The Two Beasts of Revelation 13
Issue No. 253
In last month’s summary of the book of Revelation (from a Historicist viewpoint), I laid groundwork for this month’s issue focusing upon the two beasts in Rev. 13.
The year 529 A.D. was very important, because it was the year that the Roman Emperor Justinian replaced the laws of the Roman Empire with Orthodox Christian law. This represented the final obliteration of the old Roman Empire, and at the same time the emperor made it a capital crime to worship the old Roman gods.
This triumph of the organizational Christianity was one of the primary starting points for the 1,260 year rise of the “beast from the sea.” It was Daniel’s “little horn” part one and fulfilled a key prophecy in Dan. 7:25, “and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law.” Justinian’s new Law was called Codex Constitutionum.
‘This Code . . . enacted orthodox Christianity into law . . . All ecclesiastical, like all civil, law, was to emanate from the throne’ (Will Durant, The Age of Faith, p. 112).
It should be understood, however, that this was hardly a biblical law system. It reflected the views of Church leaders at the time, but most of them were woefully ignorant of biblical law. And so the laws legalized serfdom, which prepared the way for Medieval feudalism, with serfs working as semi-slaves for the lords (nobility). Homosexual acts not only called for the death penalty, but could also result in mutilation and torture. Tax collectors could lose a hand for falsifying information, and others could lose a nose. Sorcerers and military deserters could be burned alive. Slaves could be crucified. If parents were poor, they were allowed to sell their newborn child into slavery, which was, of course, perpetual.
None of the above provisions are allowable in biblical law.
One of most important results of this new law code is how it dealt with “heretics”. Will Durant writes,
“It began by declaring for the Trinity, and anathematized Nestorius, Eutyches, and Apollinaris. It acknowledged the ecclesiastical leadership of the Roman Church, and ordered all Christian groups to submit to her authority.”
Thus, the triumph of the Roman Church was complete from a legal perspective.
This Codex was revised in 533 or 534 with new laws added to the previous edition.
Daniel 7:25 says that the “little horn” was given “a time, times, and a half a time.” Revelation 13 applies this to the beast from the sea and interprets the time as 42 months (13:5), which is the equivalent of 1,260 “days.”
The specific time frame, then, extends from 529-1789, when the French Revolution began to overthrow the supremacy of the Roman Church. This Revolution lasted until 1793 or 1794, which in turn was 1,260 years after the revision of Justinian’s Codex in 533 or 534.
Out of the French Revolution came Napoleon, who marched to Italy and took the Pope Pius VI captive in 1798. It appeared that the Roman Church was about to die.
The Fatal Wound
Rev. 13:3 says of the beast from the sea,
3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast.
The Church was given a “fatal wound” by Napoleon. And yet, the Popes survived. Here is the story:
Pope Pius VI was furious when the French overthrew the Church in that country. He retaliated by massacring as many French people in Italy as possible, along with many Italians who likewise wanted to be free of papal dominion.
When King Louis XVI attempted to protect papal power in France, he himself lost his head to the guillotine. The pope furiously excommunicated the entire nation and continued to kill French people in Italy. The French then prepared to invade Italy. In response the Pope issued a call to his Italian Catholic supporters, saying,
“Obey, all of you, it is your god, your pope who orders you. We promise plenary indulgences and eternal recompenses to the faithful who shall murder most of these ferocious French; we grant an entire amnesty to robbers, assassins, and parricides, who shall redeem their crimes by fighting for religion; we give, in advance, our absolution to courageous women, who, like Judith, shall abandon themselves to the Philistines, and cut off their heads.
“The Italians made no movement, and awaited the arrival of the French, not as enemies, but as liberators. Nay, more; the pope, having desired to double the taxes, they revolted against the fiscal agents, killed some of them at Rome, and even thought of burning the palace of the duke de Braschi, whose wealth and insolent luxury contrasted in so odious a manner with the general distress.” (Cormenin, History of the Popes, Vol. II, pp. 411, 412)
The duke de Braschi was one of the pope’s illegitimate sons that he had by his own sister. This son (or nephew—take your pick) had married the countess Falconieri, who was another of the pope’s daughters, born of an adulterous relationship while the pope was yet a cardinal. The Italians were used to papal corruption and their steady streams of mistresses, but this pope was hated more than most.
“The Vatican was the nightly theatre of disgusting saturnalias, at which met the father, the daughter, and the two brothers, and which recalled the orgies of the Borgias. Rome was daily informed by the indiscretions of the officers of the palace…It is certain that Pius the Sixth was extremely arrogant and rough, and that he preserved this violent character to his death. Finally, his turpitudes rendered him such an object of hatred and contempt to the Romans, that in the religious ceremonies in which he appeared, the faithful returned him only hisses in exchange for his blessings.” (Cormenin, Vol. II, p. 405)
The conquest of Rome was entrusted to a 27-year-old general, Napoleon Bonaparte. The frightened pope bought some time by asking for an armistice, but then used the time to call the Italians to arms. He offered the people 40,000 years of indulgences [i.e, less time in purgatory] for volunteers to fight the French army. They continued to kill French citizens wherever they could be found in Italy. The French army advanced, however, and the pope, fearful of losing everything, finally signed a treaty.
“Pius the Sixth again endeavoured to appease the storm; but these shocks, this incessant disquietude, and above all his debauchery with the beautiful dutchess de Braschi, his daughter, had given a fatal blow to his health, and a few days after the conclusion of the treaty of Tolentino, he fell so sick that they began to think of giving him a successor.
“His two bastards, Romuald and the duke de Braschi, hastened to lay hands on the treasures collected in the Vatican, and [which treasures were] destined to pay the ransom of Rome.
“Unfortunately, the pope recovered, and things were restored to their former footing; only his holiness dared not increase the taxes to satisfy the exigencies of the treaty of Tolentino, and turned towards the clergy to replace the sums stolen by his nephews.
“The priests, threatened in their property, turned immediately against the pope, cried out tyranny, called the people to revolt, accused Pius the Sixth of all the calamities which had fallen on Rome, and dared, in their sermons, to designate the holy pontiff by the names of stupid, incestuous, sodomite, and robber.” (Cormenin, Vol. II, p. 414)
Then Napoleon’s brother, Joseph Bonaparte, arrived in Rome at the head of the French army. The citizens hailed him as a liberator. The pope was exasperated by this.
“The soldiers of the execrable Pius fall on the citizens, massacre women, children, and old men, beat down the flying with their balls, cover the streets with dead bodies, pursue the unfortunate who had taken refuge in the palace of the French embassy, and transform that inviolable asylum into a field of carnage. Joseph Bonaparte, General Duphot, and the officers of the embassy immediately rushed forward to stop the massacres.” (p. 414)
“The people of Italy at last opened their eyes to the crimes of Pius the Sixth, and commenced joining the republic . . . Everywhere were heard cries of ‘Death to the pontiff assassin, vengeance for the French, our liberators.’ An Italian patriot even pronounced a public discourse, in which he expressed the wish ‘That the Tiber would soon roll its majestic waves amidst a free people, and that the blood of a pope would purify the earth from eighteen centuries of crime, shame, and servitude’.” (p. 415)
Napoleon had captured Rome and had fully overthrown the Pope’s rule. The citizens formed a constitutional government based upon that in France.
“As for the pope and his two bastard sons, the people, always great, always merciful, pardoned their lives and contented themselves with taking from them their rich domains, the palaces, and the treasures stolen from the nation, or acquired with the public funds.
“The dutchess de Braschi, that shameless courtesan, doubly incestuous with her brother and her father, the wife of one, and the mistress of the other, was treated with still more indulgence; the consuls left with her a part of the ornaments and precious stones given her by the pope, and exiled her to Tivoli, where she consoled herself in the arms of another lover for the ruin of her family. (p. 415, 416)
All these catastrophes had cast the pope into a despondency, which amounted almost to idiocy. At last the governor of Rome, General Cervoni, inflicted the last blow on him by informing him officially that the people had reconquered their rights, and that he was no longer anything in the government.” (p. 416)
The pope was taken captive and driven to Tuscany. He remained three months in the convent of St. Augustine in Sienna. Then an earthquake destroyed the convent, and he was moved again.
“They placed at once at his disposal a country house called ‘The Lower Regions,’ which induced sarcasms of the irreligious, and made them say that the holy father was at last in his place.” (p. 416)
Even so, the Pope continued to intrigue against France to regain his power. For a time he succeeded, but the French later prevailed, and the Pope was sent into exile at Valens, in Dauphiny. There Pope Pius VI died in exile on August 29, 1799 after being robbed one last time by his illegitimate son, the duke de Braschi.
The Fatal Wound Healed
Once Napoleon had conquered Rome and reduced the Pope to a prisoner of war, he decided that he still needed a Pope to crown him Emperor. Even as the first such Emperor (Charlemagne) had been crowned on Dec. 25, 800 by Pope Leo III, so also Napoleon wanted to be crowned a thousand years later in the year 1800. So, as the Catholic Encyclopedia says,
“Bonaparte took care to gain the attachment of the revived Church by his favours.” (Vol. X, 1911, Napoleon)
The use of the term, “revived Church,” implies the near death of the Church at that time. The Bible describes it as a “fatal wound” being healed.
Cardinal Barnabas Louis Chiaramonti became the next Pope on March 4, 1800, taking the name Pius VII. In his earlier years he had been a strong advocate of absolute papal power; but later he. . .
“had pronounced a superb homily, in which he proved, by relying on the texts of scripture, that in order to be a good Christian, one must be a democrat. The wary cardinal had foreseen that, by affecting liberal sentiments, he assured himself of the protection of France and prepared the way to the pontifical throne.” (Cormenin, Vol. II, p. 418)
Napoleon allowed the new pope to return to Rome and signed a concordat with him in 1801. In this concordat, the pope gave the French government rights to make the priests take an oath of loyalty to the Emperor, but it also gave the Pope the right to appoint bishops in France. This latter clause was used to resurrect the papacy and overthrow France once again.
The Pope instigated French bishops then to weaken the restrictions of the concordat, and even reasserting the rights of the Bourbon line to return to the throne of France. Napoleon responded simply by asking the Pope to come to France to consecrate him as Emperor. The Pope did not dare to refuse. The coronation took place in 1804 in Paris at the Church of Notre Dame. When all was ready, Napoleon came in and kneeled with Josephine, the Empress, before the Pope.
“He then arose, and without waiting for Pius the Seventh to crown him, took the diadem from his hands, placed it on his head, and then crowned Josephine.” (Cormenin, Vol. II, p. 420)
Some say that this account is apocryphal. To us the point is moot, because what is important is to see that Napoleon, who delivered the fatal wound to the Papacy of Rome, was also its healer. The healing began with the Concordat in 1801, and it continued because Napoleon felt that he needed the pope to crown him as emperor as had been done 1000 years earlier with Charlemagne in the year 800.
A final blow to the Papacy came in 1810, when the Pope was ordered to move Church headquarters from Rome to Paris. About 3000 boxes were actually shipped to Paris at that time, and on June 20, 1812 Pope Pius VII moved to Fontainbleau in France, the place Napoleon had selected for his residence.
Then Napoleon invaded Russia, where his army was destroyed. In 1814 he fell from power and spent a short time in exile at the Isle of Elba. He escaped, however, and attempted to return to power, but a final battle at Waterloo in 1815 ended his bid for power, and he was again exiled.
The Congress of Vienna met to redraw the map of Europe that had been so altered by Napoleon. In 1815 they restored the crown to the French Bourbon kings (Louis XVIII), and the Papal states were restored to the Pope. The Papacy again assumed civil power, and perhaps most important, the Jesuit Order was reinstated, which had been disbanded in 1773.
In 1815, then, the “fatal wound” was fully healed. Even so, there was now a new beast in town. It was based upon the power of money and banking.
The Beast from the Earth
Rev. 13:11-18 speaks of this earth-beast in financial terms. The “image” of the beast is what we call “money” (that is, currency), without which one cannot buy or sell.
In Volume 1 of the book, The House of Rothschild, Money’s Prophets, page 6, Niall Ferguson says,
“Indeed, it can be argued that, by modifying the existing system for government borrowing to make bonds more easily tradable, the Rothschilds actually created the international bond market in its modern form.”
More important, however, is what Rev. 13:16 says,
16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand, or on their forehead.
Much speculation has been written about this from those who think that this is some future, literal event. In years past they envisioned this as a kind of tattoo. Others had said it was one’s Social Security number, without which it is difficult to get a job or a bank account. The invention of computers and lasers only increased the scope of speculation.
But the book of Revelation is a book of visions and revelations that follow biblical symbolism. The above “mark” is the biblical counterpart to that which is found in Deut. 6:5-8,
5 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words, which I am commanding you today shall be on your heart; 7 and you shall teach them diligently to your sons … 8 And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
This is the original “sign” in the law, indicating that the law was to be written on our hearts. More specifically, the law was to govern what we do with our hands and how we think in our minds (foreheads).
The opposite of this is the “mark of the beast,” which is lawlessness in general, but more specifically “the love of money”—the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10). It is not a physical mark, but a condition of the heart. It is not money itself, but the love of money that is the problem.
Coins have images today, even as they did many years ago when Jesus took a coin and asked in Matt. 22:20, “Whose is this image and subscription?” Coins are “marked” by images. German currency is even called the “Mark.” But the monetary system that has developed since the Holy Alliance at the Congress of Vienna is this mark. Niall Ferguson says on page 16 of his first volume, “the Rothschilds were notoriously the ‘chief ally of the Holy Alliance’.” (Notoriously?) On page 17, he says,
“Not only had the Rothschilds replaced the old aristocracy, they also represented a new materialist religion. ‘[M]oney is the god of our time,’ declared Heine in March 1841, ‘and Rothschild is his prophet’.”
No one today is allowed to buy or sell without using their money. Since money is a bank note which they create, it is specifically their mark. If anyone attempts to create or use another currency, it is called counterfeiting.
The Number: 666
There are positive and negative aspects to every number as used in the Bible. It depends upon the application. The number 666 appears twice in the Bible. Rev. 13:18 says,
18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has under-standing calculate the number of that beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six .
We find the other example in 2 Chron. 9:13,
13 Now the weight of gold which came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold.
As with so many things, the New Testament must be interpreted with its double witness, the Old Testament. It is plain that in 2 Chron. 9:13 the number 666 is associated with gold, which is also used as money. Certainly, this statement has an economic color to it, even as we see in John’s reference.
Thus, when we look at John’s statement in its natural flow of the revelation of history, it is remarkable that it would coincide precisely with the rise of the international banking system as invented and developed by the family of Rothschilds. It happened at the same time that the beast was healed of its deadly wound in 1815 after the downfall of Napoleon.
It is not so much the USE of money, but the LOVE of money that determines if one has the mark of the beast. When everything one does is for the sake of money, it is a “mark of the beast” upon one’s hand. When one constantly schemes how to make more money with no regard to moral scruples in attaining it, it is a “mark of the beast” upon one’s forehead. It does not matter if men justify their greed by saying that it is for the advancement of the Christian faith or the Kingdom of God. It is still a mark of the beast and the opposite of God’s law, which tells us to love God and our neighbor as ourselves.