Read Revelation 13 at Bible Gateway.
Previously: revelation 13, the beast from the land
The identifying description of the beast from the land, which I have proposed is the papal office of the Roman church:
“He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence,” Rev 13:12
The first beast is the beast from the sea, a world- dominating empire, in the revived Roman Empire as the Holy Roman Empire. That the second beast exercises the first beast’s authority is a reference to temporal and political power, the authority of states. It was the Holy Roman emperors, beginning with Charlemagne and his fathers, who first gave the papacy territories from their possessions, so that the pope became not only the head of the church, but a head of state also.
It is interesting that throughout the Middle Ages, one or more of these provinces that belonged to the papal office (called “Papal States” in history books) were constantly revolting from the papal authority, because of corruption and mismanagement. It was always the Holy Roman Emperor, marching his army across the Alps from his capital in France or Germany, who subdued the rebellion and confirmed the pope in his authority as the head of state.
The structure of the Roman Catholic Church, furthermore, is exactly identical to the political structure of the old Roman Empire. There are 70 cardinals dressed in red, because there were 70 senators wearing the red cloak reserved for senators in ancient Rome. The territories of the world are divided into dioceses for the purpose of church administration, because Diocletian first divided the Roman empire into dioceses, and the church retained his political divisions and hierarchy of authority.
“He causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed,” Rev 13:12
In other words, the beast from the land, the papal authority, causes the earth and those who dwell in it, who are unbelievers, citizens of this world, to worship the beast from the sea, the world- dominating Roman empire, whose deadly wound delivered in 476 was healed in 800, so that it became the Holy Roman Empire.
“Worship: That is, to respect, to reverence, to honour. The word worship here refers to civil respect, and not to religious adoration. The meaning here, according to the interpretation proposed all along in this chapter, is, that the Papacy, considered in its religious influence, or as a spiritual power—represented by the second beast—secured for the civil or secular power—represented by the first beast—the homage of the world. It was the means of keeping up that dominion, and of giving it its ascendency among the nations of the earth. The truth of this, as an historical fact, is well known. The Roman civil power would have long ago lost all its influence and been unknown, if it had not been for the Papacy; and, in fact, all the influence which it has had since the irruption of the Northern barbarians, and the changes which their invasion produced, can be traced to that new power which arose in the form of the Papacy—represented in Daniel (Dan 7:8) by the “little horn.” That new power gave life and energy to the declining influence of Rome, and brought the world again to respect and honour its authority.” — Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament, Rev 13:12.
We will come back to the performance of great signs. Skipping that, the next description of the beast from the land in Rev 13 is:
“He makes an image to the beast who had the mortal wound of the sword and had come to life; and it was given to him 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 13:14-15
It was the papacy which gave breath, or life, to the image of the beast, in 800 with the crowning of Charlemagne as the sixty- eighth emperor of Rome (interestingly enough, the crowning was on Dec 25, Christmas day, Diocletian’s birthday as the Invincible Sun — the rebirth as it were of the sun god). The Holy Roman Empire, the entity created on that day, was made in the image of the Roman Empire, the world- dominating fourth beast of Daniel’s vision. This is another way of reiterating that what was dead had been brought back to life again, and yet in this passage of Scripture, we are given further identifying information that in its second incarnation, it remained a distinct entity from the first — its image, not it exactly, upheld by the beast from the land — the papal office.
What all of these beasts have in common, is that they are all Roman, thus the continuation of the fourth terrible beast of Daniel’s vision, and they are all interconnected and derive their power and authority from the dragon.
Continued in revelation 13, the beast from the land, part three