Welcome to the list, Dan and good to see you posting, Joanne. It looks like Benjamin is not the only thinker in the family.
Interesting twists you present on the Beast. An important point that I have stressed in the past is that all inspired writings have more than one interpretation. Each scripture that deals with principles or cycles has a body, soul and spirit according to ancient Jewish belief.
The body is that which is most applicable to life on the physical plane.
Soul interpretations are those who stir the love energy of those who hear the words expounded.
Spirit interpretations are those that appeal to the higher mind and lead to manifestations of the Spirit within.
In addition to these three there is a fourth which is a synthesis of the three. This will be an interpretation from the viewpoint of wholeness (holiness) which will give guidance in practical application, stir the love of God and Spirit within and lead to intuitive understanding.
In addition to this when the mystical number of seven comes into play the number of possible interpretations multiplies exponentially.
How do you know if your interpretation is correct?
For one thing, if it has meaning to you then a value is achieved even if you are far removed from the meaning implied by the original writer.
Apart from this as we seek accuracy we want to apply the law of correspondences. If the interpretation you come up with fits in with this law then you have a find worthy of contemplation and meditation. As you then contemplate the interpretation and correspondences you will move to the next level of seeking intuitive flashes of knowledge. When these flashes come you will know within that they are true for you will see the principle behind them.
When John saw a vision of the woman (false religion) sitting on the Beast we are told that he "wondered with great admiration." (Rev 17:6)
Now why was John so astonished at what he saw? At this point he was well aware that there were great powers of apparent evil which fought against the truth and he had seen this work out in the death and persecutions of many of his fellow disciples and attempts on his own life.
What astonished John was not the fact that there was a great force that persecuted the saints, but the amazing thing he witnessed was the extent of its power. Not only were the evil and mean spirited affected by the Beast, but he saw that its tentacles extended and would extend to almost every self conscious human being on the planet. He saw that there were many good a decent people under the spell of false authority and that if an illusion is dispelled in one area it is usually replaced by one in another area.
He probably would have went away from this vision in a state of depression had he also not seen the eventual triumph of the kingdom of God and that this illusion created by the Beast would be dispelled by the fire and light of God that will manifest beginning with the 144,000.
In this current age the greatest most persistent attacks by the Beast comes in the area of freedom. The illusion will be that we need to give up more and more of our freedoms for safety.
How do we trade freedom for safety in relation to religion, in relation to the law, in our relationships and in our group associations?
Copyright 2001 by J.J. Dewey, All Rights Reserved