Thursday, September 9, 2010

The nature of the beast

1And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. 2And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. 3One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast.4And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?"

Revelation 13:1-4

Who is the beast? What is the beast?
Perhaps those awful uncontrollable things that take charge of our lives and enslave us: money, ambition, political opportunism, "national security", "personal security", technology, ....
That is the "nature of the beast".

In the words of someone else:
We see before us the dragon of which the Book of Revelation speaks. ‘Then another sign appeared in Heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.’ [Rev. 12:3.] John portrays the ‘beast rising out of the sea,’ out of the dark depths of evil, with the symbols of Roman imperial power, and he thus puts a very concrete face on the threat facing the Christians of his day: the total claim placed upon man by the emperor cult and the resulting elevation of political-military-economic might to the peak of absolute power — to the personification of the evil that threatens to devour us.
Notwithstanding the dissolution of the Roman Empire and its ideologies, this remains very contemporary! Today there are on one hand the forces of the market, of traffic in weapons, in drugs, and in human beings, all forces that weigh upon the world and ensnare humanity irresistibly.
Joseph Ratzinger, Jesus of Nazareth (2007)
(Pope Benedict XVI)

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