The prophecy of the beast in Revelation 13 corresponds to a similar prophecy in Daniel 7. This beast has 7 heads, one of which had suffered a deadly wound. But while John describes a single beast, Daniel describes four beasts. The beast in John's prophecy seems to include all the beasts that Daniel describes. The two prophecies are shown below for comparison.
1 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.
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.
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.
4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.
3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.
5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.
6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.
7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
John's beast described in Revelation 13 has features apparently derived from Daniel's 4 beasts, the lion, bear, and leopard. In both of the visions, there are a total of 7 heads and 10 horns.
Daniel's 4 beasts are usually identified with the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman empires. The first three beasts lost their dominion, but their lives were prolonged. "As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time." (Daniel 7:12) Thus they were incorporated in the fourth beast, which represents the Roman empire.
If some of the heads of John's beast and those of Daniel's 4 beasts are identical, the nations they represent are likely to be the same. It is not the beast itself that was wounded with a deadly wound, but a single head.
John's beast does not come into existence at the end of the age, but it exists throughout the age of the Church. The 42 months are not literal months, but the period is symbolic of the entire age of the Church, the "time, times and a half" of Daniel 7:25.
In the whole history of the Roman empire, the most obvious event that would fulfill the prophecy of the deadly wound is the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD, which destroyed the Province of Judea. The wound has been healed in modern times by the revival of the Jewish state of Israel in Palestine.
The deadly wound on one of the 7 heads of the beast of Revelation 13 distinguishes this head from the others. The significance of this is that while this particular head previously existed, was destroyed, and revived again, all the other heads (or nations) existed continuously since ancient times. This disproves the interpretation that Dispensationalists try to impose on the prophecy of the beast of Revelation 13.
Consider the writings of Hal Lindsey and Carole C. Carlson for example.
The Late Great Planet Earth, by Hal Lindsey, Carole C. Carlson, published by Zondervan, 1970.
On p. 111 Lindsey and Carlson quote from Rev. 13 which refers to the beast with 7 heads and 10 horns. They interpret the prophecy as though it describes events that are to occur in a tribulation after the church has been taken to heaven in a "rapture." Here is what they write:
"And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome
them..." (Revelation 13:7a NASB).
It is logical to ask at this point, how is he going to make war with the saints when they are gone from the earth? The "saints" are the people who are going to believe in Christ during this great period of conflict. After the Christians are gone God is going to reveal Himself in a special way to 144,000 physical, literal Jews who are going to believe with a vengeance that Jesus is the Messiah. They are going to be 144,000 Jewish Billy Grahams turned loose on this earth--the earth will never know a period of evangelism like this period. These Jewish people are going to make up for lost time. They are going to have the greatest number of converts in all history. Revelation 7:9-14 says they bring so many to Christ that they can't be numbered.
Lindsey and Carlson have a problem saying the rapture of the Church already occurred, as the prophecy says the beast "makes war with the saints." The saints must remain on the earth. This is true in Daniel 7 as well; the little horn of the fourth beast made war with the saints and "prevailed against them." (Daniel 7:21) The war with the saints includes many of the events in the Church's history, persecutions of Christians by various rulers of the Roman empire, and the persecutions during the Reformation, for example.
The deadly wound suffered by one of the heads of the beast of Revelation 13 is also a serious problem for Lindsey and Carlson's interpretation. It shows that while one of the heads was new, but had previously existed, the other heads represent countries or nations that had existed for a long time. It is the contrast between the newly healed head of the beast, and the continuity of the others, that causes the world to wonder. There is only one reasonable interpretation of the head that has the deadly wound. It is the revived Roman Province of Judea, that occupied part of the territory of the former Seleucid empire, in the form of the state of Israel.
Revelation 13:1 says the name of blasphemy is on the heads of the beast. The name "Israel" applied to the Zionist state is inappropriate, and even blasphemous. The name is intended for a "holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;" (1 Peter 2:9) Even devout Jews understand this, but not Zionists. G.J. Neuberger writes:
In what way are the Jews a "chosen people"? Every Jewish man anywhere
and at any time when called to the reading of the Torah says, "Who has chosen us from all
the peoples and gave us His Torah." This is the way in which the Jews are chosen. The
Jewish people are chosen not for domination over others, not for conquest or warfare, but
to serve G-d and thus to serve mankind. "And the hands are the hands of Esau," has been
traditionally interpreted to mean that while "the voice is Jacob's," the hands- -
symbolizing violence - are Esau's. Thus physical violence is not a tradition or a value
of the Jews. The task for which the Jewish people were chosen is not to set an example of
military superiority or technical achievements, but to seek perfection in moral behavior
and spiritual purity. Of all the crimes of political Zionism, the worst and most basic,
and which explains all its other misdeeds, is that from its beginning Zionism has sought
to separate the Jewish people from their G-d, to render the divine covenant null and
void, and to substitute a "modern" statehood and fraudulent sovereignty for the lofty
ideals of the Jewish people.
Hypocrisy and Perversion
One means of misleading many Jews and all too many non-Jews is the Zionist misuse of names and symbols sacred in Judaism. They use the holy name Israel for their Zionist state. They have named their land acquisition fund with a term that traditionally implies the reward for piety, good deeds, and charitable work. They have adopted as a state symbol the menorah (candlebrum). What hypocrisy, what perversion it is to have the Israeli army fight under an emblem, the meaning of which is explained in the Tenach (on the occasion of a previous return to the Holy Land) as, "not with armed force and not with power, but in My spirit says the Lord of Hosts."
Lindsey and Carlson's idea that 144,000 "physical, literal Jews" will evangelize the world during a 42 month tribulation after the Church has been raptured is absurd. The prophecy in Rev. 7 about the 144,000 who are sealed from the 12 tribes of Israel cannot be understood literally, as 10 of the 12 tribes of ancient Israel have become lost, and their descendants have intermarried over the centuries, and so any literal segregation of the tribes in a literal sense is now impossible. During the past 19 centuries, Jews in many areas intermarried with the Gentiles who converted to Judaism, causing any tribal distinctions to become hopelessly lost in all but a few cases. And the 144,000 are said to be all virgins, "not defiled with women," Rev 14:4. That is hardly plausible in a literal sense.
Dispensationalists such as Hal Lindsey and Carole C. Carlson who try to interpret Bible prophecy literally are depicted in Ezekiel's prophecy about the invasion of Gog and Magog. They are invaders of the Church, the true Israel, bringing their flawed interpretations. They deny the identity of the Church with the 12 tribes of Israel, so by their own reckoning, they are Gentiles. They are also Gentiles in a spiritual sense. The horses included with the armies of Gog and Magog could represent gullible, deluded, or carnally minded people. In the Psalms, the horse is compared to those who lack understanding.
Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.
They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour's wife.
The armies of Gog and Magog all handle swords; these picture their use of the Bible, that they distort to promote their views.
Dispensationalists like Lindsey and Carlson are ridden by their dogma of Dispensationalism. They seek to take a "spoil" from the saints, by publishing deceptive interpretations of Bible prophecy, and so they fit the prophecy of Ezekiel 38:11-12.
Ezekiel 38:8 says the armies of Gog and Magog come against the mountains of Israel, which are symbolic of the promises of God which are ours through Christ. Dispensationalism defrauds God's people of their promises, causing many Christians to misunderstand the message of God, that he gave us through the prophets.
The 144,000 saints in Revelation 7 are not literally Jews or Israelites, but they represent the Church, the "firstfruits" of the Lamb.
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
How could the 144,000 be firstfruits if the rapture had already occurred, as Lindsey and Carlson say?
Why are the 144,000 saints called virgins? In prophecy, virginity has a spiritual meaning. Paul wanted to present the church at Corinth to Christ as a "chaste virgin."
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
The church is bride of Christ, so has to be a 'virgin.' The Church is called "Jerusalem," which contrasts with Babylon. John says the great city Babylon made all nations "drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." The "fornication" of mystery Babylon the nations contrasts with the "virginity" of the 144,000. (Revelation 14:8)
John's statement that the 144,000 "were not defiled with women" does not mean they are all males, but it does imply there are no false teachers among them.
In the parable Jesus gave about the 10 virgins, which pictures the Church waiting for the marriage to Christ, the ones who were wise, who had brought extra oil for their lamps, went in to the wedding, and those who were foolish missed out. (Matthew 25:1-13)
Copyright © 2010, 2011, 2013 by Douglas E. Cox
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