The second beast comes "out of the earth" and directs all peoples of the earth to worship the first beast. The second beast is described in Revelation 13:11-18 and is also referred to as the false prophet.
The two beasts are aligned with the dragon in opposition to God. They persecute the "saints" and those who do "not worship the image of the beast [of the sea]" and influence the kings of the earth to gather for the battle of Armageddon. The two beasts are defeated by Christ and are thrown into the lake of fire mentioned in Revelation 19:18-20
The Beast Out Of The Sea
Revelation 13:1-2 (Easy To Read Version - ERV) Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads. There was a crown on each of its horns. It had an evil name written on each head. (2) This beast looked like a leopard, with feet like a bear's feet. It had a mouth like a lion's mouth. The dragon gave the beast all of its power and its throne and great authority.
- It came out of the sea
- Seven heads
- Ten horns
- Crown on each horn
- An evil name written on each head
- Looked like a leopard
- Bear's feet
- Mouth like a lion's mouth
- It had all the power and authority of the dragon
The beast is mentioned first in
Revelation 11:7 "Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them."
When we studied the Seventh Trumpet in the chapter of Revelation 12 we saw similar imagery...
Revelation 12:3 "Then another sign appeared in heaven: a huge red dragon with seven heads, ten horns, and seven royal crowns on his heads."
But in this vision, the horns are crowned, not the heads. We also saw similar imagery in Daniel's vision in chapter 7.
"...this last stage is marked by the ten toes of the two feet of the image in Daniel 2:33, Daniel 2:41, Daniel 2:42. The seven implies the world power setting up itself as God, and caricaturing the seven Spirits of God; yet its true character as God-opposed is detected by the number ten accompanying the seven. Dragon and beast both wear crowns, but the former on the heads, the latter on the horns (Revelation 12:3; Revelation 13:1)." - Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary
Daniel 7:1-7 Daniel said: "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea. The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it. And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, 'Get up and eat your fill of flesh!' After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule. After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast--terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.
In previous studies on Revelation 1-12, we learned that these beasts are representations of kingdoms. The sea represents the great, restless mass of mankind, an ocean of men, tossed and swirled by every wind and passion. Whoever rises from this chaos of men will rise and rule by fear and intimidation. These beasts are world powers, empires, countries with their governments, kingdoms of the world. They are instigated, inspired and aided by the red dragon, satan - tyrannical, idolatrous, persecuting. The horns symbolize power; the heads, intelligence. Man severs himself from God in self deification and are therefore not much better than beasts.
The preterist sees these events as just before John's time, during or just after John's time.
The historicist associates symbols with historical persons, nations or events. So these nations happened in the past.
The Futurist sees events that may have taken place in the past but have a future fulfillment. So this beast represents an empire in the future
The Idealist does not take Revelation seriously but it's symbolism and imagery is the struggle between good and evil and this beast is definitely evil.
The preterist sees that John was given an accurate vision of a course of events that would occur over the next several centuries, to fulfill the prophetic seals. The preterist identify the first beast from the sea with the Roman Empire. The Roman state and the Jewish religious system of the first century conspired to persecute the early church. The beast's seven heads are seven kings with Nero as the 6th king. He was probably living during John's time of exile on Patmos Island. The five kings who have fallen are seen as Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius. Galba is the king yet to come. Nero and Caligula actually did demand emperor worship, as gods! Nero persecuted Christians in horrible ways such as crucifying them and when night came, had them set on fire to use as torches to light the city. This horrific persecution lasted 42 months until Nero's death. He committed suicide by the sword at the age of 30. "Neron Kaisar" (the Greek rendering, documented by archaeological finds), when transliterated into Hebrew נרון קסר (Nrwn Qsr) had a number of 666.
After Nero's death in 68 AD, Rome saw a succession of short-lived emperors (Galba, Otho and Vitellius) and a year of civil wars until Vespasian eventually took control in 69 AD. The Roman Empire destabilized so greatly that Tacitus reported: "Many believed the end of the empire was at hand" According to Suetonius, to the surprise of the world, "the empire which for a long time had been unsettled and, as it were, drifting through the usurpation and violent death of three emperors, was at last taken in and given stability by the Flavian family". This may be a reference to the mortal wound on one of the heads of the beast "inflicted by the sword" which was later healed. - Wikipedia
"It appears to mean that worldly, oppressing dominion, which for many ages, even from the times of the Babylonish captivity, had been hostile to the church. The first beast then began to oppress and persecute the righteous for righteousness' sake, but they suffered most under the fourth beast of Daniel, (the Roman empire,) which has afflicted the saints with many cruel persecutions. The source of its power was the dragon." - Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
With this beast, the historicist may see the beast as nations that were powerful long ago.
"It may also represent the kingdoms of the ancient world and the rise of Roman Catholic power. Popes and the Roman Catholic leaders virtually did rule Europe working with and through governments. They used religion to sway the masses. The beast symbolizes Satan working in disguise, using the corrupted Christian church to do his work. In 1798 the French General Berthier, under the orders of Napoleon, took the Pope prisoner and attempted to completely eliminate the Papacy. The Papacy was 'wounded to death.' However, the prophecy says that the wound 'was healed.' In 1929 the Papacy regained its civil power with the creation of the Vatican State. According to this interpretation, the beast and false prophet were most commonly identified with the papacy in its political and religious aspects." - Wikipedia
The pope wears upon his pontifical crown in jeweled letters, this title: "Vicarius Filii Dei", "Viceregent of the Son of God"; the numerical value of this title is 666. The Roman Catholic church is seen as a union of church and state, with the church directing the affairs of the state. It's not as powerful in that way today, but a couple of hundred years ago and back to the Emperor Constantine's time, the Roman CatholicChurch had unbelievable power and did direct many European governments because they had the people. They enforced their dogmas upon the world for 1260 years. You see, illiterate people, the common man, relied on their priests to teach them about God and to assure them of salvation and their after life. Whatever the priest taught them was accepted because they had no way of studying the Bible for themselves. They were uneducated and the Bible was in Hebrew, Greek or Latin (which called for a high level of education). Because they were worried about their eternal souls, the Catholic church had tremendous power over the people. So if someone wanted to be King, they needed the Catholic Church to endorse them. Governments rose and fell according to the Catholic Church. It is still a very powerful organization. So some see the beast as the Roman Catholic Church.
The beast from the earth has also been interpreted as the Islamic prophet Muhammed.
Futurism interprets the beast from the sea to represent an empire that will oppose Christians in the last days. Futurists recognize the symbolic ties to the Roman Empire and would interpret the recovery from the fatal head wound as a revival of this empire in the last days. This revived empire will be ruled by the Antichrist. The beast that comes from the earth, the False Prophet, will be a false religion.
To idealists, the beast from the sea is interpreted as any human kingdom that is in opposition to God. This would include the Roman Empire but also implies to all empires. Since 7 is the number of completeness and perfection, then the number 6 is incomplete and imperfect thus 666 means completely incomplete.
This beast is aligned with the dragon in opposition to God. "The dragon gave the beast all of its power and its throne and great authority." Also, in this verse, you will notice that it has power, authority and a throne which indicates a political entity. The beast in Daniel 7 are identified as specific kings, or political kingdoms, that rule in succession over empires. 666—is “a man’s number.” (Revelation 13:17,18) That expression indicates that the beast of Revelation chapter 13 is a human leader of a kingdom. In Daniel 2, King Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the kingdoms of the world were as “a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance”. Daniel later sees a vision of hideous beasts as the same kingdoms. John’s vision of the end days kingdom, is as a grotesque, hideous beast. Mankind builds an "empire" and he sees his creation as some imposing legacy but God’s view is that they are unnatural monsters. The beast of Revelation will be the worst of them all.
Revelation 13: 3 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast.
Justinian made a decree establishing the Papacy as the supreme Christian power in 538 AD. Papal power ended after 1260 years in 1798 when Napoleon’s army took the Pope captive and put him into exile. This could be seen as the death wound to the Papacy and Roman Catholicism. It could only be resurrected if it regained its political power. In 1929, Prime Minister Benito Mussolini and Cardinal Pietro Gasparri signed an agreement whereby the Pope pledged his support to Mussolini in exchange for the return of his papal seat and power. The political status of the Vatican was thus reinstated which would be the wound healed.
The leopard-like beast with seven heads and ten horns may represent a Babylonish empire. A modern day Babylon will form during the first four trumpets and rule over the world as a church-state government. The wrath of God brings disaster after disaster and these will bring world governments together. They may be forced to admit there is a higher power at work and may seek to "appease" God. They will establish a one world religion that works with the one world government. But it's all about control - human beings in control of the masses. It's not God-centric, but humanistic. It's not about the true God but about another god made by the hands of men. The beast represents Satan. Satan come to earth disguised as God. He will wear a "costume" that makes him appear to be a god. But remember he is the deceiver and he is not God. The leader of this one world government and religion will look like the world's savior and will be worshiped as a god. But he is a puppet of satan, if not satan himself! Will they manufacture a supposedly mortal wound that is healed in order to convert the masses? Or will God even allow a miraculous healing in order to show how people desire miracles rather than the miracle maker.
Remember those people who mocked Christ on the cross telling Him if He was really God He should come down off the cross? Christ would not be directed by them and He had a higher job to do, taking on the sin of the world. He chose to finish the work rather than prove Himself to a few who demanded a miracle.
The "wound" was prophesied in this verse to be "healed". Notice this beast, “power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.” I.e. God allowed this to happen for His reasons. It is permitted. GOD IS THE ONE IN CONTROL. And, one of the reasons may be so that the cup of wrath will be filled.
Isaiah 51:17 “O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl, the cup of staggering.”
Revelation 14:9-10 “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath.”
Jesus took on the sin of the world. He was sinless but He took all of our sin, the sin of those in the past, the present and the future. The cup of wrath was filled and He drank it for us. Matthew 20:22 Jesus asked them “Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” We cannot save ourselves, so He took it upon Himself to save us. He took the wrath of God. The only thing required of us is to repent, believe and trust in Jesus Christ. Then we are saved from God's Wrath. But if we refuse to accept Jesus' forgiveness and eternal life, we must drink the cup of the God's Wrath.
Matthew 26:39 Jesus prayed “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not my will, but Your's be done”
Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath for us so that He could offer the cup of God’s fellowship to us. It might include suffering, but not wrath. We don’t suffer God's wrath — we get God. Jesus offers us the cup of living water.
As I've said, I believe that empires in the past were a shadowy fulfillment of the prophesies but the ultimate fulfillment will come in the last days. It would seem that the same people which see the mortal wound on the head of the leader must also witness the healing. If so, this would not refer to empires of the past or the Roman Catholic Church as those things happened over hundreds of years. We can look back now and see how it shadowed the prophecy.
Great emphasis is placed upon his death and resurrection. It is what persuades the people to worship him. And isn't it ironic that people would refuse to believe and worship Jesus Christ whose death and resurrection was witnessed not by just a few, but by hundreds, but they will believe and worship this satanic world leader!?!
1 Corinthians 5:3-8 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance a: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
The very authentic miracle of Jesus' death and resurrection doesn't convert unbelievers but the counterfeit death and resurrection of this satanically inspired impostor is believed. It shows their real heart. They ignore Jesus' death and resurrection and choose to to be fooled by this impostor's! I've often puzzled over how human beings would rather believe in ANYTHING other than to believe in Jesus Christ! They will believe in ghosts (which I think are demons parading as departed human spirits with the goal of confusing, scaring and distracting people), fairies, totem poles, the Great Spirit, saints, magic, witches and warlocks, vampires and werewolves, trolls, "evil spirits", gods and goddesses, mythical creatures like Big Foot and Yeti, aliens, etc. Some will spend their entire lives, their energy and money searching for proof of ghosts, aliens, etc. If that same amount of time, energy and money were spent on searching for Jesus Christ and learning about Him, how much happier they would be and would have eternal life in Heaven instead of Hell. But they want to ignore Jesus. They consciously choose to go after a counterfeit. If they don't turn back and run to Jesus Christ, they will spend eternity in Hell. And part of being in Hell is the regret they have for dismissing and ignoring Jesus and His free offer of salvation while they were alive. Can you imagine experiencing the torments of the damned and knowing that you could have avoided it just by believing and choosing Jesus Christ? There are no do-overs, you cannot go back. That would be a torture unto itself! Please, if you haven't accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, do so now while you have the chance!
The Good and Bad Shepherd
Zechariah 11:4-17 (Contemporary English Version - CEV) Zechariah began prophesying in the second year of Darius, king of Persia (520 BC).
4 The LORD my God said to me:
Tend those sheep doomed for slaughter! 5 The people who buy and butcher them go unpunished, while everyone who sells them says, “Praise the LORD! I'm rich.” Not even their shepherds have pity on them.
6 Tend those sheep because I, the LORD, will no longer have pity on the people of this earth. I'll turn neighbor against neighbor and make them slaves of a king. They will bring disaster on the earth, and I'll do nothing to rescue any of them.
7 So I became a shepherd of those sheep doomed to be slaughtered by the sheep dealers. And I gave names to the two sticks I used for tending the sheep: One of them was named “Mercy” and the other “Unity.” 8 In less than a month, I became impatient with three shepherds who didn't like me, and I got rid of them. 9 Then I said, “I refuse to be your shepherd. Let the sheep that are going to die, go on and die, and those that are going to be destroyed, go on and be destroyed. Then let the others eat one another alive.”
10 On that same day, I broke the stick named “Mercy” to show that the LORD had canceled his agreement with all people. 11 The sheep dealers who saw me knew at once that this was a message from the LORD. 12-13 I told them, “Pay me my wages, if you think you should; otherwise, forget it.” So they handed me my wages, a measly 30 pieces of silver.
Then the LORD said, “Throw the money into the treasury.” So I threw the money into the treasury at the LORD's temple. 14 Then I broke the stick named “Unity” and canceled the ties between Judah and Israel.
15 Next, the LORD said to me, “Act like a shepherd again—this time a worthless shepherd. 16 Once more I am going to let a worthless nobody rule the land—one who won't care for the strays or search for the young or heal the sick or feed the healthy. He will just dine on the fattest sheep, leaving nothing but a few bones.”
17 You worthless shepherd, deserting the sheep! I hope a sword will cripple your arm and blind your right eye.
Zechariah 11:17 (New International Version - NIV)
17 “Woe to the worthless shepherd,
who deserts the flock!
May the sword strike his arm and his right eye!
May his arm be completely withered,
his right eye totally blinded!”
Who do you think is the Good Shepherd with the bad sheep in Zechariah 11:4-14? Jesus and the Jewish nation who refused Him. He had good sheep in the Jewish disciples who believed in Him and then the Gentile believers later. But the Jewish nation, as a whole, refused to believe that Jesus Christ was their anticipated Messiah. They didn't accept Him as the Son of God. Can you imagine the arrogance of some Jewish leaders who thought the Son of God was only worth 30 pieces of silver!?! That Judas accepted such a paltry sum for ratting out Jesus Christ, the Son of God! Wikipedia says 30 "pieces of silver" would be worth between $185 and $216 in present-day value (USD). But no matter what the sum, more or less, they were affixing a monetary value to the priceless Son of God!
Matthew 27:3-5 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. "I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood." "What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility." So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
There was the fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy (Zechariah 11:12-13). The chief priests and elders used the money to buy a potter's field to bury the poor. So we know this prophecy was about Jesus, the Good Shepherd. But in the last verses it mentions a Bad Shepherd. This bestial leader, in the end times, will suffer a mortal wound and would seem to be healed. As the risen Christ still held the marks of the wounds that killed him (the nail prints in His hands and feet and the sword in His side), so this beast seems to hold the marks of his death with the blind eye and withered arm. Could this wound be a stroke, a cerebral hemorrhage or embolus?
A Good Shepherd watches over his sheep and takes care of them even to risking his life for them. He leads them to good food and clean water. He keeps the wolves away and keeps them from getting into trouble. The sheep are safe in his care.
A Bad Shepherd watches over himself and takes care of himself even if it means losing sheep. He doesn't care if they have food or water. He just doesn't want to be inconvenienced for their sake. It's all about him. He leads the wolves to the sheep and takes his cut. He leads his sheep to the cliffsides and orders them over the cliffs. They sheep are burdened and have to carry him. The sheep serve him and not he serving the sheep. He abuses his sheep. "Woe to the wicked shepherds!"
In the first reference to the beast's wound it says "seemed to have had a fatal wound". The Greek word for wound is a verb that means "To slay, kill by violence, slaughter, wound mortally. A primary verb; to butcher or to slaughter, or, to maim". Then the next part of the verse says, "but the fatal wound had been healed". The Greek word for wound here is πληγὴ (plēgē) and is a noun meaning "A blow, stripe, wound; an affliction, plague. From plesso; a stroke; by implication, a wound; figuratively, a calamity".
This leads you to think that the wound to the head of the beast is inflicted upon him rather than a natural cause. Someone hits him on the head or somehow delivers a death blow. How do we approach this? It's certainly possible that someone tries to assassinate him. Or it could be the wound is more representational. For instance, those who believe that the Roman Catholic Church is this beast and the head is the Pope, being the highest office in the Roman Catholic organization. Does this wound mean he loses his power? Or that he is removed from office? Those who believe this represents empires of the past such as the Roman Empire and they believe Nero was the head of the beast and he killed himself with a sword. He wasn't resurrected, but the Roman Empire continued on with new leaders so the Roman Empire was resurrected? Those who believe in the beast as symbolic representation of evil would say that the beast represents evil nations and the head as the leader of these nations. Although, throughout human history nations rise, they also fall. But then another rises to take it's place. This would be the Idealist view.
"When Christ overthrew the wicked one He gave the death-blow to the world-power--to all systems founded on passion, or self-sufficiency, or inhumanity. But the death-blow is apparently healed. What is this but telling the Church of Christ that the fruits of Christ's victory will not be seen without delay? The world-power is smitten unto death; but the actual death does not follow immediately. The power of evil, contrary to all expectation, rises with new vigour." - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
"There may be a contrast and a comparison intended between the Lamb, as it had been slain, worshipped by his adoring followers, and the beast, usurping the honour due to Christ, imitating him even in the respect of having been slain, and exacting homage from those who "wondered after the beast." But the "head smitten unto death" must still possess some special significance of its own. What that is we are not plainly told; but it seems reasonable to refer it to the blow dealt to the power of Satan by the death and resurrection of Christ. It almost seemed at first as though the power of the world must succumb to the influence of the life and death of our Lord, and for a time great progress was made in the increase of the number of believers (cf. Acts 2:41, 47). But the power of the world was not yet destroyed; it continued to exist in spite of the seemingly fatal wound." - Pulpit Commentary
My personal belief is that all this could be shadows of the coming end times. We can look back over human history and see where these things have happened but it will find it's ultimate fulfillment in the end times. There will be a coalition of nations, a one world government. The leader that comes to the top will look like a miracle worker. He's going to promise peace and harmony, prosperity and equality. But then, this leader, whether he be satanically controlled and inspired or is satan himself, will go off the deep end. He will become so controlling that he even establishes a one world religion. Then, his pride and arrogance will demand that all accept him as god and he will require all to worship him. At some point, he will die and God will allow him to come back from the dead. This could be a real death and resurrection that God allows for His purposes. Or it could be a manufactured, counterfeit, fake death and resurrection that people will believe is real.
Because we have worldwide communication now, this can be seen on TV via satellite links. So everyone will see what happens via TV. We currently have 24/7 news channels and we've seen 24/7 coverage of important events via regular stations. This would have been an unknown, "magical" thing just 100 years ago. As I've often said, we live in unprecedented times in human history. In the last 150 years, human beings, and our societies, have changed in ways we never could have dreamed off. For thousands of years, humans had lived what we consider a primitive lifestyle. Very agrarian, survivalist lives. We tended to accumulate in areas that offered what we needed in the form of food, water, and transportation for goods whether that was along rivers, lakes, the sea, or easy roads (had to be because they weren't paved) with accessible water and a climate that grows food and cash products. We thought of water, food, shelter and then products to sell for cash to buy needed products. Today, we can travel by plane, train and automobiles. We don't have to stay in one place. We have utilities that can reach us no matter where we live. Even if off the grid we can have power via generator. We can store food in refrigerators and freezers. We can have any food we want no matter what season because it can be shipped in. We have computers, TV, satellites, tablets, laptops, smart phones, ad infinitum. We are bombarded with new inventions and products and technology has transformed our society making us much less agrarian and relying more on manufacturing and services for our wages and prosperity. During the Roman Empire, there would have been no way everyone on earth would have heard about the death of a leader and his subsequent resurrection. It would have taken weeks to reach the farthest outstretches of the Roman empire with the news and I'm sure there were parts of the world (the Americas for instance) that never would hear the news. But today, we would not only hear it, but see it, livestreaming (i.e. as it happens). So I really believe the ultimate fulfillment is in the future, the end times.
Revelation 13:4 People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?”
Revelation 13:2b The dragon gave the beast all of its power and its throne and great authority.
The dragon is identified in Revelation 12:9 as satan:
Revelation 12:9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
Here we see that satan, the red dragon, gives authority to the beast. The Greek word ἐξουσίαν (exousian) translated as "authority" is a noun from the root exesti meaning privilege, i.e. force, capacity, competency, freedom, or mastery, delegated influence.
What authority? God gave power and authority to Adam right after He was created. And Adam and Eve turned it over to Satan in the Fall.
Genesis 1:26-28 26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Luke: 4-8 5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’
Satan cannot use this full authority today because the Holy Spirit restrains him.
2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 6 And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. 7 For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. 8 Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.
After Jesus died, was resurrected and ascended into Heaven, the Holy Spirit was sent by Him into the believers on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). The Holy Spirit comes to live inside each person who accepts Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. That ought to excite us as it means God lives in us! As the Bible says, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead now dwells in us!!! Jesus told His disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit in order to help every believer to live as Christians in a hostile world. We tend to live in our own strength, but we don't have to. Praise God, His Spirit lives in us and if we allow Him, we can live in His Strength!!! We are not alone in a hostile, sin-loving world. The Bible says we are salt and light to the world (salt is a preservative). It's not because we are so special but because, as Christians, we become vessels of the Holy Spirit of God and it is HE that is the salt and light. He shines and restrains satan through us. But one day, the church age will end. The Holy Spirit, who resides in each believer, will depart from the Earth as believers are raptured. When Jesus comes in the sky and calls His people home, we will join him in the air and be with Him. With us, goes the Holy Spirit. Let me repeat: when we are gone, and the Holy Spirit goes with us, the restraint on satan will be taken away, and the power and authority of the devil will be released. He bestows it upon the beast.
The lion, leopard and bear in Revelation represent kingdoms, nations and world empires. The sea represents people, humanity, and out of the turmoil and restlessness, the sea of the human race, nations rise and fall. The Beast will be a composite of these nations, a confederation, a world government. The leader who comes to the top is the AntiChrist. This leader of a one-world government will receive authority from satan to rule. At first, the world sees him as the savior of the world, one who can bring peace. After all the disasters that will kill so much of the population, the world will be primed and ready for anyone who can promise peace and prosperity again. The biggest item on his agenda will be to establish a one world religion. This is one way to control the masses. The human race will be ready for a religion that gives them hope for a future and promises peace and harmony. Can you imagine Jews, Atheists, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons, Muslims, Catholics and "Christians" agreeing to leave behind their religions and following something new? But after the horrible disasters that have taken the lives of millions, I believe they will be easily seduced to do just that. I added Catholics and "Christians" to the list because even though these religions are Christ based, many who espouse to be believers are not really born again believers. They are what I call cultural christians. They may have grown up attending church, their families were designated as Christian-Protestant or Christian-Catholic but they, themselves, have never really accepted Christ personally.
Revelation 13:3-4 3b all the world wondered after the beast. People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?”
The Greek word translated as "worship" means to fawn or crouch to, i.e. prostrate oneself in homage.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 1 Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him. 2 Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. 3 Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. 4 He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.
2 Thessalonians 1:5-12 5 Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? 6 And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. 7 For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. 8 Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.
9 This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. 10 He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. 11 So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. 12 Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.
What holds back satan and his agenda? The Holy Spirit! He lives in true believers but when we are raptured, the Holy Spirit will return to Heaven with us leaving the world to follow it's evil inclinations. They will be left to do what they wanted to do all along. And they will have a leader who will rise up because he promises them they can do what they want.
The final conflict will be over worship.
The first four of the Ten Commandments has to do with our relationship with God:
Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy
The last six of the Ten Commandments has to do with our relationship with each other. Jesus summed up the commandments with one sentence:
Matthew 27:37-40 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Many people today refuse to worship the one true God and His Son, Jesus Christ. But wouldn't you rather believe on, and worship, Jehovah and Jesus Christ than worship satan as the beast? When God created mankind, He built-in, as it were, the desire to worship. With sin, we tend to worship anything BUT our Creator and the Lover of our souls. We will worship work, money, things, other people, nature, a sports team, trash (thinking of the TV show "Hoarders"), animals, all of which are forms of self-worship. But we turn our backs and even scoff at the thought of worshiping the only true God who gave His very Son to die on the cross for our sins.
Luke 16:13 "No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Many today have redefined God. We have ignored the God revealed to us in Scripture and have recast Him to comply with our own inclinations and desires. A made-up god, made by human hands. Worshiping a god of one’s own making is tempting to those whose "lifestyles", drives and desires are deemed sinful in the Bible. Our country no longer recognizes Jehovah God and His Son, Jesus, as God and as the Provider and Protector of our nation. Rather we have deified man's reasoning. Based on that, our government has become god to many who expect our government to solve their problems, protect them, provide for them, heal them, even make them happy and carefree. If something happens to us, we don't run to God, we run to the government and expect our government to provide the answer. We sue, we protest, we vote according to our evil desires, we write letters to our priests (Congressmen and women), we shout in meetings and try to force our agendas. We think that somehow, someway, men and women will be able to figure out a way to solve every problem each American citizen has so we will then be happy. Our government has been in the social experimental stage over and over again and it always proves disastrous. They have tried building a utopia for us only to find that my idea of utopia and John Doe's utopia aren't the same and what the government does to try and create my utopia, makes John Doe's life hell. It is unrealistic to expect any President or Congressmen or Judges to be god and to satisfy everyone. But, for some reason, people would still rather do that than turn to God, their Creator, and trust Him.
Romans 1:18-25, 28-29a 18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen...
28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness,...
God lovingly created us, planned us way in advance. He created the earth to be our environment and He instilled all we would need in this earth for our sustenance. He provided the air we breath, the water we drink, the food we eat, healing herbs, materials for shelter, etc. He also knew in advance that we would fall and suffer sin and it's consequences. So He, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit planned a solution to the sin problem so that we could be set free and saved from eternal damnation. Jesus came to earth in human form, was ostracized, criticized, mocked and ridiculed. He was tortured so badly that he barely resembled a man. He was then crucified where He took on the sins of the world, and, for the first time, was separated from His Father due to OUR sin. Then He died for us. He rose again in power and victory. He showed Himself to people and then ascended back into Heaven. He sent the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost to live in the hearts of true believers. He caused His very Word to be written and preserved so we could know Him. All we have to do is believe and accept and we are set free sin, born again and the Holy Spirit enters us to help us to become more like Christ. When we die, we spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus. Now, tell me, what is not to love about a God like this?!? Why would I worship anything else when I have a God of love and mercy like this?!? One who knows every hair or my head, every thought that I think and still loves me enough to save me!
Psalm 145 A Psalm by David of Praise
1 I will exalt you, my God and King,
and praise your name forever and ever.
2 I will praise you every day;
yes, I will praise you forever,
3 Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise!
No one can measure his greatness.
4 Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;
let them proclaim your power.
5 I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor
and your wonderful miracles.
6 Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue;
I will proclaim your greatness.
7 Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness;
they will sing with joy about your righteousness.
8 The LORD is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
9 The LORD is good to everyone.
He showers compassion on all his creation.
10 All of your works will thank you, LORD,
and your faithful followers will praise you.
11 They will speak of the glory of your kingdom;
they will give examples of your power.
12 They will tell about your mighty deeds
and about the majesty and glory of your reign.
13 For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.
You rule throughout all generations.
The LORD always keeps his promises;
he is gracious in all he does.
14 The LORD helps the fallen
and lifts those bent beneath their loads.
15 The eyes of all look to you in hope;
you give them their food as they need it.
16 When you open your hand,
you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in everything he does;
he is filled with kindness.
18 The LORD is close to all who call on him,
yes, to all who call on him in truth.
19 He grants the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cries for help and rescues them.
20 The LORD protects all those who love him,
but he destroys the wicked.
21 I will praise the LORD,
and may everyone on earth bless his holy name forever and ever.
How do we worship? How do we express our love of God?
1) First, of course, is to believe Him and to accept His offer of salvation. Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, died so we can have salvation and eternal life in Heaven. So your first act of worship is to trust is Jesus, repent of your sins. Repenting means to change your mind about your sins. You must realize that you cannot save yourself and that your sins make you ineligible for Heaven. As you realize your situation, then you reach for Jesus Christ and trust in Him to save you.
2) Read God's Word, the Bible. It is God's written expression of who He is. So if you love Him you will want to get to know Him. So read His Word. Every verse and scripture, every jot and tittle, is from God and is His revelation to us of who He is. Of course, you won't understand everything you read when you first get started. But, if you love Him, you will have a desire to learn and deepen in your understanding of Him and you will continue to read it, study it, just like you would if you were in a class on Shakespeare in college. Read it through from beginning to end without skipping or chopping it up. This gives you the overall view. If it's the first time you've done this, there are going to be parts you don't understand yet. But I assure you, after many years of study, it makes sense when you study it. But this first time, just read it through. Then read it in other versions. I started reading the Bible through with the Living Bible which is considered a paraphrase. It's not a word by word translation and uses modern language. There are others like that such as The Message, Contemporary English Version, Easy To Read Version, etc. Next I read the American Standard Bible. Then the NIV and finally the New King James Version. These are written to very carefully translate word by word from the original Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) but still using modern language and flow. Then I read a chronological Bible which arranges the scripture in chronology rather than organized by the books of the Bible. So that as you read about King David, it will insert his Psalms where he probably created them and you can follow Jesus through the gospels in chronological order. I also love study Bibles that have notes in the margins and explanatory text at the beginning of each Book of the Bible. Then I taught myself how to use Bible study reference books such as Strong's Exhaustive Concordance with the meanings of every word in the Bible in their original Hebrew or Greek. So I can look up "Angel" and find every occurence of the word Angel and, for every occurence, it gives the word in it's original language and it's equivalent English definition. During all these years, I've also read a lot of Christian non-fiction books to learn. I've attended church and listened and taken notes (helps me to arrange my thoughts and remember), to pastors and teachers. I've made it a goal to take an indepth Bible study class every year above and beyond regular Sunday School or preaching. I don't just sit in the class, I take notes, I participate in the discussion, I do any homework, I pray for God to open His Word to me and change my heart. The Holy Spirit then teaches me and it has become more and more a part of me. Sounds like a lot of work? Well, let's think about it in terms you may understand. Have you ever had a subject that fascinated you so that you read up on it, learned about it, attended some type of convention or seminar on it, became the local expert on it? My Dad loves antique farm equipment. He goes to all the local tractor shows, he joined the local club, he reads the tractor magazines and books, he can tell you when a tractor was made, the history of the company that made it, all the models they made, what equipment could be attached to it, how to fix and repair it, etc. I had an uncle who was a professional student for a long time. By that I mean, he not only went through 12 grades but went to 4 yrs of college and on up to getting his Phd. During all those years, he had to study his subjects, pass the tests, write the papers, had mentors and mentored freshmen students, he researched and performed experiments. He finally got his Phd and then became a professor in his subject. So you could say he put in the work and became an expert and used his expertise to teach others. I hope you see where I'm going with this! If you are fascinated and in love with God, you will read and study His Word and, with work and years, you can become quite professional in your knowledge. You don't have to attend an expensive university (I didn't, I have an Assoc. Degree in Accounting from the local technical college!) and the materials are available for free or for minor expense (there are tons of Bible version and reference books for free on the Internet). If you believe in Jesus Christ and you love Him, then dig into His Word. All it takes from you is time and focus!
3) Talk with God. Prayer. Dialogue. At first, you will think it's mostly you talking but you will begin to learn to hear His voice and your prayer life will deepen. It's not just listing a bunch of things you worry about, although that's part of it. It's more about conversation that changes your heart and makes you more trusting in Him for all those "things".
4) Attend church, Sunday School, Bible studies, etc. If you love God, you cannot get enough of Him. You desire Him. You want to learn about Him, about His Word.
5) As the Holy Spirit begins maturing you in your spiritual walk, He will start pointing out things you could do for God out of your love for Him. It might mean giving something up such as a sin He is revealing in your life. Or it might be a command to do something on His behalf. We will struggle with our human side, but if we love Him and really trust Him, we will surrender our will and do what He asks. Obedience is one way we show our love and trust to Him.
6) Meditate on Him and His Word. Just taking some time to be quiet and think about what you've read about Him. Let the Holy Spirit guide those thoughts. It might be early morning with your Bible and cup of coffee. It might be a retreat for a day to the mountains where you turn off your phone, your radio, etc and just be with Him. It might be a retreat for a weekend of soaking in His Word, in praise and worship, in deep discussions with other believers, or in silence at a Christian retreat.
7) Learn Christian songs and hymns. I have attended church all my life so I've soaked in a good bit of hymnody and spiritual songs. If I was new to the Christian walk, I would tune into Christian radio stations and listen as often as I could so I could get those catchy worship tunes in my head. If you come across an old hymnal somewhere, pick it up and use it for a daily devotional. You can Google that hymn to find out the history of it. Then read it like a poem. Then pray as it touches you.
8) As you mature in the Lord, you will find other ways to worship and praise God. At first it may feel strange but don't worry about what others think. Do what you feel led to do because it's between you and God. It may be you feel the desire to give an amount to the church or as a special gift to something or someone. It may be to walk to the altar to pray. It may be to kneel in the aisle in a sign of surrender and submission. It may be to prostrate yourself, face to the ground, in utter wonder. It may be to jump up and down, dance and clap in excitement and joy. It may be to surrender and fast for a time. It may be to lift your hands in love. It may be singing a new song to your own tune and words. It may be writing a poem to God. It may be creating something for God. But whatever God puts it in your heart, do it as an expression of love for Him. Do it from the love in your heart and to the best of your ability and it will delight the Lord.
Revelation 13:5-6 5 The beast was given a mouth to speak arrogant and blasphemous words, and authority to act for 42 months. 6 And the beast opened its mouth to blaspheme against God and slander His name and His tabernacle—those who dwell in heaven.
Daniel 7:25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
There are four targets for the blasphemies of the beast:
2) His name
3) His tabernacle (Heaven? The word "tabernacle" denotes a place of worship, considered as the dwelling-place of God, and may be applied to heaven)
4) Those who dwell in heaven (Although these last two may be one and the same for believers make up the Church, the Bride of Christ. His Holy Spirit tabernacles within us and we dwell within Him.)
God will allow this beast to utter his blasphemies in order to let the rage of Satan grow to its fullness. God is in control and permits it for 42 months or 3-1/2 years.
Daniel 11:36 “The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place."
In verse 5, the Greek word translated "blasphemous" is βλασφημία (blasphemia) means railing, reviling. In this specific verse, according to Thayer's Greek Dictionary, It is impious and reproachful speech injurious to the divine majesty. Claiming to be God is blasphemy as replacing God with anyone or anything is insulting. The verb "railing" means to vehemently criticize and complain, to spread negative information about someone in an abusive way. The verb "reviling" means essentially the same thing. It is to criticize in an abusive or hostile way, or to spread negative information about. Impious is an adjective that means lacking in reverence or proper respect for God. Reproachful is an adjective that comes from the root word, in the Old French, "reproche," which means "blame, shame, or disgrace". The adjective "reproachful" means expressing criticism or disappointment in a way that is intended to make someone feel ashamed. In verse 6, the Greek word translated "blasphemies" is βλασφημίας (blasphēmias), noun, meaning abusive or scurrilous language, blasphemy. From blasphemos; vilification. "Scurrilous" is making or spreading scandalous claims about someone with the intention of damaging their reputation; defamatory, slanderous, libelous, scandalous, insulting, offensive. You get the idea? Satan speaks blasphemy against God! For me, it's incomprehensible that anyone would attempt to "shame" God! But then, as I thought about it, I've seen it many times. How about a human being, created by God, who smugly says, "There is no God. God is dead. A good God wouldn't let these terrible things happen." That is a creature calling the Creator to task and trying to shame his/her Maker! How about people who try to "set people straight" and persuade them not to believe in God by vilifying Him, reproaching Him as though He were something shameful? I particularly thought about professors in universities who think it is their business to enlighten the youth of America by teaching them that there is no God. A lot of people will bend over backwards to show respect to any other religion except "Christianity". We are suppose to accommodate Muslim practices because it's their religion. We are to respect Hindu's sensibilities because it's their religion. But you let a Christian say "Merry Christmas" and it's a scandal because it has the word "Christ" in it! Christian symbols are being stripped from public view: nativity scenes at Christmas, Christian wording from buildings and monuments, Christian crosses from monuments and cemeteries.
Then there are those who are so sick in their minds with sin that they openly try to shock people by being and doing anything and everything opposite of God. They seem to love anything demonic and satanically inspired (music, art, movies, clothes, piercings, tattoos, etc). They delight in blaspheming. A common example: the Christian cross versus the inverted, upside down cross to be the opposite of Christ. It turns a Christian symbol into an antiChristian symbol. See this article.
Rapper Big L released a promotional single titled “Devil’s Son,” which featured the following lyrics:
“On my skull the 666, no tricks
When I catch fits, my mom picks up the crucifix
And I kill chumps for the cheapest price
I’m rollin’ with Satan, not Jesus Christ
Enemies, I got several done
Big L straight from hell, the m*&%;^$#’ Devil’s son”
I, for one, am not ashamed of my God and I believe in His sovereignty. I.e. He is God and He is the Creator, therefore all things are His to do with as He wills. We do not direct Him. He directs His Children. I do not chastise Him. I do not reproach Him. I trust in His love, mercy and goodness. In His Word, He expresses Himself and gives us promises that His love is neverending and never fails. He promises to be faithful. So whatever happens to one of His Children, happens to Him and He does not take it lightly. That doesn't mean we won't have hard times. But it means He is with us through those hard times and there is an ultimate good that comes out of anything He allows to happen to us. The end result of which, we will look back and say, "It was worth it. You were right God, it was worth it!"
So we know that if it's being done now and getting more and more popular, think what it will be like when the "son of perdition" begins his blasphemy. Every day, in every way, he will seek to blaspheme and to insult God.
This last half of the seven years of the Great Tribulation is launched by the Abomination of Desolation. In the first half of the Tribulation, the beast is a man who becomes the worldwide leader. He is given satan's authority. But, in his pride, he begins to see himself as god and demands to be worshiped as god. Satan not only has empowered this man, but now possesses this man so that he becomes satan. He becomes the Abomination of Desolation. Satan is no creator and he can only manipulate or indwell a person.
Matthew 24:3-30 3 His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?”
4 Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, 5 for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. 7 Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. 8 But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.
9 “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. 10 And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. 11 And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. 12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.
15 “The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about—the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place.” (Reader, pay attention!) 16 “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. 17 A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. 18 A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. 19 How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. 20 And pray that your flight will not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. 22 In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones.
23 “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. 25 See, I have warned you about this ahead of time.
26 “So if someone tells you, ‘Look, the Messiah is out in the desert,’ don’t bother to go and look. Or, ‘Look, he is hiding here,’ don’t believe it! 27 For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Mane comes. 28 Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near.
29 “Immediately after the anguish of those days,
the sun will be darkened,
the moon will give no light,
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
30 And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
Verse 15 in the New International Version (NIV) reads, 15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ as spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand-...
Daniel 11:31-32 31 “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. 32 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him."
In Matthew 24, we have seen wars, rumors of wars, nations against nations, famines and earthquakes. But they will increase the closer we get to the End Times. Verse 8 says, "with more to come." Since the time of Jesus, believers have been persecuted but it will increase. There have been many false prophets. Many have started out saying they were believers, only to turn tail and run back to the World when things don't go as they thought they would. In fact, Jesus taught about this in the Seed Sower Parable:
Matthew 13:3-8 (NIV) 3 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."
Jesus explains the Parable in Matthew 13:18b-23 13b “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
These things we've seen but it will increase the closer we get to the End Times. After the Rapture, there will be some who will be saved during the Great Tribulation. They missed the Rapture, but will be saved if they endure to the end (of their life or the end of the Tribulation period). Many of these new believers will be persecuted and martyred for their belief in Jesus Christ.
Verse 14 of Matthew 24 says that the Word of God will be preached to every nation to give one last chance for people to hear and accept Jesus Christ. "Then the end will come."
Before modern times, it was thought impossible to reach every nation, every tribe, every person with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Considering all the thousands of different languages, the remoteness of some nations, the lack of technology. Denominations and churches sent missionaries all over the world trying to reach people with the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. Missionaries would go and spend years with remote peoples to learn the language, to teach the people how to read and to translate the Bible in their language so they could read it. They established churches and trained ministers from these people so these ministers could teach and preach the Bible and the Good News! But it was a long time of hard work, sacrifice and deprivation for those early missionaries to live and work with these people.
Today, people tend to think that missionaries destroyed these indigenous people's culture in their zeal to convert them to Christ. They ridicule and despise the work they did. And they encourage these people to go back to their worthless gods and practicing their dead religions. I certainly don't want people to lose their culture, history, memories as long as they aren't losing their salvation by worshiping idols and strange gods.
But, in the last 150 years, technology has busted the world wide open. What was undreamed of, can happen in seconds. There are still remote parts of the world that don't have internet, television, cell phone coverage, radio stations. But with satellites that's getting fewer and farther between. And, at least, missionaries can reach them with easier transportation. In the old days it was weeks on a ships, then walking or riding horseback into the remote areas. Today, a missionary could take a plane ride to the nearest airport and a bumpy car ride with maybe the last leg by saddle?
It's becoming more and more a reality to reach everyone in every country in real time. In fact, it may be that during the Great Tribulation, with the reduced population due to the natural disasters, that it may be a goal of the new one world government to make sure everyone has access to news and communication in order to further control the populace with propaganda type messages. But for those who are saved during this time, they will be able to get their message out too until the leader establishes his one world religion and sets himself up as god.
The Jews will have been allowed to rebuild their Temple but, once it's completed, the AntiChrist will walk in and turn it into HIS temple and demand worship. This is the Abomination of Desolation.
Matthew 24:21-22 "For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. 22 In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones."
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Revelation 13:7 It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
Who are the "saints"? The Greek word translated as "saints" is ἁγίων (hagiōn) and means set apart by (or for) God, holy, sacred, in a moral sense, pure, sinless, upright, holy. So who is pure, sinless, and holy enough to be called a "saint"? As sinners, none of us are! But Jesus was and through Him, we can be. He forgives us, cleanses us and gives us His righteousness. It is only through Jesus that we can be holy before God and that only if we accept what He offered, His life sacrificed for us. So all true believers who have been born again are saints. In this particular verse it is referring to those who are born again and saved at this point in the End Times.
I think it's time to read Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 in it's entirety. Both visions were about kingdoms in the future for the Prophet Daniel and we are talking about the same thing in Revelation 13. Daniel (457-362 BC) was of the Jewish nobility. He was just a youth in Jerusalem when he, and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, were captured and taken to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The four are chosen for their intellect and beauty to be trained in the Babylonian court, and are given new names. Daniel is given the Babylonian name Belteshazzar and the other three were re-named Shadrach, Meschach and Abedneggo. Daniel/Belteshazzar serves the king and his successors with loyalty and ability until the time of the Persian conqueror Cyrus. But he remained true to the God of Israel and he was respected for it.
Daniel 2:1-49 1 In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep. 2 So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers a to tell him what he had dreamed. When they came in and stood before the king, 3 he said to them, “I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means.”
4 Then the astrologers answered the king, “May the king live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it.”
5 The king replied to the astrologers, “This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. 6 But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.”
7 Once more they replied, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it.”
8 Then the king answered, “I am certain that you are trying to gain time, because you realize that this is what I have firmly decided: 9 If you do not tell me the dream, there is only one penalty for you. You have conspired to tell me misleading and wicked things, hoping the situation will change. So then, tell me the dream, and I will know that you can interpret it for me.”
10 The astrologers answered the king, “There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. 11 What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans.”
12 This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death. 14 When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. 15 He asked the king’s officer, “Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. 16 At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.
17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king.”
24 Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, “Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him.”
25 Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, “I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means.”
26 The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), “Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?”
27 Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you were lying in bed are these:
29 “As Your Majesty was lying there, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen. 30 As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.
31 “Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.
36 “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king.
(The Interpretation of the Vision)
37 Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; 38 in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.
39 “After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. 40 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
44 “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.
“The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. 47 The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.”
48 Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. 49 Moreover, at Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court.
Daniel 7:1-28 1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.
2 Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. 3 Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.
4 “The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it.
5 “And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’
6 “After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.
7 “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.
8 “While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully.
9 “As I looked,
“thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze.
10 A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
and the books were opened.
11 “Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. 12 (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, a coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
15 “I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. 16 I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this.
(The Interpretation of the Vision)
“So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things: 17 ‘The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth. 18 But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’
19 “Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. 20 I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. 21 As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.
23 “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.
26 “ ‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’
28 “This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”
Let's compare the two visions.
We know that the first kingdom represented by the golden head of the statue and the lion beast is the Babylonian Empire.
The silver chest and arms on the statue and the Bear with 3 ribs in it's mouth has been seen as the Medo-Persian Empire that toppled the Babylonian Empire. Note that it's the arms and chest. The arms indicate 2 but they are connected by the chest. The Medes and Persians made up the Medo-Persian Empire. Silver is considered by men to be inferior to gold, Medo Persia did not have as much "glory" as Babylon did. Also, it is known that taxes were paid in silver in Medo Persia.
The bronze stomach and thighs have been identified as the Grecian Empire and Macedonian-Greco Empire of Alexander the Great. The Macedonian-Greco Empire was started by King Phillip II and reached its height during the reign of his son, Alexander the Great. Macedonia lies inside northeastern Greece. Phillip II ascended the throne and began an expansion campaign. King Phillip II was a military genius. King Phillip II was assassinated and his son, Alexander III or Alexander the Great, became king and continued his father’s plans for conquering the world. King Alexander III defeated Persia, Babylon and Egypt. Grecian soldiers wore bronze armor.
The Jewish people were still under the rule of the Persian Empire around 331 B.C. and they relinquished control of their lands to him because they knew they wouldn’t stand a chance against Alexander the Great. After Alexander's death, his generals (Lysimachus, Cassander, Ptolemy and Seleucus) divided his enormous empire into four regions: (1) Egypt, (2) Macedonia and Greece, (3) Thrace and Western Asia, and (4) Syria and all territory east to the Indus River. These are the four heads of Alexander’s “leopard” kingdom. Once Judah was placed under Greco-Macedonian rule, the province was governed by a series of Greek rulers:
King Alexander III (Alexander the Great)
Laomedon of Mytilene
Ptolemy I Soter
the Antigonid Dynasty
Ptolemy I Soter
Greco-Macedonian Seleucid Empire
Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Jewish persecution)
The Seleucid Empire was the last group of Greek rulers before Roman rule (Jewish persecution)
Most interpret the iron legs as the Roman Empire. Romans were known for their "iron rule" and their iron swords and iron tipped javelins or spears. Eventually the Western Empire ruled from Rome and the Eastern Empire ruled from Constantinople (Turkey). But is one leg the Roman Empire and the other leg the Roman Catholic Empire? Or is one leg the early Roman Empire and the other leg, the later Holy Roman Empire? Or are the two legs eastern and western parts of the empire? Starting from Rome, the Roman Empire slowly expanded until it had absorbed most of the four pieces of Alexander’s kingdom. In time, it became the largest and most powerful empire the world had ever seen at the time. Eventually, it encompassed much, but not all, of the regions of the three empires that had preceded it.
Some say the iron legs are the Islamic conquests, which would cover all of the previous empires and more. The empire of Islam continued from 622 to 1924 A.D. when it was finally broken up. Altogether there were 4 main Caliphates than spanned the time period with the exception of a little over 250 years between 1258 and 1517.
Finally the feet of the statue was a mixture of iron and clay. The clay is described in some translations as "miry clay" or "baked clay". Sometimes it's called iron mixed with "potsherd" which is clay after it's baked. Maybe the bones of the feet are iron covered with clay baked on? The clay vessel encapsulates the iron bones much like shoes? Could this mean the iron rule is masked with a clay covering? I.e. the truth is covered with deception to make it more palatable to those being ruled.
A mixture of iron and clay don't mix. There would be no adhesion together. It would be brittle and easily break apart. So maybe this means that the last part of the statue represents nations after Rome? The Roman Empire did finally fracture. By 476 A.D. Rome had lost it's power and the European barbarian tribes that sacked the Roman Empire became the 10 nations of Europe. These tribes were the Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Franks, Vandals, Alemannians, Sueves, Anglo-Saxons, Heruli, Lombards, and Burgundians. Three of these tribes were uprooted by Papal Rome (could this be the Little Horn?) and the other seven evolved into the nations of Europe today, like Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, etc.
Revelation 17:12-13 tell us the Antichrist will lead a coalition of ten nations (the statue’s ten toes?). And we know Christ will defeat the forces of the Antichrist (Revelation 17:14).The Roman Empire had two capitals—Rome and Constantinople - thus the two feet. The first period of the Roman Empire lasted from 31 B.C. to 476 A.D., then it collapsed after having been overrun by barbarians from the north. Three Germanic kingdoms from Northern Europe, Vandals, the Heruli and the Ostrogoths, are three horns that were eventually uprooted and replaced with the little horn.
It could also include modern times. Some nations are strong (America, Russia, China, etc?) and others are weak. There is only surface cohesion, but in reality, they would fall apart at the slightest provocation. Treaties would be broken, former allies no longer trusting each other, brittle alliances. This could represent divided Europe, or the world's nations who cannot seem to work together. England's national emblem is a lion. England was the strongest power to rise with the symbol of a lion since Babylon. It was said the sun never set on the English Empire as they had colonies all over the world. The eagle’s wings on the lion could represent the United States. The first colonists in the United States were English but we broke off from England during the American Revolution just as the wings broke off from the lion. The national emblem of the United States is the eagle. The bear is the symbol of Russia. Russia is a huge, lumbering nation with great power. Russia has "devoured many people" during it's tsarist and communist history. It ate up other countries. Germany uses the leopard as its national symbol. Or the leopard could represent countries from Africa that may rise up after the Gog and Magog war. The last beast is a future power, a revived Roman Empire. The horns represent leaders of countries in this revived empire that will be allied to the Anti-Christ. And the little horn with a man’s eyes and bragging mouth, could be the Anti-Christ.
Daniel 2:43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
Others say that the mingling of iron and clay represent the co-mingling of civil government with the church. The iron would represent the civil authorities, nations and their governments. While the clay represents the church. They say that the "miry" clay is dirty, polluted, weakened. It seeks to strengthen itself by co-mingling with the civil government but it only weakens itself further.
Now, we have seen where Daniel's visions were fulfilled after his time and in multiple ways with real history. But I believe there is also fulfillment in the End Times.
What else have we seen with the number 10? Yes, that 4th beast in Revelation 13. We are back to Revelation 13. The fourth beast may represent the Roman Empire from 31 B.C. to the present. It is a beast that has ten horns. Remember horns represent a nation and it's strength. So there will be 10 nations who will have some union. Some say this coalition would be a revival of a Roman empire, other's say it will be an Islamic empire. Yet others seem to think it's a mix of a civil government with the "Christian" religion. The religious leaders will join hands with this foul AntiChrist in the hope of getting more people into their doors, more money into their coffers and more power and influence with this leader. Some believe this is already happening with the Roman Catholic church and the office of the Pope is the little horn.
God revealed that at the end of the present age, there will be a revival of a "Roman Empire" consisting of ten nations who will "give their power and authority" to a Babylonish system. These ten nations will be partially weak and partially strong, like toes of iron and clay. Could we be seeing the emergence of those toes in the European Union?
It is telling how King Nebuchadnezzar dreamed about the coming empires. He saw a towering, magnificent, impressive statue, a work of art despite it's bad feet. Man tends to see the works of man in a rosy light. We think very highly of ourselves and we see our achievements as grandiose. Humans try to build things to rival God. Remember the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11?
Genesis 11:1-4 1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. 3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
If we think about it, men have tried to make a name for themselves and build empires for themselves throughout history. Business empires, financial empires, starting cults with themselves as the one to be worshiped. They build big buildings, heavy investment portfolios, international corporations. And they want to be acknowledged and set on a pedestal to be admired. Thomas Wolfe in his novel, Bonfire of the Vanities, has a character who sees himself as a "Master of the Universe" only to be toppled off his pedestal of pride. God is revealing to us that He is the One who establishes and removes earthly kingdoms. They come and go according to His divine purposes. It is utterly ridiculous to think we can be God and our accomplishments can, in any way, on any level, rival God. So, although King Nebuchadnezzar dreamed of an impressive statue of man's attempts to be god, the prophets, Daniel and John, saw it very differently. They saw these empires for what they were, hideous, bizarre, unnatural beasts that may roar loudly but fail miserably. The ugliness, the horror of what sin and pride creates, shocked the Prophets of God. God alone is God! God is sovereign and only He can create and only He should create. Every once in awhile I'll get a glimpse of pride gone wrong. In myself I may be thinking I can control things when I can't. I may try to control myself, people, my environment, things, schedule, etc. I may even be doing it for a good reason. But relying on myself and my control is nothing more than trying to take God's place and do it myself. And we've all seen monuments of pride that were considered impregnable, that were destroyed and blown away. A man/woman can try to take into consideration every contingency and try to plan fail safes, backups, redundancies, etc. When they built the Titanic, it was said she was unsinkable. But she rests on the bottom of the ocean because she wasn't unsinkable.
I just found a real life story that happened early last century. A man and his wife had some money saved. He thought he could protect his money by out-thinking his neighbors. He put iron bars on his windows and doors. He kept a gun with him at all times. He had his wife sew a special pocket inside his longjohns to keep his money. He thought he had his money safe. But those iron bars on the windows, that were suppose to protect him and his money, only told the neighbors he had something worth stealing. Two men began to watch him from the bushes. They tried to rob him once, but he managed to get to his Winchester and drive them off. They continued to watch him. Finally his wife came out to draw water and they snuck up on her. They held a gun on her and walked her to the door. As the man opened the door they confronted him. He reached for his Winchester but they shot him 5 times before he could reach it and he was dead when he hit the floor. They forced the wife to tell them where the money was. They went rifling through his ole dirty drawers and found the sewn-in pocket and got $600. The men escaped and were able to outwit the police and the bloodhound. They were never held accountable for killing the man. Despite all his plans and contingencies to protect his money, the man never needed it because he was murdered. What good is it to die with a wad of cash? Better to die broke, at least you got use of it. But he worshiped money and it took his life. The two neighbors worshiped the money and became hunted murderers in order to get it. They became monsters. You may think they got away with it. Not so. One of the men was just as treacherously killed by his own brother-in-law. He voluntarily gave his pistol to his brother-in-law as a sign he wanted no trouble (they had once been friends but this says a lot about the deterioration of their relationship). The brother-in-law took his gun and shot him to death with his own gun. The brother-in-law was acquitted of murder. So the sneaky, two-faced, conniving thief who became a murderer was tricked and murdered with his own gun. Not knowing he would be alive one second and dead the next, he didn't have time to repent, to ask God's forgiveness. He may be paying for his sins and crimes in eternity and I wouldn't wish that on anyone, not even my worst enemy.
Another small example might be knowing smoking is bad for your health and is a very addictive and dangerous habit, But now your teenager has decided to "rebel" by taking up smoking. How do you handle it? If you are like me, you are going to try all kinds of ways to discourage your child from picking up this dangerous and addictive habit. You may have long conversations imparting statistics and facts so they are informed. You may pull up pictures of cancer on the computer and try to scare them straight. You might assign punishment when you find a pack of cigarettes. You withhold money so they can't buy cigarettes. You don't allow them to smoke in your house or car. You will try talking, screaming, crying, pleading trying to "save" them from this habit. You aren't doing it to harass your teen or make their life miserable. You are trying to save their life. So you have a good motive. When you see you aren't getting through and your teenager continues to smoke, you become desperate and may try any other method you can think of. You will go through their belongings, check their car, follow them, interrogate them, question their friends. The more desperate you get to control the situation, the farther out you go. You may hire a lawyer and sue the cigarette companies. Or, you will accuse the teachers and school of allowing smoking somewhere on the grounds. Or, you push for a new law outlawing cigarettes and smoking. You start an organization called Mothers Against Smoking (I made it up). You plant bombs in cigarette factories and set fires in tobacco barns. You create and produce weird doomsday "commercials" to inform the public. Your child had all the information to make an informed decision but made the stupid choice to smoke regardless. Nothing you do will change their mind and, in fact, will probably make them that much more rebellious. What kind of monster does that create? Some children will rebel so thoroughly against feeling controlled by their parents that they become monsters. It's almost like they make it their life's goal to break their parents and any authority over them. They don't stop at rebelling against Mom and Dad but rebel against teachers, principals, bosses, police, judges, preachers, God or anything that tries to "control" them. Yes, the control is for their own good, but some kids grow up into monsters of rebellion. Or the monster could be what you become. As you are thwarted over and over again, you become more desperate and you can become the monster. Some people go to such extremes to get what they want that anything goes. Those people who throw paint on fur coats do it because they want to control. They want to "save" animals which is a good cause, but they've lost control over themselves and have justified aberrant behavior because "the ends justify the means". Those who burn a cross in someone's yard are trying to control someone and keep them in their place. Those who bomb and kill innocent people are desperate to control and force something to happen. They tell themselves that their cause is noble and extremes are called for. Someone has to hear them, accept and agree with them, believe what they believe, or they will use force. Human beings can start out with good intentions, but we can so easily get out of balance and become a monster. Does it sound like I know what I'm talking about? Well, I do. No, I don't have a teenager who wants to smoke. But I've been through something even worse and I do know how desperate you can become to stop a person from destroying their life (and yours). I didn't handle it any better than anyone else does. We all have the capacity to sin and we are all in a lifelong learning curve. You don't live to be my age and NOT go through something like this. Thankfully, I'm a Christian and I'm always learning from the Holy Spirit. Not just reading the Bible. We've all experienced reading something but getting nothing from it, quickly forgetting what we read. But I consciously try to read, and apply, the truths of the Bible. With the help of the Holy Spirit and keeping an open heart while studying the Bible, God will hold a mirror up to me eventually and He reveals things I'm not proud of in ME. I see truth and then I see the Savior who cleanses me from the deep down dirty things that have distorted me. He doesn't leave me a monster. He lovingly cleanses me, covers me with His righteousness, heals the hurts. It takes time but He is slowly, layer by layer, removing the ugliness to reveal the person He created me to be. It has nothing to do with what our bodies look like, but what our soul looks like!
So the Prophet Daniel summed it up:
Daniel 2:20-22 “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his.
21 He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.
Over decades and centuries of history we have seen Daniel's prophesies fulfilled. But the ultimate fulfillment comes at the end. The small horn will be the Anti-Christ who becomes the last leader of this coalition of ten nations, a one-world government. He will be a brutal leader while all the while talking "peace, peace, harmony, prosperity". His iron brutality will be temporarily covered with a false veneer. But when he declares himself god and demands worship, that clay mask will break and shatter to reveal the worthless but brutal monster he really is. He will charm people into establishing a one-world religion and the corrupted church organizations of that time may give in, like so many did during Hitler's rise to power. An apostate church, a false church, will be created.
So the ultimate fulfillment will be by the AntiChrist. Verse 23 says, "He gave me this explanation". God was revealing to Daniel that there would be a future fulfillment and it would be "different from all the other kingdoms and devour the whole earth". The beast in Revelation 13 will be the Anti-Christ and he will put together a coalition in a one world government. Once he feels established and in control, his real agenda will come out and persecution against Christians and Jews will be undeniable and focused.
Daniel 7:23-25 23 “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.
The "holy people" are the true converts during the Tribulation.
What does the rock symbolize in Daniel 2?
Daniel 2:44-45 44 “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.
Jesus will set up His kingdom and the kingdoms of this world will “become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
A stone "not cut by human hands" destroyed the statue and became a mountain filling the whole world. I love the description of this rock! It was "not cut by human hands"! In other words, this rock was made by God. It can, in no way, be attributed to man. What sinful man accomplishes, is distorted, monstrous. But what God does smashes the mess we create and brings a new kingdom. Finally, all creation will see God in His glory, setting up His Kingdom, a theocracy that works perfectly because it's people are voluntarily submitted to their God and are thus blessed by His provision and care! It will work as it was meant to work before sin and the Fall. There will be no end to this Kingdom! What satan tries to do will be destroyed. What man, inspired by satan, tries to do will be destroyed. Obliterated by the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ!!! God's sovereignty will be established and acknowledged by all creation! "At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!" (Philippians 2:10-11) When I look around at the mess mankind has made... The corruption, the environmental concerns, the hate, the scrabbling and stepping on each other in our haste to grab, the treatment of human beings, made in God's image and endowed with His breath of life, as just so much scum and shit on the bottom of someone's shoe... It makes me long for something new, something clean, something beautiful and based on love. It makes me long for the Kingdom of God which will be perfect and established forever! I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and that makes me a citizen of Heaven, a child of God. My roots are no longer of this earth. The land of my spiritual nativity is the Kingdom of God. My citizenship is in His Kingdom. It is my homeland. He is my King! My body will one day be redeemed by Him and join my spirit in His Kingdom. I will live forever, a loyal subject, to my Kind, my Redeemer, my Savior, my Lord. Just like the knights of old, I bow on one knee before my God. This represents my submission to Him and my willingness to rise and do whatever action He requires of me. I will be able to utterly trust His love for me and therefore will do whatever He asks because I know He would not harm me.
Revelation 13:8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.
The world admired his power, policy, success and prosperity so they worshiped this anti-Christ leader. They see him as the savior of the world, the savior of humanity. Little realizing how wrong they are. The one they worship and derive their hope from; the one they listen to and obey, is the very one who will lead them and the earth into eternal doom. But the one they mock, ridicule and persecute is the real Savior of mankind. The One who will lead His followers to an eternity in a new world, one of perfection and unimagined prosperity and peace. In rebellion against God, they would give their allegiance to satan. They voluntarily sign up to be slaves to satan and his puppets. They go wholeheartedly into subjection to this monster. If you think this would never happen. Think again. Throughout history, we've seen people who become devoted slaves to monsters such as Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao tse Tung, etc. At first they are sold out in utter devotion. As the monster begins to reveal itself and all his cruelty and brutality, they become slaves in fear.
John 1:29-37 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He of whom I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know Him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that He might be revealed to Israel.” 32 Then John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove and resting on Him. 33 I myself did not know Him, but the One who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is He who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” 35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus walking by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37 And when the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.
Mark 1:4-11 4 John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 People went out to him from all of Jerusalem and the countryside of Judea. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6 John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 7 And he began to proclaim: “After me will come One more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” 9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 As soon as Jesus came up out of the water, He saw the heavens breaking open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”
These proclamations by John the Baptist and the descent of the Holy Spirit as a dove with God's own proclamation, identifies Jesus Christ as the divine Son of God and the Lamb of God. He was born fully human but He was also fully God, divine. We saw in Revelation 5 that only the Lamb is worthy to take the judgment scroll from God and break the seals. The Lamb submitted to the Father to be slain and pay for our sins. But He rose again, a triumphant Lamb who is trusted with the judgment of mankind.
In 375 A.D. Saint Augustine wrote: "Why a lamb in his passion? Because he underwent death without being guilty of any iniquity. Why a lion in his passion? Because in being slain, he slew death. Why a lamb in his resurrection? Because his innocence is everlasting. Why a lion in his resurrection? Because everlasting also is his might."
1 Corinthians 5:7 (Good News Translation) You must remove the old yeast of sin so that you will be entirely pure. Then you will be like a new batch of dough without any yeast, as indeed I know you actually are. For our Passover Festival is ready, now that Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
In the OT the “Book of Life” was a register of the citizens of Israel. Your name written in the register book meant you were a Jew, and had Jewish citizenship rights and blessings. To have your name blotted out meant shame and rejection. To be blotted out of the book, or register, meant exclusion.
What is this Lamb's Book of Life?
- Some say there is a Book of Life which lists everyone who has ever and will ever live (see Psalm 139:15-17). And there is a second book called the Lamb's Book of Life in which only those who accept Jesus as their Savior, and are born-again, are listed. In essence, as a believer, my name is written in the Book of Life (because I was created and I'm alive) AND the Lamb's Book of Life (because I was born-again when I believed and accepted Jesus Christ).
- Some say that it's only one Book of Life with every living person's name listed but if someone refuses to accept Christ as their Savior, their name is blotted out of the Book of Life.
- Others say that your name is entered into the Lamb's Book of Life before the foundation of the world. You are guaranteed by being written in the Lamb's Book of Life. The Lamb keeps you from doing what would get you erased. I.e. you won't turn against Jesus Christ and fall into worshiping the beast. If your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life, you will conquer and you are safe in His Hands.
- And there are those who believe there is only one book, the Lamb's Book of Life. But they believe that you can lose your salvation and your name can thus be blotted out of the Lamb's Book of Life.
Exodus 32:31-34 31 So Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed; they have made gods of gold for themselves. 32 Yet now, if You would only forgive their sin... But if not, please blot me out of the book that You have written.” 33 The LORD replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will erase from My book. 34 Now go, lead the people to the place I told you. Behold, My angel shall go before you. But on the day I settle accounts, I will punish them for their sin.”
Daniel 7:10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
Psalm 56:8 You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?
Psalm 69 is written by David but it was also a prophecy. It is written by David in the midst of his troubles but it is ultimately fulfilled by the death of Jesus Christ. So it could be read as though Jesus Christ wrote it Himself. It talks about how His enemies persecute Him, they hate Him without cause, they scorn and shame Him but He submits to God and trusts God.
Psalm 69:27-28 27 Add iniquity to their iniquity;
let them not share in Your righteousness.
28 May they be erased from the book of life
and not listed with the righteous.
Psalm 139:15-17 When I was woven together in the depths of the Earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Isaiah 4:3 3 And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remains in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:
Malachi 3:16-18 Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.
Philippians 4:3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Hebrews 12:22-23 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect
Revelation 3:5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life.
Revelation 17:8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.
Revelation 20:12-15 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 21:2 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defiles, neither whatever works abomination, or makes a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Revelation 22:18-19 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life.
Now we can go back to the theories of what is this Lamb's Book of Life (summarized above).
1. Two books, the Book of Life and the Lamb's Book of Life. The Book of the Living, or Book of Life, records everyone who lives but the name is blotted out when they die. The Lamb's Book of Life is a recording of all who are born-again Christians. Their names, once added, are never blotted out.
John 10:27-29, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”
3. One book, the Lamb's Book of Life, that records every born-again Christian and once entered, you cannot be blotted out. John 10:27-29, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” I know Baptists believe that if you are truly saved, you are always saved. You cannot lose your salvation and your name cannot be blotted out of the Lamb's Book of Life. There are two groups of people. Those whose names have not been written in the Book of Life from eternity past. They “worship” and “marvel” at the Beast. The second group consists of those whose names have been written in the Book of life from the foundation of the world. And for this reason they refuse to give their allegiance to the enemy of Christ. John Piper explains, “having our name in the book of life from the foundation of the world seems to mean that God will keep you from falling and grant you to persevere in allegiance to God. Being in the book means you will not apostatize”. Being written in the book means that God is committed to guarding your heart so that you will “conquer” and “overcome”. This highlights God's sovereignty. It contains the names of those whom God foreknew (foreloved), those whom God chose to receive eternal life. If a person’s name is written in the book of life, he will be saved. When the gospel is preached, he will repent of his sins and be saved.
Romans 8:29-30 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Ephesian 1:4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
Matthew 25:34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.
This sounds like predestination and that's a whole other topic. You can see my post on Predestination here.
4. One book, the Lamb's Book of Life, that records born-again Christians but your name can be blotted out if you fall away from Christ (apostasize).
Hebrews 6:4-6 4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
Confusing? Maybe. But no matter which way you look at it, it can be boiled down. We don't have to worry if there is one book or two or multiple or being blotted out or never being blotted out. The only question to ask yourself: "Is your name written in the Lamb's Book of Life by being saved through Jesus Christ?"
Forgiveness is made possible by Jesus Christ paying the penalty for our sins, if we repent and accept it. Repentance is when we agree with God that we are sinners in need of a Savior and we cannot save ourselves. Then we accept Jesus Christ and are saved. The moment we are saved, our spirit is born, the Holy Spirit descends and lives in us to enable our new spirit to grow and mature. The Holy Spirit living in us is the seal or guarantee that we are saved. God dwells in us via the Holy Spirit! Our sins are forgiven, to be remembered no more by God. We are clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ and our names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will remember your sins no more.”
If you continue to refuse Jesus' free gift of salvation and your heart is not turned to God, then your name is not written in the Lamb's Book of Life. But that can change. It's up to you. You can agree and accept or you can disagree and reject. God knows which one you will choose, but you have the freedom of choice.
Revelation 13:9-10 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.
10 “If anyone is to go into captivity,
into captivity they will go.
If anyone is to be killed with the sword,
with the sword they will be killed.”
This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.
Revelation 13:9-10 (New Living Translation - NLV) Anyone who is destined for prison will be taken to prison. Anyone destined to die by the sword will die by the sword. This means that God's holy people must endure persecution patiently and remain faithful.
The word translated "perseverance" is the Greek word ὑπομονὴ (hypomonē) which means Endurance, steadfastness, patient waiting for. From hupomeno meaning cheerful endurance, constancy. The word translated "faith" is the Greek word πίστις (pistis) meaning faith, belief, trust, confidence; fidelity, faithfulness.
The obvious conclusion was that captivity, etc., was the lot appointed for some of them. He has also told them of the war waged by the world against Christians, and now he adds the necessary caution against any attempt to defend themselves by the use of the sword. And thus not only their patience but their faith was to be tested. They were not only to bear patiently evils which they could not avoid, but they must have sufficient faith to enable them voluntarily to forego any opportunities which might occur to prevent their sufferings by force of arms. - Pulpit Commentary
Yet the devil's power and success are limited. Christ has a chosen remnant, redeemed by his blood, recorded in his book, sealed by his Spirit; and though the devil and antichrist may overcome the body, and take away the natural life, they cannot conquer the soul, nor prevail with true believers to forsake their Saviour, and join his enemies. Perseverance in the faith of the gospel and true worship of God, in this great hour of trial and temptation, which would deceive all but the elect, is the character of those registered in the book of life. This powerful motive and encouragement to constancy, is the great design of the whole Revelation. - Matthew Henry Commentary
The spirit of the words reminds them that their weapons are the weapons of faith and patience, of truth and righteousness; and they must accept the tribulation, as their Lord did His cross, because thus it must be. At the same time, their very doing so is a witness to their foes that "all those who take the sword will perish with the sword;" and that the sword, from which the saints do not shrink, will assuredly turn against those who use it. - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Jeremiah 15:2 If they ask you, 'Where shall we go?' you are to tell them that this is what the LORD says: 'Those destined for death, to death; those destined for the sword, to the sword; those destined for famine, to famine; those destined for captivity, to captivity.'
Jeremiah 43:11 He will come and strike down the land of Egypt, bringing death to those destined for death, captivity to those destined for captivity, and the sword to those destined for the sword.
Matthew 26:52 "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to (Peter). "For all who draw the sword will die by the sword".
So how did Jesus Christ face his persecutors? When He was faced by an angry mob, arrested on trumped up charges, lied about, called names, mocked, ridiculed, tortured, thrown in a pit, beaten, whipped, led around for crowds to jeer at, then crucified as a criminal on false charges? How did He face it? Did He call the angels to come rescue Him? Did He call for His Disciples to raise their swords and defend Him? Did He use a single word in His own defense? Did He organize an army, train and equip them, and ask God to enable His army to have victory? It's hard to understand, but He did none of these things because He knew it was something He had to endure and finish in order to save us all. Let's look at it.
Matthew 26:3-5 3 At that time, the chief priests and elders of the people assembled in the courtyard of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and they conspired to arrest Jesus covertly and kill Him. 5 “But not during the feast,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”
Matthew 26:14-16 14 Then one of the Twelve, the one called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you?” And they set out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 So from that time on Judas looked for an opportunity to betray Jesus. Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and elders of the people...
Matthew 26:48-67 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest Him.” 49 Going directly to Jesus, he said, “Greetings, Rabbi,” and kissed Him...
50 “Friend,” Jesus replied, “do what you came for.”
Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus, and arrested Him. 51 At this, one of Jesus’ companions drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him. “For all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Are you not aware that I can call on My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?”
55 At that time Jesus said to the crowd, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would an outlaw? Every day I sat teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest Me. 56 But this has all happened so that the writings of the prophets would be fulfilled.”
Then all the disciples deserted Him and fled.
57 Those who had arrested Jesus led Him away to the house of Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and elders had gathered. 58 But Peter followed Him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. And he went in and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.
59 Now the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were seeking false testimony against Jesus in order to put Him to death. 60 But they could not find it, though many false witnesses came forward.
Finally two came forward 61 and declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”
62 So the high priest stood up and asked Him, “Have you no answer? What are these men testifying against you?”
63 But Jesus remained silent.
Then the high priest said to Him, “I charge You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God.”
64 “You have said it yourself,” Jesus answered. “But I say to all of you, from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
65 At this, the high priest tore his clothes and declared, “He has blasphemed! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66 What do you think?”
“He deserves to die,” they answered.
67 Then they spat in His face and struck Him. Others slapped Him 68 and said, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who hit You?”
Matthew 27:1-2 1 When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people conspired against Jesus to put Him to death. 2 They bound Him, led Him away, and handed Him over to Pilate the governor...
Matthew 27:13-14 Then Pilate asked Him, “Do You not hear how many charges they are bringing against You?”
Matthew 27:14 But Jesus gave no answer, not even to a single charge, much to the governor’s amazement...
Matthew 27:25-41 26 So Pilate released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged and handed Him over to be crucified.
27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company around Him. 28 They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 And they twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on His head. They put a staff in His right hand and knelt down before Him to mock Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 Then they spat on Him and took the staff and struck Him on the head repeatedly.
31 After they had mocked Him, they removed the robe and put His own clothes back on Him. Then they led Him away to crucify Him...
39 And those who passed by heaped abuse on Him, shaking their heads... 41 In the same way, the chief priests, scribes, and elders mocked Him,
Isaiah 53:7 "He was treated harshly, but endured it humbly; he never said a word. Like a lamb about to be slaughtered, like a sheep about to be sheared, he never said a word".
Could I do this? Only if the Holy Spirit in me empowers me to do it. As a human being, I would want to defend myself, fight back, call for help, pick up the nearest weapon, etc. As a Christian, I have the Holy Spirit living in me and I have to trust that He would empower me to do whatever He asks me to do. He knows perfectly well how weak I am so He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in me to empower me. It's my secret weapon!
The Beast from the Earth
Revelation 13:11-12 11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. This beast had two horns like a lamb, but spoke like a dragon. 12 And this beast exercised all the authority of the first beast and caused the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed.
The similarities between this 2nd beast and the 1st beast:
Both are called "beast"
Both have horns.
This beast "exercised all the authority of the first beast".
Dragon-like inspiration. The two beasts are aligned with the dragon in opposition to God.
Tyrannize men and persecute Christians
The first beast spoke arrogant and blasphemous words and the second beast "spoke like a dragon".
The difference between this 2nd beast and the 1st beast:
The first one comes out of the sea and the second comes "rising out of the earth".
The first one had seven heads and ten horns and the second has one head and "two horns like a lamb".
The first beast had crowns and there is no mention of crowns on the second beast.
The first beast demands people to worship him and the second beast causes men to worship the first beast; The first beast magnifies himself and the second beast magnifies the first beast, i.e. not himself.
This second beast is referred to as the False Prophet: Revelation 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
The resemblance to a lamb indicates priesthood, but it is a false priesthood, heathen priesthood. The two beasts may be the state and a state church or religion. The beast from the sea is a secular political power, while the beast from the earth is a religious institution fostering worship of the first beast. We are called to be good citizens of our nation as long as it is just a government. But once we make our government god - worship it as our protector, provider and sustainer - then we will find out how wrong we are. When a government becomes god, it is no longer about being a good citizen.
Some believe that America is the second beast. It was founded by Christians but has become so secularized that God is being deleted out of the government and all public institutions. It is no longer a Christian nation. Original European colonists came to America because of religious persecution. Because they were Protestant, the Roman Catholics saw them as a threat during the Protestant Reformation and were afraid of the rise of Protestantism if these Protestants found a safe place to live. Persecuted Protestants came across the Atlantic Ocean to establish colonies. They say that Revelation 12 records the prophecy of this migration with the serpent being the persecutors inspired by satan and "the earth" being the New World:
Revelation 12:15-16 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth
Another theory is the first beast is the last world empire and the second beast is it's leader, the anti-Christ. His horns "like a lamb" make him appear to be the world's savior. Another interpretation is that the first beast is the anti-Christ and the second is his "High Priest". The two working together in a political state and a new religion, in order to have world wide control. This is the theory I subscribe to.
The Trinity of Evil is in direct contrast to the Holy Trinity. The Devil stands opposed to God the Father - "Ye are of your father, the Devil"(John John 8:40). The Antichrist stands opposed to God the Son - his very name (anti-Christ) shows this. The remaining evil person stands opposed to God the Spirit. This second beast resembles the Holy Spirit in relation to Christ. This beast wields equivalent power to the first beast, yet doesn't do it for his own glory, but constantly points to the first beast, the anti-Christ. And so it is with the Holy Spirit and the Son of God: "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you". (John 16:13-14) This anti-Holy Spirit will simulate and oppose the Spirit of God. This unholy trinity is the opposite of the Holy Trinity.
Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,
who turn darkness to light and light to darkness,
who replace bitter with sweet and sweet with bitter.
"whose mortal wound had been healed." This wound was discussed (see above) in Revelation 13:3 One of the heads of the beast appeared to be fatally wounded. But the mortal wound was healed, and the whole world was astonished and followed the beast.
Revelation 13:13 And the second beast performed great signs to cause even fire from heaven to come down to earth in the presence of the people.
This False Prophet will cause "fire from heaven" and astound the people. This is another attempt to mimic God but it is in deception just like the sorcerers and magicians in Exodus 7.
Exodus 7:8-13 8 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 9 “When Pharaoh tells you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ you are to say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a serpent.” 10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the LORD had commanded. Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a serpent. 11 But Pharaoh called the wise men and sorcerers and magicians of Egypt, and they also did the same things by their magic arts. 12 Each one threw down his staff, and it became a serpent. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up the other staffs. 13 Still, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, just as the LORD had said.
Here is one example where God sent fire down to earth.
1 Kings 18:38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and it licked up the water in the trench.
Men will think this fire from heaven is supernatural and is a sign from God that he approves of this new world religion. But it is deception, false, a way to entice men away from the true God. It is counterfeiting the power of God. Matthew Henry's Commentary says, "It pursues the same design, to draw men from worshipping the true God, and to subject the souls of men to the will and control of men."
Matthew 24:24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect, if that were possible.
Before modern times, for everyone on earth to see fire fall from heaven was impossible. But with satellites, TVs, technology, live streaming, we can all be watching something happen in real time. And the anti-Christ and his false prophet will want this to be seen by all people so it will be broadcast.
Revelation 13:14 Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived.
In Contemporary English Version: This second beast fooled people on earth by working miracles for the first one. Then it talked them into making an idol in the form of the beast that did not die after being wounded by a sword.
In Good News Translation: And it deceived all the people living on earth by means of the miracles which it was allowed to perform in the presence of the first beast. The beast told them to build an image in honor of the beast that had been wounded by the sword and yet lived.
The Greek word translated "deceived" or "fooled" is πλανᾷ (plana) and means lead astray, deceive, cause to wander, to roam. These "miracles" are to deceive and fool people and lead them away from the true God.
"He leads astray: this is the key to his success, he deifies the spirit of worldliness; but he does it by deception and subtlety: there is an appearance of wonderful power: he can work lying wonders". - Ellicott's Commentary
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 9 The coming of the lawless one will be accompanied by the working of Satan, with every kind of power, sign, and FALSE wonder, 10 and with every wicked deception directed against those who are perishing, because they refused the love of the truth that would have saved them.
John 4:48 Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will never believe."
It was "given power" or "allowed to perform". This means that God, who is in ultimate control, allowed these miracles. "The power possessed by the beast does not originate with himself; he possesses it only subject to the will of God" - Pulpit Commentary
Revelation 13:15 The second beast was permitted to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship it to be killed.
New Living Translation - He was then permitted to give life to this statue so that it could speak. Then the statue of the beast commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die.
It's entirely possible for mankind to be led into worshiping a world leader. The False Prophet will have an image of this world leader made to be worshiped. Whether it's a robotic statue, an image on a Jumbotron that is also broadcast on TV, a hologram or holographic image, or a website. To make an image that promotes worship of the anti-Christ world leader is entirely possible with today's technology.
Jeremiah 10:2-16 2 This is what the LORD says:
“Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by the signs in the heavens,
although the nations are terrified by them.
3 For the customs of the peoples are worthless;
they cut down a tree from the forest;
it is shaped with a chisel by the hands of a craftsman.
4 They adorn it with silver and gold and fasten it with hammer and nails,
so that it will not totter.
5 Like scarecrows in a cucumber patch,
their idols cannot speak.
They must be carried because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them, for they can do no harm,
and neither can they do any good.”
6 There is none like You, O LORD.
You are great, and Your name is mighty in power.
7 Who would not fear You, O King of nations?
This is Your due.
For among all the wise men of the nations,
and in all their kingdoms,
there is none like You.
8 But they are altogether senseless and foolish,
instructed by worthless idols made of wood!
9 Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish,
and gold from Uphaz—the work of a craftsman from the hands of a goldsmith.
Their clothing is blue and purple,
all fashioned by skilled workers.
10 But the LORD is the true God;
He is the living God and eternal King.
The earth quakes at His wrath,
and the nations cannot endure His indignation.”
11 Thus you are to tell them: “The gods that did not make heaven or earth will perish from this earth and from under these heavens.”
12 God made the earth by His power;
He established the world by His wisdom and stretched out the heavens by His understanding.
13 When He thunders,
the waters in the heavens roar,
and He causes the clouds to rise from the ends of the earth.
He sends lightning with the rain and brings the wind from His storehouses.
14 Everyone is senseless and devoid of knowledge.
Every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols.
For his molten images are a fraud;
they have no breath in them.
15 They are worthless, a work to be mocked.
In the time of their punishment, they will perish.
16 The Portion of Jacob is not like these,
for He is the Maker of all things:
Israel is the tribe of His inheritance;
the LORD of Hosts is His name.
Psalm 97:7 All who worship images are put to shame, those who boast in idols--worship Him, all you gods!
Habakkuk 2:18-19 What use is an idol, that a craftsman should carve it— or an image, a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak. 19 Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awaken!’ or to silent stone, ‘Come alive!’ Can it give guidance? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, yet there is no breath in it at all.
Revelation 13:16-18 16 And the second beast required all people small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark— the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 Here is a call for wisdom: Let the one who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and that number is 666.
666 is the sum of the first 36 natural numbers ( i.e. 1 + 2 + 3 + ... + 34 + 35 + 36 = 666), and thus it is a triangular number. Notice that 36 = 15 + 21; 15 and 21 are also triangular numbers; and 152 + 212 = 225 + 441 = 666. - Wikipedia
From the beginning, the serpent—Satan—has desired to be like God. His unholy trinity is the reverse of The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of God. It's a mockery.
This mark of the beast stands in direct contrast to the seal of Revelation 7:3 “Do not harm the land or sea or trees until we have sealed the foreheads of the servants of our God.”, which alludes to a “mark” on the righteous in Ezekiel 9:4-6
“Go throughout the city of Jerusalem,” said the LORD, “and put a mark on the foreheads of the men sighing and groaning over all the abominations committed there.” 5 And as I listened, He said to the others, “Follow him through the city and start killing; do not show pity or spare anyone! 6 Slaughter the old men, the young men and maidens, the women and children, but do not go near anyone who has the mark. Now begin at My sanctuary.”
God also told the Israelites (parenthesis mine):
Deuteronomy 11:18 “Bind them (God's Words) as a reminder on your hand, and they should be like a headband on your forehead.”
The Israelites were to mark their literal hands and foreheads to indicate God’s words would guide all their actions and thoughts. Tefillin are a set of small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah. Only Jewish males wear them. Tefillin or phylacteries are worn on the arm and forehead.
Exodus 13:9 And it shall be for a sign for you upon your hand, and for a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand did the LORD bring you out of Egypt.
Apostle Paul said:
As Christians, God has marked us by giving us the Holy Spirit to live in us. We are protected by this seal which is a guarantee that we will inherit His Promises! When we are converted and saved, we are sealed. Satan also wants his followers identified, to be marked in some way, during this last part of the Great Tribulation.
About two-thirds of the way through the Great Tribulation (890 days), almost everyone will take a position on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many will have come to faith in Jesus Christ during these years of tribulation, but the cost of that choice will be their life. For they will have to refuse the mark of the beast which will mark them for death. Some say the number 666 refers to 2/3. So for every 1,000 people, 334 will be martyred because they refuse to worship the beast and 666 will live because they are willing to worship the beast. I.e. 1/3 of the remaining population will be martyred by this evil world leader and his false prophet. The surviving 2/3's of the population will be allowed to live because they are cooperative and willing to worship the beast! He will justify this massacre by saying there are limited resources after all the Acts-of-God disasters and those resources should be reserved for those who are willing to cooperate in the new one-world government and the new world religion. For peace, unity, harmony and prosperity, everyone has to be on the same page. If you aren't, you're out (killed). There is only so much to go around and it shouldn't be wasted on people who aren't onboard with the new direction of the world.
The technology already exists to make possible a "mark of the beast". Seventy five years ago, it wasn't possible and it wasn't even dreamed of. Everyone before then assumed a tattoo, or brand, of some kind. In fact, there were some who thought having any kind of tattoo was a "mark of the beast" because of Leviticus 19:28 "Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the LORD."
Then they thought it might be something like the swiping credit/debit cards we use today because they are the size of your palm and you use your hands to swipe it.
My car has a gps device so that I can get directions, have my doors unlocked, tell me my tires are low on air and that I need an oil change. I can get emergency assistance if needed. But it also means my insurance company could track every move my vehicle makes in order to determine if it was my fault if I have an accident. They can also know if I'm normally a safe driver or one they don't want to insure. It may come to the time where our cars are so monitored that if we go over the speed limit or make a rolling stop or pass without using our blinker, we will automatically be issued tickets without any need for a highway patrolman to pull us over. A good source of ready revenue to cities and counties with no need for dangerous car stops by patrolmen. They save on manpower, payroll costs and lower the danger to patrolmen (because every car stop is a potential deadly encounter). The people cannot argue their case as it's data digitally collected. There are no need for magistrates, judges or court time to be wasted. We will just have to pay up. And insurance companies will save money on investigations because the data will tell them who was at fault without having to have police reports, he said-she said accounts, investigations, auto body estimates, etc. We see these as conveniences. But, with these conveniences we are also being tracked and controlled. And if there is a way to save money, you can bet it will be done sooner rather than later.
What is the mark of the beast? What is the "666"? This has confused people over the centuries. But, rest assured, when the False Prophet and anti-Christ come into power, there will be no doubt who they are to true believers. God would make sure it is clear to every one of His true children.
The Greek word for mark is χάραγμα (charagma) and, according to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, means sculpture; engraving, a stamp, sign. From the same as charax; a scratch or etching, i.e. stamp, or sculptured figure. The Greek term charagma [cavragma] was most commonly used for imprints on documents or coins. Charagma [cavragma] is well attested to have been an imperial seal of the Roman Empire used on official documents during the first and second centuries. The word charagmati is found in Acts 17:29 - "Therefore, being offspring of God, we should not think that the Divine Being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by man’s skill and imagination."
Gematria is the practice of interpreting words according to the numerical value of their constituent Hebrew letters. Greek and Hebrew both used letters as numerals, and that numeric system was well-established: names often appear as numbers in graffiti recovered from the Roman Empire. If “Nero Caesar” is transliterated from Greek to Hebrew, his name, as written in Hebrew characters, comes out to “666,” if spelled a certain way. A rare rendering of his name into Neron Caesar, transliterated into Hebrew as nrwn qsr, renders the number 666 (nun/50, resh/200, waw/6, nun/50, qof/100, samech/60, and resh/200 = 666). Archaeologists have uncovered a document from the Judean desert that spells the name precisely this way. This rare form of Nero's name was actually found in an Aramaic document from Qumran. Could this mean the anti-Christ is a revived Nero Caesar?
2 Thessalonians 2:3-8 3 Let no one deceive you in any way, for it will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness—the son of destruction—is revealed. 4 He will oppose and exalt himself above every so-called god or object of worship. So he will seat himself in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that I told you these things while I was still with you? 6 And you know what is now restraining him, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but the one who now restrains it will continue until he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will slay with the breath of His mouth and annihilate by the majesty of His arrival.
The Holy Spirit now restrains satan in this world. But the Holy Spirit will be removed when the Christians are raptured before the Great Tribulation (my opinion) and therefore, satan's restraint will be removed.
Bible commentaries, including Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible and Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, proposed an explanation nearly two centuries ago, citing the fulfillment of this act in the way the head of the Catholic Church, the pope, forced people to accept the restoration of the Roman Empire under Charlemagne.
It is possible that John intended the number to be symbolic of what the beast and his followers represent. John says the number 666 is the number of man. The number 7 is well established as a number of completeness or perfection. The number 6, being one less than 7, may symbolize humankind, which falls short of perfection. Repeating it three times is for emphasis. The number 777 would be perfection, but John says 666 is the number of a man. The number 666, then, represents what is anti-god and antiChrist, all that is in opposition to the one true God. So the true mark of the beast is a heart that refuses to submit to the commandments and the actions that follow those choices.
I believe that it is symbolic of our heart and mind. But I also believe the anti-Christ will institute a physical mark of some type that identifies those who are loyal to him. It will be an obvious mark so anyone will know by looking at you. How it will be manifested will be clear when the time comes but is conjectural now. I am not afraid of this mark or the consequences of refusing this mark because I'm saved through Jesus Christ and I'm sealed with the Holy Spirit living in me. I am marked by God as one of His very own children. I think this means I will be raptured before the Great Tribulation and therefore will not face the martyrdom of refusing the mark. But, if I'm wrong and Christians, who are saved before the Great Tribulation, are still here in the middle of the Great Tribulation, I'm still well taken care of by God. If I'm called to be martyred, He will miraculously and supernaturally make sure that His children are ushered into His Presence and not one will be lost. I may suffer some pain but even then, God will make sure I'm able to withstand it and will feel little of it as my eyes will be focused on Him. He knows we are but dust and He knows how weak we are in our own power. If it was left up to me, I'd crumble and take any easy way out. But it's not left up to me. It's in God's Hands. Where I am weak, He is strong and Jesus loves me. So He knows how to take care of us and make sure we are safely brought into His Kingdom and His Presence. It is not something I have to be afraid of or worry about. I have faith that whatever He calls me to, He brings me through.
Be sure to look for my earlier Revelation studies. I will continue to study Revelation and post my studies on my blog. I'm learning as I go. But this ends Chapter 13.