Devils despise doctrine-sound, biblical based doctrine that is. If they can’t destroy our understanding of and faith in it, they will try to twist and use it against us or minimize and obscure its importance in our relationships.
Yes, some truth matters more than others. All truth, however, is important because God is truth. Truth isn’t God, but we can’t forget that Jesus is not only the way, he’s also the truth.
Let us never forget; no truth equates to no fellowship! Shallow, milky truth means a shallow relationship with both God and others. Deep, meaty truth brings depth to these relationships.
Consider the words given to us on the subject of relationships with God and others through our beloved brother John:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us; That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:1-10)
I continue to be shock and awed. Shocked by professors of the Christian faith who neglect and reject truth. Shocked by the number of blatant errors I find in traditional “conservative evangelical” bible teaching and the careless attitudes toward it. Awed by the supernatural ability of the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to truth when we unselfishly and wholeheartedly seek it.
The believer’s enemy will try to dissuade them from seeking the whole truth. He will get spiritual and claim that one should be seeking God rather than truth. He’ll play the gospel card and order us to just preach the gospel and forget everything else. When reminded that God is truth and our fellowship depends on walking in the light of His truth, the enemy can shape-shift and begin accusing us of being lost in a cold, academic head knowledge of God rather than saved in a warm, daily, personal experience with him. Sometimes all the enemy has to say is that a certain belief isn’t true because it’s radically different from what approved authorities have always believed. If that argument doesn’t work, the enemy may agree that the teaching is true, however, he will argue that it’s not worth the trouble, conflict and rejection to choose to believe it.
In light of this introduction I’d like to share one of my latest studies in the book of Revelation with you. It teaches some things that I’ve found a bit difficult to accept at first, however, after much consideration I’m convinced of their truth. The subject under consideration is the image of the beast or the image of the beast as used in the Revelation.
Image of the beast; Image to the beast
The word beast used figuratively in Revelation 13:1 is the neuter gendered Greek noun therion indicating that the beast isn’t a person, but an entity. The beast out of the sea is a dangerous, brutal, savage, global empire.
The figurative phrase, the sand of the sea, is used numerous times throughout scripture to refer to an innumerable population. In the context of Revelation 13:2, the word sea highlights that this beast kingdom will be global in nature encompassing the mass of humanity on earth’s seven continents.
Numerous parallels exist between the fourth kingdom of Daniel 2, Daniel 7 and the beast out of the sea kingdom Revelation 13.
First, in the context of the final judgment to occur following the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, Daniel 7:9-11 and Revelation 19:19-20 teach that both the fourth and final kingdom of Daniel 7 and the beast of Revelation 19 experience a burning death.
Second, Revelation 13:2 and Daniel 7:7 say that the beast out of the sea and the fourth kingdom of the last days will have ten horns. Daniel 2 says the two feet of the fourth and final global kingdom will have toes; meaning ten toes.
Since the prophecies of Daniel Chapter 2 and Chapter 7 are concerned with the fourth and final beast kingdom prophesied in Revelation 13, Daniel 7:7 helps interpret the meaning of the image of the beast.
Daniel 7:7 states:
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
According to this prophecy, the fourth beast kingdom devours non-integrating countries, breaks them in pieces, and stamps the residue or the remains of those countries with its feet.
Images can be stamped on things. The word stamp means to impress or imprint with a mark. The fourth and final beast kingdom divides, conquers and occupies new lands in order to stamp or impress its image or likeness upon them.
Concerning the significance of this image of the beast kingdom, the word image (eikon) means manifestation; a representative or derived likeness. It’s used in Matthew 22:20, Mark 12:16 and Luke 20:24 to refer to likeness of Caesar’s face stamped on a Roman coin. Since the beasts of Revelation 13 are kingdoms, not people, the image of the beast refers to the representative likeness of the fourth and final kingdom of Daniel and the beast out of the sea kingdom of Revelation 13:1-4.
This likeness is economic in nature. The crowns on each of the individual ten horns of the beast out of the sea kingdom of Revelation 13:1 reveal that each of the ten nations maintains its own governing authority within the greater global kingdom. The unity of the fourth kingdom; the beast out of the sea kingdom, lies in a common economic system; not in a common political philosophy or system. The fourth kingdom of Daniel is a global economic dictatorship. (Daniel 2:41-43; Revelation 13:14-18)
Revelation 13:15 speaks of the worship of the likeness or representative image of the beast. It relates this worship to individuals being marked in the right hand or forehead. (Revelation 14:9; Revelation 14:11; Revelation 15:2; Revelation 16:2; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:4)
This marking will be a requirement for buying or selling in the global economic system of the fourth and final global kingdom. (Revelation 13:16-18)
The mark or common image stamped upon individuals and their nations, marking them as a member of the fourth and final global kingdom, is their means of connectivity to the global economic system of the beast kingdom.(Daniel 2:40-44)
An electronic global economic system will require an electronic mark to identify integrated members. Receipt of an interoperable electronic identification mark will require members of the global community to serve and support the image of the beast kingdom in which they live and work. They will be world servers; people living for and worshipping the global village.
The image of the beast is a blasphemous image consisting of antichristian values, beliefs and practices. Disguised as light, the image is really darkness void of biblical faith and truth. Throughout the entire earth, all people will be required to “make an image to the beast” or they will be killed. (Revelation 13:14-15) In order to buy and sell in the global economy, people will be required to receive the mark of the beast in conformance with the global rule set for economic transaction enforced by the beast out of the earth; the little horn kingdom led by the false prophet Antichrist. Each integrated nation made in the economic image of the greater global beast kingdom will command that those refusing to mark themselves as an integrated member of the global economic system be executed. (Revelation 13:15)
True spiritual worship is serving God in spirit and truth in everything we do; not just in public gatherings. (1 Kings 8:6; Deuteronomy 4:19, 8:19, 11:16, 30:17; Matthew 4:10; Romans 12:1; Revelation 9:20)
False worship adores and honors abominable character. God strongly denounces doublespeak that honors dishonorable character, puts a positive spin on evil, and whitewashes darkness. (Isaiah 5:20; Proverbs 24:24-25)
Both the beast kingdom and its image will be worshipped. Worship of the beast kingdom and its image means serving it. The beast kingdom is a one world system in opposition to God and the saints. Its friends are God’s enemies; even if its friends profess to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17; Revelation 13)
It should be obvious from scripture that the evil government of the fourth and final kingdom under Antichrist should be exposed; not supported as an honored and respected friend. Some professing Christians, however, have been duped into believing the nonsense that honoring by quietly submitting to all governing authority gives them a protective umbrella of authority and may fear negative repercussions if they get out from underneath their umbrella.
“Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” (Isaiah 2:22) Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool. (Jeremiah 17:5-11)
Out of concerned love, truth should be spoken to expose government evils. God denounces partiality in relationships. (James 2:1-9) The Lord Jesus Christ didn’t show partiality to civil authorities. (Luke 13:32) Yes, the scriptures teach that all people, including civil authorities, are to be honored. (1 Peter 2:17) Honoring someone, however, means treating them with dignity as a valued human being made in God’s image. It means humbly relating to them in love, mercy, truth and justice. (Micah 6:8) It means leaving vengeance with God and the proper channels of justice he’s established for avenging rogue governments failing to uphold their God-ordained responsibility to do good, not evil. (Numbers 31:1-3; Deuteronomy 32:35; Deuteronomy 32:43; Romans 12:17- 13:5; Matthew 5:38-39; Psalm 94; Hebrews 10:30; Revelation 17:16-17; Jeremiah 51:11; Revelation 18:20)
The foolish idolaters, however, treat an abomination with supreme respect and fawning veneration. (Proverbs 26:8) This expresses worship of both the abomination; as well as the satanic power responsible for the destructive nature of the abomination.
Revelation 13:4 speaks of the worship of the beast as follows:
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?
This scripture pictures a deluded lost world fawning in worship of both the global superiority of the beast kingdom’s military strength and the false god behind its military prowess, Satan.
In Revelation 13:5 a mouth is given to the beast kingdom of Revelation 13:1. This mouth is Antichrist the false prophet, the leader of the little horn nation. He speaks on behalf of the world’s foremost military power, the beast kingdom of Revelation 13:1. According to Daniel 11:38, the false God of Antichrist is the god of forces. Forces refers to power for war such as costly military arms and troops. The false prophet deals primarily in war as a blasphemous warmonger. According to Revelation 13:4, in marveling, praising, supporting and admiring the supreme military power of the “United States of the World”, the global beast kingdom, one is in actuality worshipping the devil and the god of forces spoken of in Daniel 11:38. Likewise, in receiving the mark of the beast and participating in the economic system maintained and spread by the military power of the beast kingdom, people will be spreading, supporting, serving or worshipping the image of the beast and along with it the devil and the god of forces.
More studies on the terms and concepts of bible prophecy like this can be found at http://www.escapebabylonsdemons.com/Glossary_of_Terms.html