Describe the first beast of Revelation 13. "And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion." Rev. 13:2.
NOTE. - The leopard beast of Daniel 7 represented Grecia (verse 6); the bear, Media and Persia (verse 5); and the lion, Babylon (verse 4). The characteristics of all these beasts are found in the beast of Revelation 13, which would seem to show that it would extend its territory over all the countries occupied by these kingdoms. The Roman government absorbed all these countries, and ruled over them. Other comparisons show that the first beast of Revelation 13 is the papacy, which controlled the governments of these countries by virtue of its ecclesiastical power.
From what was the papacy developed? "Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." 2 Thess. 2:3.
In what was shown the first tangible evidence of "falling away" from the truth of God? The adoption of heathen rites and customs. "The bishops augmented the number of religious rites in the Christian worship, by way of accommodation to the infirmities and prejudices, both of Jews and heathens, in order to facilitate their conversion to Christianity... For this purpose, they gave the name of mysteries to the institutions of the gospel, and decorated particularly the holy sacrament with that solemn title. They used in that sacred institution, as also in that of baptism, several of the terms employed in the heathen mysteries, and proceeded so far, at length, as even to adopt some of the ceremonies of which those renowned mysteries consisted." Maclaine's Mosheim, cent. 2, part 2, chap. 4, paragraphs 2, 5.
How early was this tendency manifested? "This imitation began in the eastern provinces; but, after the time of Adrian [emperor from 117-138 A.D.] , who first introduced the mysteries among the Latin's, it was followed by the Christians who dwelt in the western parts of the empire." Ibid., para. 5.
What has been the great characteristic of the papacy? A union of church and state, or a religious power dominating the civil power to further its own ends.
When was the union of church and state formed, from which the papacy grew? In the reign of Constantine, 312-337 A.D.
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