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Dear Truth Seeker,
This Bible subject seems to have generated the most discussion with the least understanding of any that I have seen. Maybe we should start at the beginning? Lets read the account of Johns vision.
And I stood upon the sand of the sea [on the edge of the events], and saw a beast [an animal symbol for a great earthly political system] rise up out of the sea [a large populated area, Revelation 17:15], having seven heads [seven ways of manifesting itself] and ten horns [some smaller earthly powers], and upon his horns ten crowns [note this point - and where the symbols of ruling power (the crowns) are], and upon his heads [his thinking and speaking place] the name of blasphemy.
And the beast [#1] which I saw was like to a leopard [in body], and his feet were as the feet of a bear [thats the way he walks], and his mouth [the way he speaks is] as the mouth of a lion [the seven heads speak with one mouth or "one accord".]
This is a composite of the animal symbols of Daniel chapter 7. It has the love philosophy and the soothing words of Greece the leopard, the ruthlessness of Persia the bear, and the religiousness of Babylon the lion all mixed together.
and the dragon [Revelation 12:9] gave him his power, and his seat [his earthly throne], and great authority [the guiding strength of pagan Rome, the indescribable beast of Daniel 7.]
And I saw one of his heads [the 5th] as it were wounded to death [this head received a mortal blow while it was in charge of the world and it took a while to die completely, from 1529 to 1798]; and [then after a time] his deadly wound was healed [that head revived while another head was ruling, for to kill the beast requires that all the heads die at the same time, Daniel 2:35, 44-45]: and [after the healing] all the world wondered [in a religious way] after the beast [and that 5th head, because none of the previous heads had become active or spoken after being superseded].
And [by doing this] they [all the peoples of the world] worshipped the dragon [Satan and his "way"] which gave power to the beast:
[the above sentence is the hub of the whole chapter.]
and they worshipped the beast, saying, "Who is like to the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" [Just the greatest adversary! And he loves to fight!! Who is he? Satan himself! He manifests himself through these political systems.]
And there was given to him [by Satan to beast #1] a mouth [in one of his heads] speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given to him to continue forty-two months. [See note at the end of this paper.] And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name [character], AND HIS TABERNACLE, and them that dwell in heaven [the angels].
And it was given to him [one of the heads of beast #1] to make war with the saints [religious persecution, mental and physical], and to overcome them [note this!]: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations [he ruled the world in religion].
And ALL [the others] that dwell upon the earth SHALL worship him [i.e. Satan, in the last of the beasts], whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
If any man have an ear [guided by the Spirit of God], let him hear. He that leads into captivity shall go into captivity: he that kills with the sword must be killed with the sword [they worship the god of force]. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints [they dont!].
And I beheld another beast [political system #2] coming up out of the earth [not the crowded area]; and he had two horns like a lamb [at first], and [then] he SPOKE as a dragon. And he exercises all the power [influence] of the first beast [which was given him by Satan] before [or in front of] him [i.e. beast #1], and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. [#2 points people to #1, but how?]
And he [#2] does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceives them [note that the purpose of the miracles is to deceive, not force, them] that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he [#2] had power to do [they are real miracles in mens eyes, not fraudulent, which means that there is a supernatural power behind them, and they are done] in the sight of the beast [#1]; saying to [or pleading with] them that dwell on the earth [all the nations], that they should make an image to the beast [a copy, therefore a #3 political system] which had the wound by a sword, and did live [#1].
Be sure to notice that beast #1 does NOT DO anything in this scenario - it is ALL DONE by beast #2 in order to draw attention to system #1. But if you have your eyes on #1 then you will most likely miss the works of #2 which is what Satan wants to happen.
And he [political system #2] had power to give life [like Pharaohs magicians, Exodus 7:10-12 ] to the image of the beast [political system #3], that the image of the beast [Satans latest kingdom] should both speak [make legal pronouncements binding on the whole world], and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed [the ultimate religious persecution].
And [first] he [#3] causes all [the world], both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand [a physical obedience], or in their foreheads [a mental obedience]: and [he orders] that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name [#3 beast].
Earthly powers do not normally start with the death penalty. They usually pass a law with punishments for disobedience, sometimes called "sanctions". The first are more often than not "fines" or monetary impositions. (In this case, for those who refuse the "mark" the sanctions will be economic in nature in order to starve the "criminals" into submission.)
Then jail sentences are handed out to repeat offenders. Longer and longer become the sentences, until, in exasperation, a death penalty is seen as the only way to cause the offence to cease. This last state will be reached quite quickly in this situation because the offence is religious in nature and the very survival of the population is in doubt. Jesus warned us that there will be great famines, earthquakes, and sicknesses sweeping the world at this time and the people will be told that the law-breakers (rebels) are causing these "punishments" from God.
Here is wisdom.
Let him that has understanding count the number of the beast [#3]: for it is the number of (a) man; [the word "a" has been added by the translators, it does not exist in the Greek] and his [system #3s] number is Six hundred threescore and six .
If you have followed the beasts as you read through the chapter you will have seen that the "mark" is the "mark" of beast #3, the image beast. It is based on obedience, either because the person believes in that system, or because it pays them to (in their hand). Its opposite, the "seal" of God, is given to those who by believing in Gods "way" refuse to accept the "mark". Revelation 7:1-3.
So, put simply, the "mark" is obedience to the power which imposes it. It is obviously an economic worldwide control and all must bow down to it (it will be a modern idol!) whether they believe in it or not. We can thank God for the witness of His protecting power in the past. Hebrews 12:1-2. We will need all that and more to pass through this test and rely totally on Him to feed us and those of our families who survive. 1 Kings 17:1-6.
The first two beasts come from different areas of the world, one from the highly populated area of Europe and the middle east, and later, another from the relatively sparsely inhabited new world. They stem from different parts of the world, but are worldwide in influence right to the end.
Beast #2 has a simple philosophy to start with, no kingly power and no religious head over its people (the two horns of a lamb = Republic and Protestant) unlike #1 which has kings and religious heads, but this idea changes in beast #2 as time goes by.
The ultimate end of beast#2 is to produce the third beast which this time will literally cover the entire world, both sea and land, and it is this beast (#3) which has the number and does the persecuting, for it will be an openly religious/kingly system like #1, although made up of many sections.
The number, 666, is not the number of any one man but the number which describes all mankind AT THE TIME THE MARK IS IMPOSED.
There is a system of numbers used in the Bible which helps a lot in understanding its meaning. The numbers cannot always be proved with a Bible text but their relativity shows up as you read the Bible.
#1 to 3 are obvious. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit.
#4 refers to the four corners of the earth. Matthew 24:31.
#5 represents faith, or the man of faith.
#6 = sin, or the man of sin
#7 shows us the perfect group
#8 the new beginning, the new creation, as in an octave in music
#10 the rules of heaven on earth
My understanding of 666 is (and I am open to correction):
6 = sin
66 = sin + sickness
666 = sin + sickness + eternal death (suicide)
and the triple number represents the totality, and end, of the rebellion.
For more on this thought, try "Christianity and Politics"
THE SECOND COMING
After telling us of the physical signs that show the end is nearing, but not present, Jesus went on about the religious persecution and worldly difficulties of the last days.
Then shall they [beast #3] deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of ALL nations for My name's sake [this will all be done in the name of Christianity and "Christian love".]
And then shall many be offended [give up their faith], and shall betray one another [to the authority], and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many [again].
But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what you shall speak, neither do you premeditate: but whatever shall be given you in that hour, that speak you: for it is not you that speak, but the Holy Ghost.
Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And you shall be hated of all men for My name's sake: but he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.
And because iniquity shall abound [in the professed church], the love of many shall wax cold. But he [or she] that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations [not necessarily to save them for all the world will never repent, but to witness of salvation so none can say they didnt know or see]; and THEN shall the end come.
When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation [wickedness that causes death], spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand[ing] in the holy place [where it ought not], (whoso reads, let him understand [you must work this out with the Spirit]:) then let them which be in Judaea [in Gods country] flee into the mountains [of separation]. Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: neither let him which is in the field [working] return back to take his clothes [from the edge of the field].
The very last time to escape will come suddenly, but it should still be expected and used. 2 Thessalonians 2:5.
And woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray you that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day [pray for understanding to know the signs of the times and sense to leave before the crisis and not wait till the last minute like Lot.]
For then shall be great tribulation [part of the continuation of the "treading down of the host, Daniel 8:13], such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be [again]. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh [natural humans] be saved [they would all die]: but for the elect's [the obedient ones] sake those days shall be shortened.
Then [and now] if any man shall say to you, "Lo, here is Christ", or "there;" believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets [teachings], and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Behold, I have told you before [so you can be prepared]. Wherefore [because of this] if they shall say to you, "Behold, he [Christ] is in the desert" [as the UFO people tell us]; go not forth: "Behold, he is in the secret chambers" [as some religions proclaim]; believe it not. For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be [plainly visible in all the world at the same time].
For wherever the carcase [a dead body] is [this is an illustration of how clear it will be], there will the eagles [vultures] be gathered together [when you can see the birds circling you know there is a body near death underneath them].
Immediately after the tribulation [when the religious persecutions] of those days [stops then] shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken [these will be a repeat of some earlier physical warnings]: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven [this will come before Christs physical presence is seen]: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn [all will know at that time what this means], and [then] they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
To round this off it is necessary to read Revelation chapter 17 for it gives much greater detail of these last-day events, but this must be enough for now.
The 42 months is also a time, and times, and half a time.
A "time, times and dividing of time" of Daniel 7:25, (also "a time, and times, and half a time" Revelation 12:14) is:-
1 time = (1 year of) 360 days
times = (2 years of) 720 days
½ time = (1/2 year of) 180 days
1260 days = 3 ½ years = 42 months literally, or
1,260 day/years in prophetic understanding
[Back to text]
To fully appreciate what this vision is telling us you should have read the whole book of Daniel taking note (in a few words) of what each individual chapter covers. But you could do that now, and if you wish, here is a site where you can cover it in detail.
The Future - as shown in Daniel and The Revelation
The Religious Events of the Future
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