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Pope Francis, Two Beasts, and the Devil’s Deadly Mark (Part 1)


Pope Francis visited America September 22-27, 2015. On September 24, he spoke to a joint session of the U.S. Congress—the first time a Pope has done so. On September 25, he addressed a United Nations gathering in New York City—an event reported to include the largest gathering of world leaders ever. On September 26, he spoke in Philadelphia at The World Meeting of Families. Media coverage was massive. Shockingly, Bible prophecy also reports, “All the world marveled and followed the beast” (Revelation 13:3). Does this prediction have anything to do with the man in the white suit?

Brace yourself. You’re about to find out.

Revelation chapter 13 describes two beasts—the first rising out of the sea (13:1), and the second ascending out of the earth (13:11). The second beast finally enforces the “mark” of the first beast (13:16,17) during earth’s last crisis. In these articles I will decode each symbol, based on prophecy, history, and current events. Indeed, the information is truly shocking, controversial, and is sure to stir up heated discussion. Nevertheless it must be presented faithfully, fairly, and without compromise. Concerning the first beast, John wrote:

I saw a beast rising up out of the sea… (Revelation 13:1).

Who is this beast that figures so largely in God’s last book? Those who accept a “Preterist” interpretation of Revelation’s prophecies generally believe the beast was the Roman emperor Nero who butchered Christians and Jews in the first century AD. Hank Hanegraaff and Sigmund Brouwer have expressed this view in Tyndale’s prophetic novel, The Last Disciple. Gary DeMar, John Noe, Ken Gentry Jr., Samuel Frost, Kurt Simmons, and many others teach this theory. To Preterists, the beast is dead.

While Preterism is growing in strength, by far the most popular interpretation remains the “Futurist” one best reflected in the bestselling Left Behind novels (also published by Tyndale). According to Futurists, the beast is still on the horizon—a monster that will only lurch into action after the Rapture. Leading proponents of Futurism today are Tim LaHaye, Jack Van Impe, John Hagee, Grant Jeffrey, Hal Lindsey, and Irving Baxter Jr. Both Preterists and Futurists see the beast as one satanic individual; an evil person. The biggest difference is the timing of when Mr. Diabolical shows up.

So which is it? Is the beast past or future? Or could he be present? Hold onto your seats. This may surprise you, but from the time of the Reformation until the late 1800s the vast majority of Protestant scholars firmly believed the beast was snarling right in front of them, and that it represented the Roman Catholic Church system that has strayed away from Bible truth. Such was the view of Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon, John Calvin, John Knox, the translators of the King James Bible, John Wesley, Sir Isaac Newton, Bishop J.C. Rylie, Matthew Henry, Charles Spurgeon, Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, and countless others. These weren’t Preterists or Futurists. They were Historicists—meaning that they saw prophecy fulfilled throughout Church history until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Let’s put emotions, personal opinion and speculation aside, and adjust our brains to irrefutable evidence. The beast rises from the sea (13:1), looks like a lion, bear, and leopard (13:2), has ten horns (13:1), a mouth speaking great things (13:5), makes war on the saints (13:7), and achieves global influence (13:7). Daniel chapter 7 talks about the exact same things, describing four beasts rising from the sea (7:1-3), a lion, bear, leopard, and dragon-like animal with ten horns (7:4-7), a little horn with eyes like a man (7:8), a mouth speaking great things (7:8), which makes war on the saints (7:21). Most scholars agree—both Protestant and Catholic—that Daniel’s little horn is the same as the beast in Revelation 13:1. Each has a big mouth and makes war on God’s saints.

Here’s a key question: What is a beast? A man? A computer? The Bible provides the answer. An angelic interpreter told Daniel, “The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth” (Daniel 7:23). Thus a beast is a kingdom. Period. The four beasts are four kingdoms. Daniel was living during the time of Babylon (7:1), and in fact, a winged lion was a symbol of that ancient power. Most scholars agree the lion represented Babylon, followed by Persia, then Greece, then Rome. Rome fell in 476 AD and was divided among these ten primary nations: Vandals, Heruli, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Franks, Anglo-Saxons, Suevi, Burgundians, Lombards, and Alemanni. Prophecy clearly predicted “the little horn” would:

1) Rise out of the fourth beast, or Roman Empire (7:7, 8)
2) Rise among the ten horns, in Western Europe (7:8)
3) Have eyes like a man, or human leadership (7:8)
4) Have a mouth speaking great things (7:8)
5) Make war on the saints (7:21)

Thus we have Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Rome’s division, and then the little horn that is the same as the first beast in Revelation 13, of whom it is written, “All the world marveled and followed the beast” (13:3). Who is this horn or beast? “Nero!” shout Preterists. “The future Antichrist!” counter Futurists. What’s wrong with this picture? The answer should be obvious. Preterists are mistaken because the little horn (antichrist) especially gains power after Rome was divided into ten parts. Nero came 500 years too soon. Futurists fail because the little horn burst into strength immediately after the empire of the Caesars collapsed into ten parts. Futurism sweeps 1500 years of history under the proverbial rug by expecting the little horn to rise only after Christians vanish.

Preterism’s problem:

Lion (Babylon)
Bear (Persia)
Leopard (Greece)
Dragon-like creature (Rome)
Ten horns (Rome’s fall and division)
Little horn (Nero—he doesn’t fit)

Futurism’s failure:

Lion (Babylon)
Bear (Persia)
Leopard (Greece)
Dragon-like creature (Rome)
Insertion of a problematic 1500-year gap
Ten horns (future revived Roman Empire)
Little horn (future Antichrist)

Historicism’s accuracy:

Lion (Babylon)
Bear (Persia)
Leopard (Greece)
Dragon-like creature (Rome)
Ten horns (Rome’s fall and division)
Little horn (rising into strength in Europe right after Rome fell and who is active now)

Who is the little horn? Ask Luther, Wycliffe, Huss, Jerome, Calvin, Knox, Wesley, Newton, Rylie, Spurgeon, and countless others. To these scholars, the answer was obvious. They all saw a highly-deceptive present power that started small but grew into strength immediately after Rome fell, rose up in Western Europe, had eyes like a man, a mouth speaking boastful things, and made bloody war on the saints.

Dear reader, if Martin Luther, John Calvin, or John Wesley were alive today, they would all realize that during the week of September 22-27, the Number #1 representative of “the beast” system would be welcomed into America’s living room. “All the world marveled and followed the beast,” predicts God’s Book. In same chapter of Revelation, Jesus Himself speaks, “If anyone has an ear, let him hear” (Revelation 13:9).

Is anyone listening?

To be continued…

Steve Wohlberg’s eye-opening book, End Time Delusions, fully documents the above interpretation of Revelation 13. 1-800-782-4253.

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