The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 84
Part I. — The "Beast."—The "Man of Sin."
The "Beast."—The "Man of Sin."
The subject upon which we shall base our remarks will be found in 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2, verses 1 to 4. And what we wish particularly to bring out in this pamphlet is the identity of that "Man of Sin; " to show his actions, and his end, and the events predicted thereafter to the end of the world. The reader will agree with us that the theme is of sufficient importance to require very close attention.
Our first question is as to who that Man of Sin can be, described by St. Paul as "the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God."
The Reformers have taken him to be the Pope of Rome, and many works have been written since in support of that view; and that is a very general opinion at the present time. From that opinion, however, we must altogether dissent; for whilst in some respects the Pope may agree with the marks given here by the Apostle, in many others given elsewhere there is no comparison. And even in this passage there is an evident disagreement; for that "Man of Sin" clearly refers to one person, whilst there have been scores of Popes. We cannot therefore look to any of the Popes, whether past, present, or future, to identify the person spoken of by Paul. Instead of looking to an ecclesiastical power, to discern this coming blasphemer, we must look to a temporal authority; and shall endeavour to prove that as a King he rises and assumes the place and position of God. In showing this, we propose commencing with the prophecy of Daniel : and here we would suggest that the reader, in perusing this paper, should have a Bible near him, so that reference may be made to the various passages quoted.
In Daniel, chapter vii., verses 1 to 7, a description is given of what the prophet saw in a vision, of the rising from the sea of four beasts. These beasts differed in appearance from one another, and their differences are pointed out. By these four beasts were represented four mighty empires, their power, and the exercise of their power. With the first three we shall have nothing to do. as they are not important to us. because their power passed away long ago. But the fourth beast we must take into our serious consideration, as he is the key to unlock all unfulfilled prophecy; and by him all the great troublesome and treacherous work against humanity will be carried on. until he is utterly destroyed and swept from the face of the earth to trouble it no more. Of this fourth beast the prophet Daniel gives the following description : "I saw" in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it : and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots : and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things" (Daniel vii. 7, 8). To the little horn here spoken of we must pay particular attention, for it is with that we have principally now to deal. That little horn is a certain kingdom; and the King of that kingdom is that "Man of Sin" spoken of by the Apostle Paul in the passage first quoted.
The beast was shown to Daniel with ten horns upon its head, as is mentioned in verse 20. But the prophet, it seems, took particular notice of that little hora which came up amongst the ten, and in whose place three were plucked up. He took special notice of that particular horn because of its peculiar rise, and on account of "the great words which the horn spake." He beheld "even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame" (verse 11). Here in the concluding paragraph is the little horn called "the beast; " the fulfilment of the prophecy concerning his end as the beast, meaning a single man, we shall refer to again. We make this remark for the reader to bear it in mind, and observe how that horn gets changed into the beast, or a single man. Daniel says that he saw the beast slain, and his body given to the burning flame; and the page 8 apostle Paul says (2 Thess. ii. 8) that the Lord shall consume him "with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming." How that will take place we shall see further on, when we draw attention to it. At present we shall endeavour to search out the meaning of the terms "the beast," and the "ten horns," before we deal with the little horn in particular.
The prophet Daniel was seriously grieved and troubled about this vision, and earnestly desired to know its meaning (Daniel vii. 15, 16). So he drew near to one who stood by and asked of him its interpretation. In reply, the prophet was informed (verse 17) that these four beasts represented four kings. Of the three, Daniel seems to have partly understood who they were; but he was particularly inquisitive as to the meaning of the fourth beast, because that little horn which rose on the place where three of the other horns were rooted up made war with the saints, and prevailed against them. Daniel would no doubt rather have seen that the saints prevailed. Religious people always look and act in the interest of the saints with whom they are in fellowship, and to whom they are related as members of one spiritual body, having all one Father and one Lord. The interpretation the prophet received with reference to his followers in the faith and the fear of God was, in the first instance, most grievous, but in the last most glorious (verse 27). Let us therefore look to the glorious end, and not be disheartened by the present distresses and the tribulations we shall meet with, for the present is the time of war and the presence on the field of battle; but the future is the glorious victory, which the angel who interpreted the matter to Daniel did not fail to point out for his and his people's comfort. He who refuses to put on the Lord's armour (Eph. vi. 11, 12) and fight the fight of faith in truth will not be crowned; he who endureth it is, and who prevails until the end, who shall be saved.
The interpretation given by the angel to Daniel, of the vision of the beast and the ten horns, is very brief. Thus, he said : "The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces" (verse 23). There can be no doubt that the old Roman Empire as formerly existing is meant by this description, looking at the fact that at its prime it had subdued and brought under its power the greatest part of the earth; and there has never since arisen an Empire so powerful.* The further statement that that kingdom should be divided into ten kings or kingdoms (v. 24), represented by the ten horns in the head of the beast; and that amongst these ten kings shall arise one (represented by that little horn) who shall "subdue three kings" (make them small), and who shall remain until the saints shall reign, is another proof that the Roman Empire is meant. But the most assured proofs we shall find, to full satisfaction, in the book of Revelation. We have a few more remarks to make with reference to the little horn, and shall then turn our attention to Revelation, where we shall find a more complete and extended representation and description of this matter.
The little horn, in which (verse 8) were "eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things," is said (verse 24,) to be "a king," (of course a King of one of the ten kingdoms, represented by the ten horns, into which that Empire should be divided), and that that king "shall be diverse from the first" ten kings, before he rose; "and he shall subdue three kings" of those ten, and make their kingdom small; "and he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change times and laws" (verse 25). And "whose look was more stout than his fellows" (verse 20).
* "When the vision appeared to the prophet Daniel, the beast, representing the Roman Empire, it is said, "came up," showing the rise of that Empire (Daniel, vii. 19). The beast was diverse from all the others; not likened to any beast, but merely showing. its strength; exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass, devoured and brake in pieces other countries and governments, "and stamped the residue with his feet,—made them all subject to its authority and control.
Commencing with the 13th chapter of Revelation, verse I, we find that the Apostle John, in a vision, "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." "And I saw one of his heads as (if) it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed : and all the world wondered after the beast." (verse 3.)*
Before going further into the matter we shall examine, first, what the beast represents; and then as to the wounded head being healed again. The beast here is the same as the one that we have already briefly considered, in Daniel vii., and represents the Roman Empire, which, by the interpretation of the angel, we have seen should be divided into ten kingdoms. That has been done, and is the state of things at present; so that the Roman Empire has quite disappeared from our view. But it will be restored again, as we shall presently see In order to represent by the beast that the Empire should be restored again, i.e., reconstituted, it was requisite that the seven heads should be added, clearly showing by whom it was to be re-established—namely, by that wounded head becoming healed again. The seven heads have a twofold meaning. In this instance—namely, to re-establish the Empire—they mean seven kings; that is, seven notorious rulers of the old Roman Empire. By one of the heads receiving a deadly wound, is meant the last ruler of that Empire, after whose reign it was divided into ten kingdoms; and by the healing of the wounded head is represented that King by whom it shall be reestablished; for these two are to be taken for one, as we shall see presently. In showing the particulars of this mysterious operation we refer the reader to Rev. xvii. 8, which reveals the mystery in the following inspired sentences : "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; . . . the beast that was, and is not, and yet is." We shall have to deal with these paragraphs again hereafter, by the consideration of the woman sitting on the beast, spoken of in the previous verses of that chapter; and, in that connection, the seven heads are said to mean seven mountains. The beast is, in the three instances quoted—in Daniel vii. 7, 8 (and the explanation of it given to Daniel, verse 23—25); Rev. xiii.; and also Rev. xvii. 3, 7, 13, 16, 17—one and the same, of which the reader, we think, will be fully convinced, when we have gone through all the passages. In the latter instance there is nothing said of any "rise" of the beast. The reason is this : the latter vision represents the period after the division of the Roman Empire, which "is not," in its shape and form, "and yet is" in its power, in the ten kingdoms in which it has been divided, during which it carries or supports the woman, as we shall see when we come to deal with that vision.
* That the Apostle saw the beast "rise," caused us for a considerable time to question whether this boast could be taken for the same that we have considered in Daniel. To avoid that scruple, we need only remind the reader of the fact that, to Daniel, the Roman Empire was represented in the shape of a beast to show (1) its rise, and (2), its division into ten parts (kingdoms). But as we shall now see in Revelation that that Empire will bo re-established, that, of course, causes a fresh rise, and must, to make it properly understood, be represented as such, though the rise be merely effected out of old materials.
In order to understand the symbol clearly in this instance, we shall leave all the rest, including the woman represented here, for further consideration, and take the subject in the past; showing, first, what "the beast" means. We have thus the above quoted sentences, namely : "The beast that thou sawest was and is not; . . . when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is."
First, notice : "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not." That the Roman Empire once existed is so well known that we need not say more on that head. The Roman Empire, as formerly constituted, however, is at present non-existent; we see neither shape nor form of it, it has quite disappeared from our view. But, it is said : "and yet is." Where ? In the ten kingdoms into which it has been divided. Now notice, further, if it were not to be re-established, it could not be said that "it is." For a body being cut into ten pieces, and divided between ten persons, each person would claim his share as his own lawful right, and the body is no more; there is an end of it; for no person could possibly demand the pieces back and put the body together again, because each party possesses a portion. But in this instance it is said, "it is," showing that the Roman Empire shall be reestablished and the ten pieces put together again, and that the land, so divided, rests in the hands of its present possessors (kings) comparatively like trust funds. Another proof that the Empire shall be re-established may be found in the words inverses, "and shall ascend." But now comes the serious question: How can that possibly be done, for each king claims his kingdom as his legal right? Is it to be done by conquest ? That would not answer the prediction, for in that case the Empire would not be the same, because it would be formed on a different basis. The question resolves itself in this way : Under certain circumstances these Kings will give their power and strength back again to the party who shall re-establish the Empire : "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet (that is, at the time of this vision to John, for the Empire was not then divided); but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength," notice, not their kingdoms, "unto the beast." (Rev. xvii. 12, 13.) Thus the restoration of the Roman Empire shall be accomplished.*
Let us now see who that beast is, with whom these kings shall receive power as kings one hour, and to whom, with one mind, they shall give their power and strength. That question is solved by the seven heads of the beast, as previously stated, representing seven Kings (verse 10) of the old Roman Empire, of which five had passed away, and one, namely the sixth, was then existent at the time when the vision was revealed to St. John; and the seventh was yet to come, and continue a short space. Here are seven kings—represented by the seven heads of the beast; "And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven" (verse 11). The mystery lies in these words: "is the eighth, and is of the seven; " that is to say, the last ruler of the old Roman Empire and that one by whom it shall be re-established are to be taken for one. The one who re-establishes the Empire, is, according to number, the eighth; but, taking the two as one—the last King and that one who re-establishes it—makes him who brings it into shape and form again to be one of the seven. The head being wounded is seven, and the same head being healed is eight, according to number; still they both are represented by one head, wounded and healed. The head being healed again of its deadly wound, he by whom the wound was healed is henceforth called "the beast," wherever he appears; because, upon assuming the position of Emperor of Koine, the man and the Empire become one. "And all the world wondered after the beast (Rev. xiii. 3), saying what a clever man this is, who has managed to bring such a thing about which no person would have thought of. "And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying : Who is like unto the beast ? Who is able to make war with him ?" (Rev. xiii. 4.) Thus we shall have, sooner or later, a Roman Emperor again; though, indeed, a very wicked one : "he shall ascend out of the bottomless pit "(Rev. xvii. 8) the only place from whence such a monster can possibly arrive.
* In Daniel vii. 20 it is said of that little horn. "whose look was more stout than his fellows. By this it would appear that, while these kings maintain their kingdom, &c., they will from an alliance or confederancy, of which the king represented by the little horn will be head and principal, similar to Germany as at present constituted.
Having thus come into power, we shall see whit use he will make of it, and whether he will really be that Man of Sin which shall be revealed, the "son of perdition," of whom St. Paul says (2 Thess. ii. 4) : "Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God."
The first step that crafty King will take will be to make himself master of the whole world, for, we read, "power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations" (Rev. xiii. 7). And as he advances he will break in pieces the mightiest powers from whom he might have to fear any further resistance; but he will do it in such a manner that all the world will praise him as a just and right-thinking man, by restoring all the old rights and governments, and will shape everything according to his own ideas and likings. He will in the course of his procedure also restore the Jews to their rights, by bringing them back to their own land, and confirming a covenant with them (see Daniel ix. 27).*
In the Revelation of St. John (xiii. 13, 14) we see that miracles are wrought by the second beast; whilst St. Paul, in his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, which we have just looked at, says that it is that man of sin—namely, the first beast, whose wounded head has been healed, or the King himself—"whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders" (2 Thess. ii. 9). We must conclude that St. Paul gives the whole in few words, whilst in Revelation it is shown more in detail. At the same time, however, the King is in fact the man, the second beast being the King's prophet and priest; while both are labouring in one spirit, and to one purpose. They are thus in fact one, united in the devil and actuated by his spirit, and, acting to one end, they will meet with one fate. St. Paul calls the miracles "lying wonders." We must not, however, by these words conclude that they are merely sham miracles, similar to what are performed at theatres or other places of entertainment, but that they will be real, and calculated to deceive the world, so much so that, as our Lord says (Matt. xxiv. 24), if it were possible, God's children should thereby be deceived.† St. Paul calls these miracles "lying wonders," because they are wrought through the medium of lying spirits, by the father of lies, in order to deceive; and God allows it. And why is it allowed by Him ? The reason is given by St. Paul : because the people will be deceived; "they received not the love of the truth," when it was offered them, "that they might be saved." And as they are lovers of lies, and seek and long for them, they shall in those days have them in abundance: "For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie : that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (2 Thess. 11, 12.)
The covenant is said to be for "one week" (seven years). By that it would appear that he will make an agreement with the Jews to grant them protection for seven years, and perhaps exempt them during that period from taxation, in order to settle themselves firmly in their new location.
* "The prince that shall come," mentioned in the previous verse (Daniel ix. 26), has been erroneously taken by many to be meant for Christ, the promised Messiah, which should come; and, certainly, if that prince now under consideration wore lost sight of, there would be no other prince to come. But very little consideration will discover the error, for it is said: "The people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary." That the Romans were meant here is proved by the fact that they did destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary. Nor could our Lord possibly be meant, for he did not spring from nor was he related to the Roman nation. It is then beyond doubt that by "that prince" is meant one who shall rise somewhere in one of the ten kingdoms comprised in the limits of the Roman Empire, and who shall confirm a covenant with the Jews "for one week," meaning seven years.
† Why is it not possible for the elect to bo deceived? Because they do not look at outward appearances (miracles). For the Kingdom of God is established within them (Luke xvii. 21), and they have their eyes directed to what is going on within the heart. They are observing inward motions and directions, and do not look at outward wonders : they hear their Master's voice and follow him (John x. 27).
The meaning of the "abomination of desolation" (Matt. xxiv. 15) we shall find in Rev. xiii. 11—13. There we read that the Apostle John, in the same vision, saw another beast come up out of the earth, who had the appearance of a lamb, but spake as a dragon—i.e., a wolf in sheep's clothing—and who, in the exercise of his power, caused "the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And," in order to induce the people to give such worship, "he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast" (v. 12, 13). It would appear that these miracles are performed under the power and authority of the King, being derived from that King's pretended divinity; for it says (verse 12) : "And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him." And, under the pretence of having received Divine power from the King to work these miracles, he will persuade the people "that they should make an image to the beast (King) which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he" (the second beast, who, it is shown further on, is the King's prophet or high priest) "had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak," &c. (v. 14. 15). "Both speak," we understand as having life and speech, showing that the life is real.
This image of the King will be set up in one of the celebrated churches, perhaps in St. Peter's at Rome; in which city, as it would appear from Daniel, chap. xi., v. 54, he will make his residence.* Copies, it may be supposed, will be taken of the image, to be set up in all the churches in his dominion, to be divinely honoured by some sort of ceremonial worship. Thus he shall literally "sit in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God" (2 Thess. ii. 4). "And shall wear out the saints of the Most High" (Daniel vii. 25). The fulfilment of that prediction we have in Revelation xiii. 15, 17. When setting up the image to be worshipped, he at the same time will proclaim a law that every one of his subjects shall bear his name, or the number of his name, "666," in his right baud or in his forehead, in honour of that great King; by that mark his subjects will be naturalised. On the other hand, whosoever refuses to take that mark will, by such refusal, commit an act of treason, and be at the same time proclaimed an "outlaw," his property confiscated to the State, and shall not even be allowed to buy provisions or supplies of the common necessaries of life; thus starvation stares him and his family in the face from the moment he refuses to take the mark. That will be the first step to enforce the worship of his image, or, as it is said in Daniel vii. 21, 25, to "make war with the saints" and to wear them out. His further step to enforce the worship of his image, will be put all those who refuse to take his mark to the sword, or to be beheaded; the cause of which we shall see as we proceed further.
* By the "glorious holy mountain where that King shall plant his palace (Daniel xi. 45) cannot be meant "Mount Sion." We take it to he Home, where he, as Emperor of that Empire, will palace; for Rome is built upon mountains, and may be looked upon by God as holy because of the many martyrs who have suffered there; and Italy has sea on both sides.