Published by Stephen Michael Leininger in Stephen Michael Leininger · 22 May 2020
Tags: Beast, Antichrist, YHWH, works, fruitfulness
Tags: Beast, Antichrist, YHWH, works, fruitfulness
The Beast in Scripture is Not Coming: It’s Here!!!
...and has been for many years.
Part 2 of 3 Parts
Image and Likeness of God
In Part I of this blog series, we discussed the substance of the Beast, and the signs of the times, through which we are provided with an indication that the Beast is already present in the world. In Part II, we are going to identify that which distinguishes man from beast. Only by undertaking this comparison can we understand how it is that we willingly make ourselves into beasts. To understand what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God, we first need to understand (as much as is humanely possible) the essence of God. Only then can we understand the substance of the Beast.
The Trinity: An Eternal and Unceasing Expression in Love
When Moses asks God what is his name, God responded, I Am that I Am (YHWH). The very name tells us the essence of God as a Trinity, which is in an eternal fruitful relationship between each Person of the Trinity. The first “I Am” is the Father who is eternally generating the Son—who is the second I Am. That both are a singular I, which indicates the Father and the Son are in the unity of the Holy Spirit.[1-A] Being created in the image and likeness of the Trinity, man cannot know and understand himself (and the reason we have been given a body) without first gaining a deeper understanding of the Trinity. Nowhere in Scripture does it say he created man in the image and likeness of God—except for our bodies. The opposite is true. In Genesis, we read, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27). We will now endeavor to gain sufficient knowledge upon which we can understand how it is that we, as embodied spirits, are in the image and likeness of God. We will focus on the eternal expressiveness and fruitfulness of a Trinitarian God.
God is a Trinity of three Persons in an eternal and unceasing relationship. Better yet, a relationship that is Life. Aquinas writes, “The very nature of God is goodness, as is clear from Dionysius (Div. Nom. i). Hence, what belongs to the essence of goodness befits God. But it belongs to the essence of goodness to communicate itself to others.”[1-B] God is good, and it is the nature of goodness to communicate itself to others. To express. To send out. Of the words of Christ to Fr. Martin von Cochem, he writes:
From all eternity, before anything was made, God magnified Himself, and the three divine Persons rejoiced in Their majesty and grandeur. God the Father magnified the unsearchable wisdom of His Son; God the Son magnified the bounteous goodness of the Holy [Spirit]; and God the Holy [Spirit] magnified the infinite power of the Eternal Father. This is shown in the revelations of St. Mechtilde, to whom Christ said: “If thou desirest to honor Me, praise and magnify Me in union with that most excellent glory wherewith the Father in His almighty power and the Holy Spirit in His loving-kindness have glorified Me from all eternity, in union with that supreme glory wherewith I in My unsearchable wisdom have glorified the Father and the Holy Spirit from all eternity, and wherewith the Holy Spirit in His ineffable goodness has magnified the Father and Me from all eternity.”
Notice that Christ, through St. Mechtilde, is copiously employing verbs to describe the Trinity. God is eternally and unceasingly expressing, doing, and communicating. St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio (circa 1274) develops an understanding of the Trinity that revolves around four themes. They are: 1) the theme of beatitude, goodness, charity, and joy. These cannot be achieved in a God who does not pour himself out completely (to pour oneself out is to send out, express, communicate), indicating communication and plurality; 2) the theme of perfection, which entails the begetting of a Person of the same nature, i.e., Divine fruitfulness [Bonaventure, 1 Sent. D. 7, a.1, q. 2, concl.;d. 27, 1, a. 1,q. 2, ad 3 (Opera Omnia, vol. 1, 139, 470)]; 3) the theme of simplicity, and; 4) the theme of primacy. From a metaphysical standpoint, primacy indicates the fullness of the source. This primacy designates the fruitfulness and the “wellspringness” of primordial reality.. God is pure actuality. There is nothing of Him that is potential. God is unchangeable, so there can be no potentiality. He concludes, “In God, this fecundity [fruitfulness–SML] relative to God can only exist in act [SML] [Bonaventure, 1 Sent. d. 2, a. 1, q. 2, fund. 4 (Opera Omnia, vol. 1, 53].”
Magnifying, praising, and glorifying are all expressions, acts of the will, and doings. They are expressions, in the Holy Spirit, that constitute a relationship that is Life. Referring to John 1:18, Benedict XVI tells us, “Only the one who is God sees God — Jesus. He truly speaks from his vision of the Father, from unceasing dialogue with the Father [SML], a dialogue that is his life [SML].” This dialogue is echoed in the great Amen at
The priest raises the consecrated species and pronounces the doxology, “Through him, with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.” St. Hildegard writes, “For this life is God, who is always in motion and constantly in action [SML].” How can we be in the image of a God who is unceasingly engaged in fruitful expression Truth, if we are not also engaging in fruitful expression of Truth? Mass.
Is creation itself an expression of God?
Scripture itself gives us a quick and short answer. In Genesis, we read, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26, cf. 3:22-23). Much can be gleaned from these words. This passage does not convey idle conversation between the Three Persons of the Trinity. Firstly, they are in dialogue about creation and design of that creation. Secondly, they are telling us all three Persons of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are involved in the creation event. The unity of the Trinity is such that absolutely everything God does is accomplished through the actions of all Three Persons. Lastly, because all three Persons are involved, we can conclude that creation is an expression of a Triune God. Are all three Persons necessary for God to be God and for God to be Love? God tells St. Hildegard, if any one of the three Persons of God were missing, then God would not be God. Ergo, God could not be Love. This is because the three Persons of the Trinity are one indivisible unity that cannot ever be separated.
Simply put, God speaks creation into existence. The psalmist wrote, “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood forth” (Ps 33:9; cf. Ps 33:6, 104:30). Also, “When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast established; what is man that thou art mindful of him … Thou hast given him dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet” (Ps. 8: 3-4, 6). All work, including the work of creating, is an expression, whether it be God or man doing it. In the previous passages, the heavens are the work of God’s fingers, and all God’s works are under the power of man. Since all creation is an expression of a Good God, it follows that creation itself reflects the Truth and Light of God. No one can express what they do not know, including God. Creation was made perfectly ordered. It reflected all the perfections of that same God (cf. Ps. 19:1). After all, St. Augustine wrote, “For the mind cannot love itself, except also it know itself; for how can it love what it does not know?”
Hildegard writes, “And why is [Jesus] called the Word? Because he has awakened all creation by the resonance of God’s voice [a voice is not heard unless it is part of an expression—SML] and because he has called creation to himself! For whatever God expressed in a verbal way was ordered by the Word with his resonance, and whatever the Word ordered [not as in commanded, but as in making harmonious, coherent, etc.] was spoken by God once again in the Word.” The book of Wisdom tells us, “But thou hast arranged all things by measure and number and weight” (Wis 11:20). From all eternity, creation was in the mind of God.
1. All existence came into being by the expression of the Will of the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. Take special note of God’s words to St. Hildegard in the phrase used above: “whatever God expressed in a verbal way” in direct relation to creation, i.e., sending out the Word in the Spirit;2. Everything that was made, was made through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit;3. The Son is begotten from all eternity (Ps 2:7, quote below), and;4. From #2 and #3 above, we know that all of creation, from the point at which the Father said, “Let It Be Done,” was meant to be unceasingly and fruitfully expressed by the Father, through the Word, and in the Holy Spirit—throughout all subsequent time.5. From the time when Adam and Eve sinned through disobedience, creation was no longer good, such Goodness as would have been unceasingly expressed by the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit, had sin not occurred.
1) “He said to me, ‘You are my son, today I have begotten you’” (Ps. 2:7). In the eternal ‘now’ of God, the Father is eternally and fruitfully begetting the Son, which would encompass all of creation … in ‘time’;2) “And this was why the Jews persecuted Jesus because he did this on the sabbath. But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is working still, and I am working’” (Jn. 5:16-17). As I said earlier, working, includes creating, is also doing, and all doings are expressions;3) “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing’” (Jn. 5:19-20). Hmm. There’s a lot of doing/expressing going on in this verse;4) “I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me” (Jn. 5:30), and;5) “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (Jn. 15:15). Doing, hearing, and befriending are all ways of expressing.
Is the Body Part of Being in the Image & Likeness of God?
Before we begin answering this question, let us distinguish between image and likeness. St. Thomas Aquinas tells us:
Likeness may be considered in the light of a preamble to image, inasmuch as it is something more general than image ... and, again, it may be considered as subsequent to image, inasmuch as it signifies a certain perfection of image. ... likeness regards things which are more common than the intellectual properties, wherein the image is properly to be seen. In this sense it is stated (QQ. 83, qu. 51) that “the spirit” (namely, the mind) without doubt was made to the image of God. “But the other parts of man,” belonging to the soul's inferior faculties, or even to the body, “are in the opinion of some made to God's likeness.” In the same sense “likeness” is said to belong to “the love of virtue:” for there is no virtue without love of virtue.
According to what Aquinas is telling us, the intellect is the image of God, in as much as He is unchanging Truth. Like the angels who are pure intellect, the human spiritual soul is the image of God in that it contains man’s intellect, the ability to know the Truth of God. This Truth, however, cannot be stagnant. As we said earlier, God is eternally in act, eternally doing. God gave us a body for the express purpose of doing the will of God. Pope St. John Paul II said, “The body, in fact, and it alone [SML] is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and divine. It was created to transfer into the visible reality of the world, the mystery hidden since time immemorial in God.” God said, “For this commandment which I command you this day is not too hard for you, neither is it far off….the word is very near you; it is in your mouth [your body] and in your heart [your spirit] so that you can do it” (Deut. 30:11,14). God tells St. Hildegard:
Each person has in himself two callings, the desire of fruit and the lust for vice. How? By the desire of fruit he is called toward life, and by the lust for vice he is called toward death. In the desire of fruit a person wishes to do good, and says to himself, “Do good works!”…But in the lust for vice, a person wants to do evil, and says to himself, “Do the work of your own pleasure!”
Clearly, the likeness of God centers on the appropriations of the Holy Spirit. In other words, we are in the likeness of God when we express, do, send out, and/or breath out the Truth of the Father and the Son in the love and fruitfulness of the Holy Spirit. All truth expressed in the Spirit is fruitful!
In addition to intellect, another power of the soul is free will. According to Fr. Edward Leen, “The intellect, as it were, flowers in the Word; the [free] will blossoms forth as a Love. In this lies the wondrous attractiveness of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. He is all love .... By a metaphorical use of language, the Holy Spirit may be described as being ‘all heart.’” Remember, God is an eternal and unceasingly glorious expression in Love of the Truth that God knows. What God knows is Himself. He is eternally sending out His glory.
The Holy Spirit is described as the eternal ebb-and-flow of God. Another descriptive word used by the Divine Author to identify the Holy Spirit, is his description as the Breath of God. The Breath is also a word that captures the workings of the Spirit. As anyone who has come close to suffocating knows, the desire to take a breath is very persuasive in convincing us of the need to both inhale and exhale; to breathe in and breathe out. Pertinent to this topic are the words of God to St. Catherine of Siena regarding Elisha’s resurrecting of a dead child (2 Kgs 4:27-35). He tells Catherine: after the Holy Spirit entered the dead child, the soul of the child breathes as a sign that it has life. Notice that God did not say the body breathed; He said the soul breathed as a sign it has life. When the soul breathes, it is taking in and sending out the Breath, i.e. the Holy Spirit, the Breath of Life.
Heaven is our participation in the very life and love of the Most Holy Trinity. Therefore, we will not simply be ‘watching the game.’ We will be playing in it — or, as C.S. Lewis puts it, we’ll be in the ‘Great Dance’ with God, and with one another (C.S. Lewis, Perelandra, (London: HarperCollins, 2005), pp. 271-279). This dance [emphasis SML] is similar to the action of the Holy Spirit within the Trinity. The Father twirls his Son out to arm’s length, and then, overcome by the Son’s Spirit of Truth and goodness, pulls the Son close to him in an embrace of Love. The point is this; we’ll literally be part of the action.
Creation was a freely chosen overflow of love marked by, we might say again, a kind of playfulness. It really does seem like that moment of the dance, the moment of “twirling out.” It also reminds us of that brief moment of the loving gaze, that moment to take the other in with one’s eyes in a new light and, as it were, “from a distance.” I wonder if part of the reason why God the Father created in the first place was to take a “step back” to admire the beauty of the Word in a new light, namely, in creatures. For all creatures are created according to the pattern of the Word, and it’s the Word’s reflection in creatures that causes the Father to gaze so lovingly upon them.
According to Pope Saint John Paul II, man created in the image and likeness of God is due, not only to the fact of our humanity (body and soul), but also to our creation as a communion of persons, i.e., male and female. From the very beginning, man consisted of this union of persons. As John Paul II so aptly points out, the very function of an image is to reproduce that which is being imaged. We are an image of a Living Triune God — not a God of Three isolated Persons, each keeping to themselves. They are Three Persons in an ongoing relationship; eternally expressing, eternally glorifying the other, continually doing together, and being eternally fruitful.
John Paul II tells us the purpose of an image is to reproduce its own prototype. To be in the likeness of God is for us to be fruitful, just as God is fruitful through communion and expression. In the case of man, fruitful expression par excellence occurs when a sacramentally married man and woman (note: within creation, marriage is the quintessential image of the Trinity), through the conjugal union, co-create (reproduce) a person who is also in the image and likeness of God. Marriage is also an image of the marriage of the Son to his bride, the Church.
St. Irenaeus (circa 125-202), defending against errors of the Gnostics, addressed the subject of whether the body was an integral part of being in the image and likeness of God. The Gnostics believed that the entire image and likeness of God was in the nous (intellect) of man, and the body is merely a transitory vessel of little or no importance. However, Irenaeus’ interpretation of Genesis, Chapter One is this: the entire body and soul are intended as a necessary part of being in the image and likeness of God. Until recently, most modern theologies, based on the writings of Thomas Aquinas, still locate the image and likeness of God solely in the faculties of intellect and will. As we will see later, this understanding does not represent the understanding which is prevalent in the Church today. Another saint who believed the whole man is necessary to be in the image and likeness of God is St. Paschasius Radbertus. His writings later led to the formulation of the Dogma of Transubstantiation.
Before moving on, I want to give you a little background on the International Theological Commission (ITC). This commission produced the work titled Communion And Stewardship: Human Persons Created in the Image of God. The ITC is a Vatican Commission, which consists of thirty theologians who are appointed by the pope. Its function is to study doctrinal issues and advise the Magisterium of the Church, especially the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. The ITC is a theological heavyweight at the
. The ITC cannot claim infallibility, but when the ITC speaks, the Church listens and seriously considers. Circa 2002, the ITC approved the text mentioned above. It was submitted to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (later elected Pope Benedict XVI), who approved it for publication and distribution.. Vatican
The ITC acknowledged that man’s creation in the image of God is central to biblical revelation (cf. Gen. 1:26f; 5:1-3; 9:6) and that man cannot be understood apart from an understanding of the mystery of God. According to the ITC, it is the entirety of man (both body and rational soul) that constitutes a person in the image and likeness of God. Locating the image in a particular aspect of man, e.g., his intellect or sexual nature, would be incorrect. Further, both dualism and monism are to be avoided when considering man’s nature. The physical, social, and spiritual aspects of man are to be regarded as one single dimension of a man created in the image and likeness of God.
Further, “Present-day theology is striving to overcome the influence of dualistic anthropologies that locate the imago Dei exclusively with reference to the spiritual aspect of human nature.” When we couple this with our understanding of God as three Persons in an eternal living relationship of fruitful expression, we can understand a little better how the body is essential to that imago Dei. Scripture makes it quite clear that, like the Trinity itself, man is a relational being. The ITC writes, “According to this conception, man is not an isolated individual but a person — an essentially relational being [cf. Gen. 2:18].”
Jesus Christ incarnate is the perfect image of God (2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3). Adam was not the prototype of man; it was Jesus who was that prototype (cf. Heb 1:6, Col 1:15, Ps 89:27). Adam was made in Jesus’ image and likeness. Fallen man’s transformation back to the image of the Son occurs through the sacraments which strengthen and confirm us in this radical transformation. According to the ITC, “Jesus redeems us through every act he performs in his body.”
Is Fruitfulness a Grave Matter?
I believe it is true that, in today’s society, man greatly!!!! underappreciates the seriousness with which God views fruitfulness, or lack thereof. Repeating what was written earlier: when Moses asked God what is his name, God responded, I Am that I Am (YHWH). The very name reveals to us that God is a Trinity of Persons in an eternal fruitful relationship [see endnote 1-A for more details]. This is a very important point. Earlier, we mentioned that it was revealed to St. Hildegard: if any Person of the Trinity were missing, then God could not be God, could not be Love. Consequently, I Am that I Am reflects this fruitful understanding. The first “I Am” is the Father who is eternally generating the Son — who is the second I Am. The Son does not generate/beget. Which is possibly why Jesus did not say, I Am that I Am, but said, “Before Abraham was, I Am” (John 8:58). That both are a singular I, indicating the unity of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. Put another way; if we are not fruitful, we are not in the image and likeness of God.
God tells St. Hildegard:
Thus God is Three Persons, eternal before all ages; and the assumption of the flesh by the Son did not occur before the beginning of the world, but at the preordained time near the end of times when God sent His Son. And when the Son became incarnate and the virginal flower blossomed in her intact virginity, God was still in Three Persons and willed to be so invoked; and therefore, no Person was added to the ineffable Trinity, but the Son of God simply assumed flesh. Hence also these Three Persons are one God in Divinity. And whoever does not believe this will be cast out of the Kingdom of God, for he tears himself away from the wholeness of Divinity in faith. [Hildegard of Bingen, Hildegard of Bingen: Scivias, ed. Bernard McGinn, trans. Columba Hart and Jane Bishop, The Classics of Western Spirituality (New York; Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1990), 419].
When Adam and Eve sinned, they ceased to be in the image and likeness of God. As a result, they were kicked out of Paradise. In Ex. 3:14, when God answered Moses' question regarding what His name was, we learned that the very essence of God is eternal and unceasing fruitfulness. We are created in the image and likeness of an eternally fruitful Triune God. Thus, to remain in that fruitful image and likeness, fruitlessness is not an option. Just as lack of faith in the wholeness of the fruitful Trinity leads to our loss of the Kingdom of God, so too will our intentional or inherent sterility remove from us the state of being in the image and likeness of that same Trinity; leading to our damnation.
1. Explaining the different beasts in a vision, God informed St. Hildegard, “Another beast was a sallow horse. This signifies the course of time, which will bring forth people who are playful in the flood of sin and who leap across the performance of good virtues with the quickness of their own pleasures....Another beast was a black pig. This signifies the course of time when rulers will bring the great blackness of sadness. These rulers will envelop themselves in the mud of uncleanness. They will not esteem the divine law but will have the contrariness of fornicators and of others of similar evils. They will bring about many schisms in the holiness of the divine precepts.”
2. “Sometimes also impurity against the person of his neighbor, by which he becomes a brute beast full of stench.”
3. “Their innocence lost, the flesh rebelled against the spirit and they became filthy beasts;”
4. “See that some of these fruits are the food of beasts who live impurely, using their body and their mind like a swine who wallows in mud, for in the same way they wallow in the mire of sensuality. Oh, ugly soul, where have you left your dignity? You were made sister to the angels, and now you are become a brute beast. To such misery come sinners, notwithstanding that they are sustained by Me, who am Supreme Purity, notwithstanding that the very devils, whose friends and servants they have become, cannot endure the sight of such filthy actions.”
5. “But let there be right faith and pure love…between husband and wife lest their seed be polluted by the Devil's art…because they are biting and tearing each other to pieces and sowing their seed inhumanely with the wantoness of beasts.”
6. “Jesus came across a fig tree. As he was feeling hungry, Jesus decided to attempt to forage in the tree for some fruit. When he found the fig tree to be barren, he cursed it, saying ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again’ (Mark 11:14). After his cleansing of the Temple, Jesus and the disciples passed by the fig tree and saw that it was now withered to its roots (Mark 11:20). At first glance, these actions seem rather strange. Why would Jesus be so intolerant of an everyday fig tree, guilty of nothing more than not bearing fruit out of season? ... Scholars are unanimous in determining this episode as an acted prophecy of judgment against the Temple [all emphasis SML]. [See for example, Keener, C.S. A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew] .... As well as symbolizing the Temple, the fig tree was a metaphor for the Jews living in the land of Palestine who failed to recognize their Messiah and bear the fruit of Christian faith. It was the Temple, along with the Jewish people living in Judea that would wither away.... However this extract from (Jeremiah [8:12–13]) contains a further illuminating insight—it explicitly states that as a result of this non-productivity, the nation would meet the fate of destruction. If Jesus was alluding to this passage in Jeremiah by performing his acted parable, then it would have been abundantly clear that he was symbolizing the future destruction of the Temple along with the rest of Jerusalem. As a result of the Jewish people’s rejection of Jesus, the Temple would be destroyed and the Jewish nation would no longer have a homeland in Palestine.” Later, we will provide another example of destruction directly as a consequence of unfruitfulness.
7. In James Chapter 2 we read, “What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him” (v. 14)? “So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (v. 17). As James also tells us, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead” (v. 26) and, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe — and shudder” (v. 19). Is faith alone sufficient? John tells us, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him” (John 3:36). What John is saying is that faith without works/expressions leads to very bad consequences, i.e., “the wrath of God.” If we believe that it is only faith that is required, then the first and second half of v.36 are in contradiction and, therefore, a lie.
Luther had it wrong when he said the Catholic Church believes that works justify us. That is not what the Church teaches. The Church teaches that works, acts, actions, or any other form of doing, are all types of fruitful expression when done in the Holy Spirit. Such expression is necessary for one to be in the image and likeness of God. When done in Love, works are always fruitful. If we are not doing works in Love, we are not in the image and likeness of God, and, as many passages in the New Testament tell us, your soul is in grave danger. If we are not fruitful — in the likeness of God — the consequences are dire. If, as we learned in our exegesis of James 2:14-17, faith without works is dead, it is because there are no works. No works --> no fruit. The Holy Spirit does not dwell in the heart of the spiritually dead. Any inspiration of the Holy Spirit we fail to act upon, accomplishes nothing for God. It is barren and unfruitful.
Pope Francis wrote the Preface for Benedict XVI’s book titled, Liberating Freedom: Faith and Politics in the Third Millennium. In it he wrote, “Today, in fact, more than ever, there is the same temptation to refuse any dependence on love that is not a person's love for their ego [SML], for "the I and its desires"; and, consequently, the danger of the ‘colonization’ of consciences by an ideology [Marxism, Atheism, Communism, and Socialism–SML] that denies the basic certainty that humankind exists as male and female to whom the task of the transmission of life is assigned; that ideology that goes to the extent of planning and rationally producing human beings and that – perhaps for some purpose considered ‘good’ – manages to consider logical and legitimate the elimination of what is no longer considered created, donated, conceived and generated but made by ourselves.”
Even someone as noteworthy in the secular world as Sigmund Freud could see the link between lack of fruitful expression and becoming a beast. In his book, Introductory Lectures in Psychoanalysis, he identifies as a perversion any sexual act undertaken with a singular goal of achieving self-pleasure sans the reproduction function that is inextricably linked to said act.
Scripture tells us, “I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems upon its horns and a blasphemous name upon its heads” (Rev 13:1). The “blasphemous name upon its heads” probably relates to man’s blasphemy against the Holy Spirit by our refusal to respond to His promptings for fruitful expression. Remember, earlier; we showed that the very name of God denotes the fruitful Trinitarian nature of God. I find it very revealing that the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show that the use of contraception by married couples is approximately 80% for the U.S., France, and the United Kingdom. By the way, that figure does not even include the most severe and barbaric form of birth control, i.e., abortion. Furthermore, of the number of women aged 15-44 who have ever had intercourse, 99% have used some form of contraception at least once.
In Revelation 13, we are told that unless we have the mark of the Beast, we will not be able to buy anything. In other words, unless we ourselves become a part of the Beast, we will suffer materially — not be able to buy anything. What do you suppose is the number one motive for becoming purposefully unfruitful and making us not in the image and likeness of God? From an article in the Journal of Social History, we read:
I have described the dramatic changes in English birth rates and sexual mores from 1800-1980, which demonstrate the existence and impact of this connection, in my book, The Long Sexual Revolution: English Women, Sex and Contraception 1800-1975. This covers the transition from communal to individual control of fertility and the accompanying shifts from the relative sexual license of the Regency era to Victorian constraint, followed by the relaxation of sexual mores from the mid-twentieth century. In this article, I draw upon this research to argue how and why this economic burden provided the major motivation for individual control of sexuality [emphasis – SML] and for societal attempts to control the sexual activity of individuals.
This shift in the island's occupational patterns and in the traditional role of women affected fertility in a number of ways. First, as women became providers [emphasis – SML] they also assumed a greater decision-making role within the family. Their concerns regarding childbearing were therefore more likely to be taken into account. Second, as women became wage earners they tended to become more conscious of the economic implications [emphasis – SML] of having additional children, thus increasing their motivation to use contraception.
There are many more such studies showing the leading motivator for birth control is money. Sounds like the fulfilment of Revelation 13’s prophecy of the mark of the Beast being a requirement for buying anything or, at least, anything we want. Let us dig deeper.
The Name of the Beast
The name of the Beast is 666 (Rev. 13:18). Why did the Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah? Because their expectations were wrong. Why were they wrong? Because they were interpreting Scripture literalistically. The name of God is I Am that I Am (YHWH). These five words are the most profound words in Scripture. The name of Satan would be I am that I am not. The name is an indication of the essence of whatever is named. If we take the whole 666 meaning literalistically, we will make the same mistake that the Pharisees and the ancient Jews made. If we want to speculate on the name of the Beast, consider the essence of the Beast.
Aquinas writes, “According to ... [Aristotle] (Peri Herm. i), words are signs of ideas, and ideas the similitude of things, it is evident that words relate to the meaning of things signified through the medium of the intellectual conception. It follows, therefore, that we can give a name to anything in as far as we can understand it. Now it was shown above (I, q. 12, a. 11-12) that in this life we cannot see the essence of God; but we know God from creatures as their principle, and also by way of excellence and remotion. In this way, therefore, He can be named by us from creatures, yet not so that the name which signifies Him expresses the divine essence in itself (Summa, I, q. 13, a 1).”
By understanding what name means in Scripture, we have only look at God’s name (YHWH). The name of something in Scripture describes who/what that thing is. Its substance, if you will. Let us look at a couple more examples of names used as an indication of what the subject is. Our first parent, Adam, was given that name because it told us what he is. In Genesis, Adam is described as made from the dust of the earth (Gen 2:7). The personal name Adam derives from the Hebrew noun ha adamah, meaning the ground or earth. The Hebrew word for dust in Genesis is 'aphar', which translates as "dust (as powdered or gray); hence, clay, earth, mud [Strongs 6083]. Adam’s name describes his substance, his personality. As for Eve, Scripture tells us, “Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man’” (Gen. 2:23). How did Eve get her name? Genesis tells us, “The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living” (Gen 3:20). Eve is the name describing what she is, i.e., the mother of all the living.
Michael Hunt provides some valuable insights on the number of the Beast. He writes:
For a Jew this number was a fearful image. The Old Testament image that would immediately connect with Jews or Messianic Jews would be the fall of King Solomon, Israel's greatest ruler, as he led his people into apostasy .... a ruler and his empire is one and the same.All the earliest Catholic Christian writers on the Apocalypse from St. Irenaeus Bishop of Lyon in the 2nd century down to St. Victorinus Bishop of Pettau martyred in AD 302 and Commodian in the 4th century, and Adreaeus in the 5th and St. Beatus in the 8th centuries connect Nero and/or Rome with the number of the Beast .... 666 is a trinity of 6s never to be a 7. Six is the number of man, especially as man in rebellion against God. Goliath was 6 cubits and a span (see 1 Samuel 17:4). King Nebuchadnezzar erected a statue to himself to be worshipped. It was 60 cubits high and 6 cubits across (Daniel 3:1). The answer of course i[s] 666: The number of the Beast. Then too, Caesar claimed to be God.Can you find anywhere else in Scripture where the number 666 is mentioned?.... Hint: see 1 Kings 10:14 and 2 Chronicles 9:13. Answer: It is found only in these two places. Both passages record that King Solomon received 666 talents of gold in one year. Solomon is both a Biblical type for Christ and for the Beast. The number 666 marks both the height of his reign and the beginning of his fall away from God and into apostasy. Solomon falls from his position of favor with God as he breaks the three [l]aws of godly kingship as recorded in Deuteronomy 17:16-17: the law against multiplying gold (1 Kings 10:14-25); the law against multiplying horses (1 Kings 10: 26-29); and the law against multiplying wives (1 Kings 11:1-8). As I already mentioned, for a Jew the number 666 was a fearful sign of apostasy and the mark of both a king and his kingdom that had failed to image God and so had fallen to the image of Satan.
The number of man is six;  we were made on the sixth day. “If six is the number of secular or human perfection [in Genesis, man is made perfectly–SML], then 66 is a more emphatic expression of the same fact, and 666 is the concentrated expression of it; 666 is therefore the trinity of human perfection [before the fall–SML]; the perfection of imperfection [after the fall of man–SML]; the culmination of human pride in independence of God and opposition to His Christ.... But 666 was the secret symbol of the ancient pagan mysteries connected with the worship of the Devil.” From where does every beast mentioned in Scripture come? They come from out of the sea. In Scripture, the sea is a symbol of fallen man in general, and the biology of fallen man in particular. This fallen biological man is, basically, the substance of the Beast that comes out of the sea—fallen man and the biology of fallen man.
Scripture tells us that the mark of the Beast (which is his name) must be on the forehead or right hand of anyone who wants to buy or sell anything (Rev. 13:16-17). Many take this literally, to one degree or another. Some even believe a “chip” containing numbers will be implanted into those who submit to the power of the Beast. I have a great deal of trouble buying the literalistic interpretation. If that interpretation were correct, then an extension of that logic should be applied to God. Would God also implant a chip in the forehead or hand of each of those who submit to God’s power? For in the very next chapter, we read, “On Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads” (Rev. 14:1). Consistency would indicate the affirmative.
What is more likely is the implementation of Satan’s tactics. Satan will always give us an earthly reason why we should not follow God’s commandments, and, of course, lies would be an integral part of that reasoning. For example, Joe blamed a theft at work on somebody else. Why? Joe did not want to be fired, thus losing his ability to have the money to live in the manner to which he had become accustomed.
Sodom and Gomorrah
Almost every passage in Scripture that directly or indirectly deals with unfruitfulness, also equates dire consequences as a result of God’s justice, resulting from it. Why? Short answer: we are in the image and likeness of an unceasingly fruitful God. He requires us to be fruitful and multiply (there is a big difference between multiplying and adding to, as we will see in Part III) as well. The case of Sodom and Gomorrah provides us with an extreme example of how grave are the consequences of unfruitfulness.
Notice that Scripture makes sure to describe the specific sin the men were seeking to commit; the same sin to which this unnatural act is given its name, i.e. the city that was destroyed because of the commission of that horrendous sin. I am fairly certain that many other grievous sins were regularly committed by the people of the five cities of the plains. So the question arises, would the same fate have occurred if all the men were committing, for example, adultery instead of the unnatural sin? Most definitely not.
What does God tell us in answer to this question? Quoting God Himself, St. Catherine of Siena writes:
[The sins of Sodom were] “not simply [committed] with the sort of impurity and weakness to which you are all naturally inclined because of your weak nature ... No, these wretches not only do not restrain their weakness; they make it worse by committing that cursed unnatural sin. ... they do not recognize what miserable filth they are wallowing in. The stench reaches even up to me, supreme Purity, and is so hateful to me that for this sin alone [emphasis SML] five cities were struck down by my divine judgment. For my divine justice could no longer tolerate it, so despicable to me is this abominable sin.”
God also told St. Catherine, “You who were created kin to the angels have made ugly beasts of yourselves! You have stooped so low that even the demons whose friends and servants you have become cannot stand the sight of such indecency .... It is true that it was they who in the beginning shot the poisoned arrows of concupiscence, but when it comes to the sinful act itself they run away.”
Genesis 19 only mentions two cities (Sodom and Gomorrah), but Wisdom 10:6 tells us there were five cities all together, destroyed that day. They others were, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar (see Dt. 29:23 and Gen. 19:29). The unnatural act is so horrendous to God because it is impossible for it to be a fruitful and natural act. It takes the likeness out of our being created in the image and likeness of God. Unfruitfulness is the same reason why the Old Covenant Temple of stone was destroyed — the Jewish people rejected the Messiah and became unfruitful.[60-A] There is a third instance of God initiating widespread destruction as a direct result of intentional unfruitfulness. We are all familiar with the destruction of the world through the Great Flood of Noah's time. The Bible only tells us that there was great wickedness, but it is not specific. The visions God gave to St. Hildegard of Bingen, who is a Doctor of the Church, provides us with greater insight. These are God’s words to Hildegard:
In this manner [Satan] enticed them to defile themselves with the animals, so that the image of God would be destroyed in man [emphasis SML]. If the product of their unnatural union was of the human kind, they hated it, but if it had more of the form of an animal, they caressed it.
At that time men had forgotten God and acted more like animals than according to the will of God. Hence it came about that many loved animals more than people, so that women as well as men mixed with animals and had relations with them to such an extent that the image of God in them was almost completely destroyed. The whole human race was changed into monsters, and transformed so that in fact some men modeled their way of life and voice after the way of wild animals in their walking about, howling and life.
But after the earth was filled with such a perverse people, I Who Am could no longer tolerate this criminal outrage. I decided to destroy the people in the water, with the exception of the few who acknowledged me. (W. M. 253) Since I could no longer tolerate that kind of thing [SML], I drowned them in the Flood. (World and Man, 285).[60-B]
This should teach us a very valuable lesson as to what God most harshly punishes. These acts are the long and short of it: sexual relations involving intentional unfruitfulness, forced sterility. It is only for this sin that God destroys entire populations, cities, and temples. Other sins corrupt our image and likeness of God. Intentional unfruitfulness (sex with animals does not lead to us to co-creating persons in the image and likeness of God, but leads to the creation of animals). Unnatural sexual relations, sexual relations while utilizating any form of artificial birth control that renders us with the intention of being sterile, will lead to our becoming a beast, and to our destruction.
Intentional unfruitfulness is the reason Onan was killed by God after spilling his seed on the ground (Gen 38:8-10). Rather than risking a child by his deceased brother’s wife, Onan chose artificial conception. This is why we make ourselves beasts when we make ourselves intentionally unfruitful in the conjugal act through any sort of artificial contraception.
One might ask, I am infertile because of a medical condition, am I now beast-like whenever I have relations with my wife/husband? The answer is a conditional, no. The answer to that question is clearly answered in Scripture. All people existing between the time of the fall of our first parents and up to the time of Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension, and from birth to bodily death are spiritually dead. All those existing after Jesus’ resurrection are also dead until they are born again in the waters of Baptism (there exists also Baptism of desire, Baptism of blood, etc.). Anyone who responds to God’s grace and contributes to a brother or sister (we are all brothers and sisters in Christ) to New Life, is participating in Divine Fruitfulness — resurrecting them to life from death.
They have participated in the co-creation of that person. Sinners die because God can no longer express that person through the Word in the Spirit. When one help someone to be re-born through water and the Spirit, they become one Mystical Body with Jesus, who is both eternally and unceasingly begotten by the Father. This is why Jesus had to ascend to the Father (Jn 16:7). By his bodily Ascension, the body of Jesus would actively participate in the Trinitarian dialogue. This was required in order for those united to the Mystical Body through Baptism could also be expressed anew by the Father. Thus, as a new creation, they could experience the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Here are a couple of examples of the above:
1. “So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him [the prodigal son] and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said ... let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate” (Lk 15:20-24). When Jesus tells us a parable, he is instructing us about the new Kingdom of God; the Kingdom he is bringing to those who accept it, and are baptized into New Life. When the prodigal son sinned and was unrepentant of his sins, he died (as do all unbaptized people—yes, I know there are extenuating circumstances that God takes into consideration).
2. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here” (2 Corinthians 5:17)! From death comes new life, i.e., multiplication.
3. “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation” (Gal 6:15).Baptism is the New Covenant circumcision.
4. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me” (Ps 51:10).
5. Ezekiel 11:19, 18:31, and 36:26 all deal with our receiving a new heart and a new spirit. The word “create” can be accurately added to each passage. Whenever the word new is written in a passage, it automatically involves the fruitful actions (multiplication) of the Holy Spirit.
This ends Part II of the blog series on the nature of the Beast. The next installment will further develop that theme further. In Part III, I will elaborate more clearly on who, or what the Antichrist is in relation to the Beast. I will provide what I believe are additional insights into the Blessed Virgin Mary’s visits to Fatima.
Part I of this blog can be found here.
Link to Part III: https://www.stossbooks.com/blog/index.php?7-06----the-beast-in-scripture-is-not-coming--it-is-here--part-iii
Too see a list of all blogs with descriptions and links, go here: https://www.stossbooks.com/index.php
[1-A] Exodus 3:14 is the passage where “Moses when he asks, who shall I say sent me. And God said to Moses, I Am That I Am. And he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel: I AM hath sent me unto you” (Ex 3:14, KJV). The Hebrew word that is most commonly translated into that or who, is either aher (אחר) or asher (אשר). Aher, as an adjective, means another. Asher, “occurs in two different ways: There's the verbal root אשר ('ashar), which indicates progression, and there's the particle אשר ('asher) that indicates relation.” According to Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon, the word can be translated as: “so that” or “in order that”. Putting all of this together, it is clear that I Am that (or Who) I Am, can be summarized thusly, I Am (the Father) so that I Am (the Son — indicating Divine Fruitfulness). Additionally, the single “I” for the two “I Am”’s indicates a Unity that can only come through the Holy Spirit.
[1-B]. Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, III, q. 1, a. 1.
. Fr. Martin von Cochem, The Incredible Catholic Mass (Benziger Brothers, 1896; Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1997), 167-168. Used with permission from Tan Books.
. Giles Emery OP, “The Threeness and Oneness of God in Twelfth-To-Fourteenth Century Scholasticism,” Nova Et Vetera, English Edition 1, 1 (2003), p. 62-63.
. Giles Emery OP, “The Threeness and Oneness of God in Twelfth-To-Fourteenth Century Scholasticism,” 62-63.
. Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), Jesus of Nazareth Part One, translated by Adrian J. Walker (New York, NY: Doubleday, 2007), Kindle Edition, p. 265-266.
. Hildegard of Bingen’s Book of Divine Works: With Letters and Songs, All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission of publisher. Kindle Locations 533-535.
. St. Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1990), 419.
. Hildegard, Scivias, 418.
 Trans. Arthur West Haddan, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, vol. 3, chapter 3, ed. Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/130109.htm.
. Hildegard of Bingen’s Book of Divine Works: With Letters and Songs. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission of publisher. Kindle Locations 2316-2318.
. Hildegard of Bingen’s Book of Divine Works: With Letters and Song, Kindle Locations 579-580.
 Thomas Aquinas, The Summa Theologiæ of St. Thomas Aquinas, Second and Revised Edition, 1920, Part I, q. 93, a. 9, (Answer). Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province, Online Edition Copyright © 2017 by Kevin Knight.
. John Paul II, in his general audience of February 20, 1980, “ Man Enters the World as a Subject of Truth and Love,” Theology of the Body, ©Libreria Editrice Vaticana (Third Millennium Media L.L.C., The Faith Database L.L.C., 2008), n. 4.
.St. Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1990), 375.
 Rev. Fr. Edward Leen, The Holy Spirit, (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1939; Sceptor Publishers, 1998, 2008), p.29-34.
. Francois-Xavier Durrwell, Holy Spirit of God (original English translation published by Geoffrey Chapman, a division of Cassell, Ltd., 1986; reprint published by Servant Books, Cinncinati, OH, 2006), 31.
. Durrwell, Holy Spirit of God, 179-180.
. Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, 289.
 Gaitley, Michael. The ‘One Thing’ Is Three: How the Most Holy Trinity Explains Everything (Kindle Locations 538-541). Marian Press. Kindle Edition.
 Gaitley, Michael. The ‘One Thing’ Is Three: How the Most Holy Trinity Explains Everything (Kindle Locations 838-843). Marian Press. Kindle Edition.
 John Paul II, The Theology of the Body: Human Love in the Divine Plan, (Pauline Books and Media: Boston, MA, 1997), ©Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 46.
 Premm, Rev. Matthias, Dogmatic Theology for the Laity, (Rockford: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1977) p. 43, 83.
. Sarah A. Wagner-Wassen, blog entry, “What Does It Mean to Be in the Image of God? Irenaeus of Lyon Against the Gnostics,” Sarah A. Wagner-Wassen, https://anglicaapparitor.wordpress.com/2008/07/01/what-does-it-mean-to-be-in-the-image-of-god-irenaeus-of-lyon-against-the-gnostics/: Sarah A. Wagner-Wassen, accessed 11/12/2013.
. International Theological Commission, “COMMUNION AND STEWARDSHIP: Human Persons Created in the Image of God”, ©Libreria Editrice Vaticana, https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20040723_communion-stewardship_en.html, (accessed 2/19/2014).
. Ibid., n. 7.
. Ibid., n. 27.
. Ibid., n. 10.
. Ibid., n. 12.
. Ibid., n. 13.
. Ibid., n. 29.
 Bruce Hozeski, Hildegard von Bingen's Mystical Visions: Translated from Scivias, Inner Traditions/Bear & Company. Kindle Edition. Location 4848-4852.
. Catherine of Siena, Dialog of Catherine of Siena, trans. Algar Thorold, Kindle Edition, Locations 475-476.
. St. Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, trans. Suzanne Noffke, O.P (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1980), 58.
. Catherine of Siena, Dialog of Catherine of Siena, Kindle Locations 1075-1078.
. Hildegard, Scivias, 79.
 Emmett O'Regan, Unveiling the Apocalypse: Prophecy in Catholic Tradition (Kindle Locations 760-787), Seraphim Press, Kindle Edition.
. Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, 74.
. West, Theology of the Body Explained, 12.
 Vatican News, “Pope Francis writes preface for 2nd volume of Ratzinger's collected writings,” Vatican News, https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-05/pope-francis-benedict-xvi-preface-collected-writings-book.html, May 27, 2018 (accessed 5/4/2020).
. West, Theology of the Body Explained, 47.
 When Moses asked God what is his name, God responded I Am that I Am (YHWH). The very name tells us that the essence of God is a Trinity in eternal and fruitful expression. The first “I Am” is the Father who is eternally generating the Son—the second I Am. The fact that both are a singular “I” indicates the unity of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit.
. Department of Health and Human Services, "Use of Contraception in the United States: 1982-2008," Mosher, William D.; Jones, Jo, Vital and Health Statistics, Series 23, Number 29 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, August 2010), 15.
. Ibid., 18.
 Hera Cook, "Sexuality and Contraception in Modern England: Doing the History of Reproductive Sexuality," Journal of Social History 40, no. 4 (2007).
 Annette B. Ramairez de Arellano, and Conrad Seipp, Colonialism, Catholicism, and Contraception: A History of Birth Control in Puerto Rico (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1983), 142.
. Francois-Xavier Durrwell, Holy Spirit of God (original English translation published by Geoffrey Chapman, a division of Cassell, Ltd., 1986; reprint published by Servant Books, Cinncinati, OH, 2006), 201-203.
 Wikipedia contributors, "Adam (given name)," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Adam_(given_name)&oldid=951271687, (accessed April 23, 2020).
 Michal E. Hunt, “The Significance of Numbers in Scripture,” AgapeBibleStudy.com, https://www.agapebiblestudy.com/charts/Gemetria%20and%20the%20Number%20of%20the%20Beast%20666.htm, 1998, Revised 2007, (accessed 4/30/2020).
 Emmett O'Regan, Unveiling the Apocalypse: Prophecy in Catholic Tradition, (Kindle Locations 249-250), Seraphim Press, Kindle Edition.
 Emmett O'Regan, Unveiling the Apocalypse: Prophecy in Catholic Tradition, (Kindle Locations 352, 742, 871, 4210-4217), Seraphim Press, Kindle Edition.
. Augustine, On the Trinity, IV, 4.
 Philologos, “The Number 666,” (philologos.com, 2020), https://philologos.org/bpr/files/n001.htm, June 28, 1999 (accessed October, 2001).
 Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, trans. Suzanne Noffke (New York: Paulist Press, 1980), 237.
 Ibid., 74, 237.
[60-A] Emmett O'Regan, Unveiling the Apocalypse: Prophecy in Catholic Tradition (Kindle Locations 760-787), Seraphim Press, Kindle Edition.
[60-B] Helmut Posch, The True Conception of the World According to Hildegard von Bingen, trans Dean H. Kenyon, (Mount Jackson: The Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation, 2015), p 83.
 The AFP, “Former pope Benedict complains of attempts to 'silence' him,” Reprinted by Yahoo News, https://news.yahoo.com/former-pope-benedict-complains-attempts-silence-him-074433871.html, May 4, 2020 (accessed 5/4/2020).
 The AFP, “Former pope Benedict complains of attempts to 'silence' him,” Reprinted by Yahoo News, https://news.yahoo.com/former-pope-benedict-complains-attempts-silence-him-074433871.html, May 4, 2020 (accessed 5/4/2020).