In amazement the whole earth followed the beast. They worshipped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshipped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?’
The beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also, it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. It was given authority over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all the inhabitants of the earth will worship it.
John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Calif., and influential author of more than 150 books:
[Protesters in Egypt, Libya and through the Middle East] are all in violation of a biblical command – to submit to the powers that be because they’re ordained of God. I’m not saying Moammar Gadhafi is the best leader, I’m not saying that Mubarak is a great, benevolent and just leader … But what I am saying is that whatever the government would be, even if it was Caesar in the New Testament, that the believers are commanded to live orderly lives, peaceful, quiet lives, subjecting themselves to the powers that be because they’re ordained of God. …
Biblically speaking, I would have wished the American government, which has a history of Christianity, would have risen up and said “this is wrong, this is forbidden for people to do this, this is intolerable.” Look, if you live in Iran and you obey the law, you’re safe because that’s what happens.
Then I saw another beast that rose out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and it makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of all; and by the signs that it is allowed to perform on behalf of the beast, it deceives the inhabitants of earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that had been wounded by the sword and yet lived; and it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could even speak and cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell who does not have the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.
You might not like the law, you might not like a lot about it, but … obviously there are times when you have to break the law because the Lord commands us to do something the law forbids. I just think the upshot of all of this is more instability, more chaos, you can’t make a transition to democracy this way; it’s impossible. After all, who said democracy’s the best form of government? … from a Christian standpoint, a biblical standpoint this kind of behavior is not approved in the Scripture and freedom – certain freedoms, liberties and democracies – is not a justification for this kind of mass rioting and disobedience and overturning of governments.
“This calls for wisdom,” John of Patmos said. And in this case, John of Patmos seems to provide much more wisdom than John of Sun Valley. That stuff about lamb’s horns and dragons is kind of trippy, but it’s far, far saner than what MacArthur is saying.