A WOMAN RIDES THE BEAST
by Dave Hunt
Fear, then, our wrath and the thunders of our vengeance; for
Jesus Christ has appointed us [the popes] with his own mouth
absolute judges of all men; and kings themselves are submitted to
Pope Nicholas I (858-67)
The Italians are exalted above all nations by the special grace
of God, who gives them in the Pope a spiritual monarch, who has
put down from their thrones great kings and yet mightier
emperors, and set others in their place, to whom the greatest
kingdoms have long paid tribute, as they do to no other, and who
dispenses such riches to his courtiers that no king or emperor
has ever had so much to give.
Padua Provost and Professor Carrerio, 1626
It is the office of the Papacy to tread under foot kings and
J.H.Ignaz von Dollinger
DOMINION OVER KINGS
The last identifying characteristic that John was given
concerning the woman astride the beast was that she was a city
"which reigneth over the kings of the earth" (Revelation 17:18).
Could there be a city that actually reigns over the governments
of the world? History bears witness that there was indeed such a
city, and only one. That city was, of course, Rome after its
bishops began to call themselves popes and, claiming to be the
successors of the Caesars, took upon themselves the imperial
powers of worldwide sovereignty.
Consider, for example, the arrogant imperialism of Pope
Alexander III (1159-81). Declaring that "the power of the popes
is superior to that of princes," Alexander excommunicated
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany and Italy.
Attempting to chastise the pope, Frederick's forces were defeated
by the pope's army. The chastened emperor came to Venice to beg
forgiveness and absolution, promising to "submit always to the
Roman Church." Imagine a church ruling the world by military
might! Fortunatus Ulmas, a Catholic historian, enthusiastically
described the scene:
"When the emperor arrived in the presence of the pope, he laid
aside his imperial mantle, and knelt on both knees, with his
breast on the earth. Alexander advanced and placed his foot on
his neck, while the cardinals thundered forth in loud tones.
'Thou shalt tread upon the cockatrice, and crush the lion and the
dragon.' ... The next day Frederick Barbarossa ... kissed the
feet of Alexander, and, on foot, led his horse by the bridle as
he returned from solemn mass, to the pontifical palace ....
The papacy had now risen to a height of grandeur and power which
it had never reached before. The sword of Peter had conquered the
sword of Caesar!"
As a swordsman, Peter had been signally inept: Aiming to cut
off a head, he had instead severed an ear, Christ rebuked His
erring disciple, healed the ear, and then allowed the armed band
to lead Him captive on His way to the cross. The early church
knew full well that Christians did not wield sword or spear in
the defense of Christ. His kingdom, which is "not of this world,"
must first be established in the hearts of those who believe in
Him as the Savior who died for their sins. These true disciples
follow in His path of rejection, suffering, and death. How then
did those who called themselves vicars of Christ reach such a
worldly pinnacle whereby they could command emperors, defeat
their armies with the sword, and place a foot upon the neck of a
The Path to Earthly Glory
Some years after Constantine had moved the imperial
headquarters to the East, the Roman Empire in the West broke up.
The vacuum created by the absence of a central authority in Rome
was filled by the Church, the only Roman institution capable of
doing so. The Church played the major role in education and
charity. Gradually, however, the popes took over the civil
government of Rome and its surroundings; and then by fraud (as we
have seen) they added the large territories of the Papal States
to their domain. As their ambitions grew, the new Roman pontiffs
took upon themselves the titles and much of the flavor and
function of emperor.
The popes, some of whom were exceptionally capable military
leaders, had armies and navies at their command to extend and to
hold their territories. They wielded, however, a greater power
than the force of arms: "The keys of heaven" were theirs.
Temporal rulers were compelled, no matter how unwillingly,
to bow the knee to the popes. Only the "heretics" (true
Christians) doubted that the Church determined who entered heaven
and could bar its gate to any who opposed her. The most powerful
civil rulers trembled when threatened with excommunication, for
it was almost universally believed that outside the Church there
was no salvation. Historian Walter James writes:
"The Papacy controlled the gateway to heaven which all the
faithful, including their rulers, hoped earnestly to enter. Few
in those days doubted the truth of this and it gave the Popes a
moral authority which has never been wielded since."
The fraudulent "Donation of Constantine" mentioned earlier
was followed by a veritable library of forged documents. It was
these false decretals that traced papal authority back to the
early bishops of Rome and through them to Peter. Even Thomas
Aquinas, the Roman Church's greatest theologian, was deceived by
these fraudulent assertions into believing that "there is no
difference between Christ and the Pope ..." So blinded was
Aquinas by the pomp and power of the popes that he "made the
Fathers say that in fact the rulers of the world obey the Pope as
though he were Christ."
On the contrary, Christ had nothing to do with the rulers of
this world; and far from obeying Him, "the princes of this world
... crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Corinthians 2:8). Yet the
Catholic heresy stuck and became the central principle of the
popes in fulfilling John's vision by literally ruling over the
kings of the earth.
Papal Dominion over England and Ireland
During the Middle Ages the awesome power which the popes
wielded over the kings of the earth continued to grow. Gregory VI
(1045-6) had declared that the pope commanded blind obedience to
his every word, even from sovereigns. Alexander II (1061-73),
with the counsel of the great Hildebrand (later Gregory VII),
issued a decree declaring Harold, the lawful King of England, a
usurper and excommunicated his followers. The pope decreed that
William, Duke of Normandy, was the lawful claimant to the English
With the pope's blessing, William the Conqueror killed
Harold in battle, took England, and was crowned in London on
Christmas Day, 1066. William accepted the crown "in the name of
the Holy See of Rome." It was another triumph for the papacy and
greatly increased Roman Catholic influence in England. Freeman,
in "The Norman Conquest," elaborates on the arrangement:
"William was authorized [by the pope] logo forth as an avenger of
Heaven. He was required to teach the English people 'due
obedience to Christ's Vicar,' and, what the papacy never forgets,
'to secure a more punctual payment of the temporal dues of his
In 1155 Pope Adrian IV gave the crown of Ireland to the King
of England. Thus, by his authority as "Christ's vicar," he
subjugated Ireland to English rule and consigned Ireland's
"peaceful and Christian people to the merciless cruelties of
Henry II, upon the ground that it was a portion of 'the patrimony
of St.Peter and of the Holy Roman Church.'" Subsequent popes
affirmed this decree.
So long as England remained Catholic the arrangement was
tolerable. But when England turned Protestant its continued
control of Catholic Ireland and Protestant persecution of
Catholics planted the seeds of a problem that continues to this
day. While Catholic Ireland has many legitimate grievances too
complex to relate here, she needs to remember that it was, after
all, the Roman Catholic popes who gave Ireland to England in the
In fact, the popes were to blame for many of England's
trials and tribulations as well. The Roman pontiffs treated "its
kings [as] their vassals, and its people as having no rights of
any value whatsoever when they came in conflict with the demands
of the papacy.... The Catholic clergy, as the popes' emissaries,
ran England, disregarding the laws of the land, as though the
popes were the sovereigns of the country. Civil courts had no
jurisdiction over priests." Thompson elaborates:
"It would be impossible to enumerate ... the outrages and
enormities practiced in England during this gloomy period by
kings and popes, who considered the assertion of any single
popular right as a crime which God had appointed them to punish!
More than a hundred murders were committed by ecclesiastics
during the reign of Henry II, in which the parties were not even
The clergy had absolute power over their own body, and no appeal
was allowed from their decisions. A layman forfeited his life by
the crime of murder, but an ecclesiastic went unpunished. This
was called one of the immunities of the clergy! [When the king
tried to change the law to deal with clergy] the pope refused his
sanction and denounced it as 'prejudicial to the Church, and
destructive of her privileges'!"
Looking back from today's perspective, such overt papal
dominion over sovereigns seems inconceivable, but it was in fact
the norm for that day. The popes literally ruled the entire known
world for centuries, exactly as John's vision foretold.
Pope Gregory VII (1073-85)
Before he became pope, as the famous Hildebrand, Gregory VII
was the manipulating genius behind five other popes, including
Alexander II. Gregory began his pontificate "by asserting the
right to dispose of kingdoms, in imitation of the example set by
Pope Gregory I [the Great], nearly four hundred years before." He
declared that the power to "bind and loose" granted by Christ to
Peter gave the popes "the right to make and unmake kings, to
construct and reconstruct governments, to wrest from those who
disobeyed all the territory held by them, and to bestow it upon
those who would hold it subject to papal authority." Had he not
read Revelation 17:18?
Gregory was the first pope to literally dethrone kings. If
he decided to depose the German emperor, Gregory simply said, "To
me is given power to bind and loose on earth and in heaven." If
he set his heart upon some property that belonged to others,
Gregory simply declared, as he had at his Roman Synod of 1080:
"We desire to show the world that we can give or take away at our
will kingdoms, duchies, earldoms, in a word, the possession of
all men; for we can bind and loose."
Picture, for example, in 1077, the humbled Henry IV, supreme
head of the Holy Roman Empire and heir to Charlemagne (whom Pope
Leo III had crowned emperor in 800), crossing the Alps and forced
to wait, in penitence, barefoot in a haircloth shirt in the snow
outside the castle at Canossa to make his peace with Gregory VII!
Claiming to be "King of kings," Gregory, because of a quarrel
with Henry, had declared: "On the part of God omnipotent, I
forbid Henry to govern the kingdoms of Italy and Germany. I
absolve all subjects from every oath they have taken and I
excommunicate every person who shall serve him as king." Henry
had no defense against that superweapon of the popes.
Thus was established that magnificent "whore" portrayed by
John in Revelation 17 - headquartered in a city located upon
seven hills (verse 9) and which "reigneth over the kings of the
earth" (verse 18). One eighteenth-century historian counted 95
popes who claimed to have divine power to depose kings. There is
no other city which meets these criteria. John's vision had been
The Bloodiest Pontiff
Of Innocent III (1198-1216), whom he says "encompassed
Christendom with terror... for close on twenty years," de Rosa
writes: "He crowned and deposed sovereigns, put nations under
interdict, virtually created the Papal States across central
Italy from the Mediterranean to the Adriatic. He had not lost a
single battle. In pursuit of his aims, be shed more blood than
any other pontiff." Desiring to put Otho of Saxony on the German
throne, Innocent wrote:
"By the authority which God has given us in the person of St.
Peter, we declare you king, and we order the people to render
you, in this capacity, homage and obedience. We, however, shall
expect you to subscribe to all our desires as a term for the
Innocent III's "proud spirit chafed at the thought that any
earthly potentate should equal him either in greatness or
authority. Therefore he required that "all disputes between
princes" should be referred to him; and if either party should
refuse "to obey the sentence of Rome, he was to be excommunicated
and deposed," and a like penalty was to be visited upon those who
refused to attack whatsoever "refractory delinquent" he should
point out. As Ehler and Morrall remind us, "The Papacy became not
only the highest authority in respect of international
jurisdiction, being entitled to judge kings and princes, but
secular potentates also sought the Pope's sanction in major
changes of their international position, such as acquisition of
new territories or titles."
John Lackland, King of England, made the mistake of having a
violent quarrel with Pope Innocent III. "After attempting
resistance he completely submitted to Rome, surrendered his royal
crown to Pope Innocent III and received it back from him as a
vassal of the Holy See." The document, dated May 15, 1213, is
known as "King John Lackland's Infeodation to Pope Innocent 111."
(See Appendix C.) R.W.Thompson adds his insight:
"Forfeitures, interdicts, excommunications, and every other form
of ecclesiastical censure and punishment were of almost daily
occurrence. Even such monarchs as Philip Augustus and Henry IV
quailed before him [Innocent III], and Peter II of Aragon and
John of England ignominiously consented to convert their kingdoms
into spiritual fiefs and to hold them in subordination to him,
upon the condition of paying an annual tribute."
Yet More Evidence
Gregory IX (1227-41), who established the Inquisition and
the handing of heretics to the secular power for execution,
thundered that the pope was lord and master of everyone and
everything. Innocent IV (1243-54) agreed because, as he argued,
the popes did not get their dominion merely from "The Donation of
Constantine" but already had it from God. Boniface VIII went
further and, in his Bull "Unam Sanctam" in 1302, in which he
claimed authority over all temporal powers, made absolute
obedience to the pope a condition of salvation.
By the time of the death of Roman Emperor Frederick
Barbarossa (upon whose neck Pope Alexander III had placed his
conquering foot) it had long been understood that "nobody could
acquire [the Imperial crown] without coronation by the Pope......
Emperor Charles IV secured peace and final harmony with the
Papacy by renouncing any Imperial activity in the whole of Italy
[leaving the popes to govern there] and this self-restriction was
observed by subsequent Emperors until the end of the Middle
Pope Julius II (1503-13), furious because Louis XII of
France wouldn't support him in his military campaigns, drew up a
papal bull depriving him of his kingdom and giving it to Henry
VIII of England, provided he proved his piety by supporting the
pope in his wars. Julius died before the bull was published. That
pope's passion for fighting "holy wars" to extend the papal
territories inspired Michelangelo, whom he hired to paint the
ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, to pen the famous lines so apropos
of Julius and many other popes:
"Of chalices they make helmet and sword And sell by the bucket
the blood of the Lord."
In a recent article in a national Catholic newspaper, a
priest confessed, "The church ... was subverted by the ambitions
of such men as Gregory VII, Innocent III and Boniface VII into a
politico-ecclesiastical institution wielding totalitarian power
in both sacred and secular fields." He fails to mention that the
dogmas and claims of Rome remain the same today as they were
then. The Church has not changed; only circumstances force her to
vary her tactics.
The open threats and aggression of a Gregory VII won't work
in today's world. Though wielded more subtly, however, the
Vatican's power is no less effective today than it ever was. One
author who spent a lifetime analyzing and writing about the
"The Vatican is ... the paramount superpower of our times. Its
adherents ... nearing a billion, can be made to operate in every
corner of the world ... Hence the importance [for every
government] of having the Pope as a partner in the pursuance of
any given world policy ... Vatican policies are directed by the
Pope ... [who] has neither Parliament, Congress or Senate, or any
similar democratic body ... limiting his decisions, powers or
policies. He is an absolute autocratic ruler, in the fullest
meaning of that word."
A Golden Cup in Her Hand
Kings dwell in palaces, are waited upon by servants, and,
because of their absolute authority over their subjects,
accumulate great wealth. It would therefore be expected that a
city which reigns over the kings of the earth would be the
wealthiest of all. Such is the case with the woman astride the
beast. That fact is surely signified by the "gold and precious
stones and pearls" with which she is adorned as well as by the
"golden cup in her hand" (Revelation 17:4).
That the golden cup is "full of abominations and filthiness"
indicates that her wealth has been acquired through abominable
means. Cardinal Baronius, though a defender of the papacy,
confessed that in St.Peter's Chair have sat monsters "filled with
fleshly lusts and cunning in all forms of wickedness [having]
prostituted the Chair of St.Peter for their minions and
paramours." In his sixteenth-century Ecclesiastical Annals he
"The Roman Church was ... covered with silks and precious stones,
which publicly prostituted itself for gold .... Never did
priests, and especially popes, commit so many adulteries, rapes,
incests, robberies, and murders ... [as in the Middle Ages]?"
Petrarch, poet laureate of the empire, described the papal
court in Avignon scornfully as "the shame of mankind, a sink of
vice, a sewer where is gathered all the filth of the world. There
God is held in contempt, money alone is worshipped and the laws
of God and men are trampled under foot. Everything there breathes
a lie: the air, the earth, the houses and above all the
bedrooms." Referring to Avignon as "the Babylon of the West,"
"Here reign the successors of the poor fishermen of Galilee ...
loaded with gold and clad in purple, boasting of the spoils of
princes and nations. Instead of holy solitude we find a criminal
host ... instead of soberness, licentious banquets ... instead of
the bare feet of the apostles ... horses decked in gold and fed
on gold, soon to be shod with gold, if the Lord does not check
this slavish luxury."
Of Rome's wealth in the Middle Ages de Rosa says: "The
cardinals had huge palaces with countless servants. One papal
aide reported that he never went to see a cardinal without
finding him counting his gold coins. The Curia was made up of men
who had bought office and were desperate to recoup their enormous
outlay ... For every benefice of see, abbey and parish, for every
indulgence there was a set fee. The pallium, the two-inch-wide
woollen band with crosses embroidered on it ... paid for by every
bishop ... brought in ... hundreds of millions of gold florins to
the papal coffers .... [T]he Council of Basle in 1432 was to call
it 'the most usurious contrivance ever invented....' ' De Rosa
"Dispensations were another source of papal revenue. Extremely
severe, even impossible, laws were passed so that the Curia could
grow rich by selling dispensations ... (such as] from fasting
during Lent .... Marriage in particular was a rich source of
income. Consanguinity was alleged to hold between couples who had
never dreamed they were related. Dispensations from consanguinity
in order to marry amounted to a million gold florins a years"
An Eyewitness Account Prom Spain
D.Antonio Gavin, author of "A Master-Key to Popery," was
born and educated in Spain at the end of the 1600s. As a Roman
Catholic priest he had become thoroughly disillusioned by the
evil in which he found himself entangled. Fleeing the Spanish
Inquisition disguised in an army officer's uniform, Gavin made
his way to safety in England. His book gives a clear picture of
Roman Catholicism in his day and has much to say about her
incredible wealth and the part it played in the practice of
Rome's paganized Christianity:
"In the cathedral of St.Salvator [in Zaragoza] there are ten
thousand ounces of silver in plate, part of it gilt, to adorn the
two corners of the altar on great festivals [and an] ...
abundance of rich ornaments for Priests, of inexpressible value.
Eighty-four chalices, twenty of pure gold, and sixty-four of
silver, gilt on the inside of the cup; and the rich chalice which
only the Archbishop makes use of in his pontifical dress.
All these things are but trifles in comparison with the great
custodia they make use of to carry the great Host through the
streets on the festival of Corpus Christi: ... [solid gold set
with diamonds, emeralds and other precious stones it is] five
hundred pound weight ... Several goldsmiths have endeavoured to
value this piece, but nobody could set a certain sum on it."
The most famous church in Zaragoza is called "Our Lady of
the Pillar" because of an alleged appearance of the Virgin there.
Gavin describes the crown on the image of the Virgin: "twenty-
five pounds weight, set all over with large diamonds, so that
nobody can see any gold in it, and everybody thinks it is all
made of diamonds. Beside this rich one, she has six crowns more
of pure gold, set with rich diamonds and emeralds...." He goes on
"The roses of diamonds and other precious stones she has to adorn
her mantle are innumerable; for though she [the image of the
'Virgin'] is dressed every day in the colour of the church's
festival, and never useth twice [in a year] the same mantle,
which is of the best stuff embroidered with gold, she has new
roses of precious stones every day for three years together, she
has three hundred and sixty-five necklaces of pearls and
diamonds, and six chains of gold set with diamonds, which are put
on her mantle on the great festivals of Christ."
A visitor to Zaragoza today may enter the treasure room to
see some of the wealth. The Virgin has a different skirt for
each day of the year embroidered with gold and set with diamonds
and other precious stones. Another image of silver five feet high
is set with precious stones and wears a diamond studded crown of
pure gold. In the early 1700s "the Right Honorable Lord Stanhope,
then General of the English forces," was shown the treasure.
Gavin was present and heard the General exclaim, "If all the
Kings of Europe should gather together all their treasures and
precious stones, they could not buy half of the riches of this
treasury." Such was the wealth 280 years ago in one cathedral in
one small city of Spain!
The Vatican's incredible riches have been accumulated at the
expense of the people in even the poorest countries. At the time
of Mexico's Civil War the Roman Catholic Church there owned "from
one-third to one-half of all the land of the nation [and about
one-half of all the property of Mexico City). Its revenues from
tithes, Masses, and the sale of devotional articles such as
statues, medals, rosaries, and the like, amounted to between six
and eight million dollars annually, while its total revenues
reached the astronomical figure of twenty million dollars....
This drain on the poor country of Mexico was equal to the
operating expense of the entire United States government during
these same years."
We bring this lamentable recital to a close. There can be no
doubt that John's remarkable vision had come to pass: A city on
seven hills sated with wealth, which claimed a special
relationship to God and Christ, literally ruled over the kings of
the earth. As with the other identifying criteria John provides,
there is only one city in history (and only one today) which
passes this test. Peter de Rosa reminds us of what must have
"Jesus renounced possessions. He constantly taught 'Go, sell all
thou hast and give to the poor, then come and follow me.' He
preached doom to the rich and powerful .... Christ's Vicar lives
surrounded by treasures, some of pagan origin. Any suggestion
that the pope should sell all be has and give to the poor is
greeted with derision as impractical. The rich young man in the
gospel reacted in the same way.
Throughout his life, Jesus lived simply; he died naked, offering
the sacrifice of his life on the cross."
When the pope renews that sacrifice at pontifical high mass, no
greater contrast could be imagined. Without any sense of irony,
Christ's Vicar is clad in gold and the costliest silks.
... the pope has a dozen glorious titles, including State
Sovereign. The pope's aides also have titles somewhat unexpected
in the light of the Sermon on the Mount: Excellency, Eminence,
Your Grace, My Lord, Illustrious One, Most Reverend, and so
Peter, always penniless, would be intrigued to know that
according to canon 1518 ... his successor is 'the supreme
administrator and manager of all church properties.' Also that
the Vatican has its own bank...."
The Vatican has gathered its incalculable fortune through
the most abominable means: selling bogus tickets to heaven. Nino
Lo Bello, former Rome correspondent for "Business Week," calls
the Vatican "the tycoon on the Tiber" because of its incredible
wealth and worldwide enterprises. His research indicates that it
owns fully one-third of Rome's real estate and is probably the
largest holder of stocks and bonds in the world, to say nothing
of its ownership of industries from electronics and plastics to
airlines and chemical and engineering firms.
In his September 1993 trip to the Baltic countries "the pope
was an unusually stern critic of unbridled capitalism. In a
speech that hinted of more to come, the pope said capitalistic
ideology was responsible for "grave social injustices - and that
Marxism's 'kernel of truth' lay in seeing capitalism's faults."
One marvels at the hypocrisy of such statements coming from
the head of a Church which is the biggest capitalist in the
world! Lo Bello suggests that the Church shed its "mantle of
piety; then at last the Vatican will expose the full extent of
its financial interests."
The woman riding the beast has used her wealth and power to
subdue kings and kingdoms and to slaughter millions who, though
they were subject to civil authority, could not accept her
heresies. To this day that gold cup overflows with the blood of
those who, for conscience' sake, were martyred for their faith.
Dave Hunt gives 33 "references" for the quotes in this chapter.
When all this historic evidence is stacked up, mighty heavy and
piled high, of the evil done over centuries, within and by the
decree of the Roman Catholic church, it is marvellous that this
"church" has one single member!! But it is today (2007) as I
enter this chapter from Dave Hunt, over ONE BILLION in
membership around the world, and INCREASING all the time! The
only answer is that Satan the Devil is mighty powerful in the art
of deception. Jesus inspired John in Revelation 12:9 to say that
the Satan the Devil has DECEIVED THE WHOLE WORLD! In one form or
another that is indeed so true.
This power of the Roman Catholic religion, will, in the very last
years of this age, deceive even more, and will, with the secular
Beast of nations she rides, control the Western world, even by
force of arms, just as her history shows is her very nature, when
all the circumstances are just right. It is in God's hands as to
the time line when all that is written shall come to pass.
Entered on this Website December 2007