The Image of the Beast- 1861
THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST
ALTHOUGH much has been said on this subject, it may not be out of place for us again to call attention to it.The beast which is to make this image is the two-horned beast of Revelation 13:11-18. The beast to which an image is to be made is the Papal beast, i.e., the Roman Catholic church clothed with civil authority. It is said to make an image to the first beast. The first beast is the one introduced in the preceding portion of the chapter, which receives a deadly wound. And it is after this deadly wound that the two-horned beast makes an image to the first beast. The first beast receives the civil power of the dragon. This dragon, we see by what is said of it, is the civil power which bore rule at the time of Christ’s birth. This was the Pagan Rome power.
In A. D. 538 the Pagan Rome power gave its seat – the seat of empire of Rome, the city of Rome – into the hands of the Catholics, with civil authority to persecute heretics. This power it held for 1260 years, which ended in 1798. In the year 1798 when the French army under General Berthier entered Rome, and deposed the Pope, and established the Papal power, the deadly wound was inflicted on this first beast.The two-horned beast which makes the image to this first beast is seen coming up at the time this wound is inflicted on the first beast.
It has been clearly shown that the government of the United States has come up in the right time, on the right territory, and in the right manner to fulfill the specifications in regard to this two-horned beast. It comes up out of the earth. Its predecessors came up by the striving of the four winds upon the great sea [Daniel 7], the sea representing nations, etc. Revelation 17. While the powers symbolized by the four beasts of Daniel 7 have successively come up by the overthrow of the government of their predecessors, this two-horned beast “comes up,” not by winds’ striving, not by the justling of nation against nation, not by powers’ being overthrown to establish it; but it plants itself in territory which previously was unoccupied by civil governments.
Our declaration of independence having been made in 1776, in 1798, the time the deadly wound was inflicted on the first beast, this power was a lamb (youthful) power, “coming up.”The rise of our government since 1798, as expressed by an English Journalist in 1853, has not a parallel in the past history of the human race. It is also found that the government itself answers to the description of this beast. While it is lamb-like in its profession, both in its civil and ecclesiastical departments, it is dragon-like in its action.
While the civil power declares in its declaration of independence that all men are entitled to liberty, by its voice, or laws, it holds about four millions of beings in slavery. The ecclesiastical power of the government, which is Protestant, claims to grant to all, toleration and freedom of faith. Yet at the same time it joins in with the voice of civil authority in enforcing slavery, while the measures by which it does so may gall the consciences of men.Here also a series of wonders have been performed, and now even miracles are done by the beast. Spiritualism with all its satanic deceptiveness is working upon the people, and the way is being fully prepared for a saying to go forth that an image should be made to the first beast. When this image is made men are to be caused to worship it under severe penalties.
It is true we do not expect the making and execution of the great decrees of the beast until after the third angel’s message of Revelation 14, shall have accomplished its warning against the work of this beast. We understand, however, that steps are now being taken which will result in the making of that image. We do not understand that the making of that image will be a momentary work, but like the rise of the beast itself, will occupy a little space of time in its development.
We would inquire at this time, How far developed is the image of the beast?It may be said that the making of the image of the beast is yet future, and that there are no means of telling how it will be done. I think the best way to form our theories upon this subject would be to look at the rise of the first beast – to look at the steps which were gradually taken to bring it into action as a persecuting power. Similar steps will probably be taken to make an image to the beast that were taken to make the beast.
Some have said when an image to the beast is made it will enforce Purgatory and all the doctrines of the Papal church. That would not necessarily be the case. A power that should enforce the doctrines of the Papacy would restore Papacy instead of making an image. An image to anything must be something that is in appearance like the thing, yet is not the thing itself. An image to the Papacy we should understand would be some other class of religionists that should take similar steps in enforcing its sentiments to those taken by the Papacy. We think it can be made clear that but five distinct steps were taken by the church before she came into the position marked in prophecy as the “beast with seven heads and ten horns.” We think we can show that four of those steps have been taken by the nominal, creed-making Protestants of this time; and they are already striving to take the fifth step, which will fully constitute them the image to that beast.
The overt steps taken by the church were, First, the making of a creed. For this purpose Conventions were called, Synods and Councils convened, and the result was a great universal creed. The second step was to make that creed a rule of faith and test of fellowship. This was no sooner done than it was decided to try unruly members by the creed instead of the Bible. So for the third step, this creed became the tribunal by which men were judged. The fourth step was to brand all as heretics who did not subscribe to the creed. In the fifth step they obtained the aid of the civil law to enforce penalties on those whom they had branded as heretics. It was for some time after they had formed their creeds, that they could only threaten what they would do to heretics, but they did not punish them because no laws were passed by which they could do it.
As an illustration of this matter we would refer to Theodosius’ edict which was made in the year A. D. 380. This may be found in Gibbon’s Rome, chap 27. After having given an account of Theodosius’ baptism he says: “And, as the emperor ascended from the holy fount, still glowing with the warm feelings of regeneration, he dictated a solemn edict, which proclaimed his own faith, and prescribed the religion of his subjects. It is our pleasure (such is the imperial style) that all the nations which are governed by our clemency and moderation, should steadfastly adhere to the religion which was taught by St. Peter to the Romans, which faithful tradition has preserved, and which is now professed by the pontiff Damasus, and by Peter, bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness. According to the discipline of the apostles, and the doctrine of the gospel, let us believe the sole deity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; under an equal majesty, and a pious trinity. We authorize the followers of this doctrine to assume the title of catholic Christians; and as we judge that all others are extravagant mad-men, we brand them with the infamous name of heretics and declare that their conventicles shall no longer usurp the respectable appellation of churches. Besides the condemnation of divine justice, they must expect to suffer the severe penalties which our authority, guided by heavenly wisdom, shall think proper to inflict upon them.”It was several years however before severe penalties were inflicted upon them.But it seems from his next statements that even these penalties were not immediately executed. He says: “The theory of persecution was established by Theodosius…. but the practice of it, in the fullest extent, was reserved for his rival and colleague Maximus, the first among the Christian princes, who shed the blood of his Christian subjects on account of their religious opinions.” In these edicts the emperors were beginning a work which finally resulted in the giving of the civil power into the hands of the Papal church.As we have before shown it is by the two-horned-beast power (our own government) that an image is to be made to this first beast. Some regard it perhaps as all fancy that we should suppose any such thing will be done here. We already see four steps have been taken by the Protestant church, and a plea set up that like causes produce like results, we should conclude an “image to the beast” would be the result of taking these steps. But we have the sure word of prophecy declaring that this power will make an image and we look on the taking of these steps as a fulfillment of the prophetic testimony concerning this power. J. N. LOUGHBOROUGH. To be continued.)