Published by Stephen Michael Leininger in Stephen Michael Leininger · 21 April 2020
Tags: Revelation, beast, antichrist, man, image, God
Tags: Revelation, beast, antichrist, man, image, God
The Beast in Scripture is Not Coming: It’s Here!!!...and has been for many years.
Part 1 of 3 Parts
This topic is one I have wanted to write about for many years. However, before I could do so, I first had to complete my research, which led to the formulation of the books detailing The Science & Theology of Salt in Scripture (aka STOSS). It was only through this theology that one could attain a higher level of understanding of the biblical meaning of salt and, therefore, the meaning of the sea (e.g., the Dead/Salt Sea. Actually, all seas are de facto salt seas). In the books of Daniel and Revelations, both Daniel and John describe the Beast as coming out from the sea. When one understands the meaning of the sea, one can also understand from whence the Beast came. Gaining that understanding, we can begin to understand the consequences of sin, vis-à-vis man created in the image and likeness of a Good and Loving God. For a deeper understanding of salt in Scripture, go here. For a deeper understanding of a salt sea, especially the Dead Sea in Ezekiel’s dream, go here.
We live in a world where Satan has very successfully deceived almost everyone. So successful has Satan been in this endeavor; virtually the entire world has succumbed to his lies. The Father of all lies and of death is succeeding in convincing us that: 1) God does not exist; 2) failing that, God is lying to us; or, 3) we are misinterpreting Scripture. He has convinced a significant number of people that true evil is good; that true good is evil, and what God is telling us is darkness, is actually light (Is 5:20)! Remember, a demon of darkness can appear to us as an angel of light.
Literal versus Literalistic
In Scripture, the term literal means the particular words of a verse in the Bible are being interpreted exactly as God intended for them to be understood. Literalistic, on the other hand, means the words written are being interpreted at face value, understood exactly as they are written, which is often not the meaning the Divine Author intended. Here is an example: several passages in Scripture describe God as having a mouth. The literalistic interpretation of passages would lead us to understand that God has a physical mouth. The literal interpretation of those passages would lead us to understand that the Father sends out the Word in the Holy Spirit. The Father is never sent. Only the Word and the Spirit are sent. Literalistic, therefore, means the words used are to be understood in the context of symbolic, metaphorical, etc. Sometimes, the words of a verse should be interpreted such that the literalistic meaning and the literal meaning are virtually identical. For example, in Genesis we are told that Eve was taken from one of the ribs of Adam. The literalistic interpretation is that Eve was literally taken from one of the ribs of Adam. The literal interpretation is the exact same, i.e., Eve was made from one of Adam’s ribs.
Why so much time explaining the difference between the two terms? The reason is this: the failure to interpret words in the context in which they are intended by the Author, can lead to an erroneous understanding of their meaning — an error with very serious consequences. An example of this is the rejection of Jesus as the promised Messiah. Why did they reject him? In Scripture, the Messiah was linked to the establishment of a kingdom of power, peace, and happiness. They interpreted those passages literalistically, not literally. Consequently, they believed the Messiah would be an earthly king wielding earthly powers (who would liberate Israel from Roman domination), and who would provide a good standard of material earthly living, e.g. Is 60:3, 61:6,9; Zech 14:9,11; Ps 86:9, Zeph 3:9, Is 66:23, Jer 31:33-34, Ez 11:19-20, 36:26-27, to name but a few. The literal interpretation of these various passages referred to a Heavenly Kingdom, a Heavenly Power, and a Heavenly Peace with Happiness. In a sense, the Jewish people’s expectations of the Messiah, from a worldly standpoint, were too high, while, at the same time, being too low from a spiritual viewpoint.
Trying to interpret Daniel and Revelations too literalistically is fraught with dangerous theological detours that will lead us off the path of true understanding and onto paths leading us to eschatological guessing. I find it somewhat ironic the number of times that this person or that person has calculated the exact time of the Second Coming of Jesus and, therefore, the end of the world. This, despite the fact that Jesus tells us it is only the Father who knows the exact hour, date, and time (Mt 24:36). They use numbers, formulas, and passages in Scripture to arrive at the answer, only to see it come and go. This is a perfect example of the dangers of being too literalistic in our interpretation of Scripture. I am not saying that scriptural numerology is bogus. I am merely saying we can go overboard in using it for Bible exegesis.
Wishing to learn the lessons presented by those who erroneously calculate the date for the end of the world, or dissecting the meaning of prophetic passages in the book of Daniel and Revelations to arrive at particular identities of the Beast or Antichrist, I will not make those same mistakes in this blog series. I will be using specific tools to support and indicate the meaning of Revelation, but it is just my educated opinion, which does not constitute an authoritative interpretation. Scripture has informed us that one cannot interpret prophecy unless one has been given the gift to do so by the Holy Spirit (e.g., Dan, Joseph, etc.). So please evaluate what I have written with that in mind.In philosophy, we have what are called substances and accidents. According to Joseph M. Magee Ph.D., “Substance is whatever is a natural kind of thing and exists in its own right. Examples are rocks, trees, animals, etc. What an animal is, a dog, for example, is the same whether it is black or brown, here or there, etc. A dog is a substance since it exists in its own right; it does not exist in something else, the way a color does.” An accident is that which exists in, and is said of, another. In other words, accidents inhere to a substance.
In the Book of Revelation (aka the Apocalypse), the figure of the Beast plays a prominent part in the story. There are many physical, yet symbolic, features attached to the Beast. For example, Scripture tells us, “And 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. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth” (Rev 13:1-2). A high number of people have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what those various symbolic features represent. Almost everything I have read relating to the symbolic features of the Beast turns out to be educated (to a greater or lesser degree) guesses. This blog will not be exploring the physical aspects of the Beast. I will explain why later. With some notable exceptions, I am content to let others speculate on the interpretation of the symbolism contained in prophecies, the details of which we cannot be sure until after they are fulfilled.
While the Beast is not an actual substance, (a symbol/metaphor does not have existence, but what it symbolizes does have existence), to which accidents inhere. In a way, it is very much like man. The Beast both symbolizes him and is a metaphor for him. We will see why that is so in the next section. Some of the accidents of this Beast are, as Scripture tells us, “ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems upon its horns and a blasphemous name upon its heads” (Rev 13:1). For the most part, we will not be focusing on the accidents of the Beast. Rather, we will be examining the symbolic substance of this Beast. Looking at the Beast in this manner will, I believe, will help us to better appreciate and understand the significance of St. John’s vision of the Beast.
The Meaning of Kingdom
Just as accidents inform us about the substance, so too do the accidents of the Beast inform us about the substance of the Beast. Thus, we come to the one instance when we will examine the philosophical accidents of the Beast. We will do so in order to understand its substance. The accidents we are referring to are the ten horns, seven heads, etc. of the Beast.
Explaining King Nebuchadnez′zar’s dream, Daniel informs us that the four beasts of the king’s dream represent four kingdoms. Another note of interest concerning Daniel’s words are this: Daniel’s dream in Chapter 7 is a recapitulation of Nebuchadnez′zar’s dream in Chapter 2. According to Emmett O’Regan, “Recapitulation [emphasis SML] is a method used to draw emphasis on an area of particular importance to the author—an effect which the Apocalypse achieves splendidly.” I believe that this literary device (recapitulation) was also used in Chapter 13 of Revelation. In it, two Beasts are described in the same Chapter. The Beast from the sea is almost immediately followed by the appearance of the Beast from the land. I believe there is only one Beast, but the second is a recapitulation of the first; adding to the understanding of the genesis (not the book Genesis) of the one Beast and its development thereafter.
In Chapter 7, “Daniel said, ‘I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another.’” (Dan 7:2-3) “A fourth beast, terrible and dreadful and exceedingly strong; and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns” (Dan 7:7). As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom [SML] ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings” (Dan 7:24).
What is a kingdom? According to Merriam-Webster, a kingdom is “a politically organized community or major territorial unit having a monarchical form of government headed by a king or queen.” Prophecy, by its very nature, is informing us of future happenings, events, and people, e.g., the Books of Daniel and Revelations. Therefore, words used when writing prophecy must be understood in the context of that future time in which the prophecy is being fulfilled. This is true, especially when the time differential between when the prophecy is written and when it is fulfilled can be thousands of years.
In current times, and in almost all nations/countries of the world, there are virtually no remaining kings or queens. Furthermore, the few that remain fill, more or less, symbolic/ceremonial positions. While the remaining royalty may still possess some influential power, their governing power is gone. If Daniel and Revelations are meant to describe current times, people, and events, then language must reflect it. Therefore, when prophecy refers to kingdoms and kings, it must be interpreted as referring to countries occupied by its citizens who, in turn, elect a government (sometimes government comes to power through force), to which the people give them power. There is a direct linear relationship between the moral character of a nation’s people--> the morality of the government it elects -->what the government does with the power that has been given to it by its citizens.
There is a saying coined by Joseph de Maistre that sums up this relationship. The phrase is, “Every nation gets the government it deserves.” and also “In a democracy people get the leaders they deserve [Letter 76, on the topic of Russia's new constitutional laws (27 August 1811); published in Lettres et Opuscules.].’” Franklin D. Roosevelt writes, “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.” Enlightened with this understanding, we can, perhaps begin to see with our mind’s eye the substance of the Beast.
The Beast that Comes From the Sea
In Revelation we read, “And I saw a beast rising out of the sea” (Rev 13:1). The phrase, “out of the sea” tells us a great deal about the substance of the Beast. The sea symbolizes the great magnitude of people are progressively succumbing to the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the lust of the pride of life (1 Jn 2:16). The lust of the flesh includes the disordered desire of the inner heart to satisfy a physical/biological/hormonal appetite, a physical pleasure gained for one’s self (aka self-centeredness) at the expense, exclusion, and expense of all others. The lust of the eyes is the disordered desire for our neighbor’s possessions. By disordered, we mean a desire of the heart for something that we should not desire, a lust for the beauty of something that is not ours to possess. Sometimes lust of the eyes will lead to another lust. For example, David gazing upon the beauty of another man’s wife, committed adultery (lust of the flesh) with her. The third is lust of the pride of life. “The pride of life is that sinful temptation for excess greatness or power that we all feel the temptation to attain. Pride itself is one of the sins that God hates most. It is the sin that made Lucifer (the beautiful angel) turn into Satan (the adversary).” Two noted examples in Scripture reveal how Satan uses all three lusts to tempt Eve in Eden and Jesus in the desert.
“The LORD God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this… I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall strike your head, and you shall strike his heel’ (Genesis 3:14–15) .... ancient Jewish interpreters saw [these passages] as referring to a spiritual battle between humanity and the Devil and his angels. In support of this spiritual interpretation, it is worth noting that in the very next chapter of Genesis, ‘sin’ is described as a beast ‘lurking at the door,’ waiting to strike at Cain, the offspring of Eve.” (Genesis 4:1, 7).
Repeating what I wrote at the beginning of this section, “The Beast coming out from the sea symbolizes the great magnitude of people succumbing to the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the lust of the pride of life (1 Jn 2:16).” The question now arises, why does the fact of the beast coming out of the sea equate to the interpretation just discussed? That question was answered in a blog-series written to answer the question: What do Lot’s Wife, the Dead Sea, Sodom & Gomorrah, and Ezekiel’s Dream of the New Covenant Temple have in common. Part II of that blog series explains what the deeper understanding salt means in Scripture. Part III builds upon what we learned from Lot’s wife becoming a pillar of salt. Part III explores the deeper understanding of what the salt sea means in Scripture.
Both the Beast and the Antichrist (both probably refer to the same thing) merit special mention in Scripture based on quantity and quality. To what degree, how deeply, has sin penetrated the whole of humanity—percentage-wise, quantity-wise? How serious/grievous are the great quantity of sins that are being committed—i.e., quality? Genesis gives us an example of both quantity and quality. When the two Angels were on their way to judge and determine whether or not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham interceded for the two cities. Moses ultimately ended up asking them if there were only ten righteous men in the city, would they destroy them. The answer was no. Since God did in fact, destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, we can surmise that there were less than ten just people living in the two cities. From this, we can ascertain that there is a boundary line of sinful saturation. Once crossed, God will execute His Divine judgment. The previous is an example of what is meant by quantity. As for quality, Scripture tells us, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know” (Gen 18:20-21). Let us examine the quality and quantity of our current world.
Apostasy and Prophecy
Are we in the latter times? Scripture tells us that before those times come, the Great Apostasy must come first. By looking at the state of the world. By looking at the signs of the times, we can determine whether the Great Apostasy has happened. Prophecy can help us to know if we are in the times of the Beast.
“According to legend, exactly 33 years (span of our Lord’s life) to the day prior to the great Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, that is, on October 13, 1884, Pope Leo XIII had a remarkable vision. When the aged Pontiff had finished celebrating Mass in his private Vatican Chapel, attended by a few Cardinals and members of the Vatican staff, he suddenly stopped at the foot of the altar. He stood there for about 10 minutes, as if in a trance, his face ashen white. Then, going immediately from the Chapel to his office, he composed the prayer to St. Michael, with instructions it be said after all Low Masses everywhere. When asked what had happened, he explained that, as he was about to leave the foot of the altar, he suddenly heard voices – two voices, one kind and gentle, the other guttural and harsh. They seemed to come from near the tabernacle. As he listened, he heard the following conversation:
—Satan: The guttural voice, the voice of Satan in his pride, boasted to Our Lord: “I can destroy your Church.”
—Lord: The gentle voice of Our Lord: “You can? Then go ahead and do so.”
—Satan: “To do so, I need more time and more power.”
—Lord: “How much time? How much power?”
—Satan: “75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service [SML].”
—Lord: “You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.”
Let us look at some of the consequences (i.e., the Great Apostasy) of that increased power given to Satan’s followers. These examples will provide us with a small glimpse of the quantity and quality of the sinfulness of fallen man, who is the substance of the Beast. Then we will show prophecies that lead us to the belief that we are in the times of the Beast/Antichrist.
- [A] new Pew Research Center survey finds that most self-described Catholics don’t believe the core teaching about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. In fact, nearly seven-in-ten Catholics (69%) say they personally believe that during Catholic Mass, the bread and wine used in Communion “are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.”
- Church membership (not weekly attendance, which is even more disheartening) has dropped from 75% of the U.S. population in 1937, to an all-time low of about 50% in 2018. While Protestant weekly church attendance has remained steady at about 43%, from 1955 to 2017, the Catholics have dropped from 73% to 39%. The steepest drop occurred between the 1950s to the 1970s, seeming to occur around the onset of the sexual revolution and the more widespread acceptance of artificial contraception (In 1952, John D. Rockefeller III founded the influential Population Council).
- “Weekly attendance at religious services in Canada is just 13 percent, according to a December 2013 poll by the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) and the Angus Reid Forum, a national polling firm. That 13 percent includes all faiths, not just Christians [SML]. What does a number like this mean? Just after World War II, 67 percent of Canadians told Gallup that they had attended a religious service in the previous seven days.”
- There have been over 60 million abortions in the U.S alone between 1973 and 2017. This figure does not even include spontaneous abortions resulting from the use of artificial contraceptives. Additional horrors include partial-birth abortion and the selling of fetal body parts for money. Worldwide, there has been 1.72 billion babies murdered in the womb. The world was horrified and shocked at the six million deaths in Nazi concentration camps. Where is the outrage now? Abortion is still the law of the land.
- Only four years after contraceptives were first tested, researchers found that marriages in which contraceptives were used were twice as likely to end in divorce than those marriages in which there was no contraceptive use.
- According to the CDC, “by age 30, three-quarters of women in the U.S. have been married and about half have cohabited outside of marriage, according to a comprehensive new report on cohabitation, marriage, divorce, and remarriage released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”
- “More than 99% of women aged 15–44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method.”
- “Some 60% of all women of reproductive age are currently using a contraceptive method.”
- It is estimated that between 30% to 60% of all married people in the U.S. have cheated. It is also believed that those figures are probably low considering that about 50% of marriages end in divorce. Furthermore, the percentage among thirty-somethings is climbing.
- Human Trafficking: “Nearly 80% of human trafficking is for sex, and 19% is for labor exploitation..... There are more human slaves in the world today than ever before in history.... There are an estimated 27 million adults and 13 million children around the world who are victims of human trafficking.”
The above statistics are just the tip of the iceberg. We don’t have the room in this blog to get the big picture of how morally corrupt the world, especially the developed countries, have become. I would bet that everyone reading this can come up with many other indicators of the evil saturating this world.
1. According to Our Lady of Good Success (an apparition approved by the Church in 1991), “From the end of the 19th century and shortly after the middle of the 20th century … passions will erupt and there will be a total corruption of morals [SML] … As for the Sacrament of Matrimony [note next prophecy below], which symbolizes the union of Christ with His Church, it will be attacked and deeply profaned. Freemasonry, which will then be in power, will enact iniquitous laws with the aim of doing away with this Sacrament, making it easy for everyone to live in sin and encouraging procreation of illegitimate children born without the blessing of the Church … In this supreme moment of need for the Church, the one who should speak will fall silent.”
2. Cardinal Carlo Caffara was tasked by Pope John Paul II to plan and establish the Pontifical Institute for the Studies on Marriage and the Family. He wrote to Sr. Lucia, one of the three children who received apparitions from Mary, the Mother of God (for information on Fatima and the miracle of the sun click here and here. The purpose of his letter was to ask for her prayers for the success of this endeavor. She responded by six-page letter, telling the Cardinal, “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family [emphasis mine]. Don’t be afraid, she added, because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue [my emphasis].” Are we now in this final battle?
3. “St. John of the Cleft Rock (14th century). ‘It is said that twenty centuries after the Incarnation of the Word, the Beast in its turn shall become man. About the year 2000 A.D [SML], Antichrist will reveal himself to the world. ... Sister Bouquillion (19th century). ‘The beginning of the end shall not come in the 19th century, but in the 20th for sure.’”
4. Pope Pius XII warned about the ‘harsh and bitter sufferings’ facing the human race. He said, ‘Mankind must prepare itself for suffering such as it has never before experienced.’ Pope Pius XII described our times as ‘the darkest since the deluge’[SML] and declared, "The hour has struck—the battle, the most widespread, bitter and ferocious the world has ever known, has been joined. It must be fought to the finish.’”
5. “In a series of letters in 1969-1970, Sister Lucia [one of the seers at Fatima, Portugal] reveals more: ‘It is indeed sad that so many people let themselves be dominated by the diabolical wave that is sweeping the world [SML], and that they are blinded to the point of being incapable of seeing error! Their principle fault is they have abandoned prayer ... The fact is the devil has succeeded in bringing in evil under the appearance of good [SML]; the blind are beginning to lead others ... Sister Lucia insists that, ‘the Virgin knew that these times of diabolical disorientation [SML] were to come.’ To someone who was questioning her on the content of the Third Secret Sister Lucia one day replied: ‘It's in the Gospel and in the Apocalypse, read them.’ She also confided to Father Fuentes that the Virgin Mary made her see clearly that ‘we are in the last times of the world [SML].’”
6. “There’s a quote in the Nuncio’s address that caught my attention, given by Cardinal Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) in an address during the Eucharistic Congress in 1976 for the Bicentennial celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He said: ‘We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced [SML]. I do not think that the wide circle of the American Society, or the whole wide circle of the Christian Community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist [SML]. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God’s Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously…’”
This concludes Part I of the three-part blog-series on the Beast and the Antichrist in Scripture. In Part II, we will be discussing what it means to be in the image and likeness of a Good and Fruitful God. We will do this so that we understand creation in general, and man in particular. Only with this knowledge can we truly understand the consequences of sin on man’s relationship to a Triune God. Only then can we understand the substance of the Beast in Revelation.
Too see a list of all bogs (including Parts II and III of this blog series) with descriptions and links, go here: https://www.stossbooks.com/index.php
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