by Alexander Hislop
Philologos Religious Online Books
The Two Babylons
The Beast from the Earth
This beast is presented to our notice (Rev 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 serpent." Though this beast is mentioned after the beast from the sea, it does not follow that he came into existence after the sea-beast. The work he did seems to show the very contrary; for it is by his instrumentality that mankind are led (v 12) "to worship the first beast" after that beast had received the deadly wound, which shows that he must have been in existence before. The reason that he is mentioned second, is just because, as he exercises all the powers of the first beast, and leads all men to worship him, so he could not properly be described till that beast had first appeared on the stage. Now, in ancient Chaldea there was the type, also, of this. That god was called in Babylon Nebo, in Egypt Nub or Num, * and among the Romans Numa, for Numa Pompilius, the great priest-king of the Romans, occupied precisely the position of the Babylonian Nebo.
* In Egypt, especially among the Greek-speaking population, the Egyptian b frequently passed into an m.
Among the Etrurians, from whom the Romans derived the most of their rites, he was called Tages, and of this Tages it is particularly recorded, that just as John saw the beast under consideration "come up out of the earth," so Tages was a child suddenly and miraculously born out of a furrow or hole in the ground. In Egypt, this God was represented with the head and horns of a ram (Fig. 55). In Etruria he seems to have been represented in a somewhat similar way; for there we find a Divine and miraculous child exhibited wearing the ram's horns (Fig. 56). The name Nebo, the grand distinctive name of this god, signifies "The Prophet," and as such, he gave oracles, practised augury, pretended to miraculous powers, and was an adept in magic. He was the great wonder-worker, and answered exactly to the terms of the prophecy, when it is said (v 13), "he doeth great wonders, and causeth fire to come down from heaven in the sight of men." It was in this very character that the Etrurian Tages was known; for it was he who was said to have taught the Romans augury, and all the superstition and wonder-working jugglery connected therewith. As in recent times, we hear of weeping images and winking Madonnas, and innumerable prodigies besides, continually occurring in the Romish Church, in proof of this papal dogma or that, so was it also in the system of Babylon. There is hardly a form of "pious fraud" or saintly imposture practised at this day on the banks of the Tiber, that cannot be proved to have had its counterpart on the banks of the Euphrates, or in the systems that came from it. Has the image of the Virgin been seen to shed tears? Many a tear was shed by the Pagan images. To these tender-hearted idols Lucan alludes, when, speaking of the prodigies that occurred during the civil wars, he says:--
"Tears shed by gods, our country's patrons,
And sweat from Lares, told the city's woes."
Virgil also refers to the same, when he says:--
"The weeping statues did the wars foretell,
And holy sweat from brazen idols fell."
When in the consulship of Appius Claudius, and Marcus Perpenna, Publius Crassus was slain in a battle with Aristonicus, Apollo's statue at Cumae shed tears for four days without intermission. The gods had also their merry moods, as well as their weeping fits. If Rome counts it a divine accomplishment for the sacred image of her Madonna to "wink," it was surely not less becoming in the sacred images of Paganism to relax their features into an occasional grin. That they did so, we have abundant testimony. Psellus tells us that, when the priests put forth their magic powers, "then statues laughed, and lamps were spontaneously enkindled." When the images made merry, however, they seemed to have inspired other feelings than those of merriment into the breasts of those who beheld them. "The Theurgists," says Salverte, "caused the appearance of the gods in the air, in the midst of gaseous vapour, disengaged from fire. The Theurgis Maximus undoubtedly made use of a secret analogous to this, when, in the fumes of the incense which he burned before the statue of Hecate, the image was seen to laugh so naturally as to fill the spectators with terror." There were times, however, when different feelings were inspired. Has the image of the Madonna been made to look benignantly upon a favoured worshipper, and send him home assured that his prayer was heard? So did the statues of the Egyptian Isis. They were so framed, that the goddess could shake the silver serpent on her forehead, and nod assent to those who had preferred their petitions in such a way as pleased her. We read of Romish saints that showed their miraculous powers by crossing rivers or the sea in most unlikely conveyances. Thus, of St. Raymond it is written that he was transported over the sea on his cloak. Paganism is not a whit behind in this matter; for it is recorded of a Buddhist saint, Sura Acharya, that, when "he used to visit his flocks west of the Indus, he floated himself across the stream upon his mantle." Nay, the gods and high priests of Paganism showed far more buoyancy than even this. There is a holy man, at this day, in the Church of Rome, somewhere on the Continent, who rejoices in the name of St. Cubertin, who so overflows with spirituality, that when he engages in his devotions there is no keeping his body down to the ground, but, spite of all the laws of gravity, it rises several feet into the air. So was it also with the renowned St. Francis of Assisi, Petrus a Martina, and Francis of Macerata, some centuries ago. But both St. Cubertin and St. Francis and his fellows are far from being original in this superhuman devotion. The priests and magicians in the Chaldean Mysteries anticipated them not merely by centuries, but by thousands of years. Coelius Rhodiginus says, "that, according to the Chaldeans, luminous rays, emanating from the soul, do sometimes divinely penetrate the body, which is then of itself raised above the earth, and that this was the case with Zoroaster." The disciples of Jamblichus asserted that they had often witnessed the same miracle in the case of their master, who, when he prayed was raised to the height of ten cubits from the earth. The greatest miracle which Rome pretends to work, is when, by the repetition of five magic words, she professes to bring down the body, blood, soul, and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ from heaven, to make Him really and corporeally present in the sacrament of the altar. The Chaldean priests pretended, by their magic spells, in like manner, to bring down their divinities into their statues, so that their "real presence" should be visibly manifested in them. This they called "the making of gods"; and from this no doubt comes the blasphemous saying of the Popish priests, that they have power "to create their Creator." There is no evidence, so far as I have been able to find, that, in the Babylonian system, the thin round cake of wafer, the "unbloody sacrifice of the mass," was ever regarded in any other light than as a symbol, that ever it was held to be changed into the god whom it represented. But yet the doctrine of transubstantiation is clearly of the very essence of Magic, which pretended, on the pronunciation of a few potent words, to change one substance into another, or by a dexterous juggle, wholly to remove one substance, and to substitute another in its place. Further, the Pope, in the plenitude of his power, assumes the right of wielding the lightnings of Jehovah, and of blasting by his "fulminations" whoever offends him. Kings, and whole nations, believing in this power, have trembled and bowed before him, through fear of being scathed by his spiritual thunders. The priests of Paganism assumed the very same power; and, to enforce the belief of their spiritual power, they even attempted to bring down the literal lightnings from heaven; yea, there seems some reason to believe that they actually succeeded, and anticipated the splendid discovery of Dr. Franklin. Numa Pompilius is said to have done so with complete success. Tullus Hostilius, his successor, imitating his example, perished in the attempt, himself and his whole family being struck, like Professor Reichman in recent times, with the lightning he was endeavouring to draw down. * Such were the wonder-working powers attributed in the Divine Word to the beast that was to come up from the earth; and by the old Babylonian type these very powers were all pretended to be exercised.
* The means appointed for drawing down the lightning were described in the books of the Etrurian Tages. Numa had copied from these books, and had left commentaries behind him on the subject, which Tallus had misunderstood, and hence the catastrophe.
Now, in remembrance of the birth of the god out of a "hole in the earth," the Mysteries were frequently celebrated in caves under ground. This was the case in Persia, where, just as Tages was said to be born out of the ground, Mithra was in like manner fabled to have been produced from a cave in the earth. *
* JUSTIN MARTYR. It is remarkable that, as Mithra was born out of a cave, so the idolatrous nominal Christians of the East represent our Saviour as having in like manner been born in a a cave. (See KITTO's Cyclopaedia, "Bethlehem") There is not the least hint of such a thing in the Scripture.
Numa of Rome himself pretended to get all his revelations from the Nymph Egeria, in a cave. In these caves men were first initiated in the secret Mysteries, and by the signs and lying wonders there presented to them, they were led back, after the death of Nimrod, to the worship of that god in its new form. This Apocalyptic beast, then, that "comes up out of the earth," agrees in all respects with that ancient god born from a "hole in the ground"; for no words could more exactly describe his doing than the words of the prediction (v 13): "He doeth great wonders, and causeth fire to come down from heaven in the sight of men,...and he causeth the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed." This wonder-working beast, called Nebo, or "The Prophet," as the prophet of idolatry, was, of course, the "false prophet." By comparing the passage before us with Revelation 19:20, it will be manifest that this beast that "came up out of the earth" is expressly called by that very name: "And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image." As it was the "beast from the earth" that "wrought miracles" before the first beast, this shows that "the beast from the earth" is the "false prophet"; in other words, is "Nebo."
If we examine the history of the Roman empire, we shall find that here also there is a precise accordance between type and antitype. When the deadly wound of Paganism was healed, and the old Pagan title of Pontiff was restored, it was, through means of the corrupt clergy, symbolised, as is generally believed, and justly under the image of a beast with horns, like a lamb; according to the saying of our Lord, "Beware of false prophets, that shall come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." The clergy, as a corporate body, consisted of two grand divisions--the regular and secular clergy answering to the two horns or powers of the beast, and combining also, at a very early period, both temporal and spiritual powers. The bishops, as heads of these clergy, had large temporal powers, long before the Pope gained his temporal crown. We have the distinct evidence of both Guizot and Gibbon to this effect. After showing that before the fifth century, the clergy had not only become distinct from, but independent of the people, Guizot adds: "The Christian clergy had moreover another and very different source of influence. The bishops and priests became the principal municipal magistrates...If you open the code, either of Theodosius or Justinian, you will find numerous regulations which remit municipal affairs to the clergy and the bishops." Guizot makes several quotations. The following extract from the Justinian code is sufficient to show how ample was the civil power bestowed upon the bishops: "With respect to the yearly affairs of cities, whether they concern the ordinary revenues of the city, either from funds arising from the property of the city, or from private gifts or legacies, or from any other source; whether public works, or depots of provisions or aqueducts, or the maintenance of baths or ports, or the construction of walls or towers, or the repairing of bridges or roads, or trials, in which the city may be engaged in reference to public or private interests, we ordain as follows:--The very pious bishop, and three notables, chosen from among the first men of the city, shall meet together; they shall each year examine the works done; they shall take care that those who conduct them, or who have conducted them, shall regulate them with precision, render their accounts, and show that they have duly performed their engagements in the administration, whether of the public monuments, or of the sums appointed for provisions or baths, or of expenses in the maintenance of roads, aqueducts, or any other work." Here is a large list of functions laid on the spiritual shoulders of "the very pious bishop," not one of which is even hinted at in the Divine enumeration of the duties of a bishop, as contained in the Word of God. (See 1 Timothy 3:1-7; and Titus 1:5-9.) How did the bishops, who were originally appointed for purely spiritual objects, contrive to grasp at such a large amount of temporal authority? From Gibbon we get light as to the real origin of what Guizot calls this "prodigious power." The author of the Decline and Fall shows, that soon after Constantine's time, "the Church" [and consequently the bishops, especially when they assumed to be a separate order from the other clergy] gained great temporal power through the right of asylum, which had belonged to the Pagan temples, being transferred by the Emperors to the Christian churches. His words are: "The fugitive, and even the guilty, were permitted to implore either the justice or mercy of the Deity and His ministers." Thus was the foundation laid of the invasion of the rights of the civil magistrate by ecclesiastics, and thus were they encouraged to grasp at all the powers of the State. Thus, also, as is justly observed by the authoress of Rome in the 19th Century, speaking of the right of asylum, were "the altars perverted into protection towards the very crimes they were raised to banish from the world." This is a very striking thing, as showing how the temporal power of the Papacy, in its very first beginnings, was founded on "lawlessness," and is an additional proof to the many that might be alleged, that the Head of the Roman system, to whom all bishops are subject is indeed "The Lawless One" (2 Thess 2:8), predicted in Scripture as the recognised Head of the "Mystery of Iniquity." All this temporal power came into the hands of men, who, while professing to be ministers of Christ, and followers of the Lamb, were seeking simply their own aggrandisement, and, to secure that aggrandisement, did not hesitate to betray the cause which they professed to serve. The spiritual power which they wielded over the souls of men, and the secular power which they gained in the affairs of the world, were both alike used in opposition to the cause of pure religion and undefiled. At first these false prophets, in leading men astray, and seeking to unite Paganism and Christianity, wrought under-ground, mining like the mole in the dark, and secretly perverting the simple, according to the saying of Paul, "The Mystery of Iniquity doth already work." But by-and-by, towards the end of the fourth century, when the minds of men had been pretty well prepared, and the aspects of things seemed to be favourable for it, the wolves in sheep's clothing appeared above ground, brought their secret doctrines and practices, by little and little, into the light of day, and century after century, as their power increased, by means of all "deceivableness of unrighteousness," and "signs and lying wonders," deluded the minds of the worldly Christians, made them believe that their anathema was equivalent to the curse of God; in other words, that they could "bring down fire from heaven," and thus "caused the earth, and them that dwelt therein, to worship the beast whose deadly wound was healed." *
* Though the Pope be the great Jupiter Tonans of the Papacy, and "fulminates" from the Vatican, as his predecessor was formerly believed to do from the Capitol, yet it is not he in reality that brings down the fire from heaven, but his clergy. But for the influence of the clergy in everywhere blinding the minds of the people, the Papal thunders would be but "bruta fulmina" after all. The symbol, therefore, is most exact, when it attributes the "bringing down of the fire from heaven," to the beast from the earth, rather than to the beast from the sea.
When "the deadly wound" of the Pagan beast was healed, and the beast from the sea appeared, it is said that this beast from the earth became the recognised, accredited executor of the will of the great sea beast (v 12), "And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him," literally "in his presence"--under his inspection. Considering who the first beast is, there is great force in this expression "in his presence." The beast that comes up from the sea, is "the little horn," that "has eyes like the eyes of man" (Dan 7:8); it is Janus Tuens, "All-seeing Janus," in other words, the Universal Bishop or "Universal Overseer," who, from his throne on the seven hills, by means of the organised system of the confessional, sees and knows all that is done, to be the utmost bounds of his wide dominion. Now, it was just exactly about the time that the Pope became universal bishop, that the custom began of systematically investing the chief bishops of the Western empire with the Papal livery, the pallium, "for the purpose," says Gieseler, "of symbolising and strengthening their connection with the Church of Rome." *
* GIESELER. From Gieseler we learn that so early as 501, the Bishop of Rome had laid the foundation of the corporation of bishops by the bestowal of the pallium; but, at the same time, he expressly states that it was only about 602, at the `63 ascent of Phocas to the imperial throne--that Phocas that made the Pope Universal Bishop--that the Popes began to bestow the pallium, that is, of course, systematically, and on a large scale.
That pallium, worn on the shoulders of the bishops, while on the one hand it was the livery of the Pope, and bound those who received it to act as the functionaries of Rome, deriving all their authority from him, and exercising it under his superintendence, as the "Bishop of bishops," on the other hand, was in reality the visible investiture of these wolves with the sheep's clothing. For what was the pallium of the Papal bishop? It was a dress made of wool, blessed by the Pope, taken from the holy lambs kept by the nuns of St. Agnes, and woven by their sacred hands, that it might be bestowed on those whom the Popes delighted to honour, for the purpose, as one of themselves expressed it, of "joining them to our society in the one pastoral sheepfold." *
* GIESELER, "Papacy"). The reader who peruses the early letters of the Popes in bestowing the pallium, will not fail to observe the wide difference of meaning between "the one pastoral sheepfold" above referred to, and "the one sheepfold" of our Lord. The former really means a sheepfold consisting of pastors or shepherds. The papal letters unequivocally imply the organisation of the bishops, as a distinct corporation, altogether independent of the Church, and dependent only on the Papacy, which seems remarkably to agree with the terms of the prediction in regard to the beast from the earth.
Thus commissioned, thus ordained by the universal Bishop, they did their work effectually, and brought the earth and them that dwelt in it, "to worship the beast that received the wound by a sword and did live." This was a part of this beast's predicted work. But there was another, and not less important, which remains for consideration.