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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


Rev 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. (Also See Rev. 13:12-18)

As this study proceeds, we will note a very close connection between the first beast having seven heads and the beast, described in verses eleven through eighteen, discussed here. However, let us initially examine the physical description of this beast that distinguishes it from the beast noted in verse one of this chapter of the Revelation of John. It came not from the sea, as did the first beast, but came up out of the earth. Symbolically, when the sea is descriptively used, it indicates boisterous turmoil; an agitated state that usually results in strife, and, eventually, war between peoples and nations. Certainly this describes the numerous warring assaults, and invasions, made by northern and eastern nations against the Roman Empire over numerous years. Therefore the first beast seems to represent the temporal powers that ruled the civil government of Rome. The earth, from which the second beast emerged, differs from agitation normally associated with the sea, in that it usually symbolizes a calmer, more sedate, and settled state of origin. Since it came into power in a crafty, more humanly subtle manner, the beast, by coming from the earth, seems to represent the spiritual power of Rome, or the Roman Catholic papacy. It seems to have come into power almost unnoticed by the people of the world, from which it arose.

Also different from the first, this beast had only one head on which there were two horns like a lamb. Having the outward appearance of a lamb, one would get the impression that this beast was totally inoffensive, having a mild and gentle demeanor, characterized with the spirit of humility. However, this was only a false facade that covered years of deposing kings, having thousands imprisoned or executed for reading and studying bibles, or even having in their possession, bibles during the period of the Roman Inquisition. This hypocritical effrontery is exposed by the continuation of this verse describing this beast, which, John tells us, spake as a dragon. This meek lamb-like beast visually appeared to be filled with the humble and considerate nature of a gentle lamb, yet, as it spoke, it was evident that it was filled with arrogant pride, and a haughty spirit, that demanded the unquestioning service of all men and women that submitted to their self-righteous leadership. At this time in history, there could be no better description given that would characterize the Roman Catholic Church under the humanistic leadership of the continuously appointed line of popes, and the various degrees of bishops that served under them.

The relationship between the "beast ...having seven heads" (Vs. 1), which represents the secular, imperialistic Roman government, and the "beast" (having) ...two horns," symbolizing the papacy of the Roman Catholic Church, is remarkable. They sustain each other; without the mutual power of each, both the civil and religious powers that ruled the Roman Empire, would fail. Notice what is said in verse 12: And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. As the Roman Empire was losing its world dominion to raiding nations, the spiritual dominion was born. Seeing the need for civil power to uphold, and enforce its spiritual leadership, the newly born, second beast, revived the first secular dominion, whose world power was rapidly fading. Ruling popes of the Catholic Church selected emperors to rule Rome's secular government. Through religious edicts, restraints, and punishments, this apostate church demanded all citizens of Rome to honor, and pay homage to the appointed emperor. In turn, by the demands of this "religious body," emperors of Rome declared the Roman Catholic Church as the only religion allowed within the Roman Empire. Thus, these symbolic "beasts" survived and sustained each other by the mutual power they shared. The known world was brought into subjection by the power of these beasts, and for 1,260 years the church of Christ was forced into hiding in order to survive.

Some of the devious practices used to keep men and women of the world in subjection to these secular and spiritual Roman powers was predicted in John's vision, and revealed in his writings found in verses 13 and 14. John wrote that he, that is, the second beast representing the papacy of the Roman Catholic Church, doeth great wonders. Many mystical arts were used by the leaders of this apostate religious body to deceive men and women into accepting their erring doctrine by believing they possessed miraculous, supernatural powers, by deviously performing great wonders and acts that seemed to defy the laws of nature. One of their deceitful miracles was to make fire, seemingly, come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. Exactly how they did this is not given, but what is given, tells us they accomplished it with fakery, deceiving them that dwell on the earth. Even the apostle Paul, in his epistle to the church of Christ in Thessalonica, wrote that men and women of the world would be deceived by false teachers whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved (See 2 Thess. 2:67-10).

With these demonstrations of their false miracles, the popes of Rome, as well as their ecclesiastical bishops, were attempting to convince the Roman people to honor, obey, and even worship the imperialistic civil leaders whom they, themselves, had previously installed, and ordered to enforce their religious edicts upon all citizens of Rome. Verse 15 assures us that the second beast, the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, resurrected the first beast, gave it life, and authorized it to use its militant powers to rule its despotic dominion, and demand obedient worship under the dictates of this apostate religious order. Failure to obey these commands, the men and women of the Roman Empire would be severely punished, persecuted, or even be killed.

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads (Vs. 16). The antecedent of the pronoun "he" reverts back to verse eleven, of this chapter, and means the beast having two horns like a lamb, and this we know symbolically represents the papacy of Catholicism. In this verse, we can easily identify universal power and jurisdiction claimed by these apostate leaders. All people within the dominion of the Roman Empire, regardless of their human state of life, were forced to become, and faithfully remain, subjected directly to their spiritual rule, and indirectly to the civil law of the land, which they also authorized. In order to identify their subjects, a mark was placed in their right hand, or in their foreheads. For centuries this type of marking was practiced on slaves to identify their owners, and on military personal in order to establish their rank, and the division to whom they were assigned. "The mark of the beast," as it is known, was an indelible stamp, or a permanent engraving, that would, not identify the person, but the name of the beast, or the number of his name. That is, men and women of the Roman Empire were forced to wear this identifying number that, due to its open marking, could be easily seen in order to show to whom they belonged.

The identifying number they were required to openly wear, that is "the number of the beast," as it is known, is Six hundred threescore and six (666) (Vs. 18). It is not only the number of the beast, but it is also the number of a man - one that is easily reckoned or calculated by mankind. Considering both the content of verses 17 and 18, we gain the assurance that this number would identify this beast as the various emperors of Rome - the beast having seven heads (See Vs. 1). It was placed there, according to verse 16, by order of the second beast having two horns, which we know to be popes that rule over the Catholic religious order. Certainly the meaning of this identifying number does not indicate that it contains 666 characters. Rather, it means that the number of his name would reveal the name of the beast by some known method of accounting.

Much has been written about the, so called, mystery of the number 666. Some analogies seem to have merit, but others are written simply to defend hypothetical theories of radical "religious" doctrines that have been devised by the earthly wisdom of men. For instance Calmet included many interpretations of the number 666 in his dictionary. However, Calmet, himself, was a devout Roman Catholic. Being biased, and revealing numerous explanations of this number, he concluded that these views were so varied that no firm, undisputed conclusion could be reached that could identify the number as being associated with the papacy of the Roman Catholic Church.

This much we know for sure. The translation of this text in the KJV bible is written in English. The apostle John recorded, not only the gospel attributed to him, and his three epistles, but he also received this vision from heaven which he recorded in the book of Revelation. John wrote all of these New Testament books in the Greek language for readers who could understand that tongue. Therefore, the number 666, as written by John, was originally expressed in Greek characters.

We know that in the Roman language numbers were written letters. For instance, we are all familiar with the "Roman Numerals;" the letter I stood for 1, V = 5, X = 10, L = 50, C = 100, D = 500, M = 1000, etc. So it was within the Greek language - letters represented specific numbers. Now take note of these Greek letters and the quantities they represented. L stood for 30, A = 1, T = 300, E = 5, I = 10, N = 50, O = 70, and S = 200. Therefore the numbers identified in the word LATEINOS, when added together = 666. For John to write this number, a combination of these letters was necessary. This specific combination is very unique and gives significance to the name of the beast, or the number of his name. "Lateinos" is the Greek spelling of the same Roman name "Latinus." "Latinus" was the name of the founder of the Latin race, as well as the language which they spoke. Because they spoke the Latin language, the Romans were referred to as the Latin race. Due to this fact, the Roman Church became known as the Latin Church to distinguish it from the Greek Church, that later split away from the original Roman Catholic Religion. Also, and just as important, the seat of this religious order is Rome, the ancient Latin capital. The religious rites of the Roman Catholic Church (the Latin Church) that were observed during worship services, such as the reading of the scriptures, mass, prayers, hymns, litanies, canons, etc, were are all conducted, and spoken in their official, and sacred, Latin language. As it was then, so it is in today's Catholic worship services.

Although the ingenuity of mankind has revealed a number of names and titles from which the number 666 can be symbolized, most of them refer to either the emperors of Rome's civil government or to various popes of the Roman Catholic Church. This prophetic truth eliminates any doubt over the conclusion that the number 666 refers to the emperors of the Roman dynasty, and was the name, in the form of a number, given to them by popes of the Roman Church. That number, not only identified these civil leaders, but also all Roman citizens, over whom they ruled, as belonging to the Roman Catholic religious order. All Romans, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond received this mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads (Vs. 16). Therefore, "great beast having seven heads," symbolized as the papacy-appointed emperors of Rome, and were identified by the number 666. It was by the order of these emperors that all Roman citizens were commanded to submit to the authority, leadership, and human doctrine of the "great beast having two horns like a lamb," symbolically known as the papacy of the Roman Catholic Church.