December 1, 2010

The Order of Events Until the End of the World

(Based on the writings of Reverend Herman Hoeksema before his death in 1965)
  1. The Spreading of the Gospel of Christ Throughout the Nations

    Jesus said unto him, "Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:60)

    And He said unto them, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)

    The Church shall witness of the truth and of Christ throughout this dispensation (the days of witnessing/the spreading of the gospel/the building up of the Church, spiritual Jerusalem of the New Testament, the True Israel of God).

    "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matthew 24:14)

    "And the gospel must first be published among all nations." (Mark 13:10)

    And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. (Revelation 14:6)

    And they went forth and preached every where, the Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. (Mark 16:20)

  2. A World Ripe for Judgment at the Time Near the End of the Present Dispensation

    Near the end of this dispensation, the devil, Satan, will be released from the bottomless pit to rule over his earthly kingdom for "a little season," so that he as God will stand in the holy place, showing himself that he is God, and he will deceive many with his signs and wonders.

    And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. (Daniel 8:23-25)

    And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that is determined shall be done. (Daniel 11:36)

    The day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:2-4)

  3. The "Wrath of the Lamb"

    Near the end of this age, the devil shall reign supreme for "a little season," and he will be allowed to persecute the Church.

    And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Revelation 6:9-11)

    "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth... And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them." (Revelation 11:3,7)

    God's people shall be persecuted; they shall be delivered up to synagogues and into prisons because they shall refuse to deny Christ and to worship the "beast," the anti-Christian kingdom. And some of God's elect shall be put to death for the testimony that they keep.

    "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." (Matthew 24:9)

    "Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows. But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. And the gospel must first be published among all nations. But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost." (Mark 13:8-11)

    "They shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls." (Luke 21:12-19)

    However, this culmination of antichrist and time of great tribulation, of which Scripture has warned us so frequently and which the Church shall experience just before the resurrection, shall be cut short for the elects' sake.

    "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." (Matthew 24:22)

  4. The Return of Christ

    Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: even Him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-9)

    At the end of this dispensation, antichrist shall have accomplished his work against the Church and the witnessing shall be finished: the Church shall be cut off and her testimony shall be ceased (the two witnesses lying dead in the street of the great city, Revelation 11:8).

    "But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established." (Matthew 18:16)

    "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20)

    Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. (1 Corinthians 14:29)

    This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. (2 Corinthians 13:1)

    Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. (1 Timothy 5:19)

    He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses. (Hebrews 10:28)

    Immediately after the tribulation of those days there shall be fearful sights and great signs from heaven: witnesses of Christ lying dead in the streets ascend to heaven in a cloud, voices from heaven, Temple of God opened in heaven, sun darkened, moon darkened, stars fall from heaven, a great earthquake shakes heaven and earth, lightning, thunder and great hail. And then shall the Son of man come in the clouds of heaven with a rainbow upon His head, and His face as it were the sun, and His feet as pillars of fire.

    "For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things. But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall He send His angels, and shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven." (Mark 13:22-27)

    That in the dispensation of the fulness of times, He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him. (Ephesians 1:10)

    At this darkest hour, Christ shall return in the clouds of heaven with great power and glory to deliver up His Church to the kingdom of heaven. In other words, immediately after the tribulation of those days, while antichrist and the heathen nations, "Gog and Magog," are still on earth, the Church shall be taken away from her shame, persecution, and terrible suffering.

    "Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. (1 Corinthians 15:24)

    And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, "Come up hither." And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. (Revelation 11:12)

    The persecuted saints shall be changed in the 'twinkling of an eye' and they shall be united with those already "fallen asleep in Christ," "dead in Christ."

    Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)

    For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18)

    Christ shall separate the wicked from the just; and He shall deliver up the just to the kingdom of heaven, and the Church of all ages shall be glorified in heaven.

    And Jesus said, "I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven." (Mark 14:62)

    "When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." (Matthew 25:31)

    "And He that sat on the cloud Thrust in His Sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped." (Revelation 14:16)

    "Let them grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, 'Gather ye together first the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn'… The tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world." (Matthew 13:30,38-40)

    I heard another voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen and am no widow and shall see no sorrow." (Revelation 18:4-7)

  5. The Destruction of the Anti-Christian Kingdom

    Gog and Magog shall prepare for battle against the kingdom of the Beast, believing that they will be battling against Christ and His saints. However, the Church is no more in tribulation, for the time of her tribulation is past. The time for conversion is now past as well, for the witness of the Word, the Church, shall have been taken away from her shame, persecution, and terrible suffering and delivered up to the kingdom of heaven. It shall be only a time for judgment: Christ shall judge the earth and destroy the anti-Christian kingdom.

    "Behold, the days come," saith the Lord God, "that I will send a famine in the land; not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord." (Amos 8:11)

    "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled." (Luke 21:8-22)

    The followers of the anti-Christian kingdom and the heathen nations, gathered for battle, shall remain on earth while God pours out His wrath upon them.

    And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon Him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war... And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean... And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army. (Revelation 19:11,13,19)

    For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God AlmightyAnd he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. (Revelation 16:14,16)

  6. The Final Judgment

    God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment. (2 Peter 2:4)

    And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:7-15)

    The Lord shall judge the earth and destroy the kingdom of antichrist: the earth shall be utterly consumed by fire. And whosoever is not found written in the book of life shall be cast into the lake of fire. And the devil that deceived them shall be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, along with the beast and the false prophet, and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

    "Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death and mourning and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: the merchandise of gold and silver and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass and iron and marble, and cinnamon and odours and ointments and frankincense, and wine and oil, and fine flour and wheat, and beasts and sheep and horses and chariots, and slaves and souls of men. And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate." (Revelation 18:8-19)

  7. The Inauguration of Eternity

    And the Lord shall create a new heaven and a new earth, and He shall establish His glorious kingdom forevermore. And He that sits upon the throne shall say, "Behold, I make all things new… he that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son (Revelation 21:5-7)."

    "Rejoice over her thou heaven and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers and musicians, and of pipers and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; and the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the Bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all that were slain upon the earth." (Revelation 18:20-24)

    And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Revelation 7:13-17)

    And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude… saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. (Revelation 19:6-9)

    And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:2-8)
We are now still in the "1260 days" and so we must still witness. Perhaps the "42 months" of great tribulation will come soon—it seems as if we are fast becoming prepared for those days. However, still the testimony is not finished. Therefore, it is still the calling of the Church to witness. And the purpose of this picture in Revelation is to spur us onward to be faithful even unto the end so that no one may take our crowns. On the other hand, the people of God may be comforted by the fact that Christ shall not leave them alone and that, even at the time of the end, during the period of great tribulation, the days shall be shortened for the elects' sake.

* * * * * * *

When I was a little girl, I went to my father and said,
"Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ."

"Tell me," said father, "When you take a train trip to Amsterdam,
When do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?"

"No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train."

"That is right," my father said, "And so it is with God's strength.
Our Father in Heaven knows when you will need the strength to be a martyr for Jesus Christ.
He will supply all you need, just in time."
Corrie ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom (April 15, 1892 – April 15, 1983) was a Dutch Christian Holocaust survivor. She and her family helped many Jews escape the Nazis during World War II. The Germans arrested the entire Ten Boom family on February 28, 1944, with the help of a Dutch informant. They were sent first to Scheveningen prison (where her father died 10 days after his capture). Corrie's sister Nollie, brother Willem, and nephew Peter were all released. Later, Corrie and her sister Betsie were sent to the Vught political concentration camp (both in the Netherlands) and finally to the notorious Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany on December 16, 1944, where Betsie died. Before she died, she told Corrie, "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still." Corrie was released on Christmas Day of December 1944. In her movie The Hiding Place (based on her book), Ten Boom narrates the section on her release from camp, saying that she later learned her release had been a clerical error. The women prisoners her age in the camp were killed the week following her release. She said, "God does not have problems, only plans."

"'When I am weak, then I shall be strong,' the Bible says.
Betsy and I were prisoners for the Lord.
We were so weak, but we got power because the Holy Spirit was on us.
That mighty inner strengthening of the Holy Spirit helped us through.
No, you will not be strong in yourself when the tribulation comes.
Rather, you will be strong in the power of Him who will not forsake you.
For 76 years I have known the Lord Jesus,
And not once has He ever left me or let me down."

Corrie ten Boom, 1974

One-World Power: the Anti-Christian Beast

The following is adapted from "Behold He Cometh: the Power of the Antichrist" and
"Behold He Cometh: the Beast Out of the Earth"
by Herman Hoeksema (1886 - 1965), ©1969 Reformed Free Publishing Association.


And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. 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. 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? (Revelation 13:1-4)

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. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 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. 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. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed by the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. (Revelation 13:5-10)

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. 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, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth, by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. (Revelation 13:11-14)

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six. (Revelation 13:15-18)


The devil’s attempts to frustrate God’s plan in establishing His kingdom have failed:
  1. Firstly, the devil attempted to oppose the plan of God by preventing the birth of Christ, and he failed.
  2. Secondly, contemporaneously with the first war on earth, the devil also carried on a war with the angels in heaven for the possession of the saints of the old dispensation, and he was defeated.
  3. Thirdly, the devil attempted to amalgamate the power of the Church and the power of the world, and again he failed, at least in the respect that he cannot destroy the Church.
    Yet the devil is determined at least to make war with the rest of the woman's seed, the Church, the individual believers on earth. In chapter 13 of Revelation, we are told in what manner the dragon makes this war with the saints and, principally, with the God of heaven and earth and with His Anointed, Jesus Christ our Lord.

    In short, in the devil’s last attempt to oppose God’s plan, he simply will realize his own kingdom, or he will attempt to realize it, and boldly set it up. The first attempts were rather negative in nature, always aiming at the destruction of God’s kingdom first of all. This last attempt really consists in this: the devil now will ignore all that has been done by God Almighty: he will ignore that Christ has come and is King; he will ignore that the Church exists and that there is already, in principle, a kingdom of Christ established in the world. He simply will proceed to realize and establish his own kingdom before Christ has an opportunity (speaking from the devil’s point of view, of course) to do so.

    In the thirteenth chapter of Revelation, we have a complete picture of this anti-Christian power and kingdom to come. There is, as far as I know, no controversy about this truth. Therefore, we proceed from the assumption that this may be regarded as an established fact: Revelation chapter 13 gives us a picture of antichrist. It is deemed of greatest importance that we should understand the picture, and this is clearly proved by the solemn conclusion of the text: "If any man have an ear, let him hear." If we have no ear, it is, of course, quite a different question. However, if by the grace of God our ears have been opened and we have a spiritual understanding of what God has revealed to us, then let us hear so that we may be instructed from the Word of our God. And let us derive light and strength from the Word of our God so that we shall stand in the evil day.


    Let us call your attention, in the first place, to the description of this beast as it is given in the text. John beholds how out of the sea arises a frightful monster. Very naturally it is described in the text just as John must have beheld it in his vision. What he saw first he describes first. Naturally the horns appeared first of all, and John tells us that it was a beast with ten horns. Naturally also the heads followed, and John continues to inform us that the monster had seven heads. He further notices (as details in the description) that the ten horns had ten crowns (royal diadems) and that on the heads there were names of blasphemy written. And finally, he is able to give a general description of this dreadful monster, and he informs us that its general appearance was like that of a leopard, while its feet were like those of a bear, and its mouth a lion’s mouth. And as a detail, which at first he probably did not notice but which he observed upon closer examination, he remarks that one of the heads appears to have been smitten in the past with a death stroke, but that the stroke was healed.

    Let us investigate the meaning of this highly symbolic picture: the fact that here again we have symbolism needs no further argument; the text itself indicates this more than plainly. The sea is the birthplace, the source, the origin, of this beast. In this case, there is little doubt that it must be taken in the sense of peoples and nations and tongues as they live on earth under the power and principle of sin. We read of the sea in this sense more than once in Scripture. Isaiah says in Chapter 57, verse 20: "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt." In Daniel 7:2-3 we read: "Behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another."

    The entire context shows very plainly that nothing else can be meant by this symbolism: the troubled sea represents the nations. Indeed, it is a very fit symbol. The peoples and nations of the earth as they are under the power and principle of sin, and as they develop according to this principle, are indeed like unto the troubled sea: war-swept, revolution-swept, plague-swept, and famine-swept.

    Revelation 17:15 clearly proves that this same sea of nations and peoples is meant in the words of our text: the same beast together with the harlot is described once more, but now with a view to its final destruction. And the angel tells us:
    "The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."
    Therefore, we arrive at this conclusion: the beast finds its origin, its source, its birthplace from among the peoples and nations and tongues of the earth as they develop under the principle and power of sin.

    The picture is that this sea of nations is swept and in uproar, and it rages and foams till finally this beast comes up as a result. Looking at the beast proper, let us notice that it is a beast, and that too, a wild beast, a monster, just as the dragon was a monster. We may be more or less familiar with this figure; in this case, the Word of God gives us the unmistakable key to its interpretation. In Daniel we also read of beasts, especially of four. And in Daniel the interpretation is given by the guiding angel who directs the prophet: this angel interprets the figure of the beast as referring both to kingdoms and kings. In Daniel 7:17 we read:
    "These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth." And in verse 23 of the same chapter: "The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth."

    A Great Political World Power

    The figure of the beast represents a great political world power with its government as its head. There has been a great controversy all throughout the ages of the new dispensation about whether this beast, or the antichrist, is a person or a power or a system or a kingdom, but it seems to me that this controversy is not necessary. Daniel tells us that the beast is both the kingdom and the king. Or to speak just a little more generally, the beast represents both the world power and its government.

    I would say that this beast neither represents merely a person (who by personal power and personal strength—without any aid—conquers, subdues and controls the whole world and all that it contains) or only a kingdom or dominion without its head and government. Instead, it represents both. And not only do we find it so in Daniel, but it stands to reason and lies in the very nature of the case.

    A king is powerless without his kingdom, and a kingdom without a king is inconceivable: the two are inseparable. Therefore, we come to the conclusion that this beast is the symbol of a political government as we know it. I care not whether you are thinking now of a kingdom, empire, republic, or a worldly dominion as it naturally culminates and is represented by its head. Again, I care not whether you conceive of this head as a king, emperor, president, or even as a group or body of persons.

    Firstly, let us call your attention, further, to the fact that this world power as described in our passage is a consummation and culmination of all that has gone before and of all separate kingdoms that might possibly exist or have existed. It is well that we have our attention called to this feature for it is one of the main features of our text.

    This power as it is here pictured does not merely consist of one nation and one people, but it combines within itself all the kingdoms and empires and republics of the world. And, at the same time, it constitutes a combination and accumulation of all the power of all the kingdoms and empires and republics of the past.

    This is plain, in the first place, from the various beasts that are represented in this one beast. First of all, we may notice that they are all wild beasts and, therefore, destructive in their nature. In ordinary circumstances they would not form a unity, but rather exist to their mutual destruction. In the second place, it cannot escape our attention that in this wild beast we have a combination of the beasts pictured to us in Daniel chapter 7. There also we read of the beast like a lion, bear and leopard, and of a fourth beast, not accurately described, but terrible. And there these beasts constitute four separate kingdoms, the fourth of which finally blends into the vision of antichrist in the little horn rising from among the ten. Here, then, we have a combination of all these.

    Secondly, the kingdoms of the world, ordinarily like wild animals existing to their mutual destruction, have succeeded in forming a unity. And even as the spirit of the one beast is in all the beasts, so also is the world kingdom, which is represented by this beast, one. It combines in itself all the power, glory, ambitions and spirit of all the kingdoms that have aimed at world power in the past and that do aim at it at the present time. This is also more or less symbolized in the ten horns and seven heads. Although we do not interpret these ten horns as representing ten different kingdoms, or the seven heads as seven different kings, yet the general idea is expressed that this beast represents a combination of all the kingdoms of the world.

    The First Beast, the Incarnation of the Devil

    With the first beast, we have the resemblance of the dragon: the first beast is the incarnation of the dragon, which possesses all the kingdoms of the world. The dragon has ten horns and seven heads, and so has this beast. The idea clearly is that the devil, to whom the kingdoms of the world belong, now has succeeded in combining all his kingdoms under one head and inspiring them all with the same principle. The only difference is that he does not succeed in giving to his kingdom the complete and perfect aspect of the kingdom of God.

    Ten is the number of the world kingdom; seven is the number of the kingdom of God. For a long time the dragon wore his seven crowns on his seven heads, but now his authority and strength are both represented by the number ten. And though it is true that he still has seven heads, no one can mistake them for heads of the kingdom of Christ for names of blasphemy are written upon them.

    This is a world power that includes all the existing powers of the whole earth, and the head of this power has authority over all peoples, nations, tribes and tongues (verse 7). Therefore, we come to this conclusion thus far: the beast represents a consummation of all the world powers that have been in the past. It combines within itself all the power of these dominions, all the glory of them, all the ambitions of them, and all their aspirations and aims and accomplishments. Furthermore, it is itself a combination, a confederation, of all nations, peoples, tongues and tribes which may exist at that time under one head and under one government.

    If we understand this, we shall also be able to comprehend the significant detail of the scar that this beast has in one of its heads. We read:
    "And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed."
    This does not refer to the fall of the Roman, Grecian, Babylonian or Egyptian Empire, or, in fact, to the fall of any particular empire or to all of them combined.

    It is true that many attempts have been made to realize this great world power in the past: Babylon, Persia and Greece were filled with the same aspirations, and Rome advanced a good way to its establishment. It is also true that all failed and that they were smitten unto death.

    There are two things that lead us to the consideration that the fall of any or of all these empires together cannot be meant by this death stroke. In the first place, the death stroke meant here was healed, but the death stroke of these empires was final. And, in the second place, these empires in the past consisted of the domination of one nation over all the rest of the world and not of a combination of them all, as is indicated in this beast.

    Hence, there is but one thing in past history that can be indicated by this scar on one of the heads of the beast: it is the attempt in the days of mighty Nimrod, and the building of the tower of Babel, to establish a universal world power: it was to be a combination rather than the dominion of one individual or group. European Union Poster and the Tower of Babel They planned to form a mighty federation, a mighty league, with a common center in the city and tower and with common aims and purposes. However, it received the death stroke for a time. That death stroke consisted in the confusion of tongues and the consequential separation into nations (with their national differences and aspirations), and the resulting wars and strife.

    In the text, that death stroke is now healed. After many an individual power have made the attempt to gain the world power and to obtain control of the whole earth, the nations have finally come to the conclusion that the way of combination is the only way. National differences will be overcome and national aspirations will be combined into the aspiration of all.
    "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape (1 Thessalonians 5:3).
    We will have no more world wars and no more strife and competition; instead, we will have a great worldwide empire, including all nations and comprehending them all under one head. The death stroke shall be healed and what was prevented in the days of Nimrod now shall be accomplished.

    The Power of the First Beast

    The power of the first beast originates in the dragon, the old serpent, the devil: "the dragon gave him his power and his seat and great authority." In regard to this, we may remark, in the first place, that the dragon’s power and authority itself is limited: he bears the number ten and his kingdom bears that same number, and that number refers to God’s own sovereign decree. It is well that we bear this in mind, for it is to our comfort: it assures us from the outset that the power and authority of this kingdom of the beast, however great, is not unlimited and that Christ, who has all power, is mightier than antichrist.

    However, the fact remains that the dragon is permitted to give his power and authority and throne to the beast. In the text, he has now realized what he failed to establish when he tempted Christ. As we know, Satan made Christ the offer,
    "Fall down and worship me, and I will give Thee all the kingdoms of the world."
    You see, the devil is a spirit and, as such, he cannot establish an earthly throne in person: he must have some human agent or agents who will take the position. He wants to establish a world kingdom, but he cannot rule over that world in person; he must have human beings, or a human being, to be his vice regent. This is why he offered the position to Christ.

    The devil tried to tempt Christ while He dwelt on earth by offering Him a kingdom. He thought that Jesus was powerful and able, capable of filling the position; however, there was one condition to be fulfilled: this great vice regent of the devil had to worship and fall down before him, otherwise the devil would lose the very dominion he sought. The devil himself must remain lord, and this condition Christ refused to fulfill for the simple reason that He was the anointed Vice Regent, not of the devil, but of God. However, according to the text, now the devil has found someone.

    I think we must conceive of this in such a manner that, in general, the power of the devil is vested in the entire dominion of the beast. The authority and power is given to the beast as a whole; however, we must also maintain that this power and authority will be concentrated in the governing head of this world power. It makes no difference now whether this governing head is a person or a group of persons, a sort of central committee that rules the whole world: at this stage of history, this is difficult to say.

    One World Government

    The fact is that, in the future, there will be the full realization of a great world power, combining in itself all powers of the earth, with a government that has all the authority of the dragon, the old serpent, the devil. Therefore, this world power in general, and this governing head in particular, we may fitly describe as the very incarnation of the devil.

    The text tells us that this antichrist, this central government, in combination with its kingdom, will do great things. Do not make a mistake here: you must not imagine that the whole world will groan under the yoke of antichrist and long to be delivered from it. This is perhaps what the devil tries to tell us so that we should not recognize the power of antichrist when it is established, but it will be just the opposite.

    This antichrist will be attractive and inspiring. The whole world will be fond of his regime. The whole world will live in the conviction that this is just the thing. There will be a splendid time for the world. It will be a time of peace, all nations having been combined into one great whole. There will be no more rising of nation against nation. And it will be a time of wonderful accomplishments. This central person or government will have all things under its control. It will control the powers of nature. It will control science and philosophy. It will control religion and worship. It will control commerce and industry. It will control all that this world possesses in hidden talents and powers. And the promise given to man in the beginning, that he would have dominion over all things, will be realized.

    I imagine that in this kingdom or world power to come you will be able to scan the heavens since the air shall have been conquered. Perhaps we shall even be able to visit other planets in the universe, as is already attempted in this present time. In this world kingdom to come, you will be able to fathom the depths of the sea. In this kingdom you will be able to speak with its remotest inhabitant, and there shall be no poor and no miserable from a worldly point of view. All the powers of creation shall come to full development under the direction and under the control of the central head, and all shall be at our command. In a word, it will be a splendid kingdom, and all that the world desires will be realized there.

    The kingdom of antichrist will not be a heavy yoke on groaning subjects; rather, it will be a most beautiful kingdom with peace and splendor, riches and plenty, and harmony and great developments. And the whole earth will wonder after the beast. All the inhabitants will admire that state of things, and they will say, "Who is like unto this great government, and who is able now to war with us?" And in pure gratitude they will worship him and, thereby, they will worship the devil.

    That this must be so follows from the fact that this kingdom is universal in its scope. In the first place, it is universal because there shall be no nations that are outside and, therefore, there shall be no nations to make war: "and there was given him authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation." All nations freely and willingly obey the one government. This one government will have its own laws, which hold for all the nations of the world. It will have its own police force and its own representatives who have authority over every nation. And perhaps it will succeed even in establishing one language. At any rate, all the nations will be one nation with no more competition and no more difference and war. It will be a peaceful kingdom.

    This kingdom will be universal because all things will be under the control of its central government. If I may just run ahead for a moment, the rest of the chapter tells us that this central government has the power over buying and selling. Under this central government, you cannot buy the necessities of life or do business and live along in society unless you are allowed to do so by the beast. It must be a government, therefore, which not only has complete control over all the inhabitants of the historic world, but also controls all things connected with their life and existence in this kingdom.

    Commerce and industry will be completely in the power of the central government. Natural resources, railroads, air roads, waterways and other roads; coal, iron, grain and vegetables; telegraph, telephone, radio and television; and all things will be in the power of this central government. Schools, universities and churches will be under its jurisdiction. It will tell you what to believe and how to worship since it will want one science and one religion and one worship.

    This one-world government will have power to command you to worship the beast and its image. And therefore, once more we come to this conclusion, based on the words of this passage and also on other parts of Scripture: the one final manifestation of antichrist will be that of a great and universal world power, which will include all nations. This universal kingdom will have a central government that will have authority over all nations and over all things.

    The Spiritual Character of the First Beast

    This central government will control all things in the world, and it will be admired and worshipped by all the inhabitants of the whole earth except the one class of people who will refuse to put their trust in this great power and who will refuse to worship the beast. And this class of people is especially described as those whose names have been written in the Lamb's book of life. In short, the people of God will still be on earth: the elect of the Most High, the covenant people, will be on earth, and they will refuse to worship the beast.

    And this brings us to our third question: "What is the spiritual character of this great and splendid world power?" The answer to this question is that it is anti-God and anti-Christ. It is anti-saints and anti-kingdom of God. That this is so might be surmised from the fact that this world power receives its power from the dragon, the old serpent. As we have said before, he has but one principle and by that principle he lives: it is the principle of opposition against God. He has but one aim and that is to thrust the Almighty from His throne, deprive Him of His sovereignty, and to be God instead of Him. He, therefore, is the author and accomplisher of this power; and since he gives this kingdom his power and throne and authority, it would be sufficient to conclude that this kingdom and dominion is anti-God and anti-Christ in character. This is also plain from other portions of the text.

    This beast has names of blasphemy inscribed upon his seven heads, and he receives a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies. He actually opens his mouth to blaspheme the name of God and of His tabernacle, namely, those that dwell in heaven. To blaspheme the name of God is to deny His name, His sovereignty, His power, and all His virtues. (Nebuchadnezzar was blaspheming when he said in the pride of his heart that he himself was the author of mighty Babylon.) And so this kingdom and its head will blaspheme the name of the Most High. It will deny that God and His Christ have anything to do with this world kingdom, and it will maintain that all in the world is the result of the power of man and the manifestation of his glory.

    In a word, it will try to expel the very name and authority of the Almighty from His own works. And it will do the same with the saints who have already gone into glory. It will deny that there is such a thing as glory in the hereafter. It will refuse to speak of it, and it will not tolerate to have it mentioned. It will banish the very remembrance of the saints. It will not tolerate all that is connected with God and His name and His worship.

    This power is its own god and its followers worship the beast: "all that dwell on the earth shall worship him." In general, all the inhabitants of the earth shall worship the existing state of things and, centrally, also the government, which is at the head. They will put all their trust in the anti-Christian beast. They will expect the very necessities of life from him. They will turn to him in trouble. They shall worship and admire him, and they will give divine honor and praise to him in gratitude of heart. They shall worship the beast and its image, and through it all they shall worship "the great dragon, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan."

    Must I prove that this is the realization of all that has been pictured to us in the Scriptures concerning antichrist? If so, let me first call your attention to still another feature: they shall make war with the saints.

    In this time to come, there are still saints on earth, and they shall be witnesses. They shall refuse to submit to the power of antichrist. It is not that they shall fight with the sword and rise in political rebellion—no, not that; but they shall refuse to worship the beast, and they shall uphold the sovereignty of the Almighty and of His Christ in those days. They shall refuse to change their religion and their worship and their testimony.

    The Witnesses of Christ on Earth

    The witnesses of Christ on earth in those days shall maintain that Christ and not antichrist is King; therefore, they shall be hated, and then shall be fully realized what Christ said, "Ye shall be hated of all nations." Antichrist shall make war with them and overcome them. They shall be hard days, days so hard that the elect would not hold out if the days were not shortened. Days of persecution shall they be. We shall learn more about them in future discussions. Let it now be sufficient to prove that this world power is anti-God, anti-Christ, anti-kingdom and anti-saints.

    Thus antichrist in his final consummation is pictured to us everywhere in the Word of God. In Daniel 4:25 we read of him: "And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and law; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time."

    And in Daniel 8:23-25:
    "In the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace he shall destroy many; he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand."
    And in Daniel 11:36 we read:
    "And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that is determined shall be done."
    Turn to the New Testament and read what Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4:
    "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."
    And again, in verse 9 of the same chapter:
    "Even Him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish."
    Surely, there is no doubt about the fact that all these passages wonderfully harmonize with all that we learned about the beast that shall come up out of the sea, and that this beast is the anti-Christian power in its final and full consummation. It will consist of a wicked and universal world power with a central government doing wonderful things, but rising against the Most High and against Christ and His people.

    The Identity of the First Beast

    According to all Scripture, the power of antichrist is in the world already and has been in the world all throughout this dispensation: the mystery of iniquity is already working, as Paul warns us in 2 Thessalonians 2:7. And John, writing to the Christians of his time, says:
    "Everyone that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is the spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come, and even now already is it in the world" (1 John 4:3).
    The time period for the power represented in the beast is symbolized as 42 months in the text: it includes all the attempts in the entire period of the present dispensation that have been made to establish this world power in opposition to Christ and His kingdom. It may very well be that this 42 months (which we read of more than once in the form of 1260 days and also as 3 ½ years or times) will in the future also have another meaning, which we cannot now determine. However, it is certain that it first of all points to this entire dispensation since, in this entire dispensation, the power of iniquity and the spirit of antichrist are already in the world.

    In this entire dispensation or period, the two witnesses give their prophecy. In this entire dispensation, the Church is in the wilderness of her separation. In this entire dispensation, the beast that rises up out of the abyss — and which culminates in the beast pictured to us in Revelation chapter 13 — is present. Therefore, let no man beguile you, for the devil is in the world already: he works in the world; he has made many bold attempts already to reach his culmination; and his final manifestation will be the consummation of a long process of development.

    On the other hand, let me also warn you not to make the mistake of fording him already in his full manifestation and power. Never yet has there been a power such as is pictured here. Never yet was there a universal world power that had free sway over every nation and people and tribe and tongue. Never yet has there been a nation that all the peoples worshipped. Never yet was there a kingdom or dominion that had power over all the forces and resources of creation so that no one could even buy or sell in any part of the world except by the grace of this anti-Christian power. And this also applies to the present day.

    Let no one beguile you. This anti-Christian power is not yet in its full reality: no single nation represents it. The world power will not be realized by sword or cannon so that there would be a tyrannical government lording over a groaning lot of subjects. Instead, it will be a kingdom or government established by common consent and agreement in which all admire and worship the beast. And again, the war this government or dominion will wage is not against any world kingdom, but against the saints of the Most High who refuse to worship the beast.

    Such a power does not yet exist, but let me warn you that the time is at hand. We know not how soon, but soon it will be. All the signs of the times point to such a tremendous power, to such a league of the nations that has control over all things, to such a unity of all religion in which man is exalted and the Christ of the Scriptures is blasphemed, His blood trampled under foot. Therefore, I would say that the time is at hand! Watch therefore! Let no one beguile you, but watch!

    Finally, if you ask why this complete picture of the antichrist is given us in the book of Revelation, my answer is this: so that we might clearly recognize it when it is revealed. And what then must we do when we see it is come? Must we oppose it. You may ask, "Must we fight it with the sword?" That, of course, is completely impossible. It will come. It must come. And to oppose its coming is entirely vain. Its coming is irresistible. And the battle is not one of the sword.

    As the text has it, he that is for captivity, into captivity he goes; and if any man shall kill with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. We cannot oppose the power of antichrist by main force. When that world power comes and reigns supreme, we shall be submissive to the last as far as God and our conscience permit. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints, that in all these times they remain faithful and refuse to deny the Christ and that they wait for the day of His coming. May God give us grace to be found faithful at all times and to be found watching and praying so that no one may take our crowns.

    Recap of the First Beast

    So far in our discussion of chapter 13, we have discussed the first beast, which comes up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads and combining within itself the appearance of a leopard, bear and lion. We have come to the conclusion, in the first place, that this beast is the symbol of a great political world power, as is evident from the passages in the book of Daniel that refer to similar beasts:
    • We found that it is not merely a king, emperor or government that is here pictured, but that the beast represents the entire power, the government and its dominion, and that they belong together inseparably.
    • We also found that this world power is universal in its sway: it has dominion over all nations and tongues and tribes; and that, not by main force, but by free alliance of all the nations together. All wonder after the beast, think him great, admire him, and subject themselves to him willingly, offering him even their worship.
    • We saw also that this kingdom is universal: it has absolute sway over all things in its kingdom, over industry and commerce, over science and art, over religion and philosophy, and over all the powers and talents of creation.
    As to its spiritual character, we found that this kingdom is anti-God, anti-Christ, anti-kingdom and anti-saints. This was plain from the fact that the beast received his power and throne from the dragon, the old serpent, the devil, the incurable opponent of the Most High and His Christ. This is clear also from the fact that he bears names of blasphemy on his seven heads, that he has a mouth to blaspheme, and that he opens that mouth actually to blaspheme the Most High and the saints of Christ in His tabernacle. This is clear, in the third place, from the fact that he kills and persecutes the saints who refuse to worship the beast. And, finally, this is evident from the fact that he himself allows himself to be worshipped as God instead of the Most High.

    Thus the kingdom of man under Satan is complete: it is a kingdom which has sway over all the universe, over all men, over all the powers of creation; it is a kingdom in which man worships his own work and in which the devil is lord supreme.

    In the first place, we pointed out that the spirit of antichrist is already in the world and that it is in the making all during the history of the present dispensation, revealing itself more or less boldly at different stages of history. In the second place, as we warned, you must not imagine that it already has reached its full manifestation, and you must not imagine that Revelation chapter 13 already has been fully realized. In the third place, we also pointed out that for him who has understanding and who can at all read the signs of the times, it is plain that the time is at hand and that all things develop very fast in the direction of this fascinating world kingdom.


    In order to prevent any misunderstanding at all, let me say from the outset that there is a definite relation between the first and the second beast. We must not have the impression that, in the first part of the chapter, antichrist was pictured in its full manifestation and that now, in the second part, we have the representation of something quite different. Rather, we must maintain that in the entire thirteenth chapter of Revelation we have the picture of antichrist.

    The two beasts depicted together form the picture of the full and complete anti-Christian power (one world power):
    1. The first beast pictures the anti-Christian kingdom in its political aspect (one world government);

    2. The second beast deals with the kingdom’s religious, moral and scientific forces (one world religion).
    In other words, the first beast tells us that the kingdom of antichrist has authority over all man and all things while the second beast shows us how this first beast exercises this authority.

    It is clear from a glance at the text that the symbolism of the first part is simply continued. In the preceding part of the chapter, we find the picture of a beast rising up out of the sea, with seven heads and ten horns, and appearing like a leopard, bear and lion, all in one. In that first part of the chapter, we find things that were really unintelligible without the second; therefore, to complete the picture, we must insert the picture of the second beast into that of the first.

    The full symbolism is as follows. The first beast is followed by a second, who rises up out of the earth. He is less formidable in appearance than the first beast: his origin is not of the stormy sea, but from the more quiet and more stable earth. He looks like a lamb, it seems, for he has horns as of a lamb, but when he speaks, he does not speak the truth. He stands in a very definite relation to the first beast: repeatedly this is indicated in the text. He exercises all his authority in the sight of, in the presence of, in behalf of, and as servant of the first beast. All that he does, he does in the presence of the first beast.

    The purpose of this second beast, therefore, lies in the service of the first. And this soon becomes apparent, for the second beast causes the inhabitants of the world to wonder after the first beast and to admire and worship him. This second beast makes man build an image of the first beast in order to worship the beast through his image. This second beast causes all the worshippers of the first beast to receive a sign, which distinguishes them from those who refuse to worship the first beast. Those who refuse to worship the beast will not receive the sign: they are not given the sign in order that they may be killed.

    This second beast is, therefore, as it were, the actual power of the first; in other words, the first beast works and exercises his power through the second. The first beast could not exist, could not exercise his authority, and would not be worshipped without the work of the second beast. And the second beast would have no reason to exist and to work were it not for the fact that this first beast must reach its full power.

    It is plain from what we have said that the second beast cannot represent a second kingdom. In Daniel, as we have said, the beasts are symbols of kings together with their kingdoms. Let me call your attention to the fact that this second beast makes a radically different impression from the first beast and from the beasts that are pictured in Daniel chapter 7.

    In the book of Daniel, we have the wild animal: a leopard, bear and lion all combined into one. However, here in the book of Revelation, we have an entirely different picture. This beast evidently makes one think of a lamb. First of all, he has horns like those of a lamb, though he speaks like the dragon. In the second place, let me call your attention to the fact that evidently his power is quite different from that of a king. A king commands and makes laws and thus he exercises authority; however, this beast, although it exercises authority even the same as that of the first beast, does not exercise his power by commands but rather by persuasion.

    This second beast speaks: what this implies may become plain from the repeated indications in the text concerning the manner of his work. We read that he makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, he deceives man by the great signs and wonders which he performs, and he says to them who dwell on the earth that they should make an image of the first beast. And he causes all that worship the first beast to receive a sign.

    Hence, we receive the clear impression that the beast mentioned here does not work like the first beast, but that he is of a different character. He comes by speaking and by doing great signs and wonders. Therefore, the second beast comes with the persuasion of a prophet: he does not force, but convince; he does not command and issue laws, but he wins the hearts of men.

    Adding to this, we read repeatedly that this second beast works in the sight of and in the presence of the first beast, and that he does all he can for the power and maintenance of the first beast. Therefore, it is plain that this second beast represents some power in the kingdom, some tremendous influence in that great universal kingdom, which we have pictured to you according to the first part of the chapter.

    The Power of the Second Beast, the False Prophet

    The second beast works through the hearts and minds of men to influence, bewitch and charm them so that they worship the first beast and so that they admire him and submit themselves gladly to him.

    What power, then, does this second beast represent? We will find no difficulty in identifying him. Scripture itself tells us: in the nineteenth chapter of Revelation, we find a reference to this same beast. In Revelation 19:20 we read:
    "And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire that burneth with brimstone."
    And in Revelation 20:10 we find mention of him once more:
    "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are."
    The beast that is mentioned in these passages is evidently the first beast, and the false prophet is none other than this second beast, with the two lamb’s horns, who speaks as the dragon. Therefore, we come to the conclusion that this second beast is called the false prophet.

    What is a prophet? We must banish from our minds the popular conception that a prophet is chiefly a man who foretells the future. True, a prophet also foretells the future, but that is not his only work. We find from Scripture that a prophet is characteristically a person who speaks for someone else. Aaron is called the prophet of Moses when they together go to Pharaoh and Aaron expressing the message instead of and for Moses. We see this also with the prophets of God among Israel. The prophets are men who speak for God and bring His message; they appeal to the minds and hearts of men; they speak to Israel in behalf of Jehovah and His covenant and cause.

    God’s prophets teach and speak and reveal the will of God, and they try to persuade men so that they may embrace His cause. Now this second beast is also a prophet in that he speaks for someone else and he tries to influence the minds of men, to persuade them, to gain them for the cause of him in whose interest he speaks. However, he is a false prophet in that he does not preach the truth; rather, he speaks the lie. He persuades men and teaches them, and by doing so he deceives them so that they believe the lie. And if we compare this with what we find in the words of the passage that we are now discussing, we shall find that this is actually his character.

    His very appearance is deceiving. He looks like a lamb: one would receive the impression, therefore, that he is in some way affiliated with Christ, the great Prophet, and that the words he speaks are the words of Christ. However, he speaks like the dragon: he derives the contents of his prophecy and teaching not from Christ, but from the devil, from hell itself.

    He is a prophet so he speaks for someone else, but the one for whom he speaks is the first beast, who receives and exercises all the authority of the devil. In the devil's presence and in behalf of him, he speaks and exercises his authority. In the devil's sight and in his behalf, he does his great signs and wonders. He persuades men to establish an entire worship and erect an image, and he causes all who refuse the image to be killed.

    This second beast, the false prophet, is the exact opposite of what Elijah was among Israel. Elijah stood before Jehovah, but this false prophet stands for the opponent of Jehovah. Elijah spoke the truth of God, but this false prophet speaks the lie of the dragon. Elijah persuaded men to break down the image of Baal and serve and worship the true God, but this false prophet persuades men to forsake Jehovah and make an image for the first beast and the dragon. Elijah persuaded men to kill the priests of Baal, but this false prophet persuades men to kill the saints of the Most High.

    One World Religion

    I would say that the second beast as a whole does not represent a single person, a single individual. I know that there are interpreters who urge this very strongly, but it is not necessary to maintain this nor is it very probably the interpretation.

    We found in explanation of the first beast that it did not simply refer to an individual king or emperor or governor, but just as much to the kingdom or world power under the sway of that government. And the same must be borne in mind here. I do not think it impossible that in the future some great philosopher will arise who will dominate almost any intellectual movement of his time so that all others follow him.

    This second beast does not represent a single individual, but rather all the power of false science, philosophy and religion combined. In the future, all science, philosophy and religion shall be united into one science and one philosophy and one religion. There shall be no more difference of opinion. Just as politically the world shall be one, so it shall be one intellectually and religiously. They shall all have the same ideas about things. They shall all admire the same science. They shall all have the same religion.

    There will be a new religion: already we hear of it in our own time. And this new religion shall embrace all things: it shall be universal. All creeds, denominations and sects shall be blended and united into one so that there shall be no more strife and ecclesiastical contention. It shall have a universal creed, laying down the precepts and principles for every sphere of life.

    This new religion shall lay down rules for our individual life, just as the Christian religion does. It shall lay down the principles for our home life, just as the Christian religion does. It shall reveal principles for the life of society and for the life of nations.

    This one world power shall lay down the rules for religious life in particular: it shall tell all men how they must worship and what they must worship. It shall be a new system of thought and religion, with a new creed, universal in its scope and, at the same time, with a new god. That new god will be the beast, the great world power, whom all shall admire and worship and for whom all shall erect an image in order that they may worship the same. Thus it is also clear that the first beast has need of the second.

    The Activity of the Second Beast

    • The universal world power, being based upon the unity and voluntary submission of all, has need of the power of false prophecy and has need of this universal science and religion.
    • The second beast must serve the first: it is indispensable to the first. The world power has need of false science, philosophy and religion to maintain the devil's authority and the integrity and unity of his kingdom.
    • If we understand this, it is not very difficult to comprehend the action of the second beast. We read in the text that he does great things with signs and wonders, and it is exactly through these signs and wonders that he succeeds in gaining men for his cause and deceiving them.

    Naturally a prophet must do signs and wonders: these must establish his prophetic authority and the truth of the things he speaks. Thus it was with Moses before Pharaoh and at the same time with the magi of the king: they performed signs and wonders to impress the authority with which they appeared. Thus it was with Elijah on Carmel, with Christ as a prophet, and with the appearance of the apostles in the midst of the heathen world: they all performed signs and wonders in order that these might corroborate the truth of their message. Thus it is also in the anti-Christian world power to come: this second beast shall perform signs and wonders (and this was foretold already by Daniel the prophet).

    As was prophesied by Christ Himself, the antichrist shall perform marvelous things: "For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matthew 24:24). It was also foretold by the apostle Paul, who predicted that the man of sin should manifest himself in great signs and wonders. And thus we find it in the words of our text.

    The second beast, the false prophet, who is the power of this false science and philosophy and religion, shall do things which will astonish the world and which will cause all men to flock to him, to listen to his prophecy, and to worship the beast.

    What shall this power do? There are interpreters who take it all in the literal sense of the word and who claim that this second beast represents a person who will actually perform miracles. We are not inclined that way: all that is necessary is to assume that this great power will do things that will corroborate his teachings and thus establish the universal kingdom. He will not only talk, but he will show that he can do things in harmony with the message he brings.

    The second beast will apply his false science and philosophy and religion, and he will show that man is extremely powerful. He will bring fire from heaven. Why not? Through the power of electricity man has already done great things. In the future, man actually may be able to extract the fire from the clouds of heaven and bring it down in the sight of all men. The second beast will provide men with all the commodities, conveniences and pleasures modern science can invent so that they can fly through the air without danger, speak with their fellow men in the remotest corner of this great kingdom without trouble, enter into the bowels of the earth, and plow through the depth of the sea.

    This false philosophy will discover all the powers of creation and bring them into use so that all men shall wonder at the great things it does. And wondering at its action, they shall follow him and believe his message and obey his command. This is evidently the sole, ultimate purpose of these signs and wonders, that men may believe and follow the beast: for we read in the words of our text that by these signs and wonders, the devil deceives men so that they make an image of the beast.


    Notice that this false prophet does not make the image through which the world power is to be worshipped, but that under his influence, as he speaks for the beast and performs signs and wonders in his name, men make such an image. This image, of course, is a representation of the beast itself so whosoever worships the image, worships the beast, and he who worships the beast, worships the dragon.

    Exactly of what this image shall consist, we do not know at present. The idea of an image through which the world power is worshipped is nothing strange. The emperors of the Roman Empire made such images, which they worshipped as gods. In the French Revolution, the images of the great leaders of that revolution were made and worshipped: men paid religious worship to the images of liberty, equality, and fraternity that were made. And in the Notre Dame of Paris, the goddess of reason was actually worshipped by the great of France.

    Therefore, there would be nothing strange if, in these latter days, there would be once more such idol worship in the literal sense of the word. At all events, some sign, some ensign, or some device representing this universal world power will be conceived of and made and distributed all throughout the dominion of antichrist so that they may pay divine honor to it and worship the beast.

    It is before this emblem of the universal world power that all men shall bow down. And this false prophet will be allowed to perform still greater things. He will give to that image a spirit, a breath of life. How this universal idol shall speak, I know not, but this is of minor importance since we know the purpose of it all. The text tells us that this image is given a breath of life in order that it may speak and that those who do not worship the image may be killed.

    At this time to come, there are still saints of the Most High on earth: the remnant of the seed of the woman is still there; they are not yet taken to heaven. And, of course, they refuse to go along with all this beautiful and worldwide movement. They refuse to adopt the philosophy of the second beast. They refuse to wonder at its great signs. They refuse to adopt its religion. They refuse to worship the beast and the dragon.

    The Church shall refuse to worship the beast; therefore, the saints cannot be tolerated, and they must be discovered so that this great universal kingdom may be rid of them. And so an image must be made, some universal ensign, and this universal ensign must be displayed everywhere. Wherever you turn, you can see it in this kingdom of the antichrist, and all shall humbly bow down before it or in some way pay it divine honor, except for the saints of the Most High, who shall refuse to worship the idol.

    Those who do not worship the beast will not receive this universal insignia, and thus it becomes evident that they be killed. Through this universal insignia, distinction and separation is made between the worshippers of the beast and the followers of Christ, the seed of the woman. And this universal mark or sign or insignia must serve as the means through which the distinction is realized.

    In close connection with this idea is the idea of the sign. By means of the image, distinction is made between the followers of the beast and those who refuse to worship him. The faithful followers of the beast receive a sign. It is of little importance for us at present to determine exactly of what this sign shall consist. It may be that the kingdom shall literally provide for some brand or badge that the beast’s faithful followers shall be allowed to wear and with which they shall be allowed to appear in modern society. However, it also may be that this is all symbolism to denote that there shall be a visible difference in the manifestation of the followers of the beast and the followers of Christ.

    It is certain that the difference between the followers of the beast and the followers of Christ shall be there and this difference shall be very plain. The false prophet, the power of false science and philosophy and religion, shall see to it that the distinction is very public and evident to all so that only his followers may share in the blessings of this great kingdom.

    Just as only the followers of Christ (baptized in His name and confessing Him faithfully) shall share in the blessings of the kingdom of God, so also the followers of the beast only shall reap the benefits of this universal world kingdom. The rest, who do not have the mark of the beast, shall be excluded and boycotted in every respect.

    All things shall be under the control of the first beast, of this great and universal world power: the very necessities of life shall be in his power. He can surely allow or prevent buying and selling according to his good pleasure. The saints of Christ who do not worship the image, and who refuse to receive the mark of the beast, shall not be able to do business; they shall not be able to buy or to sell. They shall not be able to live along with that great society. They shall not be able to buy the necessities of life. They shall be outcasts, mocked at, held in derision, thrust aside, ousted from society, and killed.

    Those shall be terrible days. They shall be more terrible than any form of persecution that the children of God have ever experienced. There shall be no place for them on earth. They shall be left without a helper on earth. So terrible shall those days be that many shall fall who appeared to be children of the Most High, and the very elect would not be able to resist were it not for the fact that the days shall be shortened.

    The Name and Number of the Beast

    We must discuss the name of this great beast, which all its worshippers bear on their foreheads or in their right hand. We read:
    "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six."
    Many and varied are the interpretations given of this number: we shall not tire your attention by enumerating them all. A very favorite interpretation is that which is given by an old church father, Irenaeus, and accepted by many of our own time. The interpretation is as follows. The letters of the Greek alphabet were used as numbers. If this is taken as the basis of the interpretation, we find that the letters in the word Lateinos, or Latin, together give us the number 666. Therefore, the name of the beast as spelled by this number is "Latin," and it denotes the kingdom of the Latins or of the Roman Empire.

    However, even this interpretation we cannot possibly accept as true. For, in the first place, however ingenious it may be, it is nevertheless more or less arbitrary. On this basis, I can also construe other names, which are just as suitable and also amount to the number 666, but which simply are formed by a different arrangement of the same letters. In the second place, notice that our text does not say, "Here is a riddle; let him that is bright solve it;" rather, it plainly states: "Here is wisdom; let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast." And therefore we must have something different. Finally, in the third place, we should not lose sight of the fact that the numbers in Revelation have symbolical significance: they stand also in this case for a higher spiritual reality.

    Let us then notice that the mark of the beast, the number of his name, the number of the beast, and the name of the beast all denote identically the same thing. The beast has a name, and the name in Scripture always denotes character and being. The name of this beast has been impressed upon his followers so that also they may be distinguished as his subjects. And that name is the same as is expressed in the number 666.

    Now what is the meaning of this number? Six is the number of the creature in all its fulness: in six days God created the world and in six days creation was completed; the fulness of creation has come to realization in six days. However, the full week is not expressed in the six, but in the number seven. The seventh day is the day of consecration and adoration of God; it is the day on which the creature was to lift himself from the sphere of the mundane and consecrate himself to the Creator. On the seventh day, man was to bring the glory of all God’s work to Him. The seventh day was hallowed.

    Six is one less than seven; therefore, the number six speaks of the fulness of creation and all the powers of creation but without God and without the service and glory of God. The symbolism of the number six is the world under the influence of sin: it is the world with all its fulness and powers, but without God. Ten is the number that denotes a complete measure of anything according to the decree of God, whether it be a measure of time, power, development, or anything else.

    Notice 666 + (10 x 6) + (10 x 10 x 6): 10 x 6 would denote the world and all its fulness without God, developed according to the measure of God’s plan; and 10 x 10 x 6 denotes that same development in the highest degree, coming to its fullest consummation. The idea, therefore, is not so difficult. God created a world that should glorify Him and be consecrated to Him, but that world tore itself loose from Him and refused to glorify Him. Man has developed the kingdom of the world without God, and God allows this kingdom of the world to develop to its full extent.

    Although man has fallen away from Him, God nevertheless allows man to exercise dominion over the earthly creation and to bring to light all the hidden powers and talents of creation to their fullest degree. In the final manifestation of this anti-Christian kingdom to come we have the 'beasts' of the book of Revelation: these beasts represent the highest development of the sovereignty of man apart from God, and under the devil they develop all the powers of creation without God.

    This anti-Christian to come is the climax of the development of the man of sin: it is the kingdom of man, of the creature, without God, without the seven. And therefore his number is 666, the number of man indeed. Such, I feel persuaded, is the meaning of this chapter.

    If we have spiritual understanding, we must count the number of the beast. You may see him rise before your very eyes in the world of today. Hence, we must watch and pray that we may not fall into temptation. We must be faithful unto the end.

    It is not our calling to resist the anti-Christian kingdom to come: for that is impossible. We cannot prevent its coming; however, we must watch and be prepared. Here is the patience of the saints; here is wisdom. We must know how this kingdom of antichrist will come so that we may recognize its coming and be faithful even unto the end.

    God grant that we may be found watching in that day so that we may not be allured by all the beauty and fascination and by the Christian appearance, strength and stability of this world kingdom to come. Let us not be allured by the signs and wonders of the false prophet, but let us remain faithful even unto the very end so that no one may take our crowns.

    Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. --1 Corinthians 15:57

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