Revelation: Its Ongoing
Relevancy and Fulfillment
Portentous Drama of Two Great Apocalyptic Beasts
Chapter 13 of Revelation
The First Beast
Act 1 | Scene 3
The First Beast is Guilty of Many Blasphemies
Revelation 13:1, 3
“Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.”
Blasphemy. “The act of claiming the attributes of a deity. The act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God.”
D. The first beast of Revelation 13 is guilty of many blasphemies against the Most High God.
1. “…and on his heads a blasphemous name.” Revelation 13:1
HOLY Roman Empire
a) In the scene we are contemplating, “…a blasphemous name” appears over the seven heads of the beast.
We propose that the "blasphe-mous name,” singular, symbolizes all the blasphemous names taken by the seven kingdoms across the times of their existence.
Names filled with fierce, belligerent pride that glorify human power.
Names of false gods, goddesses, or demons.
Governments and peoples of the seven kingdoms often esteem the powers of such entities to be superior to the power and majesty of the only true and living God.
In exact correlation, the “scarlet beast” is “full of names of blasphemy.” Revelation 17:3. “…of names,” that is, a plurality of blasphemous names. In the scene of Revelation 17, the beast is now on land, in "a wilderness," or desert-like area, with "a woman," the "mother of whores" on his back. Still having seven heads and ten horns, he is now "scarlet" and is "full of names of blasphemy." Plural: names.
As a matter of fact, earthly peoples, nations, and empires often identify themselves by coats of arms, flags, seals, icons, statues, names, nicknames or descriptive mottos
and slogans that exalt founders, heroes, conquests, feats, legends, or any other
image they may desire to project.
Some openly and proudly identify
themselves with pagan gods or goddesses.
Others, with bold pretentions
to military or commercial power.
Marduk, patron god of
And still others, with culture ideologies, special visions of the universe, certain moral codes, or purely human life styles.
Some project themselves as if they were owners of all the
earth, and not at all subject to the Supreme God, by whose will they exist, do
and undo. Though they do not believe this nor care about it. Romans 13:1-7
b) “…a blasphemous name.” Many of the pharaohs of Egypt held that they had descended from Ra, the “god of the sun.”
"Ra is the ancient Egyptian sun god. By the Fifth Dynasty in the 25th and 24th centuries b. C., he had become a major god in ancient Egyptian religion, identified primarily with the noon sun. All forms of life were believed to have been created by Ra, who called each of them into existence by speaking their secret names. Alternatively, man was created from Ra's tears and sweat, hence the Egyptians call themselves the "Cattle of Ra." In the myth of the Celestial Cow, it is recounted how mankind plotted against Ra and how he sent his eye as the goddess Sekhmet to punish them. When she became blood-thirsty she was pacified by drinking beer mixed with red dye.”
www.wikipedia.org. Article “Ra.”
“Fifth Dynasty and subsequent pharaohs were all known as 'The son of Ra' and Ra became incorporated into every pharaoh’s name from then onward.”
Egypt is said to have identified itself among the nations as “Egypt, the Empire of Ra.” This identification constituted, in effect, a great blasphemy, for it elevated a false god, living only in superstitious minds, above the only true God who lives forever, and by whose sovereign will all governments are raised up, continue, or fall. Romans 13:1-7
c) “…a blasphemous name.” Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon for 43 years (605 – 562 b. C.), dramatically exemplifies the haughty spirit characteristic of pagan rulers. His very name includes an element of blasphemy, for the name of the false god Nebo figures in it.
“Nebo. nē´bō ( נבו , nebhō ; Assyrian Nabu): The Babylonian god of literature and science. In the Babylonian mythology he is represented as the son and interpreter of Bel-merodach (compare Isaiah 46:; Bel and Nebo there represent Babylon). His own special shrine was at Borsippo. His planet was Mercury. His name enters into Biblical names, such as 'Nebuchadnezzar,' and perhaps 'Abed-nego' (Daniel 1:7), for 'Abed-nebo, servant of Nebo').”
Not only did Nebuchadnezzar have a blasphemous name, but he also vainly boasted of his power, authority, and great works, as if he had done all of them by his own hand, without any contribution or intervention by the Almighty God. Daniel 4
“At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. The king spoke, saying, ‘Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?'
“While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” Daniel 4:29-32
d) Some Roman emperors presented themselves before the public as gods, and people subject to Rome were expected to worship them, burning incense, and offering sacrifices. In doing so, both emperor and worshiper certainly did blaspheme.
“Emperor worship. The cult of Roman emperors, living and dead, became the State religion throughout the empire, though it originated as a simple act of thankfulness for the peace and stability brought by Rome. Both Jews and Christians were conscientiously unable to burn incense to any human being: Jews, after some initial persecution, got an exemption from Claudius; but Christians suffered when the Church's numbers expanded sufficiently to attract the State's hostile attention (1 Peter 4:16).”
Oxford Biblical Studies Online. www.oxfordbiblicalstudies.com
e) The blasphemous king Herod Agrippa permitted a multitude gathered before him to call him “god,” not refusing their adulation nor rebuking the idolaters who acclaimed him.
“So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. And the people kept shouting, ‘The voice of a god and not of a man!’ Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.” Acts 12:21-23
2. “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies…” Revelation 13:5. “…great things and blasphemies” such as:
a) Proclamations of being the incarnation of “deity.”
b) Declarations of having divine authority and attributes.
c) Great boastings about power and accomplishments.
3. According to Revelation 17:3, the beast was “full of names of blasphemy.”
Fundamentally, this beast represents purely secular, idolatrous, or atheistic kingdoms.
It does not represent any essentially “religious kingdom” associated with Christianity, an assertion for which evidence is presented in Chapter Seven of this “Analysis.”
Therefore, these “names of blasphemy” the beast takes are not the names of the apostate church, represented by the “great city-great harlot,” but names or titles taken by secular, idolatrous or atheistic rulers, who do not honor the true God, although they may pretend and assure the contrary.
Act 1. Scene 4. The appearance of the first beast. Revelation 13:2