Have you heard of the Trojan horse? The Greeks were trying to defeat the Trojans, but to no avail. For the longest time Troy had the upper hand. One day the Greeks devised a crafty plan. They created a wooden horse of monumental proportions and set it outside the city of Troy. The Trojans thought the Greeks were finally admitting defeat, and wheeled the horse into its city. Unbeknownst to the residents, the horse was hollow, and contained Greek soldiers. At night, when everyone was asleep, the soldiers exited the horse and proceeded to defeat the city of Troy from within.
This lecture focused on Satan’s deceptions in the last days. We have covered quite a bit of ground on different topics related to prophecy, but for the next few nights we will dive into some of the tougher issues in Revelation. Today we looked closely at the first beast of Revelation 13.
Reading Revelation 13:1-4 we see a vivid description of a beast that comes out of the water with seven heads and ten horn. The heads contain blasphemy and is an amalgamation of different beasts, and it receives its power from the dragon (Revelation 12:9 – dragon = devil). The beast is fatally wounded but heals later, and receives worship from many people that one can’t help but wonder.
Remember that Revelation calls us back to worship the Creator – that is Jesus. So the fact that many people are worshipping the beast reveals the power and deception the beast has. Remember the beast receives its power from Satan. This is serious because Revelation 14:9,10 reveals that those who worship the beast and have his mark will drink from God’s wrath, which is not held back in its potency. We do not want to drink from that cup, we do not want the mark!
So who is this beast in Revelation 13? Remember that the books of Revelation and Daniel are closely linked. Daniel is told to seal the words of his book until the time of the end (Daniel 12:4) and in Revelation 10 we see John is told to open the book. And we also know that Revelation contains information about the time of the end. Daniel will give us clues as to who this beast in Revelation 13 is, and why its so significant that even the U.S. gets behind the beast.
Daniel 7 finds Daniel in another vision where he sees four beasts. In Daniel 7:17 we see that beasts represent kingdoms. Daniel’s beasts rise out of the sea, which we know in Revelation 17:15 represents multitudes and populated areas (see more of this analysis here). Reading through Daniel 7 we see the symbolism of these beasts explained. The lion represents Babylon, Bear = Medo Persia, Leopard = Greece, Dreadful beast = Rome. The 10 horns coming out of the dreadful beast represent the 10 kingdoms that rose out of Rome. The timeline of these beasts matches the one we find in Daniel 2, but Daniel 7 gives us more insight into what happens during the time of the toes in Daniel 2.
Daniel 7:8 says that a little horn comes up from the midst of the ten horns (came up during the time of divided Europe). We studied earlier (see here) that Rome’s period of dominance ended around A.D. 476, so Daniel 7:8,24 reveals that the little horn must come to prominence sometime after A.D. 476. During its rise it uproots three horns (kings). It has eyes like a man, and Daniel 7:25 reveals that it speaks blasphemy against the Most High. It would also wear out the saints (aka persecute them). The horn would think to change God’s law, and will exercise power over the saints for a time, times, and half a time. A time in the Bible represents a year (see Daniel 4). Times = 2 years, so in all this horn rules for 3.5 years (sound familiar *cough* Revelation 13). 3.5 prophetic years in prophetic time (remember this is a prophecy to Daniel of what is to come) = 1260 prophetic days (calendar back then had 360 days/year) = 1260 literal years. So the little horn would rule for 1260 years.
Here we have laid out how the Bible describes the little horn. There has been much speculation over who this horn represents, however, many Christian leaders used to be united in who this was. Martin Luther, John Calvin, Roger Williams, and John Wesley, among others taught that this horn represented Vatican city. However are they correct? We are not going to turn to other people, we will see what the Bible says if the Reformation Fathers were correct:
1. The horn was little – Was the Vatican small when it first came to prominence? Yes, and it still is as a nation. It is in fact the smallest country in the world today.
2. The horn would rise among the other horns – Did the Vatican come to power in Western Europe, during the time of the divided kingdoms? Yes.
3. The horn would rise after A.D. 476 – The Vatican rose to its full power in A.D. 538, after the fall of Rome.
4. Uproots three horns – Of the ten kingdoms of divided Europe, the Heruli, Ostrogoths, and Vandals did not agree with the Vatican and were decimated by them. Consistent with Scripture, and you can verify this in history.
5. The horn has eyes like a man – In the Bible a prophet is called a seer (1 Samuel 9:19) because the prophet sees with God’s eyes. The little horn does not have the eyes of God, but of man. There is a human seeing for the horn. Does the Vatican have a human at its head?
6. The horn would speak blasphemy – Blasphemy is defined in the Bible as claiming to be God (John 10:33). Does the head of the Vatican claim to be God? Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical Letter (January 10, 1890) reveals that the will of the people should be in complete submission to the church and Roman pontiff, as if it were to God himself. In his apostolic letter dated June 20, 1894 Pope Leo XIII says that the Vatican holds on this Earth the place of God Almighty. Luke 5:21 reveals that blasphemy is also when someone claims to have the ability to forgive sins – something God alone can do. The priests of the Vatican say Ego te absolvo, or I absolve you – a blasphemous statement. 1 Timothy 2:5 reveals that there is only one Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ. No one, no one, can come between. This information is public record and readily admitted, we are not trying to accuse anyone. There are many tools available to validate these statements, and they are still in tact.
7. The horn would persecute – During the Dark Ages, the Vatican killed millions of people that did not align with its teachings.
8. The horn would try to change times and laws – In a previous post we examined the power the Vatican tried to assert over changing God’s law.
9. The horn would rule for 1260 prophetic days – The little horn rose to full power in A.D. 538, and 1260 literal years later, we see that Napoleon wounded the Vatican by sending his general Berthier into the Vatican and took the pope captive. That was the deadly wound referred to in Revelation 13. But Revelation 13 reveals that the wound was healed. In 1929 Mussolini returned civil power to the Vatican, healing the wound.
Notice that we have repeatedly referenced the little horn power as the Vatican. Remember that the prophecy reveals that these beasts and horns are nations, not people. Please remember that God is not against specific people, He is against systems that take away his role as king, savior, and high priest. He made a great sacrifice to be intimately involved in your salvation, and those that try to take away from that sacrifice cheapen it and makes him sad.
So we see many similarities between the first beast of Revelation 13 and the little horn in Daniel 8. Therefore, we should expect worldwide worship to be directed towards the beast/Vatican or face death. We may not be there now, but the Bible indicates that the time is coming. The Bible has an excellent track record of predicting the rise and fall of kingdoms, and this should be no exception. You may say that this is impossible, but remember that the Bible says many will be deceived (Matthew 24) in the time of the end. Already we see much press coverage, much marveling, and reverence directed towards the Vatican, even from non-religious people!
Remember, this is bigger than any one person. This does not mean that anyone associated with the Vatican is bad. Think of the country you live in. Think of the good and bad things it has done. Does the bad things it has done make you a bad person? Certainly not! The prophecy always points towards systems that stand in defiance against God, that take on a mentality akin to Satan who desired to be in place of God (see post here).
God is telling us these things so that we can be ready. He desires us to have the knowledge necessary to make an informed decision between what is good and what is evil. He is not out to attack individuals or prevent anyone from being saved. Rather, He points to the work of the devil through various means that end up deceiving many people. He desires that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Today you have an opportunity to make an informed decision. Today you have the chance to make a stand.
Will you choose Jesus today? Will you take what He has revealed and use it to draw closer to Him? He wants to spend eternity with you, someone He died for. Do you want to spend eternity with Him?