“A Great Storm Approaches” Part 13
Great Wonders Indeed
Revelation Chapter 13 is divided into three segments, Verses 1-10 covering the period of Papacy’s
(the first beasts) supremacy, i.e. from the time the daily sacrifice was taken away and the
abomination of desolation was set up in A.D. 539 (Dan 12:11) to the year A.D. 1799, the “time of
the end” (Dan 12:9) when the papal beast was first shorn of its temporal power, that is the forty-two
months spoken of in (Rev 11:2; 13:5) and the time, times and half a time spoken of in (Dan 12:7) i.
e. 1260 years.
Verses 11 and 12 take us back to the rise of the second beast on or about A.D. 1531 when England
withdrew its allegiance to Papacy.
As for Verses 13-18 here, as previously stated, a divergence in the interpretation of the texts exist
between many of the brethren, some feel that these passages refer to the past that they have already
been fulfilled as outlined in our previous two post, while others are of the opinion that although they had
their beginnings in the past even now they continue into the future, and still others believe that these
verses have as yet to have even begun their true fulfillment.
What do we think?
Our opinion lies somewhere between the second and third suggestions above, we can see a partial
fulfillment of these verses as it relates to the church-state aspect, especially with regards to the first and
second beasts, but we believe that there is much more to this giving of “breath” (life) to the image of
the beast than has been suggested. It is our thought that the confirmation of apostolic succession
upon the protestant federation alone, of itself will do little to influence the masses; it may have
succeeded to a certain extent with respects to the first and the second beast, in the past, in the dark
ages, in the days of superstition and ignorance, when the people where in complete subjection to the
whelms of the church, but that was before the age of enlightenment, before the “time of the end” when
knowledge was to be increased, before the great river Euphrates began drying up.
So the question is what makes anyone imagine it will work out any differently for the image of
the beast, especially now?
It appears that a majority of the brethren are content with the idea that this confirmation of apostolic
succession upon the protestant federation alone is that which will bring life to the image and that this of
itself will prove a sufficient motivation to prompt once again the peoples respect and allegiance to the
churches. Much of this we believe is based on the fact that the Pastor was rather hesitant (and rightly so)
to predict the possibility of any other scenario working in conjunction or aside from this particular event
although as previously stated in our last post he did leave the door open to thought that there may be
more to it than just this.
Let us once again take up our study of these verses but this time we shall endeavor to show what we
(that is many brethren) see to be the catalyst which shall change the equation in the favor of the church
nominal restoring much of its influence over the people, particularly those under religious restraint.
VERSES 11-13 “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like
a lamb and spoke like a dragon, and he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his
presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, who’s
deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from
heaven on the earth in the sight of men.”
“When consideration is given to the rather uneventful and relatively innocuous (inoffensive) long
term behavior of the English Church (that is apart from its exercise of power in the early days of its
severance from Rome in the sixteenth century), one is indeed surprised that this very two-horned
beast is destined to do “great wonders” and to make “fire come down from heaven . . . in the
sight of men.” This activity calls to mind the challenge and later vindication of Elijah as a true prophet on
Mount Carmel, namely, “the God that answers by fire, let him be God” (1 Kings 18:21–39).
Here, in Verse 13, the appearance of figurative “fire” coming down from heaven will convince the
witnessing public that this counterfeit system is, in reality, a true and proper channel of
communication between God and men. In other words, the miracles and great wonders will give
credence to a false religious organization. A common misconception is that manifestations of
extraterrestrial presence and intelligence must, of necessity, not only surpass human understanding but
also supersede all earth-oriented ethical standards.
Again in Verse 13, as noted elsewhere in the Apocalypse, the scene depicts false orthodoxy in the role
of challenger and in this capacity being supernaturally supported by “the spirits of devils, working
miracles” (Rev 16:14). The language here is too strong to have had such a notable symbolic
occurrence in the past; rather, it suggests a powerful future fulfillment.
In the case of Elijah’s vindication, the false prophets shortly thereafter were put to death; but in Verse
13, the same procedure will be conversely applied against those loyal to Jesus. When King Ahaziah sent
soldiers to apprehend Elijah, the Prophet called down fire from heaven to destroy them. He said, “If I be
a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee [the captain] and thy
fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty,” etc. (2 Kings 1:9–
17). So fire coming down from heaven was upon Elijah’s enemies as well as, in the earlier instance, in the
days of King Ahab, upon the Prophet’s sacrifice. Thus the reader is both directly and inferentially
informed of the nature and severity of the test to come upon the Lord’s people and of that
which will follow not too long thereafter; viz., the forceful demise of those who oppose the
mandated ecumenism of the hour principally devised by the ones who “sit in Moses’ seat” at the
time (i.e. the religious leaders of orthodoxy, of the church nominal).
The following thought is very important to consider:
If the very nature of these varied wonders and miracles were understood in explicit detail in
advance of their happening, then of course their deceptive influence would be severely
undercut. Indeed Divine Providence has seen fit NOT to obstruct or prevent such delusions, but
to allow (not sanction) them as a test upon all Christendom (believers and nonbelievers alike)
and as a means of specially exposing the worthiness or unworthiness of those professing
Christianity to inherit the promises held out to footstep followers of the Master.” (“The Keys of
Revelation”, Page 351)
As you can see our opinion differs in that we consider these “great wonders” performed by two-horn
beasts as well as this “fire” coming down from heaven (i.e. the ecclesiastical heavens) to be much more
than what is commonly believed and taught, more than merely figurative signs and wonders,
judgments, punishments, and/or persecutions.
We will continue with this discussion in our next post as we take a look at Verse 14
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