Bowing to the Beast

Scripture: Revelation 14:9-12, Revelation 13:1-8, Daniel 2:31-47
Date: 11/06/2021 
In the last days on this earth the devil is going to tell us to change one of God's commandments. We are going to have to choose between obeying God and obeying men.

The Beast, the Dragon, and the Woman

The Beast, the Dragon, and the Woman
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Many don't realize, that the devil has laid a deceptive egg in the church that's been hatched, adopted, and fed until it's grown bigger than life. Jesus warned us about this, but what exactly is this counterfeit, and how does it affect you? So join me now, as we unravel this mystery. A very important presentation today, dealing with the subject of Bowing to the Beast.

I thought that it might be fun to start with an amazing fact. In 2018, Prime Minister Modi of India, dedicated the world's tallest statue. It's called the Statue of Unity. Including its base, it's over 790 feet high. To complete the massive project it took 3,400 laborers, 250 engineers working virtually around the clock for 42 months. It's visible for miles. It's twice the height of the Statue of Liberty, and the cost for the colossal statue is $430 million.

Well, in the Bible, there's a story where the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, he builds this image. Now, the inspiration for his building the image, is because if you read in Daniel 2, you remember he dreams about this great image and it's made of all these different medals. The head of the image was gold and it was silver, and then it was bronze, and then it was iron, and iron and clay. And Daniel told the king, "You are the head of gold." The king liked that, that made him feel pretty good.

But then Daniel said, "But after you, will come another kingdom, that silver kingdom." He didn't like the idea that Babylon would not last forever. So Nebuchadnezzar had an idea. He said, "Well, if that statue represented the kingdoms of the world, and gold was the kingdom of Babylon, maybe I can overthrow this prophecy by making what I saw in my dream, but make it all gold. Babylon will then last forever." And so the king did that. The king erected a statue of gold, and it was 60 cubits high, by six cubits wide.

Very important point I want you to know, that in a lot of the Hebrew writings, if it does not give the depth, the depth will be the same as the width. So you got 60 cubits high, by six cubits wide, by six cubits deep. So, here you've got this statue that's 60 by six, by six. That's starting to sound familiar? Tells everybody, "Fall down." All nations, all people are supposed to fall down and worship the image. And whoever does not fall down and worship it shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And not too far away was the furnace where they probably had forged the gold for the image, and that was a motivator. So the king, he gives this signal and tells everybody that they need to bow down and worship it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they would not bow down and worship the image. And the king said, "What's the matter, you didn't hear the music play?"

Now, you can imagine the temptation. The king says, "When you hear the music play, everybody's to bow down and worship, and those that do not bow down, you're not only going to die, you're going to die in this fiery furnace." They had to make a decision. Are they going to compromise with everyone around them and break the commandment of God that says, "You shall not bow down and worship graven images." They decided to put God first. And so, when the music played, they stood strong. You'd think, "Well, that would've been a good time to tie your sandals, right? Just look like you're bowing down. Or maybe you could bow down and pray to God, just don't pray to the image." But they would not even look like they were compromising. They stood for the commandments of God even at the potential cost of their life. And the king said, "Maybe you didn't hear, I'll give you another chance." And they said, "We don't need another chance." Daniel 3:18, they said, "'Our God, who we serve can deliver us. But even if He doesn't, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image that you have set up.' And so, these men were cast into the midst of the burning furnace."

Now, if you're wondering if that furnace was hot or not, it tells us that the king commanded his soldiers just tie them up as they were with their clothes and everything. And the soldiers went to throw them in. The king had said, "Get that furnace seven times hotter than it's supposed to be heated." And the heat was wafting out with such intensity, that the soldiers that went to throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fire, were killed by the heat. And so, this was not that the fire just was not hot enough. "Nebuchadnezzar was astonished. He rose in hast and he spoke and said, 'Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?' And they said, 'It's true, O king.' He said, 'I see four men loose in the fire and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.'"

And so, this is telling us that Jesus came to them during their time of trial, and the Lord will come to us as well. So, we're going to go to our lesson for today. This experience there in Daniel 3, is an echo of Revelation 13. It talks about those who do not worship the image of the beast should be killed. Says, "There's a commandment that all people's, nations, and tongues." Nebuchadnezzar said, "All people's, nations, and tongues." Revelation 13 talks about six, six, six. And here, you've got this image that was, and it measures it in cubits in the Bible, 60 by six, presumably by six. That would've been 90 feet tall gold statue. May have cost more than $430 million, like the Statue of Unity in India.

So, first question. What does a beast represent in Bible prophecies? You can read right here in Daniel 7, when you've got that prophecy that talks about the lion and the leopard and the bear. It says, "Those great," what? "Beasts." You can say the answers with me. "Those great beasts which are four, are four," what? - Kings. - They're four kings. Again, you can read in Daniel 7:23, "The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth." So when we are getting ready to study the beast, do not think monster. These were different animals that represented kingdoms or kings, okay? They were powers that ruled over God's people in some way.

So, how does the Bible identify the beast? "I stood on the sand of the sea and I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, seven heads and 10 horns. And on his 10 horns, 10 crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. And the beast that I saw was like leopard, and his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth was like the mouth of a lion." Who is this first beast? Point one. It rises up out of the sea. It says, "It receives its power, seat, and authority from the dragon." "It becomes a worldwide power," that's verses three and seven. It's guilty of blasphemy. It rules for 42 prophetic months. It receives a deadly wound that heals. It is a religious power that compels worship. It persecutes God's people. And it has mysterious number 666, and it's led by one supreme man. It says there at the end, "It is the number of a man."

And so, this beast arises from the sea. What does the sea or the waters symbolize? It says, "The waters which you saw are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues." So, it tells us one of the characteristics is this beast power would come up from waters, densely populated, preexisting multitudes of nations, tongues, and people, Revelation 17:15. The papacy arose from the very center of civilization at that time, which was in Rome. Indeed it was surrounded. It's on a peninsula surrounded by water as well.

Who gives the beast his power and his position? You read, "The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority." Now, who is the dragon? Well, first and foremost the dragon is the devil, was serpent and Satan, but the devil works through kingdoms and governments. In the book of Exodus, you've got the dragon working through the Pharaoh of Egypt to persecute God's people. You still with me? When you read in Revelation 12, and it tells us that this beast, again, with seven heads and 10 horns is trying to destroy the man child as soon as he's born. Who was the king that tried to kill all the babies in Bethlehem? Well, he actually did kill all the two year old boys. - Herod. - Herod. Who did he work for? Rome. He was operating as a vassal under the kingdom of Rome, but the devil was doing that. Do you see what I'm saying? Trying to destroy.

So, one of the clues we find out is, it says that the dragon gives his seat and his power unto this beast. So, did that happen historically? Where does the beast get his seat of power, his authority? Look at history. Now we're going to look at Abbott's Roman history. "The transfer of the emperors residence to Constantinople," this is what Constantine did, "was a sad blow to the prestige of Rome. And at that time, one might have predicted her speedy decline. But the development of the church and the growing authority of the Bishop of Rome, or the Pope, gave her a new lease on life, and made her again the capital, this time the religious capital of the civilized world." So as the emperor moved his throne out, he gave the local throne to the church, and he gave them both religious and civil power. And here's from LaBianca, professor of history, University of Rome. "To the succession of the Caesars came the succession of the Pontiffs," Pontiff's another word for pope, "in Rome. When Constantine left Rome, he gave his seat to the Pontiff." History says this is exactly what happened.

So it says, "This is a religious body that follows the Roman power." How far reaching is the influence of the beast? It says, "And all the world marveled and followed the beast." Would you think it's safe to say that the Catholic Church is an international power? - Yeah. - And now, I'm a pastor. Do you think they're going to let me address the United Nations? If the Pope is the pastor of a church, how come they have diplomats and ambassadors from around the world that go and meet with him? Trump met with a pope, Obama met with a pope, they all meet with a pope, because it is a very powerful, like I said, you got, you know, 2.2 billion Christians in the world today. The majority of them are Roman Catholic. It is a universal power and as I travel around the world, you go to Mexico, you go to the Philippines, you go to South America, and many other countries, you're going to find it as a very universal power. The United Nations gathers to be addressed by the Pope. And so, here you've got, it's ostensibly got Christian trappings, but it is obviously much more than just a Christian Church, because it's got political clout.

Don't go anywhere friends. In just a moment, we will return to today's presentation.

You know, there's quite a bit of zoology in Bible symbols, lions and leopards and bears. And among the ominous creatures that are pictured in the book of Revelation is a seven headed dragon that's being ridden by a vicious woman. Who do these powers represent? Are they operating in the world today? Does America play a role in the final events of Bible prophecy? And how can we know for sure what these symbols mean? Friends, I believe we are in the last days, and understanding these prophecies is crucial for those who want to know they're on God's side in these trying times. To better understand this subject, we'd like to make available to you a powerful book called "The Beast, the Dragon and the Woman." And it'll walk you step by step through everything you need to know about Revelation's most perplexing end time symbols. You don't have to be confused any longer. This study guide will open your eyes and inspire you to stand firm for Jesus Christ today, and be ready for the end. To get your free copy, call the phone number on the screen right now and ask for offer number 126, or visit the web address on the screen. And after you read this incredible resource, make sure and share it with a friend. Well, let's get back now to today's presentation and learn some more amazing facts from the Word of God.

What comes out of the mouth of the beast? We're continuing to go through the identifying marks that you find in Revelation 13. It says, "He opens his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name." Now, what does the word blasphemy mean? You want to use a Bible definition. Blasphemy, according to the Bible, when Jesus said "He could forgive sin," they said, "You are guilty of blasphemy." They said, "Only God can forgive sin." When Jesus claimed equality with God, when He said, "Before Abraham was, I am," they took up stones to stone Him, there in the gospel of John. Jesus was telling the truth, He is equal with God. But they said, "That's blasphemy." Taking the prerogatives of belong to God is blasphemy.

So you understand the definition? Let's see if the Roman Catholic Church meets that criteria. "We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty," according to Pope Leo XIII. Now, is that being ambiguous or is that pretty clear that they're saying, "We hold the place of God?" Another definition, "The scribes and Pharisees began to reason saying, 'Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sin but God alone?'" So, to claim to be able to forgive sin, the Bible calls blasphemy. Does the Roman Church claim to have power to forgive sin? You can read in the book that every priest goes through when he's training to be a priest. "God Himself is obliged to abide by the judgment of His priests, and either to not pardon or to pardon, according as they refuse or give absolution. The sentence of the priest proceeds," that means the sentence of the priest goes first, "and then God subscribes to it." The priest is deciding who is and is not forgiven. When a man claims to have that power, whether another person sins will be forgiven, you're embracing the prerogatives that belong to God.

How long would this first beast rule? Again, we're talking about the first beast now in Revelation 13. It says, "And he's given authority to continue 42 months." That's that time period that continues to reappear, that 42 months, three and a half years, 1,260 days. It's given all three ways in Revelation, so you can't miss it. Now, what does a day equal in Bible prophecy? - A year. - A day is a year. Does it fit that definition? "The legally recognized supremacy of the Pope began in 538 A.D. when there went into effect a decree of the Emperor Justinian, making the bishop of Rome the head over all the churches and the definer of doctrine and the corrector of heretics. Vigilius ascended the papal chair in 538 A.D." And this is the history of the Christian Church. "Under the military protection of Belisarius."

And so here, it's telling us, this was a time when Justinian said, "Look, I'm leaving town, I'm giving you an army. I'm giving you both political and religious absolute power over the church and locally, power over correcting heretics." What happened to the beast after these 42 months? It says, "And I saw one of his heads as it had been mortally wounded, and the deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast," Revelation 13:3.

We've learned that in prophecy, a day is year. Now, not every time you see a day, one says, "God made the world in six days," and not six years. It's not a prophecy. But when you've got a prophecy, especially if there's signs in apocalyptic symbols, it's you apply the principle of a day equals a year. 42 months is 1260 years. That's the same as three and a half years, because a Jewish year has got what? 30 days to the month and it starts with Justinian's decree in 538, uninterrupted power until the Pope is actually arrested in France by Napoleon's general. "Here in 1798, he, Berthier, made his entrance into Rome. He abolished the papal government." This is in the Encyclopedia Americana. You ever heard of that? These are for the authorities, this is history. "He abolished the papal government and established a secular one."

Here's an interesting headline from the San Francisco Chronicle, February 11th, 1929. You probably heard of Mussolini. You know, one of the things that Mussolini did to try to get the support of the Catholic Church for his fascism, he needed the people to support him. He entered into a pact with the pope there in Rome, and he said, "We will once again make you an independent state. You'll not only be a religion, we're going to give you the Vatican as an independent country now." And they were resurrected again. He said, "If you support me," and they struck a deal. Here's the actual quote from the headlines then. "The Roman question was a thing of the past and the Vatican was at peace with Italy in affixing the autographs to the Memorable document healing the wound."

Interesting that the writers used the same wording that you find in the Bible. Pope Francis often uses that wording, healing the wound. He says that we need to reunite with Protestants, healing the wound of the Reformation. So, it was, the wound was healed politically here, because they became an independent state. Now they're striving for the spiritual healing of the wound between Protestants and Catholics, and that's gone a long way. Before the 500th year anniversary of the Reformation, Catholics, Protestants, Episcopals, they all met in Europe together, embraced each other and said, "The Protestant reformation is over, the protest is over. We are going to reunite now."

Things are happening friends. And it's not because they've suddenly rediscovered the Bible truth. They're willing to sacrifice truth for the sake of unity. That's a big question. Some people say, "Well as long as we love each other." You go to the average person on the street and they'll say, "As long as you love each other, it doesn't matter what you believe. You get your truth, I've got my truth, and everyone's got their own truth. There's no absolute truth." That is a lie. The idea, there's no absolute truth is a lie. There is absolute truth, and the truth sets you free. It's not just your idea of the truth and my idea of truth.

There are people in history who absolutely believe it's their job to annihilate a whole race of people. I mean, who will question the sincerity of Hitler? That was his truth. Was he right? See, there's right and wrong in the world. So, it seems innocent when people say, "Well, you've got your truth and I've got mine." I think you should respect people's freedom, respect their beliefs, but that doesn't mean you agree with everything, and you don't sacrifice your convictions of truth for the sake of an illusion of unity. I can't say that any clearer than I just did, friends. That's what's going to happen in the last days. People for the sake of some security and unity are going to sacrifice convictions of truth. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not bow down, even though they were going to, they were going to ruin the party for everybody that day. They were going to make their boss mad. You think, wouldn't the loving thing be to just bow down like everyone else?

They were more concerned with what God thought of them, than what man thought of them. That'll be the question in the last days. Who do you worship? Is the beast a religious power? Answer, "And cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed." You know, in the very beginning, the battle was between Cain and Able over worship. You have these two brothers, claiming to worship the same God. Able had modified the worship to do it his way. No, I'm sorry, Cain had modified worship to do it his way. Able wanted to worship the way that God told him by bringing a lamb and trusting in the sacrifice in the blood of the lamb. Cain said, "That's messy. Yeah, let's just use fruit, vegetables." And God said, "He would not accept the offering of Cain because he worshiped wrong, and He would accept the offering of Able." Was there absolute truth in that story? And Cain then persecuted his brother. History is going to repeat itself. Was Cain marked, was there a mark involved? And so friends, we're just seeing, the way it started out is the way it's going to end. It's a battle over worship.

What is the mysterious number that identifies the beast? It says, "His number is 666." Now, let's find out what the Pope's official title is. This is a book, and I remember when this book came out by Pope John Paul II. It's called "Crossing the Threshold of Hope." This is page three. "Confronted with the Pope, one must take make a choice. The leader of the Catholic Church is defined by the faith as the Vicar of Jesus Christ, and is accepted as such by believers." Official title is "Vicarius Filii Dei." So, this is an official title. When you take that title and you convert the Roman numerals. Some of you remember your Roman numerals. What is V? Five, right? And then you've got I is one. By the way V and U are the same in Roman numerals. So you take that title, "Vicarius Filii Dei," and what does it add up to? It's 666.

Well, friends, I think that that's pretty stunning. Throughout Revelation, the number seven represents perfection and completion. First time you hear the number seven mention three times in the Bible, who knows? Genesis 2 says, "The seventh day, the seventh day, the seventh day." Then you get to Revelation, it says, "666." It's like a counterfeit trinity. Man was made on the 6th day, and it's talking to manmade worship, or the worship of man in place of the worship of God. You've got this conflict of two worships that are juxtaposed here in Bible history. Biblical true worship, counterfeit or compromised worship. And again, I'm not criticizing people that might view things different. I'm just saying, "What does the Bible say about this?" And it tells us that this is the title of the Catholic Church, that converted represents 666.

Let me give you couple of quotes from history that I think you might find that are interesting. Some of the great reformers, people like Martin Luther. Now, these are not my words, but what I'm sharing with you is not new. What I'm sharing with you is actually very old. Protestant pastors always knew this, but they've sort of drifted away from it now. Martin Luther, of course, leader of the Lutheran movement, based on prophetic studies, Martin Luther finally declared, "We are of the conviction that the papacy is the seat of the true and the real anti-Christ." That cannot be misunderstood. Of course, he was excommunicated because of that position. Charles Spurgeon, he's called the Prince of Preachers. "It is the bound end duty of every Christian to pray against the antichrist. And as to what the antichrist is, no sane man ought to raise a question. No sane man ought to even question. If it'd be not popery in the Church of Rome, there's nothing in the world that we can call by that name."

Friends, I hope this is clear. We're trying to be as loving as we can, but I can't change what the prophecies say. There's no question about what the beast is. We know what the number represents. So here's the question. Are you willing to follow Jesus wherever He leads, even though you may lose your friends? Now, you may go through fiery trials if you stand for your faith. Did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego get thrown into the fiery furnace? - Yes. - But who went through it with them? - Jesus. - The Bible says, "Though you pass through the waters, I'll be with you, though you go through the fires, I will be with you. I will not leave you. I will not forsake you."

We may go through fiery trials in the last days, but friends, the only safe thing to do is to build your house on the rock. The words of Jesus, the teachings of Jesus, the law of God. We're saved by faith, but He wants us to be obedient, amen.

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