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Chapter 15

Seven-Headed Monsters

 

THREE seven-headed monsters are described in the book of Revelation.

1. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. (Revelation 12:3)

2. And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. 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. (Revelation 13:1, 2)

3. So he carried me away in the spirit unto the Wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. (Revelation 17:3)

Many Christians have found these symbolic beasts incomprehensible. But God intended the book of Revelation to be understood.

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy. (Revelation 1:3)

Fortunately, the Bible is its own expositor. Let us examine the first seven-headed monsteróthe dragon beast. God does not leave us in the least doubt about who is represented by this beast.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world. (Revelation 12:9)

Satan uses human instrumentalities to pursue his nefarious schemes. The following prophecy refers to Godís church as a pure woman and Christ as her child.

The dragon stood before the woman that was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. (Revelation 12:4)

At the time of Christís birth, King Herod, a vassal of the Roman Empire, was ruler in Judea. In order to destroy the baby Jesus, whom Herod feared as a potential rival, he had all males under two years old slaughtered.

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof. (Matthew 2:16)

Christís life was saved only because God intervened by warning Joseph to flee with Him to Egypt. But Satan had done his utmost, using the human arm of the Roman Empire, to destroy Christ before His ministry commenced; thus the seven-headed monster of Revelation 12 illustrates the fact that all counterfeit religions, which inevitably oppose Godís truth, are motivated by Satan. In this sense, the dragon of Revelation 12 is a key to our understanding of all the beasts of prophecy.

Many have wondered why God uses beasts to symbolize nations; yet such persons do not question the use of like symbolism in the secular world today. A few years ago, when there was a major border dispute between China and the U.S.S.R., Asiaweek magazine printed a cover illustration depicting a fierce bear and an enraged panda fighting. Only a most ill-informed reader would have needed to be enlightened concerning which nations were represented here; likewise, countries represent their sporting teams in symbols of animals and birds. In Rugby League, the Australian team is called the Kangaroos and the New Zealand team, the Kiwis. In Rugby Union, the British team is referred to as the Lions; the South African team, the Springboks; and the Australian team, the Wallabies. Americans frequently use the eagle as the symbol of their nation. France uses the cockerel, and Thailand the elephant; thus God, in His wisdom, uses a form of symbolism well understood by mankind.

The second seven-headed monster has a more specific meaning, although still motivated by the demonic power of Satan. Notice that this beast was a combination of the features of a leopard, a bear, and a lion. These characteristics undoubtedly refer to the symbolic animals of the great prophecy of Daniel 7. In that prophetic outline, the lion symbolized Babylon; the bear Medo-Persia; and the leopard Greece. This second seven-headed monster evidently possesses the evil characteristics of the enemies of Godís truth and His people.

The second monster is identified by the description of its activities and the duration of its reign.

And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (Revelation 13:5Ė7)

The period of papal dominance during the 1260 years is here reiterated. Each Jewish month consisted of 30 days; thus 42 months equals 1260 days. As previously shown, a prophetic day is symbolic of a literal year. Papal Rome dominated Europe and, later, much of the world for precisely 1260 years. Since the year a.d. 538 (when the Ostrogoths were driven out), the Roman emperor permitted the pope to implement Emperor Justinianís edict of a.d. 533. This move made him the head of all the churches. Papal authority was maintained in Europe until the pope was made prisoner by Napoleon in 1798.

Let us note the other identifying characteristics cited, including the persecution of Godís people and blasphemy against God and His tabernacle. Daniel prophetically attributes these precise characteristics to the little-horn power which also represents the Papacy.

And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. (Daniel 7:25)

Note that the blasphemy against god and the persecution of His saints function together during a specific period of timeó"time and times and the dividing of time." These time periods literally refer to one year, two years, and half a yearóa total of three and a half years. The Jewish year consists of 12 months each of 30 days; thus a Jewish year was 360 days in length. Simple multiplication of 360 by three and a half provides the figure of 1260 prophetic days or literal years, precisely identical to the time specified in Revelation 13.

All three monsters possess ten horns. The book of Daniel once more assists us in unfolding the mystery of these symbols, for the fourth beast of Daniel 7 also possessed ten horns. Daniel represented the Roman Empire by the symbolic fourth beast.

And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise. (Daniel 7:24)

Revelation 13:1 records that each of the ten horns possesses a crown. The Roman Empire fractured into the ten kingdoms of Western Europeóthe Huns, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Franks, Vandals, Suevi, Burgundians, Heruli, Lombards, and Anglo-Saxons. Today, these tribes largely constitute the European nations. The presence of the ten horns indicates both the location of the Papacy in Europe and the powerful support given it by the nations of that continent during the era of its supremacy.

The thirteenth chapter of Revelation, as we have seen, also depicts a lamblike beast with two horns which gave power to this second monster after it had received the deadly wound. (Revelation 13:11Ė17). We shall see more of this beast later.

The third seven-headed monster (of Revelation, chapter 17) is greatly significant to this present era. This beast also has ten horns, but they are uncrowned. And a whore sat upon the beast.

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. (Revelation 17:4Ė6)

This woman of ill-fame represents the evil counterfeit religion of Babylon, in various guises, which has viciously oppressed Godís people. The religion of modern Babylon was derived from the religion of ancient Babylon which also formed the basis of the religions of Medo-Persia, Greece, pagan Rome, and papal Rome. Although Babylon was utterly destroyed many centuries ago, her religion remains very much alive in all the apostate faiths that are based upon its false dogma.1

This woman can justifiably be seen riding upon each of the beasts which represent the great forces in opposition to Godís pure truth. This red-colored seven-headed monster is merely another aspect of the same satanic power. Its identification will be discovered in the following chapter.

1 For a more complete discussion of this matter, see Adventism Proclaimed by the same authors. Write to Hartland Publications, P.O. Box 1, Rapidan Virginia 22733, U.S.A.


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