ESV - 13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people.
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The beast of Revelation 13 is similar with the dragon in Revelation 12 – also see Daniel 7. They both have 7 heads and 10 horns with crowns – these are world powers that Satan is using to persecute God’s people (Rev 17:10). The dragon is Satan (Rev 12:9; 20:2) working through pagan and religious powers his deceptions and lies. The beast symbolizes Satan using the corrupt religions to persecute God’s faithful followers (Rev 13:7). Most Bible scholars, (including many Protestant Reformers) believe that this beast represents the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). The exact number of Christians murdered for their faith during the Middle Ages is unknown, but most historians agree that at least 50 million were slaughtered and many more were forced to flee for their lives. For over 1200 years the RCC persecuted and killed Christians who would not agree with the RCC traditions and style of worship. William Tyndale in 1536 was charged with heresy and burnt alive. What was his sin? He translated the Bible into English. Like him, many others were tortured, imprisoned and killed (also see Peter Waldo and the Waldensians story). The prophetic “time, times and half a time,” 42 months, and 1260 days are all the same time period written in different forms (Daniel 7:25; 12:7; Rev 12:6, 14; 13:5). In Bible prophecy a day equal one year (Ezekiel 4:6; Num 14:34). RCC supremacy started in 538 AD when emperor Justinian gave the pope the title Pontifex Maximus ("Bridge builder between heaven and Earth") and established the papacy as the supreme Christian power. All this abruptly ended in 1798 when Napoleon’s army took Pope Pius VI captive and weeks later died. That is exactly 1260 years. However, the prophecy says that the deadly wound will heal (Rev 13:3) and sure enough in 1929, Mussolini agreed to return the papal seat and power. Since then the Vatican became a political and religious power without precedent. In 1982 the United States sent an ambassador to Vatican and announced full diplomatic relations with the Holy See. In 2015 Pope Francis conducted a US visit where he was warmly received be millions of adoring fans. He spoke before the Joint Session of US Congress – the first time a religious leader was invited to address both chambers of Congress, and then invited to address the UN General Assembly. This is astonishing if we think that the pilgrims came to America in search of religious freedom and to escape the RCC persecution. They were looking for a government without a king and a church without a pope.
In my opinion, the deadly wound described in the verse is Christ's triumph through His death and resurrection. Although this wound inflicted by Christ on the beast will ultimately and assuredly prove fatal at the close of the age (when all the forces of evil will be destroyed), those forces are still very active until then, and are capable of deceiving people through their lies and the seemingly miraculous acts that they can perform.
I am looking for a book my pastor did a series on. He has since passed away. Poland was offered as an explanation for "the fatal wound". 1) The country was dissolved in a 30 day period at the start of WW2. This is a prophetic hour. 2) The number of dead is estimated to be 70,000. Later in Revelations the great city is explained to be an empire. It is a reasonable augment that moving from city to empire is 10 fold experience; moving the number lost from 7,000 to 70,000. 3) The country is now restored. Has anyone heard of this book? The author also states one of the beast may be the Charlemagne empire. The first king the Roman Pope appointed to be the Western Emperor. He was crown Emperor in 800. Charlemagne is called the 'Father of Europe'. This Empire will have run its course in 2060.
Secular historians call this event the 'Renaissance,' (meaning 'rebirth'), and it refers to the sudden and unexpected revival of two 'dead' ancient pagan cultures, Greek and Roman, (known also as 'Greco-Roman' culture). This world-altering event followed a long period of 'Christian rule' during which time the gospel of Christ had reached all tribes, liberating the slaves of darkness from Satan's grasp and destroying the pagan religious systems holding them captive inside his very powerful world social order for thousands of years. Christians from out of all tribes did this in obedience to 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit. They also formed the first 'university' system, creating an unprecedented integration among tribes and a new sharing of knowledge. Anyone from any tribe willing to 'name the name of Christ' was welcomed into a free system of learning, economic might and vision of world peace through total equality. However, GOD was not ready to usher in the holy kingdom just yet. Christ's new universal 'law of liberty,' (James 1:25, 2:12), being established by the Church, requires that no one be 'forced' to join the Holy Covenant and that they must have an equally accessible 'alternative' to GOD's path of goodness. The only other alternative is a path of evil. So the Church's authority was 'taken out of the way' (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7), allowing this evil system to reemerge. It was 'reborn' after a mass betrayal event called the 'Apostasy' (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Effectively, 'fake' disciples of Christ gained access to the new knowledge that was emerging inside the 'university' system, pilfered the knowledge and began secretly delivering it to secular kings until they too could 'call down fire from heaven' (a reference to the exclusive control given to the Church to 'referee' all incendiary warfare). Before long, this 'beast' (Biblical Greek 'therion' meaning, 'fugitive'), was able to exceed the powers of the Church and overthrow the Christian system using its new 'science.' They created an alternative system that unshackled the chains the Church had been using to restrain weapons trafficking, the production and widespread use of powerful chemicals and drugs, (called 'pharmakeia' and translated 'sorcery' in the Bible), and ignored the warnings of Christ given in Matthew 7:6 about the careful distribution of this powerful new divine knowledge, placing almost no restrictions at all on access. Over time, we have seen millions die from world wars, foolish experimentation and needless accidents, pervasive chemicals poisoning the natural environment and deadly drugs killing men with addictions and constant tribal infighting, fueling organized crime and then oppressive government to supposedly 'combat' it, while corruption grows into a twisted system of total lawlessness. While the 'sealed of GOD' remain safe within our own system through obedience to Christ, the 'marked' of the beast can be identified by the three prodigies originally given to Cain and his descendants, (the 'restless wanderers' cursed by GOD to perpetually roam with no fixed dwelling place); 'special skills' first arriving in Jabal, Jubal and Tubal-Cain, (Genesis 4:20-22). These special skills, (a genetic 'imprint'), were granted by GOD in response to Cain's complaint that being cursed to wander without a home would cause the other tribes to exterminate his people. GOD agreed, so these indispensable skills began to manifest among Cain's descendants, keeping them alive. Jabal had a genius for nomadic survival skills, Jubal was a master entertainer and Tubal-Cain was a master of the forge, able to produce any tool or weapon. Sound familiar? This 'mark' now manifests in anyone who resolutely rejects the Holy Covenant of Christ and chooses the path of the 'fugitive.' The Holy Spirit gives the 'sealed of GOD' special skills of our own which do not result in widespread destruction to other people or to the natural world.
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