Malankara World

Revelation 13:1

by Charles Jemeyson, San Antonio, Texas

Some Thoughts on the Book of Revelation

[Editor's Note: Interpreting dreams and prophesies is risky. There are various interpretations of Revelations that are poles apart. The interpretation below is not in tune with Orthodox teachings. We hope to provide some of them later in the Bible Studies. The material is given here so that the readers can have different sides of the story.]

Here we have a book that warns you from beginning to the end that "this must SHORTLY take place (Rev 1:1 & 22:6) and the time is NEAR (Rev 1:3 & 22:10)

This Greek word for "must take place shortly" is en tachos. It is translated "speedily" elsewhere in the New Testament. It means "at your elbow." THE TIME PERIOD IS VERY SHORT!!

In prophetic language you see "animals, sun, moon & stars, etc. etc" used to represent different things. Remember Joseph had a dream (Gen 37) and he dreamed that the sun, moon and stars would bow down to him? Well, his father (Israel) rebuked him and told him "I, your mother & brothers" will not bow to him.

Here, in this story (Gen 37), you see the "sun, moon & stars" in prophetic language to represent the head of a house and family. This prophetic language is used elsewhere in the Old Testament. and New Testament. For example, take a look at Matthew 24:29 and you see the "sun, moon and stars" used to describe the fall of the Jewish economy (nation) in 70 A.D. Jesus told them, after describing their fall, "THIS GENERATION will not pass away until these things happen." (Matt 24:34)

Many times in the New Testament you will see "last days" mentioned. Read the context and a lot of times it is speaking of "the last days of the Jewish nation." (70 A.D.)

Jesus spoke of two ages. Remember, He said, if you blaspheme the Holy Spirit (unbelief) you will not be forgiven in this age or the age to come (Matt 12:32). The ages (Greek "aion") that Jesus was speaking of was the age He was in (We call it the Old Testament age) and the "age to come" is the Christian age (from the cross forward to the end of time). The age of the Old Covenant was in its end stage while Christ was on earth sometimes called "the last days." The Old Covenant age, its final end, was Pentecost (Acts 2).

In the Book of Daniel, Daniel sees the same animals as John sees only in REVERSE order. Daniel is looking "forward" while John is looking backwards in time.

Revelation 12 develops the spiritual conflict as it existed between Christ and Satan up to the Roman-Jewish war and thereafter as it erupted into open conflict through the many persecutions that followed. In fact, the conflict still exists today. It is a general, but brief view of the conflict. The next chapter, chapter 13, and also the chapters following begin to zoom in on the specific forces employed by Satan in his attacks upon the church (God's people). We see God using these same instruments as He directed His wrath against Israel.

In Revelation 13:1 we see the old dragon, Satan, standing on the sand of the sea. Satan is there to introduce his helpers in the conflict. John "saw a beast rise up out of the sea." It is from far and symbolizes the rise of Rome as a world empire. It has seven heads like a dragon. The seven heads are again symbolic of his complete power and authority in the realm of his rule. The same beast makes an appearance in 17:9 where the seven heads correspond to seven mountains and seven kings. The seven mountains apparently identify the city of Rome as the seat of government for the beast. Rome sat on seven mountain or hills. The seven kings identify the first seven EMPERORS of Rome. Depending on whether or not you believe Julius Caesar was the first king (he was never was an emperor) determines the date of the writing of the book of Revelation. Many do not accept Julius Caesar as the first emperor (king). The kings are: Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Titus & Domitian. (Notice I list eight as 17:11 mentions an eighth.)

Daniel sees this same vision as John sees only Daniel sees 11 kings (horns). Here is how you would see the kings if Daniel presented it:

1. Augustus,
2. Tiberius,
3. Caligula,
4. Claudius,
5. Nero,
6. Galba,
7. Otho,
8. Vitellus,
9. Vespasian,
10. Titus &
11. Domitian.

In Daniel, three of the kings are "uprooted" by the 11th king and now become the eighth (Dan 7:24) and in the Book of Revelation, three are IGNORED and we are left with an eighth.

So, depending on who was the first king, Julius Caesar or Augustus, will determine who was king at the writing of John. Take a look at the "key" clue to the date of Revelation:

Rev 17:9-11

9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

Five kings have died, one is still alive (one is) and an eighth is to come. Some hold to the "one is" as Nero (ruled 54-68 A.D.).

Others (like me) think it to be Vespasian. (69-79) (Titus & Domitian were his sons who ruled later)

So, there you have the "beasts" (kings) of Revelation. It's that simple.

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