BEAST OF THE SEA, PART 3
was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And
authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on
the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of
Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If anyone has an ear,
let him hear. He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills
with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith
of the saints. Revelation 13:7–10
beast of the sea was given authority from the great red dragon of chapter 12.
This authority rested in its power over the religion and politics of the Western
Roman Empire and was vested in Papalism. The religious power of the beast was
blasphemy against the name of God, the tabernacle of God, and against those who
dwell in heaven.
great red dragon, the force behind Christ-less religion, foresaw that his first
church was not sufficient to completely destroy the gospel and the church built
by Jesus, so he began devising plans for a second church. But before he could
put a new church in place he had one last chore for Papalism. Verse 7 tells us,
“It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.”
One thing we learn from this move on the part of the beast of the sea is that
there still were saints that held to the true gospel of Christ and continued as
the church built by Jesus.
rest of V 7 provides a dismal scene in the religious world at this time: “And
authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.” The Church of
Rome was the only legal church at this time and Christians that followed the
gospel and did not submit to Papal authority were considered heretics and
enemies of the Church.
to Overcome the Saints
was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. (Verse 7)
church built by Jesus was physically overtaken by the Roman Church nevertheless
there were many people whose names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life
that actively resisted the authority of the Pope and endeavored to separate
themselves from his power and the rule of the Roman Church. The church Jesus
built was never intended to be invisible and when evil attempts to overshadow
the true church it is the nature of Christ’s church to separate itself in
order to stay visible. Philip Schaff speaks of the resistance against the beast
of the sea. “The centralization of ecclesiastical authority in the papacy was
met by a widespread counter-movement of religious individualism and dissent.”
Schaff tells the by this time,
heretic, that is, one who dissented from the dogmatic belief of the Catholic
Church, was regarded as worse than a Saracen and worse than a person of depraved
Catholic Church tolerated those that lived immoral lives but cast out from
itself those who believed what it considered to be error—the real gospel.
Gregory IX said that “France was filled with a multitude of venomous reptiles
and the poison of the heresies.”
Eventually “The opinion came to prevail, that what disease is to the body that
heresy is to the Church, and the most merciful procedure was to cut off the
is a sense in which the separatist movements that appeared represented the
church as built by Jesus. While the Catholic Church was assimilating masses of
barbarians and presenting a religion of ritual, these movements were more
concerned with the gospel. However, they cannot be imagined to be like
evangelical or holiness churches of modern times. There had been centuries of
apostasy, battles with heresy, and the shroud of ritualism that characterized
the visible church. The movements that separated from Rome had some of those
doctrinal and religious issues that followed them. Nevertheless, in spite of
some of these irregularities there tended to be greater numbers among them whose
names were written in the Book of Life of the Lamb than there were in the Roman
first notable group that separated from the Roman Church was known as the
Albigenses. This movement arose in Southern France in the 11th
century. They were part of a movement called the Cathari, which held to strict
dualism that material is evil and spiritual is good. They believed that Jesus
did not have a real human body because the human body is evil in itself. They
were also ascetic and they were vegan in their eating practice.
made much use of the Scripture in their preaching and proselyting. The
Albigenses made the oldest French translation of the Bible. They believed,
“There are two churches, they held—one of the wicked and one of the
righteous. They themselves constituted the Church of the righteous, outside of
which there is no salvation.”
In fact, they believed “The Roman Church is the woman of the Apocalypse, a
harlot, and the pope anti-Christ.”
They also believed the cross was the mark of the beast.
divided themselves into two classes. The Believers. In the terminology of modern
Second Blessing theology, these were people that were only justified and needed
to go on to sanctification. The Perfect. Second Blessing theology would call
these people saved and sanctified. They went through a ceremony (like a second
trip to the altar) where they confessed all their sins of thought, word, work,
and vision and placed their faith and hope in God and the experience they were
about to receive. The Perfect had a monopoly on salvation. They believed the
ritual they went through not only absolved them of all previous sins but also
the sins that they might commit in the future.
Albigenses were exterminated in the 13th century during the
Beguines and the Beghards
Beguines formed themselves along the lower Rhine River. The Beguines were mostly
women. They renounced worldly goods and were semi-conventual but without taking
similar group was the Beghards which spread to Poland and Switzerland.
groups were condemned by Clement V in 1312. These groups were accused of many
horrible things and finally subjected to the Inquisition in the later part of
the 14th century.
Waldensians originated in southern France and spread into Piedmont, Austria and
group takes its name from Peter Waldo who was a wealthy merchant from Lyons.
Around 1170 he was seeking to know God and was counseled by a priest who told
him there were many ways to heaven but if he wanted to be perfect he must obey
Christ’s teachings, sell everything he had and follow Jesus. He employed a
scholar to translate the gospels and other parts of the Scriptures into his
says of the Waldensians, they leaned “upon the Scriptures, sought to revive
the simple precepts of the Apostolic age. They were the strictly biblical sect
of the Middle Ages. . . .
In Austria, they kept their light burning as in a dark place for centuries, had
a close historic connection with the Hussites and Bohemian Brethren, and
prepared, in some measure, the way for the Anabaptists in the time of the
The synod of Verona in 1184 condemned the Waldensians. “Their offence was
preaching without the consent of the bishops.”
Waldensians were not like modern Protestants as they never had a defined
doctrine of justification by faith; they followed the practices of the Apostles
and the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount.
Waldensians were caught up in the Church’s crusade against the Albigenses and
writes, “The Inquisition was a thoroughly papal institution, wrought out in
all its details by the popes of the thirteenth century.”
From a Wikipedia article:
Inquisition was a group of institutions within the government system of the
Catholic Church whose aim was to combat public heresy committed by baptized
Christians. It started in 12th-century France to combat religious dissent, in
particular the Cathars and the Waldensians.
Church sat in judgment on those it condemned as heretics knowing full well that
the sentence of death would follow their excommunication. The state was in full
sympathy with the Church and willingly carried out torture and execution on the
justification of the Inquisition was based in what the Church said was the
example of God himself carrying out the first inquisition, in the garden of
Eden, to defeat the subtlety of Satan who otherwise might have communicated with
Adam and Eve. Therefore heretics had to be executed so that they would not
communicate their heresies to others in the Church.
most heinous of the Inquisitions was probably the Spanish Inquisition that began
on November 1, 1478 and between 3000 to 5000 people were executed.
notable martyrs suffered at the hand of the beast of the sea.
Huss. A Bohemian reformer was considered the first church reformer. He was
strongly influenced by John Wycliffe and translated his works into his own
language. Huss also wrote against the errors of the Church of Rome. Condemned as
a heretic, he was burned at the stake on July 6, 1415.
Wycliffe. Wycliffe preceded Huss. He was an advocate of translating the
Bible into the vernacular. Wycliffe translated the Vulgate version of the Bible
into Middle English in 1382. Wycliffe died in 1384. He was declared a heretic on
May 4, 1415, 31 years after he died. His body was exhumed and his remains burned
and thrown into the River Swift in 1428.
on the Beast of the Sea
8 shows the fear of the beast that was on the people of the Roman Church. The
fear was the result of their not having their names written in the Lamb’s Book
of Life. To them it was be a Catholic or die; they accepted the belief that
there is no salvation outside the Church of Rome.
there were people that had ears to hear the word of God to whatever degree it
was discernable to them. All may not have had sound doctrine as we would define
sound doctrine but there were multitudes of people that followed Jesus to the
best of their knowledge and paid for it with their lives.
10 is the judgment God placed on the beast of the sea. It took people into the
captivity of a false representation of Christianity. It brought fear on people
by claiming itself to be the one and only church built by Christ.
beast literally killed genuine saints of God with the sword of the Inquisition.
Worse than this was the setting aside of God’s word—God’s sword—in favor
of ritual. In turn, the influence of the beast of the sea was soon to be killed
by the sword of God’s word during the Protestant Reformation.
closes the vision of the beast of the sea by giving God’s people of the time
the assurance that God had not forsaken them. It would take generations to
defeat this monstrous beast, but he would be defeated by the word of God to
which they were holding. Be patient.
Clarke closes his discussion on the beast of the sea with a quotation:
calls upon his saints to keep in view, under all their persecutions, his
retributive justice; there is no violence that has been exercised upon them but
what shall be retaliated upon the cruel and persecuting government and governors
of the Latin empire.
Schaff; History of the Christian Church;
Vol V, pg. 461.