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Beastly Economics

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The second Beast employs economic pressure to coerce men so they swear allegiance to the Beast from the sea .  The “ False Prophet ” uses the economic power of the “ Beast ” against anyone who refuses to render homage to the  World Empire , and the “ mark of the Beast ” enforces submission. The ability to impose monetary penalties on nations, communities, and individuals is key to the Beast’s power.

Ruler of Kings

The faithful witness, Jesus, now reigns supreme over the kings of the earth, including his enemies .  Jesus is called the “ ruler of the kings of the earth ” in the present tense . His sovereignty over the earth is based on his death and resurrection, NOT on any hereditary rights, economic control, or military might. He is the anointed king who now reigns on the messianic throne.

His Present Reign

The reign of Jesus began with his exaltation to the messianic throne after his Death and Resurrection – Psalms 110:1.  The New Testament links Christ’s enthronement to his Death and Resurrection by using key messianic texts from the Hebrew Bible. He achieved the authority to rule because of his faithful obedience, and God vindicated him by raising him from the dead.

The Suffering Servant

“I will give him a portion among the great because he poured out his soul unto death, and with transgressors let himself be numbered” – Isaiah 53:12. Unlike Adam, the “ Servant of Yahweh ” did not attempt to grasp the “ likeness of God .” Instead,  he humbled himself  and submitted to a horrific and shameful death.  For this reason , God highly exalted him and made him “ Lord ” over all things. Exaltation did not precede his death - it followed it.

Appointed to Tribulation

Disciples escape God’s wrath, but they endure tribulation. Indeed, the church has been appointed to suffer .  The terms “ tribulation ” and “ wrath ” are  NOT  synonymous in Paul’s letters. “ Tribulation ” is what disciples endure for the sake of the gospel. “ Wrath ” is the horrific fate that awaits the wicked at the final judgment when the Lord arrives in glory.

Martyrs and Overcomers

In the book of Revelation, overcoming saints persevere in the testimony of Jesus whatever the cost, even unto death .  Two themes are repeated in Revelation - “ witness ” and “ overcoming ,” and they are closely related. Beginning with Jesus and his own martyrdom on a Roman Cross, his followers are summoned to persevere in his “ testimony ,” and in this way, they will “ overcome ” and emerge victorious in the city of “ New Jerusalem .” They must “ overcome, even as I overcame .”