and resurrected 5amb. Certainl"& somethin%
much more crucial and si%niicant is in vie4.
#s 4e have noted in another conte,t earlier& this $assa%e about the
leo$ard!bodied sea beast relects and e,$ands Daniel@s messa%e concernin%
an entit" that is to constitute the last %reat enem" o God@s $eo$le& an enem"
ins$ired b" none other than the devil himsel. 2hat the antidivine trinit" o
dra%on& sea beast& and earth beast re$resents a $arod" o the divine trinit" o
Father& Son& and Hol" S$irit has been noted b" various 4riters on the basis
o the strikin% com$arisons and contrasts that can be made bet4een the t4o.
Such com$arisons and contrasts reveal a deinite conce$tual linka%e.
issues are much too lar%e to ind ade3uate ulillment in a sin%le em$eror.
#s a urther observation& 4e ma" call attention to an interestin% e,am$le
otgematria that a$$ears in an earlier 3uoted statement rom the Siblline
Cracles7, namel"& that =ero@s number is Hit".H
2his number& 4hich
re$resents the Greek numerical value otN, diers& o course& rom the
convoluted and unsustainable linkin% o =ero@s name to <<<. #lthou%h
<* Sec .7E.7; -.+B<..; ./E(; ()E+.
7) Sec es$eciall" .+E. in com$arison 4ith 7E(!+; also 7E.( and ((E+.
7. In t$e $arod"& the sea beast@s character and e,5erience as a counterfeit of C$rist and the earth
beast@s activities as a countereit of t$e 7oly S5irit are es5ecially striking. )or e,a!5le< Cust as
Christ acGuired 7is authorit" rom t$e )at$er< so t$e sea beast acGuired $is fro! the dragonF
as Christ has aithul 4orshi$ers& so also t$e sea beast $as $is ors$i5ersF and as C$rist died and
as resurrected< so too the sea beast& e ind& or e,a!5le< the folloing+ #$is beast calls
attention to the sea beast rat$er than to himsel& Iust as the 7oly S5irit%s activity is one of e,alting
Christ& not Himsel :c. Aohn .<E.7!.+9. #$e earth beast is called t$e Ifalse 5ro5$etI :a term used
for $i! in Rev .<E.7; .*E(); and ()E.)9& $ereas the 7oly S$irit is the true 5ro5$etic S5irit :see
Rev .*E.); Aohn .+E.7; and - Pet .E.)!.(9. &ven t$e eart$ beast%s bringing fire fro! $eaven
:Rev .7E.79 a55ears to be a mimicr" o t$e da" o Pentecost e,5erience of t$e 7oly S5irit%s
descent on t$e a5ostles as ton%ues of ire :#cts (E.!+9.
7( Siblline $racles, /.(* :Bate ed.9 or /.7* :2en" cd.9. 2he state!ent occurs in a $ortion of book / that
identiies a nu!ber o Roman rulers b" the nu!erical value of t$e initial letters o t$eir names in
Greek& the lan%ua%e in 4hich the Sib"lines 4ere ori%inall" 4ritten.
#$e Seven HeadsE Do 2he" Re5resent Roman Em$erorsL
this $articular $oint ma" not have the same stron% evidentiar" status as
the ones enumerated above& the contrast revealed b" it is nevertheless
strikin% and 4orth" o at least $assin% notice.
2he ore%oin% discussion has revealed the considerable
amount o inconsistenc" and untenabilit" that e,ists in the several
basic $reterist ar%uments 4e have noted. Fhether the $reterist
$osition is the common traditional orm that 4e have revie4ed in
this cha$ter& or 4hether it includes an" o the variations su%%ested
b" $reterist inter$reters& the ver" stance o $reterism is itsel
ho$elessl" la4ed.
2he $roblem lies in the oundational center o the $reterist
stance& and thereore& is one that alicts all $reterist inter$retations
in s$ite o an" and all idios"ncrasies that ma" e,ist amon%
individual 4riters. 2hat Hroot $roblemH is the $ers$ective that
limits the sco$e o Revelation@s messa%e to Aohn@s o4n era. 2he
biblical evidence reveals& as 4e have seen& that the leo$ard!bodied
sea beast& its seven heads& and its ten horns relate to thin%s that
4ere still uture or Aohn. Such Church Fathers as Irenaeus&
2ertul!lian& and Aerome also bore 4itness to this same essential
0ur stud" $rovides onl" an evaluation o the $reterist $osition
concernin% the seven heads in Revelation. =o alternative
inter$retation has been su%%ested. =evertheless& a trust4orth"
inter$retation o the seven $eads must rest on this undamental
actE 2he 4ord HmountainsH :as used s"mbolicall" in Scri$ture9
indicates Hkin%domsH or Hem$ires&H not individual rulers.
Fhen the seven heads are vie4ed in this li%ht& 4e are
reminded that 02 sacred histor" %ives clear reerence to 4orld
kin%doms 4hich in $re!Christian times o$$ressed God@s $eo$le&
and that the 02 $ro$hecies %iven in the book o Daniel e,$and the
inormation so as to include a 4orld $o4er in e,istence in Aohn@s
o4n da"& $lus a urther one that 4ould arise ater Aohn@s time.
2his biblical material& and the 4hole biblical $ers$ective&
4ould have been readil" intelli%ible and meanin%ul to Aohn@s
$arishioners& somethin% that cannot be said concernin% a list o
Roman em$erors. It is im$ortant or us to bear in mind that the
ver" $ur$ose o the book o Revelation 4as to %ive s$iritual
kno4led%e and stren%th to $ersecuted ollo4ers o the
=ot a list o Roman em$erors; not the death and a re$orted
2he Seven HeadsE Do 2he" Re$resent Roman Em$erorsL
tion o =ero; not the number <<< as an identiier o =ero>not an" nor all o these
could& in an" sense& ulill Revelation@s noble $ur$ose. 2he 02 4itness and the
a$ostolic testimon"& on the other hand& carr" a messa%e that aorded abundant
comort and ho$e or the irst centur" Christians and have done so& as 4ell& or all
ollo4ers o Christ ever since.
In Scri$ture there is assurance that God has al4a"s cared or His $eo$leE that in
histor" itsel He is ever $resent to sustain them& and that in the %reat eschatolo%ical
denouement He 4ill %ive them ull vindication and an incom$rehensibl" %enerous
re4ard in lie everlastin%. 2he book o Revelation $icks u$ and e,$ands beautiull"
this same theme& and thus Revelation is not b" an" means some sort o obeat
a$ocal"$se that is out o tune 4ith biblical literature in %eneral; it conve"s the ver"
heart and substance o the biblical messa%e. Indeed& as Revelation em$haticall"
$oints out& the H5ivin% 0neH>the 0ne 4ho con3uered death and the %rave :.E.?9>
4ill never orsake His aithul ollo4ers and that even 4hen the" suer mart"rdom
the" are victorious :.(E..9& 4ith the Hcro4n o lieH a4aitin% them :see (E.); (.E.!+;
and ((E+9.
Cha$ter VI
2he 24o
Richard 5ehmann
&ditorial Syno5sis. #s $rinted in our common Bibles 4ith their
cha$ter divisions& Revelation .* serves as a brid%e bet4een the scenes o
Iud%ment on the Bab"lonian Harlot :cha$s. .7!.?9 and the a$$earin% o
Christ as a 4arrior!kin% to overthro4 all the a%encies o evil that have
ou%ht a%ainst Him and His $eo$le
2he irst $art o the cha$ter resounds 4ith a inale o $raise to God > Hal!
leluia > or His Iud%ment and destruction o the %reat Harlot and&
thereb"& or His aven%in% the blood o His $eo$le 4ho had been
mart"red under her re%ime :.7E<;
.*E.!(9. 2he last $ortion o the cha$ter :vss. ..!(.9& de$ictin% Christ as a
returnin%& con3uerin% kin%& shirts the ocus or4ard to His millennial
rei%n :cha$. ()9 and the creation o a ne4 heaven and earth :cha$s. (.!
2he common thread& or moti& that a$$ears to tie the t4o halves o
the cha$ter to%ether is that o a Hsu$$er.H 2hose are blessed 4ho are
called to the marria%e su$$er o the 5amb :.*E7!*9; but the im$enitent
> slain b" the Farrior!Din% > become the %ruesome su$$er o the
o4ls o the air :.*E.7!(.9.
In his anal"sis o the t4o maIor com$onents o Revelation .*& the
author $rovides a number o interestin% e,e%etical insi%hts.
C$a5ter (utline
I. Introduction
II. #n 0ratorio in Heaven
III. Rider and Heavenl" #rm"
I'. 2he Great Su$$er o God
2he 24o Su$$ers
Cha$ter .* o Revelation divides naturall" into t4o distinct $artsE
:.9 an invitation to $raise God& includin% the announcement o the 4eddin% su$$er
o the 5amb :vss. .!.)9& and :(9 the a$$earance o a %lorious rider ollo4ed b" a
%ruesome east in 4hich the birds o the sk" $artici$ate :vss. ..!(.9.
2he mutual relationshi$ bet4een these t4o $arts has been 3uestioned.
%o so ar as to su%%est dierent sources or the verses 4ithin each sectionP2he
maIorit" o Bible scholars 3uestion the status o Revelation .*!(( :usuall" as a
result o various millenarian theses9. But some reco%niJe a real unit" bet4een
cha$ters .*!(( and the rest o the book.
In a recent article& F. Shea sho4ed that Revelation .*E.!? constitutes a literar"
unit linked to the heavenl" scene in Revelation / and describin% the reaction o
heavenl" bein%s to the Iud%ment o the %reat $rostitute.
#$art rom this su%%ested
linka%e& it is evident that the re$eated halleluIahs in this section are motivated b"
the Iud%ment events described in cha$ters .7 and l?.
Several h"$otheses have been $ut or4ard 4ith re%ard to the chronolo%ical
situation o this cha$ter. Fe shall not enter into discussion here on the man"
millenarian theses on 4hich this 3uestion lar%el" de$ends.
Since commentators are
unanimous in reco%niJin% in the rider on the 4hite horse the return o Christ& 4e
shall associate the $recedin% scene 4ith this %lorious return.
#n anal"sis o the
scenes in this $ortion o Revelation 4ill enli%hten us on their mutual relationshi$.
- &.g.< /. &. Boismard& H5@#$ocal"$sc de ;ean<I in Introduction a la Bible, ed. aouv. #. Geor%e& 1.
Grelot& 2ome III< vol. + :Desclee& 1aris& .*779& 7.& sees in Revelation t4o $rimitive te,ts 4ritten
at dierent dates by the same author& t$en melted into a si!5le te,t b" a dierent hand. 2o the
Hrst te,t 4ould belon% Rev .*E..!(. and to t$e second .*E.!.). For a 4ider division see also H.
Stierlin& ?a V#ritesur? 7A!ocal!se& Essa/ de reconstitution des /e0tes originels :Buchet6Chas!tel&
Paris< .*7(9.
( H. Stieriin sees in .*E*c a conclusion o an ori%inal book. Id< .((. R. 7. C$arles inserts .<E/b!.7
aterversc + and makes it$ vcises *b and .) an inter5olation. The Revelation o/ St& John, I##,
vol. ( :Edinbur%& .*7<9
7 E.%.& &. CuviIIier< H#$ocal"$se (). 1rediction ou 5redicationI in ET" M, :.*?+679E 7+/. R.C.7.
Lenski< The Inter!retation o/ St& /ohn7s Revelation (/innea5olis< .*<79& considers on $. /7+ that
.7E.!.*E.) constitutes a unit.
+ HRevelation / and .* as literar" Reci$rocals&H A@SS DD :.*?+6(9E (+*!/7.
/ E& Corsini $oints out the Hartiicial nature o the actual subdivision of the book into cha$tersH and
Ioins vss. .!? 4ith cha$. .?. ?7A!oc//t!se m/iintenant, Sew' :1aris& .*?+9& (//.
< 0n these $ositions see the interestin% t$esis b" ;. Badina< 2e 6illenhim d7A!oca/!se DF2.5E
:Collon%es!sous!Saleve& .*?79.
7 See also F& D. =ichol& ed.& The SD- Bile )ommentar I :Fashin%ton& DC< .*/79E ?7..
2he 24o Su$$ers
An (ratorio in 7eaven
2he irst scene is situated in heaven :vss. .!?9. # narrator& 4ith a voice
as loud as that o a %reat multitude& calls to $raise :vss. .!79. 2he t4ent"!
our elders and the our livin% creatures take u$ the invitation in turn :vs. +9&
ollo4ed b" another call to $raise b" a voice comin% rom the divine throne
:vs. /9. 1ossibl"& the narrator& 4ith an even louder voice than at the
be%innin%& once a%ain Iustiies his call :vss. <!?9.
2he scene can be com$ared to an oratorio at the heart o 4hich dierent
choirs call out to hail and ans4er one another around a sin%le theme>
(t$er than the our times it is mentioned in Revelation .*& the 4ord
HhalleluIahH a$$ears no4here else in the =2. Even in the Greek translation
o the 02 :Se$tua%int9& it is ound onl" in the 1salms sun% at the maIor
It seems to have its ori%in in the 4orshi$ services established b"
2he term& thereore& had a litur%ical use. It illustrates the link that could
e,ist bet4een the $rimitive church and that o the s"na%o%ue in the irst
centur". 2he 4ord is made u$ o t4o $artsE halhl :$raise9& "ah 3Qahweh4&
2he Greek e3uivalent is %iven in verse /& H$raise GodH 3aineite /M Theo4&
2hus& in its irst meanin% HhalleluIahH is an invitation to $raise God
:im$erative mood9& 4hereas toda" the term means the $raise itsel. Fe
believe that it must be understood in Revelation .* in its ori%inal meanin%&
as a call& an invitation.
Furthermore& the second Hebre4 term in this
cha$ter& Hamen&H also e,$resses a 4ish& askin% that somethin% be done :vs.
#ccordin% to the maIorit" o commentators& the irst halleluIah is
$roclaimed b" a cro4d o an%els.
F. Shea $arallels the voice o Hman"
an%elsH :/E?!.+9 4ith that o the H%reat multitudeH in .*E..
0thers con!
? C. ibid.& 4hich brin%s this $crico$c nearer to 1s (+E7!.) and sees in it a choral arran%ement com!
$osed o t4o anthems and t4o res$onses.
B Ae s$all distinguis$ the great Hallcl& Ha $rivile%ed scries o si, Psal!s< ..7!..?& 4hich are recited
on ha$$" occasions. Psal!s --* and ..+ are recited in Passover liturgies beore the seder
(Pasc$al Su55er@< 4hereas Pss ../!..? are sun% at t$e end o it.H #. Choura3ui& 5 7@ni#ers de
la Bile 6 :5idis& Paris< .*?+9E 7(/. #$e little 7allel is made u5 of Pss .+<!./).
-9 Its =reek eGuivalent in vs. / is an im$erative second $erson $luralE ameite&
-- H#menH does not only !ean that one $as understood and a%reed 4ith t$e e,$ressed 4ish& but
also that as much as $ossible one co!!its $i!self to contributin% to its accom$lishment. C. #.
Fciscr& (oi, Labor et )ides (=eneve< .*7<9& 41< concernin% . D%s .E7<.
-4 Also &llen =. Fhite& Testimonies to 4inisters :'ountain Vie4& CA< .*<(9& +7(.
-* IRevelation 6 and -B as Literary Reci5rocals<I inA@SS (( :.*?+6(9; (/(.
2he 24o Su$$ers
sider the halleluIah to be $roclaimed b" the redeemed&
b" mart"rs&
and still others
distin%uish an%els :vs. .9 rom the redeemed :vs. <9.
#s or us& 4e believe that it is not Aohn@s intention to attribute the son% o $raise
to an"one. Fe admit that this son% ma" be e,$ressed b" either the an%els or the
redeemed& but such 4as not the intention o the author.
Fithout ne%lectin% the im$ortance o the ties established b" F. Shea bet4een
cha$ters / and .*& 4e eel that it ma" be instructive to notice the dierences that
se$arate them. 2he structure can be the same& but the meanin% dierent.
Cha$ter / al4a"s s$eciies 4ho is deliverin% the $raise; cha$ter .* lacks this
Revelation / clearl" states that the an%els are sin%in% and %ives their
number. Revelation .*E.& < remains va%ue and uses com$arisonsE H4hat seemed to
beH 3hos4&
Fe should also notice Aohn@s customar" use o the direct s$eech in $raiseE Oou
QGodR are 4orth" :+E..; /E*9. Indirect s$eech comes onl" in /E.( as a res$onse to
the irst $raise. 0n the contrar"& in cha$ter .* onl" indirect s$eech o a more %eneral
nature is usedE He QGodR has Iud%ed; He has aven%ed :vs. (9.
#nother $articularit" is ound in verse /. Charles $ointed out the $roblem o
$/rom 8a!oN the throneH 4hen one 4ould e,$ect Hout o Qe#ER.H
:Comin%"rom the
throne rather than comin% out o/ the throne.9 2his more %eneral orm or desi%natin%
the ori%in o the voice seems intentional to us.
I the an%els& or the redeemed& are sin%in%& 4h" does the te,t use hos :H4hat
seemed to be&H vs. .9 and the sin%ular orm or
73!hone/I4, 4hereas in verse 7
the $lural orm o the verb& Hthe" criedH :eire1ah9 is used. #n abnormal correlation
ma" underline a s$ecial intention. Fe must thereore consider these $articularities
as si%niicant
In sum& the te,t does not a$$ear to %ive attention to the authors o the $raise&
but ocuses instead on three itemsE
-. )?E&)har!eatier,@ne ?ecture de?7A!)Oal!se,)ahienE#an//lel'3)et/, *aris, +,HS42 L+&
-6 C. R. H. Charles& The "e#elation o/ St& John >uh Introduction, 'otes and Indices& ICC& ( :Edin!
bur%& .*7<9E ..?. C$arles< for $i!self< esteems that the Seer His be%innin% his descri$tion 4ith the
outer ranks o the heavenl" bein%s and 5roceeding in4ard to4ard t$e t$rone.I 2hus $e sees as in
7E..& irst t$e an%els& t$en the elders< and Finall" the livin% creatures.
-1 Cf. ;. 7. #le,ander& ? 7A!ocal!se #ersel!ar #erset, 'aison de la Bible& (nd ed. :Gencve& Paris<
.*?)9. 77(.
.7 )?M2'le1wsa!honWnaggelontol,27l,e1ousahos!hSnSnme/ilen&
.? D. G. Bamhouse ollo4in% Robertson com$letel" or%ets the e,istence o hos2 "e#elation, An
E0!ositor )ommentar :Grand Ra$ids& .*?(9& 7+*.
-B The "e#elation o/ St& John, .(+.
() By HabnormalitiesH e mean unusual characteristics in a te,t in relation to the Hnormalit"H o the
book or c$a5ter 4here the" are inserted.
T"e T:o Suppe#$
.. =ea#en as the $lace o the $roclamation.
(. 2he ser#ants on earth as the subIects o the $roclamation.
7. 2he !roclamation itsel as a call to $raise.
# voice in heaven& the t4ent"!our elders& the our livin%
creatures& and those surroundin% the throne are unanimousE the"
call the servants on the earth to $raise the 5ord or His 4orks in
their behal.
But beore %ivin% $rominence to the ke" character o this
em$hasis e must make a detailed verse!b"!verse anal"sis o the
h"mnic section.
)irst :arrator (vss. --*@
2he obIect o the First $roclamation is to Iusti" the re3uested
$raise. God has $assed sentence on the %reat $rostitute. His action
is double in nature& t"$ical o Iud%ment in the 02E :.9 It
establishes the character o God as true and Aust.
:(9 It also
establishes the character o His servants 4ho are Haven%ed&H that is
to sa"& the" are reestablished in their inte%rit". I God is declared
to be true and Iust& it is because in His intervention in histor"& sa"s
#. =eher& He Hsets one in the realit" o his ri%ht& the other on the
contrar"& in the realit" o his 4ron%.H
2he $roclamation o the Iud%ment here is not intended as a
chronolo%ical $oint o reerence in histor". Aud%in% in act His not
onl" $assin% sentence& the 4ord is used to describe all $hases o
the $rocedure rom the !o!ent that the liti%ant $arties come to
$lead their case u$ until the Final decision.H
It is the a$$earin% o
the 4hite horse and its rider that enables us to locate the
$roclamation as bein% on the eve o the inal settlement.
2he t4o aorists o verse ( :Hhe has Iud%ed 8e1rinenN$< Hhe has
aven%ed 8e0edi1esenQ4 can lead us to believe that the Iud%ment has
been settled beore the $roclamation& in accordance 4ith the
descri$tion o cha$ters .7 and .?. Fe notice& ho4ever& that the
descri$tion in these cha$ters does not mean that all is inished.
'an" verses are in the uture tense. 2he beast is the real su$$ort o
the $rostitute :.7E79& and inall" he HassimilatesH
or devours her
:.7E.<9. 2he $rostitute remains actin% in the beast. 2he Iud%ment
carried out on the $rostitute inds its com$lete ulillment 4hen the
beast is thro4n into the lake o Fire :.*E()9.
4- &. ;acob< Theolog0 de I7Ancien Testament, Delac$au, et =iestiP :=euchatel& .*//9& 7.
44 A =eher&6lD'& (<(& 3uoted b" Aacob& 77.
(7 Aacob& 77.
4. By Iassi!ilateI e mean to take or sel& make one@s o4n. #$e beast is still dan%erous
b" virtue o the act t$at in devourin% the $rostitute it takes her $lace.
46 Cf. .7E.+ 4here the beast and the ten homs make ar a%ainst the 5amb.
2hus& 4hile a4aitin% the com$lete ulillment o the sentence& an invi!
tation is sent to $raise God& or the aven%in% o His servants is to be con!
sidered as accom$lished.
#ccordin% to the second halleluIah :vs. 79& t$e Aud%ment has eternal
conse3uences. In .?E? the burnin% as announced< in .?E.? it 4as seen< in
.*E7 it is declared com!lete& 2he $unishment recalls that o Sodom and
Gomorrah :Gen .*E(?9 and the radical character o God@s Iud%ment :( 1et
(E<& 7E.)!.(9.
2he Bab"lonian city-5rostitute s$all not rise u$ a%ain rom
its ashes.
Les< salvation& %lor"& and 5oer reall" belon% to our God.
Ie#venl+ Choi' @vs. -E
2he t4ent"!our elders and the our livin% creatures are heavenl" bein%s
described in Revelation as bein% near the throne o God :+E+!?9. #$ey seem
to stand 4ith the believers.
K ?L
2he elders are oten ound in an attitude o $rostration and $raise. It is
beore these heavenl" bein%s that the .++&))) sin% a ne4 son% :.+E79. #s
4itnesses to God@s 4orks in avor o the redeemed& the" adore the Creator
:+E.)!..9 and Saviour :/E?!.)9 and %ive their a$$roval :HamenH9 to the in!
vitation to $raise God or His Iud%ment on the %reat $rostitute :.*E+9.
Considerin% the meanin% that e attributed to the 4ord Hamen&H
it can
be understood that the elders not onl" Ioin the irst narrator@s voice& but also
commit themselves to the realiJation o the invitation to $raise b" assumin%
the a$$ro$riate attitude>the" bo4 do4n and 4orshi$.
2he end!time conlict& 4hich involves the $rostitute6beast $o4ers and
God@s $eo$le& ocuses on the true obIect o adorationE :.9 the sea beast& his
ima%e and mark :.7E./!.7;lt()9& or :(9 God& the Creator :.+E<!7& *!..9. In
contrast 4ith a humanit" that turns its back on God& the t4ent"!our elders
and the our livin% creatures all do4n beore Him 4ho is seated on the
Voice )ro! t$e #$rone :vs. /9
#n anon"mous voice s$eaks rom the throne.
2his voice could be
attributed to God i it did not use the $ossessive HourH :H1raise our God&
(< Sec also Isa 7+E.).
(7 #$is could be eared $en one knos t$at a mortal ound can $eal.
(? IIn t$e =reek eac$ of t$e virtues here ascribed to =od is 5receded b" the deinite article. 2his
suggests t$e fullness< the sum total& of each attributeI 0The S%A Bile )ommentar 7E?7.9.
(* Rev +E.); /E?&.+; ..E.<.
7) Cf. n. ...
7. So translates :I'. R. C Lenski< The Inter!retation o/ John7s "e#elation (/innea5olis< .*<79& /7*&
e!5$asi>es t$e anony!ous c$aracter of t$e voice.
all "ou his servantsM@9.
2he $ur$ose or observin% the location o the
s$eaker is to %ive the command an authoriJed character.
2his call is addressed to God@s servants. It is the onl" address indicated
in this h"mnic section. Charles identiies the servants as mart"rs 4ho are
no4 in heaven&
a h"$othesis 4e must reIect on other scri$tural %rounds. In
.)E7 and ..E.? the term desi%nates the $ro$hets. In .E. Aohn himsel bears
this title and seems to e,tend it to believers. 2he 4ord then ma" have various
meanin%s accordin% to its conte,t.
Here :.*E/9 one could think that it desi%nates a distinct cate%or" o God!
earers& the Hsmall and %reat.H #ll the more so as certain manuscri$ts $lace
HandH 31ai4 beore Hthe God!earin% onesH 3!hoboumenoi4&
But this 1ai
could ver" 4ell have an e$e,e%etical unction :Hthat is& to sa"H9 as its
absence demonstrates in the most im$ortant manuscri$ts :or e,am$le& H"ou
4ho ear him Qthat is& to sa"R& small and %reatH9. 'oreover Hsmall and %reatH
has never been used to desi%nate a cate%or" o believers. Ho4ever& S.
5auchliH ound evidence or a com$ound structure in these h"mns in verses
<!7 in 4hich the elements o each trilo%" :multitudes& 4aters& thunder$eals&
vs. <; reIoice& e,ult& %ive %lor"& vs. 79 seem to $resent several as$ects o a
same realit".
Fe believe then that Hservants&H H"ou 4ho ear him&H and
Hsmall and %reatH desi%nate the same realit" o
Fhat is this realit"L Fe 4ould 3uite 4illin%l" %o alon% 4ith 1. 1ri%ent
4ho reco%niJes under this title the believers o all time.
Indeed the invi!
tation carries t4o $recisions o a universal natureE HallH 3!antes4 and Hsmall
and %reatH 3mi1roi 1ai megahi4&
In Revelation Hit is asserted that ever"
Christian has a callin% to be a 4itness& a saint& a servant o God and ma"be
a $ro$het... and these 4ords im$l" a aithulness that could lead to mart"r!
dom&@M states 1ri%ent.
Fe do not& ho4ever& reIect the idea that the term ma" desi%nate the
LD )/& )harles, The "e#elation o/ St& John >ith Introduction, .(+; 5. Bonnet& ?e Nou#eau
Testament &&& :5ausanne& .?7<9& 777& attributes it to the our livin% bein%s.
77 R. #. #ndereon& @n/olding the "e#elation, ?th ed& rev. :'ountain Vie4& C#& .*?.9& .?*& $oints out
in Revelation a conlict o authorit" in the throne motiE throne o God6throne o Satan.
7+ Charles& The "e#elation o/ St& John >ith Introduction (E.(/. But such a h"$othesis is based on a
conce$t o the state o the dead that 4e do not share.
7/ It 4ill be remembered that in #cts the HGod!careisH desi%nate a cate%or" o $rosel"tes. See Rev
..E? 4here the distinction is more noticeable.
*1 3uoted by C. Bnitsc$<Lo #lone de23-pocalypse, Labor et Fides :Gcneve& .*<<9& 7)7.
*2 $chlos, huda/Ss, rmi$Ss (vs. 1@F chaovmen, agalliomen, aSsomen :vs. 79.
7? 1ri%ent& ? 7A!ocal!se de Saint Jean, (?..
*B 2his latter is found a%ain in -B+-J 4ith t$e sa!e accent on universalit".
+) 1ri%ent& ? 7A!ocal!se de Saint Jean, (?..
2ne 24oSu$$ers
an%els. In the 02& 4ith 4hich Revelation is imbued& the an%els are called
Hministers that do his 4illH :1s .)7E()& (.9. 1salm .+? calls them to 4orshi$
:vs. .9. #ccordin% to Daniel 7E.) the an%els serve and $raise God. 2hese
heavenl" bein%s are ound near the throne o God rom 4hence the voice
Finall"& accordin% to Revelation ((E?& *& the" are servants o God
in the same 4a" as is Aohn himsel. 2he e,$ression Hsmall and %reatH could
conve" the hierarchical ranks o the an%els.
2he universal nature o the $roclamation& ho4ever& is too im$ortant to
be limited to onl" an%els. 2he term Hservants6@ thereore& $robabl" includes
believers as 4ell as an%els& or the entire universe is concerned b" the choice
$resented to ever" 4orshi$er in Revelation>God or the beast and his ima%e.
Last :arrator :vss. <!?9
# loud voice& stren%thened b" reerence to oceans and thunder& e,tends
the irst narrator@s declarations b" Iusti"in% the $raise. 2his time attention is
not directed to4ard the $rostitute& but to4ard the 5amb@s radiant bride.
1ri%ent $oints out the dierence bet4een these t4o $roclamationsE
H2he irst son% o $raise to %o orth... e,tols the God 4ho demonstrates his
Iustice in $unishin% Bab"lon. 2his cannot suice. 2his 4orshi$ cannot
satis" the God 4hose Iustice is not e,hausted in $unishment. 2hereore& a
voice comes rom the throne callin% or continual $raise. 2he aithul must
e,tol God more ittin%l". In act& their res$onse surrounded b" a more
$ronounced maIest" than their irst $ra"er& is %oin% to celebrate the God
4hose rei%n is %loriousl" maniested in the salvation o man.H
0 course& as 1ri%ent said& the aithul have Iust reason to $raise God>
their salvation is assured. 2hat 4e admit. 2he use o the irst $erson $lural
:Hour&H herrion4 u$holds such a thesis :vs. <9. But let us noticeE
.. #s in verse .& the $o4er o the voice :vs. <9 is %iven in com$arative
terms 3h//s, as Hlike&H H4hat seemed to beH9.
(. It is $ro$er to $raise God not onl" or 4hat He has done or onesel&
but also or 4hat He has done or the 4eddin% su$$er and the bride.
7. 2he HourH:6iLmX76i9 o verse < is missin% in im$ortant manuscri$ts.
2o conclude these remarks& 4e sa" that $raise suits $erectl" the
.- 2heir service is evoked more t$an <) ti!es in Revelation.
+( Prigent< ? 7A!ocal!se de Saint /ean, (?.. )or Corsini< 23-pocafypse mamtenant, (//!/<& I$e
dierence beteen t$e t4o songs corres5onds to a distinction t"$ical of ;o$n beteen to
economies of salvation.
#$e #o Su$$ers
believers because it concerns them& but it is not e,$ressed b" them>or
rather not "et. 2he" are onl" invited 4ith the 4hole universe to $raise God.
2he son% o cha$ter .* is not& as some consider it& an ans4er to the call
o .?E()>HReIoice over her& ) heaven& ) saints and a$ostles and $ro$hets&
or God has %iven Iud%ment or "ou a%ainst herNH I God is adored in heaven
:.*E+9& on earth it remains uncertain; hence& the voice@s $o4er in callin% or
$raise to God.
Indeed the beast& the alse $ro$het& and the dra%on have not
"et been destro"ed. 0nl" b" aith can the servants o God Ioin in this
invitation. 8ntil the end o histor"& it is b" aith onl" that the"
!ay sin%.
=evertheless& their aith is not 4ithout assurance. =ot onl" did God
Cudge the %reat $rostitute :vs. (9& but He has also maniested His rei%n :vs.
<9 and ensured the 4eddin% su$$er o the 5amb :vs. 79.
5et us consider these last t4o im$ortant $ieces o inormation. #$e
lords$i5 of =od :vs. <9. Verse < accumulates conce$ts aimed at
em$hasiJin% the all!$o4erulness o God. 2his lordshi$ has alread" been
conessed in ..E./&.7 and .(E.). It su%%ests a com$lete obedience o the
believers to God@s 4ill. It is this unconditional obedience that aects God@s
#$e edding su55er of t$e La!b :vs. 79. 2he mentionin% o the 4ed!
din% su$$er o the 5amb is une,$ected. Aohn 4ill develo$ this theme in
cha$ter (.. He antici$ates the subIect here& $ossibl" as a $arallel to the
H%reat su$$er o GodH in verse .7.
2he theme o a 4eddin% su$$er is not ne4 in the Scri$tures. It is amiliar
in the 02 and re3uent in the $arables o Aesus about the comin% kin%dom. It
announces the much a4aited reunion bet4een the church and
$er Bride%room.
0nl" in 'atthe4 /E.( is ound a similar invitation to Io" and %aiet".
2here it is linked to the suerin% o the $ro$hets and believers. # coin!
cidenceL 2his theme o suerin% is also $resent in our te,t in the H5ambH
title that the Bride%room bears. It 4ill remain Heternall" to the church that
she 4as redeemed b" His $recious blood and onl" because o this can she
a$$ear at His side as a %lorious church.H
+7 # dichotom" is sometimes $resent in Revelation bet4een heaven and earth. In .(E.)!.(& or e,!
am$le& a stron% voice invites heaven to be Io"ul but 4arns earth o the hardshi$s it a4aits.
.. In accordance it$ ancient tradition :see R. 7. /ouncc< The Boo1 o/ "e#elation, :IC:# QGrand
Ra5ids< +,HH9, 7+)9& after t$e betrot$al :( Cor ..E(9 and the $uri"in% bath (&5$ /E(<9 comes
t$e long a4aited marria%e feast.
.6 Bonnet< 2e Nou#eau Testament&&&, 77?& n. 7.
#$e T"o Su55ers
#$e Bride :vss. 7!*9. Should a distinction be made bet4een the Bride
and the %uestsL
Should one insist on the $recisions %iven in Revelation
(.E(& *& .) 4here the =e4 Aerusalem is desi%nated as the BrideL
luctuations in this ima%er"!char%ed lan%ua%e used or e,$ressin% heavenl"
realities cause us to hesitate.
5enski& or his $art& considers that the Bride and the %uests are identical
as the $arable evokes dierent acets o the m"ster" o salvation.
2o be
more $recise& 4e could sa" that the term Hbride64ieH e,$resses the
communal character o the church. 2he H%uestsH or the HriendsH are those
4ho individuall" have res$onded to the call o Christ.
5et us notice that the te,t states that Hhis Bride has made hersel/ read
8etoimasen heau/enN$ and at the same time ine linen was gi#en 3edotht4 her
to 4ear. 2he bride $artici$ates activel" in her $re$aration. 0 course& the
church does not $ut on her o4n 4orks. 2he" are %iven to her. But the %race
o Christ does not $ermit the church to take reu%e in $assiveness. In the
letters to the seven churches& the res$onse o him 4ho hears is constantl"
solicited. 2he theme o obedience and $ersonal commitment to $erseverance
is omni$resent in Revelation.
2his $o4erul announcement is ull o $romise. 2here is no dela" in the
accom$lishment o God@s $lan. 2he Bride is read". 2he #lmi%ht" has taken
care o the essentials.
Some ind it diicult to harmoniJe such a declaration 4ith the doctrine
o Iustiication b" aith.
2he" see .*E7!? as bein% in contradiction 4ith
statements such as <E.. 4here the 4hite robe is %iven. #lso& there is consid!
erable discussion on 4hat meanin% should be %iven to di1ai//mata :ri%hteous
deeds9E Iust 4orks& 4orks o Iustice& ri%hteous acts& etc.H Charles re%ards it as
a %loss attached to the end o verse ?.
Fhether e resort to the Greek or to the conte,t& 4e must reco%niJe that
obedience is an a$ocal"$tic theme. Verse ? reall" declares Hthat a
.E #f. Ba!$ouse< Revelation, -n E0!ositor )ommentar, *64.
+7 Cf. The SD- Bile #ommentary 7E?7(. #$e robe of t$e Bride is 5ure 31atharon4 like the %old that
!akes u$ the =e4 ;erusale! :(.E.?& (.9. #$is is or us a nor!al c$aracteristic o a5ocaly5tic
riting. Cf. /ounce< The Book of Revelation, 7+..
WLcos-i, The Interpretation ofJohn.s Revelation) 542C #lso Asdersoa)-nfolain+ the
Revelation) 1740
+* Cf. the use of douloi :servants9 as a desi%nation or obedient believersF on commitment to $erseM
vcrance b" =od%s true folloers< see 7E.+; .(E..&-2F .+E.(; (.E7!
/) D. )ord< )risis D (:ecastle< CA< n.d.9E <*7& is cicariy e!barrassed. 0nable to situate himsel in
the conte,t< he co!es back to a general dog!atic $oint of vie.
6- #$e variet" of translations is as %reat as t$e nu!ber of co!!entaries. Cf. B!tsc$< 2a )larted de
I7A!oca/!se, 7)7.
52 Cf0 .0 H0 C"a#ie$1 The )evelation of StA John :ith Introduction, 127@ Aa co##ect
'lo$$1A 2$.
#$e #o Su55ers
transormed lie is the $ro$er res$onse to the call o the heavenl" bride!
#$e blessing :vs. *9. From heaven 4e come back to earth. Aohn hears
a command to 4rite.
2he hearin% 4as 4onderul. But the im$ortant thin% is
to be numbered amon% the chosen. 2his is 4h" the echo o 4hat is
$roclaimed in heaven no4 takes the orm o a $romiseE HBlessed are those
who are invited to the marria%e su$$er o the 5ambH :.*E*9.
#ll the im$lications o the $recedin% $raise are summariJed in one sen!
tence or the believers. Even thou%h the believers ma" be suerin%& even
thou%h the e,tent o the Iud%ments $ronounced on the %reat $rostitute
ri%htens them& the" alread" can be called blessed& because the" are invited .
to the 4eddin% su$$er o the 5amb. 2hese 4ords are certain; the" are the
ver" 4ords o God.
Rider and 7eavenly Ar!y
2his section takes us back to heaven :vss. ..!.<9. In an earlier vision
;o$n looked throu%h a door in heaven :+E.9; no he sees all heaven o$ened
u5on a %lorious scene>a $o4erul rider intervenin% in the 4orld as a
;udge. 2here are ver" e4 Bible scholars 4ho do not reco%niJe the rider to
be t$e aaited 'essiah.
2he scene& ho4ever& is sur$risin%.
Christ comes or 4ar& but there is no
battle. He bears a name that He alone kno4s; "et he is $resented as the Ford
o God. His robe is di$$ed in blood& but combat has not "et be%un. 7e is to
strike do4n the nations 4ith a shar$ s4ord& but He does not use it
a$$ears like a Roman %eneral on a 4hite horse& celebratin% His victor" even
beore the battle has been en%a%ed.
2hese considerations lead us to ocus
our attention on the theolo%ical contents o the vision
rather than on its scenic as$ects.
2he vision belon%s to the %reat Iud%ment c"cle be%innin% in cha$ter .7
and endin% 4ith cha$ter (). 5enski correctl" $oints out that the evil $o4ers
are destro"ed in the reverse order o their a$$earin%. Indeed 4e see the
dra%on a$$ear in cha$ter .(& the t4o beasts in cha$ter .7& and the
6* R. 7. /ounce< The Book of Revelation, *.9.
6. By an Han%elH according to RS'< :#'F t$e =reek te,t does not s$eci". Some refer to .7E.;
others to ((E?&*; and still ot$ers go back no fart$er t$an vs. / and t$e voice rom the t$rone.
#$e o$tion of an angel seems to be confir!ed b" t$e 3ualiier given to t$e vision in vs. .).
66 Cf. )ord. #risis 4+1B2.
61 See Rev .*E(.& $oever.
62 Cf. Ale,ander< 2 7A!ocal!se versetpar #el#et, **J.
2he 24o Su$$ers
Bab"lon $rostitute in cha$ter .7. 2he se3uence reverses itsel 4ith the
destruction o Bab"lon :Rev .7!.?9& then o the beast and its alse $ro$het
:Rev .*9& and inall" the dra%on :Rev ()9.
I Revelation .7E.+ marks the be%innin% o the Iud%ment c"cle& it ma"
be noticed that the 'essiah does not intervene directl" in this as$ect o the
battle. 2he $rostitute is torn a$art b" her o4n lovers :.7E.<9. 8ltimatel"&
ho4ever& the beast& the alse $ro$het& and the dra%on are destro"ed b" the
invisible but $o4erul hand o God as is reco%niJed b" the $assive orm o
the verbs :.*E(); ()E.)9.
Fithin the rame4ork o a structural anal"sis&
4e ma" note that the
i%ure o the 5amb belon%s to the same level as the $rostitute;
the Rider& to
the same as the beast and the alse $ro$het;
and Heaven& to the same as the
2his means that the battle is situated at each o these levels
re%ardin% the claims o each involved $art". 2hus&
.. 2he Iud%ment o Bab"lon establishes the 5amb in His ri%ht to redeem
:/E*&.)9 as o$$osed to the $rostitute@s claim over the 4itnesses o Aesus
(. 2he Iud%ment o the beast and the alse $ro$het establishes Hthe Ford
o GodH in His ri%ht to rei%n as o$$osed to the claim to soverei%nt" b" the
$o4ers o this 4orld& and the beast and o the alse $ro$het :.*E.*!()9.
7. 2he Iud%ment o the 4icked establishes God in His Iustice as o$$osed
to Satan@s claims over the mart"rs 4ho are aithul to the testimon" o Aesus
and to the Ford o God :()E+9.
2his is 4hat an anal"sis o the details o the vision conirms. 'ounted on a
4hite horse&
the Rider comes to Iud%e and to i%ht :to make 4ar9. 2he t4o
terms are s"non"mous&
but ma" em$hasiJe t4o as$ects o the same realit"E
to deend his o4n :Iud%e9& He $ushes back the adversar" :i%ht9.
In .7E+
the 4orshi$ers ask& H4ho can i%ht a%ainst Qthe
/? The Inter!retation of /ohn7s Revelation, /+7.
/* C. A! Calloud& A. Delor!c< ;. P. Du5lanticr< H5@#$ocal"$se de ;ean+ 5ro5ositions 5ourune anal"se
structurale&H iaA!oca/!seset theologiedel7es!erance, cd. 5. 'oulobou& 5ectio Divina B6 :Cer&
1aris& .*779& 7<).
<) Rev .7E.+.
<. Rev .*E.*!(..
<( Rev ()E.!(&.); c. in Rev .(E/ t$e vertical movement toard =od.
<7 (5inion is divided on t$e relationshi$ bet4een this rider and t$e one in 1+4. Prigcnt< 2
7A!ocal!se +e/at86ea6t& (*.& e3uates them on the basis o the idea o Iud%ment! C$arles< The
Revelation o/ St& /ohn %<i Introduction, -*-< !akes a clear distinction. D. Ford $oints out t$e
dierence in the Hcro4nsHE Ste!hanas in 1+4 and aiaaemata in .*E.(. Any analysis 4ill de5end on
t$e inter$retation given to the irat rider.
<+ C. Rev .*E(.
16 Cf. ;acob< Theoloffe de I7Ancien Testament, 7*.
2he 24o Su$$ers
beastRLH 2he ans4er is clearE He 4ho i%hts 4ith Iustice a%ainst those 4ho
%ive themselves over to shamelessness and 4orshi$ idols. He i%hts 4ith the
s4ord o his mouth :(E.<9. Here is the idea o a 4ar a%ainst underl"in%
s5iritual oundations.
Aesus is the #men& the aithul and true 4itness 4hose 4ord is sure
:7E.+9. He conronts the alse $ro$het 4hose $romises are nothin% but lies
:.*E()9. His e"es $enetrate like blaJin% Fire :.*E.(; c. .E.+9.
(n 7is head are !any diade!s< ro"al crons and not re4ards or the
2his lack of $recision contrasts it$ the dra%on@s claim to seven
:.(E79 and t$e leo$ard beast@s to ten :.7E.9. Is it understood b" this that& in
virtue o 7is victor"& Christ alone is 4orth" to rei%n over the 4orld and
.ear the ro"al emblemsL
2he idea o an unlimited soverei%nt" ma" be retained
b" evokin% a
secret name.
0 all the $ro$osed solutions
4e shall kee$ the one that sees
in the name :kno4n b" the rider alone and b" the redeemed& (E.7;
7E.(9 the ver" name o GodE
2he name e,$resses absolute lordshi$ o the
cruciied 0ne in 4hom believers have $laced their trust& as 1hili$$ians
(E*!.. sa"s so 4ell.
Christ is e,$ressl" called the Ford o God. 2his title denotes the eec!
tiveness o the divine intervention& its $o4er.
2he Ford never returns to
God 4ithout havin% irst taken eect&
and is not o a dierent nature
than God Himsel.
2he Aud%e is 4earin% a robe di$$ed in blood.
Is the blood His o4n& or
that o the van3uishedL Here the commentators clash. Fhile ackno4led%in%
an allusion to Isaiah <7E.!<& E. Char$entier acce$ts onl" a suerin% Christ
and reuses the identiication o the blood 4ith that o His
<< C. The S%A Bible )ommentar 7E?7+. 2he %lorious Son o man 4ears a cro4n 3Ste!hanas4 or He
is the irst victor o evil :.+E.+9.
12 C& ;o$nson< "e#elation, The E0!ositor7s Bile )ommentar .(E/7+.
<? C. 'ounce& The Boo1 o/ "e#elation, 7++.
fiB C$arles< The Revelation o/ St& /ohn <ith Introduction (E.7(& sees $ere an inter$olation of three
reasons+ :.9 References to a name has no 5lace in a descri$tion. :(9 #$e unkno4n character o
the na!e is contradicted in the ne,t verse. :79 (!itting this verse 5er!its a !ore balanced
=reek construction. Ait$ Prigcnt< 2. 7A!ocal!se de Saint /ean, (*7& e shall em$hasiJe the
insufficiency o t$ese argu!ents. It is clear that the ru5ture o t$e la"out is not indicative of a
TF C!. R. I. Moun"e0 =44)45C The S%" Bible Co!!entary @7=)40
7. Fith Cullmann& 1ri%ent& 'ounce.
24 Cf. 7cb +E.( and /ounce< The Book o/ "e#elation, *.1.
77 C. Isa //E...
7+ Aohn .E.&.+; . Aohn .E..
7/ HS$rinkledH says D. =. Bamhousc accordin% to # 2. Robinson in "e#elation2 An E0!ositor
#ommentary (=rand Ra$ids& .*?(9& 7/?.
2he #o Su$$ers
0thers sa" it cannot be Christ@s blood as the battle has not "et
taken $lace.
Fe a%ree 4ith R. H. 'ounce that 4e should not misunderstand the
nature o a$ocal"$tic 4ritin%s. Here Christ is victorious even beore battle is
en%a%ed. H 2he mention o the blood a$$ears no4here else& and the combat
takes $lace 4ith the s4ord o His mouth. 2he $ur$ose o the blood on the
robe is to Hs"mboliJe his victor" in the comin% conlict.H
2he heavenl" armies are linked 4ith this victor". In accordance 4ith
scri$tural analo%"& it could be concluded that an%els com$ose them.
some hesitate to link an%els 4ith the horses o victor"
and to see them
dressed in 4hite $ure linen& a distinctive characteristic o saints :vs. ?9. Still
others& usin% .7E.+ as a reerence and other analo%ies&
reco%niJe the
In this verse Christ is also called Din% o kin%s and 5ord o lords. Christ
and the church are so intimatel" united in the same suerin% and the same
i%ht in the Revelation
that it is not sur$risin% to see the redeemed linked
4ith Christ@s victor". 2his is& o course& understandable in a$ocal"$tic lan!
%ua%e 4hich oten antici$ates chronolo%ical elements. 22ie an%els and the
redeemed are not mutuall" e,clusive conce$ts in an inter$retation o the
heavenl" armies. Fe have seen that the" are concerned to%ether 4ith the
HhalleluIahH and are both co4orkers or coservants 3sundouloi4&
#t the end o this section three ima%es are taken rom the 02 to
describe the combat commanded b" the 5eader o the heavenl" arm" :vs.
The shar! sword issuin% rom His mouth to strike do4n the nations is an
allusion to Isaiah ..E7& +. It $laces us immediatel" in a Iud%ment conte,t.
Reerence to the rod o/ iron is taken rom 1salm (E*. 2he $salm kee$s
7< .rn 2ecture de ?7A!oca/!se, Ca$icrs Evan%ile& -- (Ccrf< Paris@+ *-.
77 Charics& The "e#elation o/ St& John >ith Introduction (E.7/& all the more so he said& as the accom!
$an"in% armies arc dressed in ine $ure 4hite linen. He considers it to be the blood o the 1arthes@
kin%s and their armies.
7? The Boo1 o/ "e#elation, 7+/.
7* Ibid.
?) Ps .)7E(.; .+?E(; /att (+E7.; 5uke 4+-*F 4 #$css .E7& etc. Cf. 5cnski& The Inter!retation&&&, MM.5MM&
71 Cf0Ho"!$o!1 Revelation) #H#A
62 Hoid0 2risis) 2@<<C "!0 Rev $35.J Ep" :&A
7= C"a#le$1 1he Revelation of StA /ohn :ith Introduction 2@1=5C Mou!ce1 =460
J. Cf. Rev -4 $ere t$e Son and t$e o!an%s other $osterit" are different< but still t$e obCect of the
sa!e assaults on t$e $art of the dra%on.
?/ Sec also ( 2hcss (E?.
2he 24o Su$$ers
us rom overs$iritualiJin% the combat& or it deals 4ith a real destruction
o the nations.
+i!all5 :it" the ,inepress of the 8ury of the ,rath of >od :e a#e $e!t
back to Isaiah <7E7; Aoel 7E.7; and $ossibl" Aeremiah .7E.7& .+& all three te,ts
s$eakin% o a radical and deinitive Iud%ment.
@ 2his last ima%e is hammered
out in Greek 4ith our %enitivesE o/ the 4ine$ress o/ the ur" o the 4rath o
God. It em$hasiJes the solemnit" and the absoluteness o
M 4t
t$e e,ecution.
Even thou%h the 'essiah is accom$anied b" armies& He alone treads
the 4ine$ress& rules or strikes alone. He alone dis$enses Iustice. He alone
holds the $osition o a divine Aud%e& or He is Din% o kin%s and 5ord o
2he debate over 4here He bears his name matters little;
the essential
$oint is the name 4hich Honce a%ain insists on the divine nature o Christ!
Iud%eE Is He not the ver" Ford o GodLH
Here in verse .< 4e have the $ur$ose o the visionE to establish Christ in
His ri%ht to Iud%e b" virtue o His divine nature. #nd Iust like the redeemed
4ho are associated 4ith Him in ()E+& here :vs. .+9 the" ollo4 Him in His
4ork a%ainst those 4ho had a seemin% victor" over them :.7E<9.
2he Great Su$$er o God
2he ne,t scene brin%s us back to earth :vss. .7!(.9. #n an%el standin%
in the sun^ calls in a loud voice or the o4ls to come to a %ruesome su$!
$er& to sa" the least. 2he $resence o t4o meals in the same cha$ter reminds
us that no one can esca$e makin% a choice :vss. *&.79. Either 4e res$ond to
the %racious invitation to the 4eddin% su$$er o the 5amb& or 4e number
ourselves 4ith His o$$onents and are 4ritten on the menu o scaven%ers.
2his terri"in% ima%e o birds devourin% horses and humans brin%s to
J1 Cf. Ladd< Guoted b" 'ouncc& The Boo1 o/ "e#elation, 7+<!+7.
J2 See also Rev .+E.)&-B<().
JJ Cf. Ba!$ouse< "e#elation, 7/*.
JB #S.!nyat,23-p47atypsede Saint Jean, (*7E HIt is he 4ho is the ultimate e,$ression o the 4rath o
=od. 4ith t$e dierence rom the Ae4ish a$ocal"$tic and t$e 3u!ran te,ts $ere !ilitary
assistance fro! the aithul is e,$ected.H See also ;o$nson< Revelation, /77.
B9 #$e theories are numerous. Sec Lenski< The Interpretation o/ St& /ohn7s Revelation, //<; C$aries<
The Revelation o/ St& John >ith Introduction, .77& t$at leads u$ to a childish vision& /. R. 'in-
cent alread" in >ord Studies in the New Testament, 4nd ed. (/cLcan< 'A< .???9& <77!7?.
*. *ngcat,?7A!oco/!sede Saint Jean, (*7.
B4 #$e 5ur5ose o his 5osition is to re$resent the universal nature of $is intervention. All the birds
hear $i!. C. 'ounce& The Boo1 o/ "e#elation, 7+?. E. B. Elliot su%%ests that it e,5resses the
su$reme ro"alt" t$at dictates these 4ords. %oraeA!ocat!dcae + :5ondon& .?<(9E /7.
2he 24o Su$$ers
mind a battleield :vs. .?9. It is situated in the inverse order o events because the
battle does not take $lace until verse .*. In 0riental thou%ht& becomin% ood or
animals o $re" 4as the lo4est de$th o shame.
2his is the curse that han%s over
those 4ho disobe" God :Deut (?E(<9. 2he" 4ill have no burial. 2he ima%er" is
dra4n rom EJekiel 7*E.7!(). It reminds us that God@s calls should be taken
seriousl"& and that a Iud%ment 4ill indeed take $lace.
D. G. Barnhouse sa"s that the ive re$etitions o the 4ord HleshH su%%est that
man is bein% $unished or havin% 4alked ater the lesh.
But lesh in a s$iritual
sense is not a Aohannine theme. #ll men are concerned 4hatever their rank or race.
It is not a 3uestion o a $urel" s$iritual i%ht&
even thou%h the combat is not
re$orted. 2he reerences are too realistic& and the entire theme is develo$ed around
the deinitive distruction o the $o4ers o evil& and as verse .? $oints out& o those
4ho lent them their su$$ort. 2hese armies are assembled as 4ere the su$$orters o
Herod and 1ilate.
2he kin%s and the leaders do not re$resent an" $articular $eo$le&
but all evil $o4ers.
2he beast and the alse $ro$het are thro4n alive into the lake o ire. #s Enoch
and EliIah 4ent to heaven alive& so these t4o are thro4n HaliveH into the lake o ire.
H2o %o do4n into Sheol alive in the 02 is to be struck 4ith a violent or $remature
death :=um .<E7)&77; 1s //E.<9.H
2he main
$oint o the messa%e seems to ocus on the inal destruction in ire and sul$hurH oE
.. 2he beast& 4hose relationshi$ 4ith the beasts o Daniel 7
and 4hose actions
deine it as a $olitical!reli%ious $o4er :Rev .7E.!.)9.
(. 2he alse $ro$het& likened to the second beast o .7E..!.?
4hose eatures
$oint out the reli%ious character o the irst beast in its action a%ainst God :.7E<& .(!
#lter e%o o the irst beast&
it is the 4itness o all alse reli%ions that turn the
4orshi$ers a4a" rom obe"in% the
6= C!.L. Bo!!et1 0eNouveau 1estamentAAA) =7<1 !0 50
64 Revelation) An 7;pository 2ommentary) =6<)610
65 %it" .0 H0 Mou!cc1 1he Book of Revelation) =460
66 C!< 8uke 2=@12C Act$ -525027C ;$ 20
6 Cf0 t"e ten "o#!$ of t"e -#a'o! in 12@=0
*? 1ri%ent& ? 7A!ocal!se ae Saint Jean, (**& 4ho& ho4ever& makes a distinction beteen death b" the
s4ord and death in Gehenna. 2o us the results seem to be the same.
** 2he reerence to sul$hur %ives a oul!smellin% as$ect to the scene.
.)) C. Rev .7E(.
.). C. 5enski& The Inter!retation o/ St& John7s "e#elation, and 1ri%ent& ? 7A!ocal!se de Saint Jean&
.)( 2he alse $ro$het re$resents the role o alse reli%ion in $ersuadin% man to 4orshi$ the anti. Christian
$o4er.H 'ounce& The Boo1 o/ "e#elation, 7+*!/).
.)7 1ri%ent& (*?.
2he 24o Su$$ers
true =od to make them become disci$les o the beast and Satan.
0n seein% such a daJJlin% victor" and the establishment o
Christ in His di%nit" as Din% o kin%s& on hearin% the announcement
o the end o inernal $o4ers and the $roclamation o the victor" o
the redeemed& the reader is $rom$ted to Ioin Aohn and the heavenl"
bein%s in bo4in% do4n and 4orshi$in%. 8nitin% his 4eak voice
4ith that o the $o4erul thunders& he echoes the heavenl" invitation
b" $roclaimin%& HalleluIahN
R C$a5ter 'n R #$e
Aoel Badina
&ditorial Syno5sis. 2he eschatolo%ical eatures o several biblical doctrines @ come to their
ruition in the millennium& the $ro$hec" o Aohn ound in Revelation I 7X2 (). Such subIects as
the second comin% o Christ& death :irst6second9& resurrec!Y tion :ri%hteous6unri%hteous9&
Iud%ment :millennial revie46e,ecutive9& destruction
o the lost :includin% Satan and allen an%els9& and the ne4 earth :ne4 Aerusalem9 @;E orm
inte%ral as$ects o this $eriod.
E@;l 1robabl" no other $ro$hec" in Revelation has been the subIect o more dis!P
a%reement& nor has an" $ro$hec" im$acted on so man" Christians and commu!P nions&
aectin% their reli%ious vie4s and actions. 7W& 2he author surve"s the three maIor
inter$retations Christians continue to hold P on this subIect. 2hese are labeled %enerall"
accordin% to the relationshi$ the
millennium is %iven in connection 4ith Christ@s adventsE :.9 *remillennialism H ; Christ@s
return !recedes and initiates the one thousand "ears. :(9 *ostm@lennial5
tsm Christ@s rctwa /ollows the one thousand "ears. :79 Amillenmalism > the one !&
thousand "ears smboliJes the Christian Era bet4een Christ@s t4o advents.
1remillenialism itsel develo$ed three dierent orms :dis$ensational& historic&
heavenl"9. 2he author anal"Jes the irst t4o inter$retations& contrastin% them 4ith
the third& or #dventust& vie4 4hich is briel" summariJed rom the $ro$hec" and
other biblical data that buttress Revelation (). 2he author desi%nates the #d!ventist
vie4 as a Hheavenl" $remillennialismH inasmuch as the biblical $assa%es $oint to the
millennial rei%n o Christ and the redeemed as takin% $lace in heaven > in contrast
to all other $re millennial $ositions that locate it on the earth in its $resent sin!cursed
C$a5ter (utline
I. Introduction
II. 'aIor Inter$retations
III. #dventist Inter$retation
I'. 2heolo%ical 'eanin%
# 225
#ne /illenniu!
D relation ()E.!.)& 4hich deals 4ith a one thousand "ear $eriod Eommonl"
kno4n as Hthe millennium&H is an im$ortant $assa%e
hat has %reatl" inluenced Christians in their eschatolo%". HS"stems
o eschatolo%" have oten been identiied in terms o the 4a" the" treat the
3uestion o the millennium.H
2he subIect has also inluenced the ideolo%ical
and $olitical vie4s o both Christians and atheists. For e,am$le& 'ar,ism
4as a kind o secular miltennialism.
2he $ast $olitical stance o the 8nited
States to4ard the nation o Israel& the #rab nations& and Russia 4as based in
$art u$on one s$eciic kind o$remillennial inter$retation o the book o
'ore and more historians and sociolo%ists are stud"in% the relation
bet4een societ" and the conce$t o the millennium amon% both Christian
and non!Christian $eo$les. @#t least three thousand studies o millenari!
anism have been $rinted in this centur".H
2he 4ord millennium is not itsel a biblical term& ho4ever& but comes
rom the 5atin mille :thousand9 and annum :"ear9. In theolo%ical $arlance&
the 4ord millennium reers to the one thousand "ears mentioned si, times
in Revelation (). 2his is the onl" biblical te,t that mentions this $articular
one thousand "ear $eriod.
Revelation ()E.!.) is described as Hone o the most debated $assa%es in
the Ford o God.@M
HAud%in% rom the amount o attention %iven b" man"
4riters to the irst ten verses o cha$ter ()& one 4ould Aud%e it to be the
sin%le most im$ortant se%ment o the book o Revelation.
2he $assa%e has %enerated considerable discussion amon% e,e%etes.
$ &eoryE(Ladd," Co!!entary o! the Revelation &G#a!- .api-$1 162(1 2560
( R. G. Clousc& H'illennium& Vie4s o&H E#angelical %ictionar o/ Theolog, cd. Falter #. El4ell
(=rand Ra5ids< .*?+9& 7.?.
* 7illel Sc$art>< H'illcnarianism&H The Encclo!edia o/"eligum, cd. /ircca &liadc :=e4 Oork&
.*?79& *E/7). Some $olitical and sociolo%ical as$ects of millenarianism in Euro$e are described b"
:or!an Conn in The !ursuit o/ the 4illennium7 "e#olutionar 6illenarians and 6stical
-narchists of the 4iddle -ges, rev. and e,$anded ed. :=e4 Oork& .*7)9. 2he notion o millennium
$as inluenced t$e mentalit" o #mericans. See /. D. Bi"ant and D. F. Da"ton& eds.& The )oming
Oingdom2 Essas in American 6illennialism and Eschatolog :Ban"to4n& =O& .*?79;
and #i!ot$y P. Aeber< ?i#ing in the Shadow o/ the Second )oming2 American *remillemualism,
+-HM5+,-D, enlar%ed ed. (=rand Ra$ids& .*?79; and ;. Bettis and S. D. Aohanncsen& eds.& The
Return o/ the 6illennium (Banyton< =O& .*?+9.
. #$e one t$ousand years !entioned in Ps *)E+ and ( Pet 7E? arc not references to the a$ocal"$tic
6 Ailbur /. Smith& IRevelation<I The >cli//e Bile )ommentar :Chica%o& .*<(9& ./.*.
< Robert H. 'ounce& The Book o/ "e#elation, /C:#< .7 (=rand Ra5ids< .*779& 7/..
2he 'illennium
In the dierent theolo%ical s"stems o the Christian churches it is linked on the one
hand to individual and cosmic eschatolo%" :death& Second Comin%& resurrection&
inal Iud%ment9& and on the other hand to ecclesiolo%" and related to$ics :church&
Israel& kin%dom o God9. Since there is no a%reement bet4een the churches on these
issues& there is no a%reement either amon% e,e%etes on the inter$retation o this te,t.
H2he inter$retation o this cha$ter has been a source o %reat debate and even
conlict in the church.H
/aCor Inter5retations
2hree dierent inter$retations o Revelation () have been %iven throu%hout the
() centuries o Christianit".
#millennialism has been the most 4idel" held vie4 throu%hout most o the
Christian Era. 2hrou%h the inluence o #u%ustine :d. #!D. +7)9 amil!lennialism
4as $o$ulariJed& eventuall" becomin% the oicial vie4 o the Roman Catholic
Church and the 0rthodo, Church. Conservative 1rotestant reormed %rou$s&
includin% man" 1resb"terians& are also amillennialists.
A sy!bol. 2he amillennialist inter$retation is mostl" s"mbolic& not literal.
#millennialists do not inter$ret Revelation () as reerrin% to a uture& literal
thousand "ear rei%n o Christ ater His comin%. 2he" believe instead that the
millennium re$resents the era bet4een the irst and second advents o Christ. 2he
bindin% o Satan is a s"mbol 4hich means that Satan has been deeated b" Christ
:'att .(E(*; 5uke .)E.7!.?& Aohn .(E7.!7(9; his activit" is reduced :not totall"9& so
he cannot $revent the $reachin% o the %os$el.
2he millennial rei%n is no4 or the church on earth& 4hich is the kin%dom o
God. H2he kin%dom o God is no4 $resent in the 4orld as the victorious Christ is
rulin% his $eo$le b" his Ford and S$irit.H
2he irst
J #$ese are %enerall" classiied in relationshi$ to Christ@s second advent as :.9 $remiilennialism >
t$e Ad#ent!recedes t$e one thousand yearsF :(9 $ostmillennialism >the #dvent ollo4s the one
t$ousand yearsF :79 a!illennialis! > no millennium as such; the one thousand years
s"mboliJes t$e era beteen the irst advent and Second Advent. For more inormation& see
Robert =. douse< ed.& The 4eaning o/ the 6illennium2 (our Vwws :Do4ners =rove< IL< .*779;
and 'il!lard A. Erickson& )ontem!orar $ptions in Eschatolog2 A Stud o/ she 6illennium
:Grand Ra5ids< .*779.
B Ant$ony #. Hockema& The Bible and the (uture :Grand Ra$ids& .*7*9& .7+.
2he 'illennium
resurrection s"mboliJes either the ne4 birth o aith in Christ& or ba$tism.
But some amillennialists believe that Revelation () must be vie4ed as
reerrin% to the church trium$hant& namel"& the souls o deceased believers
4ho rei%n no4 4ith Christ in heaven. 2he" inter$ret the irst resurrection as
the ascent to heaven o the souls o believers.
Finall"& amillennialists do not vie4 Revelation .* and () as a
chronolo%ical se3uence. Cha$ters ()!(( are believed to orm the last o
seven sections into 4hich the" divide the book o Revelation. Since the
sections are vie4ed as bein% chronolo%icall" $arallel to each other&
HRevelation ()E. takes us back once a%ain to the be%innin% o the =e4
2estament era.H
#s a result& the millennium is made to occur beore the
Second #dvent& not ater.
Rebuttal. 2he amillennialist inter$retation o Revelation () is dis!
missed b" $remillennialists :Seventh!da" #dventists included9 or several
reasons. First& the Greek term eJesan :come to lie9 in verse + reers to the
literal resurrection o the bod"& as it does also in verse /& and not to ba$tism
or to souls in heaven. Second& Satan is not "et bound& but is ver" active on
earth durin% the Christian Era :c. Rev .(E.(9. 2hird& $remillennialists read
cha$ters .*!() as a chronolo%ical se3uence& and believe& thereore& that the
millennium 4ill occur ater& not beore& the Second #dvent. R9urth& the
historical ar%ument is on the side o $remillennialistsE 2he Christians o the
irst three centuries 4ere not amillennialists& but $remillennialists.
2he shit
rom $remillennialism to amillennialism in the ith centur" 4as not due to
e,e%etical reasonsE
2he histor" o inter$retation 4ould su%%est that an" inter$retation o
Revelation () other than the natural one Qi.e.& $remillennialismR arises not
/rom inducti#e e0egetical studies, but rom theolo%ical $resu$$ositions o an
anti!millenarian character. 2he irst anti!millenarians dis$ara%ed the natural
inter$retation o Revelation& not /or e0egetical reasons because the" thou%ht
the book did not teach a millennium& but or theolo%ical reasons because the"
did not like millennial doctrine.
.) R. ?ue$ner< H'illenarianism in t$e Bible.H New )atholic Encclo!edia :.*<79& *E?/(.
.. #$is vie4 $ies back $artl" to #u%ustine :see 7ockc!a< .?79& but as ull" develo5ed or the irst
ti!e in t$e si,teent$ centur" b" t$e Aesuit Ribcira :see Alan Aohnson& IRevelation<I The
E0!ositor7s Bible )ommentar (=rand Ra5ids< .*?.R& .(E/7*9.
.( 7oeke!a< ((7.
.7 HDurin% the first t$ree centuries of t$e Christian &ra< 5re!illennialis! a$$ears to $ave been t$e
do!inant cschatolo%ical inter5retation. A!ong its ad$erents ere Pa5ias< Irenaeus< Austin
'art"r& 2ertullian& Hi$$ol"tus& /et$odius< Commodianus and 5actantiusH (Robert Clouse&
HIntroduction&H in Robert douse& cd.< The 4eaning of the 4illennium7 ,our Views (Doners
Gi4c& IL< .*77\& *9.
.+ Geor%e E. 5add& )rucial (uestions -out the Oingdom of God :Grand Ra$ids& .*/(9& .+*&
e!5$asis ours.
2he 'illennium
#ccordin% to Aean Danielou& the Hellenist converts 4ho
reIected the millenarian doctrine in toto in the third centur" either
im$u%ned the canonicit" o the book o Revelation& like Gaios& or
condemned literal inter$retation o the te,t& like 0ri%en. 5ike
2"conius>and later& #u%ustine>the" sa4 the millennium as the
time o the church.
Post!illennialis!. In a sense $ostmillennialists are social
o$timists. 2he" believe :since the seventeenth centur"9 that the
$reachin% o the %os$el and social reorms 4ill e,tend the
kin%dom o God in the 4orld. #s a result& the 4hole 4orld 4ill be
%raduall" ChristianiJed and converted& and there 4ill be a lon%
$eriod o ri%hteousness and $eace called the millennium. #t the
close o this $eriod& Christ 4ill come back.
2here has been little $ostmillennial em$hasis amon%
Christians in this centur". 24o 4orld 4ars and the advent o the
nuclear a%e have $ersuaded man" that societ" is not becomin%
2hereore& the debate over Revelation () in this centur"
has been mostl" bet4een amillennialists and $remillennialists.
Fe ma" describe a third vie4 as $remillennialism :sometimes
desi%nated millennialism& chiliasm& or millenarianism9.
1remillennialists believe that the millennium 4ill take $lace ater
Christ@s return. 2he earl" Christians and Church Fathers o the
irst three centuries 4ere $remillennialists. 1remillennialism 4as
oiciall" re$laced b" amillennialism in the Roman Catholic
Church in the ith centur". It revived a%ain in the seventeenth
centur" amon% some 1rotestants. 2here are three varieties o
Dis5ensational 5re!illennialis!. 2he maIor vie4 in the
8nited States is dis$ensational $remillennialism& or
dis$ensationalism or short.
Dis$en!sationalism is an
inter$retation that a$$eared in En%land and Ireland in the
nineteenth centur". It is held b" man" conservative Ba$tists and
inde$endent& undamentalist churches. Dis$ensationalism
inluences lar%e numbers o
-6 ;ean Danielou< The Theolofy of /e"ish )hristianit (London< .*7+9& 77?.
-1 Loraine Boettner< IPost!illennialis!<I in The 6eaning o/ the 6illennium, cd&
Robert G.Clouse (Doners =rove< IL< .*779& ..7.
-2 :evert$eless< 5ost!illennialis! is still 5resent for instance in bot$ 5rocess
theolo%" and the theolo%" of ho$e. Sec Bernard Ramm& The E#angelical =eritage
:Faco. #"< .*779& .7?. It is also 5resent in do!inion t$eology< accordin% to
RoyEuck< Basic Bible Inter$retation :Fhealon& IL< -BB-@.4*4.
-J In Buro5e dis$ensationalism is not as $o$ular as it is in #merica. # ver" inluential
conte!5orary #merican dis$ensationalist is Aohn F.Fatvoord& lon%time $resident
o Dallas 2heolo%ical Se!inary. 7e $as 5enned< a!ong !any books< The
6illennial Oingdom :Grand Ra$ids& .*/*9.
2he 'illennium
$eo$le in the 8nited States& bein% tau%ht& or e,am$le& in millions o co$ies
o Hal 5indse"@s The ?ate Great *lanet Earth :Condervan& .*7)9 that have
been sold.
Dis$ensationalism is activel" $romoted b" numerous nondenomina!
tional Bible colle%es and seminaries such as Dallas 2heolo%ical Seminar"&
b" 2V and radio $reachers& b" $ublishin% houses such as 'ood" 1ress and
Condervan 1ublishin% House& and b" the distribution o the $o$ular Scoield
Dis$ensationalists are $retribulationists; that is& the" teach that the
church 4ill be secretl" ra$tured to heaven beore the %reat tribulation. 2he
ra$ture o the church is imminent; it can ha$$en at an" moment no4.
Durin% the seven "ears o the tribulation :the seventieth 4eek o Daniel *
$roIected to the end o the a%e9 the Ae4s 4ill be $ersecuted b" the anti !
christ. #ll the Ae4s 4ill acce$t Christ and 4ill become God@s $eo$le a%ain.
Dis$ensationalists inter$ret Revelation () as a literal rei%n on earth o
the Ae4s. Durin% the millennium the Ae4s 4ill rule the un%odl" nations. 2he
2em$le 4ill have been rebuilt in Aerusalem and the sacriices restored
durin% the $revious seven "ears. 'an" dis$ensationalists believe that the
church 4ill remain in heaven rom the be%innin% o the tribulation until
ater the end o the millennium. 0thers locate the church on earth durin% the
2he $resent church a%e is looked u$on as onl" a $arenthesis in God@s
$lan; the real $eo$le o God are the Ae4s. Dis$ensationalists believe that the
02 $ro$hecies to Israel about an earthl" kin%dom 4ere unconditional;
thereore& these $ro$hecies 4ill be ulilled literall" to the Ae4s durin% the
#s a result o this kind o henneneutic& dis$ensationalists ind reerence
to the millennial kin%dom in man" te,ts o the ).P 4hich is 4h" the" can
%ive man" s$eciics on the 4a" lie 4ill be durin% the millennium. Dis!
$ensationalism %ives a uturist inter$retation to the book o Revelation.
Cha$ters (!7 $ortra" the seven literal churches in Aohn@s da" or the seven
a%es o church histor"& but almost all the rest o the book is about events to
ha$$en shortl" beore the Second #dvent. 2hus cha$ters +!/ de$ict the
uture ra$ture o the church& and cha$ters <!.? $ortra" a uture 7M6( "ears o
Ae4ish evan%elism& 7P( "ears o %reat tribulation and the 4rath o God
a%ainst the un%odl".
.* Falvoord teaches that t$e church 4ill be on earth during t$e millennium& folloing ($e tribulation
2he 'illennium
1oliticall"& dis$ensationalists su$$ort Israel a%ainst the #rab nations
and Russia& 4ho the" e,$ect to 4a%e 4ar a%ainst it; #rma%eddon 4ill be a
real 4ar.
In this connection is dis$ensationalist em$hasis that 4e are no4
in the ver" last da"s. 2he" see si%ns o the ti!es in $olitical events such as
the birth o the nation Israel in .*+?& and her takin% o Aerusalem in .*<7&
t$e oil crisis o the .*7)s& and the %ro4in% $o4er o the Euro$ean Common
'arket. # e4 have had a tendenc" to set dates or the end& usuall"
in t$e ne,t comin% "ears.
7istoric 5re!illennialis!. #nother orm o$remillennialism is some!
times desi%nated historic $remillennialism& because it is held that this 4as
the vie4 tau%ht b" the eart" church.
=evertheless& it must be observed that
modem historic $rem8lennialists are uturists in their inter$retation o the
book o Revelation& 4hereas the Christians o the irst three cen!
turies 4ere historicists.> Since the .*/)s& more and more evan%elicals have
abandoned dis$ensationalism and have turned to historic $remillennialism.
5ike dis$ensationalists& historic $remillennialists believe in a uture
kin%dom o Christ on earth durin% the millennium. But in contrast 4ith dis!
$ensationalists& historic $remillennialists ind e4er allusions to the millen!
nium in the 02; thereore& the" do not describe the millennial kin%dom in
detail. 2he" do not vie4 the millennium as essentiall" Ae4ish& even i the"
be8eve that all literal Israel 4ill be saved. 2he millennial kin%dom on earth
4ill be or both the church and the Ae4s& and both 4ill rule the nations.
E,$onents o this $osition are $osttribulationists& that is& the" teach t$at
the church 4ill %o throu%h the inal tribulation and 4ill be $ersecuted b" the
antichrist. 2he" do not believe that the end is imminent& but im$endin%E
Several maIor events must ha$$en beore the end. Finall"& the" do not set
dates or the end.
49 Sec D4i%ht =elson& Armageddon NowP The *remiCenarian Response to "ussia and Israel Since
=9=H :Grand Ra$ids& .*779; and Aohn F. Aatvoord< Armageddon, C= and the 6iddle East )risis2
<hat the Bile Sas About the (uture o/the 6iddle East and the End o/>estcm )i#iliJation, rev.
ed. (=rand Ra$ids& .**)9. For the influence odis$ensational $remillennialism u$on the orei%n
aairs of 0-S. President Ronald Reagan< see ?. L. Food4ard& H#r%uin% #rma%eddon&H in
'e"s"eek, :ove!ber /&.*?+&*..
4- #millenniatists and 5re!illennialists debate over the C$urc$ )at$ers of the second and third cen!
turies& because each %rou$ 4ants to claim t$e earl" athers> and thereore t$e historical ar%u!
ment>on its side. 0sually amillcnnialists deny t$at the earl" c$urc$ 4as $rcmillennialist& but
t$eir ar%uments are not valid. #$e leadin% e,$onent of historic $remillennialism in t$e second
hal of this centur" as Geor%e &. Ladd< o Fuller #$eological Se!inary. #n e,$osition of his
vie is in Ladd< HHistoric 1remillennialism&H in The 6eaning o/ the 6illennium2 (our Views, ed.
Robert =. Clousc (Doners =rove< IL< .*779& .7!+).
(( For a brie descri$tion o the historicist& uturist& and $reterist6historical!critical HschoolsH o
$ro$hetic inter$retation& see "e#elation Sm!osium, Book .& D#RC0' Series& vol. < :Silver
S$rin%& 'DE Biblical Research Institute& .**.9& +!7&.7/!7<.
2he 'illennium
Sevent$-day Adventist 5re!illennialis!.
#dventiscs arc $rcmillen!nialists
in orientation but dier rom the t4o other vie4s on im$ortant $oints.
inter$ret Revelation ()E+!< as Christ@s millennial rei%n 4ith the redeemed in heaven&
not on earth. 2he" believe that the teachin% o the earl" Church Fathers o a
kin%dom on earth 4as alse due to the inluence o e,tracanonical Ae4ish
a$ocal"$ses. 2his erroneous vie4 o an earthl" kin%dom is the basis o
amillennialism& $ostmillennialism& dis$en!sationalism& and modem so!called
historic $remillennialism.
#nother maIor dierence is that #dventists ollo4 the historicist method o
inter$retin% the book o Revelation& the %eneral 1rotestant her!meneutic durin% the
si,teenth to the nineteenth centuries. Conse3uentl"& the" see Revelation +!.?
unrollin% across the Christian Era and not as coverin% the last seven "ears Iust
beore Christ comes in %lor".
Seventh!da" #dventists do not believe that all literal Ae4s 4ill be saved& nor do
the" see an"thin% Ae4ish in Revelation ().
2he maIor em$hasis in the #dventist doctrine o the millennium is on the
$ro$hec"@s teachin% o Iud%ment& not on a $olitical kin%dom and rule o
(7 # selected biblio%ra$h"& in an al$habetical order& on t$e Sevent$-dayAdventist inter$retation o
Rev () ollo4sE Ro" #llan #nderson& @n/olding the Revelation, rev. cd. (/ountain Vie4& C#.
.*7+9& .*)!*?. Samuele Bacchiocchi& TheAd#ent =o!e/or%"nan%opelessness :Berrien S$rin%s&
/I+ Biblical Pers5ectives< .*?<9& c$a5. ./. Robert Aillia! Doncsky< #$e Develo5!ent o the
Sevent$-day Adventist Conce5t o t$e 'illennium& .?+)!.?/)H (Andres 0niversity< Berrien
S$rin%s& /I+ Sc$ool o Graduate Studies& .*779. #rthur ;. )crc$< I#$e 'illennium& # Golden
Age on &art$ - (r in 7eaven8I 6inistr, 'a" .*77&7(!7/. ;cny =ladson< HFilliam /iller and
t$e #riu!5$ of Pre!illennialis!<I Ad#entist Revie", :ove!ber *&-BJB<.)!.(. Id.& I#$e Si%!
niicance o the 'illennium&H Ad#entist "e#iew, :ove!ber .<&.*?*&.+!./. 7ans ?. 5aRondelle&
I#$e (ne 2housand Oears o Revelation ()&H 6inistr, Se$tember .*?(&.(!.+. Id.< H2he /il-
lenniu!+ Its (ld 2estament Roots<I 6inistr, :ove!ber .*?(&.)!.(. Id.& I#$e 'illenniumE #
Revelation o =od%s Character&H 6inistr, Aanuar" .*?7& 7!*. C. 'crv"n /a,ell< God #ares D
:Boise& ID< .*?/9E +?.!/)7. Se#enth5da Ad#entists Believe :Fashin%ton& DC+ /inisterial #sso!
ciation& .*??9& c$a5. 41. R. L. (do!< HFhere the Redee!ed Fill S$end the /illenniu!<%%Mie%
and =erald, 'arch (/&.*</& 7!?. ). D. :ic$ol< ed.< HRevelation&H The SD- Bile )ommentar,
rev. ed.& vol. 7 :Fashin%ton& DC< .*?)9& ?77!??&*?<!?7. Seventh!da" #dventists #ns4er 3ues-
tions on Doctrine (Aas$ington< DC< .*/79& c$a5s. 77!7*. Sie%ried 7. 7orn< ed.< SD- Bible
%ictionar, rev. ed. :Fashin%ton& DC< .*7*9& s.v. I/illenniu!.I Don ). =eueld et al.& eds.& S%A
Encclo!edia, rev. ed. :Fashin%ton& DC< -B21@< s.v. I/illenniu!I and H1remillennialism.H
0ria$ Smith& Do"el and the "e#elation :Battle Creek< /I< .?*79& <?7!*7. ?ennet$ A. Strand<
HFhat t$e 'illennium /eans to 6e,$ Ad#entist "e#iew, /arc$ .(&.*?7&.)!... Robin #$eobald<
HSeventh!da" #dventists and t$e /illenniu!<I in 'ichael Hill& cd.,- Sociological Qearboo1 o/
"eligion in Britain (London. .*7+9& ...!7.. =. =ordon #$o!as< I(ur 'illennial 7eritage<I
4in&istr, Aanuar" .*7(. 4B-*-. &llen =. A$ite< The Great #ontroversy :'ountain 'ie< CA<
.*..9& c$a5.<..
(+ 2he" strongly reCect dis$ensational $remillennialism. Sec for instance& Sa!uele Bacc$iocc$i< =al
?indse7s !rophetic Jigsaw *uJJle2 ,ive !redictions That (ailedP (Berrien S$rin%s& /I< -BJ6@F
7ans ?. LaRondelle< The Israel o/ God in *ro!hec2 !rinciples of !rophetic Interpretation
(Berrien S$rin%s& /I< .*?79; id.& )hariots o/ Sal#ation2 The Biblical %rama o/ Armageddon
:Fashin%ton& DC< .*?79.
2he 'illennium
the Ae4s and6or the church over the nations. Finall"& it is tau%ht that no
human bein% :no HnationsH9 4ill be alive on earth durin% the time o the mil !
lennium. 2hese dierences bet4een the #dventist inter$retation o Revela!
tion () and the other t4o orms o $remillennialism are essential& basic.
Because o the im$ortance o the doctrine o the millennium in Seventh!da"
#dventist thou%ht& the" have been called a millennial church.
it is 4ell kno4n that in the nineteenth centur" #dventists HrevivQedR the con!
ce$t o a heavenl" millennium ater the Second #dvent.H
&ffects of 'ies on C$ristian #$oug$t
2hese 4a"s in 4hich Christians inter$ret Revelation () inluence their
thou%ht and action. Berkou4er states& H0bviousl" one@s vie4 o the thou!
sand "ears o Revelation () is intimatel" connected 4ith the rest o his
eschatolo%". Ho4 he thinks o this $assa%e %ives a s$eciic color and struc!
ture to his e,$ectation.H
For e,am$le& amillennialists and $ostmillennialists are more sociall"
o$timistic than $remillennialists and are more concerned 4ith $olitical and
social issues.
Fhereas& $remillennialists do not believe that the societ" and
the 4orld are becomin% better& but 4orse. 2his aects their vie4 o $resent
and uture realit"& and their deinition o the meanin% o histor".
Donald G. Bloesch& a $ostmillennialist& char%es that the $remillennial
em$hasis on the immediate return o Christ and His millennial rei%n relects
an overl" $essimistic vie4 o both the church and 4orld and has led to a not
sur$risin% detachment rom $olitical concerns& since the 4orld is held
(/ Bernard Ramm& *rotestant Biblical Inter!retation2 A Te0tboo1 o/ =ermeneutics /or )onser#ati#e
*rotestants :Boston& .*/<9& (7*. 2he e,act 4ordin% used b" Ramm is Hmillennial cult$ 2hat kind
o $eIorative 4ordin% is ound also& or instance& in a recent evan%elical dictionar"E H2here have
been %rou$s such as the Shakers& the Seventh!da" #dventists& the Aehovah@s Fitnesses& and the
5atter!da" Saints :'ormons9 4ho tend to e3uate the activities o their o4n sect 4ith the comin%
o the millennium.H R! G. douse& H'illennium& Vie4s o&H E#angelical %ictionar o/ Theolog,
ed& Falter #. El4ell :Grand Ra$ids& .*?+9& 7.?. But Clouse& a $ostmillennialist& is not ri%ht to use
a $ostmillennial conce$t :Hthe comin% o the millenniumH9 to s$eak o #dventists&
$o are $remillennialists.
41 ). L. Cross and &. A- 0vingstone< eds.& C0/ord %ictionar o/ the )hristian C#urc#& (nd cd.
:0,ord& -BJ*@< s.v. I/illcnarianis!.I
(7 G. C Berkou4er& The "eturn o/ )hrist :Grand Ra$ids& .*7(9& (*..
4J After Forld Aar II< evangelicals :mostl" historic $remillennialists9 $ave sou%ht to res$ond more
to social issues< and $ave se5arated themselves fro! funda!entalists :mostl"
dis$ensationalists9 $o neglected t$e social im$lications o t$e %os$el. See Cari ). 7. 7enry<
E#angelical "es!onsibilit in #ontemporary Theology (=rand Ra5ids< -B62@. Seventh!da"
#dventists care; the" Hhave been es$eciall" ell knon for their $ealt$ care ministries.H '. E.
Dieter& H#dventism&H E#an5yScai Dictionary of Theology, ed. Aalter A. &lell :Grand Ra5ids.
.*?+9& .<.
2he 'illennium
to be incurabl" evil. 2he $resum$tion that 4e are in the last da"s also tends to undercut
an" im$etus or social reorm.
#millennialists>Roman Catholics as 4ell as 1rotestants>and $ost!
millennialists do not have the same em$hasis in their eschatolo%" as com!
$ared 4ith $rcmillennialists. 2he ormer is more individualistic :souls %o to
heaven one b" one9& 4hereas the $remillennial eschatolo%" is more
collective& it involves the 4hole church as a unit">either ra$tured or %oin%
throu%h the last $ersecution.
#nother dierence in eschatolo%" is the act that amillennialists do not
antici$ate a soon return o Christ as $remillennialists do. 1remillennialists
%enerall" believe that the" 4ill see the second comin% o Christ in their
lietime; the" are im$atient to see Him& it is their blessed ho$e. (n the
contrar"& amillennialists and $ostmillennialists have an eschatolo%" 4ithout
a stron% em$hasis on the second comin% o Christ.
#mi8ennialists and $ostmillennialists hold to a kind o inau%urated
eschatolo%" 4hich em$hasiJes so much the Halread" no4H that the Hnot "etH
tends to be or%otten. 2his is obvious in the 4ritin%s o Roman Catholics. In
act& it is a Hde!eschatolo%iJin%&H a HdeuturiJin%.H
Fhat the =2 sa"s about
the uture is believed to be occurrin% ri%ht no4& as $ointed out b" 0scar
In Catholicism... 4hat 1rimitive Christianit" sa"s o the uture is in lar%e
$art transerred into the $resent. 2he reerence o the thousand!"ear Din%dom
:Rev. ()E+9 to the Church& a vie4 that %oes back to 2"!conius& is
characteristic in this res$ect.
'illard Erickson& a leadin% $remillennialist& summariJes this maIor di!
erence bet4een amillennialists and $remillennialists u$on eschatolo%"E
2he amillennialist seldom bemoans the deterioration o 4orld conditions
or condemns the $revalent culture. He has noticeabl" less $reoccu$ation 4ith
the details and se3uence o the last thin%s and less curiosit" about Hsi%ns o
the times.H Indeed& the 4hole subIect o eschatolo%" seems to receive less
attention rom amillennial theolo%ians than rom $remillennial theolo%ians....
1remillennialists are oten Hsearchin% the Scri$turesH and stud"in% current
events& attem$tin% to ali%n the t4o or discover
(* Donald BIoesc$< The *vangelical Renaissance (=rand Ra$ids& .*779& .+/.
7) See Adrio Doni%& The Ecli!se of #hrist in *schatology 0Grand Ra5ids< .*?*9.
7. G. C Berkou4er& The Return of #hrist (=rand Ra5ids< .*7(9& (7!(+.
7( 0scar Cullmann& #hrist and Time (P$iladel5$ia< .*/)9& .+7.
2he 'illennium
ho4 near the end mi%ht be. Generall" s$eakin%& amillennialists do not $ossess
nearl" as intensive a $ro$hetic interest.H
)or $remillennialists& eschatolo%" is one o the most im$ortant doctrines&
4hereas or amillennialists it is one o the least.
Adventist Inter5retation
#dventist inter$retation o Revelation ()E.!.) is $remillennial& $ost!
tribulationist& literal& non!Ae4ish& and locates the millennial rei%n in heaven.
C$ronological SeGuence (-B+---49+-9@
#s other $remillennialists do&
#dventists read .*E..!()E.) as a
chronolo%ical se3uence o events. 2hus& the" believe that the millennium
4ill occur ater the Second Comin%.
#millennialists claim that the HandH 31ai4 that be%ins ()E. does not tie
this verse 4ith .*E(. :the last verse in cha$ter .*9 in a chronolo%ical
se3uence. But HandH is oten used in the book o Revelation or actions that
ollo4 in a chronolo%ical se3uence. For instance& HandH is at the be%innin%
o ./ verses o cha$ter .* :in the Greek te,t9& and at the be%innin% o each
verse o cha$ter () :e,ce$t vs. /9& to introduce each time a ne4 sta%e o the
Furthermore& there is a unit" o content in Revelation .*E..!()E.).
Both sections combine to sho4 ho4 God 4ill deal 4ith His three enemies
alread" mentioned in .<E.7!.< :dra%on& beast& alse $ro$het9. 2he beast and
the alse $ro$het are thro4n into the lake o ire :.*E()9; then Satan is cast
into the ab"ss :()E.!79. So& to read ()E.!.) as ollo4in% chronolo%icall"
ater .*E..!(. is the most natural readin%. 2he Christians o the second and
third centuries read cha$ters .*!() in this manner; that is 4h" the" 4ere
Revelation 49 :ot Located in )irst Century A.D.
Cha$ter () is not a reca$itulation o cha$ter .(.
#millennial e,e!%etes
usuall" think so& and e3uate the three and a hal times o .(E.+ 4ith
77 Erickson& 7/&?/.
*. =. P Ladd<A #ommentary on the "e#elation o/ John :Grand Ra$ids& .*7(9& (<.; A. F. Fatvoord&
The Revelation of /esus #hrist7 - #ommentary (C$icago< .*<<9& (?*.
*6 #$is 5oint is stron%l" underscored b" ;. ). Aalvoord< a dis$ensationalist& in HRevelation&H The
Bile ;no"ledge #ommentary7 New Testament :n.$.E Victor Books< .*?79& *7?.
7< Aohnson& /?..
2he 'illennium
the one thousand "ears o cha$ter (). Both numbers are t$en inter$reted in a
s"mbolic 4a" as the time bet4een the t4o advents o Christ. But there are elements
in the $assa%es that reute such a vie4.
First& in cha$ter .(& Satan is thro4n do4n rom heaven to earth& 4hereas in
cha$ter () he is bound and thro4n into the ab"ss :()E79. Second& in cha$ter .( Satan
is Hthe deceiver o the 4hole 4orldH :.(E*9& 4hereas in cha$ter () he can Hdeceive
the nations no moreH :()E79. 2hird& cha$ter .( $ortra"s the Christians as mart"rs $ut
to death :.(E..9& 4hereas cha$ter () is the time o their resurrection :()E+&<9.
Cha$ter .( is a time o curse :.(E.(9& 4hereas cha$ter () is a time o blessin%
:.(E<9. It is evident thereore& that cha$ters .( and () do not describe the same
$eriod o time& and ()E. does not %o back to the irst centur" #!D. as .(E. does.
Rather& ()E.!.) is to be located immediatel" subse3uent to the Christian Era.
/illennial Descri5tion+ Li!ited to Revelation 49+---9
0n the limits o the millennial descri$tion& #dventists do not believe that (.E*!
((E/&+&./ describe the millennial rei%n. 2hese cha$ters :(.!((9 are seen to relate to
the eternal state. 0ther $remillennialists usuall" e3uate ()E+!< 4ith (.E*!((E/& .+&
./& because First& the =e4 Aerusalem is seen on earth in both cha$ters (.!(( and
()E*; and second& the HnationsH are mentioned in both $assa%es :()E7&?; (.E(+; and
But #dventists believe the comin% do4n o the =e4 Aerusalem 4ill take $lace
onl" at the end o the millennium. 2hus& Revelation (.E( and .) is seen to take $lace
bet4een verses < and 7 o cha$ter (). 2he evidence indicates that all the 4icked die
at the Second Comin% :c. Rev .*E..!(.;
<E.+!.79& and the ri%hteous :livin% and resurrected9 are taken to heaven :Aohn .+E.!
7; . 2hess +E.<!.?; 'att (+E7)!7.9. So there 4ill be no HnationsH on earth durin% the
millennium. It is a inal return o Christ 4ith the Hol" Cit" and the redeemed at the
end o the millennium that brin%s about the $resence o the cit" on the earth and the
resurrection o the 4icked :Aohn /E(?&(*; Rev ()E/9.
2hereore& #dventists vie4 the ull se3uence :be%un at .*E..9 as runnin%
chronolo%icall" throu%h to ((E<& as do some non!#dventist e,e%etes as 4ell.
Second #dvent :.*E..!(.9& :(9 millennium :()E.!.)9& :79 last Iud%ment :()E..!./9&
and :+9 eternal a%e :(.!((9.
77 See or instance Aohnson& /?). For a summai" o the o$$osed vie4& sec =. R. Bcasley./urray<
HRevelation&H The Eerdmans Bile )ommentar, 7rd cd. :Grand Ra$ids& .*7)9& .7)/.
2he 'illennium
Scri5tural Basis for t$e /illenniu!
Fhile Revelation () is the onl" $assa%e in the Bible that s$eciicall"
mentions a one thousand "ear $eriod :si, times9& #dventists see other
cate%ories o te,ts that buttress this time $eriod. For e,am$le& the seven last
$la%ues :Rev ./!.<9 and the second comin% o Aesus 4ith its attendant
resurrection and translation o the redeemed :'att (+E7)!7.; . 2hess +E.7!
.?; . Cor ./E/.!//9 and destruction o the livin% 4icked :Rev .*E.7!(.;
(2hess .E7!.); (E?; c. Isa ..E+9 immediatel" $recede the millennium.
In the 02 the a$ocal"$tic as$ect o Aeremiah +E(7!(7 ocuses on the
ruined condition o the earth brou%ht about b" the im$act o the da" o the
5ord. Isaiah (+E(.!(7 a$$ears to allude to the Him$risonmentH o Satan and
the evil an%els :Hthe host o the hi%h onesH9 and the 4icked dead H%athered
in the $itH>to be visited Hater man" da"sH :DAV9. In the =2 . Corinthians
<E(!7 inds its location in the millennial revie4 $hase o Iud%ment :Rev
()E+9& 4hereas the inal Iud%ment $ortra"ed b" Aesus :'att (/E7.!+<9 inds
corres$ondence 4ith the e,ecutive Iud%ment that occurs at the close o the
millennium :Rev ()E..!./9.
In the sanctuar" t"$es the banishment o the sca$e%oat :#JaJel9 to the
4ilderness on the Da" o #tonement :5ev .<E(.9 is seen to $arallel the
bindin% and im$risonin% o Satan in the Hab"ssH>this ruined earth>or a
thousand "ears :Rev ()E.!79. Aust as the sca$e%oat 4andered the 4ilderness
until it died& Iust so Satan is conined to 4ander this chaotic $lanet and to
contem$late the results o his rebellion until his Iud%ment and destruction at
the end o the millennium :Rev ()E.)9.
#$e act that there is onl" one e,$licit biblical $assa%e re%ardin% the
one thousand "ear $eriod is not a $roblem 4hen seen in relation to the
nature o $ro$hetic $ers$ectives and $ro%ressive revelation. 2he (#
5ro5$ets< or e,am$le& mer%e into one sin%le event the t4o advents o
C$rist< "et later revelation has more shar$l" identiied t4o advents.
Since there is $ro%ressive revelation rom the 02 to the =2P it is not im!
$ossible or $ro%ressive revelation to occur 4ithin the =2 itsel. In that case&
the conce$t o an intermediate sta%e o one thousand "ears bet4een the
$resent a%e and the eternal a%e to come :as ound in Revelation ()9 is an
authentic revelation rom God&
even i it is brie and in onl" one $assa%e.
*J In order to avoid the $rcmilllennial vie4& amitlcnnialists oten den" that the te,t is ins$ired b" God
and an authentic $art o the earl" Christian aith. 2he" char%e that Aohn 4as inluenced& not b the
Hol" S$irit& but b" late noncanonicat Ae4ish a$ocal"$ses :. Enoch *.E.(!.7 and cha$. *7;
4 &noc$ 7(E7!77E.; ( &sdras /E.!7E7/; ( Banic$@< 4hich s5eak o a reign o the 'essiah. For
2he 'illennium
4e shall al4a"s be 4ith the 5ordH :. 2hess +E.79. 2he im$ortant thin% these te,ts
sa"& is that the redeemed ones 4ill not sta" on earth ater the Second Comin%. Since
the" are $ortra"ed 4ith Christ in Revelation () ater the Second Comin% described
in cha$ter .*& 4e conclude that the" are in heaven or the time o the one thousand
"ears. 'ean4hile& there is no sinner let alive on earth& all the 4icked have been
killed :Rev .*E./&.?&(.9.
7eavenly t$rones denote $eaven. Aohn sees thrones :()E+9. 2he 4ord
HthroneH is used +7 times in the book o Revelation& and al4a"s in relation 4ith
God or Christ in heaven.
2he e,ce$tions are (E.7 :the throne o Satan is in
1er%amum9& .7E( :the dra%on %ives his throne to the beast9& and .<E.) :Hthe ith
an%el $oured his bo4l on the throne o the beastH9. 2hus& the onl" thrones on earth&
rom cha$ter . to cha$ter .*& are the thrones o Satan& the dra%on& and the beast>
4ho are God@s enemies. B" 4a" o contrast the throne o God and o the 5amb is in
heaven. 2hereore& it is reasonable to conclude that the thrones o ()E+ are in
heaven& too& since the" are thrones o $eo$le 4ho 4ill HQrei%nR with )hrist a
thousand "earsH :()E+&<9.
(verco!ers of beastM!ark reign in $eaven. Aohn sees $eo$le H4ho had not
4orshi$ed the beast or its ima%eH :()E+9. 2his statement is similar to another oneE
Hthose 4ho had con3uered the beast and its ima%eH :./E(9. 2he later %rou$ is in
2he 4ord Hcon3uerH o ./E( is also used in 7E(. in reerence to believers
4ho 4ill sit on the throne o AesusE HHe 4ho con3uers& I 4ill %rant him to sit 4ith
me on m" throne.H Fhen Revelation 7E(.; ./E(; and ()E+ are read to%ether& the
conclusion is that the millennial thrones 4ill be in heaven.
#$e A5ocaly5tic 'ertical Di!ension
#dventists believe that Revelation ()E.!7 describes events on earth at the
be%innin% and durin% the one thousand "ears& 4hereas verses +!< describe 4hat
ha$$ens in heaven durin% the same $eriod.
2hus& the" see a shit rom earth to
heaven in verse +& and rom heaven back to earth in verse 7. 2his is nothin% ne4;
the shit in ocus bet4een earth and heaven is a common eature in the a$ocal"$tic
books o Daniel and Revelation.
+7 5con 'orris& The "e#elation o/Sl& John2 -n Introduction and )ommentar :Grand Ra$ids& .*<*9&