H O M E
Leaving the carnal church for the throneroom of God
EXODUS TO EXILE
PT .4 Enmity against God
B A C K
DISCLAIMER
RESOURCE LINKS FOR THIS STUDY
L. Ray Smith (Bible Truths)
J. Preston Eby (Kingdom Bible Studies)
THE LAKE OF FIRE PART 13: "WHO IS THE BEAST - 666?"
THE LAKE OF FIRE PART 14: "THE BEAST WITHIN"
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE:  PART 148 - 158 "THE BEAST..."
"THE BEAST" SEARCH RESULTS
Is Was and Will Be

 

Introduction

As we continue to walk the arduous path towards sonship and election, we cannot help but be brought to the place of ultimate surrender. Walking away from everything we have ever known to wander the wilderness requires complete faith in God’s leading and His provision. And yes, the spiritual “type” of dying in the desert (that old generation – that old culture) in order for the new generation (the NEW nature in us) to inherit, MUST come to pass. It is no coincidence that God brought his Called out people through the water not once, but twice. Once when being called out of Egypt (Exodus 14) through the parting of the red sea via Moses (the old generation/nature) – and again (Joshua 4) when God stopped the river Jordan flowing in order for Joshua (and the Chosen generation) to enter (and overcome) the Promised Land by following the Ark of the Covenant - to receive their reward.

We of course cannot ignore another baptism of God’s chosen and elect via water and interestingly another kind of Ark – Noah and his family. Yet, we are called not to be baptised in water anymore – no – not for THIS blessed generation of the new wine! No, we are called to be baptised by a higher process of purification – that of FIRE!

“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Mat 3:11)

In our “Lake of Fire” Study Part 3: The Calming of the Waters, we go to great lengths to explain the relevance of the “the sea” as a spiritual symbol for the sinning, writhing foaming masses of humanity:

 “Mystery Babylon the Great, Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth” sits upon “many waters” we are told in Rev. 17:1. Anciently God also referred to the nation of Babylon as, “O thou that dwells upon MANY WATERS…” (Jer. 51:13). And these many waters are explained in Rev. 17:15 as: “The WATERS which you saw, where the whore sits, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.”

Again, it is fitting that if ancient Babylon dwelled upon “many waters” that the end-time Mystery Babylon would also sit upon “waters” which are clearly defined as “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.”

But here is the most important point of all concerning the nature of the sea. Just where are we told that the beast that carries the great whore comes from?

“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a [wild] BEAST rise up OUT OF THE SEA  [the vast sea of humanity]” (Rev. 13:1).

 

Furthermore, we are faced with yet another perplexing image of a SECOND beast in Revelation – this time from THE EARTH....not to mention a false prophet and all manner of mysterious symbols which need explaining. What the heck does all this mean? Remember – the spiritual principle that unlocks the prophetic symbology of Revelation, is that of the heavenly perspective of all things – that which IS, WAS and IS TO COME;

 

“Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come” (Rev. 1:4).

 

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8).

If anyone wishes to search the internet for a milder and more palatable interpretation of “Who is the beast,” there is no shortage of material – there are literally thousands of articles available to read. Few however interpret the REAL significance of these symbols correctly. As we shall see, though most look for an outward sign for their interpretation, the actual answers are to be found WITHIN. And just a warning, this paper is a little longer than our previous instalments, so digest it in stages.

 

 

Introducing the Beasts of Revelation

Anyone familiar with the apocalyptic work of the book of Daniel (Chapter 7) knows of the symbolic term “beast.” “Beast(s)” is found 356 times in the King James Bible - 59 times in Revelation alone. Most of these beasts are literal four-footed animals, albeit, all 59 of the beasts in Revelation are symbols for something other than four-footed animals. The four beasts made reference to 7 times in the singular from Rev. 4:6 to 6:7 should be translated “living creatures” and not “beasts.” And all references to “beasts” in the plural (15 times) from Rev. 4:6 to Rev. 19:4 should be also translated “living creatures,” with the exception of Rev. 6:8 and 18:13 where “beast” is correct.

The Greek word which should be translated “living creature(s)” -  these total of 22 times (7 singular plus 15 plural) - comes from zoon (do you recognize the word "zoo" in there?), and it means “a living creature or living animal” and can includes ALL creatures that live on earth including man.

That leaves 59 minus 22 or 37 times that the word “beast(s)” is translated properly. Well, almost properly. The remaining 36 of the remaining 37 times that we find the word “beast(s)” in the King James it is from the Greek word, therion and it, "almost invariably denotes ‘a WILD beast.’" (Strong’s #2342, p. 116). The one occurrence of “beasts” in Rev. 18:13 is from the Greek word ktenos, and it means “beasts of burden” or domesticated animals.

Interestingly, all of the occurrences of the terms “living creatures” in Revelation have reference to the creatures associated with the throne room of God - these being benevolent creatures. All of the remaining beasts with the exception of the two "beasts" already mentioned in the plural, have reference to a “WILD beast,” in the singular and should be translated such as numerous translations do. These are clearly not benevolent creatures, but ferocious “wild beasts.” The remaining 35 references to “wild beasts” in Revelation all concern one “wild beast” and his mirror “image of the beast.”

 

WHENCE THE BEAST WITH SEVEN HEADS AND TEN HORNS?

“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a [wild] beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy [Gk: 'a blasphemous name'].

And the wild beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion, and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat [throne], and great authority.

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded [as if it had been wounded] to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the wild beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the wild beast: and they worshipped the wild beast saying, Who is like unto the wild beast? Who is able to make war with him?

And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power [authority] was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power [authority] was given him over all kindreds [tribes], and tongues, and nations.

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

If any man have an ear, let him hear.” (Rev. 13:1-9).

Who or what is this Wild Beast?

 

ANOTHER WILD BEAST

But wait, there’s more:

“And I beheld ANOTHER wild beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon.

And he exercises all the power [authority] of the first wild beast before him, and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the FIRST wild beast [the one from the sea] before him [in his presence], and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first wild beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

And he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.

And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the wild beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an IMAGE to the wild beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

And he had power to give life unto the image of the wild beast, that the image of the wild beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the IMAGE OF THE WILD BEAST should be killed.

And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a MARK in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the MARK, or the NAME of the wild beast, or the NUMBER OF HIS NAME.

Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding count the number of the wild beast: for it is THE NUMBER OF A MAN; and his number is SIX HUNDRED THREESCORE AND SIX [666] (Rev. 13:11-18).

Say what? This is weird. Let’s recap. First comes a wild beast out of the sea with seven heads and ten horns. A second wild beast comes out of the earth like a lamb with two horns speaking like a dragon and he calls down fire from heaven and deceives the whole world by miracles. This second wild beasts makes everyone worship the first wild beast. This wild beast from the earth then causes everyone on earth to make an image of the first wild beast from the sea and makes everyone worship this image of the wild beast from the sea or be killed.

This image of the wild beast from the sea then causes everyone to worship this image, and causes all to receive a MARK of the first wild beast from the sea in their right hand, or in their foreheads. They can have either a mark or the name or the number of his name, and that number is said (albeit not correctly said) to be the number of a man, and it is the number 666.

Hmm....let’s try this shortened version: a beast from the earth causes all to worship a beast from the sea and to also make an image of this beast from the sea, who then causes all to receive either a mark, name, or number. Got it?

The image, name, and number of the wild beast all have reference to the one beast that comes up out of the sea and is the wild beast made reference to for the remainder of the book of Revelation. It is this very “wild beast” along with the “false prophet” which is ultimately “…cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Rev. 19:21).

Naturally, it behoves us to know just who or what this wild beast is, and especially his image. It is a force and a power to be reckoned with by every human that has ever lived or ever will live.

On the one hand we have this:

“Who is like the unto the wild beast? Who is able to make war with him?… And it was given unto him to MAKE WAR WITH THE SAINTS… And all that dwell upon the earth SHALL WORSHIP HIM, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb…” (Rev. 13:4, 7, & 8).

On the other hand we have this:

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, if any man worship the wild beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the WRATH OF GOD, WHICH IS POURED OUT WITHOUT MIXTURE…” (Rev. 14:9-10).

Talk about finding oneself between a rock and hard place! Apparently we can either be AT WAR with this wild beast, though we were just warned: “…who is ABLE to make war with him?” Or, we can partake of “THE WRATH OF GOD poured out without mixture…” Either prospect seems extremely frightening. But surely one would rather be on God’s side than on the side of the wild beast. However, how well will we fare in war against this wild beast, seeing that God warns us, “Who is ABLE TO MAKE WAR WITH HIM?”

Like everything in Revelation leading up to the consummation of all things, this wild beast is the wild beast that “is, was, and will be.” Remember this spiritual key! This assuredly means that the wild beast has been around from before John received his revelation, and will be around until the consummation! However, that is not to say that these things that “are, were, and will be” do not build into a giant and violent CRESCENDO in these end times:

Evil men have always been with us. And so evil men are, were, and will be.” But notice what Paul tells us will happen as the consummation of the age is upon us:

“But evil men and seducers [imposters] shall wax [grow] worse and WORSE, deceiving and being deceived” (II Tim. 3:13).

And so too, this wild beast that comes up out of the sea is the beast IS (at the time John wrote of it), WAS (before it was introduced to John), AND WILL BE (down through the centuries until our time and beyond until the consummation of this age).

You will never understand the book of Revelation as long as you try to make it either "Preterism"of the past or "Futurism" of still-to-be-fulfilled events for the first time. The events of Revelation are neither, Preterism or Futurism, but rather things that “are, were, and will be.”

 

Upon the SAND of the Sea

Another piece of the puzzle to understanding these beasts is to do with where they came from and from where we perceive them. So many times in Scripture we find little phrases (apparently, insignificant little phrases) that seem to add nothing to the meaning of the verse. And yet, there they are. We have come to realize that NOTHING in Scripture is ‘insignificant.’ But here again, we find one of these little phrases:

“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw…” (Rev. 13:1).

Why doesn’t it just say, “And I saw a beast rise up out of the sea…?” What does it matter from “where” John saw this vision? Oh, but it matters a lot.

The wild beast out of the sea is not making its first appearance at the very time that John writes about it in a book. Oh, no. Remember that this book is “the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:2), and Jesus Christ said:

“I am Alpha and Omega, the BEGINNING and the ENDING, says the Lord, which IS, and which WAS, and which IS TO COME, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8).

And so our Lord’s testimony of a beast out of the sea is a beast out of the sea, “which IS, and which WAS, and which IS TO COME.” BELIEVE our Lords words, and just maybe we will begin to learn and understand the truly “DEEP things of God.”

But how can we say that this beast out of the sea is something that already existed at the time of John’s writing? Was he not to write about “…things which must shortly COME TO PASS…?” (Rev. 1:1). Is this not then making all that John sees, things that are all in the future from the time of his vision? No. Everything in this book is part of Christ’s testimony, “which IS, and which WAS, and which IS TO COME.” It is needful that we read several verses now to catch the significance of, from what perspective it was that John wrote this prophecy:

“I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ [‘which IS, WAS, and WILL BE’].”

I was IN THE SPIRIT on the Lord’s day, and heard BEHIND ME a great voice, as of a trumpet [a trumpet is a symbol for a POWERFUL MESSAGE],

Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What you see, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are [they ALREADY existed at the time that John writes about them] in Asia…

And I TURNED to see the voice that spoke with me. And BEING TURNED, I saw seven golden candlesticks.” (Rev. 1:9-12).

Ah yes, John heard this trumpet (or message) behind him” and therefore, had to TURN BACK in order to see, hear, and understand the message! And so John writes about the things he sees “BEHIND” him (1:10), and “…things which must be HEREAFTER.”

And so it is in this context that John said: “I stood upon the sand of the sea…” Notice what we just read concerning John and ourselves? Let’s read it again:

“I John, who ALSO am YOUR BROTHER, and COMPANION IN TRIBULATION [persecution], AND IN THE KINGDOM AND PATIENCE [endurance] of Jesus Christ…” (Rev. 1:9).

The very elect are all “companions and brothers” in our quest for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Where Jesus walked, WE WILL WALK. Where John walked, WE WILL WALK. Where John stood, we all have stood or will yet stand.

We all must walk the walk that Jesus Christ walked! We must all “take up our cross.” We must all

“OVERCOME… even as I [Jesus] also OVERCAME [‘overcame the WORLD,’ John 16:33], and am set down with My Father in His throne” (Rev. 3:21).

So, why was John standing on the sand of the sea? Why must we at some time in our lives, also, stand on the sand of the sea? This is where John was standing when the wild beast first makes its appearance to John, not when the beast first came into existence.

 

THE SPIRITUAL SYMBOL OF THE SAND

We must all walk in our Lord’s footprints and "follow Christ." Peter puts it this way:

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an EXAMPLE, that we should FOLLOW HIS STEPS: Who did NO SIN, neither was guile found in His mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judges righteously: Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto RIGHTEOUSNESS: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheepgoing astray; but are now RETURNED unto the Shepherd and Bishop [overseer] of your souls”

Notice that we are all to follow His steps. But Jesus “did NO SIN,” and we ALL sin. There is the giant difference. We have to KEEP WALKING in His steps until we STOP SINNING. But the point to be made here is, that we must and WILL “follow His steps.”

John stood on the sand of the sea,” and we must ALL stand on the sand of the sea. Jesus was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness [a desert waste place—sand] and was tried and tested there by the Adversary. Jesus appeared to be alone with the Adversary and the sand. Nothing to eat and nothing to drink - just sand. But Jesus was only alone in this physically desert of sand. Spiritually Jesus was IN HEAVEN with His Father.

Jesus had built a spiritual house. His house was about to be tested to see if it could withstand the rain, and flood, and wind. Satan would do all in his power to bring down the spiritual house of Jesus. But His house did not fall under the temptation of Satan, for he was FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD, and His spiritual house was “built upon THE Rock” (John 3:34). The spiritual house of Jesus was to DO THE WILL OF THE FATHER:

“I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gave Me to do” (John 17:4). “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34).

“For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me” (John 6:38).

And just what is it that we also must do if we are to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven?

“Not every one that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that does THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).

Jesus said that many would profess Him, but were really workers of iniquity and did NOT do the will of His Father. Jesus says, “Therefore…” in verse 24. The ‘Therefore’ refers back to what He had just told them about “doing the WILL of His Father.”

“Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and DOES THEM, I will liken him to a wise man, which build his house upon a [Gk: ‘THE’] Rock [Jesus is ‘THE Rock’]. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house [yes, it is through MUCH tribulation that we enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, Acts 14:22]; and it fell not: for it was founded upon The Rock.

“And every one that hears these sayings of mine and does them NOT, shall be likened unto a foolish man [yes, there are ‘foolish saints’], which built his house upon THE SAND; And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and IT FELL: and GREAT was the fall of it” (Matt. 7:24-27).

We all would like to declare that we have built OUR spiritual house upon The Rock of Jesus Christ, and that we are not among the foolish saints who have build our spiritual house upon the sand. Make no mistake about it; if your spiritual house is built upon sand, IT WILL FALL! ALL spiritual houses built upon the sand, will fall.

The Great Church in Revelation is called:

“Mystery BABYLON THE GREAT, The Mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth (Rev. 17:5).

This great church decidedly does NOT spiritually dwell in the heavens, but is ‘of the earth, earthy.’ This great church is built upon the spiritual sand of this world’s doctrines. And being built on sand, SHE WILL FALL:

“And there followed another angel, saying Babylon IS FALLEN, IS FALLEN, that great city [‘For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to Jerusalem which now is and is in bondage with her children’ Gal. 4:25], because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (Rev. 14:8).

And this…

“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great IS FALLEN, IS FALLEN, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities” (Rev. 18:5).

And so, if you have built your spiritual house upon the sand of this world’s great Church, you are warned to COME OUT OF HER, because she is going to fall, and “GREAT will be the fall of it.”

This then, is the condition of ALL the saints at some time in their life, as they along with John, “…stood upon THE SAND OF THE SEA, and saw a wild beast rise up out of the sea…”

Now Jesus does not leave us in the dark as to just what the sand represents in this set of parables. Jesus says,

“And everyone who hears these SAYINGS OF MINE, and does them NOT, shall be likened unto a foolish man which built his house upon the sand…” (Matt. 7:26).

What is missing in this house that we built upon the sand? Why it is a solid foundation, of course.

 

JESUS CHRIST - THE ONLY LASTING AND SURE FOUNDATION

“For we are laborers [Gk: ‘fellow workers] together with God: ye are God’s husbandry [Gk: ‘field’] , ye are God’s building.

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon.

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Now if any man build upon this foundation [A] gold, silver, precious stones, [B] wood, hay, stubble [straw];

Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sport it is.

If any man’s work abide [endures] which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (I Cor. 3:9-15).

These works apply every bit as much to what we believe, what is our faith, what are our doctrines of Scriptural Truths. This is so because out of “the abundance of the heart” flows ALL of our actions, deeds, thoughts and works - whether they be good or bad. And BAD works, acts, actions, thoughts, teachings, etc., will be burned up. But GOOD works, acts, actions, thoughts, teachings, etc., will be refined in the fire to be made even more pure and more valuable.

These Scriptures clearly show that those taking part in this particular judgment by fire, MUST be building on the ONLY POSSIBLE foundation that will lead to salvation [‘he himself SHALL BE SAVED’]. But notice that it is possible to build on something other than “this foundation”—“Now if any man build upon this foundation…” So clearly it is possible to build on ‘another’ foundation - a foundation of SAND. And every spiritual house built upon the sand will fall.

Now then, what are the options for all those who build their spiritual house upon the sand?

They can continue to build upon the sand until they die in their sins.

They can build upon the sand until it falls, but forego any further spiritual house building and die in their sins.

They can repent when their spiritual house falls, turn back to God, and begin building again on the only sure foundation, The Rock - Jesus Christ, and be “…SAVED; yet so as by fire” NOW, IN THIS LIFETIME, and Inherit the Kingdom of God” with all of its colossal blessings and rewards in the “FIRST resurrection.”

These are they which are being judged NOW:

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey NOT the gospel of God?” (I Pet. 4:17).

“That the trial [Gk: ‘genuineness’] of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it [your faith] be tried[tested] with FIRE, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (I Pet. 1:7).

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the FIERY TRIAL [testing, judging] which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you” (II Pet. 4:12).

 

THERE IS HOPE FOR THE BUILDERS ON SAND

However, there is HOPE for all those who build their house upon the sand? But there is hope only according to God’s choosing. Remember, “many are called, but FEW ARE CHOSEN.”

Everyone who is chosen out from the called, will have first built their spiritual house upon the sand, and it will FALL! Every one who is of the chosen FEW will leave his “First Love” (Rev. 2:4). There is a time when all of the chosen will “look back,” and see a time when they were not, “…FIT for the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). It happened to Peter, it happened to the other eleven apostles, it happened to Paul, it happened to Paul’s followers, it happened to the entire early church, it will happen to US!

  1. “Surely you [Peter] also are one of them: for your speech betrays you. Then began he to CURSE AND TO SWEAR [Gk: call down curses, damning and swearing], saying I DO NOT KNOW THE MAN [Jesus Christ] (Matt. 26:73 & 74). 
     
    How true: at that very moment in Peter’s life he TRULY DID NOT KNOW Jesus Christ! HIS HOUSE OF SAND FELL!
     
  2. “But all this was done, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then ALL THE DISCIPLES FORSOOK HIM AND FLED(Matt. 26:56)!
     
  3. And just as all the disciples forsook Jesus, so did all the believers forsake Paul: “At my first answer no man stood with me, but ALL MEN FORSOOK ME: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge” (II Tim. 4:16). 
     
    Paul could not resent their leaving him, after all, Paul himself (who once studied under Gamaliel) hardened his heart and left his first love also:
     
    “And Saul 
    [Paul] consenting unto his death… As for Saul, he made havoc of the church… and Saul yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord…” (Acts 8:1, 3; 9:1). 
     
    All Asia forsook Paul, “This you know, that ALL THEY WHICH ARE IN ASIA BE TURNED AWAY FROM ME…” (II Tim. 1:15). 
     
  4. ALL who are called and chosen, will at some time in their walk, be attacked and will temporarily fall:
     
    “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to ALL THE FLOCK over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to feed the CHURCH OF GOD 
    [the WHOLE Church of God], which He has purchased with his own blood. For I KNOW this that after my departing shall grievous [savage] wolves enter in among you, not sparing THE FLOCK [the WHOLE flock] (Acts 20:28-29).

Everyone’s first house (the house built upon the sand) FALLS! It is just part of the process in our suffering to learn obedience, that God has mandated.

“MANY [the called but not chosen] will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not

1.    prophesied in Thy Name? And

2.    in Thy Name cast out devils? And

3.    in Thy name done MANY WONDERFUL WORKS?” (Matt. 7:22).

These are “Christians” (Lord, Lord) who BELIEVE in the Name of the Lord, and they do MANY… WONDERFUL… WORKS in the Name of the Lord. But what happens to them? Their house on the sand FALLS -  “…DEPART from Me, you that work iniquity [lawlessness] (Ver. 23). Jesus then goes on to show how those who do not build on the foundation of Jesus are building their house upon the sand, even though they do MANY wonderful works.

Their house falls, not because of the super structure itself. No, the super structure is composed of MANY WONDERFUL WORKS. The house falls because it is not build upon the ROCK of Jesus Christ who is the ONLY FOUNDATION that will support a spiritual house. The “wonderful works” part of Christendom is good. Jesus doesn’t say that all of their works are bad. No, they are wonderful, however, their house will not stand and therefore it must come down. A Christian’s personal good works will not forgive his personal SINS! These must be REPENTED of and OVERCOME.

Now for all of you whom God is calling only, you will not believe what I am saying, you will not do what I am teaching you, and you will not recover (in this lifetime) from the disaster of building your spiritual house (life) upon the sand. But what about those of you whom God is calling AND choosing? What are you to do when you see that your spiritual house has fallen with a GREAT FALL? Answer:

Remember therefore from whence you ARE FALLEN, and REPENT (Rev. 2:5)!
 

“RETURN unto Me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts” (Mal. 3:7).
 

“For ye [all of you, the whole flock, the whole church, the whole house of God] were as sheep going astray [Isa. 53:6]; but are now RETURNED unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls” (I Pet. 2:25). 
 

“And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous [‘prodigal or wasteful extravagance’] living. 
 
And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine 
[a spiritual famine] in that land [in his land, his earth, for his thoughts were not ‘in heaven’]; and he began to be in want [‘…and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and nakedRev. 3:17].

And he went and joined himself to a citizen of the country; and he sent him into his fields to FEED SWINE [his spiritual house ‘has FALLEN, has FALLEN’].

And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

And when he CAME TO HIMSELF [‘remember from whence you are fallen, and REPENT’] he said, How many hired servants of my fathers have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

I will arise, and GO TO MY FATHER [‘RETURN UNTO ME, and I will return unto YOU’], and will say unto him, Father, I have SINNED against heaven [I have ‘left my first love’] and before Thee…

Seven times Jesus says to the Seven Churches who had LEFT THEIR FIRST LOVE; that they should REPENT!” And so after we repent of leaving our first love, and all the sin and corruption that goes along with it, what are we to do? Why we begin building our spiritual house upon The ROCK of Jesus Christ - the FOUNDATION of Jesus Christ, of course.

 

 

The House upon the ROCK

“Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon THE rock; And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and it fell NOT; for it was founded upon THE ROCK” (Matt. 7:24-25).

Oh yes, the rains and floods and winds of trials and persecution will surely come, but we have this absolute assurance of God:

“Now unto Him that is able to KEEP YOU FROM FALLING, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord, be GLORY and MAJESTY, DOMINION and POWER, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 24).

Isn’t that great? Look at this verse. Read it over a half dozen times. It is sheer spiritual poetry! This is one of those absolutely POWER-PACKED Scriptures that should make our hair stand up! It is in verses like this that the King James Version really shines.

 

WHO IS ABLE TO MAKE WAR WITH THE WILD BEAST?

Know this. It is at this pivotal time in our walk with God, when our spiritual house has fallen, and we are alone standing on the sand of the sea, that the wild beast from the sea… makes war with the saints (that’s US) and OVERCOMES them (this wild beast overcomes us because “WHO is able to make war with him?”) (Rev. 13:4). Even we, who are saints of God, are NO MATCH for “the WILD BEAST that comes up out of sea.”

Yet God gives us a way out of this dilemma. We are to COME OUT OF HER and REPENT of leaving our first love, and for building our spiritual house upon the sand.

 

LEAVING OUR FIRST LOVE

Why is John standing on the sand of the sea when he first sees the wild beast rise out of the sea? Why isn’t he standing on solid rock when first he sees this wild beast? Because standing on the sand of the sea depicts our spiritual condition at the time that we see a wild beast come up out of the sea. When we see the wild beast, God shows us our vulnerability. We are standing DEFENSELESS on the sand of the sea!

You see. There is a spiritual process that God takes His called and elect through that only the few ever experience. The common opinion seems to be that one can become sick and tired of his sinful ways, and so turn to Jesus Christ to get him out of his mess. Once he has accepted Jesus as his Saviour, it is presumed that all will begin to go well with the new convert.

Many falsely teach that finances will improve, health will improve, our social life will improve, and certainly our spiritual life will improve. As we study and pray and go to church, it is believed that one will progress further and further until one’s life is nearly perfect. In fact, if one is still having trials and tribulations after decades in a church, it is assumed by all that that person is not living right and that God is cursing him for some sin or disobedience. Interestingly – the very first thing that Jesus pointed out as a spiritual flaw in the first of the Seven Churches, was that they “LEFT their first love.” This is referred to in fundamental circles as “backsliding.” But, supposedly, only a few ever “backslide.” Most, it is assumed, just keep growing and growing from grace to grace until they die a happy death of old age.

We know that the Seven [COMPLETE] Churches of God represent the WHOLE CHURCH OF GOD in all generations. And so, what is it that God says those who are ALREADY IN THE CHURCH have to do if they are to overcome and be in the Kingdom of God? Answer: Remember therefore from whence you are FALLEN, and REPENT…” (Rev. 2:5).

Repent of WHAT? Repent of “…leaving your FIRST LOVE.”

But you say, “I have never left my first love.” Well then, this Scripture isn’t speaking to you. But everyone who does make it into the Kingdom, does leave his first love. In fact there are those, who have left their first love, AND DON’T EVEN KNOW IT! Repenting will come especially hard for them, as they see nothing to repent of.

Whenever someone is called of God and he repents, is baptized, confirmed, initiated, or whatever, it is into a church. And sooner or later that particular church (after teaching the milk of the Word) will bring you to the point where you will leave your first love for God and turn to the church and its religion as the idol of your heart. God calls His people OUT of the Babylonish System of Religion which has a strangle hold on ‘The Church.’ “Mystery Babylon the Great” is a CHURCH! But it is also A SPIRITUAL WHORE:

“For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to JERUSALEM which now is, and is in bondage with HER CHILDREN. But Jerusalem which is ABOVE is free, which is the MOTHER OF US ALL” (Gal. 4:25-26).

Jerusalem above is our MOTHER. Jerusalem below is also a MOTHER with children in bondage. Revelation speaks clearly of this Mother and her Children:

“And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto you the judgment of the GREAT WHORE that sits upon many waters [peoples and nations and tongues]:

With whom the kings of the earth have committed [spiritual] FORNICATION, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a WOMAN [a church] sit upon a scarlet colored WILD BEAST, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls [possessing many of the blessings of God including the pearls of God’s Word], having a gold cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

And upon her forehead was a name written,

MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, 
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND 
ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH”

(Rev. 17:1-5).

And now for one of the most amazing Truths in all Revelation:

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her [Mystery Babylon the Great], MY PEOPLE, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4).

Yes - GOD CALLS HIS PEOPLE OUT OF THE VERY CHURCH THAT HE CALLED THEM INTO!

“Many are called but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14).

Few realize that there exists this “church WITHIN the church.” When God chooses us FROM AMONG the called, we become separate from their doctrines and sins. We are still “The Church of the Living God,” but we are a peculiar people that no longer follows the traditions of men, which the many called who are building the house upon the sand continue to follow. Therefore, WE WILL SEE THE BEAST that comes up out of the sea. We will be forced to WAR with the beast from the sea. And we will be OVERCOME by the wild beast. This really is serious business.

 

SEA, EARTH, AND HEAVEN

Remember that there are three realms spoken of in Revelation: sea, earth, and heaven:

“And the angel which I saw stand upon the SEA and upon the EARTH lifted up his hand to HEAVEN, and swore by Him that lives for ever and ever, [for the eons of the eons], who created HEAVEN, and the things that therein are, and the EARTH, and the things that therein are, and the SEA, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer [no longer a time of delay](Rev. 10:5-6).

The angels [messengers] of God communicate things from heaven to both the earth and the sea:

“And the voice which I heard from heaven spoke unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the ANGEL which stands upon the sea and upon the earth(Rev. 10:8).

There are three realms of humanity and three realms of spiritual understanding. The lowest of all is the sea. Those with at least some spiritual understanding are those who dwell in the earth. And those who have the very mind of Christ are those who dwell in heaven. ALL REALMS will give honour and glory to God:

"And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, [need we explain that ‘fish’ do not have the mental capacity to comprehend what is being taught here - these are MEN, MANKIND, HUMANITY] and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sits upon the throne, and upon the Lamb for the eons of the eons” (Rev. 5:13).

Is this not saying the identical thing that Paul teaches in Phil. 2:10-11:

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should BOW, of things [them] in heaven, and things [them] in earth, and things [them] under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

More proof:

“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and [inhabitants] of the sea! …” (Rev. 12:12).

Next notice that:

“And when the dragon saw that he was cast into the earth , he persecuted the WOMAN [the Church] which brought forth the man child [the manifest sons of God] (Rev. 12:13).

Where is the Church? Does she dwell in the spiritual realms of heaven? No. Is she located in the sea? No. She dwells in the earth. She is higher than the sea, but lower than heaven; she dwells in the earth. These are the three realms spoken of in Revelation. If we can’t get our thinking above the symbols themselves, we will never ever understand the book of Revelation.

The saints have left the earth in their spiritual walk with God. Those who are now ‘spiritually-minded;’ dwell in heaven - a much, much higher realm than that of the earth. And yet… and YET, of the wild beast that comes out of the sea in Revelation 13, we are told:

“And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle and them that [spiritually]dwell in heaven. And it was given unto Him [the wild beast] to make war with the saints, and TO OVERCOME THEM: and power was given him over ALL KINDREDS, AND TONGUES, AND NATIONS” (Verses 6-7).

Now maybe you don’t catch the significance of these verses. Here is a wild beast that not only has power, “…over ALL KINDREDS, and TONGUES, and NATIONS,” but also can, “…make war with the SAINTS, and to OVERCOME THEM…” Is it possible for Satan to OVERCOME THE SAINTS? How can this be? Where?

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because GREATER is He [Jesus] that is in you, than he [Satan] that is in the world” (I John 4:4).

Does this verse sound like there is some wild beast OUT THERE somewhere, who can make a mockery of this verse, because this wild beast really can “…make war with the saints, and to OVERCOME them?” Whatever happened to: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. RESIST the devil, and he WILL FLEE FROM YOU” (James 4:7)?

Is there, OUT THERE SOMEWHERE, a power for evil that is even GREATER than Satan the Devil, himself? Why haven’t we been warned about him before we come to Rev. 13:7? Did Jesus ever warn us of this wild beast? Did the apostles? Did Paul to the nations, warn of this evil power? How could the saints themselves, be deceived by this wild beast? I thought that the very elect of God CANNOT be deceived:

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, IF IT WERE POSSIBLE, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matt. 24:24).

Ah, but it is NOT POSSIBLE to deceive the very elect! What’s going on here with this wild beast? We are getting closer to the answer...

 

WHO ARE THE SAINTS?

So. If the very elect can’t be deceived, is it possible for saints to be deceived? Yes, there is a difference. One can be a saint long before he becomes the VERY elect. Were the believers in Ephesus called, saints?

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, TO THE SAINTS which are in Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1).

So, Yes, the believers in Ephesus were called saints. But were they perfect? Were they spiritually mature? Were they the VERY elect? No, they weren’t.

“Unto the angel of the church of EPHESUS write… I have somewhat [‘somewhat’ is not in the Greek texts] …I have against you, because you have LEFT YOUR FIRST LOVE” (Rev. 2:1 & 4).

Is Jesus accusing the whole church at Ephesus of leaving their first love, if in reality, there were only a few? But there were NOT just a few - the WHOLE CHURCH of Ephesus “left their first love.” And furthermore, since the Seven Churches are ONE CHURCH, THE WHOLE CHURCH left their first love! Believe it or not, leaving one’s first love, is part of the process of “going on to perfection” (Heb. 6:1). What! Really? Yes – this is crucial in our understanding of our spiritual conversion.

 

“I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH — JOHN TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES”

Jesus said, “…upon this Rock [Himself] I will build My church…” And the testimony of Jesus Christ is “unto His servant John” and then “John TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES” (Rev. 1:1 & 4). Jesus began to build His church when John was yet a carnal-mined, unconverted follower of Jesus. And, as the messages in Revelation “are, were, and will be,” then certainly the message to the Seven Churches also must be a message that “IS, WAS, and WILL BE.”

John sees a wild beast come up out of the sea” when John himself “stood upon the sand of the sea.” This had to be at the time when John “heard BEHIND ME a GREAT VOICE, as a trumpet” (Rev. 1:10).

 

JESUS CHRIST IS THE SOUNDING TRUMPET

“…AND HEARD BEHIND ME A GREAT VOICE, AS OF A TRUMPET, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last…”

The Alpha and Omega is CHRIST. This “voice of a trumpet” is Christ. There is something most interesting about this statement of John’s. John says he “heard behind me a GREAT voice, as of a trumpet.”

The word “great” is used 72 times in Revelation. But only five times is it said to be a “great VOICE.” We will look at the last four and then come back to the first:

The second time a “GREAT voice” is trumpeted or announced as a powerful, earth-shaking message or event is in Rev. 16:1:

“And I heard a GREAT voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials [bowls] of THE WRATH OF GOD upon the earth.”

This is a GIANT event, unparalleled in the history of the world. But remember, although this prophecy may also crescendo toward the consummation, it too is also, the “wrath of God” that “IS, WAS, and WILL BE.”

The third mention is when this horrible wrath of God is over in Rev. 16:17:

And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a GREAT voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, IT IS DONE”

The fourth mention is also an event of heretofore, unequalled glory:

“And after these things I hear a GREAT voice of much people in heaven, saying ALLELUIA; SALVATION, and GLORY, and HONOR, and POWER, unto the Lord our God… for He has judged the great whore… ALLELUIA for the Lord God omnipotent REIGNS. Let us be glad and rejoice and give honor to Him: for the MARRIAGE of the Lamb is come… Write, BLESSED ARE THEY which are called unto the MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB” (Rev. 19:1, 2, 6, 7, 9)

Now it is pretty honourable to just be “called unto the marriage of Christ,” but to ACTUALLY BE THE BRIDE—Well, that’s something else! So. The last time we have the mention of a “GREAT voice” is in Rev. 21:3:

“And I heard GREAT voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He WILL DWELL WITH THEM, and they shall be His people, and God HIMSELF SHALL BE WITH THEM, and be their GOD!”

We have yet one to look at:

“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a GREAT voice, as of a trumpet” (Rev. 1:10).

What POSSIBLE thing could John have heard, that happened “BEHIND him,” that was in the same league as the four GIANT events portrayed by the other four GREAT VOICES? What was it that John saw “BEHIND him” as he “stood upon the sand of the sea” and “saw a WILD BEAST rise up out of the sea?” What did this wild beast mean to John? What will it mean to the world? What should it mean to US? Whatever this wild beast from the sea is, it is among the five greatest pronouncements that bring in the “end of the world” — the “consummation of the age.”

This wild beast from the sea is the only thing in all Revelation that “makes war with the saints” AND “OVERCOME them.” Seven times in Rev. 2 & 3 we’re told to OVERCOME seven categories of sins. Yet here we read that it is the saints themselves that are overcome. Let’s get on with it then and make some sense out of all this!

 

 

All Fall Away!

ALL leave their first love, forsake Jesus, look back, blaspheme, build a spiritual house upon the sand. It is the nature of fallen man to do so. It is also a part of our journey in “coming out” of what we thought was a foundation upon the rock. In reality – all church (earth) dwellers  build upon the sands of carnal religion.

You see, it is only when John is standing on the sand of the sea that he first sees the wild beast come up out of the sea. Now the questions become: "WHEN did John stand upon the sand in HIS life? WHEN do we stand upon the sand in OUR lives?

Answer: When the spiritual house that we all build falls down with a “GREAT FALL.” When our spiritual house built upon the spiritual sand falls, WE ARE LEFT STANDING ON THE SAND OF THE SEA. We are only INCHES above the very sea itself - the masses and multitudes of humanity who do not have any knowledge of God AT ALL. It doesn’t mean that we have no knowledge of God at all at this quandary in our spiritual lives; it just means that we are no closer to God than all the humanity in the sea. Hence, we are not IN the sea, but rather standing on the SAND of the sea where our spiritual house just FELL! Gee – just when we thought we were at least earth dwellers and then this! Sand!

This is the moment of Revelation – where God reveals our true state! And since God is not only calling some of us but choosing us also, God begins to teach us anew – right here at our weakest - here in our situation of desperation. And the first thing He begins to show us is the WILD BEAST coming up out of the sea that is the CAUSE of our being overcome and the CAUSE of our spiritual house falling! This wild beast will be reckoned with by all humanity sooner or later.

 

THERE MUST COME A ‘FALLING AWAY’ FIRST

It is an uneasy truth that John, Paul, Peter, ALL of the apostles, the whole church in Asia, the Seven Churches of Revelation, the entire flock of God’s called, all built their houses upon spiritual sand - in other words EVERYONE ever called by God, falls, falls down, falls away.

The Proverb tells us that, “For a just man falls seven times…” That’s a COMPLETE fall. But strange as it may seem, this is necessary in God’s plan. What happens to a just man after he falls seven times? “…and RISES UP AGAIN” (Prov. 24:16). When he completely falls, he falls from grace. But for those whom God is both calling AND choosing, they will RISE UP AGAIN, for

“Who are you that judges another man’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Yes, he shall be holden up [made to stand up]: for God is able to MAKE HIM STAND” (Rom. 14:4).

We will ALL FALL! But afterwards, God “raises us UP AGAIN,” and “makes us STAND.” And from that time onward we have this sure promise of which we read before, but we’ll state again:

“Now unto Him that is able to KEEP YOU FROM FALLING, and to present you FAULTLESS before the presence of His glory with EXCEEDING JOY, To the Only Wise God Our Saviour, be glory and majesty, and dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 124-25)!

When John’s spiritual house built upon the sand fell down, he was left, standing on the sand of the sea by himself alone with God, and it is then and only then, that he is able to see the wild beast that came up out of the sea.

This wild beast is further identified in Rev. 13:14 when we are told this

“…beast, which had the wound [deadly wound, Ver. 3] by the sword, and DID LIVE.”

He was wounded to death, but the wound was healed and he again lived. He also has a mark, and a name, and a number. What is this mysterious number that has baffled scholars, theologians, and saints for centuries? It is a symbolic number and that number represents man - the number of mankind - humanity.

 

THE NUMBER 666

“Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding count the NUMBER OF THE BEAST: for it is the NUMBER OF A MAN; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six [666] (Rev. 13:18).

Is this indeed what the Greek manuscripts of Rev. 13:18 state? No, it is not.

The Greek word used when only man is meant (always excluding woman), is aner. But the Greek word translated “man” in Rev. 13:18 is not aner, but rather the word anthropos, which means "a human being, male or female." Strong’s Concordant.

Furthermore, it is not the number of “a” anything. It is just the number of humans or of mankind! Even the Revised Standard Version translators saw this and therefore, states, It’s number is six hundred sixty-six.” The number of the wild beast is not the number of “a” man, but rather the number of “man” or “mankind.”

With this in mind let’s read II Thes. 2:3:

“Let no man [‘let not any person,’ RSV, ‘Let no ONE…’] deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a FALLING AWAY first, and that man of sin [Gk: the lawless one] be revealed, the son of perdition [Gk: the one destined for destruction]. Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God [a god], or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God”

Whenever man builds his spiritual house upon the spiritual sand, his spiritual house will fall. And it is then that God reveals to him the wild beast that comes out of the sea. What does Paul tell us happens when there comes a ‘FALLING AWAY’ first? What follows? When our house on sand falls, what is then revealed? Why “the LAWLESS one” is “REVEALED.” Ah! Now we are getting somewhere. When the falling away occurs, then the man of sin, ‘the lawless one’ ‘the one destined for destruction’ is REVEALED.

And what a revelation it is! What a blast of the trumpet it is! What a shock to all humanity when at long last this wild beast is revealed to EVERYONE! As we shall discover – it’s revealing is a profound revelation! It is a hard pill to swallow. It will shake us to our sandy foundation.

So. Just who it is that constitutes the wild beast of Revelation 13 and the lawless one of II Thes. 2. WHO THE BEAST IS and WHERE is the beast? Undoubtedly, the beast is YOU! Yes indeed. It resides in our fleshy parts – it is our own CARNALITY – it is the OLD NATURE that wars against the “heavens” within us. The “beast” is the carnal mindedness of MAN within us....and only Christ can save us!

 

 

The Beast is the Carnality of MANKIND!

 Everyone in religious circles is looking for the beast, OUT THERE somewhere. If we are to find the beast OUT THERE, we might question whether he was ever IN HERE? That there “is, was, and will be” a beast OUT THERE, there is no doubt. The world is FULL of carnal lusts and appetites. It is ravenous as it is untamed. But of what great concern is that to us? The only beast we need to concern ourselves with is the beast “within,” “the man of sin.” Just as the many-member beast comes “up out of the sea” [of humanity], we too came up out of the sea of humanity.

Ten times in Revelation, Jesus Christ is spoken of as “The First and the Last,” “The Beginning and the Ending,” the “One Who IS, WAS, and WILL BE.” Do we think that the Scriptures speak these ten times in vain? Is the beast of Revelation something with which only the last generation at the end of this age needs concern itself? Was the book of Revelation written for the last generation only? Of course not. The book of Revelation, which is the testimony of Jesus Christ was given to the Seven Churches of Asia - Asia representing the whole world and seven representing the complete and total church. Some will retort: “Beast? What beast? I don’t see any beast within myself. I am not perfect by any means, but I am certainly not a beast.” We shall see.

What an astonishing truth it is, that God CAUSES all those destined from the foundation of the world, to be chosen in Christ, that they should “fall away” from the Truth as they know it and “leave their first love” before they can be truly spiritually converted. Yet this is the plain declaration of Scripture.

Peter fell away:

“Jesus said unto him [Peter], Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, you shall deny me thrice [three times](Matt. 26:34).

All the apostles fell away:

“Then said Jesus unto them, ALL YE shall be offended because of Me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad (Matt. 26:31).

“And they ALL forsook Him, and fled.” (Mark 14:50).

Paul fell away:

“As for Saul [renamed Paul], he made havock of the church…” (Acts 8:3) [while at the very same time he was "blameless" in keeping the Law of Moses] (Phil. 3:6).

ALL the Churches in Asia fell away after being in full support of Paul’s ministry. First:

“The churches of Asia salute [greet] you…” (I Cor. 16:19).

Later near the end of Paul’s ministry:

“This you know, that ALL they which are in Asia be TURNED AWAY FROM ME…” (II Tim. 2:15).

Paul warned the Ephesian Elders about the “flock—church” falling away:

“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock [the whole flock].” (Acts 20:29).

Jesus prophesied that all who will become overcomers will have first fallen away temporarily by leaving their first love:

“Nevertheless I have somewhat against you, because you [the seven-in-one golden candlestick church of God that is, was, and will be] have LEFT YOUR FIRST LOVE” (Rev. 2:4).

Jesus Himself calls this leaving of our first love, a falling away:

“Remember therefore from whence you ARE FALLEN, and REPENT…” (Rev. 2:5).

Whenever we “fall,” we leave our “first love.” For spiritual falling IS, LEAVING LOVE. Jesus said that when we leave our first love we are to “remember from whence we are FALLEN…” Love itself has not failed us, but we have failed love, for true love is not capable of failure or falling:

“Charity [Old English for ‘love’] never fails…” (I Cor. 13:8).

Jesus reprimands us for “falling” from love in Rev. 2:5. Interestingly, the word translated “fails” in I Cor. 13:8 is the very same word translated “fallen” in Rev. 2:5. And so, "love never FALLS," but before we are saved, we will fall.

Why is it that this Scriptural truth is not taught in the Church? Simple: Most in the church have not as yet experienced “leaving their first love.” Therefore, they are still deceived, and CANNOT see the beast within. They are still in the process of constructing their spiritual house upon the sand. Most will never see the beast in this lifetime.

 

ALL SCRIPTURE IS FOR OUR ADMONITION

Why should the Scriptures preserve for us the falling away of Peter, Paul, all of the disciples, all of Asia, and all of the church (Rev. 2:4), if none of these things pertain to us or none of these things will ever happen to us?

The church cannot comprehend the idea of “the called” AND chosen” because it only preaches “the saved” and the “unsaved.” Yet we see it in every example: Jesus called Peter

“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter… and He said unto them, Follow Me…” (Matt. 4:18-19),

And so Peter followed Jesus

“And they straightway left their nets, and FOLLOWED Him.” (Ver. 20)

And so Peter followed Jesus for three and one-half years. But Peter was not converted:

“And the Lord said, Simon [Peter], Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and WHEN YOU ARE CONVERTED, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:31-32).

And later Peter denied Jesus three times in the same night!

The question presents itself: “If we truly had “love” why should we have to “fall” from it or “leave it” in the first place?” Ah, herein lies one of the grandest Truths found in all Scripture!

From our first parents onward, God has always allowed men to believe that they are able of and by themselves (by their supposed phantom "free" will) to love God and be obedient to His laws. Despite God’s plethora of testimonies to the contrary, theologians and philosophers alike have taught mankind that they are indeed ABLE TO CHOOSE and, ABLE TO DO and to carry out that choice, because they have the “free will” within them to do so. What they have within them is a “beast” that is no more able to choose and obey God than any literal beast of the field.

 

TURNING OUR IDOLS OF THE HEART INTO POWDER

In Ezekiel 14:7 we read:

“For every one of the house of Israel [WE {Gentiles} are now the circumcision of God, Phil. 3:3. WE {Gentile believers} are the trueJew, Romans 2:28-29. WE {Gentiles & a remnant of racial Israel} are the spiritual Israel of God, Gal. 6:16] or of the stranger that sojourns in Israel, which separates himself from Me, and sets up HIS IDOLS IN HIS HEART…”

We all have “idols of the heart.” Whenever we disobey God, we are giving allegiance to and manifesting idols in our heart.

When ancient Israel turned from God, they too manifested the idols in their hearts by building a literal golden calf idol with which to worship. And what did God do through Moses?

“And he [Moses] took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire [don’t forget I Cor. 3:15], and GROUND IT TO POWDER, and scattered it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it” (Exodus 32:20).

How many understand our Lord’s statements in Luke 20:17-18?

“And He beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The Stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the Head of the corner? Whomsoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever It shall fall, It will GRIND HIM TO POWDER.”

When we fall on the Stone (Jesus), we are broken. Or as John tells us in Revelation,

“And I saw one of his heads as it were WOUNDED TO DEATH…” (Rev. 13:3).

Yes, when we fall on Christ we are broken, we are wounded (by the "sword" of God—Rev. 13:14 vs. Heb. 4:12). This is our human attempt at salvation. But then we fall, and our “deadly wound [which we received by the Word of God] was healed” (Rev. 13:3), we went back into the world, back into Babylon, thus leaving our first love. When the wound of the Sword of God’s Word that had slain us, is healed, we fall from the love of God, and we again turn our love to the world from which we came.

But here’s the good news concerning this stone. If we are among the chosen that overcome, then the Stone falls ON US, and our spiritual house built upon the sand comes crashing down. And when Jesus falls on us, He GRINDS US [along with all of our idols of the heart] TO POWDER!

Remember we are but “clay” in the hands of the Master Potter, and clay consists of particles of sedimentary silicates of aluminum less than two-thousandth of a millimeter in diameter - in other words, very fine powder. In Ancient Israel, the sin offering, the peace offering, the meat offering, and thank offering all had to be made with fine flour. All of the universe is composed of very fine things.

All of the instructions on what was to be offered to God in the service of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, who was to offer it, and how it was to be offered are not just quaint little stories of history:

“Now ALL THESE THINGS HAPPENED unto them for ensamples: and they are written FOR OUR ADMONITION, upon whom the ends of the world [ages] are come.” (I Cor. 10:11).

Christ is representative of all and every one of these sacrifices. And

“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He [Jesus Christ] IS, SO ARE WE in this world” (I John 4:17).

So, when we read of the fine flour, oil, salt, and frankincense in the Old Testament offerings, we must understand that WE TOO are to be like fine flour -spiritually humbled and ground fine like powder, oil - having the Spirit of God in us, salt - we are to BE the salt of the earth,” and frankincense - our very lives becoming a sweet smelling incense to our God.

Some of the things we must go through seem bad on the surface. But as in all of God’s dealings, what appears at first to be something horribly bad, is in reality, only a necessary stage in the process of overcoming sin and self so as to be qualified to reign with Christ in bringing the rest of humanity into a knowledge of the Truth, redemption, salvation, and finally, glory. Yes we are all beasts that need refining – who can deny it?

 

GOD’S WORD SAYS THAT MAN IS A BEAST

“Nevertheless man being in honor abides not [does not endure]: he is LIKE THE BEASTS that perish” and “…he is LIKE THE BEASTS that perish:” (Ps. 49:12, 20).

“One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, EVIL BEASTS, slow bellies [lazy gluttons]. This witness is true (Titus 1:12-13).

“But these, as NATURAL BRUTE BEASTS, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption” (II Pet. 2:12).

“So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as A BEAST before thee” (Psalm 73:22).

“But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, AS BRUTE BEASTS, in those things they corrupt themselves” (Jude 10).

“I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves ARE BEASTS (Ecclesiastes 3:18).

 

THE BEAST WITHIN / THE MAN OF SIN / THE SON OF PERDITION

Now, remember that we only become aware of the beast when we are standing on the “sand of the sea.” AFTER our spiritual house built upon spiritual sand FALLS DOWN, and WE fall down. And this is precisely why Paul tells us that the

“…day of Christ… shall not come [to US] except there come a FALLING AWAY FIRST…” (II Thes. 2:1-2).

And this “fall” by the way is not a little slip or a little stumble. It is a complete and total SPIRITUAL FALL! We all come to Christ with a simple childlike innocence. But … BUT, once we are in “the church of our choice,” we start to get educated in the ways of Christendom. We learn of many rules based on the unscriptural traditions of men. We delight in many of these rules and traditions (sometimes not all of them), and before we know it, our new religion sooner or later TAKES US RIGHT BACK INTO THE WORLD that we thought we came out of. Yes. The BEAST, the ANTICHRIST, the SON OF PERDITION is not some end time tyrant who controls the world as dispensationalists insist! NO – not in the SLIGHTEST! These terms ALL refer to the nature of MAN – the OLD CARNAL MAN – the unconverted BEAST of humanity that raises its ugly head from the SEA of humanity! Is this all starting to make sense? These are images that need to be “spiritually” discerned!

 

IF YE BE CIRCUMCISED, CHRIST SHALL PROFIT YOU NOTHING

And speaking of “spiritual things” – it is amazing that what most Christians around the world aspire to BE and ACCOMPLISH in their spiritual walk with God, is the very thing that our Apostle Paul called: “DUNG!” Really? How so?

Christians claim that their bondage to physical commandments and traditions of men, are really spiritual.

Some make an idol of the heart out of keeping the Saturday Sabbath;

Others make an idol of the heart out of claiming they are “tithing” when they give money to the church;

Others make an idol of the heart out of physical circumcision;

Others make an idol of the heart out of being baptized in the name of Jesus ONLY;

Others make an idol of the heart out of believing in the unscriptural teaching of a trinity or rapture,

Others make an idol of the heart out of demonic gibberish or carnal, fleshy tongues speaking;

Others make an idol of the heart out of drinking poison and handling poisonous snakes;

Others make an idol of the heart out of Christian Politics;

Others make an idol of the heart out of their own church affiliation or pastor or choir or a plethora of church activities;

Others (many) make an idol of the heart out of some pet, little-understood and little-believed Bible prophecy, which only they understand;

Others make an idol of the heart out of much speaking using spiritually-sounding words and phrases (of which they understand little or nothing);

Others make an idol of the heart out of joyfully condemning all those who do not subscribe to their brand of Christianity, to an eternal torture in hell fire.

...and others just flat out worship themselves.

What does Paul have to teach us regarding these many barriers to truly understanding the excellency of Jesus Christ?

“Circumcised the eight day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church [Paul counted persecuting the true believers as something of which to be proud]; touching the righteousness which is in the law, BLAMELESS [irreproachable, faultless].

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for Whom I have suffered loss of all things, and do count them but DUNG, that I might win Christ.” (Phil. 3:5-8).

Wow – worthless as DUNG! Now then, notice what Paul also says in Gal. 5:1-4:

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled gain with the yoked of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, [sounds important…] that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you NOTHING. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do THE WHOLE LAW [Abraham was circumcised, but Moses taught it AS A LAW that HAD to be obeyed]. Christ is become of NO EFFECT unto you, whosoever of you are [Gk: ‘are’ should be ‘attempt to be’] justified by LAW; ye [‘ALL of you’] are FALLEN FROM GRACE.”

We learned that leaving one’s first love is falling from love. But there’s more. Whatever one puts in place of true worship not only displaces us from our first love, but it also causes us to FALL FROM GRACE!

Listen, as long as we obey the beast within, we are not aware of just how evil this beast really is. As long as we obey our carnal mind, we are not aware of just how evil our carnal mind is. MOST Christians are carnal. And how can we say that with certainty seeing that we cannot read the hearts of most men? Because the Bible tells me so: “MANY are called, but FEW are chosen.” The carnal minded are called, but the carnal-minded are not as yet chosen:

“And I [Paul], brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

“For ye ARE yet CARNAL: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not CARNAL, and walk as men [Gk: ‘according to man’]?

“For while one says, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos [and another, I am Church of Christ, I am a follower of Billy Graham, or John Hagee, or Benny Hinn, or Paul Crouch, or T.J. Jakes, or Joyce Myers, etc.]; are ye [ALL] not CARNAL?”

You cannot fight a spiritual warfare by standing behind a carnal man.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood [carnal enemies], but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12).

Can we fight these spiritual enemies with carnal weapons or the teachings of carnal men?

“For the weapons of our warfare are not CARNAL, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds” (II Cor. 10:4).

 

JUST WHAT IS CARNALITY

Now – before we carry on here, we are not insisting that we throw away the ostensible fact that Revelation was a work that had political overtones for 1st Century Christians. We have covered this extensively in our Lake of Fire studies. But it remains to be discovered by the majority of Christians - that the book of Revelation speaks most lucidly of its “spiritual” meaning concerning every generation of saints. Anyone can look “out there” for an interpretation of the imagery of Revelation, yet we miss the REAL point of this book – what it reveals about us....and in particular, that it reveals Christ’s victory over the realm of the FLESH – in us! The carnal mind is the TRUE ENEMY of God. It’s not the Devil and his minions. No. What then is it to be carnal or carnally minded? It’s not good. It’s a monster - IT’S A BEAST:

“for to be carnally minded is DEATH…”

And just why is that?

“Because the carnal mind is enmity [DEEP-SEATED HATRED] against God: for it is NOT SUBJECT to the [spiritual] law of God, neither indeed CAN BE [Gk: ‘is ABLE’]. So then they that are in the flesh [carnal-minded] CANNOT please God” (Rom. 8:6-8).

·         Have YOU ever seen yourself as the man of sin?

·         Do you believe that YOU were once the son of perdition?

·         Have YOU ever been carnally-minded in your walk with God?

·         Have YOU ever left your first love?

·         Have YOU ever put your hand to the plough and looked back?

·         Has the spiritual house YOU built upon the sand fallen yet?

·         Have you fallen from grace since first believing?

No? You say, "NO—NEVER"! Then the chances are great that “ye are YET carnal.”

 

WHEN WILL I SEE THE BEAST WITHIN?

Paul wasn’t telling the unbelieving world that “ye are yet carnal.” Nor was Jesus telling the world that they had “left the first love.” No, Paul and Jesus are both telling THE CHURCH that they are “yet carnal and have left their first love!” Always remember that Revelation is NOT for the world....or even about THE WORLD!  AFTER coming into a church, AFTER they have accepted Christ, AFTER they have pursued their walk with God, AFTER they have built a spiritual house upon the sand, AFTER they have become indoctrinated with the commandments of men and the traditions of men, can one “fall away” and be in a position to actually spiritually SEE THE BEAST WITHIN! SEE -  the man of sin and the son of perdition. See your carnal-minded, God hating, SINS. When we have been enlightened by God’s word, we see our failures in life and our frailties. Only then do we surely see, that we are all spiritually, WILD BEASTS.

 

 

The Man of Sin

And what does Paul tell us will be revealed AFTER we fall away?

“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 SINBE REVEALED, THE SON OF PERDITION (II Thes. 2:3).

“The beast,” “the man of sin,” and the “son of perdition” are all one and the same:

“BEASTS”: We have seen from God’s word that God calls mankind “beasts”—Psalm 49:12 & 20; Titus 1:12-13; II Pet. 2:12; Psalm 73:22; Jude 10; & Ecc. 3:18). There is not just one prophetic “beast” OUT THERE, somewhere. We are ALL beasts - within!

“MAN OF SIN:” This phrase can be translated: “lawless one” or “man of lawlessness,” as numerous translations do. But it can also be sin. Are we to believe that there is only ONE man of sin?” or only ONE “man of lawlessness?”

“For ALL [all mankind] have sinned, and come [Greek: ‘fall’] short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

“MANY [not few] will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord... And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity [margin: ‘lawlessness’] (Matt. 7:22a & 23).

“But the scripture has concluded ALL UNDER SIN…” (Gal. 3:22).

“Man of sin” is by no means the sole description of some one man that appears at the end of the age before the return of Christ.

“SON OF PERDITION:” This phrase should really be “son of destruction.” Again, the King James has “son of destruction” in its margin. Is this speaking of just ONE person at the end of the age who will be called “son of perdition?” Hardly. Jesus called Judas “the son of perdition [destruction] in John 17:12. So maybe there are only two people who are ever given this designation? ‘Fraid not. Notice what Peter says:

“But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition [destruction] of UNGODLY men” (II Pet. 3:7).

So are only the “ungodly” men at the end of the age “…reserved unto fire against [until] the day of JUDGMENT and perdition [destruction]…?” Notice what else Peter tells us in his epistle:

“…it is the era [now] for the judgment to begin from the HOUSE OF GOD” (I Peter. 4:17).

But are we, who are members of the “house of God” considered “ungodly” people? Either we are “ungodly” sometime in our lives, or Jesus Christ didn’t come to justify us or to die for our sins:

“But to him that works not, but believes on Him that justifies the UNGODLY, his faith is counted for righteousness” and “For when WE [believing Christians] were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for THE UNGODLY [that’s us, that’s everyone, that’s ALL believers who will have their works tried in the fire, I Cor. 3:15] (Rom. 4:5 and 5:6).

A word study will clearly show anyone that Jesus came to SAVE those who are and will be destroyed. And do I have a Scripture on that? I am glad that you asked. Here is a beautiful lesson that will show us just how important it sometimes is to know from what original word a word in our English translations came.

Here is the temporary fate of most humanity:

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to DESTRUCTION, and many there be which go in thereat” (Matt. 7:13).

Did Jesus come to SAVE all those who enter the broad gate to “destruction?” YES HE DID:

“For the Son of man is come to SAVE that which was LOST” (Matt. 18:11)!

There it is!

There is what? Where does that verse say that Jesus came to “SAVE that which was DESTROYED?” Why right in the verse, of course. You see, the New Testament was written in GREEK, and in Greek, here is what Matt. 18:11 says: “For the Son of man is come to SAVE that which was apollumi.” And just what does apollumi mean in English? 

Strong’s Greek Dictionary of the New Testament: "#622 {92x} apollumi to destroy, toperish, or lose" (page 37).

Ninety-two times in the New Testament we read of "destroy, destruction, destroyed/perish, perishing, perished/lose and lost, and they are all translated from the same one word, apollumi! So whether one is destroyed, perished, or lost, it matters not to Jesus - HE SAVES THEM ALL!

Old Testament too:

“O Israel, you have DESTROYED yourself; but in Me is your help… I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death…” (Hosea 13:7 & 14)!

“The righteous PERISH, and no man lays it to heart…” (Isa. 57:1)

And concerning lost Israel God says,

“I will seek that which was LOST, and bring again that which was driven away…” (Ezek. 34:16).

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost [apollumi—lost, perished, destroyed], but now am found;

Was blind, but now I see.

Oh the whole church world will sing about it, but they don’t completely believe the words they sing. They will appropriate the word “sinner” and “lost,” but few will confess to being “the man of sin” or “the son of perdition [destruction].”

So there are innumerable Scriptures that show that we and all humanity are or have been apollumi - lost/perished/destroyed. We all spiritually die once. The called and chosen are then judged in this lifetime, while the many called but not chosen (and all unbelievers) will be judged in the second resurrection white throne judgment.

We all fit this description of “the man of sin, the son of perdition” of which Paul speaks. And when Paul tells us where this man of sin and son of perdition resides, he removes all doubt of whom he is speaking.

 

THE MAN OF SIN IDENTIFIED

Paul gives us three revealing factors concerning the man of sin (II Thes. 2:4):

  1. “Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped;
     
  2. so that he as God sits in the temple of God
     
  3. showing himself that he is God”

Again, these three traits of the man of sin are not reserved for someone superhuman that comes on the scene at the end of the age. EVERY man in every generation since John and Paul first penned their prophecies, have manifested these three traits of “the man of sin.” Well why then haven’t more people seen this man of sin through the ages and reported on him? For one thing, only those who leave their first love, who are called and chosen, and have had their house build upon the sand come crashing down, are able to see the man of sin - the BEAST within. And the other reason is that the man of sin and beast within are invisible, while the church world is always looking for the physical.

The crime of “iniquity - LAWLESSNESS” of Matt. 7:23, is primarily the belief in one’s own sovereignty - commonly called “free will.” Let’s look at these three identifying signs one at a time:

1. “Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped…”

And just how does every man do this? In what possible way does the average church-goer or man in the street actually do this? Why by his supposed, “free” will of course. According to Church teaching and most all teaching of all religions in the world, man has a “free” will that enables him to THWART the very will of God. He may not consciously feel or acknowledge that he has this power, but try and talk him out of it and see what happens.

If anyone can actually and factually THWART THE VERY WILL OF GOD, then we indeed can “…oppose and exalt ourselves above all that is called God, or that is worshipped…”

But this thing we call “free” will is an illusion, a phantom, an idol of the heart. It has no real existence other than in the minds of all those clinging to this form of iniquity. This idol of “human free moral agency” called “free will” is the greatest single SIN that must be removed from our consciousness in order to be truly spiritually CONVERTED!

2. “…so that he as God, sits in the temple of God…”

Is this really speaking of some one superhuman future person who will literally and physically sit in a temple called “the temple of God” and declare to the world that HE IS THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE? Would ANYONE of normal intelligence be deceived by such an absurd boast? We think not! But this man of sin of which Paul speaks certainly has “…DECEIVED THE WHOLE WORLD…” (Rev. 12:9).

Jesus Christ has taught us that, “…the words that I speak unto you, they are SPIRIT…” (John 6:63). Why then would we conclude that the words that Paul spoke unto us are NOT SPIRIT? After all, Whose words did Paul speak, anyway? Answer:

“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words [what wholesome words? Whose wholesome words?], even THE WORDS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST…” (I Tim. 6:3).

ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God…” (II Tim. 3:16)

The words of Paul that have become Scripture were inspired of God, and they were the same words as “…THE WORDS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST…”

Now then, with this spiritual Truth in mind, why oh why would anyone be looking for a man of sin to be sitting in a LITERAL TEMPLE claiming himself to be God? No one man of sin sits in the temple of God claiming to be God, but ALL MEN EVERYWHERE AND IN ALL GENERATIONS have sat in the temple of God claiming themselves to be God! Making sense?

 

WHAT DOES PAUL MEAN BY “THE TEMPLE OF GOD”

It becomes plainly obvious when we simply compare the scriptures. Just what “temple of God” is Paul speaking of? We read in Acts that Paul went into the literal, physical Temple in Jerusalem, but when he wrote to those in his charge in his epistles (which later became Scripture), what kind of a Temple of God did he talk about?

“Know ye not that YE ARE [1] THE TEMPLE OF GOD, and that the Spirit of God DWELLS IN YOU?” (I Cor. 3:16).

“If any man defile the [2] TEMPLE OF GOD, him shall God destroy; for the [3] THE TEMPLE OF GOD is holy, which temple YE ARE (I Cor. 3:17).

“What? Know ye not that YOUR BODY IS [4] THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (I Cor. 6:19).

“And what agreement has the [5] TEMPLE OF GOD with idols? For YE ARE [6] THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD: as God has said, I will dwell IN them, and walk IN them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (II Cor. 6:16).

“For through Him WE both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household [family] of God: And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; In whom [the SAINTS] all the building fitly framed together grows unto [7] AN HOLY TEMPLE IN THE LORD: In Whom YE also are built together for an habitation of God through the spirit” (Eph. 2:18-22).

Seven times Paul assures us that, YE [we] ARE the Temple of God, the habitation for His Holy Spirit. Seven, the number of completeness, of total spiritual truth. Do we suppose that after speaking of us, we, our bodies, being the temple of God seven times, that he all of a sudden he has reference to a PHYSICAL TEMPLE MADE WITH STONES? Absolutely not! This is parable. Don’t think that Paul (just as his Lord) did not speak in parables, he did:

“And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them partakers of the foot and fatness of the olive tree” (Rom. 11:17).

Paul is not teaching us about horticulture in this verse. It is a parable.

“Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that plows should plow in hope; and he that threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope” (I Cor. 9:10).

Paul is not teaching plowing and threshing methods here, but a spiritual truth. It is a parable.

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9).

Paul isn’t speaking of reaping crops in a field. It is a parable.

Paul used dozens and dozens of parables in His teachings. II Thes 2 is a parable with profound spiritual meaning.

THE MAN OF SIN SITS ON THE THRONE OF HIS OWN CARNAL MIND, IN HIS OWN BODY CLAIMING POWERS THAT RIVAL THOSE OF GOD HIMSELF! Our man of sin claims a spiritual power so great that it believes it can literally thwart and dethrone God Himself from our hearts. This super-natural power of the will is assumed by nearly everyone in the whole world.

3. “…showing himself that he is God.”

Even when we realize that Paul’s teaching is spiritual, that this man of sin is representative of all humanity, we might feel that there is a problem with the third part of this description. What individual actually believes that he is, himself, the Creator God of the Universe? Even the most vanity-filled egotist would hardly claim to “BE God.”

This phrase should be properly translated: “showing himself that he is a god.”

Notice how the Emphatic Diaglott translates II Thes. 2:4 (from the interlineary):

“…the son of destruction, he opposing and lifting up himself above all being called a god or an august object, so that him into the temple of the God to be seated, openly showing himself, that he is a god”

The Epistles of Paul by W. J. Conybeare has "a God" with a capital G, although I don’t see the reason for the Capital:

“…even to seat himself in the temple of God, and openly declare himself a God”

The New American Bible also translates this phrase as "a god":

“…who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god and object of worship, so as to seat himself in the temple of God, claiming that he is a god.”

And therefore, if anyone could: (1) bring about thoughts or actions that have NO CAUSE, that is thoughts and actions that were created by the person himself and were not influenced, caused, made, forced, or in another way brought about, and that (2) such a person would then have the power to THWART THE VERY WILL OF GOD, by thinking and doing things that God does not approve of, but would never interfere with, then, indeed, that person could claim to be "a god"!

And it is this very “god” that sits on the throne of men’s hearts, which throne was created for Jesus Christ to be seated in the power of Holy Spirit.

And just how powerful is this “god” that sits on the throne of all unconverted men? It is so powerful that those who presume to possess this will of the mind that is absolutely “FREE” from any and all causality, can either bring about their own salvation or choose to reject their own salvation, AND NO POWER IN HEAVEN OR EARTH CAN THWART THEM. THEY can thwart God’s purpose, but GOD cannot thwart their purpose. That truly is "…OPPOSING and EXALTING oneself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that such an one as God sits in the temple of God [which temple our bodies are] showing oneself that he IS a god!” 

 

 

The Day of the Lord!

Most of us not unlike the Thessalonians of Paul’s day are aware of a prophetic time spoken by the prophets known as “The Day of the Lord.” The Thessalonians knew somewhat of this day and what it portended, as Paul spoke to them earlier about it. Now he has to tell them in this second epistle,

“That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that THE DAY OF CHRIST is at hand” (II Thes. 2:2).

Never forget that Jesus Christ IS ‘The LORD,’ and so the Day of Christ and the Day of the Lord both represent the Son of God.

Notice what Paul had instructed them in his first epistle concerning the coming of the Lord:

“…and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the Living and True God; And to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come (I Thes. 1:9b-10).

Paul tells them of his suffering:

“For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: But even after that we had SUFFERED before, and were SHAMEFULLY ENTREATED, as ye know… with MUCH CONTENTION” (I Thes. 2:1-2).

Then Paul speaks of their suffering and the reason for sending Timothy to them:

“That no man should be moved by THESE AFFLICTIONS: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto” (I Thes. 3:3).

Paul states that:

“Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our AFFLICTION and DISTRESS by your faith” (I Thes. 3:7).

And so Paul tells them of his afflictions, and also acknowledges their afflictions. Again Paul assures these Thessalonians that:

“For yourselves know perfectly that THE DAY OF THE LORD so comes as a thief in the night… For God has NOT appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thes. 5:2 & 9).

Well Timothy reported back to Paul that they were having even more tribulations and persecutions to the point that they were thinking that they must be in that period of time of “The Day of the Lord,” and that they themselves were suffering wrath from God.

Once more Paul acknowledges these tribulations and suffering:

“So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in ALL YOUR PERSECUTIONS AND TRIBULATIONS THAT YE ENDURE” (II Thes. 1:4).

But rather than wrath from God, Paul assures them that this suffering is really a token of God’s righteous judgment and that God will be punishing those who are persecuting them:

“Which [suffering] is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be COUNTED WORTHY of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God recompense tribulation to them that TROUBLE YOU” (II Thes. 1:5-6).

Then Paul gives them one more giant promise of rest from all of these sufferings:

“And to you [and to US as well] who are troubled REST with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction [eonian extermination] from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) IN THAT DAY” (II Thes. 1:7-10).

Paul comforts them in their persecutions and tribulations. He assures them that endurance in faith will account the worthy to be in the Kingdom of God, and that they will have rest at the coming of our Lord to be glorified in His saints and admired in ALL THAT BELIEVE. This is the way of the believer leading up to the coming of the Lord and the “Day of the Lord,” when all will be changed and glorified. But Paul tells them that that day is not here yet.

Listen carefully: Generation after generation after generation of believers and saints of God have lived, suffered and been persecuted, and then DIED. This “Day of Christ” or “Day of the Lord” not only did not come in their lifetime, but it will not be a reality to any of them WHEN IT DOES COME, unless something else happens in their lives FIRST!

Unless this experience happened to them in their lifetime, whenever they lived, they will not be in the First Resurrection and see the Coming of the Lord in the Day of the Lord. Something had to have happened to them - all of them. Something HAS to happen to US - ALL OF US who expect to see the Coming of the Lord and the Day of the Lord and be accounted worthy to be in The Kingdom of God. Yes, we already read in II Thes. 1:10 When He shall come to be glorified in His saints…” And He will be glorified in all His saints at that time, but not unless something has happened in all of His saints FIRST!

Until and unless the thing that we shall loom at next, is an accomplished FACT in your PRESENT life, you will not see The Coming of the Lord, neither will you be in the First Resurrection of spiritual rest and glorification. Really? This is deep and heavy stuff!

 

BEFORE THE DAY OF THE LORD CAN COME TO YOU

Here then is what must be accomplished in our lives before we die:

“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power: THAT the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be GLORIFIED IN YOU [IN YOU], and YE IN HIM, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (II Thes. 1:11-12)!!

How then does our Apostle Paul tell us this MUST be accomplished? What must happen? What must we do? Or rather what must Jesus do IN US? Here is the Scriptural answer:

“Now we beseech YOU, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him.

That ye be not soon shaken in mind or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that THE DAY OF CHRIST [The Day of the Lord] is at hand [FOR YOU...].

Let no man deceive YOU by any means: for that day shall not come [TO YOU] except there come a FALLING AWAY FIRST [BYYOU], and the man of sin be revealed the son of perdition [IN YOUTO YOU]; Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped [IN YOU…]; so that he as God sits in the temple of God [‘which temple YE ARE’ II Cor. 6:16]showing himself that HE IS [YOU ARE / I AM] a god

Remember ye not, that when I was yet with YOU, I told YOU these things?

“And now ye know what withholds [is restraining, is detaining—‘the falling away FIRST’] that he [‘the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition’—YOU…] might be revealed in his time [in YOU and TO YOUindividually, not collectively] in his time [‘his {particular} time’]—FOR YOU and FOR ME and for ALL BELIEVERS IN ALL GENERATIONS UNTIL JESUS COMES TO US ALL, COLLECTIVELY, AS THE MANIFEST SONS OF GOD].”

Long before Jesus can have a COMPANY of manifest SONS and DAUGHTERS of God, there has to be individual begettals by the Holy Spirit of God in chosen individuals in every generation leading up to the coming of the Lord at the end of this age.

“For the mystery [secret, hidden truth] of iniquity [lawlessness] does already work [‘is inwardly working’ The Emphasized New Testament: A New Translation (J. B. Rotherham)]: only he who now lets will let [‘only he who restrains will do so’], until he be taken out of the way.

And then shall that Wicked [Lawless One] be revealed IN [IN YOU] and TO YOU, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit[breath] of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming;

Even him [not original], whose coming [the man of sin called son of perdition IN YOU] is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” (II Thes. 2:1-9).

 

HOW CHRISTENDOM PERCEIVES THE COMING OF THE MAN OF SIN

Let that sink in. This is an AMAZING truth! Let’s consider a few extraordinary revelations in the last verses we just covered.

You see, this is a HUGE paradigm shift in our thinking of these supposed “end time” scriptures. The world of Christian theology overwhelmingly teaches that the things presented in verses 1 through 9 are for the END OF THE WORLD ONLY, and that they are ABSOLUTELY LITERAL and that this “man of sin” called “the son of perdition” will DECEIVE the whole world. This is so absurd that it becomes almost humorous when we try to picture or imagine such a literal, one-time, worldwide deception, scenario.

Here is what we are told to believe by self-appointed end-time prophets of doom:

  1. A literal TEMPLE will soon be built in Jerusalem.
     
  2. A MAN [a physical mortal man] will, at some period thereafter, enter this TEMPLE, and SIT down.
     
  3. This MAN, SITTING IN THE TEMPLE, OPPOSES AND EXALTS HIMSELF ABOVE ALL THAT IS CALLED GOD OR THAT IS WORSHIPPED.
     
  4. SHOWING HIMSELF THAT HE IS GOD.

 Seriously – let’s picture this Christian absurdity…A thousand cameras are all rolling and beaming the following event to every spot on earth via satellites. A man (a physical, mortal man, with possible body odour, thinning hair, and a pimple on his nose) approaches a newly built, incredibly beautiful, temple somewhere in Jerusalem.

He is dressed in an all white, pure silk Hong Kong suit, with his collar on backwards signifying great religious piety, and having a huge gold cross around his neck. With unbelievable pride and pompous vanity, he enters the temple (followed by a couple dozen cameramen). He then sits (well, we can’t know where he sits, seeing that the Temple in Jerusalem did not have a “throne” in it, as even the Jews knew that the Temple was built for God and not for some man to sit in it - maybe he sits on the floor).

He then announces to those present and to the world via the cameramen, that He HIMSELF IS GOD. Yes, GOD - the Creator of billions of galaxies having billions of stars that are billions of times larger than the earth. And, although he speaks with imperfect grammar and has a rather small vocabulary, the ENTIRE POPULATION OF THE EARTH (save the Hagee/Lindsey readers) will actually BELIEVE that this man IS THE VERY GOD OF THE BIBLE AND THE GOD OF JESUS CHRIST AND THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE.

The presidents and leaders of whole countries, taxi drivers, housewives, scientists, atheists, Moslems, WILL BE TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY CONVINCED (albeit it also totally deceived) that this mortal man in the white silk Hong Kong suit, really IS, THE ETERNAL CREATOR GOD OF THE UNIVERSE!! And all the while, sales of "Official Man of Sin dolls" will sell like hotcakes in all the religious junk stands surrounding the temple.

How stupid do they believe the average earthling really is? Would YOU be deceived by such a one? No – carnal Christian theology at its worst!

But how many earthlings might be deceived by this man of sin were he to hide in the hearts and minds of men in a way that they themselves would be completely at home with this man of sin, the son of perdition? How many? ALL OF US! But for those of us reading and understanding - NO MORE!

Back to our “prophets of doom” scenario. Let’s read on – Let us repeat verses 8-9:

“And then shall that Wicked [Lawless One], whom the Lord shall CONSUME, with the spirit of His mouth, and shall DESTROY with the brightness of HIS COMING [Christ’s coming/Christ’s presence]: "Even him [not in original] whose [the ‘man of sin’] coming [or presence] is after [in accordance with] the working of Satan…”

Make no mistake about it: SATAN is completely involved in the coming, presence, manifestation, and even EXISTENCE of this man of sin. Satan knows all about sin, seeing that:

“He that commits sin [as in ‘the man of sin’] is OF THE DEVIL; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works [or ‘WORKINGS’] of the devil” (I John 3:8).

One can easily see that if we removed the words “…whom the Lord shall consume, with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming…” and connected the remaining words (leaving out the two words ‘Even him,’ which are NOT in the original Greek), the sentence makes perfect sense:

“And then shall that Wicked [Lawless One], be revealed, whose coming is after the working of Satan…”

We can immediately see that the extra words (added by the King James Version) are quite unnecessary. It became obvious that not only could “…whom the Lord shall consume, with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming…” be set off by parentheses, but that it is mandatory that this clause be set off by parentheses. After consulting the Concordant Version to see how they handled this verse, we read the following:

“…[and] then will be unveiled [or revealed] the lawless one (WHOM THE LORD JESUS WILL DISPATCH WITH THE SPIRIT OF HIS MOUTH AND WILL DISCARD BY THE ADVENT OF HIS PRESENCE), whose presence is in accord with the operation of Satan…

(whom the Lord shall consume, with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming) is a PARENTHETICAL STATEMENT regarding HOW this man of sin, will be taken care of and rendered harmless, IN THE BELIEVER ONLY (the Emphatic Diaglott also puts this clause in parentheses).

So why is it mandatory that this clause be a parenthetical statement rather than a necessary part of the sentence, which contains this clause?

Answer: Because of what follows next. Verses 10 through 12 prove conclusively that this man [singular] of sin, son [singular] of perdition, he[singular] as God, and showing himself [singular] is NOT JUST ONE SINGULAR PERSON revealed ONCE at the end of the age ONLY. Let’s read it:

“And then shall that Wicked [Lawless One] be revealed [opening parenthetical statement], (whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming) [closing parenthetical statement]; whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in THEM[plural] that perish; because THEY [plural] received NOT the love of the truth [as believers do receive ‘the love of the Truth’], thatTHEY [plural] might be saved [as are believers in the first resurrection are saved]. And for this cause God shall send THEM [plural]strong delusion, that THEY [plural] should believe a lie: That THEY [plural] ALL [plural] might be damned [condemned] who believe NOT the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness"

The man of sin/son of perdition is UNIVERSAL and found in ALL MANKIND. THAT is how Satan deceives THE WHOLE WORLD (Rev. 12:9).

Men are looking for the BEAST (the man of sin/son of perdition) OUT THERE somewhere, when all the while he has been present INSIDE OF US ALL!

 

THE PARENTHETICAL STATEMENT IS FOR BELIEVERS ONLY

Continue to read slowly and really take in what is being said here. It’s truly revolutionary!

(Whom [the beastly man of sin/son of perdition] the LORD shall consume with the spirit of His mouth [IN US—WE, believers and lovers of the Truth], and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming [IN US, making His presence known IN US, destroying the beastly man of sin/son of perdition IN US, making the ‘Day of the Lord to be at hand’ FOR US, and IN US] )! Let’s read it:

“But WE [Paul and believers. NOT ‘them’ and ‘they,’ but WE’—‘Lovers of the Truth’] are bound to give thanks always to God for YOU, brethren beloved in the Lord, because God has from the beginning CHOSEN you [called AND CHOSEN you] to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the Truth: Whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the OBTAINING of the GLORY [‘That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be GLORIFIED IN YOU’ Chapter 1:12] of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which has loved us, and has given us everlasting [eonian] consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work (Verses 13-17).

 

WE ARE ALL PRODIGAL SONS

We all know the parable. The son of a rich man wanted his inheritance NOW. And so he went into a far country and wasted his inheritance with riotous living - doing what seemed RIGHT in his own eyes. Enjoying life, having a good time. When he was physically and morally broke, he took a job slopping the pigs, and finally eating the slop of the pigs, himself. His selfish, carnal, house built on shifting sands FELL! “And GREAT was the fall thereof.”

He had left his first love” of his Father who obliged him in his “free will” decision to pursue his own happiness. But now, with his face in the watery slop of the pigs, he sees his reflection looking back at him - a BEAST - a man of great sin - a son in the state of spiritual perdition. What will he do?

He said:

“I will arise and go to my Father, and will say unto Him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before Thee, And am no more worthy to be called Thy son: make me as one of Thy hired servants… But the Father said to His servant, Bring forth the best robe [‘…for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints,' Rev. 19:8], and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand…”

[‘And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt,’ (Gen. 41:42-43).

“To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me {second chariot from Christ}…" (Rev. 3:21),

"And to he that overcomes, and keeps my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations {ALL of them, not just Egypt}]

…For this my son was [spiritually] DEAD, and is alive again; he was LOST [pollumi—lost, destroyed, vanished] and is found. And they began to be merry” (Luke 15-11-24).

You see, just like the parable states – this leaving our first love and falling away is a completely necessary part of our walk from slavery to sonship! It’s right there in the scriptures when we read with spiritual eyes! Are you beginning to SEE IT? Is God giving you understanding? Do you see the grand and marvellous wisdom of it all?

But praise God, after this fall we can then proclaim I am crucified WITH Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ lives IN ME: and the life which I now life in the flesh I live by the faith OF the Son of God, who loved ME [and YOU], and gave Himself for ME [and YOU] (Gal. 2:20).

Look at the following with new understanding:

“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard BEHIND me a great voice, as of a trumpet… And I turned to see the voice that spoke with ME. And being TURNED, I saw seven gold candlesticks; [the complete church of God in all generations, with MY sins outlined in each and every one of them] And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; [PURGING all who look upon Him] And His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned [refined] in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was as the SUN SHINING IN HIS STRENGTH [no longer a physical body with HOLES in it].

And when I saw Him [in my SPIRIT] I fell at His feet as DEAD. And He laid His right hand upon ME [as He will upon YOU], saying unto ME [and unto YOU],

FEAR NOT” (Rev. 1:10-17).

 

 

The Epic Narrative Within

Isn’t it amazing? When the door of understanding is opened to us, we read the scriptures differently. We see the spiritual application, the parabolic meaning, the “is,was and wil be” application pertaining to the struggle within us all. Remember at the beginning of this series, we talked about the numerous characters of the scriptures and their relevance to the struggles and hardships of the inward journey that beset all of us – their failures are ours, their fears are ours – their disobedience is ours and their victories are ours too. “Christ within us” must also part of our journey!

Life isn’t easy. It’s not meant to be! And certainly not for the overcomer. It’s a spiritual jungle out there. If men are likened unto “trees,” then we are all straining towards the canopy, straining towards the light. We are covered in the creepy crawlies and decay that comes with trying to survive. We shed our leaves, we suffer bruising winds, our branches are bowed and broken yet.....AND YET, those of us grafted into the vine (Jesus Christ) will never be broken!

This struggle in our lives is every bit as epic as the apocalyptic symbolism of the scriptures suggest. We know that there is so, so much...almost too much to discern here, in living out and enduring the symbols and types of Revelation and their role in our salvation and redemption unto glory and inheritance. How indeed do we spiritually discern what looks more like a Lord of the Rings Trilogy ( dragons, horsemen, epic battles, heroes and villains and fire) than a book of the Bible?! How do you eat an elephant (as the saying goes?) One piece at a time!

You see, we often miss the truth because too many of us rely on our intellect to interpret to us the scriptures. Apart from the revelation of the Holy Spirit there is no way that we can search out, nor understand, the things of God, and His ways.

And know this - Prophecy is for saints alone!  Long centuries ago the Holy Spirit revealed this great truth to the prophet Daniel.  “Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.  Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand” (Dan. 12:9-10). 

Of course any man can understand the morbid nonsense that is preached as prophecy by the masses today.  Anybody can understand the drivel fed the people in books like The Late Great Planet Earth or Left Behind.  Any fool can understand foolishness.  But not even the carnal-minded among Christians can understand true prophecy!  God does not whisper His secrets to those who will abuse that confidence.  Merchandising entertaining and spell-binding books to make money is not evidence of either revelation or depth in God.  And so the carnal-minded, even in the church, are without knowledge.  The “wicked” of which Daniel wrote are not necessarily those who practice outward sin, but those who have not received a love of the truth and serve the serpent by subscribing to his lies and delusions, however inoffensive they may seem, thus defiling those who listen and dragging them down the road which ends in spiritual stagnation and loss.  “But the wise shall understand, and shall shine as the brightness of the firmament” (Dan. 12:10,3).

 

BEHOLDING THE BEASTS

So from all that we have learnt here, let’s try to spiritually discern and summarise the narrative surrounding the imagery of the “beasts” of Revelation.

In the thirteenth chapter of the Revelation the awesome prophecy is given of two beasts terrible in power and strength that dominate all the inhabitants of the earth and make war against the saints. 

We must stress, that there are no chapter divisions in the original text of the Revelation, and armed with this understanding it may be clearly seen that the events of chapter thirteen are the continuation of the great drama unfolded in chapter twelve.  The chapter begins with the conjunction “and” denoting continuity of thought and action. To show the flow we will begin with the last verse of chapter twelve and continue through the first two verses of chapter thirteen.  Thus it reads,

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.  And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and  saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.  And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority” (Rev. 12:17; 13:1-2).   

John has been moving around quite a bit in his visions, beholding things happening in the heavens, and those transpiring on earth, as also in the wilderness.  The closing verses of chapter twelve positions John in the “earth” for that is where “the remnant of her seed” is located. The woman herself had been in the earth until she fled from the face of the serpent far away into the wilderness. So John is not now called up to heaven again, but is placed in the earth, upon the sand of the sea, that unique spot where earth and sea meet. The picture reveals what is going on in the earth-realm, the soulical, cultural, moral, and religious dimensions of human society.  And it shows just what power and means it is through which the dragon makes war with the remnant of her seed. So as soon as the dragon goes to make war with the remnant of her seed, John is found standing in this earth realm, but he stands facing the sea.

As we now know, this “sand of the sea” is the realm of earth in closest proximity to the sea — in fact washed by the waves crashing upon it with the ebb and flow of the tides.  Call to mind that the term “the sand of the sea” was used to refer to the seed of Abraham in Genesis 22:17, and to Jacob’s seed in Genesis 32:12.  So the sand of the sea has a connection with the people of God. The seed of Abraham and Jacob, that is the fleshly Israel, is a fitting type of “the remnant of her seed,” the “great multitude” of the Lord’s redeemed people. The sand of the sea signifies the realm of earth where abides “the remnant of her seed,” the rest of the Lord’s people who are not identified as part either of the manchild company of overcoming sons of God or the woman-bride of Christ. Though they are counted as the Lord’s people, they dwell in an exceedingly fleshly, carnal, and worldly condition, as close as one can get to the unregenerate state of the wicked and yet not be in it!            

John beholds how out of the sea there emerges a frightful monster, a beast, indeed a wild beast, as it is in the Greek, ferocious and ravenous of nature.  If we compare the term “beast” with the term “dragon” it is clear that the beast out of the sea is not the same as the dragon who is in the earth!  The beast is not Satan!  The “dragon” has been cast into the earth, but now a “beast” rises up out of the sea.  Individually, the beast represents the same thing as the sea out of which he rises, that is, the body-realm, the carnal nature of the flesh man, the natural man, the wicked man, man at the lowest level of his being, the man of sin who is motivated, dominated, and controlled by the satanic spirit.  YET THIS BEAST IS SOMETHING MORE THAN THAT!  The scene here is not merely one of state of being, but of manifestation, expression, action, organization, proclamation, and power!

The beast doesn’t remain hidden beneath the turbulent waters of the sea, but rises up into the earth-realm in visible manifestation.  He walks, speaks, acts, and accomplishes.  The beast blasphemes God and makes war against the saints.  Remember the dragon went to make war against the remnant of her seed?  Ah, here is how he does it!  This is the carnal nature, the man of sin, manifested in a visible, organized, and powerful apparatus!  The beast signifies the outward expression of THE WORLD SYSTEM OF MAN. This is the beast lurking beneath the surface of the deep, which rises up from our sea (fleshly nature) having many heads (manifestations of authority), many horns (organized powers), and spewing blasphemies from its mouth.  It is a ferocious and vast system originating right out of human nature!  And this system relentlessly makes war against the spiritual life of God’s people!  Fittingly, in the seventh chapter of Daniel’s prophecy, four beasts are depicted, to represent four kingdoms, which are interpreted by most Bible teachers as Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.  What a lucid picture a wild beast is of a selfish and cruel government exploiting the people under its control and appropriating their resources for the furtherance of their own selfish ends!

Yet “end time” teachers want you to believe that this beast is a specific world government or world ruler who will suddenly emerge at some future date, take over a large portion of the world for seven years, and fight against God. By focusing attention on a future world empire controlled by some brilliant mad-man, who inscribes an actual number on the hapless citizens of the world, they distract the Lord’s people from the present reality which is lived out in the experience of each of us. And while Christians are busy chasing their fantasies of dreadful world events yet to come, the wild beast is busy wreaking havoc in the daily lives of untold millions of believers.  John tells us that “the whole world was astonished and followed the beast” (Rev. 13:3). Truly we can all agree with this inspired statement when we see by the spirit that this wild beast represents the carnal, humanistic, deceived, corrupt, and evil world system of man that stands in stark contrast to the glorious, golden City of God! We will never understand the mystery until we are thoroughly conscious of the fact that the beast is within us in the form of our own fleshly nature and carnal mind — the troubled sea from whence he emerges.  

The sea is the birthplace, the source, the origin, of this beast. Throughout the book of Revelation we have seen the great truth that almost all the events in the book take place in one of three dimensions: HEAVEN, EARTH, and SEA. Again - the sea is the lowest realm on earth, and this vast sea of fleshly Adamic humanity represents mankind at his lowest point — as bad off as man can be! Individually it speaks of the lowest aspect of our human nature and life — the body with its passions and lusts.  Collectively the sea represents society as it is guided by physical desires and impulses and aspirations that are restless, driving, compelling, and raging out of control! 

The natural man is not getting better, as some affirm.  The unregenerate man, old Adam, is corruptible.  That means not only that he is dying, but that he is continually being brought into a worse state and inferior condition leading to destruction.  He is on a never-ending downward spiral into oblivion.  Human nature never improves, old Adam can never reform, for his is a corruptible nature, growing steadily more vicious, deceitful, and immoral.  The sea has never for long become calm and the beast has never been tamed! 

The scriptures speak of two corporate men — a heavenly man and an earthly man.  The humanity that functions in its own conceptions and ideas, bears the image of the earthy.  The lowest of this humanity is pictured as dwelling in the sea. They are bestial, they have a beastly nature.  It is earthly, sensual, and devilish. But the heavenly man has come to a new reality!  He is man in the likeness and after the image of God!  Human government does not flow from this man  — the Kingdom of God flows from him!  The society of this celestial realm is governed by righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Its sceptre is the will of the Father, its law is the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, its educational system is the living word of God, its military wields the sword of the Spirit, and its social program is love one another!

 “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of things that they understand not: and shall utterly perish in their own corruption” (II Pet. 2:2). 

As Peter suggests, the natural man possesses animal-like qualities. We often hear people likened to animals!  Animals follow their instincts relentlessly, oblivious to discipline.  These characteristics are evident in some familiar expressions. A woman who quietly slips around maligning others has been called “catty.” A man who pursues women indiscriminately is called a “wolf.” A treacherous man is a “snake in the grass.” A grouchy old man is “an old bear.” A man who preys on those who are in difficult financial straits, who loans money at exorbitant interest rates, is called a “shark.”  A coward is called a “chicken.”  A cunning, tricky, deceitful man is called a “fox.” A dull person is an “ox,” a stubborn person a “mule,” a glutton is a “hog,” a filthy man is a “pig,” and a foolish person is an “ape.”   

Now, the beast that rose up out of the sea is not natural.  What John saw come up out of the sea represents the physical expression and manifestation of the nature and spirit that creates the turbulence in the sea. We must ask, “What kind of a beast ascends up out from the sea?”  First, it is only at the end of the chapter that we discover that John wasn’t seeing a beast, but he was seeing the manifest nature of mankind!  “Here is wisdom.  Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man” (Rev. 13:18). 

The number of A MAN!   The great truth is that there have never been but two men upon this earth — the first Adam and the last Adam, the first man and the second man, the carnal man and the spiritual man, the earthly man and the heavenly man!  Thus the Lord has revealed that the beast is a metaphor for the manifest nature and worldly organization of the NATURAL MAN!

In Revelation 13:1-2 the Spirit describes in graphic pictures what this terrible beastly nature is all about.  In the various beastly forms John saw, which make up the one beast, we see the characteristics of human nature as manifested through the agency of the world system of man.

“He was like a leopard.”  The leopard is one of the most beautiful of animals –slick, graceful yet cold-blooded, an apt portrait of the world system of man in all its allure and its ultimate  spiritual destructiveness!

“His feet were as the feet of a bear.”  In comparison to the size of an animal, the bear has the largest and the strongest foot of any animal extant.  No other animal has such strength of grip in its paws.  He rises above all that opposes his reign and tramples upon all who stand before.  The spirit of the world is the spirit of Self-interest, Self-exaltation, and greed which steps on and crushes anyone or anything that is in ones’ way to hinder his mad scramble to dominance — to position, fame, gain, prestige, or power. 

“His mouth was as the mouth of a lion.”  The lion startles the forest with his deep-toned solemn roars.  And there is mighty power behind that awesome roar! The lion is the largest and most majestic of the feline family.  The voice bespeaks the word, the propaganda, the edicts, the pronouncements, the rules, regulations, laws, and  creeds of the world system of man.  The pronouncements of the leaders of the world’s systems, of kings, presidents, prime ministers, generals, terrorists, scientists, educators, doctors, popes, archbishops, bishops, preachers, self-appointed apostles, and self-styled prophets have often shaken mighty empires and filled nations and peoples with consternation.  Where this beast opens its mouth and begins to talk, be it in politics or commercial life, in the market or in the science class, in the media or in the pulpit, in the courts or in government bureaucracies, there everything must be silent and bow.  And everything is silent and does bow before this beast

So it is with the world systems of man, ruling in pride and pomp, yet within they’re full of evil and devouring. All is used to feed this hungry beast — the poor, the widow, the orphan, the people’s time, their money, their liberty, their sons and daughters, their spiritual life, their very souls — all are devoured by him and are his food and support!

 

HEADS, HORNS AND CROWNS

“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy” (Rev. 13:1).

Most confusingly of all, the beast rising up out of the sea has seven heads! Numbers are always symbolic in the book of Revelation with the number seven standing for perfection, fullness, and completion.  It does not denote an actual amount.  So there is no need to look for exactly seven kings, or kingdoms, or powers of any kind. The same principle was employed by Jesus when He told Peter to forgive, not just seven times, but seventy times seven. He did not mean to forgive precisely 490 times, and then at the 491st time Peter would be free from the obligation. He was using multiples of seven to impress upon Peter the great truth that he should forgive completely and perfectly! To the Hebrews, numbers were descriptions rather than mathematics as each number represented something.   

When the beast is described as having seven heads, it speaks of the completeness and fullness of his authority.  Heads always indicate headship, that is, command, control, and authority.  When we refer to the head of a group, organization, institution, or government, we’re speaking of leadership, managership, governorship — where the supreme authority is invested.  In this case it is the headship of the world system of man that is signified by the seven heads. This is a headship over the whole world of men who are subservient to the system. The ruling powers are right in the midst of the beastly system. In man’s eyes, some human governments are good and some evil.  But in God’s eyes they all are directed by the carnal mind, intellect, and nature of the Adamic man and therefore all receive their authority from the dragon! 

Although the ten horns are not literally ten different kingdoms, or the seven heads seven different actual kings, yet the great truth expressed is that this beast represents a combination of all the great empires of the world.  It is a composite picture of the nature, authority, and power of the whole world system of man!  And this beast is the incarnation of the spirit of the dragon!  And here comes one of the most remarkable things in the book: the red dragon voluntarily relinquishes his power, his throne, and his authority in favour of this beast!  

“And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon GAVE HIM HIS POWER, AND HIS THRONE, AND GREAT AUTHORITY” (Rev. 13:2).  

Here is another remarkable thing: the whole world of men did not worship the beast solely; they worshipped the dragon too!

 “And I saw one of his heads as it was wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.  And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast…” (Rev. 13:3-4).

Why is this?  Had not the dragon vacated his throne in favour of the beast out of the sea?  Oh, yes!  But now the dragon incarnates the beast and lives on in the beast! The voice of the beast is truly the dragon’s voice, the power of the beast is in fact the dragon’s power, the authority of the beast is indeed the dragon’s authority, and the throne of the beast is actually the dragon’s throne!  The dragon is thus the inward life of the beast, and the beast is the outward physical manifestation of the dragon! Grasp the great truth of these words of the apostle when he states, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the SPIRIT THAT NOW WORKETH IN THE CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE” (Eph. 2:1-2).  

And again,

“And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in the wicked one” (I Jn. 1:19). 

Can you not see the mystery? Both the dragon and the beast are described with seven heads and ten horns but the main difference is depicted in the position of their crowns which marks the place of their dominion, for crowns signify rulership and dominion.  The dragon’s seven crowns are placed upon his seven heads, clearly showing that his power is all connected with the intellect — the mind — in knowledge and worldly wisdom which he has fed into people’s minds from mother Eve all the way down to you and me. This is the inward, personal, and individual working of the dragon — Satan.  “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Cor. 11:3).

The beast, on the other hand, has his crowns upon his ten horns, identifying the place of his rulership and dominion as by power, for horns signify power.  This speaks of the works — the institutions, organizations, systems, governments, laws, etc., which are the external instruments of control and dominion over men’s lives. The beast’s power rests within the transferring of the dragon’s wisdom and knowledge into the man-made world systems by which he motivates, dominates, subjects, and controls the masses of humanity.  Can we not see by this that we have a dual enemy — we have an enemy within (spirit of the dragon) and also an enemy without (the beast, the world system of man) — AND THE ENEMY WITHOUT IS THE CREATION OF THE ENEMY WITHIN!  And it serves his purpose! 

“And the dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and great authority…and they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?   And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”  (Rev. 13:2,4).  

And is it not true that all men today do pay homage to the world system of man EXCEPT THE HOLY SONS OF GOD WHO HAVE GROWN UP INTO THE MIND AND NATURE OF CHRIST, THE LAMB!  That is the mystery!

Indeed - the man whose life, ambitions, actions, and methods are controlled by the spirit of the world has crowned the beast and given him power.  The dragon in the beast solicits homage from all who have any aspiration in this world. 

 

NAMES OF BLASPHEMY

“I…saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy” (Rev. 13:1).

Here we are informed that this beast has upon his heads the “names of blasphemy.”  The King James Bible has the singular form “name,” but in the Greek text the word is “names” — plural.  It is not one name but seven names, for there are seven heads.  The message is just this — upon his heads of authority are inscribed the seven-fold name of blasphemy — the nature of absolute blasphemy!  This word “blasphemy” requires special translation, or decoding.  It was a familiar word in the New Testament era.  It is not used so much today, but it does have its modern counterpart.  Why did the Jews of Jesus’ day call Him a blasphemer?  That was always their charge against Him!  It was because He dared to call God His Father and to call Himself the Son of God. Therefore, they called Him a blasphemer because He was not teaching and operating according to the rules and regulations which they had set down — His doctrine was not that of the scribes and Pharisees, but He said that He spoke only what He heard personally from His Father.  His entire message and ministry was outside of the “box” constructed by the religious leaders of the Jews.  Today if a lawyer is not operating according to the rules laid down by the Bar Association he is called non-ethical or a malpractitioner.  Just so, if a physician is not following the rules laid down by the Medical Association, he is labeled a malpractitioner.  This gives you our modern counterpart of blasphemy.  

You can look up the Greek word in Strong’s Concordance or the English word in Webster’s Dictionary, and you will find that blasphemy relates primarily to religious and spiritual ideas and efforts, or words and actions which are against God or sacred things.  What could be more blasphemous than religion without the Spirit? One of the worst things men have done is to create false images of God in their thinking, their preaching, and their acting.  Most of the church groups today place a name on the front of their building, and usually the name that they put there is the highlight of what they believe. Blasphemy distorts, diminishes, or impugns the character of God, His word, His purpose, His ways, or His will; or it can be that which supplants or usurps the true things of God!

Even some of God’s elect have been deceived into taking upon them names of blasphemy.  Jesus - when speaking of the scribes and Pharisees - commanded His disciples,

“But all their works they do to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.  But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.  And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.  Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.  But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.  And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased: and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Mat. 23:5-12).

Has anything changed in the carnal church today?

 

THE HEAD THAT WAS WOUNDED AND HEALED

“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast” (Rev. 13:3).

The seven heads signify the completeness of the authority of the bestial system in opposition to the spirit and people of God. The word “wounded” is the same word in the Greek that is translated “slain” in reference to the Lamb: “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne…stood a Lamb as it had been slain” (Rev. 5:6). 

The Greek word is sphazo meaning “slaughtered.”  The head of the beast had not been merely wounded or smitten, it had been as it were “slaughtered unto death.”  And it was not merely his “deadly wound,” but it was the “stroke of his death” that had been healed.  It was as a death and resurrection from death — the contrast and travesty of that death and resurrection which had befallen the Lamb of God slaughtered and raised again!  Truly, these are spiritual things we are dealing with!  Of the bestial world system Jesus said,

In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer: I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD!” (Jn. 16:33). 

And of the dragon who gives power unto the bestial system Jesus declared,

“The prince (evil genius, ruler) of the world is coming.  And he has no claim on me — he has nothing in common with me, there is nothing in me that belongs to him, he has no power over me” (Jn. 14:30, Amplified).  

Jesus did not come to modify the world system; He came to destroy it.   Daniel makes this very clear.  “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and…it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Dan. 2:44). 

The Redeemer of the world came, not to wound or weaken the prince of this world only, but to “bring him to naught” (Heb. 2:14).  He came to subdue him, to overcome him, destroying his dominion and crushing his power. This is the work which the Lord Jesus came to perform — to destroy the kingdom of Satan in the world, and to set up another kingdom in its place, subduing all things unto Himself!

Seven is the perfect number, indicating the complete and absolute authority of the beast. The wounding of one head signifies the diminishing of the beast’s authority, a partial interruption of the totality of that authority.  And the “deadly wound healed” indicates that the partial disruption of the total authority of the bestial system of the world is short-lived — the beast always regains his authority!  The wound is inflicted by a sword, even the sword of the Spirit which is the living word of God!  Is it not true that the power of God’s word in and through His people has, throughout the church age, diminished the beastly nature, authority, and power of human government — yet the beast has never been killed, its nature has never been changed, its authority has never been abolished.  In fact, after having been influenced by the word of Christ through His people to reform in certain aspects, is it not true that the deadly wound always seems to heal and the beast returns to its former corrupt, godless, and ruthless state of being.

Just look at the Roman Catholic Church. History bears witness to these spiritual realities. Corruption comes in many forms and as such, human government under the succession of Roman Pontiffs degenerated into a carnal, spiritually bankrupt, superstitious, idolatrous, pompous, persecuting, and tyrannical rule. The kings of the earth (European Kings and Princes) spurned the sword of the Spirit which wounds the head of the carnal religious beast, and in grasping the spirit of the dragon, the deadly wound was healed. This is the nature of man, the nature of the harlot church in action. As such, history shows that it was no longer a diminished kingdom of man — it was as a full seven-headed beast out of the sea! The popes ruled over the kings of Europe, setting up what kings they would and putting down whom they would, casting into prison and putting to death all who opposed them, and exalting whom they would, obliging them to prostrate themselves before him, to kiss his toe, to hold his stirrup, to wait barefooted at his gate, they became the successors to the Caesars — the healed head of the wild, ravenous beast out of the sea! We still today hold Church leaders – apostate ministers of religious carnality – in the highest regard, prostrating and genuflecting in their presence! 

 

THOSE WHO WORSHIP THE BEAST

“And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?  And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him”  (Rev. 13:4,8).

The question of worship is one which runs very deeply through the book of Revelation.  Heaven and earth stand opposed to each other. The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders worship God and the Lamb. Those who dwell on the earth worship the dragon and the beast. John worships an angel, and is reproved. He does it twice. The true worship is first set before us, then the false worship in its various forms. Heaven and earth are set in sharp contrast. Those who dwell in the heavenlies worship God and the Lamb. Those who dwell in the earthlies worship the dragon and the wild beast. Those in the heavenlies joy over the Lamb taking the book and opening the seals. Those who dwell in the earthlies wonder and fear and therefore pay homage to the beast, giving honor unto the beast by saying, “Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?”  These words are similar to the Old Testament words of Israel and the prophets who said, “Who is like the Lord?”  (Ex. 15:11; Mic. 7:18). Their exclamation indicates their belief that the beast is invincible.  Can we not see by this that these not only worship the beast, they make him their god!

The very subtleness of this bestial system is that it deceives men into thinking they will have life only if they yield to its spirit and do things its way. If you want to get ahead in this world, you must play the game, you must conform. And so they ‘worship the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him.’  Put in present day language, ‘who can fight city hall?’ Day by day allegiance is paid ‘to the system.’ Yet if we are motivated by this SPIRIT OF THE WORLD, we will surely bring forth after its kind.”

 

THE BLASPHEMIES OF THE BEAST

 “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies…and he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven” (Rev. 13:5-6).

The beast that ascends out of the sea has seven heads, hence seven mouths, and yet it is said, “a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies was given it.” This indicates that the ability to mouth great things and blasphemies would be allowed to it and that all seven heads would combine to speak these things, doing so as with one mouth.  Whether the mouth of science, or the mouth of government, or the mouth of religion, or any other, one and all speak the same kinds of great, boastful things and blasphemies.

The blasphemies are toward God, His name (nature, character), and His tabernacle (His body, His temple, the people in whom He dwells). It is evident that the agenda of this beast is in opposition to the nature of God, the will of God, the ways of God, the word of God, the government of God, and the people of God. It is the spirit of the world, the spirit of the times which speaks out of the mouth of the beast. His mouth becomes the organ through which the spirit of the times, the standards and agenda of the world reveals itself, makes itself be heard.  And behold, he speaks great things and blasphemes the holy things of the Lord!  

 

THE TIME OF HIS REIGN

 “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months” (Rev. 13:5).

Forty-two months.  What does this cryptic term mean?  It means simply that his allotted time is limited and his time is short. This is the language of symbols and has nothing to do with literal months and nothing to do with the number forty-two. Forty-two months is three and a half years — one half of seven. Seven is the number of fullness and completion. Forty-two months speaks of that which will not and never can come to the fullness of itself, it can continue for a season but not forever, it cannot ultimately triumph, for it is cut off — absolute imperfection. And contrary to much so-called fundamentalist and dispensational teaching it has no relationship whatsoever with either the first half or the second half of Daniel’s seventieth week.  Both scripture and history confirm the truth that Daniel’s seventieth week ended three and a half years after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus — long before John received his visions on Patmos. There can be no doubt about that!

The problem is that so few of the Lord’s people truly know the scriptures.  Consequently, the thing we base our eschatological views on, our “end-time thinking,” is a seven year tribulation period which we suppose to be somewhere out in the future.  So people ask us, “Are you post-trib, mid-trib, or pre-trib?”  What they mean is, “Is Jesus coming back before the tribulation, during the tribulation, or after the tribulation?”  And all of this they ask with great earnestness and with a straight face — as if any of those issues are even presented in the book of Revelation!               

It defies the context of the book as sent to, and written about, the saints, those who bear the testimony of Jesus Christ.  This “time period” is referred to in three different ways.  In some passages it is called “forty-two months.”  In other passages it is termed “a thousand two hundred and threescore (1260) days.”  In yet others it is spoken of as “a time, and times, and half a time.”  In Greek, however, all of these refer to the same duration of time — a period of three and a half years.

“But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under footforty and two months” (Rev. 11:2).

“And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months”(Rev. 13:5).

 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent” (Rev. 12:14).  

“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth” (Rev. 11:3).

“And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand three hundred and threescore days” (Rev. 12:6).

Here we have every reference in the whole book of revelation to the period of three and a half years!  If these passages denote a literal time period of three and a half years, how are we to understand them?  How could we ever conclude that they have anything at all to do with a “seven year tribulation?”  No matter how you add them up you can’t tell whether these five run consecutively, giving you five different periods of three and a half years, whether everything mentioned in each setting takes place concurrently, at the same time, giving you only one period of three and a half years, or whether you must add two groupings together to make a period of seven years; and if so, which events belong to the first half of the seven years and which events pertain to the second  half of the seven years!

All such teachings are pure speculation with no foundation at all in reality!  How much more blessed is the understanding that three and a half is simply one half of seven — signifying the broken seven — absolute imperfection and limitation.  Nothing of the broken seven can ever endure beyond its allotted time. It is destined to pass. It can never be the perfect, eternal order. The bestial system of man and the beastly nature of man are doomed!  They shall be destroyed, they shall pass away.  That is the message.  And that is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!   

If you want to understand the book of Revelation you must understand its symbols and numerology by comparison. It is a revelation, an unveiling! You find the old and the new — things that pass away, and new things that appear; from the old man to the new man, from the old mind to the new mind, from an old mark to a new mark, from the old name to the new name, from the old nature to the new nature, from the old song to the new song, from the old heavens to the new heavens, from the old earth to the new earth, and from the old Jerusalem to the new Jerusalem.  All the negative events of the book, tribulations, judgments, etc., reveal the great judgmental processes and dealings by which the Lord destroys and brings an end to all the old within us and in our world; all the positive events, songs, celebrations, glory, etc., reveal the ushering in the new!   It is indeed wonderful!

 

THOSE WHO DO NOT WORSHIP THE BEAST

“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).

It is interesting to note that in the genealogies of the Bible there are only two books which are identified:  (1) “the book of the generations of Adam” (Gen. 5:1) — all mankind is in that book, but it is a book of death — and (2) “the book of the generation of Jesus Christ” (Mat. 1:1). The phrase, “the book of the generation,” is an unusual expression.  It occurs only in connection with Adam and then in connection with Christ.  The book of the generation of Jesus Christ is THE BOOK OF LIFE!  It speaks of the life of Christ being generated, raised up and reproduced in us until we are fully like Him!

Every man’s name is written either in the book of the life of the Lamb, or in the book of the life of the dragon.  When we see the “life” of the dragon manifested we recognize it by the fact that we have been there, we recognize the dragon in his identity, name, and nature.  We experience this in our lives as we are growing in the things of God.  Line upon line and precept upon precept the deceitfulness and wickedness of our own carnal mind, our own heart, our own fleshly Adamic nature, is revealed to us by  the teaching of the word of God and the illumination of the Holy Spirit.  The depravity of the flesh, the corruption that is in the world, and the folly of religion are fully revealed to us and we come to know what is in man and what are the depths of Satan.

“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

That is the way it reads in the King James Bible, but that is not how it is in the Greek text.  The word “names” is not plural, it is not “whose names are not written in the book of life” but “whose name has not been written…”  It is a singular name!  As we read these words of truth, we must realize that name in scripture signifies a nature. There is only one name or nature which is not written in the Book of the Life of the Lamb, and that name or nature is Adam.  All who conceive of themselves as “just human” — that human nature has never been written in the Book of the Life of the Lamb! That is the name or nature of the first man who is of the earth, earthy. That nature and that identity of old Adam has never been written in the book of life. Rather, it is found written in “the book of the generations of Adam” (Gen. 5:1).  That is the natural man who receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (I Cor. 2:14). Adam’s mind is the carnal mind, which is enmity against God, and is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be (Rom. 8:7). That is not the Christ man, but the man who is put to death by Christ!  It is not a name of life, but a name of death.

The only thing that can happen to those who live out of human nature is to be purified by the fire, and our God is a consuming fire!  “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15).

This in mind, this is all a part of the revelation of Jesus Christ — that’s what the book of Revelation is all about! It tells you of the revelation of HIM. The breaking of the seals, the galloping of the horses, the blast of the trumpets, the sealing of the saints, the beasts, the heads and horns, the blood flowing, the battle of Armageddon, the vials, the judgments, the city coming down — all that is written in this book relates to the unveiling, the uncovering, the revelation of Jesus Christ in the lives of His elect in this great day of the Lord. This revelation has been taking place in measure throughout the church age. In that final passage even the King James Bible states that it was our names that were written in the book of life before the foundation of the world!  Can any doubt that this is also the correct rendering of the passage in Revelation 13:8?  That would certainly make the two statements agree!

 

AND I BEHELD ANOTHER BEAST

“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon” (Rev. 13:11).

We have discussed the first of two beasts, the beast which came up out of the sea. By the spirit of truth we understand that that beast which combined within itself the appearance of a leopard, a bear, and a lion, which had seven heads and ten horns, is the symbol of the BESTIAL WORLD SYSTEM OF MAN.  Now we are presented with a second beast! There is a definite relation between the first beast and the second beast. The full picture is just this. The second beast rises up out of the earth.  He is less formidable in appearance. First of all, his origin is not in the depths of the stormy sea, but from the more quiet and more stable earth. He strikes us as looking like a lamb, for he has two horns like lambs’ horns, yet when he speaks, he sounds like the awful red dragon.  And there is a very definite connection between these two beasts. Repeatedly this is indicated in the description John gives us. He exercises all his authority in the sight of, in the presence of, and even in behalf of the first beast.  All that he does he does both in the presence of, and with the approval of, the first beast. Therefore, one of the functions of this second beast is to collaborate with and augment the agenda of the first beast. And this soon becomes apparent!  For the second beast causes the inhabitants of the earth-realm to wonder after the first beast, to admire him, and to pay respect and homage (worship) to him. This second beast inspires men to construct an image of the first beast, in order to pay homage to the first beast through his image.  It is this - the second beast who causes all the admirers of the first beast to receive a mark which distinguishes them from those who refuse to worship this beast and his image, in order that they may be killed.

 

 

The Rise of the Antichrist!

And here we finally have it – yes the one and only – the most famous teaching in of all modern futurism. Nearly all Fundamentalist, Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Charismatic teachers have one thing in common when they approach this beast out of the earth; with one voice they identify this beast as the odious, fearful, universally-touted, and long-awaited ANTICHRIST!

Innumerable works have been written, countless sermons have been preached, and myriad tracts have been circulated on the subject of the antichrist. The one outstanding feature, however, which attracts one’s attention and which must be very perplexing to the average individual, is the confusion which exists, and which characterizes all such efforts.  Generally speaking, every scholar has a different doctrine, and every teacher a different understanding of who the antichrist is or will be.  And hence, as all the theories cannot be correct, all therefore must be wrong, perhaps with the exception of one.

For years teachers of the Word have been speculating upon the identity of antichrist and the date of his appearance on the world scene. Unfortunately, all these speculations have turned out to be mistakes, which mistakes have to be changed and revised continually to meet changing conditions. The church today is full of energetic and sincere preachers and teachers who are just full and bubbling over concerning things that are going to happen. They tell us that sometime, after certain events have transpired, or before certain other events will happen, there will be a super-deceiver who will arise to show great signs and wonders, gaining political power over all the nations  of earth, and ushering in a reign of terror and a time of tribulation unprecedented in the history of the world.

Let’s get to point right here and now though. Know this. All who truly receive the call to sonship and  revelation will cease listening to all the drivel pouring forth from the lips and pens of these carnal-minded deceivers.  Apart from the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God anyone with one eye and half sense should be able to figure out that their track record is not very convincing!  Every time there is movement in the Middle East they get a new antichrist!  The problem with putting the antichrist in the White House, or in Europe, or in Iraq, or in Russia, or in Israel, or some other place, is that as long as you keep him out there in the external realm of world events you never have to deal with him.

You see, once we realize that there really are only two men in the earth — Adam and Christ — the first man and the second man, the earthly man and the heavenly man, it shouldn’t be too difficult to determine which of these two men is the antichrist!  That gives you only two men to choose from, and that certainly narrows down the odds, doesn’t it!  In reality, the full truth runs much deeper than that, but that is certainly a very good starting point!

 

NO ANTICHRIST IN REVELATION!

The Bible teachers in the popular churches misinterpret the message conveyed in John’s vision of the beast out of the sea and the beast out of the earth! The beast out of the earth is not the so-called antichrist!  In fact, the word antichrist is not even found in the book of Revelation!  There is no evidence to support the practice of taking certain events in the Revelation and connecting them with what the scriptures say about “antichrist.” Yes you heard that right! There is NO SANE REASON to connect Revelation to the ANTICHRIST! Quoting verses from one book of the Bible and claiming that they correspond to statements in another book of the Bible does not constitute truth.  As we will see, the modern doctrine of antichrist is an amalgamation of biblical concepts and events that either are unrelated or find their fulfilment historically or spiritually.  This is why confusion persists!  Modern antichrist hunters are pursuing a figure who does not exist. The description they give of him is taken from passages other than those which actually speak of antichrist. Keep in mind that most modern-day Bible teachers mistakenly use the words antichrist and beast interchangeably, although there is absolutely no evidence for such a use anywhere in the Bible!  So generally, when a Christian hears the word antichrist he thinks of the beast in the book of Revelation. This is a mistaken and an absurd notion!  People hear things taught as gospel truth and though they don’t know where the scriptural proof for them is they assume they must be so.

What in fact does the Bible say about the antichrist then? You may be surprised!  As much as we have heard preachers speak on the subject of antichrist, one would be led to believe that the term is mentioned a thousand times in the Bible. The fact is, the antichrist is mentioned only five times in the whole Bible and not one of these five mentions of the antichrist is in any of the Bible’s prophetical books. Not one of them is in either the book of Daniel or the book of Revelation! The word “antichrist” is not found in the teachings of Jesus, neither do we find the word in the Old Testament.  What can we show from scripture, and what is mere speculation?  To find out, let’s think about all we have heard. According to what the preachers and teachers proclaim, antichrist is supposed to:

 Appear at the end of the age.

Rule the world for three and a half years as a good leader and three and a half years as an evil leader.

Make a covenant with the Jews

Rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.

Reinstitute temple sacrifices (first three and a half years).

Turn against the state of Israel, breaking his covenant (second three and a half years).    

Stop temple sacrifices (middle of the seven years).

Set up an image of himself and cause all to worship it.

Put a mark (666) on everyone in the world.

Start the battle of Armageddon.

Persecute the “Great Tribulation” saints.

Other misc. legends, depending on the school of thought.

 If you can accept it, not one of these ideas can in any way be associated with anything said in the four verses where “antichrist” is mentioned in scripture!  Not a single one!  And most are total fabrications!  We assume, because preachers and teachers play the same incessant drumbeat, that there IS an “end-time” tyrannical antichrist. But when one carefully examines “the alleged fact” of the one-man antichrist he is led to the astounding discovery that in fact there isn’t even any such thing! Search every page and chapter and verse and line, from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21, and you can find no trace of it in teaching, in prophecy, in parable, or in symbol.  The “super-man antichrist” is simply not found in the Bible!  That one reason is so good that we have no need to consider any others!

 

MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO

When we begin to see truth as revealed by the Spirit of Truth it is so dramatically different from what we have been taught that sometimes our first response is to think it is a heresy, a lie. The preaching of concepts like the rapture, seven-year tribulation, superman antichrist, one-world government, rebuilt Jewish temple, eternal hell and damnation, etc., has had such impact upon Christians everywhere, that they actually think those things are true. Yet such teachings scripturally have not a leg to stand on!  Christians have heard such a drum-beat of teachings about the wrath and judgment of God being poured out upon sinners and upon the whole world, that when one begins to share with them the glad tidings of God’s gracious redemptive and restorative plan for all mankind it’s just too foreign for their minds to grasp.

Remember, there was a time — only some 400 years ago — when the people of the world believed that the earth was the centre of the universe. The scientists Copernicus and Galileo observed the movements of the heavenly bodies and reached the conclusion, and Galileo was finally able to demonstrate, that the earth and other planets revolve around the sun, and not the sun around the earth as people believed. This was a daring thing to say in that day, it seemed completely illogical and absolutely contradictory to all external appearances, and was at first considered a dangerous and heretical teaching. Galileo was forced by the Roman Catholic Church to stop publishing his discoveries for many years. While today it is difficult for us to comprehend how deep and dark that ignorance was, it was the accepted scientific opinion for thousands of years! Five hundred years ago the whole world believed the earth was flat — until Columbus proved that it is round. It is so hard for man to change his mind!  And God’s people are no different!  The carnal mind is still enmity against God and “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:14). 

It is extremely difficult for carnal-minded Christians to receive spiritual revelation — so hard, in fact, that it takes a miracle! Yes you must be DRAGGED into the truth! The people esteem their ministers, trust their teachers, and accept everything they say as gospel truth without any personal examination.  What an awakening it is when through the dealings of the Holy Spirit we come to see that much of what we have been taught simply isn’t true!

Popular religion always has been wrong.  It still is. And it is so busy! God lead us onward and upward to “be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:14-15).

 

THE SHORT LIST

Anyway, we digress. Let’s look at every verse in the Bible which mentions antichrist by name. Don’t worry, it is a very short list. If you think there are others, get your concordance out and find them. Or read the whole book of Daniel and the entire book of Revelation and watch closely for the term antichrist. Ok, here we go!

“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (I Jn. 2:18).

“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?  He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son” (I Jn. 2:22.

“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come, and even now already is it in the world” (I Jn. 4:2-3).

“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.  This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (II Jn. 7).

That was easy! Hard as it may be to believe, that’s all of them!  There are only four verses in the whole Bible which mention the “antichrist” by name. That doesn’t fit with what we have heard about the antichrist at all, does it? That is every verse which mentions the antichrist!  And everything the Bible has to say about the antichrist is found in those four verses. Everything else we have heard is pure speculation and hyperbole!  Do these verses say anything about a beast? Do they say anything about a Great Tribulation? Do they say anything about a world government? Do they say anything about a mark or a number?  Do they say anything about a temple? Do they say anything about an image or about worship?  Do they say anything about a battle of Armageddon?  If they do, we really missed it!

 It is obvious from reading these passages that John had NO conception of some great individual at the end of the age rising up to a position of great power and all the world worshipping him.  His concept is clearly that there were MANY antichrists already in the world, just as they had been told that this was coming, and that whoever does not confess Jesus Christ coming in the flesh IS ANTICHRIST.  And that’s all there is!

 

 

Many Antichrists

Yes John, nearly two millenniums ago, wrote that as the coming of the antichrist heralds the last hour, therefore, since there were at that time “many antichrists,” this fact proved that he himself was living even then in the “last hour!”  And if he, John the beloved, saw many antichrists in his day, after only a few decades of progression into the church age, how much more may we today say that there are “many antichrists” after two thousand years of apostasy and shame, during which time the Holy Spirit also witnessed that “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (II Tim. 3:13). 

Indeed, how much more should we today expect to find the church full of these antichrists, since God also promised that in this same age “there will be a time when they will not endure wholesome instruction, but, having itching ears, will accumulate teachers for themselves, according to their own lusts; and they shall indeed turn away from the hearing of the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (II Tim. 4:3-4).

Yep, the truth is, that John saw MANY antichrists even in HIS day. Futurism bites the dust! And know this, the number has been increasing steadily, all through the years, decades, and centuries, until we now find ourselves surrounded with these men. But who are they, what are they, and how do we recognize them?

First, let us consider the meaning of the word. It comes from a compound Greek word made up of the preposition anti and the Greek word for Christ which is christos.  Anti is a Greek word meaning “opposed to” or “instead of” or both of these meanings. 

The Greek word christos means “anointed.” When anti is compounded with a noun signifying an agent of any kind, or functionary, the compound signifies a vice-functionary, or a functionary of the same kind opposing, or usurping the place of, or sometimes both. 

Some apply only the first meaning — a person “against” Christ. The Jews, pagans, communists, and members of non-Christian religions of all kinds have always been “against” Christ. But such a broad application of the word could not be what was meant by John. His description is far more specific than this!

When John spoke of certain people which were of the spirit of antichrist, he did not refer to all opposers of Christ. Instead, he referred to a certain class of people — apostates who were teaching things contrary to the reality that is in Christ. These were not openly against Christ, they were professing believers and apparent ministers of Christ! These were no longer in accord with those who abode in the truth as it is in Jesus, for John says of these antichrists, “…even now there are many antichrists… they went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be manifest that they were not all of us” (I Jn. 2:18-19).  

Therefore we find that John’s use of the word “antichrist” signifies not merely one who opposes Christ, but one who sets himself up in the place of Christ, appropriating some of the attributes of Christ, but substituting error in the place of truth, and form in the place of reality. No wonder the reformers denounced the Roman Catholic church and the papal seat as that of the antichrist!

Anything that is placed instead of Christ is literally antichrist. Have we not embraced and practiced a lot of religious attitudes, ideas, beliefs, doctrines, rituals, ceremonies, sacraments, ordinances, traditions, forms, means, and methods which have TAKEN THE PLACE OF TRUTH AND REALITY in our lives! These certainly contained bits and shades of truth and life, but they were NOT THE LIVING REALITY OF CHRIST WITHIN AT ALL!  They were shadow, but not substance; form, but not essence; works, but not power.  Any little form of substitution that detracts from His indwelling life is indeed ANTICHRIST!

Here is the truth. If at any time we accept an “instead of” rather than HIS WORD AND WILL AND LIFE WORKING WITHIN US, we have embraced that which is “antichrist.”  It is not merely that which is in direct opposition to Christ, but also includes anything which of itself might be good, but is used or relied upon instead of the inward life of the Spirit. And, the battle is not so much an outward one, but an inner conflict, until we are so cleansed by His refining fire, so purged of Babylon’s spirit and ways, that Christ in us becomes our only hope of glory! Praise God, the illuminating light of truth and the mighty dealings and processings of God in our lives are removing all these “substitutes” and “counterfeits,” reducing us to the true and only reality found in the living Christ. 

Church history is full of this counterfeit progression. After the short apostolic age had passed, men began to set themselves up as “lords” over God’s people in place of the headship of Christ. Instead of conquering by the power of the spirit and by truth — as in the early days — men began to substitute their ideas and their methods. Soon the glory and power, the presence of God in the morning-time church began to be eclipsed, and the power of carnal-minded men and outward works and forms gradually took the place of the awesome power of the Christ within. Consequently, man’s carnal understanding was put upon the scriptures, and as the spirit of Christ fled from their midst, men established a vast and elaborate system of substitutes to take the place of reality.  When one does not possess reality then something else will be used to fill the void — to take the place — instead of — an ANTICHRIST!

The powerful, mighty, glorious presence of the indwelling Christ was supplanted by endless ritual and ceremony, outward observances of feasts, holy days, communions, holy water, incense, sacraments, ordinances, shrines, relics, cathedrals, holy orders, seminaries, catechisms, robes, etc., etc.  The ministry could only teach and practice these things because they had lost the consciousness and presence of HIM.  As the blind led the blind the visions of the people were in error and darkness, the pure vision and experience of CHRIST LIVING AND REIGNING IN HIS PEOPLE BY THE SPIRIT was lost to them!

Some people will protest that nowhere in the New Testament is the expression “the antichrist” used. That, however, is a great error. It is true that the King James Bible does not refer to “the” antichrist — it speaks of antichrist, antichrists, and an antichrist. But the Greek text does not read that way at all. Out of the five appearances of the word antichrist two of them do have the definite article and should correctly be translated as “the antichrist.” This being the case, the apostle John tells us plainly, unambiguously, accurately, exactly, precisely, explicitly, and unmistakably just who the antichrist is! The notion that his identity is not known or cannot be known is ludicrous. It’s right there in the Book! 

Let’s read the correct translation from the interlinear word for word rendering from the Greek. 

“Because many deceivers entered into the world, who not confessing Jesus Anointed coming in flesh, this is the deceiver and the antichrist” (II Jn. 7, Emphatic Diaglott). 

There you have it!  Who is the antichrist?  The many deceivers who have gone out into the world, who do not confess Jesus Christ coming in the flesh — these very deceivers ARE THE ANTICHRIST! Can anything be simpler or plainer than that? As clear as this testimony is, John has given us yet another identification of the antichrist just as clear, certain, and powerful as the above. In I John 2:22 the Greek text reads, “Who is the liar, if not the one denying that Jesus is the Anointed one?  This is the antichrist, the one denying the Father and the Son.” 

Who is it, that denies the Father and the Son? Is it not first of all that old “natural man” or that religious “soulical man” who receives not the things of the Spirit of God, does not know them, and cannot know them?  

Yet — what does John really mean when he speaks of denying the Father and the Son?  Let us make no mistake about this! Fortunately, a little further on John himself enlarges on this statement so that we need not be left in the dark.

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.  Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: EVERY SPIRIT THAT CONFESSETH THAT JESUS CHRIST IS COME IN THE FLESH IS OF GOD: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and THIS IS THAT SPIRIT OF ANTICHRIST, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is in the world” (I Jn. 4:1-3).

Now let us get these statements clear in our minds. John declares an antichrist to be one who denies that Jesus is the Christ, which is denying the Father and the Son.  But how does he do this? BY NOT CONFESSING JESUS CHRIST COMING IN THE FLESH!  But what does this mean? It states that we know the Spirit of God by His confessing Jesus Christ coming in flesh. Does this mean that Roman Catholicism is the Spirit of God? It confesses that Jesus Christ was a man, born of a virgin. It confesses that He came in the flesh as a babe in Bethlehem. They even parade Him before the world hanging on a cross, crucified.  Millions of others around the world, representing every kind of religion and cult existing, including the religion of Islam, admit the same historical facts.  Do all of these represent the Spirit of God?

These verses obviously have a deeper meaning!  They are not considering the fact of Jesus Christ having lived on earth as a man. Any Christian will admit that Jesus Christ came as a man and lived on this earth.

 

 

IS Come!

The antichrist denies that Christ is come in the flesh.  And the profound truth which all of popular religion has missed, is the fact of the Christ actually coming into this flesh, my flesh, your flesh, and becoming an eternal and inseparable part of us!  Referring to the expression “is come” one Greek scholar points out that it is the Greek perfect, which implies not a mere historical fact, as would be the case if another tense were used, but a blessed continuance of the fact and its blessed effects. Here is the truth! Hear it!

 “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ IS (now) COME in the flesh is not of God: and THIS is that spirit of antichrist…YE are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is HE THAT IS I-N Y-O-U, than he that IS IN THE WORLD” (I Jn. 4:3-4). 

These words reveal to us the great truth that John, when speaking of confessing that Jesus Christ IS COME in the flesh, is referring to His coming in the members of His body on earth — and not in the historical man Jesus who walked the shores of blue Galilee so long ago. Every spirit that confesses not Jesus Christ now coming in flesh is antichrist, for it relies upon something other than the Christ within in the practice of its religion. All the religious self-righteousness, human good works, static creeds, lifeless ceremonies, fleshly organization, methods, and programs — do not all of them deny the Father and the Son, denying the Christ within, by substituting the wisdom and the ability of the flesh for the living word and divine power of the Christ within?  Oh, yes!

“Christ liveth IN ME,” Paul wrote to the Galatians. In the same book he says, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to REVEAL HIS SON IN ME…”  

And again in the same book he affirms,

“And because ye are sons, God hath SENT FORTH THE SPIRIT OF HIS SON INTO YOUR HEARTS.”  To these same saints he further wrote,

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until CHRIST be formed IN YOU.” 

Then to the saints in Colosse he wrote, “Christ IN YOU, the hope of glory.” 

To the Corinthians he testified, “But this treasure (Christ) WE HAVE IN EARTHEN VESSELS.”  

It cannot be denied — this is the Christ that is come in the flesh!  Isn’t it wonderful!

Oh, that men might believe it! Truly, Christ in us is our only hope of glory!  HE IS the glory!  But antichrist will hear of no such hope of glory. Anything that adds something to the Christ-life within, to fill some place or function in our lives that is not filled by THE LIFE OF CHRIST ALONE — is antichrist!  CHRIST HIMSELF IS SUFFICIENT!  This is the confession of every son of God, the confession that Jesus Christ Himself has come in our flesh. In the name of Jesus Christ, divorce yourself completely and forever from all the substitutes, the realm of the instead of — CHRIST WITHIN YOU IS ALL YOU NEED!  This is the Christ who was Jesus of Nazareth, but who now is the many sons of God in the earth! God is bringing many sons to glory and we are being conformed to the image of God’s firstborn Son.

There it is! Amazing! The Antichrist is not some demon possessed ruler, but the spirit that is in thousands of preachers and messages today, in that they deny the Christ that has now come in the flesh.

 

 

The Mark of the Beast!

There is but one more Christian myth we must put to bed before we close out this series and that is the mystery of the BEAST and his MARK. Let’s shake off the shackles of this futurist heresy and put all this spiritual symbolism into perspective also!

 “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads” (Rev. 13:16).

Straight away we must learn something important here.  A comparison of various scripture passages shows that the words “token,” “sign,” “seal,” “name,” and “mark” are used in the Bible as synonymous terms. Thus, “the SEAL of God in the forehead” (Rev. 7:3), “the Father’s NAME in the forehead” (Rev. 14:1), and “the MARK of the beast in the forehead” (Rev. 13:16) all indicate the same principle at work. In this case it is NOT some literal mark to be made in the flesh, but a state of being in mind and nature which serves as a “mark of distinction” between those who are GOD’S and those who are of the bestial religious system of man.

When God gave Moses instructions for the keeping of the Passover feast, He said, “And thou shalt show thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the Lord did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt. And it shall be for a sign upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the Lord’s law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the Lord brought thee out of Egypt (the beastly world system)” (Ex. 13:9). 

The keeping of the Passover was like a sign on the hand and forehead, a mark, a reminder that the law — the ways and nature of the Lord — should always be upon their lips and in their hearts and lived out in the conduct of their daily lives.

The deep and hidden mysteries of God are never discovered by the investigations or probings of the natural mind because they pertain to a realm beyond the reach of the natural.  This explains the mark upon the hand and the forehead - its not a little plastic card, nor a brand or a tattoo upon their flesh, nor a computer chip under their skin, but a taking into their MIND of the law of the Lord and a binding upon their hand — the OUTER ACTIONS — bespeaking the fulfilling of His law in all their doings.

Who among us would not willingly have our hand cut off or our forehead stripped of skin if anything so obvious and simple as that separated us from the glory of God?  Thus, in the book of Revelation two ways are revealed: the way of the SEAL OF GOD and the way of the MARK OF THE BEAST!  And each finds its reality in two areas — on the one hand, the seal of God in the “forehead” signifies the mind of Christ, and the seal of God upon the “hand” signifies the godly and spiritual way of doing things, in all outward actions.  

On the other hand, the mark of the beast in the “forehead” signifies the carnal mind, the beastly way of thinking, and the mark of the beast upon the “right hand” signifies the fleshly way of doing things, in all outward actions, especially religious actions.

Except in the case of left-handed persons, the “right hand” is the one generally used.  Certainly if one pays homage to the bestial religious system of man, he will lend a hand of assistance to that organization.  He will promote its programs, cooperate in its activities, be faithful in attendance to its gatherings, and support it with his money.  By doing this he receives the symbolic “mark” in his “right hand,” which is the hand of service.  By this course of action he reveals what sort of religious personality he is, and betrays thereby that he is not committed to a pure walk in the Spirit of God nor to service in the spiritual kingdom of God. 

The underlying principle is that if you want the religious system to “do business” with you, you must “do business” with it!  You must lend your best hand to its aid and maintenance, and make an open-face appearance, detectable in your personality, to show that you belong to it as your owner and master.

Therefore, we desire the seal of God upon our lives rather than the mark of the carnal, beastly nature of religion!  When one insists on living after the carnal guidance of the bestial system, he takes upon himself the mark of the beastly mind, which is spiritual death.  If one then lives in his outward actions out of that carnal religious mind-set and not after the revelation and leadership of the Spirit, he takes upon himself the mark of the beast in his right hand.  No man by carnal wisdom or soulical strength can do the works of God!  But to be spiritually minded and strong in the power of HIS MIGHT reveals the glory of the Lord in the land of the living!

How beautiful is the mark of the Father’s name upon the forehead!  Everyone who has that mark has overcome the other mark!  John makes this plain when he says,

 “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” (Rev. 15:2). 

Beyond any doubt this group standing upon the sea of glass is the same 144,000 that John previously saw standing with the Lamb upon mount Zion, for they, too, had the harps of God and had the Father’s name written in their foreheads!

 

BUYING AND SELLING

 “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Rev. 13:17).

Futurism persists with the literal horror stories of days now supposed to be impending, when for a very brief period of time (say three and a half years at most) the saints, who refuse to bear in their foreheads the number 666, will be prohibited from engaging in commercial transactions.

Sensationalism is always preferred to true spiritual understanding. The fact that many godly men are already in prison, or are prohibited from preaching the gospel in many parts of the world, means nothing at all to writers who either cannot or will not be persuaded that the book of Revelation is a symbolical and SPIRITUAL BOOK, intended to be SPIRITUALLY UNDERSTOOD; and that buying and selling, in the prophetical and spiritual sense, has a much more significant meaning than that of supermarket shopping!

You see, buying and selling in the spiritual sense has naught to do with the business of commercial trade. The prophet Isaiah faithfully exhorted the Lord’s people,

“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isa. 55:1). 

The prophet made it plain that he was not talking about worldly commerce or physical food, but about paying the price spiritually for the “milk” of God’s Word and the “wine” of His unspeakable joy and abounding Life. The wise man counselled:

“Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding” (Prov. 23:23). 

Literally speaking, we can neither buy nor sell the truth. Yet truth costs! While salvation is the gift of grace, attainment in the kingdom of God has a price tag attached to it. To “buy” the truth, or to “buy” wisdom, instruction, or understanding, means to pay the price to embrace and walk  in the truth, and I have learned through many years of experience that the “price” of truth is oft times to simply be willing to “give up” or “sell” an error!  Carnal nature must be “given up” or “sold,” exchanged for divine nature!  On another level, the “tuition” in God’s school of experience where one learns wisdom, instruction, and understanding, is sometimes very expensive!  To the church at Laodicea, which prided herself that she was rich and increased with goods and had need of nothing, but knew not that she was wretched, poor, blind, and naked, the Lord admonished, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich” (Rev. 3:18).

“Buy of me gold” means to pay the price for the divine nature of our Father to be brought forth in our lives!  “Tried in the fire” means that His nature has become an experiential reality within us through the processings of God.  It speaks of an intimate, direct encounter with God that causes all that is contrary to His nature to be consumed by the all-consuming fire of His Spirit, resulting in our transformation into the likeness of Christ. Our Lord has called upon His elect, the overcoming sons of God, to buy of Him this gold tried in the fire, that we may be rich!  Now there’s a “prosperity message” worth preaching!  Now we know what the true riches are! 

The riches of this world corrupt the spiritual man and prevent a manifestation of the true Life of God. The gold that we are to buy of Him represents a life that has been tried and tested, even as gold is refined, to bring forth the qualities of the Christ-life within all who are His called and chosen ones. The gold of which our Lord speaks is symbolic of the divine nature and the divine life of those who put on the Lord Jesus Christ.  The gold of the realm of the spirit represents the spiritual riches of the saints, for Christ said that we should buy this gold tried in the fire, “that thou mayest be rich.”  Therefore gold represents our true wealth!  Jesus pointed out to the multitude gathered at His teaching, “A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things that he possesseth” (Lk. 12:15).  How men seek after things!  The man, however who lives and walks in the attributes of God is a rich man indeed!  And he has paid a price to obtain his true wealth!

 “Selling” as a symbol, spiritually indicates the dealing out of truth, the ministering of the things of the Spirit of God, while “buying” typifies the acceptance of truth, the receiving of the things of God, regardless of the personal cost!

And is it not true that a man of God walking in the Spirit of the Lord and in the blazing light of heaven’s revelation, independent of all the man-made organizations, creeds, methods, and programs of religious Babylon, WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO LABOR AMONG THE CHURCH SYSTEMS, after the truth for which he stands becomes known, or until he should take their mark upon him by joining himself to them? And if he holds meetings  in the community, the members of the churches are often warned by  their leaders against “buying” — receiving — from this ministry because of his not having the mark or name of the beast. 

Their ministers are specially marked, for they come trained out of their theological seminaries with the stamp of their respective doctrine and traditions upon them and a license from the sect to engage in its ministry; and those not thus marked or designated HAVE NO PLACE AMONG THEM!  Even if there is not much difference in their beliefs and practices, still, a Methodist minister cannot pastor a Baptist Church, nor can an Anglican priest say mass at the Roman Catholic Church!  You must bear their mark! Whether a man is a man of God with a heaven-sent message matters nothing at all — you must bear the mark!

When you come out of Babylon, you must come out completely! Some of the us bring a few of the old concepts and ways over into this kingdom walk, keeping just enough of it alive so that it enables us to still buy and sell with the folks in the religious systems. Then some of us are just radical enough to make a clean sweep of it all!  This also reveals the manner in which the beast causes those who will not worship the image to be killed — an analogous killing; namely, an ecclesiastical cutting off, an excommunication or a repudiation — the absolute refusal to either “buy” or “sell” the things of God with you unless you take upon you THEIR MARK!

 

WISDOM AND 666

“Here is wisdom.  Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred three score and six” (Rev. 13:18).

Here is wisdom: Let him that hath understanding count. The wise king Solomon said, “Wisdom is the principal thing,” but, in the same verse he hastily added, “and with all thy getting get understanding” (Prov. 4:7).

Paul prayed for the saints in Ephesus, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ…may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation…the eyes of your understanding being enlightened” (Eph. 1:17-18).

HERE IS WISDOM: Let him that hath revelation count the number of the beast. It should be evident to all who read these lines that this, too, is wisdom: Let not him who has no revelation attempt to count (decipher the meaning of) the number of the beast!  What a word that is!

The key is this beautiful expression: “Here is wisdom.” If it’s wisdom we’re talking about, then it’s not philosophy, it’s not intellect, it’s not seminary training, it’s not mathematics.  Notice that our text does not say, “Here is a riddle; let him that is bright solve it,” but plainly states: “Here is wisdom.” Therefore we must have something different! 

Christ Himself is the truth and beside Him there is no truth. Christ is also the wisdom of God and the apostle tells us that HE is made unto us wisdom. Oh, yes!  Wisdom is a Person, and wisdom is a state of being. It is the state of being of the Christ-man.  Our knowledge of God and our understanding of the things of God depend entirely upon where we look. Paul penned these significant words to the saints in Colosse,

 “IN HIM are HID all the treasures of WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE” (Col. 2:3). 

If you are looking anywhere else beside Christ Himself to understand the mysteries, you are surely looking in the wrong place. Christ Himself is the great treasure house where all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are concealed and garnered up.  In Him, and in Him alone, are to be found all the rich blessings which wisdom and knowledge bestow! So Let’s approach this next segment with our spiritual eyes wide open!

Here is wisdom — Count the number of the beast. Why would that be wisdom? The word “number” means a fixed or definite amount.  It is also a limited amount, not more and not less than what is given. What is the significance of that? God has not placed upon His people a number! The scriptures reveal that God has placed a token, a sign, a seal, a mark, and a name upon His elect people — but never a number!  A mark, yes, but not a number.  A name, yes, but not a number. 

“To him that overcometh…will I give a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” (Rev. 2:17).

 “Him that overcometh…I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God…and I will write upon him my new name” (Rev. 3:12)

“And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads” (Rev. 14:1). 

But the beast HAS a number, and we are admonished to count the number of the beast!  And what is his number?  We all know that the number is six hundred sixty six — 666!   

No one who reads the book of Revelation with a spiritual mind can have failed to notice that the word “name” is far more than an appellative. It expresses the inner nature and state of being of the person to whom it is applied. Thus, the “beast” represents something wild and ravenous in nature, the “whore” denotes something unfaithful and impure, and the “Lamb” is one who is meek, pure, and self-sacrificing. The “name” of the Father expresses the character of Fatherhood, the “name” of the Son reveals the character of sonship, the “name” of the city of God which comes down from God out of heaven bespeaks the implantation of the divine nature and character into the life of the man or woman who is born from above. 

The understanding of “the beast” and “his image” and “his mark” comes only by the inner illumination that the Spirit brings. Yes, the fiercest beast upon this earth is the beast of old Adam’s nature, the carnal mind, the human consciousness, the seed of the serpent slithering about within our souls.  Yes, there is a beastly system which arises right out of this earthiness, yet the heart of our natural life is still deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? 

The truth is, we can never fully comprehend the reality to which the spirit of inspiration points until we compare this mark, this number in the forehead, with the very next verse — Revelation 14:1. Remember, in the original there are no chapter or verse divisions. It is a continuous flow, and no sooner does John finish with this mark, this number in the forehead of those who worship the beast and his image, than he says, “And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with Him an hundred and forty-four thousand, having His father’s name written in their foreheads.”  The contrast is between 666 and 144,000. That is the mystery! 

Yet, the number 144,000 is not written in their foreheads, only the Father’s name is written  in the forehead!  Six is the number of the natural man. 144,000 is the number of divine government.  In reality, twelve is the number of divine government, and twelve squared by itself and multiplied by one thousand is divine government brought to its absolute fullest, totality, and perfection!

The natural man is a beastly man, his power is the power of the flesh, his intelligence is that of the dust realm, his thinking is earthly, his nature is beastly, his ability and authority are limited, and all this describes not only the natural man but also the character of that religious system which rises up out of the soulical nature of this man. Six is the number of toil, works, self-effort, sweat, and fatigue. Proof?

 

THE NATURAL MAN

In that long-ago covenant of God with His earthly people He commanded them, “Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work.” Even earlier the Lord had told the sinful Adam, “Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee…in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return to the ground” (Gen. 3:17-19). 

The full week is not expressed in the six, but in the number seven. The seventh day is the day of man’s rest, when he rests as God rested, when he enters into God’s rest and rests with Him, thus experiencing ultimate unity, union, and oneness with God in the fullness of HIS LIFE. The seventh day was hallowed, made sacred.  In it man realizes his divinity, his divine nature, the new creation man — Christ. 

But the seven is lacking in the six! Therefore six speaks of the fullness of man, man in all his powers, but without God, apart from God! Have you ever wondered who it was that taught the world that every grave should be dug six feet deep? A common expression for stating that a man is dead is to say that “he is six feet under.” It is impossible to over-emphasize the importance of this fundamental truth: The natural man is a dead man — dead to God, dead to truth, dead to reality, dead to spiritual and heavenly life. 

In Adam he has descended into the classification of the lower creatures — the beasts.  And natural men, educated natural men, natural men with high degrees from prestigious universities behind their names — anthropologists, biologists, and scientists of various disciplines — are often only able to see the animalistic life of the natural man, and therefore espouse the unenlightened theory of evolution!  From the day of Adam’s fall until now his thoughts, his works, his inventions have only been beastly.

Six being the number of the natural man, and also the number denoting the toil, work, effort, sweat, and fatigue of that man, can we not see that 666 is the more than one-hundredfold accumulation of the number six, representing nothing other than the never-ending, never rest-attaining labour and toil of man’s own working, those self-consuming, self-destroying but non-attaining WORKS OF SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS which are the hallmark of all of man’s religion! 

The number 666 is therefore the symbolical number of all the false churches, all the self-driving, all the flesh-oriented programs, running, working, organizing, doing, doing, doing, but never coming under the leadership of the Spirit or the divine government of the mind of Christ!

So many people today are worrying about what the mark of the beast is going to be.  They themselves have taken that mark! The very fact of their not knowing what that mark is proves they have taken it, for only deceived people receive it! History reveals how that during the inquisitions and persecutions by the Roman Church in past centuries, many believers who would recant to escape torture or death were branded on either the hand or forehead, or both, with a cross, even as cattle are branded to denote ownership. But that visible mark, which allowed those who took it to live and carry on ordinary business pursuits, was merely an outward mark to denote that they now subscribed to and upheld the doctrines of Rome and the deceptions of the wild, ravenous beast. Bearing a more subtle form of the mark, the whole realm of organized Christianity today subscribes to those same kinds of doctrines, traditions, rituals, and deceptions in varying degrees.

Those who walk in carnal minds and dead-letter-of-the-word understanding of the things of God can never understand what the mark is!  Those imbued with the spirit and nature of the bestial religious system of man bear the mark of the beast but are completely devoid of understanding of what it is!  But HERE IS WISDOM: Let him that hath understanding COUNT the number of the beast!  Such understanding comes alone by revelation!  There are two marks — the mark of the Father’s name and the mark of the beast — and it takes a revelation to know either! 

 

SIX – In the Scriptures

And this is “counting” thing is not just whimsical speculation. Just look at the depths of this spiritual enigma as displayed throughout the scriptures. This is profound!

One of the earliest occurrences of the symbolic use of this mysterious number 666, is in the primitive case of the giant who defied the armies of the Lord in the days of David - Goliath of Gath. This man symbolized the bestial system of the world.  Goliath was six cubits (and a span) tall (more than nine feet). His spearhead weighed 600 shekels of iron. “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” asked David (I Sam. 17:26). 

David’s glorious victory over Goliath beautifully typifies the victory of Christ and His body over the bestial system. The persistence of the number six in the family as well as the stature and equipment of Goliath is one of the keys to the understanding of the “number” of the beast. Goliath had a brother of great stature who significantly had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot! (II Sam. 21:20-22). Such information is by no means coincidental, but the events were planned and orchestrated by the Spirit of God and are written for our instruction, learning, and admonition upon whom are come the ends of the ages!

The full significance of the number 666 however, is disclosed in the book of Daniel in the account of King Nebuchadnezzar’s great image set up in the plain of Dura, of dimensions sixty by six cubits.

 “Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold whose height was three-score cubits and the breadth thereof six cubits” (Dan. 3:1) 

Goliath grows in dimensions and in importance the nearer we get to New Testament times. The image on the plain of Dura  is ten times the dimensions of Goliath, and the number of the beast in Revelation, chapter thirteen, is ten times that of the image of Nebuchadnezzar!  The connection in history and prophecy is clear and certain.

Prior to the erection of this golden image King Nebuchadnezzar dreamed of a great image and was told by Daniel that the dream was a revelation from God of the course of human history from that time all the way down to the day when the kingdom of God should be established in the earth. The image Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream had a head of gold, and according to Daniel’s interpretation that head of gold was the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar himself!  “Thou art this head of gold” (Dan. 2:38). The dream-image traced the rise and fall of the four great empires of Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome, which dominated the civilized world, in succession, right down to the day when Christ came into the world and forever changed the course of history, establishing a kingdom among men which is eternal and heavenly and which therefore could not pass away, but must grow, develop, increase, and ultimately conquer and destroy all worldly power in the course of its redemptive, reconstructive, and transformative purpose.    

History reveals the accuracy of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s interpretation.  The image of world empire with all its power and pride was brought down to nothing by the power of the WORD OF GOD!  All this was clearly made known to Nebuchadnezzar, but rather than bowing before the majesty of the God of heaven who gave even him his authority and kingdom, his importance as the “head of gold” went to his head and he was blinded by his own importance and glory. Deceived by the falseness of his own heart he sought to grasp after the worldly glory that was his, and filled with delusions of grandeur he began construction of an immense image of gold which he set up in the plain of Dura. Its precise measurements — sixty by six cubits — showed  the impressive dimensions of his pride, as he modelled the image after the one in his dream, but instead of making the head alone of gold, he made the whole image of gold, usurping all the power and pride of all kingdoms UNTO HIMSELF!  He forgot the prophet’s warning — “Thou art this head of gold…the God of heaven HATH GIVEN THEE a kingdom, power, strength, and glory…” and lifted up his heart in self-pride, usurping the glory of God, taking that which was given by God and using it to his own ends and for the glorification of HIMSELF, requiring that all mankind should worship HIS IMAGE whenever they heard the music of his pretentious orchestra. The worship of the image meant in fact the worship of himself, who designed and built the image.

It is a horrible blasphemy against God to exalt the flesh and the world of man, in the place of God, and to take the high and holy things of God and use them for the promotion of SELF. And do not think for one moment, that the error of Nebuchadnezzar has not been repeated again and again throughout church history, and especially in this our day! Let’s face it. Do men desire the gifts of God to bring all glory to God, or do they covet them as a means of self-promotion and self-exaltation?  How is it that so many men who seem to have gifts from God soon become the centre of a little universe of their own where all roads lead to them and all fingers point in their direction?  Men not only want to gather temporal things about themselves, but they also crave to have eternal things for themselves and to possess them in themselves and for the benefit and glory of themselves. The carnal mind is an eternal enemy of God!  It is a beastly mind!  It refuses to become subject to the law of God, and indeed it is powerless to do so.  But it secretly desires the things of God, wisdom, righteousness, and power, so that it may be AS GOD.

The whole church system itself is not one whit different. At the present time the existing church system appears to be making significant gains all over the world.  Probably more people go to church than ever before in history, but, while numbers increase and costly buildings are erected in ever increasing and lavish profusion, while world-wide efforts costing billions are the thing of the day, Full well do they fulfill the words of Jesus spoken to the church of Laodicea,

“Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing: and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17). 

 

 

Conclusion

In today’s church culture, an image has been erected on the modern plain of Dura, by the modern king of Babylon, the image of the beast, and just as in Daniel’s day, the beast causes all who will not bow the knee and pay homage to this image of the beast should be killed — cut off. Thank God! There is in our day a remnant, a Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego company who refuse to bend the knee or to pay any homage to the beast or his image! The ultimate test for every son of God is just this: What will he do with what he receives from the Lord? Will he use it to his own ends, for his own profit and exaltation, or will he, like Abraham of old, offer it as a sacrifice upon the altar of full obedience to God? Every man and woman who has received the call to sonship will sooner or later face this test, and how he or she deals with it will determine whether he or she stands in his or her place among the manifest sons of God or whether he or she becomes  just another one of the many antichrists.   

The self-exalting spirit is not the Spirit of God — it is the spirit of the golden-gilded monstrosity of Babylon. By it millions are deceived to flock to the charisma of covetous men. If you will listen to these modern-day Nebuchadnezzars, these self-appointed kings of Babylon, you will seldom see the humility of God’s Christ, but the showmanship and arrogance of one who purports to be the very power of God. It is given them to give life unto the image of the beast and cause the image of the beast to speak. This image speaks great swelling words, professing to be some specially chosen vessel, commissioned to bring the gospel to the whole world in these last days. To listen to their glowing reports and exaggerated testimonies one would be led to believe that just about the whole world is turning to God and marching to Zion. 

Yet know this; if their human effort, their public relations companies, their monthly fund-raising letters, their begging for money, their lavish fund-raising seminars in the world’s plushest resort hotels, and their abominable gimmicks were taken away, their programs would collapse before year’s end!

Remember, on that distant day upon the plain of Dura Nebuchadnezzar’s image of gold was sixty cubits high and six cubits wide. Throughout the book of Revelation the number seven is prominent as the sacred number of completeness and perfection.  The contents of the book opened by the Lamb is contained under seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven vials — a trinity of sevens.

 It is in this book that the “number” of the beast is also represented as a trinity of sixes, and the contrast, as well as the intrinsic meaning of the number, intimates, that whatever else it may be, it is a perfect number of imperfection, or rather a number denoting perfect or absolute imperfection. In the Bible the number six refers to man - is uniquely a human number.  Man was created on the sixth day, man’s appointed days of labour and toil are six, the Hebrew slave was to serve for six years, and for six years the land was to be sown. Six is the number of man’s unredeemed nature, old Adam - THE FLESH!  The 666 is then, as it were, the number six swollen, blown up - in its greatest potency  and yet, when increased to the uttermost, it is still no more than six - FLESH!  Human nature, that is, the natural man, old Adam, always falls short of the sacred number seven, the fullness of divine power, glory, and perfection.  And try as it may, it can never be more than the lesser six - which is also the broken twelve - the broken government of God! It is therefore the rule of the flesh!

The number then is important, not the name. We are never actually given the “name” of the beast, but we understand the name by the number of the name. We listen to the words, “His number is six hundred sixty six,” and we have enough to make us tremble. It is flesh raised to an exceedingly high level of manifestation!  In this number there is a depth of perverseness, pride, presumption, self-righteousness, religiosity, deceit, carnality, and shame which no one can “know” except him to whom it is revealed by the blazing light and deep searching of the Spirit of God.  David, understanding something of the awful depth of the wickedness of the human heart cried out,

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23-24).

Perhaps now the enlightened mind can understand how it is that from the very beginning, when Adam was banished from the blessed garden of God, six has been the number of man’s labour apart from God’s rest!  And how man labours! The carnal mind is always contriving new ways to work “for” God. In this hour we are continually being admonished to “get involved,” get involved in politics, get involved in the church programs, get involved in community activities, or in a hundred different things.  “Christians should be involved!” they say. The church system is crying for people to become involved in her activities, and her programs are legion, but in all this cry for involvement we hear very little being said about GETTING INVOLVED WITH GOD! 

The Lord’s command to the apostles was, “Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” In simple language this means to do nothing until you are so yielded to God that He can work THROUGH YOU! The firstborn Son of God said that He did only those things He saw His Father do, and spoke only those words He heard from His Father. Does that not explain why He spent thirty years in Nazareth, the place of no good thing, doing nothing so far as His sonship ministry was concerned?  Ah, He was not really doing nothing, for He was growing in stature, and in wisdom, and in favour with God and man. He was becoming!  The Father was not showing Him any great works or speaking to Him words to be uttered in the hearing of men. He waited for the “time” of His showing to Israel, and until that day His only “involvement” was with His Father!

In the conduct of Church meetings all around the world today, where is the Lordship of Christ to be found?  The truth is that today the Lord rarely controls a service, and the influence He exerts is very small. We sing of Him, clap to Him, and preach about Him, but He must not interfere; we will worship our way, and go through our time-honoured forms, rituals, and ceremonies, and it must be right because we have always done it that way, as have the other churches in our sect.  And those in the so-called “move of the Spirit” and “sonship” and “kingdom” walk are generally not much further advanced. 

Doesn’t everyone know that a meeting must begin with a few choruses, followed by singing in the spirit and a brief season of worship, and then is the time for a prophecy or two?  A few more choruses, a little more worship, prayer, announcements, offering, and the sermon, following which the pastor or guest minister gives an “altar call” and/or operates in his “gift.” 

Don’t be deceived, we have created our very own little pattern, our unique little form, our “Spirit-led” SYSTEM!  Surely, beloved, we cannot miss the obvious “number of his name” in all of this - 666 - flesh, FLESH, F-L-E-S-H!   Oh, yes, even in the high places of God the flesh grasps after the things of the Spirit for the promotion of SELF. The carnal mind is always desirous of spiritual gifts. It likes to appear honoured of God and accepted. That is why there are so many false prophets, false teachers, false healers, and false miracle workers in the world.  Men who love people to think they are the great power of God will, in spite of all their apparent wonders, hear God tell them on that day, “I never knew you!”  “I was never intimately acquainted with you!”

This whole series has been about our INWARD journey towards sonship and election. The beast out of the earth is the religious system that arises out of the soulical nature of man – the system we are walking away from! While we once looked about for a laser-tattooed identification number, or a microchip in the forehead to be the “mark of the beast” - was it not truly there for us to see all along, for John plainly told us, “HERE IS WISDOM.  Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast; for it is the NUMBER OF MAN and HIS NUMBER IS SIX HUNDRED, THREE SCORE AND SIX.” 

In the case where a number is used to denote the characteristics or the nature of a thing, the article is unnecessary. With this understanding the statement, instead of being an insoluble puzzle, becomes perfectly clear. The number of the beast is the nature of the beast, and the number 666 is shown to be the NATURE OF MAN!  Not “a” man, but MANKIND — ALL NATURAL MEN!  It signifies the measure of man, that is, his inward state of being manifested by his outward actions, and how these are perceived by those about him.   As the wise man wrote, “I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, that they might see that they themselves are beasts” (Eccl. 3:18).

“Here is wisdom - let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast.” 

The one who is wise is the one who within himself has this living understanding that the nature of the beast is also the nature of man!  Therefore, the nature or character of “religion” and the carnal church system is — FLESHLY!

The power that initiates this marking of all mankind with the bestial nature is the dragon — that ancient serpent who is the devil and Satan. Can we not see by this that it was in Eden that the mark was first impressed upon mankind!  The terrible truth is that a man with no God-consciousness, having never been quickened by the washing of regeneration, walking only in his own carnal understanding and perceptions, obeying the animal instincts that lurk in his members, that man, we can say, in the quality of his life is no better than a beast!

The mark of the beast is already in the forehead of the old natural human identity.  The moment we fall back into the old carnal, earthly, natural, human, Adamic way of thinking about ourselves and the world, and act out of that mind-set, the nature (mark) of the beast is manifest.  Does this not show that any literal mark applied by man has no power whatever to either add to, or take away from, that which is already there?

In times of such ever increasing deception and apostasy, even in the darkness of this dread day all creation is standing on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of God’s sons coming into their own!  That’s us we all hope! And truly we ourselves do groan within ourselves, waiting for the hour of unveiling, the manifestation of the sons of God! Yes “the beast” truly is us! And let us not forget the “false prophet” also for that matter! This “false prophet” and “the beast” share the same fate.

“And the devil, the one deceiving them, was cast into the lake of fire and of sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet also are; and they will be tormented day and night to the ages of the ages.” (Rev 20:10)

Just quickly - what is the “false prophet” anyway? The false prophet represents all the false religious beliefs from Mystery: Babylon the Great. The kings of the earth, and their armies, all represent the lies, false teachings, and carnality within us that are making war against Him (Christ). It is all symbolic. That’s why they share the same fate – the carnal beastliness of man and his carnal religiousness go hand in hand! This war takes place in the heavenlies of our minds! Yet Christ within us is surely the hope of glory.

Let us walk this journey together in encouragement and persistence. No-one said it was gonna be easy – Do you see the path before you? Do you see the Christ high and lifted up upon the throne in your temple? What part does He have in your life?  “Oh,” some say, “I am a member of the church. I attend its services, I take its communion, I participate in its outreaches, I sing psalms, I have had hands laid on me, I have gifts of the Spirit, I prophesy, and I believe in miracles!” You can have all these things and never see Christ!  When we see Christ, neither heaven above nor earth beneath can find terms grand enough to express the wonder of His presence, or the miracle of His transforming power that comes into our lives with His Word, or the hope of His sonship revealed within us, for in seeing Him we are eternally changed into His very own image in ever increasing splendour and from one degree of glory to another!  Oh, the wonder of it! “Walk on” as the song says – do not be dismayed or discouraged in this often lonely journey – WALK ON!

 

 

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