|That the label on each of these seven governments was the "name of blasphemy" indicates its amalgamation with a spiritual power called "MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." |
"And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, and his feet like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion; and the dragon gave him his power, and his throne and great authority." (Revelation 13:2, HBFV)
The "mouth of a lion" indicates the ancient Roman Empire. The "dragon" is obvious reference to Satan the devil. The end-time beast is the final resurrection of the same system which was to reemerge many times down through history, until its final appearance before the return of Jesus. It is Satan who gives power to the Beast.
"And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, gathered together to make war with Him Who sits on the horse, and with His army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet who worked miracles in his presence, by which he had deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. Those two were cast alive into the lake of fire, which burns with brimstone" (Revelation 19:19-20, HBFV).
The "Beast" is a group of ten nations that will be ruled by a church or religious power! It will be the greatest economic and military power the world has ever seen. It is the last resurrgence of the Roman Empire.
"And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but shall receive authority as kings for one hour with the beast. These all have one mind, and shall give up their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, but the Lamb shall overcome them; for He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful." (Revelation 17:12-14, HBFV)
This powerful military and ecclesiastical power will have an identifying mark which it will seek to impose on the world. The "little horn" of Daniel 7, which "has a mouth speaking great things" is a symbol of the spokesmen of this evil mystery religion.
It is not only those who receive the mark of the beast who will suffer God's wrath but also those who "worship his image." What IS the image of the Beast? As we read in Revelation 13, it has two horns "like a lamb," yet "speaks as a dragon." This beast masquerades as if it is of Christ, yet is of the Devil!
"Then Jesus answered and said to them, 'Be on guard, so that no one deceives you. For many shall come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ’; and they shall deceive many. And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars . . . For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in different places . . . And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many' " (Matthew 24:4-7, 11, HBFV)
The apostle Paul warned about false preachers.
"For such are false apostles - deceitful workers who are transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And it is no marvel, for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his servants also transform themselves as ministers of righteousness - whose end shall be according to their works. " (2Corinthians 11:13-15, HBFV)
This second beast of Revelation 13 which has two horns "like a Lamb" and yet speaks "as a dragon," with the lying tongue of Satan, is nothing more than a false religious system. Chapters of history detail the murder of countless millions down through centuries as the Babylonish "mystery" religion was IMPOSED upon many nations by sword and spear. Millions were burnt, skinned alive, impaled, placed on the rack, and tortured to death because they refused to "recant" their religion and embrace the growing power of the image. God says of this system,
" . . . for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth " (Revelation 18:23, 24).
The Bible shows that a ecclesiastical GOVERNMENT would emerge, which would hold sway over kings and emperors; which would be a STATE, just like any other state, sending ambassadors to all nations, and receiving ambassadors from them; a politico-religious system which would be patterned exactly like ancient Imperial Rome; thus an IMAGE of the Beast! This monstrous system is depicted by the famed "little horn" of Daniel 7:8, which "had a mouth speaking great things," and which would "think to change times and laws." The heads of this church have done exactly that!
But the "image of the beast," or the false church which rules over many nations claims the power to not only "excommunicate" any individual member, thus allegedly consigning them to burn forever in their version of hell fire, but also claims the power of "interdiction," whereby the head of that ecclesiastical government can place an entire nation outside of the "universal church," thus claiming that ALL citizens of the whole nation are going to burn in hell fire!
Is taking the mark a CHOICE?
Most of the paranoia associated with false concepts about the mark comes from an underlying false assumption. That assumption is that it is something which may be IMPOSED upon you unsuspectingly, secretly, by subterfuge. Many people seem to believe that, though they wish to live good Christian lives, want to obey God, and do not want to come under the mark of the Beast, that some insidious plotters in Europe, or in the Pentagon, or elsewhere, may be able to secretly impose this hated mark or symbol upon them by causing them to comply with certain laws or requirements involving registration for a social security number, the issuance of a national identity card, or perhaps submitting to the implantation of a microchip, or an invisible tattoo!
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years!" (Revelation 20:4).
No one WORSHIPS computer chips! The refusal of individuals to worship the Beast or his image, or to receive his mark, and who are clearly pictured as being in the Kingdom of God - now exalted as co-RULERS with Jesus Christ! These people were put to death for refusing to worship the Beast, his IMAGE (the great false church; and ecclesiastical STATE, formed like a GOVERNMENT; patterned after the ancient Roman civil government), or to receive his identifying MARK. Notice Revelation 6:9, 10, where you see the picture of those who were slain for the Word of God, and who cry out,
"How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?"
These dead saints, pictured as crying out from their graves, were murdered MANY CENTURIES ago. It becomes obvious then, that the image and mark of the Beast have been around for a long, long time!
Do you see? It is impossible for you to lose salvation "by accident"! It is utterly impossible for some power to so interfere in your life that it imposes upon you a symbol, identifying sign, some "mark" of some kind which causes you to LOSE OUT on salvation!
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, and all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor POWERS, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!" (Romans 8:35-39).
Your Bible absolutely promises that NOTHING - the sword (armed force), principalities, powers - can separate you from the love of God, from salvation in and through Jesus Christ!
Read Revelation 20:4 again! Here, resurrected saints are seen as inheriting the thrones promised them by Jesus Christ! (Revelation 2:26; 3:21). They are resurrected because they were martyred. WHY were they martyred? Because they adamantly REFUSED to receive the Beast's mark.
That should give you the positive reassurance that, even though some brutal men should forcibly hold you down, implant some kind of an identifying microchip under your skin; even though soldiers would literally hold your arms, hands, and legs and tattoo the numbers 666 right across your forehead, in great black ink, two inches high, IT STILL COULD NOT DEPRIVE YOU OF SALVATION! Therefore, such things ARE NOT the Mark of the Beast!
However, make no mistake! The mark is definitely something which will be ENFORCED - will become a matter of law, and people will be ordered to obey it! They will have to make a final, ultimate choice! That choice will be to either submit; to give in and cooperate with the coming socio/economic, military/spiritual system, called BABYLON THE GREAT, which is to emerge as a world SUPER POWER, or under pain of DEATH, to refuse to cooperate!
As we have seen, a mark is a stamp, a sign, a symbol, an identifying label! Anciently, Almighty God designated a great SIGN which would always identify His people! That sign was created at the end of the creation week! Here is what God said about His special SIGN between God and His people:
"Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed" (Exodus 31:13-17).
The CREATOR who pronounced these words was none other than the Person of the divine Elohim; the Godhead, who became Jesus Christ! Notice the proof:
"In the beginning was the Word [Greek: Logos, meaning Spokesman] , and the Word was with God, and the Word was God The same was in the beginning with God [Greek: Theos, the exact equivalent of the Hebrew Elohim, meaning MORE than one Person. See Genesis 1:26]. All things were made by him ; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men " (John 1:1-4).
John opens his gospel with this profound statement about the divine pre-human origins of Jesus Christ! He continued,
"He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own [the Jews], and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:...And the Word was made flesh , and dwelt [Greek: "tabernacled"] among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:10-14).
The knowledge of the pre-human existence of Christ is obvious, incontrovertible, PLAIN to anyone who honestly reads these passages, and accepts them as the divinely-revealed Word of God! Yet, tens of thousands of professing Christian ministers, and millions of their followers adamantly REFUSE to accept them!
Do you realize the CONSEQUENCES to the accepted doctrines of the great false church and her protesting daughters? It means that the God of the Old Testament; the One who WROTE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS with His own finger IS the One who became Jesus Christ! He does not change!
"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever!" (Hebrews 13:8).
The One who became Christ is the Creator of the Sabbath; the member of the divine Godhead who designated the Sabbath day as a perpetual SIGN between Himself and His people!
What is the GREAT Tribulation?
Jesus Christ of Nazareth was also the greatest prophet who ever lived. It is He who described the impending TRIBULATION in His famous Olivet prophecy found in Mark 13, Luke 21 and Matthew 24. Notice that one of the outstanding features of the Tribulation is a martyrdom of saints.
"Then [during the Tribulation] shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one other" (Matthew 24:9, 10).
The Satan-inspired false prophet, the spiritual leader who will appropriate the very titles of God Himself, will use the civil power to persecute true Christians! Study carefully the progressive unveiling of the first five seals of the seven seals of the scroll of Revelation. The first five are found in Revelation, the sixth chapter.
Notice that the first seal which is opened to John's vision is a horseman riding on a white horse, seen as carrying a bow, who goes out to conquer. Even as Jesus said the very first thing Christians should watch for is "false Christs and false prophets," so it is obvious that the meaning of the white horse is that of a wave of religious fervor, the gradual emergence to global prominence of a FALSE PROPHET, who will eventually fulfill the prophecy of 2 Thessalonians 2, claiming blasphemous titles, and, according to Jesus' prediction, will have the power to perform such mighty miracles that he would deceive, "if it were possible" the very elect!
The next horse is red, and symbolizes war. Compare this carefully with the next statement Jesus made in Matthew 24 about "wars and rumors of wars."
The third seal reveals a black horse, an obvious reference to extreme scarcity of food and the sustenance of life. The very next thing Jesus said would follow would be famine! The black horse symbolizes global famine - a time into which we are even now entering! The fourth seal is opened, and John sees a "pale horse" whose name is
"...death, and hades [the grave] followed with him, and power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth" (Revelation 6:8).
And what immediately followed false Christs, wars, and famines, according to Jesus' prophecy? Christ said "PESTILENCES!" As is always the case, the ravages of warfare, including nuclear fallout and radiation, massive loss of life, the destruction of the infrastructure of cities such as communications, water and electric services, sewage disposal and the like, brings about fearsome injury, terrible pollution of air, water and the land; pollution of surface water, and outbreaks of terrible diseases of all kinds. Notice that each of these overlap each other.
As the fifth seal is opened, John sees the figurative lives of martyrs who are crying out. John sees, in vision, sees countless tens of thousands of human individuals who,
"SLAIN for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held" (Revelation 6:9).
They cry out, saying,
"And they cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'How long, O Lord, holy and true, do You not judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?' (Revelation 6:10, HBFV)
Anciently, these Christians were killed because they refused to worship the Beast or his image, or to receive his mark! Notice we are dealing with two separate events. First, there was a protracted period of time in history when countless tens of thousands of God's true servants were MARTYRED for their faith! They are pictured as crying out, "How long O Eternal?" waiting until He avenges their blood upon the heads of their tormentor.
The second martyrdom of saints is depicted as occurring in the future, at the time of the opening of the fifth seal (Matthew 24:21, 22). They are to "love not their lives unto the death" for the SAME REASON that their fellow servants were killed centuries before - for refusing to worship the image or to receive the mark of the Beast!
Can you REFUSE it?
In vision, John was projected forward in time, forward into our century and beyond - into the time of the Great Tribulation, the Heavenly Signs, and the Day of the Lord.
In the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of Revelation, John records his visions of the salvation of the saints of God, and the outpouring of God's wrath on sinning mankind during the seven last plagues.
Notice the description of the saints:
"And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image , and over his mark , and over the number of his name , stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints . . ." (Revelation 15:2-4).
Who are these? Why, they are the resurrected saints! They are the "firstfruits" of the earth, the last living generation of Christians, together with all those who had died previously, but who are resurrected at Christ's coming! (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). They represent ALL TRUE, GOD-FEARING, BIBLE-BELIEVING CHRISTIANS. This vision is not portraying just a small PART of the saints of God, but is showing ALL the saints!
If you do not know who, or what this beast really IS; if you are ignorant of what is his IMAGE; if you do not know what is his MARK, then HOW CAN YOU GET THE VICTORY OVER IT? How many Christians do you know who are truly AWARE in a daily, workaday sense, of just WHAT IS THE BEAST, who or what is his image, what is his mark, or the number of his name?
" And they worshiped the dragon [SATAN! Revelation 12:9] which gave power unto the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" (Revelation 13:3, 4).
What John saw was a counterfeit Christ-like creation.
"And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. " (Revelation 13:11-14).
From the beginning, the Roman Catholic Church was organized along the pattern of the Roman Empire! It was an hierarchy , which, at the absolute pinnacle of power, was worshiped, as if divine. The ancient Roman emperors proclaimed themselves "gods," and were commonly addressed as "divinity," a BLASPHEMOUS assertion attached to some of the most obscenely depraved, demented, degenerate, cruel human beings who have ever lived!
History proves that the church which emerges from the dark shroud of the second century (during which there is comparatively little written information available) is in most respects TOTALLY DIFFERENT from the church of the apostles.
The Mysterious Number 666
The number 666 has been attached to a great diversity of person, places and things. According to some sources, the Hebrew and Greek names of Romulus add up to 666. This, to some, indicates that everyone called "Roman" has the "name" of the man for whom Rome was named. The Greek word for Romulus is Lateinos, which signifies "Roman," and yields a numerical value of 666. Interestingly, "Lateinos" is mentioned by second century theologian Irenaeus.
But the problems of transliteration and the fact that we don't know for sure whether a man named Romulus ever even existed. But what does the Bible say about the "number of the beast"? What is the purpose of the number? Is "666" the number of a computer? Of a church? Of a religious leader?
Revelation 13:15-17 again and notice:
The number of the Beast is the "number of HIS NAME"
The number is the "number of a MAN"
No one can buy or sell unless he has the mark
The number can be "counted" by those with understanding
The number is 666
The BEAST is both the revived ROMAN EMPIRE and the MAN who presides over the military and political system. Those who refuse to take the mark of the Beast may be killed, but they will receive eternal salvation!