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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter 17

4. The Scarlet-Colored Beast



"The Beast which thou sawest, WAS, and is NOT, but is hereafter to ascend out of the abyss, and to go away into perdition.


After the exposition given of the Beasts in the thirteenth chapter of this work, it will be unnecessary for me to add more than a few words in this place.

The Beast before us is the Beast of the Sea with seven heads and ten horns, but with certain additional particulars. The Beast of the Sea in ch. 13, was the polity it represents, in its origin; but the Beast of the Abyss of ch. 17, is the same polity in the last thirty years, or "one hour," of its existence, and previous to its arrival at the "perdition" into which "it goes away".

In the days of John it did not exist, for the ten horns upon it had then received no kingdom. The territory upon which they now exist was then included in the western division of the Roman empire; but upon it, distinct horn-kingdoms, or toe-kingdoms, which are the same kingdoms, did not exist. In this sense, therefore, it is "the beast that is not".

But it was "hereafter to ascend," mellei anabainein, out of the abyss; that is, at a time subsequently to John's vision. Having arisen, and continued its appointed time, or aion, it is to "go away into perdition". When this perdition is consummated, it will then be "the beast that was;" and then also, "the beast that is not, although it is" to be when John saw.

The Great Harlot was seen to sit upon this Beast; and she was seen to Sit "upon many waters," which are interpreted in verse 15, to signify peoples and multitudes, and nations and tongues"; subjects of the debauched kings, or rulers, of the earth, who are all drunk with her wine; and have no part in the life and glory of the blessed (verse 8). Sitting upon these peoples and the Beast is equivalent to saying, that this Beast is the symbolic representative of the political society they constitute. They are the peoples of the ten horns and of the imperial head giving countenance, veneration, and support to the Great Harlot, as the ecclesiastical system of their several States by law established.

The Beast of the Sea in its origin could reckon up only seven heads upon the seven mountains; but this Beast of the Abyss can count the same seven with an additional head, which is styled "THE EIGHTH" -"the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth; and he is of the seven, and goeth away into perdition". The Eighth Head is the "Holy Roman Empire,'' under ''His Holiness'' and ''His Apostolic Majesty," forming a conjoint dynasty, as symbolized by Daniel's Little Horn with Eyes of a man and Mouth of blasphemy. This Eighth Head, with its spiritual emperor in Rome, and its secular emperor in Vienna, has ruled in the midst of the Ten Horns, during many centuries; but the time has not yet quite come when these deliver their power and authority to the Beast's eighth head for "one hour". When this event transpires, it will be consequent upon the operation of the Frog-Power causing the gathering of "the kings of the earth and of the whole habitable" against the Lamb and his forces. "I saw," says John, "the Beast, and the Kings of the Earth, and their armies gathered together to make war against Him sitting upon the horse, and against his army" (ch. 19:19). This is the same hostile gathering referred to inch. 17:14- these (the Ten Horns) shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall conquer them for he is Lord of lords and King of kings; and they that are with him (Jesus and his Brethren, the Saints with the Spirit   ch. 14:13) are called, and chosen, and faithful". The conquest of the Eighth Head and these Horns, which represent the Latin Catholic Europe, is the third angel judgment of the Seventh Vial; and results in these island-kingdoms fleeing away, and their mountain-empires being found no more (ch. 14:10,11; 16:20). The perdition of the Eighth Head and its Horn-Allies will also be the destruction of the False Prophet Power; or, under another figure, the Drunken Prostitute that rides the Beast, or sits upon the peoples of divers tongues.

Before the end of the Beast and Horn Polity is reached, the Horns "hate the Harlot, and make her desolate and naked, and eat her flesh, and burn her with fire" (verse 16). This process has been going on for some time, but is not yet consummated. The Little Horn with Eyes, into whose hand the Saints were given 1335 years ago, was to lose his dominion, not all at once, but consumptively for a time, and after that to be destroyed without remedy  "the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end" (Dan. 7:26): and Paul says, in reference to the same, "the Lord will consume the Lawless One by the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy him by the manifestation of his presence" (2 Thess. 2:8). The judgment has been sitting upon the Papacy and the secular imperiality that sustains it; that is, upon the Eighth Head, for the past seventy-five years, as shown in the exposition of the Vials. The effect of the judgment may be seen by comparing the Papacy and Austria as they were before the great French Revolution, with what they are at the present time. The Pope, the Emperor, and the Sultan, are the three sick men of Europe - in hospital, as it were, incurably sick. All his calamities have come upon the Pope and his Church by the powers occupying the territories of the Ten Horns, who have hated the Harlot, and made her desolate, and naked, and ate her flesh, and burned her with fire. Alison informs us, that the French ambassador writing from Rome to Buonaparte in 1797, remarked that "the payment of thirty millions stipulated by the treaty of Tolentino has totally exhausted this old carcass" (the Great Harlot, or Roman State): "we are making it consume by a slow fire". Ranke says that the losses of the Roman State were estimated altogether at 220 millions of livres. French occupation and oppression in Rome reduced its population from 180,000 to 90,000, and converted many villages into deserts.

See also the spirit of hatred evinced on Feb.15, 1798, by the French soldiery, who arrested the Pope while sitting in "the temple of the god," and receiving the congratulations of his cardinals; tore from his finger the ring of his marriage to the Latin Harlot; rifled his palace; and carried him prisoner into France, where he died in exile shortly after.

In France, the Great Harlot still remains spoiled, impoverished, and legally only on a footing of equality with the other superstitions, whose adherents she used to murder as heretics. In Portugal, she was prohibited from resuming possession of her confiscated domains by decree of the secular authority in 1835. The national and ecclesiastical property then to be sold is stated at more than twelve millions sterling. Such a dilapidation of funds could not but sensibly affect the revenues of the Romish See. Even in "most catholic" Spain, the Harlot's flesh was eaten, and the confiscation of her immense property completed by queen Christina and Espartero. The papal apostolic letter states, that the ecclesiastical property in that country had been put up to sale, and the proceeds put into the public treasury; that all communication With the See of Rome was prohibited under severe penalties; that no Nuncio is ever to be admitted into the kingdom to grant favors and dispensations; that the ancient papal prerogative of confirming or rejecting bishops elected in Spain, was altogether abolished; and that the priests who seek confirmation, and metropolitans who solicit the pallium, or lambskin, from Rome, incur the penalty of exile. In 1844, Christina repented of this anti-Romish policy, and conjointly with Narvaez took measures for the partial re-endowment of the Harlot. The Times and Evening Mail, of April 16, speaks of "the signalization of her former government by the confiscation of Church property, burning of monasteries, desecration of churches, and massacre of monks, when the infidel party in her name, tore up the old ecclesiastical machinery of Spain, and shot down its adherents;" and then proceeds in these words, "the corruptions of the church have been beyond denial or apology. Friend and foe alike confessed and proclaimed them. Afiery ordeal was necessary for it; and a fiery ordeal it has had. It has emerged from the flames shorn of much of its paraphernalia. We may hope that it has been purified, as well as punished". (*)


On the same subject, the pope in his Allocution of March 2, 1841, Says, "as for the authors of these acts, who glory in being called children of the Catholic Church, we supplicate them to open their eyes on the wounds they have inflicted on their Mother and Benefactress". "We show you," he adds, "the patrimony of the Church almost entirely usurped; as if the irreproachable Spouse of Jesus Christ had not in her primordial right the faculty of acquiring and possessing temporal goods". What a different view the pope takes of the Latin Church! He styles it "the irreproachable spouse of Jesus Christ;" while the Spirit exhibited it to John as a prostitute drunk with the blood of the murdered Saints and witnesses of Jesus!

With respect to Italy, which now represents Sardinia, Naples, Lombardo-Venetia, and the Duchies, pope Gregory XVI., in an encyclical letter bearing date Aug.16, 1832, mourned over a tempest of evils and disasters. He says, "this our Roman Chair of the blessed Peter, in which Christ has placed the main strength of the Church, is most ferociously assailed: a horrible and nefarious warfare openly and avowedly waged against the Catholic faith". And he closes with a prayer to the Virgin Mary, "who alone has destroyed all heresies, and is our greatest confidence, even the whole foundation of our hope". This was published in the days of the Carbonari, to whom Louis Napoleon belonged, and whose outbreak was put down by Austrian soldiery. But worse times have come upon the harlot in Italy since then. Throughout that country, with the exception of Rome and the little patrimony held by French protection, the Roman Harlot has been made desolate and naked; her flesh has been eaten, and she has been subjected to a fiery ordeal, that has thoroughly impoverished her. Her property has been confiscated to the use of the kingdom of Italy, to an amount equal to six hundred millions of dollars; which is being eaten up in preparations for the struggle, which, it is hoped, will consummate the desires and ambition of all patriotic citizens; that Rome shall be redeemed from the beastly tyranny of priests, and made the capital of a free, happy, and united Italy.

Thus the Ten Horns which John saw upon the Beast have hated the harlot, and made her desolate and naked, and eaten her flesh, and burned her with fire; for the Deity put it in their hearts to fulfill His will: and He will yet put it in their hearts 'to agree, and deliver their kingdom to the beast,"(*) during the "one hour" in which they are at war with the Lamb; that is, "until the predictions of the Deity have been fulfilled" (verse 17).

This seventeenth chapter, which contemplates so much of the judgment of the Great Harlot as pertains to her preadventual consumption finishes with the words,," and the Woman which thou sawest, is that "Great City having dominion over the kings of the earth". In the days of John, it was customary to represent the Roman State by a woman sitting upon seven projections piled upon one another, to typify the seven mountains. This device may be seen upon a coin in the British Museum struck in the reign of Vespasian. Sitting upon the Seven Hills with "Roma" under the base line, indicated that that Great City as it 'really was in those days, was the capital of the State. In John's time she ruled militarily "over the kings of the earth"; as in after ages she came to do spiritually and more despotically. On a medal struck in 1825 in the reign of Leo XII, the Roman State is represented by a woman holding a cross in the left hand, and a cup In the right hand extended, with the Inscription  Sedet super Universam, She sits upon the Universe "which is equivalent  to the Apocalyptic intimation, She sits upon the many Waters or "peoples and multitudes, and nations, and tongues," or 'She Sits upon the Beast," and therefore reigns over the kings of the earth


(*) Spain made a concordat with the Vatican in 1851 which was repudiated in 1931. and a new concordat was made in August 1953.






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