Monday, December 28, 2009

Revelation 13:10-13

Verse 10 “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”

If there is any question that verse 9 was speaking to Christians, now we have confirmation. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. We are the saints. Here is where we must practice unbelievable patience, as we endure all of this before we will see the Lord return. Here is where our faith will be put to the ultimate test. Here is the trying of our faith to purge and refine us.

As for the first part of the verse it says that those who are capturing and killing people will find themselves on the other side of the fence, and what they have done to others will be done to them. Part of the patience of the saints is not only waiting and enduring, but realizing that there will be justice meted out to those who hurt and kill us. They will suffer the same fate, only theirs will ultimately be eternal.

Verse 11 “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.”

We have already seen the first beast, the one we will know as the antichrist or anti-messiah. (The words Christ and Messiah mean the same thing - anointed one.) He will be a false savior - not necessarily a false Jesus Christ. Now we see a new beast which has two horns like a lamb. This person, as will be seen in later verses, is called the false prophet. What is interesting here is that to date, most prophecy teachers say that this will be the pope, as many feel that the Catholic church is the whore and that the pope will be the one to get people to worship the antichrist. The way the Catholic church seems to be unifying many religions of the world, it is easy to see why this is thought. Even the Catholic church teaches (in St. Malachy's prophecies) that their last pope will be called Pope Peter and will be the antichrist. I will not categorically say that the last pope being the false prophet is wrong, but having seen how the Muslim connection fits Scripture so much better, I think there may be another explanation here.

What seems puzzling in the verse is that this new beast, who is not the antichrist but the false prophet, is said to have two horns like a lamb. Earlier in Revelation we see that a description of a lamb with horns (albeit seven ones) is a description of Jesus Christ. This second beast is not supposed to be the one known as antichrist, and yet the description of a lamb with horns implies a false Christ, which is what we think of when we think of the term antichrist or anti-messiah. This is where an adjustment of thinking must take place. We have been programmed to think of someone posing as Jesus Christ when we think of the term antichrist, but what we should realize is that the term means "against the anointed one." It does not necessitate that the antichrist will pretend to be Jesus Christ. When looking at the Muslim prophecies, we saw that their Mahdi or messiah has a false prophet, namely a prophet named "Jesus." Muslims believe that Jesus Christ was a prophet of God, but not the Son of God or God incarnate, and they do believe He is coming again. They just believe that He will be a Muslim and will tell everyone to worship the Mahdi, which is exactly what this false prophet in Revelation does. This interpretation would seem to align with the Scriptures far better than the pope, considering the lamb with horns metaphor. The reason this second beast is a lamb with horns may not merely be because he is a religious figure, but because he is someone who is literally pretending to be Jesus. To finish off the verse, naturally he will speak as a dragon, because the dragon is his master and will give him the words to speak and the miracles to perform.

Verse 12-13 "And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men."

Now it can be seen that this possibility of the false prophet being the Muslim Jesus fits really well into the scenario. This false prophet exercises all the power of the first beast. He is the antichrist's right hand man, or the Mahdi's right hand man and has the same authority and power, because he is also under Satan's authority. People would expect a returning Jesus to have power and authority (over the elements) as he did before, and would not question it if "Jesus" told them to worship a new Messiah. The New Agers, who believe in a "Christ consciousness" that has come upon different people through the ages, would believe him. The Muslims would naturally believe him. The Jews have always expected two Messiah's, Mashiach ben Joseph (a suffering messiah) and Mashiach ben David (a kingly messiah). Some Jews might accept this Jesus as having been the Mashiach ben Joseph, but they are looking for a Mashiach ben David to come and reign, so they would not have a problem with two different Mashiachs and they (although I think it would be few) might possibly worship him. Others would be convinced by the miracles he is performing and would do as he says and worship the beast. For those who are still skeptical, coercion will be used to make them worship the first beast.

[As a side note, this Jewish belief in two Messiahs makes the question that John the Baptist, when he was in prison, asked of Christ more understandable. He was not doubting Christ's authenticity and having a crisis of faith as some teach. Matt. 11:3 "And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another." Remembering that John the Baptist knew from the womb (when he leapt in his mother) that Mary's child was the Messiah, and saw the dove descend upon Jesus at his baptism, he had to have known unquestionably that Jesus was the Messiah. His question was not necessarily about Christ's authenticity as to His claim, but as to whether Jesus was the one and only Messiah - both ben Joseph and ben David - or whether he was the first one (ben Joseph) and they were to expect another one (ben David) in the form of another person entirely.]

Here again, the use of miracles by not the antichrist, but the false prophet, would seem strange were the false prophet the pope and the antichrist a Christ imposter. However, (a false) Jesus would be expected to perform miracles, as had been done before when Jesus was here the first time. The Mahdi would not be the one expected to do the miracles. Jesus would. And indeed, this seems to be the way things will be happening, as it is the false prophet performing these miracles on the antichrist's behalf. In fact, one of the miracles is a sort of repeat of the supposed miracle at Fatima. This is a report of what happened then. "The sun, at one moment surrounded with scarlet flame, at another aureoled in yellow and deep purple, seemed to be in an exceeding fast and whirling movement, at times appearing to be loosened from the sky and to be approaching the earth, strongly radiating heat." (courtesy of Wikipedia "Our Lady of Fatima") Is it not interesting that this same "miracle" will occur again? Is it not also interesting that it happened at Fatima, Portugal, Fatima being the name of Muhammed's daughter? Fatima holds the same position in Islam that Mary has in Catholicism. It is also interesting that Muslims revere Mary and believe in her apparitions or appearances, such as that at Fatima. The connection is too great to be ignored, not to mention the three prophecies that were supposedly given to the young girl at Fatima. She then passed them on to the pope at the time, where (at the Vactican) the third message has been kept highly secret, as it is supposed to be about the end of the world. Oh, what a tangled web is being woven.

Getting back to the verse, there is one more thing that needs to be addressed, and that is that the second beast makes the world worship the first beast whose deadly wound is healed. In previous verses it was shown that the beast that lived, then died, then comes to life again was referring to the political/religious kingdom, not the man himself. Now we see that the man himself is also apparently wounded to death. In the next few verses we will learn that the antichrist himself is wounded to death by the sword and comes back to life. The mention of the sword confirms that it is the man that is being spoken of this time. This is apparently the reason why he will proclaim himself God. He will be imitating Christ's death and resurrection, thereby showing his supposed deity. It is, no doubt, because of this that worship will be demanded for him. One assumes that this is what sets into motion the abomination of desolation at the mid-point of the seven years.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Revelation 13:4-9

Verse 4 "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?"

People will unwittingly (some knowingly) worship Satan, not realizing it is he who is the power behind the man. They will also worship the beast or the antichrist, both the man and the spirit controlling the man, thinking he is the world's savior. They may even be under the impression that he is the awaited Messiah or Christ. In fact there is reason to believe that is exactly what a great many will believe. He will be a powerful person who can subdue others (this we know from Daniel) in a most miraculous way. Nobody will be able to make war with him, as he will win all the battles if they try to oppose him, and they will try (again Daniel tells us this).

Verse 5 "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."

This takes us right back to Daniel. Chapter 7:8 "I considered the (ten) horns, and behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things." And verse 25 "And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saint of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of a time."

We see that he (the beast) is given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies. We know that this is most likely a human possessed by a demonic spirit from the abyss, although we cannot positively rule out a spirit manifesting as a human. This is the mouth that is given to the person that will be speaking these great things and blasphemies. We know that antichrist will reign for forty-two months, which again is interchangeable with the other time frames (dividing of times, 3 1/2 years, 1260 days).

Verse 6 "And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven."

There is no limit to the blasphemous things that the beast will say against God, heaven, and the heavenly hosts. His lack of fear in doing this, and the miracles he will perform will convince many people that he is correct in mocking and slandering the Christian God, as he will do so with what would appear to be impunity. It will convince many that the Christian God is non-existent and passe and that Biblical teachings are to be thrown away and his teachings to be accepted. People will believe that he is the new god. Notice that Daniel tells us he will change the times and the laws. This self-professed "god" will institute new laws, traditions, holidays, celebrations, etc. More than likely, he will eliminate anything that has to do with Christianity and proclaim that everyone must observe Muslim laws, traditions, etc. This would in effect literally change the times and laws.

Verse 7 "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations."

As already mentioned above in Daniel 7:25, it says the saints will be given into his hand to wear them down. We also know from Revelation 12:17 that he makes war with the remnant and we know from Matthew 24 that unless God put a stop to the killing, there would be nobody saved from his murderous rampages. This goes beyond killing the Jews and the Christians. The entire world, all kindreds, tongues, and nations, are handed over to him. Daniel 7:23 "Thus he said, the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces." The entire world will suffer at his hand and will be forced to obey his new times and laws, although many will readily and willingly acquiesce thinking he is the world’s savior. Others will acquiesce in order to spare their lives. This reminds us of the verses in Matthew 16 that tell us, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels and then he shall reward every man according to his works." They will exchange their eternal lives for a short-lived reprieve here on earth.

Verse 8 “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.”

Whether by force or by willingness, everyone whose names are not in the book of life will worship him. They will do so, because the alternative is having their head chopped off. (Is it not an interesting coincidence [although I do not think it a coincidence] that the Muslim method of execution is beheading?) Having already discussed the book of life when covering the seven churches, that will not be repeated here. What is of interest is that not everyone whose name is written in the book of life is at this point in time a born again Christian. Many will live through the tribulation and Day of the Lord and not be raptured, but will go into the millennium. These people will not worship the beast nor take his mark (yet to be covered in our study), but do not yet know the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Their names are still in the book of life, as they will accept the Lord down the road after He returns, but at this point in time, they have not yet done so. This will include both Jews and Gentiles and there will be a remnant saved from every nation to go into the kingdom. This would seem to verify that names are written in the book of life from the foundation of the world and then blotted out if necessary, not written in when one accepts the Lord as Savior.

Verse 9 “If any man have an ear, let him hear.”

We have seen this phrase before. Seven times so far in Revelation to be exact. This is the command given to the seven churches. God reiterates it again. He uses the same words to make us aware that he is still talking to the churches. For the most part, only Christians are reading and studying this book, not the Jews or the unsaved. Scripture is spiritually discerned, so only a true Christian can hope to understand what is being taught in Revelation, even if some non-believing scholars try to understand it. Again, this confirms that Christians will be here through this time and they are again being warned that they are not to worship the beast to save their physical lives.