In 756 AD, the Papacy would use a forged document called the “Donation of Constantine” to claim political authority over a Revived Western Roman Empire… and lead the Papacy down a path of scandal and corruption.
Revelation 13:11 – “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.”
After receiving a vision of the Islamic beast, St. John the Theologian foresaw another beast which would arrive on the scene of human history at approximately the same time as the first. This second beast had 2 “horns” or symbols of power and authority: religious and political/temporal power. In outward appearance he appeared “like a lamb“, as Jesus is described in the scriptures as the “Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world“. This beast gives the important clue that it would become the “apparent lamb”, “like Christ“, the “representative of Christ” or the “Vicar of Christ“. However the actions of this beast throughout the Dark Middle ages showed otherwise different hidden characteristics of a wolf, with many documented mass inquisitions, adulterous acts bearing illegitimate children, simony, quest for money and gold in building up the treasures of Rome.
Revelation 13:12 – “And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed”
The Papacy exercised similar power of the first Mohammedan beast in ruling with both religious and political power. He sought complete submission of authority to Rome from all of the other Christian Patriarchates (Alexandria, Jerusalem, Constantinople, Antioch), and through the actions of the Fourth Crusade and ransack of Constantinople in 1204 AD, left the Eastern Christian Byzantine empire vulnerable to attack from the invading Turkic invaders. Through so many despicable acts of the Crusades, the Eastern Christians eventually preferred it better to be under Ottoman rule than the Papal rule “Better the Turban than the Mitre in Constantinople” as the old saying goes which describes the mindset of the Eastern Christians that they actually preferred submitting authority of the Great City of Constantinople to the “lesser of two evils” in their opinion.
The siege of Constantinople in 1204 by the Fourth Crusade
The trading, selling and “gifting” of holy relics stolen through the Fourth Crusade evolved into a BIG INDUSTRY in the West prior to the Reformation. Supposed “artifacts” of the True Cross were sold by the Church as well as other stolen icons, bones of many great Eastern saints, gold and bronze statues were sold for money. Many of these treasures from the siege can be found in the vaults or on display in the Vatican Library today. The most famous artifact in the West today is the Shroud of Turin. The Papacy delighted in the collection of theses precious gifts at the expense of the fall and collapse of the Byzantine Empire and celebrated the downfall of the Eastern Christians as they lied “spiritually dead” with no rights to practice openly their Orthodox faith by the Ottomans in the square (Haghia Sophia) of the great City Constantinople. Here is an excerpt describing this destruction from the book of a Greek historian Constantine Paparegopoulos:
“(…) that great city (Constantinople), for 900 years after her foundation remaining untouched and unconquered and in this long period having gathered the treasures of all the world and having saved as in an Ark the best relics of ancient art and of ancient intellect, for four whole days became the victim of the most fearful violence and destruction. In vain did the inhabitants invoke the philanthropy of counts and barons; for none voice requesting clemency was given ear … two thousand citizens were slaughtered on the first day, and the Lord knows how many were murdered in the next days. But the survivors were more miserable than those killed, because they were not merely robbed of their clothes, but they were also insulted and maltreated by the conquerors who did not respect anything at all, either women, or holy places, or tombs. Justinian’s body respected through the centuries and integral before their eyes, did not check their sacrilegious hands. Entering the holy churches, they threw on the floor Christ’s divine Body and Blood, stealing the precious vessels and either smashing them to usurp their jewlery, or taking them away for their private use on their dining tables as wine recipeints or as kitchen utensils”
“And most gravely and sacrilegiously they misbehaved in the great church of St. Sophia (God’s Holy Wisdom). The sacrifice table of the holy altar, the most beautiful and most precious of all the material things in that Church, a finest compound piece of work, was smashed to pieces and shared among the plunderers, and the Temple’s immense riches as well. … In order that the booty might be loaded and taken away, mules and donkeys with packsaddles came into the Church …. the soldiers goaded them so that the divine floor was sullied with the animals blood and dung. (…)” (The West’s Robbers Vol. 4, page 726.)
The mysterious text “whose deadly wound was healed” signifies the fact that Islam was in significant decline after the end of the Fatimid Caliphate, and was almost faded away into the pages of history, but the Turkic tribes breathed new life into Islam and were to find the longest and final Caliphate of the Ottomans. The fact that the Latin Rule caused the Byzantine Empire into a state of political and moral decay prior to the fall of Constantinople would breath new life into the first beast “whose deadly wound was healed” after the fall of the Greatest Christian City in 1453 AD.
Revelation 13:13-14 – “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.”
The Pope appeared to have great success through initial victories of the Crusades, the declaration of Papal Infallibility as the final say on matters as if they were brought down from heaven, and of course the burning of the millions of heretics at the stake for rejecting his authority. The Eastern Christians fought for centuries to reject the authority of Rome with local matters since the 9th century Photian Schism. But the Papacy attempted to regain authority over Eastern Christendom during the Council of Florence in 1449 in exchange for help in fighting the onslaught of the Turks marching towards Constantinople before it’s fall in 1453. “Make an image to the beast” is used here in the text to indicate that the Papacy asked for full recognition of Papal Supremecy over the East.
Revelation 13-16 – “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads”
In recognition of the Papacy of Rome as the “Vicar of Christ” on the earth, the Pope began to introduce changes to worship which would show submission to his supremacy, and show their allegiance and identification as a “Papist” (considered a derogatory term today) or “Follower of the Pope“. The first act of the mark would be mental recognition and allegiance to the Pope as the head of the church. But then outward visible signs would provide further evidence. One noted example would be the modification to the standard use of the “Sign of the Cross” instituted by the early Church to use open hand (instead of closed hand with three fingers symbolizing the Trinity), going from left to right vs right to left. Another change to making the “Sign of the Cross” would be marking the sign of the small cross on the forehead using the thumb, dipping the right hand in holy water and making the new modified sign of the Cross before entering Church. Finally the most visible sign promoted by the Papacy would be the introduction of the use of ashes to mark the sign of the cross on the forehead of all Catholics during Ash Wednesday would be the strongest evidence yet on the mark of the forehead for anyone following Roman Catholicism.
Selling of “Salvation” by the Papacy through the sale of Papal Indulgences
Revelation 13:17 – “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
The ultimate downfall of the Papacy at the end of the Dark Ages would be the sale of Indulgences for the “buying of salvation” by the priests and monks from Rome (the sellers of salvation) as they traveled the countries in the West to raise money for the Church in Rome. This act raised the ultimate ire of Martin Luther who would then lead the Protestant revolution. For those who didn’t agree with the sale of Indulgences and who would highlight the corruptions of the Papacy were led to the Inquisition and branded as Heretics and some of the accusers highlighting papal corruptions were burned at the stake
Papal Sale of Indulgences for “Buying and Selling” Salvation
Revelation 13:18 – “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”
It is often noted by some Orthodox commentators that the word LATEINOS adds up to 666 using gemetria calculations. Irenaeus, the pupil of Polycarp (who was the pupil of the Apostle John who wrote the book of Revelation), suspected that 666 to refer to the Greek word “Latinos” (the Latin One, or Latin Kingdom) as his interpretation of the Apocalypse led him to believe the corruption would come from Rome (i.e. Babylon). While it might work out convenient, it does certainly reflected the early church’s mindset of persecution by a Latin “beast“.
Some western Protestant commentators during the latter stages of the Reformation have also pointed to the key text in the the forged Donation of Constantine document to calculate the number 666, which was used to claim supremacy over the East, which contains the first use of the words “Vicar of the Son of God”. The Latin test is: Vicarius Felii Dei, which adds up to 666.
“Like a Lamb” = Vicarius Filii Dei = “Vicar of the Son of God”
Vicariu Filii Dei” text found in the Donation of Constantine
The Church in the West seemed to only officially acquire papal lands when King Pepin of the Franks gave them to the Church as a gift in 756 A.D. This appears to be the time when the reference to the Donation was first used. It could perhaps provide us another clue on the authenticity of the Book of Revelation being published between 90 to 96 AD as many (non-Preterist) commentators and early Church fathers assert. Is it a coincidence that the first use of the “Donation of Constantine” to promote Temporal AND Religious power occurred approximately 666 years after 90 AD?
90 AD (date of Book of Revelation) + 666 = 756 AD
The term Vicarius Filii Dei certainly provides the best explanation of the text in Revelation Chapter 13 to describing the official title of the Second Beast who is “Like a Lamb”, especially in view of the previous verses describing someone wielding both political/temporal and religious power for a period of 1260 years.
Since the Papacy is the “Vicar of Christ“, his 1260 “day” reign based on the year/day principle would most likely utilize the solar calendar of 365.25 days per year (since Christ is the “Sun of Righteousness” and the Pope is the “representative of Christ” we use the solar calculation for the “1260 day” period in history). In terms of calculating the reign as “Supreme Pontiff” from the Donation of Constantine, the period is expected to terminate in 2034 AD, that is:
365.25 x 3.5 year = 1278.375 years
756 AD + 1278.375 years = April 2034 AD
Some other possible calculations are shown in the following chart based on either the prophetic/geometric year, solar year, or lunar year.
We know based on St. Malachi’s prophecy by the Catholics that we are either at the second to last pope or the last Pope called “Peter the Roman.” Catholics expect the end of the world based on the wording. However, based on Orthodox prophecies it appears that this arrival might signal the end of the Papacy and a reversal back to five equivalent patriarchates under a single unified Church.
One final note, during the Protestant Reformation many known leaders of that movement equated the first beast of Revelation as the Papacy and called him the “Man of Sin” and “Antichrist” foretold in Daniel, St. Paul and Revelation. The hatred of the Papacy and the association as the Antichrist is a misinterpretation. Mohammed, being the open hostile attacker of the Church provides a much better fulfillment to the text of the “Little Horn” and “Abomination of Desolation.” However, given the Papacy is referred to as the “Apparent Lamb”, it would be better to coin a new term to represent a religious institution that would desire to “take the place”or “be in front of” Christ. Thus, a better fit for the Papacy and Second Beast of Revelation to be referred as the Ante-Christ, with Mohammed and the First/Islamic Beast referred to as the Antichrist.
So to all Protestant Christians: The Pope is NOT the Antichrist, but is the Ante-Christ.
© 2018, 2020 by Jonathan Photius