Saturday, 09 December 2017 13:32

92. The beast that comes out of the sea: who is the beast? Am I following it? * Revelation 13:17-10 - PART 7

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PART 7

 

*** Prophetic application ***: Over the previous 6 studies, we have looked in detail at the Bible verses concerning the first of the dragon’s agents: the beast that comes out of the sea. Satan is focused on winning the war against God. In fact, he has been waging this war ever since he was in heaven, wishing to become like God, ascending to God’s throne and ruling over the universe (Isaiah 14:13-14). The seven heads of the dragon are repeated in the figure of sea beast, highlighting their strong association and identical objectives.

The sea beast is the first of the two powers the dragon summoned in order to assist him in his war against the remnant of the faithful woman (Revelation 13:1-2). In the next studies, we will go over the verses that explain the second agent, which is the beast that came out of the earth. Together, the dragon and the two beasts form a satanic trio aiming to deceive the entire world. They position themselves in a similar structure to the divine Trinity. The false trinity works to present a competing message to distract people from the Truth. Satan, who the Bible identifies as the dragon and the old serpent (Revelation 12:9), wishes to occupy the position of the Father. The sea beast was brought to the team as a counterfeit Jesus. When we compare the activities of the beast to the events in Jesus’ life, we can see how the sea beast works to deceive people. Please see the following table.

 

Jesus
Sea Beast
Came out of the water to begin His ministry (Luke )
Came out of the water to begin His ministry (Revelation 13:1)
“who has seen [Jesus] has seen the Father” (John 14:9)
Who has seen the sea beast has seen the dragon (both have seven heads, ten horns, and multiple crowns) (Revelation 12:3; Revelation 13:1)
Jesus received authority from the Father (Revelation 2:27)
The sea beast received authority from the dragon (Revelation 13:2)
Jesus has many diadems on His head (Revelation 19:12)
The sea beast has 10 diadems on his head (Revelation 13:1)
Jesus wages war against the wicked with His sword (Revelation 2:16; Revelation 1:16)
The sea beast wages war and kills with a sword (Revelation 13:10)
Jesus has seven horns as the Lamb who was slain (Revelation 5:6)
The sea beast has ten horns (Revelation 13:1)
Jesus’ ministry lasted for 3.5 years
The sea beast’s activities lasted for forty-two prophetic months (3.5 prophetic years) (Revelation 13:5)
Jesus received a mortal wound (Revelation 5:6)
The sea beast received a mortal wound (Revelation 13:3)
Jesus came back to life to be presented with great power and was received with intense worship (Revelation )
The sea beast came back to life to be presented with great power and was received with intense worship (Revelation 13:4-5)
Who is Like God (Michael) (Revelation 12:7; Isaiah 40:25)
Who is like the beast (Revelation 13:7)
Jesus territory includes “every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelation 5:9; Revelation 14:6-7)
The sea beast territory includes “all tribes, and tongues, and nations.” (Revelation 13:7)

 

This table makes it very clear that the sea beast is trying to imitate Jesus. The sea beast is a power that wants to establish itself in place of Jesus. That is exactly what the term “antichrist” means. The word “antichrist” comes from the Greek antichristos. According to the Strong’s Concordance, anti means “one who puts himself in the place of” or “enemy” and christos means “messiah”. The antichrist power is a power that places itself in the place of Christ. This is the exact behavior displayed by the sea beast. The actual word ‘antichrist’ is only found in the Bible in 4 verses: 1 John 2:18,22; 1 John 4:3; 2 John 1:7. Paul mentions yet another expression, the “son of perdition”, who is said to be a religious figure that placed himself above all else. Paul called him a man without the law (anthrōpos tēs anomias): “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). The antichrist presence in the church was already in power in John and Paul's time. John wrote: "and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” (1 John 4:3). We know this problem started inside the Church because Paul says the son perdition would come after the apostasy of many in the church and would take “his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).

Any system claiming to have powers that belong only to God is actively blaspheming against God (see study #90). We read in Revelation 13:6 that the sea beast blasphemes against God, His name, His temple, and His people (see study #90). As part of the real Trinity and as the Lamb who was Slain, Jesus has the power to forgive sins, to represent the Father, to be the bridge (or mediator) between the people and the Father, and to bring judgment over the people. Any religious entity on this planet claiming to have such powers is behaving as the sea beast, regardless of the name of that entity. As sinners, humans have no right to judge or alter precepts that have been established by God. It is not up to us to determine who will or won’t be saved. It is not up to us to put a price on salvation or forgiveness of sin. Jesus died for us so we could have a direct connection to the Father. By interfering with this communication process the beast is overtly denying Jesus’ sacrifice even though the beast’s theology is being presented as a Christian religion, as he sits in the temple of God, as Paul says. Once again, we see here the appropriateness of the term antichrist: in place of Christ.

The activities of the beast mirror the dragon’s opposition to Jesus. As such, the heads of the sea beast are a representation of the beast’s political activities (see studies #86 and #87). Additionally, these political activities are a reflection of the political dominion displayed by the dragon’s own seven heads. On the other hand, the beast’s Christ-like behavior suggests that this power also exercises religious powers. Now we can see the dual nature of the sea beast: a political and religious entity possessing worldwide reach.

God’s people have always faced opposition from a world-dominant political power that emphasized a religious system very different from the one established by the triumvirate God. One God in three persons, as the Bible describes the Trinity (Matthew 28:19; Matthew 3:16:17; Luke 3:21-22; John 14:16-17; 1 Peter 1:1-2; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; Ephesians 4:4-6). The Bible also describes seven world-dominant powers that have opposed or will in the future oppose God’s people, ruling both in the political and religious realms. Please see the following table to see what they were:

 

Political-religious worldwide powers that oppressed God’s people
The seven heads in Revelation
1 - Egypt (Exodus )
Five have fallen” 
2 - Assyria (2 Kings 17:5-23)
3 - Babylon (2 Kings 24:7-16)
6 - Rome (Luke 2:1-7)
One is” 
7 – Sea beast power 
  • One that “has not yet come
    • Is not” 
  • The eighth head that is one of the seven

 

The pre and post-mortal-wound sea beast power are the same power but depicted in a different moment in time. Revelation 17:7-13 talks about the seven heads of the beast. It tells us that the seventh head would go through a phase the angel called “is not” (Revelation 17:10-11). This phase corresponds to the period of the mortal wound mentioned in Revelation 13:3. The “is not” phase occurs between the seventh and the eight heads. Then the angel explains that the 8th head is really one of the seven, not a completely new head. This means that there are really only seven heads in total and that one of them re-appears. According to Revelation 17:10, John was living in the time of the head the angel called “one is”. History tells us that John lived during the Roman Empire, which puts him at the time of the 6th head. Revelation 17:10 called the 7th head the one that “has not yet come”. The angel talked about a future power that would soon come, but that it would go through a period of absence, and then it would resume again later after the “is not” phase. The events relating to the sea beast in Revelation 13 and in Revelation 17 are very similar and clearly show that the sea beast power is the religious-political force influencing people of the earth during the final events of this world.

Even though we only see the sea beast starting his work after Satan was cast out of Heaven following Christ’s assertion to the throne of the Father (Revelation 5, Revelation 12, and Revelation 13), the dragon activities that the beast stands for had already been in place throughout history. The fact that the sea beast was described as a composite of the beasts mentioned in Daniel 7 reinforces this concept and their alliance. This leads us to believe that some of the political views and religious beliefs that were present in those systems continue to exist in the message the beast is preaching to the world. The dragon has been crafting his false doctrine for a long time, and surely he keeps the teachings that successfully have deceived people and kept them away from searching the Truth.

We have studied that the pre-mortal-wound phase of the sea beast lasted for 1260 literal years (42 prophetic months - Revelation 13:5), during the Middle Ages. We are evidently living now in the “is not” phase, which is the time before the complete healing of the mortal wound. We know the mortal wound has not yet completely healed because no religious power possessing political influence is opposing Christians in the same level and scale seen during the Middle Ages. That doesn’t mean that there is no opposition or persecution. The wound is in the process of healing, so as it gradually heals, we experience the gradual return of the sea beast’s political powers.

As Stefanovic points out in his commentary, the world has seen two oppressing religious powers that could fit this pre-mortal wound sea beast description: the Medieval and post-Medieval ecclesiastical rule that rose up from the Roman Empire and dominated the Western world for over 12 centuries, and the Protestant orthodoxy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Both powers exercised political-religious oppression and intolerance. However, we must point out that it was the Medieval and post-Medieval ecclesiastical rule who claimed to have changed the fourth commandment of God’s Law during the Council of Laodicea, as it reads on Canon 29 - making it more consistent with the activities of the little horn power described in Daniel 7:8,24-25. The medieval ecclesiastical power has always presented its message under the Christian banner. But interestingly enough, with the French Revolution, we saw the rise of a different world culture. A culture where religion should be separate from political affairs. According to History, Napoleon caused the demise of the political strength of the church. Those events seem to fit well with the description of the mortal wound described in Revelation 13 and the “is not” phase mentioned in Revelation 17. After the French Revolution, the church lost its political strength but kept its ability to continue on the religious front.

The “is not” phase, or the time during the healing of the mortal wound, is not to be confused with no satanic activity on the part of the dragon or the sea beast. Remember that the sea beast received power to deceive all the nations of the earth. That means that the beast and the dragon could be behind both sides of a war. We mentioned earlier how Napoleon’s strike against the church can be viewed as the strike of the mortal wound. With the French revolution, the Western world experienced a very dramatic change. The change was not only seen in the separation of church and state, but also in the elevation of self and philosophies that denied the existence of God completely. Abandoning God in this way also does not reflect what God wishes for His creation. Such philosophies also work in the same way as the Antichrist: altering the connection God has established with His people through His law, His forgiveness, Jesus, and Jesus’ sacrifice. The antichrist behavior never ceased. It took on a different form and presented itself as the elevation of self and human reason above others and above God.

*** Overview ***: The war the dragon is waging against God’s people did not cease with the mortal wound. The mortal wound put a stop to the level of political power the ruling religious system of the time had. The religious system itself remained. We must emphasize the word ‘system’. The beast is not a symbol for only one person. As the Bible says, the beast already existed in John’s time during the 6th head power (Revelation 17:10, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; 1 John 4:3). Some of the heads had already fallen. Two of them even predated Babylonian era. The presence of the beast in future events even from our own perspective makes it clear that no single human being could be the beast. As such, we must be careful not to point fingers to religious leaders and accuse them of being the beast. Every single person on this planet will be faced with a choice to follow God or not, including those people currently under the beast’s domain. We can be certain of that because the Bible tells us that God will call those people out of the trap, to rejoin His divine fold: “[…] Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4). We must learn to separate the religious system from the people in the religion. We are all sinners who can choose to be covered by the grace of Jesus. We are no better than anyone else because there is no scale of sin as identified by the law. Sin is sin. It just happens that we may have different sins in our life. Nobody is made better or worse based on the lower or higher degree of sin. On the flip side, nobody is made better or worse based on their good deeds either! We are only made better because of the character of Jesus, which He transfers on to our record. That is what makes us better. It is true that historically, the sea beast’s seventh head fits the politico-religious system of the Middle Ages in even more detail than what we are studying today. Prophetically, the sea beast fits the religious system of the end-times as well, which the Bible identifies as being the same power as the seventh head. There is more to the beast than the head that received the mortal wound. Who are we allowing to take the place as head of the Church? Jesus or the beast? The Bible says: “[Jesus] is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” (Colossians 1:18). If Jesus is the head of His church, then any power claiming to occupy that position is acting in blasphemy, like the sea beast. The real question we should be asking ourselves is not who is the beast, as in who is leading and behaving as the beast. This is because it’s religious influence is global and may manifest itself in many different ways. The sea beast never completely lost its religious influence. What we should be asking ourselves is, am I following a message like the one the sea beast is preaching? Am I following doctrines that are actually not in the Bible and therefore are contrary to the teachings of Jesus? And more importantly, if you are following such teachings, you should then ask yourself: am I willing to break with tradition and start following biblical teachings instead? Am I willing to study the biblical teachings for myself so I am not found among the ones deceived by the religious influence of the sea beast? If you are willing to say no to the beast’s teachings, then you can claim Jesus’ promise, that the Holy Spirit would come and teach you the truth (John 14:26). Open your heart to Jesus and let Him in. Let go of man-made traditions regarding faith and embrace the precepts established by God. This is how we overcome the beast influence, and not let it overcome us - it is only through the power of the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the Earth that we can be found in His book of life.

 
 
 
 
   
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