Two House Chronicles
Identifying the Two-Horned Beast in the Revelation of John
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Identifying the Two-Horned Beast in the Revelation of John
by Marsue and Jerry Huerta
Identifying the two-horned beast that rises out of the earth can only be accomplished under the right set of guidelines, some of which were analyzed in the previous chapter. It was demonstrated that the application of only the historicist’s guidelines delivers the greatest harmony when interpreting the beasts of Daniel and the beasts in the Revelation. One of those guidelines determines that the beasts in Daniel and Revelation cannot be construed as mere individuals but as successive dominant world powers.
In ch. xvii. 9, it is said, that the seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits, and seven kings. It is clear as day, that there is not a double signification ascribed here to the seven heads, but that the second only serves as an explanation of the first. Even Bengel remarks, “It is certainly no satisfactory exposition, which takes a particular symbol in two quite different significations.” Now, in the symbolism of Scripture generally, and especially of the Apocalypse, mountains uniformly denote, not particular kings, but kingdoms—see on ch. viii. 8. The kings, therefore, are not individuals, but ideal persons, personifications of kingdoms, the king of Babylon, of Rome, &c. Such phraseology occurs very frequently in the higher style of prophecy.1
Both preterists and futurists acknowledge that the beasts in Daniel do not represent individuals but successive regimes that go forth to conquer, but they alter the guideline when it comes to the little horn of Daniel, which kingdom they force into the past or future. Preterist Kenneth Gentry maintains that the Revelation veers from Daniel’s vision of the beasts/kingdoms.
John actually reworks and reapplies OT verses, particularly from Daniel, his second leading source (behind Ezekiel). For instance, note that Daniel’s image involves four successive, distinct beasts (Dan 7:3). And these are counted seriatim: “first,” “second,” third (implied), and “fourth” (Dan 7:4–7). Whereas John’s beast is one beast: “a beast” (Revelation 13:1). And his one beast is even a compound that employs only three of Daniel’s four beasts: leopard, bear, and lion (Revelation. 13:2).… Clearly Revelation changes much regarding Daniel’s imagery.2
The vindication that Daniel was uniform and that the little horn also represents a regime and not some individual, overthrows the preterist and futurist’s paradigms. As stated earlier, both modalities must reconcile time elements in their interpretations and because they either start in the distant past or want to push things off into the far future they are forced to perceive the kings in Revelation 17 as individuals rather than being able to successfully reconcile the kings as kingdoms. The continuous-historical guidelines hold the complementary nature of Daniel and Revelation and for this reason represents the true hermeneutic in rendering the apocalypse of John. The Revelation has something to “keep” in all the lives of the people of God who live during the interim between the advents when the mountains, renamed heads and kings, are perceived as successive dominant world powers. The guidelines of preterism and futurism produce tremendous tension concerning the blessing for “he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein” (Revelation 1:3) when the people of God have nothing to “keep” because the things written therein do not pertain to them, as in preterism and futurism.
The sine qua non of historicism is the creed that the papacy represents the antichrist and through progressive revelation it has come to view the sea-beast and the little horn in Daniel 7 as the same entity: the papacy. Because of this view historicism is often credited to Protestantism. But under greater scrutiny historicism can be viewed as having its roots some centuries before with such men as the tenth-century bishop Arnulf of Orléans who applied the prophecy of the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians 2:3–9 to the papacy.
Looking at the actual state of the papacy, what do we behold? John [XII.] called Octavian, wallowing in the sty of filthy concupiscence, conspiring against the sovereign whom he had himself recently crowned; then Leo [VIII.] the neophyte, chased from the city by this Octavian; and that monster himself, after the commission of many murders and cruelties, dying by the hand of an assassin. Next we see the deacon Benedict, though freely elected by the Romans, carried away captive into the wilds of Germany by the new Caesar [Otho I.] and his pope Leo. Then a second Caesar [Otho II.], greater in arts and arms than the first [?], succeeds; and in his absence Boniface, a very monster of iniquity, reeking with the blood of his predecessor, mounts the throne of Peter. True, he is expelled and condemned; but only to return again, and redden his hands with the blood of the holy bishop John [XIV.]. Are there, indeed, any bold enough to maintain that the priests of the Lord over all the world are to take their law from monsters of guilt like these - men branded with ignominy, illiterate men, and ignorant alike of things human and divine.… What would you say of such a one, when you behold him sitting upon the throne glittering in purple and gold? Must he not be the “Antichrist, sitting in the temple of God, and showing himself as God?” Verily such a one lacketh both wisdom and charity; he standeth in the temple as an image, as an idol, from which as from dead marble you would seek counsel.3
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1. Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg, The Revelation of St John, Forgotten Books (vol. 2, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 38 George Street, 1852), 75.
2. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., “Daniel’s Beast and Revelation,” Postmillennialism Worldview.com, (PMT 2015-058), https://postmillennialismtoday.com/2015/05/13/daniels-beasts-and-revelation/
3. Speech by Archbishop Arnulf of Orleans (+1003AD), Synod of Verzy in 991 AD; (Schaff’s, History of the Christian Church, vol. 4), 290-292.