4. What does it mean for the second beast to exercise all the authority of the first?
The first beast blasphemed God and persecuted His people. The second beast does the same, and he does it in the presence of the first beast. That is, the first beast's deadly wound is healed; the first beast exists again. But the second beast is, in this time period, his agent. These two beasts are working in tandem. Both are given space to exercise the coercive intent that is at the core of what they are. That is why we spent some serious time in the previous presentation looking not so much at the future but the history of the second beast. We have had this vision very positive picture of America and what it stands for that was imprinted on us from kindergarten on up. But while America was remarkable in its beginnings and fitly represented as lamblike, if you were here last week you will understand that today things are very different. Today, already several different versions of America have come and gone. By my count, we are in America 8.0 right now. The trend is toward the dragon.
But when we left off we were just coming to one of the most interesting parts: the lamb/dragon beast causing fire to come down out of heaven. Let's work on that question right now.
5. What is the sign of fire coming down out of heaven?
Think back to the book of First Kings and chapter eighteen. There we find a showdown between 450 false prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the groves, and God's lone prophet, Elijah. Israel is called to a decision about whom they will serve, the true God or Baal? The test in this incident was, Which prophet (the Baal/grove prophets, or Elijah) can call fire down from heaven? The prophet who can is the true prophet.
Remember from Exodus 7:1, 2, what the function of the prophet is. The prophet speaks for God to the people. What then is a false prophet? A false prophet will be one whom others think speaks for God but who actually speaks for some other agent.
We can understand this second beast better when we realize that it is spoken of elsewhere in Revelation as the "false prophet." It is described three times in the book of Revelation also as the "false prophet" (Revelation 16:13; 19:20; 20:10). For example, Revelation 16:13 says:
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet
We know from Revelation 12 that the dragon is a symbol of Satan himself. We know from Revelation 16 that the first beast, the Revelation 13:1-10 beast, is the papacy. But the second or lamblike beast speaks as a dragon. In Revelation 16 from out of each of the three, unclean spirits come forth like frogs. They come out of their mouths. So, out of the mouth of the false prophet comes an unclean spirit. What these are is described in the next verse:
For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
So, what is happening is, false miracles are being wrought to lead the rulers of the nations of planet earth to combine together in an attack upon the people of God. Realize also that underneath the word "miracles" here is the same word that is used in the book of Revelation four times that means "signs." So what is going out is demonic spirits who are producing signs. That is, these spirits are showing apparently marvelous miracles and they are showing them especially to the leaders of governments. Their goal is to draw them into a combination, a joint grouping of states, in opposition to the true God.
Now notice this. In the day of Elijah, when fire came down out of heaven, it was understood as evidence that Elijah was God's true prophet. But, in Revelation 13, the nations are deceived by the lamblike/dragonlike beast. In other words, the miracles that are wrought in connection with this beast will be exactly opposite. They will not be persuasive evidence that the false prophet is a true prophet, or that the lamblike/dragonlike beast is from God. Satan is capable of counterfeiting miracles to a point. The sign of fire coming down out of heaven will be used as an evidence that America is speaking for God. In other words, the test will be so close, that our senses, the very things we see, hear, taste, touch, feel, no matter how real it seems, must all be subject to the one acid test, the one ultimate test: What does the Bible say?
The take-home truth here is that the second beast AKA the lamb/dragon beast AKA the false prophet is the entity that deceives the world through the signs that it does. It not only manages to bring Protestantism into line with the Papacy but the signs it does leads the nation and even the world deeply into spiritualism.
There are three fundamental approaches to authority:
- Tradition interpreted according to the authority of the church
- Commitment to sensory experience
- Reason submitted to the Word of God in Scripture
Approach number one is the approach of Rome. Approach number two is the approach of miracles and false prophets. Approach number three is the approach of Protestantism. God appeals to our reason. What will we do when antichrist performs his marvelous works right in front of our eyes? How will we know whether a sign or a miracle is from God or not? Counterfeit miracles will resemble the true ones so much that we will only be able to distinguish between them on the basis of the Scriptures.
Sunday sacredness creates a sympathetic link with Rome. But the immortality of the soul idea lays the foundation for spiritualism. And the most fascinating point may be that it is not the papacy but the Protestants of the United States who combine these influences. The Protestants will be up at the front advancing spiritualism and Roman Catholicism. It is under this triple influence that America will repeat the work of Rome and trample on rights of conscience.
6. What is the image of the beast?
The lamb-to-dragon-speaking beast causes the people to make an idol, or image. They are led to create something which is effectively a facsimile of something else. Now, we know what that something else is: it is the papacy. So the authority of this nation is to be exercised in enforcing some observance, the doing of which shall be an act of homage to the papacy. Things must come to the place where the religious power so controls the civil government, that the authority of the state will also be employed by the church to accomplish her own ends.
Here is what will happen: The leading churches of the United States, will unite together upon points of doctrine they hold in common with each other. They shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions. In doing that Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy. The outcome is inevitable. Civil penalties will be inflicted upon dissenters. Think of it: in once-free America, leaders and legislators, to secure public favor, will yield to what has become a popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance.
Maybe you doubt this. But consider this quotation from US senator Henry Blair a century ago:
I do not believe that it is possible that the American nation will develop in the direction of toleration of all religions—that is, so called religions. Whether the general public conviction shall be right or wrong, I yet believe that instead of selecting and finally tolerating all so-called religions, the American people will, by constant and irresistible pressure, gradually expel from our geographical boundaries every religion except the Christian in its valid forms. (Senator Henry Blair, New York Mail & Express, April 19, 1890, quoted in William Blakely, American State Papers Bearing on Sunday Legislation).
Now yes, that is over a hundred years ago. And we look around today and see apparently the opposite. It seems that everything under the sun is to be given a validity. I am telling you that this will change. We know it will change because prophecy foretells it.
All we need, friends, is a perception of crisis. A lot can be done under the banner of God and country. Do you remember the attitude we all saw right after the attack on the World Trade Center in New York? I remember. Suddenly, American flags were flying everywhere. Suddenly the churches filled up. Suddenly military contracts were issued. In the early 2000's I was living about an hour east of Los Angeles. And several times, driving on the 10 we would see vast trainloads of tanks and armored personal carriers passing through the Colton trainyard headed overseas. So let's move to the question of how people are caused to receive this mark in their forehead.
7. How are people caused to receive this mark in their forehead?
The image speaks, and it speaks like a dragon. A law is made that enforces the religious observance of Sunday. Once things have come to this point, there will be widespread knowledge of and discussion of this issue. All will have opportunity to determine for themselves whether they will comply with the law of the state or with the law of God.
Consider the development of Protestantism in America. Keep in mind what the Bible foretells: that Babylon is false religion, and that the beast of Revelation 13:1-10 is the Papacy, that she in particular is identified in the Bible as the "mother of harlots," and that she makes the kings of the earth drunk with her cup of abominations, her distorted, false teachings (Revelation 17:2, 4; 18:3). Now if the Protestant churches left Rome in protest against her immoral practices and her false teachings, there must be a connection between them that in due course leads to a reunion between her and her daughters.
Now stop and think for a moment. What are the main practices Protestants and Catholics have in common? Except for Seventh-day Adventists, virtually all believe in the observance of Sunday.
When a crisis develops people will trade away their rights for pledges of safety. What does our text say? That the lamblike/dragonlike beast AKA false prophet will deceive them, then he will tell them to make an image to the first beast. What is the image? The observance of Sunday which honors the papacy. What is giving breath to the image? Making the law, passing the law, its being signed into law, and at last its enforcement. Notice, the speaking of the image is its causing those who disobey it to be killed. We are talking here about a national Sunday law but more than that. This law will have teeth.
And we know the process. There is a mark. You want to buy or sell? You get the mark. People will not be able to buy or sell unless they receive the mark of the beast.
Recall how we mentioned that ultimately we are looking two principles: VOLUNTARY CHOICE or FORCE. So let's return to two things we have looked at before: the mark of the beast verses the seal of God.
The seal of God is VOLUNTARILY received. It is SFRAGIDAH. It is like a wax seal placed on a scroll or a letter, sealing what is inside without changing what is inside. When something sealed it is not changed, it is only confirmed, verified, preserved as what it is.
The mark of the beast is received as a matter of FORCE. You'll be unable to eat if you don't receive it. It is XHARAGMA. A CHARAGMA is an imprint. It is like a nail punch. No charagma was ever used for a wax seal. With Zaragma The impression goes into the surface OF THE ACTUAL OBJECT changing the thing marked. There is no protection involved; it is force.
Receiving the XHARAGMA is submitting to the beast and its image. It is bowing down to an idol.
And so, the Sunday will be exalted. Its observance will be the sign of submission to earthly powers. Religious intolerance will gain control again in the United States. Church and state will unite to persecute. The observances of the church will be enforced by civil power. But the Lord gives a special truth for the people in a time of emergency. When compelling power is employed to force the conscience, when an apostate Protestantism shall influence the nation to enforce its will and to support the papacy, still, at that time there will be a small group who keep the commandments of God. You and I must be in that group.
At last the question will be just what we said at the beginning: VOLUNTARY CHOICE versus FORCE. The true Jesus is all about voluntary choice. But the dragon, Satan, and all his agents, that system is always about FORCE.
Heaven appeals to us today to choose the side of free choice and not the side of force.
Chewelah WA Community Center 2014-12-03