Realization of Prophetic Visions
By Philip Mark Ames
THE DRAGON'S BEASTLY SUCCESSOR
As John watched the dragon,
standing at the water's edge, he saw something very strange stepping up out of
the sea. A wild beast having ten horns and seven heads.
This beast resembles a leopard; but its mouth is that of a lion, and it has
feet as of a bear. Each of the ten horns wears a diadem; and on the seven heads
there are names of blasphemy.
John stated that the dragon
gives its own power and throne to this wild beast. Also, the dragon gives it
great authority. In other words, the seven-headed dragon abdicates in favor of
the seven-headed beast. While the drag- on makes war with the seed of the
woman, the beast from the sea becomes the dragon's successor to the throne of
In as much as the seventh
head of the dragon did not mount the throne of world empire till the time of
Genghis Khan, the wild beast could not have ascended that throne until the
dissolution of the Mongol Empire. By the beginning of the sixteenth century,
that dissolution had occurred. Likewise, since Satan did not call the wild
beast up from the sea until after the earth had come to the woman's help, the
beast's appearance was preceded by the Renaissance. Again, attention is focused
on the sixteenth century for the beginning of the wild beast's rise to power.
What, then, is the identity
of that beast? What are its seven heads and its ten horns? Why is its body like
a leopard? its mouth like a lion's? and
its feet like a bear's?
In order to limit the number
of possible identities, let me refer to the seventeenth chapter of the
Revelation. John's first description of this beast is in Revelation 13. But in
chapter 17, he relates another vision of the same beast. This time an angel
tells John some important facts concerning it. The first fact is this: "The
wild beast which you saw was, and it is not, and it is going to step up out of
the abyss; and it is going into destruction." (vs. 8)
John received this
Revelation near the end of the first century of the Christian era. So, the
angel's statement that the wild beast "was" reveals that it had
existed at some time before John's day. When the angel said, "it is
not", John realized that in his time the wild beast was no longer extant;
it had become extinct. But the angel went on to say, "it
will arise from the abyss." John must have understood that the then-future
reappearance of the beast was what he had witnessed in his earlier vision
(chapter 13). The terms, "sea" and "abyss" are
interchangeable in most usages.
So the beast's appearance
after the close of the fifteenth century would be not its first but its last.
It had existed in ancient times. But during the first fifteen centuries of the Common
Era, it lay dormant in the abyssal depths of the sea. The emotional masses of
humanity gave little or no clue to the existence of the beast's submerged
This beast had once been the
powerful, dominating thought-pattern of certain ancient peoples. And then,
slowly but relentlessly, other systems of thinking forced it out of their way;
the beast sank out of sight, powerless.
Written by: Philip Mark
Ames - - - © 1975 Philip Mark Ames. All rights reserved.