Read Revelation 13 at Bible Gateway.
Previously: revelation 13, the beast from the land, part two
It was also given to him [the beast from the sea] to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. … And it was given to him [the beast from the land] to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. Rev 13:7, 15
We are continuing our description of the beast of the land, the Roman papacy, and investigating whether the history fits the description. One of the other characteristics of both the beast from the sea and the land, is that they are opposed to the true ekklesia of God, and they work together to make war with the saints, to overcome the saints, and to kill all those (including the saints) who do not worship the beast in all its incarnations of the Roman Empire, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Holy Roman Empire.
In fact, the Roman Empire, before the formation of the Roman Catholic Church, killed those who would not worship it — embodied in Caesar. Millions of Jews and Christians both were killed, tortured, enslaved, and driven far off, because they would not worship at Rome’s feet. The Holy Roman Empire and the Roman papacy continued the practice; below is just a partial list of those who were killed because they were not Roman or would not consent to become Roman:
613 England: Welsh bishops who did not submit to Augustine, 1000
1202-1204 Constantinople: Greek Orthodox Christians, 1000s (exact number unknown)
1209-1229 France: Albigensians or Cathars, 1,000,000
1230s and on, France: Waldensians, 2,000,000
1518-1548 Europe: Protestants, millions (exact number unknown, by war and Inquisition)
1527 and on, Europe: Anabaptists and others, 1000s (exact number unknown)
1572 France: St. Batholomew’s Day Massacre, 100,000
Concerning the sack of Constantinople by Crusaders (adherents to the Roman church) in 1204:
“The Latin soldiery subjected the greatest city in Europe to an indescribable sack. For three days they murdered, raped, looted and destroyed on a scale which even the ancient Vandals and Goths would have found unbelievable. Constantinople had become a veritable museum of ancient and Byzantine art, an emporium of such incredible wealth that the Latins were astounded at the riches they found. Though the Venetians had an appreciation for the art which they discovered (they were themselves semi-Byzantines) and saved much of it, the French and others destroyed indiscriminately, halting to refresh themselves with wine, violation of nuns, and murder of Orthodox clerics. The Crusaders vented their hatred for the Greeks most spectacularly in the desecration of the greatest Church in Christendom. They smashed the silver iconostasis, the icons and the holy books of Hagia Sophia, and seated upon the patriarchal throne a [woman of ill repute] who sang coarse songs as they drank wine from the Church’s holy vessels. The estrangement of East and West, which had proceeded over the centuries, culminated in the horrible massacre that accompanied the conquest of Constantinople. The Greeks were convinced that even the Turks, had they taken the city, would not have been as cruel as the Latin Christians. The defeat of Byzantium, already in a state of decline, accelerated political degeneration so that the Byzantines eventually became an easy prey to the Turks. The Crusading movement thus resulted, ultimately, in the victory of Islam, a result which was of course the exact opposite of its original intention.” -Speros Vryonis, Byzantium and Europe, p.152.
It must be said that the pope at the time deplored this abuse; however, the clergy who were with the army in Constantinople did not restrain it; and the union of spiritual and temporal power — the two beasts of Rev 13 — resulted in this instance, as in many others, in the fulfillment of the prophecy.
The Catholic Encyclopedia, in the article on Christian Persecution, states:
“Instances of compulsory conversions such as have occurred at different periods of the Church’s history must be ascribed to the misplaced zeal of autocratic individuals. But the Church does claim the right to coerce her own subjects. Here again, however, a distinction must be made. The non-Catholic Christians of our day are, strictly speaking, her subjects; but in her legislation she treats them as if they were not her subjects. The “Ne temere”, e.g., of Pius X (1907), recognizes the marriages of Protestants as valid, though not contracted according to Catholic conditions: and the laws of abstinence are not considered to be binding on Protestants. So, with regard to her right to use coercion, the Church only exercises her authority over those whom she considers personally and formally apostates. A modern Protestant is not in the same category with the Albigenses or Wyclifites. These were held to be personally responsible for their apostasy; and the Church enforced her authority over them: It is true that in many cases the heretics were rebels against the State also; but the Church’s claim to exercise coercion is not confined to such cases of social disorder. And what is more, her purpose was not only to protect the faith of the orthodox, but also to punish the apostates. Formal apostasy was then looked upon as treason against God — a much more heinous crime than treason against a civil ruler, which, until recent times, was punished with great severity. (See APOSTASY; HERESY.) It was a poisoning of the life of the soul in others (St. Thomas Aquinas, II-II, Q. xi, articles 3, 4.)” (Emphasis added.)
The Roman Church justifies the harsh measures it used against those who would not fall in line by saying, “Every corporation lawfully constituted has the right to coerce its subjects within due limits. And though the Church exercises that right for the most part by spiritual sanctions, she has never relinquished the right to use other means.” The article explains that the Roman Church has abandoned physical coercion and punishment of heretics because of the times we live in; but back in those days, it was considered just and reasonable. Let the kingdoms of this world again make an alliance with the Roman Church, and let physical coercion and punishment again be considered just and reasonable. The Roman Church still today has in place all it needs to consider non- Romans her subjects (a temporal power word and idea) and therefore, subject to be disciplined by her.
Continued in revelation 13, the beast from the land, part four