Monday, November 4, 2013

False Prince

A number of statements made over a period of nearly fifteen years by a universally known leader, deal with the superiority of a coming world ruler:
"The whole world is in my hand, I will conquer and subjugate the world. (1973)
We must have an autocratic theocracy to rule the world.  So we cannot separate the political field from the religious.  (1973)
History will make (my) position clear, and (my) enemies, the American population and government, will bow down to (me).  (1986)
The time will come when even a presidential candidate will need Father's endorsement in order to succeed.  (1987)[1]
The one making these statements was Reverend Sum Yung Moon.  His words are entirely wrong.  Moon was talking about himself – however he was describing the one the Scriptures call The Antichrist.
In Revelation 13 we meet the False Prince – the Beast, Antichrist!  
It is the Beast whose power will counterfeit virtually every miracle Jesus did.  He rises out of the sea (as opposed to the False Prophet who rises out of the earth in the last half of chapter 13).  Let's get a closer look at Satan's offspring, and the whole family tree:

The Beast's Father          Revelation 13:1 (NLT)

Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea.  It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns.  And written on each head were names that blasphemed God.
The Beast's father is Satan, that old red dragon (Revelation 12:3).  By the description John gives us, it is apparent he is as ugly as his daddy.  The horns stand for power, the heads authority. 
The beast is a visible expression of his father, powerful and firmly committed to opposing the kingdom of God.  He is a counterfeiter, attempting to duplicate the ministry of Jesus
I and my Father are one.    John 10:30
That the beast will follow in his father's footsteps is a no-brainer. 
Several years ago the Christian Life and Faith magazine presented some unusual facts about two families.  In 1677 an immoral man married a very licentious woman.  Nineteen hundred descendants came from the generations begun by that union.  Of these, 771 were criminals, 250 were arrested for various offenses, 60 were thieves, and 39 were convicted for murder. Forty of the women were known to have venereal disease.  These people spent a combined total of 1300 years behind bars and cost the State of New York nearly 3 million dollars.
The other family was the Edwards family.  The third generation included Jonathan Edwards who was the great New England revival preacher and who became president of Princeton University.  Of the 1,344 descendants, many were college presidents and professors.  One hundred eighty-six became ministers of the gospel, and many others were active in their churches.  Eighty-six were state senators, three were Congressmen, 30 judges, and one became Vice President of the United States.  No reference was made of anyone spending time in jail or in the poorhouse.[2]
Not all children of good parents become useful citizens, nor do all the offspring of wicked people turn out bad.  While it is difficult to be dogmatic about the interpretation of each aspect of Revelation, in this instance it is plain that the beast will carry on the family business!

The Beast's Family       Revelation 13.2a

This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion!
This verse parallels Daniel's vision Daniel 7:4-6:
The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.    And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.  
After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.   
The symbolism of the animals is, and has been in dispute for centuries.  However, it is at least understandable that the beast stands for all the worst characteristics his father (Satan) can dream up. 
The leopard, with it's speed and lethal bite (perhaps symbolizing Babylon); the bear, swinging its tenacious claws that rip and shred its prey perhaps symbolizing the Medo-Persian empire), and the lion, a terrifying predator with a voracious appetite (as the Greek empire). 
This beast was seen by John to be the embodiment of the Roman empire, with its persecutions of the Christian church -- attempting to devour the family of Christ.  Many saw the description of Domitian, one of the worst of the Roman Emperors – his persecution of the church and the Jews was by far the worst in history.
All the predatory characteristics fit what Paul wrote about this man of sin,
This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles.  He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.  2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 (NLT)
To John, the beast is appropriately named.  He is Hitler, Caeser, Genghis Khan, Napoleon and Stalin all in one.  This is a real person who represents the totality of evil. 
One of the reasons God has been all but banned from our own government in recent years is to pave the way for the rise of this one world leader -- a Satanically-inspired power monger, who will make the world knuckle under in worship to himself.  Rome's Caesars were just a dress rehearsal for the Beast!
The Beast's Fame              Revelation 13:2b-4
And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority. 3I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. 4They worshiped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they also worshiped the beast. “Who is as great as the beast?” they exclaimed. “Who is able to fight against him?”
Bishop Fulton J. Sheen once had this comment:
The Antichrist will come disguised as the great humanitarian.  He will talk peace, prosperity, and plenty, not as a means to lead us to God, but as ends in themselves.  He will explain guilt away psychologically, make men shrink in shame if their fellowmen say they are not broad-minded and liberal.  He will spread the lie that men will never be better until they make society better.[3]
The beast's popularity will be based upon false miracles, imitating the ministry of Christ.  It becomes a somber warning to us to watch what we listen to -- or see on television.  The news does not always present a true world view...certainly not a Christian viewpoint! 
The Beast's Foulness   Revelation 13:5-6
Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God.  And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months.  And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his temple—that is, those who live in heaven.
Blasphemy has always been mistaken for saying bad words.  While that’s not the main target, it is part of the whole problem with a blasphemous spirit.
A golfer had a terrible day on the links.  On the last hole he actually went into a tantrum, cursing and swearing, and beating the ground with his club.  Finally recovering himself, he looked woefully at the caddie and muttered: "I guess I'll have to give it up."    "Give up golf?" asked the caddie.    "No, not golf," he said sorrowfully, "the ministry."
A church member gave me a Dennis the Menace cartoon the other day.  Dennis was ratting his father out to his Mom…Dad was using one of his golf words on the lawnmower before.
There is something to the arrival of increasingly foul language in the media and our culture that is going to characterize the last days.  It has always been a revealing thing.  One of the early church fathers, Justin the Martyr (C. 100–C. 165) said, By examining the tongue of the patient, physicians find out the diseases of the body, and philosophers the diseases of the mind.
At least one actor is standing taller –
Ernest Borgnine says he "...has turned down more pictures than you can shake a stick at simply because I refuse to swear in motion pictures,"[4]
Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech. Proverbs 4:24 (NLT)
The beast's blasphemous ways should make the flesh crawl on our backs.  The word blasphemia is a compound that means to vilify, as in rumor mongering.  It is formed by taking the word for injury, and joining it to the word for rumor.  That is a great definition of gossip if I ever heard one!  If you want to join the devil's lust for ruining the church and her Lord, join the gossip mill.
In another sense, blasphemy means placing yourself in God's place -- above the Almighty. 
Caligula was the Roman Caesar from AD 37-41.  He was an epileptic, but he was also mad as a June bug.  He was -- as the other Roman Emperors before him -- entitled to be addressed as deity.  He was so obsessed with this he wanted his statue to be erected everywhere in the empire so his subjects could worship him. 
When it came to the Jews, he demanded the statue be placed in the temple at Jerusalem, in the holy of holies (in place of the ark of the covenant).  It is no small note that he died just as this was being implemented. 
God will not share his glory (or his room) with anyone!
The Beast's Formula        Revelation 13:7-8
And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them.  And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation.  And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast.  They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made—the Book that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered.
The beast's formula is as simple as Caligula -- war and worship.  He will use his overwhelming popularity and power to inflict pain and death on anyone who refuses to worship him. 
He wants to lead the world to worship Satan as God.  The problem is that even those who worship him will miss the mark.  Satanic worship is demanded, and received in fear.  Christian worship is a response in love.  Satanic worship is counterfeit.
For whatever reason exists in the heart and will of the Father, Satan will be allowed to wreak havoc one last time before the end of the Great Tribulation.  It will cause a wave of worship (albeit briefly) towards the prince of this world. 
The brief moment in the sun will be an eternally high price to pay.
The Beast's Falseness     Revelation 13:9-10
Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.  Anyone who is destined for prison will be taken to prison.  Anyone destined to die by the sword will die by the sword.  This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently and remain faithful.
This verse is a quotation from Jeremiah (15.2).  It tells us two truths about false cults and false religion:

1.  False religion will be safe – for a while

I got another of those envelopes in the mail.  It had a cellophane window.  Through the window you could see the check!  It had Elizabeth's name on it!  Fifteen million bucks!  It also had the winning certificate attached:
If you have and return the winning grand prize number we will announce that
Elizabeth Brownworth has won $14,565,969.45
Of course it is a blatant attempt to sell magazines.  However, buying a few magazines isn't so bad -- getting nailed with false religion is an eternal matter. 
What do you get when you cross an atheist with a Jehovah's Witness? Someone who knocks on your door for no apparent reason. 
How many false religions are there?  All but one! 

2. Faith and patience will turn the tables

According to John, any man can hear and understand that those who live by the sword, die by the sword.  In the same way, those who lead others into the captivity of false religion will themselves be held prisoner.
When my son was very young we would wrestle.  I would always pretend he was so strong that I was near being pinned.  One time he thought he was close to beating me, and began to push past the point of either one of us having fun.  I tried to end the session before his pride (or his head) got too badly treated.  He wouldn't give up.  Finally, I said to him, Jason -- stop now -- you don't want to do this!  He pushed even harder, and I let go.  The result was that, because he wasn't prepared for my sudden release, he went sprawling, headlong into a piece of furniture and got a really nasty bruise.
We are headed for the countdown to Armageddon.  God has warned that we don't want to get involved with the False Christ, the beast.  He has told us -- You don't want to do that! 
Peter said there are plenty of antichrists to go around.  It is time to reject the False Prince, Satan's Son -- and enthrone the only Son of God, Jesus.

[1] USNews & World Report Sources: Cult Awareness Network, Capital Research Center
[2]The Bible Illustrator, (Hiawatha, Ia, Parson's Technology, 1990)
[3]As quoted, Thru the Bible With J. Vernon McGee, Vol 5, (Pasadena, Ca, Thru the Bible     Radio, 1983), 1000
[4]The Washington Times, (as quoted in Entertainment Weekly - October 6 issue),  10/1/95

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