beasts

3 angels with interlinked message

The Eternal Gospel

Revelation Revisited Post 49

Humanism and Religion work together in an unholy partnership to oppose the church and to bewitch and control the world. Opposing them stands the church proclaiming an Eternal Gospel.

Humanism, (the sum of science, medicine, philosophy, economics, technology, military power, politics, and hedonism), delegates its authority to Religion (the sum of The Occult, New Age Mysticism, World Religions, Cults, and Apostate Christianity). Religion, in turn, endorses Humanism and acts as its prophet and miracle worker.

Those who are not sealed by the Holy Spirit as born-again followers of Jesus bear the mark of Humanism and Religion; they live by the principles, values, and priorities of the world rather than those of the Kingdom of God.

Chapter 13 of Revelation describes these two beasts that oppose the church and so what would we expect to find described in Chapter 14? The church of course! And here is how the church of the Lord Jesus is described:

Religion and Humanism*  It is composed of all Jesus-followers both in Heaven and on Earth, and also those Old Testament saints who lived by faith in the coming saviour. I have already shown in a previous post how 144,000 is a numeric shorthand for the full body of believers.

*  The believers who make up the church bear the name of the Father and the Son and they sing a ‘new song’ of praise before the throne of God.

*  They do not defile themselves with the idolatry of religion. In the book of Revelation both the true church and the false church are depicted as women. The latter is also referred to the Whore of Babylon.

*  True believers follow Jesus!

Revelation 14:6-13 describes three angels who proclaim ‘the eternal gospel’. This is the message the church is commissioned to proclaim on earth through all ages but with particular power and focus in the Last Days. This Eternal Gospel consists of three interlinked messages:

Revelation Revisited In Article Image“Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come!” Revere, honour and adore God, the creator of all that is.

“Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!” Religion, the great deceiver of the world is defeated and ruined.

“If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the head, he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury.” The message is very clear – religion is worthless, God alone is to be worshipped, and anyone who lives by the values of the world (humanism and religion) will be judged.

John draws a stark contrast between the people of God and the people of the world and then cautions that the ongoing clash between these two groups will call for ‘patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus’ (Revelation 14:12).

Then John ends this section of the chapter, as I shall end this post, with the words of a voice from heaven which saying, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labour, for their deeds will follow them.” (Revelation 14:13)

 

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Beastly Sea

Two Beastly for words

Revelation 13 Beast

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and perhaps that is one of the reasons why John linked the book of Revelation to the star sign pictures in the heavens. For instance, look at this depiction of the constellations of Aries, Taurus, Cetus, and Orion; what a story it tells.

Star chart

Orion, a star picture of an angel of the Lord, confronts two huge beasts, one a land beast (Taurus) and the other from the sea(Cetus). Right between these two monsters is a small ram, who’s ancient name, Taleh, actually means ‘the lamb’. This picture almost says it all, doesn’t it?

I wrote about Orion in my posts on Chapter 10, but here in Revelation 13 the focus is on the two beasts. Let’s explore the first beast: John describes the first of these as ‘coming out of the sea’. It has 7 heads, representing nations, rulers, institutions and the like, and 10 horns representing power and authority. Cetus, the beast from the sea, represents worldly power and authority and so the label I attach to him is ‘humanism’, the sum of science, medicine, philosophy, economics, technology, military power, politics, and hedonism. The physical description of this beast as being part leopard, part bear, and part lion comes from Daniel’s prophecy concerning three major world powers of the ancient world (Daniel 7:1-7) and John notes that their power and authority are given by the dragon, Satan.

Revelation 13:3 contains a detail that has provided endless stretches of imagination for many commentators: ‘One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the wound had been healed.’ Fanciful explanations have ranged from State presidents who have survived assassination attempts, like Regan, to Gorbachev who is unfortunate enough to have a red gash-like birthmark on his head. However, it is far more in keeping with the purpose and style of Revelation to understand this verse as a reference to the hydra-like nature of humanistic powers. For instance, the USSR fell apart as surely as the Berlin Wall, yet we are currently observing how Russia is once again becoming a power player on the world stage. Humanistic ideas, institutions, and forces don’t die out, they simply re-brand themselves.

Unregenerate  mankind worships the beast of Humanity and its master the devil (Revelation 13:4), and their blasphemous hymn of praise, “Who is like the beast?” is a parody of Exodus 15:11 and Psalm 89:8.

Think for a minute on the sources of truth and authority drawn on by the majority of people – science, philosophy, the military? And their sources of power are economics, technology, and politics. Although they wouldn’t own to this, don’t these people, in reality, worship at the altar of humanism?
The 42 months during which this beast exercises its demonic authority is the church age, from the first to the second coming of Christ as described in THIS post.Revelation 13:7 is set within this context and states the unpalatable idea that humanism has the power to conquer the church. Of course, when we consider this carefully, there is no real surprise here. The world seemed to conquer Jesus when the Romans crucified Him, but Jesus rose from the dead! Again, the world seemed to conquer the early church when Saul hunted down Christians wherever he could find them, but all the persecution did was to scatter Christians all over the known world and to spread the Gospel through them. John’s final comment on the beast from the sea’s assault on the church is; ‘This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints’ (Revelation 13:10b).

In my next post, I want to describe the other beast, show you the relationship between them, and perhaps include some information on the infamous number of the beast!

 

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.