We see again the same beast – it has to be the same beast as there can’t be too many around that have seven heads and ten horns! But the difference this time is that the crowns have moved – from the heads to the horns. That is exactly what happened in Western Europe after the fall of the Roman empire. A kind of new version appeared over time comprised of some of the nations that had precipitated its downfall. Ten distinct kingdoms came to collectively rule Europe – the old Western part of the empire. These are listed (variously) as: Heruli, Vandals, Ostragoths, Visigoths, Suevi, Burgundians, Franks, Saxons, Alamanni and the Lombards.
The glue that united these ten diverse kingdoms was the ‘Church’ – that is, the Romanised form of what had become considered to be ‘Christianity’. This number (ten) has varied over time, but it was at one time known as “the ten kings of Christendom”. A two horned beast also appears – he looks like a lamb – there’s pretence to Christ-likeness but his words and the words of the beast are dragon-like and blasphemous in the extreme. Imperial Rome had failed to exterminate the seed of the woman but from now on we see the consistent concerted efforts of a new kind of Rome, which has become the new home for satan. (Comments below on: ‘buying and selling’ and the mark/number of the beast and more).
Pope Alexander III pronounced an anathema upon the Waldensian people and decreed that…
“no man should presume to receive or assist them, no not so much as to hold communion with them in selling or buying; that being deprived of the comforts of humanity, they may be compelled to repent of the error of their way.”
On another occasion the instruction was given…
“they are no longer to be suffered to ‘buy or sell;’ they are interdicted from traffic and commerce, and all the benefits of civil society.”
In numerous places throughout the Bible we are told of God placing a mark, or even His name upon the foreheads of His servants. For just one such Old Testament example read Ezekiel chapter nine – here’s an excerpt…
“And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.”
In the book of Revelation we have in fact already encountered the ‘mark’ (seal) of God being placed upon His servants – back in chapter seven when 144,000 were sealed and the very first verse of our next chapter tell us…
“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.”
God is clearly in the business of marking His property and satan, the impostor/mimicker likes to mark his own too. In the forehead signifying those who think like the beast and in the right hand, the hand signifying action and doing. These marks/seals are not in any way physical. They are the unseen signatures of God and satan upon their respective people. One who has previously received the ‘mark’ of the beast upon their lives needs only to be washed clean (in the blood of the Lamb) and resealed (by the anointing of the Holy Spirit).
The earliest known record of someone offering a solution for the 666 name was one of the 2nd century Church fathers called Irenaeus. His credentials are noteworthy as he had spent time listening to Polycarp who in turn had spent time with the apostle John himself. He sought for a name that would, in Greek letters/numerals (Revelation being written in Greek), add up to 666. Irenaeus reasoned that the beast empire was in every way summed up as being the ‘Latin’ empire and the Antichrist was the ‘Latin Man’ (I paraphrase the story). In Greek that’s LATEINOS (albeit written here in anglicised letters). Here’s the math…
L=30, a=1, t=300, e=5, i=10, n=50, 0=70, s=200. Total=666.
The papal title, VICARIVS FILII DEI has a numeric value of 666 when its Latin letters are given their numeric values: 5+1+100+1+5+1+50+1+1+500+1 = 666
(Acknowledgements to Wikipedia for the maths string – this is so well known!)
In the above example it is only the letters that are also numbers that are used. Unlike Hebrew and Greek not all Latin letters are numbers. Only six in fact, and guess what those six add up to!?
The title VICARIVS FILII DEI means “vicar of Christ.” Vicar means “in the place of”. Anti (as in Anti-Christ) can mean either “against” or “in the place of.”
Pope Vitallian issued a decree that only Latin should be used in Roman Catholic rites, in the year… AD 666 !
Numerous other 666 connections and suggestions have been made in relation to the papal kingdom and indeed many other 666 connections have been made with many other people, religions, organisations etc. Some could be just a case of overactive imaginings but many could be quite deliberately ‘stamped’ by God with that number. We must remember that there are many ‘antichrists’ but The Antichrist qualifies for the title on many other grounds not just his number alone.
In this chapter we encounter “another beast,” with two horns. It’s clear that it is not the same as the seven headed beast but equally clear that it is emphatically tied with it. There’s some fine-tuning interpretations and explanations concerning this two horned beast but in simple terms the division between the two beasts is usually seen as, the first beast representing Rome politically and militarily – initially as the old empire and here, in this chapter, in the ten-horned phase, as the collective European powers, behaving similarly, but now in place of the old Roman empire. The two horned beast is more specifically representative of ‘religious Rome’ and is equivalent to/tied with other later epithets/depictions of this beast in the form of ‘the false prophet’ and ‘the harlot’ (who rides the beast). These are real fine-tuning elements that may engender a variety of more detailed interpretations but in simple terms, it all speaks of different facets of the one and same antichrist power.
Many people are familiar with the beautiful bible poetry which states that, ‘a day is as a thousand years’ (Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8). Perhaps there is more to these statements than just pure poetry but these specific quotations are not our exact topic right now. But also found Scripture is a principle concerning God’s dealings with man whereby He appoints, specifically and prophetically, a ‘day’ to represent a single ‘year’. There are at least two unambiguous occasions where this is stated and at least one instance that, whilst not plainly stated, ALL major schools of interpretation agree that this principle must be applied in order for it to make any sense. Let’s take a look at them…
Let’s not get sidetracked with this unusual prophetic sign acted out by Ezekiel but simply note again that God used the plainly stated principle of each day representing each year of iniquity.
The above two Scriptures are unequivocal in their usage of the year/day principle. Next we’ll look at a further Scripture which all agree must also be interpreted using this year/day understanding.
This prophecy, given to Daniel, has a lot more complex and difficult to comprehend statements to follow (a future article will explore this) but for now we just need to note that every major prophetic school of interpretation agrees that these ‘seventy weeks’ – 490 days – must be figurative of 490 years. Regardless of the different variations of dates, divisions and ultimate interpretation of this passage the overwhelming majority of scholars all unanimously agree that this prophecy, although it does not plainly state it, is using the year/day principle. Only by applying the day for a year principle can this timeline prophecy bring us to the time of the Messiah.
And so, the question must be asked, is the ‘day for a year’ principle used in other prophetic passages? And the answer is a resounding yes! On multiple occasions. All protestant Christian scholars, teachers, students, pastors etc. knew this and applied this reasoning once upon a time. Commentaries and writings from past centuries are filled to the brim with comments and references to the year/day principle in interpreting biblical prophecy. This especially relates to the books of Daniel and Revelation. I do not know whether this method of interpreting prophetic timescales was passed down through the centuries or if dedicated Bible lovers just tried the key to see if it fits – but fit it most surely does.
In both Daniel and Revelation we read of a time period of, ‘a time, times and half a time’ – meaning, one year + two years + half a year. We also read of a time period of ‘forty two months’ and we read of a time period of ‘one thousand, two hundred and sixty days.’ Based on the calendar system of that time (each month having 30 days) these three time periods are in fact all the same length – 1260 days. In Daniel chapter 12 we are given some other very specific timeline prophecies – ‘1290 days’ and ‘1335 days’. And in the book of Revelation we have yet various other timeline prophecies, including: ’10 days’ (Rev 2:10), ‘5 months’, which is equal to 150 prophetic ‘days’ (Rev 9:10), and the astonishingly specific, ‘an hour, a day, a month and a year’, (Rev 9:15). Historicists apply the year/day principle to all of these passages. In so doing there have been some amazingly accurate predictions made in times past and as we reside now at the latter end of the current era these time periods can be seen in past events.
It is not the aim in this brief summary to delve into any of the specific interpretation of these year/day timeline prophecies, you will discover these as you read through our studies on Daniel (pending) and our Revelation Overview, but it is important to know that the ‘day for a year’ key is vital to all historicist interpretation of these timeline prophecies.