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The Shepherd's Rod vol. 2
"So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns." (Rev. 17:3.) This particular beast cannot be a symbol of Rome as some have thought. The first reason is, that the non-descript beast of Daniel 7, as previously explained, is a symbol of Rome, and was seen coming up from the sea; but the scarlet colored beast, John says, was in the desert. Therefore, the forces that brought the scarlet colored beast on the stage of action is the opposite of that which produced the non-descript.
The second reason is, as the angel was about to show the vision to John, he said to him, "Come hither; I will show thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters." (Rev. 17:1.) Then John was carried into the wilderness and there he saw the woman riding on the beast. The reason the vision is given is to show him the judgment of the woman. But she was not judged in the days of Rome; her judgment is yet in the future, and will be executed under the "Loud Cry" angel of Revelation 18. (See verses 8, 10.) The riding on the beast is her last act; therefore, the beast must represent the period in which she is judged. There is a third reason why the beast cannot be a symbol of Rome. The book of Daniel, and the book of Revelation were written especially for the generation living at the time of the end, and not so much for the Roman world. (See Dan. 12:4.) They had no understanding of the writings that pertained to the last days, and thus could not have profited by them. Therefore, it would have been improper and unwise on the part of God to apply all the beasts to Rome, and leave the period to which the books apply without symbolical representation.
We believe that there must be more complete symbolical information for this present generation than for any previous one. Thus, it is very inconsistent and unreasonable of those who have applied the "leopard-like beast" of Revelation 13, and the "scarlet colored" of Revelation 17, in addition to the "non-descript beast" of Daniel 7, as symbols of Rome. Why so many symbols of Rome and none of the period for which the books were written? Furthermore, there are no facts to support such claims. The greatest rebuke to such assertions in that they derive the same lesson from one beast as they do from the other. If there
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is no special lesson in each of them, why are they given? Applying the heads, as they do the horns to symbols of governments, shows that they had no light from the great and all-wise God. If each term means government, why did Inspiration use both horns and heads?
Note how unreasonable it is to apply the woman riding on the beast, or sitting on the heads to Catholicism in the New Testament time, and the heads to seven consecutive forms of governments in the Old Testament period. Said the angel: "The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth." (Rev. 17:9.) If the papal church came into existence in 508 A.D., how could she "sit" on any government centuries before? Again, if the heads succeeded each other, where is the proof? Are they not all present on the beast and the woman sitting on them? As the scarlet colored beast by his ten horns and seven heads proves to be universal, the successive chain of beasts (the lion, bear, four-headed leopard, non-descript, and leopard-like) make it impossible for another universal beast to intersect their unbreakable chain of five links. Such an act would be an attempt to overthrow prophecy, and history. Therefore, the only period he can possibly represent would be the one after the "deadly wound" of the leopard-like is healed -- becoming a sixth universal beast.
Since the "scarlet colored" is the last in the symbolical procession of beasts, he must possess all the characteristics of his ancestors. The ten horns of the non-descript beast, the seven heads of the leopard-like, and his own unharmed heads, show that he comes on the stage of action after the deadly wound was healed. His scarlet color denotes curse, as it does on the dragon (devil), in Revelation 12:3, and the words, "go into perdition," (Rev. 17:11), reveal that he is to bring this world to an end by a curse that will result in "entire ruin; utter destruction; future misery or eternal death." -- "Standard Dictionary."
Therefore, if this beast represents our world at the present time, would it not be unwise on the part of God, if He should have neglected to foresee the present day multiplicity of sects, and the great confusion among Christendom, if the symbols by this beast fail to reveal the true condition of the churches? As the non-descript beast tells the fall of the church in the period he represents so must the scarlet colored. In fact, this is the principal reason why these prophetic beasts are presented.
The scarlet colored beast is the last symbolical beast in the continuous chain of historical events. This beast does not arise from the sea like the beasts before it, but was seen in the wilderness. Therefore, the scarlet colored beast is created by an historical
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incident unlike the beasts before it. The symbol denotes that it is not strife and wars between the nations that brings this beast upon the stage of action, but rather a principle that is the opposite of the symbol -- troubled sea.
He has ten horns and seven heads, the same as the leopard-like beast of Revelation 13:1-3. The only difference between the heads of the two beasts is the deadly wound on the leopard-like. As his "wound was healed," it is evident that the "scarlet colored" is a continuation of the "leopard-like." Says John, "And his deadly wound was healed."
Thus the scarlet colored beast has seven unharmed heads. The seven heads represent Christendom as they do on the leopard-like beast, but it is in the symbol of the scarlet colored, that they are called Babylon. As he is full of names and blasphemy, it verifies the fact that he represents an exceeding sinful period. "Full of names," implies a period of great multiplicity of so-called Christian sects; "and blasphemy," because of rejecting present truth, (refusing to be corrected) and yet dare to call themselves by the name of Christ (Christians).
The "ten" horns denote the same as on the beasts before it, meaning a universal system. If the heads of the leopard-like beast represent religious organizations, then the (scarlet colored) embraces the entire present civilization, both civil and religious (horns and heads). Note that the dragon of Revelation 12:3, has the crowns on his heads, not on his horns. It has been previously explained that when the crowns appear on the heads, it denotes a religio-political system. But if they appear on the horns it reveals that the state is independent of the church.
It will be noticed that the scarlet-colored beast is crownless, as the non-descript of Daniel 7:7, 8. The ten horns in the first stage of the non-descript beast, representing imperial Rome, had no crowns because they had received no kingdom as yet. But in his second stage (after the fall of imperial Rome) in reality they should have been crowned, the "little horn" having the "eyes of a man and a mouth speaking great things" (a combination of a horn-head -- union of church and state -- the papacy) being supreme, the horns could have no crowns, showing the papacy was to rule over kings. The scarlet colored beast is also controlled by the woman riding on his back (church and state). Thus it denotes that she is the authority, or the crown, for she rules the beast. This is one of the reasons why the crowns are absent on this beast. The last is an image of the first verifying the fact that the scarlet colored beast represents the "image of the beast" period, fulfilling Revelation 13:12, 15: "And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the
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earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed." The difference between the two drastic systems is revealed by the two symbols (horn-head on the one, and the woman riding on the other).
The non-descript beast has only one "horn-head" -- a symbol of a mono-sectarian system by alliance of civil power with religious creed. But the scarlet colored beast has seven heads, which denote a multi-sectarian combination under a supreme religio-political jurisdiction (the woman). He represents our world at its end, with its sovereign authority and theoretical theology under the dominion of the "woman."
The period represented by the scarlet colored beast commenced in 1929, at which time the deadly wound was healed. But his career is not fully developed until the "woman" shall sit upon his back.
The commencement of that act will be marked when the following prediction is fully realized: "When Protestantism shall stretch forth her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with Spiritualism, when under the influence of this three-fold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its constitution as a Protestant and Republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan, and that the end is near." -- "Testimonies for the Church," Vol. 5, p. 451.
Revelation 17:8, "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is." "The beast that thou sawest" (the scarlet colored), said the angel, "was and is not." As previously explained, the beast first began to appear on the stage of history in 1929. Therefore, the word, "was," represents the period from the above stated date up to the time when he will be, "not."
The period represented by the word "not," is the thousand years of Satan's captivity -- millennium: "And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be
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fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season." (Rev. 20:2, 3.)
This period commences with the second coming of Christ and the end of this present world. At that time the Scripture of Revelation 20:6, will be fulfilled: "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." As the righteous dead are raised and united with the living, then the prophecy of Jeremiah shall be fully realized: "I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was as a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by His fierce anger. For thus hath the Lord said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end." (Jer. 4:26, 27.)
When the cities are broken down and the land laid waste, then the hope of the redeemed shall be accomplished: "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (1 Thess. 4:16, 17.) At that glorious time when the saints depart, the earth will be left in darkness as described by Jeremiah: For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it. The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein." (Jer. 4:28, 29.)
Then, as the saints enter in through the pearly gates John's vision will meet its fulfillment: "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands, and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." (Rev. 20:4.) The righteous shall spend a thousand years judging the wicked dead. For further study of the millennium see "Patriarchs and Prophets," p. 103; "The Great Controversy," pp. 321, 662.
"But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.... And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written
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in the books, according to their works," (Rev. 20:5, 12.) The books contain the records of the wicked; the book of life is opened and examined by the saints, and in it they behold only the names of the righteous. The names of some who once appeared in it were blotted out, while the names of others were never entered between its pages.
Coming back to our subject: "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit." Thus far, we have explained the first part of the Scripture quoted (was and is not). Now we note the words, "And shall ascend out of the bottomless pit." In the millennial period the wicked shall be judged; and at its close, Christ and the saints shall return to earth. John bears witness of this: "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." (Rev. 21:2.) As Christ with the saints and the city descend, then, the following Scripture will be fulfilled: "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works." (Rev. 20:13.) Note the verb, "were," being in past tense, shows that they were judged previous to their resurrection. By the resurrection of the wicked, Satan will be loosed from his captivity for a "little season." (See Rev. 20:3.) In this manner shall the beast (world) "ascend out of the bottomless pit."
But the angel also said, the beast "goeth into perdition"; that is, after he ascended. Satan is loosed for only a short season. He and the wicked shall live for one hundred years after the resurrection. ("The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 1, pages 164, 165.) The Bible says that at the end of the hundred years "Death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Rev. 20:14, 15.) The second death of the wicked is an everlasting death, "and they shall be as though they had not been." (Obadiah 16.) Speaking of Satan's destruction, says the prophet: "All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more." (Ezek. 28:19.)
"For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch." (Mal. 4:1.) In this manner the beast shall go in to perdition. (Webster's definition of the word perdition is: "total destruction; utter loss of the soul or of happiness in a future state.")
It is summarized as follows: The beast that "was" is the
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period prior to the millennium; and, "is not," is during the time of the millennium; and "shall ascend out of the bottomless pit," is the period after the millennium, at which time all the wicked will be resurrected and go into perdition; that is, at the end of the one hundred years, the wicked, Satan and his angels shall be consumed by fire.
"And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not found written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is." (Rev. 17:8.) What a surprise it will be to the wicked when they witness the great multitude as the sands of the sea for number, suddenly come to life. It will be something which has never entered their mind. Note the phrase, "From the foundation of the world." This term includes all the wicked since the world began and proves positively that this interpretation is correct.
Rev. 17:9, "And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth." All the heads being present on the beast, and the woman sitting on them, proves that all seven "mountains" must be in existence at the same time. They cannot be consecutive for the woman sits on them all, which denotes one great union of the heads by the medium of the woman. They are called "mountains," as God's denomination is called "mountain," in Isaiah 2:2, and Micah 4:1. The "mountain" (singular) is God's denomination, but the "mountains" (plural by both Isaiah and Micah) have reference to the same denominations represented by the heads on the beast. Thus "the seven heads are seven mountains."
Rev. 17:10, "And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space." Note that it does not say "they are," but "there are." Therefore the "heads" cannot be symbols of the kings. The kings reign in successive order, for, five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come. Note the Biblical number "seven," meaning completeness. As the beast also represents the wicked who shall arise from the dead on the other side of the millennium, and if all who lived from Cain to the end of this present generation are to be raised, then the seven kings in connection with the beast must apply to the entire world's history from creation to the end. "Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am He." (Isa. 41:4.)
As the explanation of the symbolical prophecy is first understood at this present time, and as such prophecies are only timely revealed, and the lesson derived concerns this present generation,
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then the prediction is present truth. Therefore, we must consider the use of the Biblical pastand present tense. This grammatical rule is followed in the Scriptures, and it is one way to recognize present truth. Let not the enemy trip you on this point by vain philosophy or theology. The Scriptures are perfect in themselves. The King James version is as dependable as any "good" translation. Take heed of explanations by translations which you yourself do not understand. Trust no man.
"And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space." (Rev. 17:10.) The "king," that "is," must be the one in existence at this present time, and the one that is "not yet come," must be in the future. Consequently the five that are "fallen," must be in the past. This would be the only fair position for one to take without doing injury to the holy Word of God. As it has reference to the entire world's history under sin, we must consider the number of universal empires, or periods, since the world began. There is one before the flood, as previously explained; the second is Babylon; the third, Medo-Persia; fourth, Grecia; and the fifth is the Roman monarchy. These five are fallen. The one that "is", is the present civilization since the fall of Rome under the symbol of the "leopard-like" and the "scarlet colored" beasts, to the commencement of the millennium, which period is termed Rome in her broken state represented by the feet and toes of the great image of Daniel 2. These are the six kings. "Five are fallen" and the one "is." The other that is "not yet come," must be the period after the millennium, corresponding with the beast that is to ascend from the bottomless pit.
It is wonderful to note how God has portrayed our world's history with such perfect symbols, using numbers of completeness in each instance. Thus His divine plan, rule, and guide for His people, is revealed from generation to generation. Speaking of the seventh king, the one after the millennium, the text says, "When he cometh, he must continue a short space," corresponding with that of Revelation 20:3, "And after that he [Satan] must be loosed a little season."
Revelation 17:11, "And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition." To unmask the apparent mystery, all that is necessary, is to count the prophetic beasts representing periods and nations. Beginning with the first beast and as we close with the last, he must be "the eighth" and "yet of the seven." The lion (Babylon) is the first, the bear (Medo-Persia) is the second; the four-headed leopard (Grecia) is the third; the non-descript (Rome)
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is the fourth; the leopard-like (from the fall of Rome to 1929) is the fifth; the one with the lamb-like horns (United States) is the sixth; the scarlet colored (from 1929 to the end of this present world) is the seventh; the same "scarlet colored" that shall ascend from the bottomless pit and go into perdition (from the resurrection of the wicked to their second death), is the eighth: "And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition." He is the eighth, "but is" of the seven," because "He was and is not, and yet is." That is, the scarlet colored beast appears on the stage of action the second time (first, prior to the millennium and second, after the millennium, by the second resurrection). Therefore, he is the eighth, but is of the seven: "And goeth into perdition" (the second death of the wicked). Simple as it is, yet most perfect, it tells the truth and corrects error. Here we see another set of numbers including the entire chain of beasts. The red dragon in Revelation 12:3, cannot be numbered with the numerous beasts for he is not a symbol of a particular nation or government. He represents Satan and his schemes at certain times, for he is "called the Devil, and Satan." (Rev. 12:9.)
Rev. 17:12, "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast." The ten horns denote exactly the same as on the non-descript beast. As the present civilization was embodied in that beast (Roman monarchy) and symbolized by the horns, just so the wicked multitude on the other side of the millennium is embodied in the scarlet beast and symbolized by the horns. Therefore they "have received no kingdom as yet." But received power as kings one hour with the beast." This last phrase (one hour with the beast) will be fully explained in connection with another study.
Rev. 17:13, "These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast." The kings that descended from the Roman monarchy have been in continual strife and will be to the end. Said the prophet: "And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay." (Dan. 2:43.) "But with the innumerable company on the other side of the millennium it will not be so: "These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast." (Rev. 17:13.)
Rev. 17:14: "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." Satan shall gather the great multitude and deceive
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them once more. He will marshall the armies of the nations at the close of the one hundred years against the holy city -- New Jerusalem, thus making war with the Lamb: "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever." (Rev. 20:7-10.)
"Tormented day and night forever and ever." Note that it says not tormenting, but "tormented"; that is, they are punished once for ever. "Day and night," means that they shall be punished and destroyed in the same manner as the antediluvians -- by raining, "day and night," -- water in the former, and by fire in the latter.
The color of the beast (scarlet) reveals that God's people will have been called out by the message of the "loud cry," and thus be separate and distinct from the world. Thus, leaving the beast "scarlet" (skimmed-separated), a sign of being under condemnation, left without excuse -- ready to perish. "Full of names and blasphemy", denotes multiplicity of sects and hypocrisy. The balance of the chapter will be explained in another study.
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