In my first post in this series, I suggested that the answer to this question is of “utmost significance.”
NB: we interrupted this series of posts with a 4-part series on the Mark of the Beast and 666 (see: here for #1; #2; #3; and #4), as well as a few time-sensitive posts: Why I celebrate indigenous peoples day and not Columbus day and a post on the scandal that broke regarding the National Women’s Soccer League.
Where is this going?
Before I proceed, I suppose that it might be of help if I make my landing spot clear. When it comes to political systems and the nations of the world, whether it be an ancient empire/kingdom such as Egypt, Israel, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Greece, or Rome, or a modern-day nation/empire, it is my conviction, which I believe derives from a careful study of the biblical text, that every nation/empire is corrupt—sure, I will concede that some are more corrupt than others.
My point, which I will defend over the course of these posts, is that only Christ and His kingdom bring justice and peace. Note that in saying this, I do not intend to suggest that there has been, are, or will be any such thing as a “Christian nation.”
NB: at some point, I will also address the fact that “Christian” empires/nations as well as empires/nations that have been influenced by Christians/Christianity have brought about their fair share of gross injustices.
If anyone has ears to hear
One of the reasons I believe that we may struggle with what I am about to say in these posts is that we have been inundated for the last several hundred years with the notion that Christianity is primarily about personal righteousness. We have reduced the Gospel to our need to accept Jesus as our personal savior and then to aim to be a good person.
Both our individualism and our focus on personal piety have caused us to overlook any possible corporate responsibility.
In addition, I should also note that it is my suspicion that I will come to some conclusions that many of you will not like. I know I don’t like some of these conclusions, so I suspect you won’t either.
One of the dangers that we must be aware of is that some of the empires/nations in which we live might also be the source of oppression. Our problem here is even deeper when we begin to consider the possibility that we have been the benefactors of someone else’s oppression.
The problem, then, is that the notion that “as long as I am not . . .” carries no weight.
Thus, the exhortation to the people of God in the book of Revelation must ring loud in our ears: “Come out of her My people” (Rev 18:4).
Satan is the deceiver
So I continue this series of posts by asking, “could it be that the deceiver has infiltrated the Church? Could it be that he has distracted me so that I cannot see, nor hear, nor understand how I might be both benefitting from and contributing to injustice? Could it be that he has influenced us so that we promote, encourage, and, even to some extent, sponsor injustice?
So who/what is the Beast?
I will contend in this series that the Beast represents humanity’s claim to be the world’s true king. In doing so, the Beast undermines Christ’s authority as the world’s true king (Jesus is the ruler of the kings of the earth: Rev 1:5; and he is the King of kings: Rev 17:14; 19:16). I will also note that the Beast does so in such a way that he demands the worship and allegiance that belongs to Christ alone.
Now we must recognize the tremendous irony in this. Namely, instead of humanity fulfilling its role as God’s image bearers who rule over the beasts (Gen 1:26, 28), the book of Revelation says that humanity has instead become the beasts.
In other words, to play off the title of one of the last generation’s popular books, “The Beast is alive and well on planet earth.”
In order to gain a more complete picture of the Beast in Rev 13:1-8, we must first recognize the relationship between Rev 13:1-8 and Daniel 7. After we have come to terms with Daniel 7, then we can begin to discern John’s intent in Rev 13:1-8. Only then can we begin to ask what this means for us today.
This will be the subject of our next post. . . .
NB: My goal is to keep these posts free of charge. I do not intend to ever hide them behind a paywall. I can only do this if those of you who have been blessed by them and can afford to give ($5, $10, $25, or more/month) do so. You can give a tax-deductible contribution by following this link.
Please share this post and let others know about determinetruth.
Remember that our friends at Hearts & Minds, an independent bookstore in central Pennsylvania, have offered to give our listeners a 20% off on nearly anything ordered. Just mention Determinetruth and they will get back to you promptly with personalized service like you rarely see these days.
If you wish to view this blog on your smartphone through the Determinetruth app simply download the “tithe.ly church” app on your smartphone and insert “determinetruth” as the church name you wish to follow. Once it is loaded, simply click on the “blog” icon and it will automatically load.
If you would like to have Rob speak at your church or organization in person or via zoom, please let us know by filling out the contact info on the Contact me tab on this site.