Revelation 13:1-8, 16-18 provides 10 identifying characteristics to the beast:
- Rises from sea (verse 1).
- Dragon gives it power and authority (verse 2).
- Receives a deadly wound (verse 3).
- Deadly wound healed (verse 3).
- Strong political power (verses 3, 7).
- Strong religious power (verses 3, 8).
- Guilty of blasphemy (verses 1, 5, 6).
- Wars with and overcomes the saints (verse 7).
- Rules for 42 months (verse 5).
- Has mysterious number 666 (verse 18).
The “beast” of Revelation 13 is simply another name for the “Antichrist.”
Now, let’s examine each point that describes the “beast”:
1. It would rise from the sea (Revelation 13:1)
The sea (or water) in prophecy refers to people, or a populated area (Revelation 17:15). So, the beast, or Antichrist would arise from amid the established nations of the then-known world. The papacy, as we all know, arose in Western Europe.
To identify the dragon, we look at Revelation chapter 12, where God’s end-time church is pictured as a pure woman. In prophecy, a pure woman represents God’s true people or church (Jeremiah 6:2 Isaiah 51:16). The pure woman is portrayed as pregnant and about to deliver. The dragon crouches nearby, hoping to “devour” the baby at birth. However, when the baby is born, He evades the dragon, fulfills His mission, and then ascends to heaven.
The baby is Jesus, whom Herod tried to destroy by killing all the babies in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16). So, the dragon represents pagan Rome, of which Herod was a king. The power behind Herod’s plot was the devil (Revelation 12:7-9). Satan uses different governments to accomplish his work in this case, pagan Rome. The papacy received its power from pagan Rome.
3. It would receive a deadly wound (Revelation 13:3)
The deadly wound was inflicted upon the papacy when Napoleon’s general, Alexander Berthier, entered Rome and took Pope Pius VI captive in February of 1798. Napoleon decreed that at the death of the pope, the papacy would be discontinued. The pope died in France in August of 1799. “Half Europe thought … that without the Pope the Papacy was dead.” So, this point also fits the papacy.
4. The deadly wound would be healed, and the entire world would give homage to the beast (Revelation 13:3)
On February 11th, 1929, an historic treaty was signed between the Italian Government and the Vatican reestablishing the political power and diplomatic standing of the Catholic Church.
5. It would become a strong political power (Revelation 13:3, 7)
6. It would become a very powerful religious organization (Revelation 13:3, 8)
Since its healing, the strength of the papacy has grown and increased until today she is one of the most powerful religio-political organizations in the world. These three last points also point to the Papacy.
7. It would be guilty of blasphemy (Revelation 13:5, 6)
Blasphemy is a man making himself to stand in the place of God (John 10:33). Therefor, the papacy is guilty of blasphemy because her popes claim to be Christ on earth. Another title for the Pope is the “vicar of Jesus Christ.” A vicar means “one who stands in the place of” or “substitute.” This is a plain act of blasphemy. Also, her priests claim to forgive sins which only God can do. Likewise, this is an act of speaking blasphemy (Matthew 9:2-3).
The beast is identified as having the name of blasphemy on its head. “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy” (Revelation 13:1). Therefor, the name “Vicar of Jesus Christ,” in Latin is “Vicarius Filii Dei.” This is inscribed on the mitre worn on the head of the pope. Thus, it literally wears the name of blasphemy.
8. It would war with and persecute the saints (Revelation 13:7)
Historians estimate that during the inquisition, Middle Ages, and Early Reformation Era, more than 50,000,000 martyrs perished for their faith at the decree of the Papacy (Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965 edition, page 726).
9. It would reign for 42 months (Revelation 13:5)
This same time period is mentioned seven times (Daniel 7:25 12:7 Revelation 11:2, 3; 12:6, 14; 13:5) in the books of Daniel and Revelation: three times as a time, times, and half a time twice as 42 months and twice as 1,260 days.
Based on the 30-day calendar used by the Jews, these time periods are all the same amount of time: 3 1/2 years = 42 months = 1,260 days. One prophetic day equals one literal year (Ezekiel 4:6 Numbers 14:34). Thus, the Antichrist was to have power over the saints for 1,260 prophetic days or 1,260 literal years.
The rule of the papacy began in A.D. 538 and ended in 1798 A.D. when Napoleon’s general, Berthier, took the pope captive with hopes of destroying both Pope Pius VI and the political, secular power of the papacy. This period of time is an exact fulfillment of the 1,260-year prophecy.
10. It would have the mysterious number 666 (Revelation 13:18)
This verse says, “It is the number of a man,” and Revelation 15:2 says it is “the number of his name.” What man do you think of when you think of the papacy? We all think of the pope. What is his official name? Here is a Catholic quote: “The title of the pope of Rome is “Vicarius Filii Dei” (English: “Vicar of the Son of God”) Answers to Readers’ Questions,” Our Sunday Visitor, Nov. 15, 1914.
Malachi Martin, in The Keys of This Blood, uses the same title for the pope on pages 114, 122. A footnote for Revelation 13:18 in some Douay [Catholic] versions of the Bible says, “The numeral letters of his name shall make up this number.”
How do we derive the number of his name? By adding the numerical value of the Roman numerals of the title Vicarius Filii Dei, we actually come to a definite number 666.
Again, the papacy fits this identification point.
No other power in history could possibly fit these 10 divine descriptive points.
In His service,
The contents of this article and website are not intended to be against any individual. There are many priests and faithful believers in Roman Catholicism who serve God to the best of their knowledge and are seen by God as His children. The information contained herein is directed only towards the Roman Catholic religio-political system which has reigned in varying degrees of power for nearly two millennia. This system has established an increasing number of doctrines and statements that directly go against the Bible.
It is our purpose to lay the clear Word of God before you, the truth-seeking reader, to decide for yourself what is truth and what is error. If you find anything here contrary to the Bible, do not accept it. But if you desire to seek for Truth as for hidden treasure, and find herein something of that quality and feel that the Holy Spirit is revealing Truth to you, please make all haste to accept it.