“A Great Storm Approaches” Part 12
Once again let us take another look at Revelation Chapter 13 Verses 11-17, I know we have already
examined some of these verses to a certain extent in our previous post, but in order to properly explain
our view on events it will be necessary to review the common or typical view once again in order to
explain the divergence in interpretation.
13:11 -- AND I SAW ANOTHER BEAST: Something akin to the first beast, thus called “another” one.
This one is also a church-state empire.
COMING UP OUT OF THE EARTH: This beast, unlike the first one, is not born out of chaos in the
empire, but, to the contrary, evolves rather smoothly out of existing society -- actually a break-off from
the existing Holy Roman Empire.
AND HE HAD TWO HORNS: two supporting powers. This makes identification quite simple since such
a beast is only to be found in one place. Even though the Church of England and Ireland was officially
so known only for about 70 years during the 19th century, its two-power characteristic is sufficient to
identify it. It functioned as the church of these two countries for over 300 years. It is important to
remember also that this beast IS NOT the Church of England and Ireland, but rather the church-
state system of these two countries combined.
LIKE A LAMB: Apparently this description is given as a contrast to the Leopard Beast of 13:1, 2. This
would, then, imply a more temperate nature to this beast -- not at all like the Holy Roman Empire.
AND HE SPOKE AS A DRAGON: In the English Empire, the King is titular head of the church. Therefore,
this beast has been (and, no doubt, will be in any future involvements) more noticed for its political
rather than its theological pronouncements. Brethren might well pay special note to this phrase. It
seems clearly to say that England’s secular involvements would have more to do with prophetic
fulfillment than its religious dogma.
13:12 -- AND HE EXERCISES ALL AUTHORITY OF THE FIRST BEAST: Recall that the first beast had
three kinds of authority 1) the Great Authority of rulership, 2) timed authority to wear out the saints,
and 3) the authority over the masses. Apparently all of these authorities would apply to the two-horned
beast except the 1260-year license. This phrase tells us the tyranny which this new beast was capable of.
Virtually everything the Roman beast claimed, the English beast claimed. Only the mouths differed. One
had the Pope, the other the King or Queen.
IN HIS PRESENCE: that is, at the same time. The two beasts were doing the same things except that
each did it in his own sphere of influence.
AND HE MAKES THE EARTH AND THOSE WHO DWELL IN IT: Society and those with a stake in it.
Society is impersonal, but it had to conform. Those who dwell in it are individuals who are the mainstays of
society, that is, people with something to lose if society doesn’t “worship” the beast. This need for
conformity to preserve the status quo is what prompted persecution of dissenters. The English refugees
to America during this period were attempting to escape this societal conformity and its requirements.
TO WORSHIP THE FIRST BEAST: By example. England and its church-state arrangements, being
virtually no different from the Holy Roman Empire, made criticism of the Roman Beast impossible. The
establishment of the English church-state actually helped the Holy Roman Empire recover from its
grievous wound inflicted by the Reformation. How can you criticize your twin? By its doctrine and
structural example, the two-horned beast promoted worship of its European counterpart.
WHOSE FATAL WOULD WAS HEALED: The wound was caused by the Reformation. The healing was
aided by Henry VIII’s establishment of the English Church. The history of the two-beasts and their
successes is inseparable. While they were enemies, they were also comrades. It is well stated of Henry: “…
he beheaded ‘traitors’ who recognized Papal headship, and burned ‘heretics’ who denied Papal
doctrines.” The only REAL enmity between the two beasts was between their two mouths (King and
13:13 -- AND HE PERFORMS GREAT SIGNS:
At this point in the narrative, the various brethren who interpret this prophecy divide in their
opinions. Some explain Verses 13-17 as past -- symbolic of the powers exercised by the English
beast similar to those having been exercised by the Roman beast. Others do this but extend the
application into the future. Yet others feel that these verses are almost certainly yet to be
fulfilled. The arguments are sound on all three accounts. We must await the Lord’s interpretation.
Because Brother Russell’s viewpoint was liken to the second of these three options, and because his
views seem most reasonable to the fact and the context, we will parallel his thoughts in these verses. The
GREAT SIGNS seem to refer to the exercise of power by the English church-state to insure compliance to
its doctrine and practices.
Here as noted above is where a divergence in interpretation exist between the brethren (we, that is many
brethren are of the opinion that these particular verses have as yet to have been completely fulfilled), in
other words we see more to it than simply a church-state resemblance between the first beast, the
second beast, and the image of the beast as suggested here and in our previous post. This is not to
suggest that we disagree with this suggestion merely that we see more to it than is suggested.
Nevertheless before we present our view let us continue with the narrative as it is given here as what is
stated is still of importance to the prophetic student of the Lord’s Word.
AND HE PERFORMS GREAT SIGNS SO THAT HE EVEN MAKES FIRE COME DOWN OUT OF
HEAVEN: Fire represents judgments (and/or their destructive results.) The Heavens referred to here are
in reference to the ecclesiastical world. The judgments of the English system against heretics were
ON THE EARTH IN THE PRESENCE OF MEN: The fire which ecclesiastically judged society was a
tool of the church to frighten men into compliance. Punishments were public so that none could
escape the warning lessons -- hence the phrase IN THE PRESENCE OF MEN (Compare with Verse
12) where the same phrase shows how the English church flaunted its authority in front of or in the
presence of the Roman beast.)
MEN, in 13:13 may be a reference to true Christians. This practice of the English beast to intimidate
dissenters was one of the causes of many leaving England for America.
13:14 -- AND HE DECEIVES THOSE WHO DWELL ON THE EARTH: The deception was that he actually
had spiritual authority (which it does not). Note, however, that the only ones really deceived are “those
who dwell on the earth” -- non-spirit-begotten ones (the worldly, nominal Christians) whose primary
interests are their temporal affairs.
BECAUSE OF THE SIGNS: The best way to deceive is to tell a big-enough lie. The “signs,” the
manifestations of spiritual power (?), exercised by this new beast gave a message:
TELLING THOSE WHO DWELL ON THE EARTH: i.e. showing them by example
TO MAKE AN IMAGE TO THE BEAST WHO HAD THE WOUND: It is important to remember here that
those who get the idea (by example) to make an image are “those who dwell on the earth.”
Protestantism in general was a Reformation movement in which, probably, all (or nearly all) of the true
saints were involved. It was NOT, however the idea of the saints to make an image. It was the idea
of “those who dwell on the earth” (the “tares”, nominal Christians) -- those who need another and
newer vehicle to expand their worldly roots. The image, note, is not to the beast who inspired it (the
two-horned beast), but rather to the 10-horned beast. This is telling.
Why would the 2-horned beast say to make an image to the 10-horned beast? The fact is, the 2-
horned beast was, in its own way, an image of the ten-horned beast. By being so, it told the power
people (“those who dwell on the earth”, the “tares” are in the majority therefore they are in power
controlling the ecclesiastical heavens here on earth) that they too could make ANOTHER image if
they find it profitable to do so. In other words, by example, the two-horned beast was saying: “If we
can do it, why can’t you?” The Roman Catholic politico-socio economic world had, in a sense, lost the
world of Protestantism for their profit-making ventures. How could they regain this market? They could
work toward amalgamating Protestantism into one large, cooperative block (The Evangelical Alliance) – a
new sort of beast, but not so strong as, only an image of, a reflection of, the first beast who had
the wound of the sword (by Protestantism’s Reformation) but who has come to life in a semi-
rejuvenated, new-headed, Holy Roman Empire.
13:15 -- THERE WAS GIVEN TO HIM: Note this phrase carefully. We encountered it several times in
the description of the Leopard Beast. This phrase was consistently followed by a history of what happened
once something was “given” to the beast. The same now happens here.
TO GIVE BREATH TO THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST: The image is the Protestant church federation
(The Evangelical Alliance). The English beast has been instrumental in all efforts in this direction. This is
clearly shown in history. The British-Empire was an immensely important factor in unifying the
post-French-Revolution world -- most particularly the non-Roman Catholic world. Remember,
this beast speaks “as a dragon” -- its civil influences are as important as its ecclesiastical ones. It
does not seem far-fetched to claim that the influences of the British Empire were an important factor in
contributing to the movement toward the federation of Protestant denominations. England’s maritime
economic pursuits unified the Protestant world in the 19th century.
At this point it is wise to note Brother Russell’s hesitancy at predicting now much more MIGHT
happen in the future. He clearly leaves open the door to the thought that this MAY HAVE BEEN
mostly fulfilled by the Church of England’s cooperation in Protestant federation. IF more is to
come, we will see it; IF more is not to come in this regard, we should not make our unfulfilled
expectations embitter us.
It is of great value to note the similarity of this image to that found in Daniel 3:1. The beast itself (13:
18) is denoted by the number 666. Daniel’s image, almost certainly related to the Rev 13 image, is 60
cubits by 6 cubits. We are given only TWO DIMENSIONS. This seems to be saying that the Image of the
Beast is only two-dimensional -- it has no depth. (Perhaps this is saying that it is never a real church-
state union.) It is a hollow imitation of its great model. It becomes alive and functioning and, as the
continuation of this verse shows, it exercises sufficient influence to be a problem.
THAT THE IMAGE MIGHT EVEN SPEAK: It gains enough power to become another mouth. It gains the
ability through pronouncements to change attitudes and alter behaviors (Note that its mouth is never
defined --never clearly delineated as are the mouths of the two great beasts.)
AND CAUSES AS MANY AS DO NOT WORSHIP THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST TO BE KILLED: Killing
here, as elsewhere, seems to be actual or functional excommunication. The message is, “If you don’t go
along with our federated standards, we don’t recognize you as Christians.”
13:16 -- AND HE CAUSES ALL: Uniformity is Satan’s trademark.
THE SMALL AND THE GREAT: The amount of influence one has in the world is not an exemption.
THE RICH AND THE POOR: The amount of one’s wealth or knowledge is also not an exemption.
THE FREE MEN AND THE SLAVES: The amount of intellectual independence one has is also not an
TO BE GIVEN A MARK: an evidence of allegiance. (“to receive a mark” of fear, sympathy or worship)
ON THEIR RIGHT HAND: Their cooperation. (By giving support with their influence and means, with the
“hands” one renders service)
OR ON THEIR FOREHEAD: The mental and/ or character assent. (Intellects, by public profession)
13:17 -- AND THAT NO ONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO BUY OF TO SELL: in the spiritual marketplace of
ideas. This HAS happened. Those who have the truth have been systematically excluded from the
spiritual marketplace of orthodoxy and confederated Protestantism (How many times have you visited a
Christian bookstore and found no Bible Student Materials offered?). Can it get worse? Possibly, even
probably, but it need not do so to fulfill this verse.
EXCEPT THE ONE WHO HAS THE MARK: A mark is a characteristic. The characteristic is probably
willingness to help, or at least not to oppose, the accepted religious way of doing things. (Compare 13:5).
THE NAME OF THE BEAST: -- possibly the TITLE of the beast (i. e., membership in it, in one of the
various nominal systems) or, since name means character, it possibly means that you are not only
willing to cooperate, but you are inherently LIKE the beast. We also use the word NAME to
represent authority -- as when we ask in Jesus’ NAME.
OR THE NUMBER OF HIS NAME: This phrase raises a question which the next verse helps to answer.
Number means VALUE. When people say, “I’ve got you number,” it means they know what you are
LIKE. They know your VALUES. The number of a name means the VALUE OF HIS CHARACTER.
Perhaps this means that, if you have value to this system, you are safe. They will USE you as long as you
remain of value to them. Throughout history, the 10-horned beast has operated on the philosophy that
the end justifies the means. This is their value system.’ (“New Albany Notes on Revelation” Pages
We will give our point of view in our next post.
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