Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Future Human Government (3) - Wounded Beast

The key to the identification of this Beast of Revelation is that it seemed to have died and then comes back to life again. When it comes back to life, the entire world follows the Beast.

One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast (Rev 13:3).
One head of the beast had been killed, but it came back to life, creating great amazement through the world.

The terrible beast is form of human government that existed before John’s time, but came to such a violent end, that it seemed impossible that it could rise again. John saw a form of human government that appeared to be finished forever, come into existence again. This is confirmed in a later vision.
The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come (Rev 17:8).
The Beast once existed, in John’s time it did not exist, but in the future it will come back into existence. People will be amazed when it comes back into existence, because it appeared to be have been obliterated.

John indicates the time when this government came to an end.
They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction (Rev 17:8).
John is referring to a form of human government that did not exit during his lifetime, but did exist at an earlier time. It is different from the sixth king, which did exist at the time when John received the vision.

The sixth king is easy to identify, because the Roman Empire dominated the world throughout John’s life time. The Roman Empire is the sixth king. The key to identifying the terrible beast is to identify a different form of human government that came to a violent end prior to the time of the Roman Empire.

The major form of human government that existed prior to the Roman Empire was the Roman republic. The Republic began in 500 BC and lasted for nearly five centuries. It was led by consuls elected for a year. An elected Senate was responsible for passing laws and appointing government officials. Not everyone had the right to vote, but the Roman Republic was based on the principle of democracy.

Democracy in Rome came to a violent end about thirty years before Jesus was born. Julius Caesar and then his successor Caesar Augustus turned the Roman armies against Rome and destroyed the Republic. By the time Jesus was born, the Empire was fully entrenched in power. This was an interesting period of history. Not only did Christianity begin, but democracy died.

When Caesar Augustus took control of Rome, democracy was fatally wounded, despite having bean an important form of government for several centuries,. It had begun in Greece, but had died there much earlier. By the time that John received his vision, democracy appeared to be gone forever, having been destroyed by a fatal blow. “The beast that once was, now is not” is the democratic form of Government. The beast with the “fatal wound had been healed’ is another description of democratic government. Democracy died at about the same time as the Kingdom of God began.

John warmed that the beast that died would come back to life and become an eighth king. Democracy did not come back to life until ten centuries later, when a parliament emerged in England. The Beast of Revelation represents restored democracy. The leaders of democracy in England and the United States looked back to the example of the Greek and Roman Republics.

No comments: