For centuries, Satan has tried to destroy God’s people through the violate opposition of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and the Roman Empire. Through violence and persecution, he had failed to stamp out the truth. What Satan could not do through force, the dragon, Satan, decided to attempt by deception. He would organize his own counterfeit religious system. He would bring in pagan doctrines and philosophy from the old empires and combine them with Christian teaching. He has destroyed millions through deception.
What form did the dragon appear? It was brought forth as the beast of Revelation 13. It is very significant that the beast is actually made up of parts of the lion, the leopard, the bear and the nondescript animal of Daniel 7. God’s illustrative depiction of the papacy reveals that she was made up of parts from all those old pagan kingdoms. In particular she drew her strength from the pagan Roman nation. According to Revelation 13:2, the dragon, Satan [Rev. 12:9], gave the beast his power and seat and great authority.
Did the pagan Roman Empire actually give any authority to the papacy? The fact is that in 330 A.D., Constantine, the Roman emperor turned the whole city of Rome over to the Pope as the seat of his authority. History uses almost the exact words of the prophecy in describing it. The following quotes are from one Catholic source and one history book on this point: “When the Roman Empire became Christian, and the peace of the Church was guaranteed, the Emperor left Rome to the Pope, to be the seat of authority of the Vicar of Christ [sitting in the place of Christ], who should reign there independent of all human authority, to the consummation of ages, to the end of time” (Papal Rights and Privileges, pp. 13-14).
“The removal of the capital of the empire from Rome to Constantinople in 300 A.D. left the western church practically free from imperial power, to develop its own form of organization. The Bishop of Rome, in the seat of the Caesars, was now the greatest man in the west, and was soon forced to become the political as well as the spiritual head” (The Rise of the Medieval Church, p. 168). These statements show clearly how the papacy received her seat and power from pagan Rome! Each of the four kingdoms was given power from the “dragon.” No wonder God warned about this final beast system.
Let’s consider a few of the pagan doctrines brought into this early counterfeit church. The dragon’s plan was to substitute and therefore counterfeit the true church. Just as was the case of Cain, substitutes were fashioned to get around the commandment of God for a blood sacrifice. Many relics of SUN worship actually came to be given Christian status. A whole set of counterfeit doctrines was added so the papacy could gain prestige with the pagan peoples of that age – Easter, Halloween, Christmas!!! Remember, Satan is using the beast for the purpose of deceiving the human race. The beast is the papacy.
According to Revelation 13:17, the number of his name will also be the number of a man! It is interesting to note that there is an official Latin title for the pope, a title which has been granted by the Church. This title is found repeatedly in the publications of Rome. In the weekly Catholic newspaper, Our Sunday Visitor, of April 1915, we have the interesting statement that the letters of the official title inscribed in the pope’s miter are: “The letters inscribed in the pope’s miter are these: Vicarius Filii Dei, which is the Latin for ‘Vicar of the Son of God.’ …”
The pope ascribes to himself as sitting in the place of Jesus the Christ. His numerical value adds to 666!!!
One of the most important aspects of the beast’s power is given in Revelation 13:16-18: “And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a MARK in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that NO man might BUY and SELL, save [except] he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. … Let him that has understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six [666).”