My take on this is that The Roman Empire, The Station of the Pontifex Maximus (later the Pope), and the Roman Catholic Church are all pretty well
spelled out in both Daniel and Revelations. Beasts, are described to Daniel, by the angel, as countries which follow a specific order. Naturally the
Roman Catholic Church attempts to change that order so its harder for folks to figure this out. The proper order is:
1) The First Beast: Babylon
2) The Second Beast: Media/Persia
3) The Third Beast: Greece
4) The Fourth Beast: Rome
Out of Rome comes this very specific character, who shall “speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High,
and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”: Dan 7:25.
So this persons actions would mean that he is to:
1) Assume the position of God.
2) Torment many Christians.
3) Change the times.
4) Change religious laws.
5) Have this power for 1260 days/years.
So now if we look at some of the powers granted to the Pontifex Maximus and Popes, we see that they were to:
1) Speak as the advocate of God on Earth.
2) Persecute any Christian they considered to be Heretical.
3) Set both the Religious days and the official calendar.
4) Set the Dogma of the Church.
5) This power was theirs without restriction from the time of the Codex Justinianus (Corpus juris civilis) of Emperor Justinian I in 534, until
Napoleon invaded and gave those powers back to the people of Italy in 1796, a period 1262 years later.
The variance of the two years can be argued because the exact date of the release of the Codex varies somewhat, and the exact time of year is not
known. The Italian campaign of Napoleon took place in March of 1796, in the first two months of the year, so its really not off by a year at that end,
but rather a couple of months. Either way though, it can be seen that this prophecy meets up very precisely with the events which unfolded.
Luther, Calvin, and Wesley all realized what was meant by this prophecy, and spoke out about it quite publicly. As a matter of note, Wesley wrote this
in his commentary of Revelations in relation to the First beast (a culmination of the four beasts of Daniel ending in Rome), and the end of the 1260
The beast has a strict connexion with the city of Rome. This clearly appears from the seventeenth chapter. The beast is now existing. He is not
past. for Rome is now existing; and it is not till after the destruction of Rome that the beast is thrown into the lake.
Therefore, whatever he is, he is now existing. The beast is the Romish Papacy. This manifestly follows from the third and fourth propositions; the
beast has a strict connexion with the city of Rome; and the beast is now existing: therefore, either there is some other power more strictly connected
with that city, or the Pope is the beast. The Papacy, or papal kingdom, began long ago.
11. And I saw another wild beast - So he is once termed to show his fierceness and strength, but in all other places, "the false prophet." He comes
to confirm the kingdom of the first beast. Coming up - After the other had long exercised his authority. Out of the earth - Out of Asia. But he is not
yet come, though he cannot be far off for he is to appear at the end of the forty-two months of the first beast. And he had two horns like a
lamb - A mild, innocent appearance. But he spake like a dragon - Venomous, fiery, dreadful. So do those who are zealous for the beast.
So during Wesley’s lifetime he knew that the 42 months/1260 years were going to end, and a new world superpower was going to come into existence at
roughly the same time. This new “World Superpower” would be based on the same system as beast’s before it, and would be the final beast leading
into the “mark”. The only thing that Wesley got incorrect was the location from which this beast was going to arise. However we are not talking
about that beast, so I’ll get back on topic.
Rome, of course did not handle these interpretations of prophecy well, and decided to find alternative versions of them to throw the public off the
trail of seeing Rome as either a Beast or an Antichrist. At this point the Pope got the Jesuit Order involved with the translation of Daniel and
Revelations, thus two new schools of Eschatology were founded: Futurism and Preterism.
In 1545, the Catholic Church convened one of its most famous councils in history—the Council of Trent. It continued for three sessions, ending
in 1563. One of the main purposes of this Council was for Catholics to plan a counterattack against Protestantism, also known as the
Counter-Reformation. Up to this point, Rome's main method of attack had been blatant—burning Bibles and heretics. Yet this warfare only convinced
Protestants that Papal Rome was indeed the Beast that would "make war with the saints." Revelation 13:7. Therefore a new tactic was
needed—something less obvious. This is where the Jesuits come in.
At the Council of Trent, the Jesuits were commissioned by the Pope to develop a new interpretation of Scripture that would counteract the Protestant
application of the Bible's antichrist prophecies to the Roman Catholic Church. Francisco Ribera (1537-1591), a brilliant Jesuit priest and doctor of
theology from Spain, took on the challenge. Like Martin Luther, Ribera read the prophecies about the Antichrist, the little horn, the man of sin, and
the beast. But he came to different conclusions than Luther did. He decided that the prophecies applied, not to the Roman Catholic Church, but to one
diabolical figure at the end of time. This viewpoint quickly became the official Roman Catholic position on the Antichrist.
You are correct in your ascertation that the “Whore of Babylon” is also about the Roman Catholic Church, and the Roman Empire. Revelations is a
cyclic book which revolves in three itinerations, it is not intended to be read in a linear manner. The church knew of all of this as well, and fought
to keep it quiet from its parishioners. So none of this is intended to be an attack on those who follow Catholicism, it is simply an explanation of
how Rome and the Roman Catholic Church are spelled out very succinctly in Biblical Prophecy, And how the Roman Catholic Church knew about these
things, yet lied to keep its members from finding out the truth.
[edit on 11/8/2007 by defcon5]