Rendering Homage

The False Prophet uses every means necessary to coax or coerce men to give their allegiance to the Beast from the sea

The “false prophet” uses “signs and wonders” and its control of commerce to cause the “inhabitants of the earth” to render homage to the “Beast.” Whether he employs force or persuasion, the goal is the same. Anyone who refuses to submit is excluded from the economic life of the Empire.

And the book employs an interesting and relevant Greek term when describing the beast’s agenda. Unfortunately, its force is often lost in English translations. The “false prophet” employs all the authority of the first “Beast” to coax the “inhabitants of the earth” to “WORSHIP” the “Beast.”

However, the Greek verb ‘proskune├┤’ does not mean “worship” in the sense of ritualistic adoration of a deity or deities in a church or temple. Its basic sense is “prostrating” oneself before someone of superior rank.

ALLEGIANCE

The term combines the Greek preposition ‘pros,’ meaning “towards,” with the word for “kiss.” In other words, “to kiss towards” someone. It is derived from the idea of bowing down to kiss the hem of a dignitary’s robe. From this is derived the idea of “rendering homage” or “giving allegiance.” The modern practice of swearing allegiance to persons, causes, and organizations best represents the idea.

And this is precisely what the False Prophet does – cause individuals, peoples, and nations to submit and give their allegiance to the “Beast from the sea.” And if this master deceiver is unable to persuade or flatter anyone into doing so, he carries a very big stick that he does not hesitate to use; namely, ECONOMIC CONTROL.

In the book, the “inhabitants of the earth” are contrasted with the followers of the “Lamb.” Members of the former group have the “number of the Beast” branded on their “right hand,” indicating ownership - they now belong to the “Beast.”

But the followers of the “Lamb” have his name “written on their foreheads,” the “seal of God,” since they follow him “wherever he goes.”

And thus, the “mark of the Beast” is the Devil’s counterfeit to God’s seal. Whichever mark anyone bears demonstrates where his or her allegiance lies - (Revelation 7:1-3, 14:1-4).

ECONOMICS

Because the “inhabitants of the earth” take the Beast’s mark, they are legally authorized to engage in commerce, to “buy and sell.”

However, the followers of the “Lamb” have been purchased by his blood, and because they bear his name, they are excluded by the “Beast” and his “false prophet” from participating in the economic life of the Empire.

Loyalty to the “Beast” has its rewards, at least for a time, but remaining faithful to the “Lamb” comes with great personal loss and economic deprivation.

Thus, humanity is divided into two groups: those who follow the “Lamb” and those who give allegiance to the “beast.” And there is no middle ground. One is either subjugated by the “Beast from the sea,” or follows Jesus.

And to whom one belongs determines whether his or her name is included in or excluded from the “Lamb’s book of life.” Disciples of Jesus may be denied material prosperity in this life by the “Dragon” and his servants, but they will reap something vastly superior when they enter the “city of New Jerusalem” - (Revelation 13:16-18).

And in Revelation, receiving the Beast’s “mark” on the “forehead” or “right hand” mimics the ancient call to Israel to worship Yahweh alone. That is the goal of the “false prophet,” to subvert the allegiance that belongs to God and replace it with submission to and enslavement in the imperial order - (Deuteronomy 6:5-8).

IDOLATRY

The “false prophet” also deceives men into fabricating an “image” of the “Beast” before which they must prostrate themselves. But what distinguishes this image is not its shape, size, or form, but the total allegiance to it required by the “Beast” and his mouthpiece.

The honor and loyalty that belongs only to God and Jesus is lavished on the beastly image and the Empire that it represents. This is the ultimate form of idolatry, STATE IDOLATRY, and it occurs whenever the political order demands loyalty that belongs to God.

One day, perhaps sooner than we think, a political entity will appear on the world scene that will use its economic might against nations, peoples, and individuals that do not submit to its demands. When that occurs, it will be a sign that the “Beast” is “ascending from the sea” to wage war against the followers of the “Lamb.”

Moreover, when this new order does appear, disciples must choose whether to submit to it or to Jesus regardless of any cost to themselves.


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