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Revelation 13 Sea Beast Explaination

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Revelation 13 Sea Beast

To understand the interpretation of this beast, read the material below the picture and also see the Prophetic Rules of Interpretation in the Main Menu above.

This beast with 7 heads and 10 horns, feet of a bear, mouth of a lion, and the body of a leopard has often been misunderstood ever since John wrote of it.  So, what is it?  Who does it represent?  What do its heads and horns represent?  And finally, what about its connection with the number 666?

It is said in Rev 13:5 - 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.  Note that if these months are 30 day months, then 42X30 is 1260.  This is the same time period mentioned by Daniel for the time of the talking horn (click here for details on the 42 months, 1260 days, and 3 1/2 times.)  It also is said to commit blasphemy against God, which can be defined as taking to oneself the powers that rightfully belong only to God, or to speak against God.  It also persecutes those who serve God and receives its power from the dragon (the devil).  These characteristics generally match that given by Daniel for the talking horn, so it is reasonable that it is the same power.  Historically the papacy has been identified as the talking horn of Daniel 7 and the sea beast of Revelation 13 because it matches these characteristics.  Click here for a little deeper analysis of why the talking horn of Daniel 7 and the leopard beast of Revelation 13 are the same power occurring at the same time.

Here the Papacy is defined from the Collegiate Merriam-Webster's dictionary as being the system of government of the Roman Catholic Church of which the pope is the supreme head.

The body, heads, and horns of prophetic beasts are used to indicate successive time periods within a kingdom.  Other things attached to the beast or an integral part of it, such as color, species, wings, and so on, are all used to indicate the behavior of that particular power.  See information about the Characteristics Principle in the Rules of Interpretation.  The Characteristics Principle is used as a guide for interpretation of things like wings on beasts. 

Now, the leopard beast of Revelation 13 has a mouth like a lion, and a mouth is used for communication, so it spoke like Babylon (see Revelation 13:5).  It had the feet of a bear so it sneaked like Medo-Persia did in conquering Babylon (and like the bear in Daniel 7, it devoured much flesh and trampled upon the people of God), and it had the body of a leopard, so it was very intelligent, fast, and deadly.  History records that the religion of the Babylonians was adopted into the Christian church in Rome, so only the church from Rome could be said to speak like Babylon.  The Babylonian religion sneaked into the church, or in other words, it came in very slowly and stealthily.  History seems to record that is exactly what happened.  It had the body of a leopard so it was indeed very intelligent and deadly.  History records that it had these exact characteristics.  How else could it maintain its power for 1260 years?

This tells us who and what the body represent, but what about the heads and horns?  The Miller Principle tells us that a beast with multiple heads and multiple horns should be divided up into 3 time periods, where the body represents the initial time period for the power in question, the heads represent the second time period, and the horns represent the third time period.  The body is demonstrated to exist for 1260 prophetic days, or 1260 literal years (Rev 13:5  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 - click here for a discussion of the 1260 prophetic days and how to understand them), which history shows ended in 1798.  So, the time of the heads begins in 1798 after the time represented by the body was done.  The Similarity Principle tells us that these 7 heads must be of a similar nature to the body, but will be weaker or smaller in some way compared to the body, which is stated by the Difference Principle.  As the body was a religious power, so also the heads will be a religious power.  The body represented the papacy, so the heads must also represent the papacy in some way.  There is no statement in Revelation 13 (or Revelation 17 either) indicating some sort of exception to the identity of the heads, so they must arise from within the original beast and must be like it.  When all 7 heads are done with their part in history, the time of the horns will begin.  Sometime during the time of the horns, the image beast will be formed and the original beast will return, and after that is the second coming of Jesus and the end of world history.

Click here for a comparison of the 4 headed leopard of Daniel 7 to the 7 headed leopard of Revelation 13.  This comparison will help you understand why the rules are the same for both Daniel and Revelation.

Revelation 13 speaks of a wound to one of the heads followed by a healing of that same head.  Historically, the wounding of the head has been considered to be the capture and death of the pope who was in power in 1798 when Napoleon's army under general Berthier took over Rome and dismantled the Papal Government.  A few days later they took the pope captive and led him off to prison in France, where he died in late summer of 1799.  This was Pope Pius VI.  In 1800, the papal cardinals elected a new pope, who selected the name Pope Pius VII.  The decree of general Berthier did remove the papal government and did not destroy the papacy completely, but it did considerably weaken it thereafter.  That government was somewhat reconstructed afterwards but has never been the same since.

The head that is wounded is also the same head that is healed.  Further, since the heads must finish their day in power before the horns begin their days of power, this means that the head that is wounded must be healed before it becomes, as Revelation 17 calls it, "fallen".  Note that the head that was wounded was representative of the Pope Pius line, so any healing must apply to another Pope Pius.  Since a head can represent a name (see Daniel 2:38 where king Nebuchadnezzar is told "you are this head of gold" which puts a name to a head), and we know that this head on the beast was wounded and that it represented the capture of Pope Pius, the head that is wounded must represent the name line of Pope Pius.  It is subsequently healed, but this cannot be a healing or restoration of Pope Pius VI because he died in prison and was never restored.  So the healing of the head must refer to an event that in some way restores a Pope Pius to power.

Some individuals have thought in the past that the wounding of the head must be the same as the event that makes the beast of Revelation 17 go into the abyss.  While they are clearly related by concurrent events, it seems that it is better to consider the two events to actually be two events, rather than synonymous.  The vision shown to John distinctly showed a head that as wounded and subsequently healed.  This means that the head must have been wounded during the time of the heads, or in other words, after the events that make the scarlet beast go away.  They can be conncted events, but the wounding must occur AFTER the going away of the scarlet beast, not before or exactly simultaneous.  Further, the heads are the names, so the damage is to the name.  This is a different thing than removing the legal powers of the beast (see next paragraph).

While the sea beast of Revelation 13 and the scarlet beast of Revelation 17 are one and the same, the wounding of the head of the sea beast and the going away of the scarlet beast into the abyss (into restraint - see Revelation 20:1-3 where it indicates that the abyss is a type of jail) are not the same identical events though they are very closely related.  The going away of the scarlet beast of Revelation 17 occurred when Napoleon's general, Berthier, wrote a decree ending the papal government that was circulated around Rome on the 15th of February of 1798 (click here for historical details.) 

To understand exactly what happened in 538 A.D.< that makes it significant, the reader needs to know some history and basic facts of government.  These facts are as follows:  (1) decrees or laws issued by a government are only applicable to territory they control, so if you don't control a territory, you cannot apply laws there as they are unenforceable, (2) even if you reside in and control a territory, you cannot control another territory unless you can back it up by force of arms and be able to communicate with that other territory.  Both of these factors must exist for a government to be able to enforce laws upon any given territory.  Now, with these facts in mind, please click here for a history of what happened when Belisarius entered Rome.

The papal power over other bishops and the power to punish heresy was given to the pope as a matter of legal right in the spring of 538 AD after Justinian's general, Belisarius, managed to break the seige of Rome by the Ostrogoths (more information about the Ostrogoths and more about the Ostrogoths from the Catholic Encyclopedia,) which lasted from March of 537 to March of 538 (by this, he "persuaded" the Ostrogoths to leave Rome).  Belisarius first entered Rome in December of 536 when the Ostrogoths abandoned Rome as he entered it.  But, he had to immediately begin preparations for the seige that he knew was coming, and facing an enemy with probably10 times as many troops.  This would leave him little time for setting up and running a Roman law administration, so consequently, it is extremely probable that he did not get that done to any significant extent. 

Once the seige began, virtually nobody could leave the city, so any laws that Justinian had made that were to be generally applicable and enforceable outside of the city by the pope, or anybody else, were simply not enforceable.  You cannot enforce a law that you cannot get a message out about nor can you enforce a law that you cannot back up with the force of arms.  They (Belisarius and the pope) could get messages out but could not mount significant force of arms to back up what was ordered.  So, it was a toothless law.  Once the seige of the ostrogoths was lifted, the decree of 533 A.D. by Justinian making the pope supreme bishop and giving him power to punish heresy was implemented and enforceable by law (click here to read the decree of Justinian in English.) 

At this point in time, both factors necessary to enforce the decree were is place: (1) Justinian's government controlled Rome and (2) they (Belisarius and the pope) could now send messages to the outside world and back up what they ordered with force of arms.  Thus it was that this decree became enforceable in March of 538 A.D.  This power lasted until 1798 when Napoleon's general Berthier invaded Rome and on the 15th of February of that year, wrote a decree ending the powers of the papal government, which officially ended the power the pope had over other governments and religious authorities (click here for historical details.)  Now, that didn't end the papacy, but its power was crippled after that and it no longer had power over ALL other bishops or to punish what it considered heresy.

So, a decree created the power that the bible recognizes the pope got beginning in 538 A.D., and 1260 years later (almost to the month) Napoleon's army undid this by decree.  The removal by decree of the legal power the pope had is the going away of the beast into the abyss.

Click here for an EXCELLENT writeup about this with additional details of this history by another author,  which is where the author of this web page originally learned of the historical facts about the decrees defining and delimiting the 1260 year time period from 538 A.D. to 1798 A.D.  Further historical documentation can be found on this BibleLight.net Web page.

After the beast went away on the 15th of February (the beast went into the abyss), 1798, a few days later, on the 20th of February of 1798, they took the pope captive and hauled him off to France, where he died in late summer of 1799.  This is the wound to the head of the beast as it occurs AFTER the going away of the beast.  Thus it is that these 2 events, though related, are actually separate from one another. The going of the scarlet beast into the abyss and the wounding of the sea beast's head are 2 separate, though related events.  This is further demonstrated by the fact that there were at least 3 prior events of captures and deaths of popes before 1798, none of which caused the beast to go into the abyss.  Click here for details of those captures and deaths from a Catholic web page.

Note that in this article, the Catholics attempt to wiggle out of being identified as the beast, but they don't tell the whole story there.  But, I do understand why they want to do that.  Nobody wants to be identified as the beast.  These historical events demonstrate that a capture and death of a pope are not sufficient to cause the beast to go into the abyss.  To make the beast go into the abyss requires a decree to remove the power given to the beast in the first place.  If a capture and death were sufficient, then the first capture and death should have removed the beast and considerably shortened the 1260 year time period.

In the Catholic web page above about the 3 prior captures and deaths of popes, there are several points they raise that genuinely need to be answered.  First, there was the return of the Ostrogoths to Rome several times after 538 A.D.  They are clearly implying that the invasion of the Ostrogoths into Rome after 538 A.D. removed the authority of Justinian over Rome, which is true.  Another implication of this is that the Ostrogoths were not destroyed and therefore the 538 date does not apply.  The individual they quote had at one time picked up a common theory that does not fit with the facts of history, but has since come to a better understanding.  The truth of history is that the Ostrogoths did leave Rome in March of 538 A.D., and did return at a later date.  They were not destroyed by the events of 538 A.D.  But, and this is VERY IMPORTANT, what is also true is that the decree had been delivered to the pope, the authority of Justinian had been implemented in Rome, and the pope had already begun enforcement of Justinian's decree.  The starting date had already come and gone.  No amount of wishing on anybody's part can change that fact.  Further, these invasions of Rome only temporarily removed the authority of Justinian. The Ostrogoths were driven back out of Rome by Justitian's army and less than 20 years later, the Ostrogoths were destroyed as a nation.  They were never heard from again.  Through it all, the pope's authority over other bishops and the authority to punish heresy remained essentially intact and the decree was not undone.  These temporary invasions did temporarily prevent the enforcement of the decrees, but the starting date had already come and gone.  The starting date is what is important.  Once that passed, nothing could change that fact.

Another issue that they raise is that the captures and deaths of popes prior to 1798 suggests that this prophecy cannot apply to the Catholic Church because it happened more than once.  But, they fail to notify the reader that the prophecy indicates that the head wounding shown in the vision only occurs AFTER the removal of the beast.  The Miller Principle shows that the body, heads, and horns represent sequential but separate time periods of the beast, and the head wounding occurs during the second period of the beast, which is after the going away of the beast on Feb 15, 1798.  Any prior captures and deaths are irrelevant because they are not shown and therefore do not count.  You can only count as relevant what the prophecy shows you.  There is only one head wound and healing indicating only one capture and death was to occur AFTER THE GOING AWAY OF THE BEAST ON FEB. 15, 1798.  It seems likely that the only way the 3 prior captures and deaths could have been shown in the prophecy is to have 3 wounds and healings on the body of the beast, something which would have notified the reader of the 3 captures and deaths prior to 1798.  But that was not shown and since there is only one that can apply, the one after the going away of the beast, the prophecy of the capture and death refers only to one person - Pope Pius VI and to no other popes, before or after.

So, the going of the beast into the abyss and the capture and death of the pope are 2 separate though related events.  Therefore, the return of the scarlet beast and the healing of the sea beast's head must also be separate events.  Revelation 17 says that eventually all the heads will have "fallen", meaning that there will be no more of those 7 papal name lines after that.  There will be only one more pope after the time of the heads who would be counted by Catholic rules of who is a legitimate pope.  Revelation 17 refers to this pope as the 8th king.  So therefore, the healing of the head must occur before the head representing Pius has "fallen," because after that there will never be another Pope Pius.  Once that event has passed, the head cannot be healed because there won't be another Pope Pius to restore.

So, what is the healing event?  History and Revelation 17 indicates that we will never have another Pope Pius since the name of Pope Pius has died out, so the healing has already occurred.  There are 2 possible solutions to this question of what the healing event is.  Consider that the head that was wounded is that of the head representing the Pope Pius name, so restoration of the name could constitute the healing.  If this is the case, then simply electing another Pope Pius would fulfill that requirement.  That event occurred in 1800 when Pope Pius VII was elected which restored a Pope Pius to the papal throne. 

Another event in history begs for attention, however, and that is the event of 1929 - the Lateran Treaty signing.  In this treaty between the government of Italy and the Vatican, the papacy was given back the land around the Vatican as a separate state so that today it is a country of its own as it once was.  The papal lands were taken by the Italian government in 1870 (but this cannot be the wounding of the head because it did not involve a capture and death as required by Revelation 13:10).  However, the pope in power at the time of the 1929 event was a Pope Pius, and this event gave the papacy the foundation to begin its ascent out of the abyss that will be culminated someday when its legal powers over all other bishops will be restored, at which time it will have returned from the abyss.  So the signing of the Lateran Treaty in 1929 could also be a fulfillment of the healing of the head as it certainly restored a Pope Pius to a higher position than he was in before.  Given the nature of the original event in 1798 and the nature of the 1929 event, it is very reasonable to conclude the the 1929 event fulfilled the healing of the head.

There is one more reason to conclude that the healing will occur before the beast returns from the abyss.  Rev 13:14 - And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.  Now, it is clear from this text that the wound to the head has already been healed during the time when there will be a campaign to form the image beast.  The image beast formation occurs at about the same time as the return of the beast from the abyss, which we know is yet future.   From this text alone we cannot say when the wound is healed, but it does clearly indicate that it occurs before the campaign to form the image beast even begins.  Combining this with other information shows us that as of the present day, the wound has already been healed.  This text simply provides an outer limit on when the healing could have occurred.  Since the beast returns at about the same time as the image beast is formed, this clearly indicates that the wound healing and the return of the beast are two separate events.

This gets a little complicated, but these fine details of history are clearly important in order to understand this leopard beast of Revelation chapter 13 clearly.  Hopefully, you are able to follow what has been written above.

The heads here are identified as the papal name lines occurring after 1798.  For more details on why this is so, please go to the Home Page or else the page on the Scarlet Beast of Revelation 17.  There this will be explained in more detail.  The details of the connection of the beast to the number 666 is also explained on the Revelation 17 page.

The leopard beast of Revelation 13 has crowns upon it's horns.  Click here if you would like to understand the crowns.

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