Revelation Caesar Worship
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Revelation Caesar Worship (Revelation 13.3-4)

"One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshipped the beast and asked, 'Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?'" (Revelation 13.3-4)✞

Beast Caligula

Caligula BustThe Jews had always been exempt from Caesar worship, which was the practice of certain emperors to deify themselves. The Romans were well aware of the Jews and later Christians immovable allegiance to the worship of one God which excluded all others. This is closely aligned to the fact that of all the peoples in the empire, the Jews alone were exempt from military service, because of their strict adherence to food laws and their absolute observance of the Sabbath. But the Emperor Caligula (12-41 AD) insisted that Caesar worship be mandatory even for Jews every year. On January 3rd, the annual oath called the "sacramentum" was sworn to the emperor by the army and a new altar to Jupiter Optimus Maximus, "the best and greatest" god, dedicated by each military unit in the Empire. At the same time, Caligula set up an image of himself within the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem.✞

Desecration of Temple

Book of JudgementThe Jews would have suffered extermination rather than submit to such desecration of the Holy Place which John of Patmos called "worshipping the beast." Caligula was actually forming an army to enforce his demands when he was assassinated in 41 AD. If ever there was an insult to the dwelling place of God, the worship of Caligula was it. This incident may have been in John's mind when he spoke of the torments which the beast launched against the dwelling-place of God.✞

"Revelation Caesar Worship"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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