Saturday, October 07, 2006

Who is the beast? (Revelation 13) Part 3

We continue with our discussion of the ‘beast out of the sea’ of Revelation 13. If you have studied Biblical prophecy in the past, then you probably know that the ‘beast’ is wounded at some point and then healed. Most modern day prophecy teachers once again apply this prophecy to a future antichrist – a world leader who is somehow killed and then resurrected by satan. You’re about to see that another modern, speculative theory about Bible prophesy is once again incorrect. I believe Steve is correct in his interpretation of this prophecy.

From “End Time Delusions”:

The truly educated man is that rare individual who can separate reality from illusion. – Author Unknown

The Bible warns about the beast, “….his deadly wound was healed and all the world wondered after the beast” (Revelation 13:3).

Near the end of The Indwelling – The Beast Takes Possession, book seven of the Left Behind novels, antichrist Nicolae Carpathia is assassinated in Jerusalem. His corpse is jetted to New Babylon and a funeral service takes place before millions of viewers with full media coverage. As the world’s TV cameras are fixed on the coffin, the unbelievable occurs. Carpathia’s left index finger moves; his chest starts to swell; his eyes open. Nicolae finally stands up and triumphantly declares before an awestruck world, “Peace be unto you!” In Left Behind’s next book, The Mark – The Beast Rules the World, “His Excellency Global Community Potentate Nicolae Carpathia is back, this time as satan. Resurrected and indwelt by the devil himself, it’s no more Mr. Nice Guy as the beast tightens his grip as ruler of the world.”

This is how many Christians imagine Revelation 13:3 might be fulfilled.

This literal view of a murdered and resurrected Mr. Sin has been depicted in scores of prophecy books and was graphically illustrated in the multi-million dollar Christian film, The Omega Code. Although details vary, most modern portrayals involve the antichrist being shot with a gun and then miraculously being raised to life. When Ronald Reagan survived a gunshot wound during his presidency, some speculated that he might be the antichrist whose deadly wound was healed!

As always, there’s a big difference between fact and fiction. The wounding of the beast is referred to four times in Revelation (13:3, 10, 12, 14). Yet notice, the beast “was wounded by the sword and lived” (13:14). Thus his wound comes from “the sword”, not a pistol, rifle or submachine gun. Revelation 13:10 also reveals the additional insight that the wounding of the beast seems to involve his going “into captivity”.

Paul declared “the sword of the Spirit” to be the Word of God itself (Ephesians 6:17). During the Reformation times, it was this that “wounded” the papacy. As John Wycliffe, John Huss, William Tyndale, Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon, John Calvin, John Wesley and countless other Spirit-filled reformers wielded the Bible’s message about Jesus Christ and antichrist, papal Rome received a nearly fatal slash. Hundreds of thousands left the Roman Church and Europe was shaken as with a mighty earthquake. The final blow against the weakened Roman system came in 1798 when the army of Napoleon invaded the Vatican and took the Pope into exile. God’s prophetic clock had set the year 1798 as the end of the papal supremacy, and when the hour struck, the mighty ruler on the Tiber, before whose anathemas the kings and emperors of Europe had so long trembled, went “into captivity” (Revelation 13:10), and his government in the Papal States was abolished.

You’ve heard the expression, “You’ve come a long way baby.” This is especially true when it comes to prophetic interpretation. Bestselling books and blockbuster Christian movies now apply Revelation’s prophecy about a beast that receives a deadly wound to some fictitious Mr. Deception like Nicolae Carpathia who is assassinated after a secret rapture. This is all like a house of illusion at an amusement park. The truth is, the Bible says the beast, which represents a “kingdom” (Daniel 7:23), would be “wounded by the sword” (Revelation 13:14) and go “into captivity” (Revelation 13:10). The reformation did wound the papal power with Heaven’s razor-sharp “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17) and finally, Rome’s leader went “into captivity” into France. This papal downfall took place on February 10, 1798, exactly at the end of 1260 years predicted in Scripture!

As Paul Harvey so often says, we need to hear “the rest of the story”. The prophecies about the “little horn” and the “beast” do not stop with the 1260 year period, the deadly “wound by the sword” or the beast’s “captivity”. There’s more. In words of deep significance, Scripture predicts, “…his deadly wound was healed and all the world wondered after the beast” (Revelation 13:3). Is this happening now? There is no question about it. The former deadly would inflicted upon papal Rome now hardly needs a band-aid. With over a billion members, the Vatican is now the headquarters of the most powerful religious organization on Planet Earth. In spite of horrendous sex scandals which have embarrassed the Roman Church, when the Pope addresses America or the United Nations, the global community listens.

In his 1990 book The Keys of this Blood, Malachi Martin suggested that in his time there were only three powers capable of ruling the world – Russia, America and the Vatican. Of those three, Martin predicted that the Roman Church would win in the struggle over “who will hold and wield the dual power of authority and control over each of us as individuals and over all of us together as a community; over the entire 6 billion people expected by demographers to inhabit the earth by early in the third millennium.” Along with the Pope himself, Martin upheld “the papacy as the ultimate arbiter for problems and dilemmas affecting nations all over the globe” because it alone is the “Mother of all men’s souls”.

It’s a fact: In our 21st century, there is no president, statesman, or even rock-and-roll singer who can gather a larger crowd than the Pope. In 1995, the front cover of Time magazine labeled Pope John Paul II its “Man of the Year”. “When he talks, it is not only to his flock of nearly one billion; he expects the world to listen. And the flock and the world listen”.

The Holy Bible says:

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 (Revelation 13:3).

Have Protestants lost their swords? Why don’t they discern the fulfillment of prophecy?

Because they are waiting on Nicolae.

This is a chilling, but accurate thought. Keep everyone thinking about evil coming someday….while it’s already here and actively working against God’s saints. I believe there is another reason why no one is sounding the alarm – political correctness. This fear of offending has permeated our society to the point that we won’t even talk about something if it might offend. We’re now afraid to bring up anything controversial for fear we might alienate someone. When was the last time you heard a sermon on the prophecies of Revelation? Simply too controversial. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it - the truth is that our spiritual enemy is very intelligent, very deceiving and evil. He’s coming at us from many different avenues to blind us from the truth….and it’s working. Only those that are close to Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven have the spiritual eyes to see what is happening. We’re told in God’s Word that the devil is constantly scheming against us. “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11). “Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). We all need to be awakened from our sleep.

There is another "beast" described in Revelation 13 (vs. 11) that makes "the earth and all its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed" (vs. 12). We'll discuss this at a later time, but this verse makes it clear that the Roman Catholic Church will once again act like a "beast". This church may seem friendly in our present time, but that is about to change. This second beast is going to force the world to worship in the manner dictated by the first beast....which will eventually lead to the Mark of the Beast. We'll discuss the Mark at a later time as well...but it is of the utmost importance that each of us is prepared for what is going to happen in our lifetime. Think of it this way, if you are confronted with staying faithful to Jesus or execution.....could you continue to stand with our Lord? It's going to be a reality many of us must face.

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