The word "Anti-Christ" means one who is in the opposition of Christ but not only that, it also means "one who is in the place of Christ."
Characteristics of the Antichrist Beast
From the very first chapter of the Book of Revelation it is says, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John... Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." verses 1 and 3. Don't let people deceive you that the Book of Revelation cannot be understood, for the testimony say "Blessed is he that readeth". And this Revelation is from Christ himself to give unto us, don't you think is very important to take heed of what Christ has given us?
1. From Revelation 13:1 we find this following words: " And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy." John saw a "beast rise up out of the sea", now the question should be asked, "What does a beast represent in Bible prophecy and the sea?" The Bible is clear. When Daniel in chapter 7 saw "four beasts" this was the interpretation; "These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth...Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth..."- Daniel 7:17,23. Thus we see that a king and a kingdom are interchangeable which shows to us that a beast, when speaking in prophetic languages in the Scriptures represent a kingdom. So John in Rev. 13:1 saw a beast which represent a kingdom arising out from the sea, now what is a sea or waters represent?-"And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."- Revelation 17:15. So a sea or waters represent a place where there are people. - So the beast John saw represent a kingdom as we have seen, and this kingdom arises from a populated area, meaning where there are "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."
2. The next characteristic of this beast, or kingdom, is given in the next verse (v. 2); "And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority." If you a Bible prophecy student you will realize that the description of this kingdom looks exactly with the three kingdoms (beast) of Daniel 7. Daniel was looking forward but John is looking backward. So this kingdom, or beast, received "his power, and seat, and great authority" from the Dragon. Who is the Dragon?-: "...and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads...and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born...And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron...And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."- Rev. 12:3,5,9. The Dragon is Satan but wait, the verses above say the Dragon, which is Satan, was to devour, or to kill, the male child as soon as he was born, ring a bell? Well this scene take us to Matthew 2 when Herod wanted to kill the young born Jesus but he failed. Which shows us that it was Satan through Herod who wanted to kill Jesus and what did Herod represent? Yes, the Roman Empire. So which means that the Dragon not only represent Satan but the medium he worked through, that is pagan Rome, the Roman Empire.
- In summary with this characteristic is that the beast, or the kingdom which John saw was given power and seat by Satan through pagan Rome (Roman Empire).
3. "And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast."- Rev. 13:3. This verse show clearly that at some point this kingdom got wounded, what wounded it? verse 10 says- " He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword." So it was destroyed by the sword. And by seeing the context the sword here cannot represent the Bible because verse seven it is shown that this kingdom, or beast, persecuted the saints of God, can he do it with the Bible? Absolutely not. But scripture say, " Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God....For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain."- Romans 13:1,4. And this high powers when Paul when he was talking which then is compared to as a sword in the Chapter represent the civil power, that is the state. So we see that a sword represent state, the civil authority. Compare scripture with scripture.
- So we see that this kingdom also gets wounded by the sword which it used to kill as shown in verse 10, meaning this kingdom spoke of it used a civil power or state to kill and by a state it must get killed or wounded.
4. Another characteristics of this kingdom is shown in verse 5 of Rev.13- " And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months." two things, (1) this kingdom spoke great things and blasphemies. Now we must know what a blasphemy is or was considered to be: " But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,
Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?"-Mark 2:7,8. This they reasoned referring to Christ but they did not know that Christ indeed is God that is why he can forgive sins. So our first definition of a blasphemy is when a man claims to forgive sins when it is only God who can. The second definition, "The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God."-John 10:33. Indeed Christ is God. Here our second definition of blasphemy is that it is when one as a man claims to be God...(2) is that this kingdom rules for 42 months at it's first stage, and 42 months multiply by the Jewish month which has 30 days gives us 1260 days and using a day-year principle (see Ezekiel 4:6 and Num. 14:34) the 1260 days are 1260 years.
- So this kingdom seen by John speaks blasphemies, and it has a leader or head (see 2 Thessa 2:4), claims to be God and forgive sins. And ruled with power for 1260 years. It shows that this kingdom is a religious power, and it cannot be only ruled by one individual.
5. " And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations" verse 7. So this kingdom during the period of power it had, the 1260 years, makes war with the saints, it persecutes the saints and it overcomes them, and remember we seen that verse 10 says it used the sword, meaning the state. So we see a situation of church and state mixed resulting in persecution, see that?
Antichrist Beast Revealed
Now keeping in mind the points we laid down, (there are other characteristics of this power which we will look at in future lecture), now we can look out side and see who fulfills all this characteristics. Note the symbol C stand for Characteristic (s).
C. 1 and 2, It was non other that Roman Catholic system, papal Rome, that arose from a populated area, which is Rome. And it's power or seat was given by Satan through pagan Rome:
“Out of the ruins of political Rome, arose the great moral Empire in the ‘giant form’ of the Roman Church.”—A.C. Flick, the Rise of the Mediaeval Church (1909), p. 150.
“Whatever Roman elements the barbarians and Arians left . . came under the protection of the Bishop of Rome, who was the chief person there after the Emperor’s disappearance . . The Roman Church in this way privily pushed itself into the place of the Roman World-Empire, of which it is the actual continuation . . The Roman Empire had not perished, but had only undergone a transformation . . The pope, who calls himself ‘Pontifex Maximus,’ is Caesar’s successor.”—Adolf Harnack, What is Christianity? (1903), pp. 269-270
C. 3. And indeed it was the Roman Catholicism which was wounded by a state and the pope was taken to captive as verse 10 speaks. And used the state:
“Long ages ago, when Rome through the neglect of the Western emperors was left to the mercy of the barbarous hordes, the Romans turned to one figure for aid and protection, and asked him to rule them; and thus . . commenced the temporal sovereignty of the popes. And meekly stepping to the throne of Caesar, the vicar of Christ took up the scepter to which the emperors and kings of Europe were to bow in reverence through so many ages.”—American Catholic Quarterly Review, April, 1911. Wow! History proving the Bible, did you see that?C. 4. (a) And indeed it is the Roman Catholic which claim to forgive sins, and a pope is believed to be God:
“The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but he is Jesus Christ Himself, hidden under veil of flesh.”—The Catholic National, July 1895.
“Hence the Pope is crowned with a triple crown, as king of heaven and of earth and of the lower regions [infernorum; the fiery place].”—Lucius Ferraris, Prompta Bibliotheca, “Papa” [the Pope], art. 2, 1772-1777 ed., Vol. 6, p. 29.
“You know that I am the Holy Father, the representative of God on the earth, the Vicar of Christ, which means I am God on the earth.”—Pope Pius XI, quoted in The Bulwark, October 1922, p. 104.“The priests are the parents of God.”—St. Bernard [fifth century archbishop].
(b) It is the Roman Catholicism with its power it received from 538-1798 AD which gives 1260 years, and what happened in 1798?
“When in 1797, Pope Pius VI fell grievously ill, Napoleon gave orders that in the event of his death no successor should be elected to his office, and the Papacy should be discontinued. But the pope recovered. The peace was soon broken: Berthier entered Rome on the tenth of February, 1798 . . The aged Pontiff was hurried from prison to prison in France. Broken with fatigue and sorrows, he died on the seventeenth of August 1799, in the French fortress of Valence, aged 82 years. No wonder half of Europe thought Napoleon’s veto would be obeyed, and that with the pope, the Papacy was dead.”—Joseph Rickaby, The Modern Papacy, p. 1.
C. 5. It was Roman Catholicism which persecuted the saints for so many years.
“That the Church of Rome has shed more innocent blood than any other institution that has ever existed among mankind, will be questioned by no Protestant who has a competent knowledge of history . . It is impossible to form a complete conception of the multitude of her victims, and it is quite certain that no powers of imagination can adequately realize their sufferings.”—W.E.H. Lecky, History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe, Vol. 2, p. 32, 1910 ed. [An excellent, though lengthy, article describing in detail the right of the Roman Catholic Church to do this, will be found in The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 12, p. 266.]
“From the birth of the Papacy to the present time, it is estimated by careful and credible historians, that more than fifty million of the human family have been slaughtered for the crime of heresy by papal persecutors,—an average of more than 40,000 religious murders for every year of the existence of the Papacy. Of course, the average number of victims yearly was vastly greater, during those gloomy ages when the Papacy was in her glory and reigned despot of the world; and it has been much less since the power of the popes to tyrannize over the nations has diminished.”—John Dowling, The History of Romanism, pp. 541-542. Tune in to the next article which will deal with the next stage in which the second beast of Rev.13 is the one which will revive Roman Catholicism' power before the end of the World. Who is the Antichrist?