The last verse of chapter 12 (v.17) describes the future of the true Church, with the dragon continuing to make war with (to persecute) them so long as they uncompromisingly continue to follow the Word of God and maintain their testimony of faith alone in Jesus Christ.
In this chapter John describes his vision of a beast (v.1) that rises up out of the sea, which means out of the nations of peoples. It is the same beast described in v. 12:3 which was there described as the “great red dragon”. This seven-head beast (see below) represents the last 4 major empires of man.
The kings or emperors of those kingdoms are represented with “the name of blasphemy” written on them, meaning that they claimed god-like status, which we know was not uncommon among kings, for example, Nebuchadnezzar did with his golden image in Daniel 3 decreeing all to worshop his image; Artaxerxes is described as king of kings (Ezra 7:12), because he ruled over conquered kings, this led to a god-like status; Alexander the Great, who asserted that he was the son of Jupiter Ammon (Greek god); and the Roman Emperors, who all claimed divine status and required men to worship their statues and to offer them sacrifices.
On one head, Rome, it had 10 horns (v.1). The 10 horns represent the 10 kingdoms that pagan Rome was divided into but in v. 12:3 there were only 7 crowns, which are seen on the heads of the beast. But here the 10 horns each have crowns—there are 10 crowns—and those crowns are diadems (Greek διάδημα diadema). Diadems are worn by the kings. So this beast is different from pagan Rome. It has evolved from pagan Rome but it is more ‘wonderful’ and more dangerous. This must mean 3 additional kingdoms were added to this final kingdom (the beast) which I believe is an indication of papal Rome consolidating its power after the 4th century AD.
In verse 2 the vision is of a composite beast, which combines the characteristics of the beasts seen by Daniel in his vision (Daniel 7:1-7). Those were representative 4 of the major kingdoms of man. Daniel 7’s beasts are a winged lion (Babylon), a bear (Medo-Persia), a 4-headed leopard (Greece) and a “fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth” (Daniel 7:7), described as a dragon in Revelation 12:3 that had 10 horns where 3 were broken (pagan Rome). All of the animals are all cruel, terrible beasts of prey; a terror to man. But the last one is the worst, which was Rome. Satan gave power to those kingdoms of man but his final authority was in the ‘dragon’ = pagan Rome. But papal Rome (the Papacy) arose from pagan Rome (the City of Rome).
From the head of pagan Rome Empire came the ‘beast’ = the Roman Catholic Church, the Holy Roman Empire, with the concomitant Papacy. This is illustrated by the “deadly wound healed” (v.3) symbolising papal Rome’s empire’s ascendance from the ashes of the fallen pagan Roman empire. They worshipped the false god in the beast, hence the dragon, which is really Satan (v.4). From the 5th/6th century the power of the popes dominated over the true Church; none can war against the Papacy, which will be seen to be the AntiChrist.
The Roman Catholic Church worships the false god—a sun-god—in the Monstrance, which they say contains the Christ’s body in a wafer biscuit. The Monstrance is man-made and in the shape of the sun. The Roman church even admits the Monstrance to be a sunburst:
“During the baroque period, it took on a rayed form of a sun-monstrance with a circular window surrounded by a silver or gold frame with rays.”
(Source: The Dictionary of the Liturgy by Rev. Jovian P. Lang, OFM., published and copyrighted © 1989 by Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, ISBN 0-89942-273-X, page 436.)
This AntiChrist speaks great words and blasphemies (v.5) against God, claiming he is God, just as we read in Daniel 7:25. But God gave him authority to continue for 42 months = 1260 days, which symbolise 1260 years. Daniel 7:25 has the same period written as “a time and times and the dividing of time” = 3½ years = 42 months symbolising 1260 years. This is the period God ordained the Holy Roman Empire to dominate Europe until Rome’s demise.
The Papacy blaspheme God by claiming to be the Vicar of Christ, Christ on Earth, literally His replacement on Earth (v.6). The Greek word ‘anti’ in AntiChrist has not only the meaning of ‘against’ but also ‘replacement,’ thus strengthening the case of his true identity. The Papacy through the power of the Roman Catholic Empire has killed many hundreds of thousands of true followers of Christ (not counting millions of others) from many nations and speaking many languages (v.7).
Those unsaved false religionists (Matthew 7:21) who follow and worship the pope are described here (v.8). Pope worship is quite obvious in the Roman church. Those religionists’ names are not found in the Book of Life. The Roman church claims membership is sufficient for salvation, in fact, that it is only possible through being a Roman Catholic. Those who are not of their false church they claim are the heretics and hence it is and still is right to kill them as in the Roman and Spanish Inquisitions (v.10).
Verse 11 describes another beast with 2 horns like a lamb (imitating the lamb of God) coming out of the earth symbolising the false church that forms from the Eastern or Greek part of the old Roman Empire after its collapse. It was initially from the Eastern Roman Empire that Constantine paganised the Church by declaring Christianity the state religion and the pagans could join without giving up their pagan beliefs.
The power from the pagan Roman Empire is taken on by the first beast (papal Rome) symbolised by the ‘deadly wound healed’ (v.12); pagan Rome (the empire of the City of Rome) dies and papal Rome rises from its ashes. Historically we know that initially this power was seated in the Greek Eastern Empire of the Catholic Church and Rome eventually subsumed that power.
The beast with 2 horns like a lamb (v.11) may also be an illusion to the false Prophet who ’causes (makes or leads) the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first beast’ (the AntiChrist, the Papacy) (v.12). The fact that this other beast comes out of the earth (from the people, or the church) and is like a lamb (harmless in appearance, or Christ-like, dumb sheep think he is a godly pastor) fits well with an interpretation of the false Prophet who collectively symbolises all those who lead people (back) to papal Rome (the first beast).
The Papal Roman Church (the beast) used all types of subterfuge and deceptions including many false signs and ‘miracles’ to deceive many and assert its power (v.13,14). This led to worship of the popes as Christ on Earth, or die if you refused (v.15). The image of the beast is the Papacy itself. The beast ultimately represents Satan who is the real power behind the popes. The Papacy is only an image or representation of that beast, Satan.
The Inquisition was used as a tool of the Papacy to control the world. Many hundreds of thousands of true believers like the Albigenses, Waldenses, Lollards and others were put to the sword under the power of the Papacy, those who would not bow to or give allegiance to the false Christ.
The Mark of the beast (v.16) is spiritually given to those who do give their allegiance to the Papacy. Those are they would join that false religious system. The Papacy once had total control over the known world including trade (v.17) and though broken by Napoleon, the false church continues to assert its power of world trade today. It is only a matter of time for the Vatican, with its devilish manipulations, to gain global control again.
The number of the beast (v.18) firstly is that of a man, meaning the Papacy itself, not an individual pope but the institution of the false Christ on Earth. The number is 666, which Sir Isaac Newton interpreted as meaning numerically the name “LATEINOS” in Greek. Each letter of the Greek alphabet represented a number. If you look up this Table of letters for numbers you get the beast’s name is LATEINOS in Greek. King Latinus was the founder of the Latin kingdom, which of course led to the Romans then the Romish Church and the Papacy.
Another possible interpretation of 666 is that it is intrinsic to Roman numerals. Write the first 6 numerals in reverse order and you get 666! MCLXVI. This could be symbolic that Rome and the Papacy is the center of power.
Above in the large close up image of a Monstrance are the letters “SFS” inscribed in the small sunburst blaze. Each of the letters is a universal symbol for the number 6 in the pagan mysteries. To pagans it reads 666! The number 666 is also associated in the Occult with what is called the magic square of the Sun, where the spirit of the Sun has the value 666. This is an imitation of the true Son, the only Son, not Sun.
The practice of equating names and letters with numbers is called gematria. The Hebrew letter Vau (V) has a value of 6. The English letter F is a descendant of Vau and retains the same value. The letter F is also the 6th letter of the English alphabet. In pagan numerology the letters F, O, and X have the value of 6. The Greek symbol Digamma also looks like the letter F and has a value of 6. The Greek equivalent of Vau is the letter Stau, which looks like an S, and it also has the value of 6.
The Vatican City state is the only country in the world today where Latin is still the official language. Latin is a dead language. Nowhere else in the rest of Italy is it spoken but was replaced by the Italian language over 600 years ago. In the Vatican City the beast still sits.