The beast that comes out of the sea and the beast that comes out of the earth
“Daniel spoke and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove on the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.”(Dan. 7:2-3)
“ [As for] me Daniel, my spirit in my body trembled, and the visions of my head troubled me. And I drew near to one of them that stood by, and I sought to learn of him the truth of all these things: and he told me the truth, and made known to me the interpretation of the things. These four beasts are four kingdoms [that] shall rise up on the earth: which shall be taken away; and the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess it for ever and ever.” (Dan. 7:15-18 LXXE)
The book of Daniel interprets that the four great beasts that came out from the sea are kingdoms that that ruled the land of Israel and over the house of Jacob. These four great kingdoms were Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman.
The identification of the antichrist with the beast / kingdom that had 7 heads and 10 horns (Rev. 13:1) lacks any biblical basis. The things described in the book of revelation are about Rome [the beast from the sea] and Israel [the beast from the earth of Israel, which had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon] that were in a state of war. The two horns of the beast from the earth are the political and religious power of Israel accompanied by false prophets. At that time, every Jewish power was Roman-friendly [he spoke like a dragon] and acted for the interests of Rome, thus achieving the preservation of its privileges. The narrative events have nothing to do with the end of the world; they tell us what happened during the period of the Jewish war against the Romans which was the cause of the fall of Jerusalem. They have to do with events of that time, such as:
1) Forced worship of Rome and its emperors (Rev. 13:11-12) as proof of submission to the then master of the earth of Israel and the overthrow and punishment of the revolutionary Jews.
The measure concerned only those who lived in the land of Israel to whom they had been given the right to worship their own God and it was legislated by the beast from the earth. The other provinces of the Roman Empire worshipped the goddess Roma as a protector and benefactor and each Caesar willingly, pursuing the title of the Sebastian Neocorus [Neocora = the privilege of building an imperial temple], on which their financial strength and their cultural and social perspective depended.
[For more details about the worship of goddess Roma see the book of Mellor R. “The Goddess Roma in the Greek world (Hypomnemata) Gottingen 1975”].
A similar measure was taken during the war in Antioch as Josephus writes: “When the war was announced, the Jews were hated by everyone. One of them named Antiochus, his father was the ruler of the Jews of Antioch, renounced both Judaism and his father, and accused some Jews publicly of conspiring to burn Antioch. The result was that the Antiochians burnt the accused Jews to save their city. Then, he forced the Jews to sacrifice in the Greek way in order to reveal the conspirators, some sacrificed while others were killed. So with the consent of the Roman general, Antiochus became governor of the Jews, forcing them to work on the Sabbath day. The abolition of this holiday was soon spread to other cities.” (The Jewish War vii chapter 3, 4)
2) Control of trade in the land of Israel "economic blockade - sanctions" where nobody could buy or sell if he did not have the necessary certification "mark" that he was a friend of Rome rather than a foe.
3) The old-known and always up-to-date method of misinforming and deceiving by fake signs and miracles through the organs of the Roman-friendly Judaic power, the false prophets, aiming at the rescue of its privileges again.
The historical circumstances of that time made the primitive church face up to its own confession that Jesus Christ is the true God and eternal life [I John 5:20].
“And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name. Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.” (Rev. 14:9-12)
Many Jewish Christians and ethnic Christians that refused to sacrifice and worship in the national idolatrous way were killed, blessed by the Lord.
“And I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from now on: Yes, said the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” [Rev.14:13]
Also, the Judaists that refused to worship the image of the beast were similarly killed, thus remaining faithful to Judaism, which was to be abolished [Heb. 8:13].
The phrase "mark" is reminiscent of the old Eastern custom of engraving or stamping the name of a carnal or spiritual master with a burning instrument on the hand or forehead of mercenaries or slaves, people or gods.
The mark described in the book of Revelation has a distinctly Jewish, Old Testament background, and was aimed at the rejection of the monotheistic Jewish faith, the rejection of Jewish national consciousness and the non-observance of God's commandments. In the OT there is repeated reference to the Jews wearing a mark on their hands and foreheads to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt and the commandments of God.
"Ye shall therefore put these words of mine in your heart and in your soul; and ye shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as a forehead between your eyes" (Deut. 11:18; 6:8; see also Ex. 13:9, 13:15-16”
Based on these verses, later Jews placed Tefillin (תפלין) on their hands and foreheads - small leather boxes containing biblical texts. In the Greek New Testament, tefillin are called "talismans / phylacteries " (Matt. 23:5). In today's Orthodox Judaism, tefillin are worn only by male Jews from the age of thirteen, while in Reform Judaism they are also worn by women during prayer.
Some claim that the mark might have been a technical term of the imperial stamp or the emperor's own currency. However, we have a literal historical incident of mark during the reign of Ptolemy IV Philopator [222-204 BC], who forbade all Egyptian Jews to worship their God and enter into their synagogues. Instead, they had to be enrolled in the slaves' lists and be marked with burning iron, the sign of god Dionysus "ivy leaf" or be killed. Those who wanted to take part in the worship of the idols became equal citizens of Alexandria. Some succumbed, while others were killed or tried to avoid their registration on the slaves' lists with money [III Maccab. 2:25-33].
Also, the Roman emperor Caligula marked with red-hot iron the Senators who were in disfavor, forcing them to work on the streets or in the mines.
Six hundred and sixty six
Thus the Roman Empire [the beast from the sea] is not identified as "Antichrist" with the information given by the apostles, because they did not expect it to come, it already existed before Christ, it was already worshipped as "the goddess Roma, the benefactor and protecting dominant power," it was neither a part or member of the church of Christ nor it came out - it defected, it was not a man, but the number of that name was the number of a man, and the number of him was six hundred and sixty-six, and not 666, that is a triad of the same numbers [Rev. 13:17, Ezra 2:13].
To understand the difference between 666 and six hundred and sixty-six let's see a related article from the Christian magazine "Tyxikos, Sept.-Oct. 2002 Issue."
The number 666
"Regarding the secret number 666 that we find in the book of Revelation, many scholars get carried away with the similarity of the three digits of 6 that form the number as we understand it after the introduction of the so-called Arabic numbers - many centuries after the writing of the New Testament texts.
However, when the Revelation was written, a combination of three similar mathematical digits had not passed through the writer's mind. In fact, in the critical editions of the text, the number is not even attributed to the letters of the Greek alphabet - χξς - but the number is written in full, that is "six hundred and sixty-six." It is known that the people of that time if they wanted to express this number "numerically", they would not write "ςςς", but the Greeks would have to write ΧΞCΤ or χξς [as in the papyruses p18 and p47], and the Romans would have to write DCLXVI . They would never write 666.
Although the Jews applied a similar system after the Babylonian captivity, they never used it in the Bible, where the numbers are always written with whole words. [In I Kings 10:14, 666 is written in full as "six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold"].
According to the above, none of the first-century Christians ever thought that one day the arithmetic expression "six hundred and sixty-six" would be depicted with three identical digits, tricking those who try to rely on the similarity of the three sixes and identify the number 666 with the bar code system that contains a 6 at the beginning, a 6 in the middle and a 6 at the end of it. If they want to insist on any "disguised" meaning of 6, then they must know that there are not 3 but 111 sixes in 666 [111 x 6 = 666].
From the above, it seems that the claims of those who think they will "solve" the problem based on the number 6 either as a symbolic number of a human being or as a symbol of imperfection and other similar forms (tricks) appear to be unsubstantiated."
Also, AD. Grenfell and Hunt discovered a papyrus in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt showing the number as 616...
Papyrus 115 (P. Oxy. 4499, designated by [P]115 in the Gregory-Aland numbering) is a fragmented manuscript of the New Testament written in Greek on papyrus. It consists of 26 fragments of a codex containing parts of the Book of Revelation.
In closing, we would like to ask the brothers in Christ not to turn their attention to Hollywood's profitable film productions regarding antichrist, but to remember together the apostle Paul's statement.
“And now, brothers, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” [Acts 20:32]
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