Roman Empire Beast
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Roman Empire Beast (Revelation 13.1b-2)

"And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority." (Revelation 13.1b-2)✞

Caesar Worship

The TabernacleThe power of the Roman Empire beast represented the Caesars who controlled vast resources around the Mediterranean Sea, governed 70 million people and instituted Caesar worship to keep that control firmly in their hands. It was a divinely sanctioned authority. Caesar worship was a blasphemy against God, the heavens, and the angels according the the Early Church. By erecting the Roman gods in the Holy of Holies in the Temple, the Romans incurred the extreme anger of the Jews. The Greek word used for God's "dwelling place" was "skene," which means a "tent" or a "tabernacle" or even "a place to dwell." "Skene" always reminded a Jew of the Hebrew word "shechinah", or the dwelling of the glory of God. So it may be that John is saying that the whole conduct of the Roman Empire, and particularly the institution of Caesar worship, is an insult to the glory of God.✞

Caligula's Madness

Roman StandardThe Roman beast may indicate that John of Patmos was thinking of all the ways, not just those in his own time, in which the Roman Empire had insulted God and his dwelling place in Jerusalem. Some of the early Roman Emperors were embarrassed by Caesar worship, but not Emperor Caligula (12-41 AD), who was an epileptic and unfortunately more than a little mad. Caligula whose nick name was "a little soldier's boot" from his father's soldiers while accompanying him during campaigns in Northern Europe. Initially, and for the first six months he was by all accounts a noble and moderate ruler. After that he became an insane tyrant. He took his divinity very seriously, insisting that he should be universally worshipped by all his subjects in the Roman Empire including the Jews and Christians.✞

"Roman Empire Beast"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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