In John’s vision the harlot is seen sitting on the scarlet beast. It is the fourth beast seen by Daniel in his night visions (Dan. 7:7). Daniel’s beast was the Roman Empire in the time in which Messiah was presented to Israel. You should remember Jesus answering the question asked of Him, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” They attempted to trick Him in His words, testing Him. “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”(Matt. 22:15-22) We see that Jesus acknowledged the fourth beast. Why wouldn’t He? The Roman Empire was brought into power and world dominion by the providence of God. It was according to God’s plan. This is why Daniel saw the fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and exceedingly strong. Daniel was seeing God’s plan for Gentile world power from the time of the Babylonian kingdom to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Daniel sees the four world powers in prophecy, but it is the providence of God that brings these events and outcomes to pass.

As believers we not only walk by faith, but we must also see and understand, according to faith, the things that are not seen. Our faith is to be all the evidence we need of these things (Heb. 11:1). The providential hand of God is one of those things not seen with the natural eye, but needs to be perceived by the believer with the eye of faith. It is easy to see the beasts. It is more difficult to see and understand the plan and providence of God that eventually brings such things to pass.[126]

2 Corinthians 4:18

“…while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

All the things of this world and on this earth are the things which are seen. They are the things that are temporary. And if so, why should I trust in them? Why should I desire them? The believer has no Christian hope in this world or on this earth. We have the promise of His grace being sufficient for us in time of need (II Cor. 12:9-10), yet we will have plenty of needs. We have the promise that we will not be tempted beyond that which we may withstand (I Cor. 10:13), but there will still be temptations. At this time we have a faithful High Priest who is indeed touched with the feeling of our infirmities, who can sympathize with our weaknesses (Heb. 4:14-16). However, the weaknesses and infirmities remain ours while we are in these bodies of flesh.   If we indeed suffer with Him now, we have the promise that we will be glorified together with Him (Rom. 8:17-18). Therefore Paul says, “…I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

We all know the character of a mature person – they can wait patiently for the prize or reward. Children in general have a hard time being able to do this. They are impatient and want to be satisfied now. They do not understand the concept of waiting or holding out for something good or something better. This is typical of immaturity, and it produces a certain mindset and behavior. How much of Christianity is like this? [127]

Seeing with the eye of faith is the only way to understand the plan and counsels of God and His providential ways that order all things according to His will – even the four beasts. Are they not all civil world powers? Who is responsible for setting up all governing authority, if it isn’t God? “For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.” (Rom. 13:1-2) [128] God orders all things according to the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11). These beasts have a part to play in His plan.

God’s providential hand is hard to see and understand at times. It can truly only be seen by faith and by a believer who is familiar with the counsels and plan of God. Otherwise it will be confusion and heartache when we witness the growth and ripening of evil, both in the professing church and in the world. It will result in disappointment and frustration concerning prayers and the weakening of personal faith.

The Differing States of the Scarlet Beast

Many of the allegories associated with the scarlet beast are pointed out and discussed in the angel’s interpretation. However, before addressing specific symbols, we would do well to first discuss the three different states of this fourth beast. This also is brought out in the words of the angel:

Revelation 17:8

“The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”

The last part of this verse where it says, ‘and yet is’ should read, ‘and will be present’. This change gives a better understanding of the entire phrase. There are three parts to the phrase, as there are three states to the existence of the fourth beast. The third state of the beast is described differently, but this does not have a conflict in meaning. Here are the three states:

·         The first state is described as the beast you saw ‘was’ or the beast that ‘was’. This refers to the existence of the Roman Empire in the time of Christ and the time of John. This is depicted as the two legs of iron in the statue from Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Dan. 2:33, 40) and as the beast first appears coming up out of the Great Sea in Daniel’s vision (Dan. 7:7).

·         The second state of the beast is described by the phrase ‘and is not’. Most people teach that this refers to the time when the Roman Empire was overthrown and it stopped existing as an empire. However, later on in the chapter I will show you why I believe the basis of this is wrong, and that the fourth beast never really stops existing. The beast in the ‘is not’ state has far more to do with the character of the beast than it does with the marking of time or existence.

·         The third or last epoch of the beast is described as ‘will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition’ or as ‘will be present’ (Rev. 17:8). If the beast in this state is going to perdition or destruction, then it is his final or ending state. This state is depicted by what John sees in Revelation 13 after the dragon is cast out of the heavens and down to the earth (Rev. 12:7-12). The last epoch of the beast is the resumption of its formal beastly character under the direct influence of Satan, now cast down to the earth. The final state of the fourth beast is not until the ten horns have ten crowns on them (Rom. 13:1) – not until the ten kings are in full power over their ten kingdoms.

There is a reference to a time element in the phrase, “…when they see the beast that was, and is not, and will be present.” The phrase uses the words was, is, and will be – past, present, and future. But what the time elements are relative to in their reference is of great importance. As I said, most would teach that it refers to the period of time of the existence of the Empire and when it fell. But let us consider the vision John was given. All of the proper interpretation relates directly to the vision. In it we have the scarlet beast in the wilderness, and the harlot sitting on top of it. One important question to be asked is which of the three epochs of the beast does the vision actually represent?

The Scarlet Beast that ‘is not’

It is fairly logical and a simple process of elimination to find the answer. The Babylonian harlot that represents the professing church was not riding the beast in the first period. When the beast first rose up out of the Great Sea in Daniel’s vision he didn’t see a harlot on top of it. In the final period depicted by John’s vision in Revelation 13, there is no harlot on the beast there either. The first and the third state of the Roman Empire do not involve the Babylonian harlot’s influence. John’s vision in Revelation 17 is a picture of the second state of the beast. It is a vision of the beast that is different and distinct from what Daniel saw and what John sees in Revelation 13. This period when the beast ‘is not’ begins when the harlot climbed up on top. It represents the time when the Roman Empire recognized Christianity as the state religion. The vision is of the time when the Empire was Christianized.

There is a biblical principle found in the book of Daniel that, if understood, explains why the beast is said to be in the state of ‘is not’ when the harlot is on board. We all know the story of Nebuchadnezzar’s judgment from God for his arrogance, idolatry, and apostasy – he was made by God to crawl and live like a beast for seven years (Dan. 4:15-16, 24-33). During this time of judgment he personally has the character of a beast, and his behavior and lifestyle is that of an animal. The main distinguishing feature of a beast in prophetic language is that it has its own will that is independent from God.

When the time was over, God impressed upon Nebuchadnezzar’s conscience the lesson of man in civil power properly acknowledging the Most High, and that He rules from the heavens in the kingdom of men (Dan. 4:25-26). He then received back his human character and senses.

Daniel 4:34-37

“And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever:

For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom is from generation to generation.
All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing;
He does according to His will in the army of heaven
And among the inhabitants of the earth.
No one can restrain His hand
Or say to Him, “What have You done?”

At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me.  Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.”

How a Beast loses its Character

Nebuchadnezzar loses the character of the beast after seven years when he is made to acknowledge the Most High and His sovereignty from the heavens above. This loss of character is what is important to see. After seven years he stops acting like an animal. A beast has a will of its own independent from God. But now Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges the Most High. This principle is again emphasized in Daniel’s vision of the four Gentile beasts.

Daniel 7:2-4

“Daniel spoke, saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea.  And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.  The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.”

The lion is the Babylonian kingdom and the first Gentile beast. Its wings represent its speed of conquest as a world power. At its end the lion is lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man. The lion is given a man’s heart. This represents Nebuchadnezzar’s personal experience as it had results in his kingdom. The lion standing on its two feet like a man is when Nebuchadnezzar was made to acknowledge the Most High. In its end Babylon became a world kingdom that acknowledged God (Dan 4:36-37). Babylon had lost its character as a beast. For this short time near its end the lion ‘is not’.

This is the Biblical principle God is emphasizing in the two different passages in Daniel (Dan. 4, 7). This is the principle impressed upon the student of prophecy when God starts laying out His plan for the ‘times of the Gentiles’. How does a beast lose its character or disappear? How then does a beast regain its character and become present again?

The Christianizing of the Roman Beast

This explains the second period of the Roman beast – the state in which it ‘is not’. In 313 AD Constantine stopped the general persecution of the church by the Roman Empire. In 380 AD the empire declared by edict Christianity to be its state religion. The woman began to climb up on the Roman beast at that time. When she began to exercise her influence over the beast, the beast in a sense began to acknowledge God. This is when the empire loses its character as a beast and is said to be in a state described as ‘is not’. This second period is all the time the harlot rides the beast in the wilderness. The second epoch ends when the harlot is thrown off the beast and the Roman Empire is free to resume its beastly character again, without in any sense answering to God. When the beast ‘is not’, it is not acting in the character of a beast.

The Final Epoch – the Return of the Beastly Character

In the first and third states, the Roman beast is in character and behaving as an unruly animal. However the final state is its worse. The second state is when the beast, in a sense, is playing nice, allowing the whore to have her place and time. The final period is when the beast ‘will be present’ and will ascend out of the bottomless pit. (Rev. 17:8). Just the thought of ascending out of the bottomless pit gives an ominous impression. This final state is the full ripening of civil evil and apostasy, and is when Satan directly gives the beast his power, his throne, and great authority (Rev. 13:2). The full display of imperial evil is easily seen in the Roman beast’s rebellion and blasphemies against God and the true church in heaven (Rev. 13:5-6). Being free of the harlot, the beast has an openly public anti-Christian attitude.

The Times of the Gentiles

The beast never stops existing or ‘the times of the Gentiles’ would have to cease. Jesus never gave any indication that these ‘times’ would be suspended (Luke 21:24). The times of the Gentiles would continue until the return of Christ (Luke 21:25-27), until these times are fulfilled. The fourth beast that destroyed the city and the temple in 70 AD, as predicted by Jesus (Luke 21:20-24), is not just the same beast at the end, but of necessity it is the beast that continues to exist all through the remainder of the ‘times of the Gentiles’. The Gentile beasts are the reason for the label attached to the age. If the fourth beast stopped existing, the ‘times of the Gentiles’ would have to come to an end.[129]

Nebuchadnezzar’s entire experience is an allegory that has two specific meanings. It certainly shows how the beast character disappears when the Most High is acknowledged. It shows the principle that explains how the Roman beast has a state of ‘is not’ when the harlot is on top. However, his seven years in the character of a beast brings out a second meaning for his allegorical experience.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Seven Years as a Beast

Often the number seven is used prophetically as representing completeness or totality. Nebuchadnezzar’s experience represents the completeness of the ‘times of the Gentiles’ (Luke 21:24). The seven years he spent in the character of a beast is the entire time of the Gentile world powers and age. This time spans from the kingdom of Babylon, the head of fine gold in the Gentile statue, to the coming of ‘the stone cut out without hands’ that destroys the entire image (Dan. 2:31-35). After the destruction of the Gentile statue, the stone that struck the image becomes a great mountain that fills the entire earth (Dan. 2:44-45).

This is the time when the Most High is acknowledged as the possessor of the heavens and the earth (Gen. 14:19). It will be the time when the Melchizedek priest will represent the Most High on the earth, for the blessing of Israel and the blessing of the earth. This priest is Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Prince for Israel, and the glorified Son of Man whose reign and dominion will fill the earth as a great mountain. This Melchizedek is a kingly priest, whose rule and judgments in righteousness fill the earth with peace (Heb. 7:1-3). At the end of the seven years Nebuchadnezzar was made to stand up and acknowledge the Most High. This will happen when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (Luke 21:24) and the Gentile image is destroyed.

We see that instead of thinking of a specific time when the Roman Empire fell and stopped existing as an empire, we should more properly be thinking of the character of the beast and whether this character is hidden or displayed. We should have learned by now that the character of prophetic objects has more to do with properly understanding their role in prophecy, more so than specific points in time. Comprehending the moral character of the individual churches was of greater importance than knowing a specific time when Smyrna replaced Ephesus. Understanding the character of Babylon is more useful than knowing where its ancient geographical location is. Jezebel is corrupt. Sardis is spiritually dead. How important is it to be able to see and comprehend these moral realities of the professing church as judged by God? So then we understand the ‘is not’ period of the beast is not referring to the Empire being overthrown, but it being Christianized by the whore and the beast losing its character.

One further point can then be made to aid our understanding of the three epochs of the fourth beast. The time elements in the phrase describing the three different states, when simplified, are ‘was’, and ‘is’, and ‘will be’ – past, present, and future. The time elements do not relate to John and his time on the earth or his life. During John’s life the epoch of the beast was the first state – the beast that ‘was’. The harlot was not riding the beast in the time of John’s life. So we find that the time elements describing the three states of the fourth beast are not in relation to John’s life, but instead related only to the vision itself and what John actually sees. The vision – the harlot riding the beast – is itself in the present tense, and so, depicts the state of the beast that is described as in the present tense. This is the second period, the state that ‘is’ not.

The Double Meaning of the Seven Heads

We find in the angel’s interpretation a few more allegories to speak of that are associated directly or indirectly with the harlot and the beast. The first meaning of the seven heads of the beast, as discussed earlier, was that they are seven mountains. This meaning points to the city of Rome, which is related to both the beast and the harlot. Rome is, in fact, the second meaning of the woman. She is that great city, the capital city of the beast as well as the central location of Jezebel (Rev. 17:18).

The second meaning of the seven heads is that, “There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time.” (Rev. 17:10) These seven kings are intimately connected to the Roman beast as heads. They are the Caesars as heads of the Roman Empire. In one sense ‘seven kings’ is the complete picture of the Caesars. However, the angel does begin counting. In this case I would think that the timing of these Caesars is related to John and the writing of the book of Revelation and his exile to the isle of Patmos. Five Caesars preceded John’s exile. One was present at that time and was responsible for John being on Patmos. If Caesars are being counted, it is important to remember they are being counted by God and not by man. I suspect that the Caesar yet to come is Constantine.

The King and the Kingdom: the Last Caesar

In contrast to the above there could be a different view of counting Caesars. If the time element refers to the harlot instead of John’s exile, then I would think the one ‘that is’ would be referring to Constantine, who was instrumental in allowing the harlot to ascend the beast. He would be the Caesar most likely in the present tense of the vision – the one ‘that is’. In this case Napoleon possibly would be the one yet to come. I know men do not consider Napoleon a Caesar, but possibly God does.

In the greatest sense, seven kings refer to the complete picture of Caesars to rule over the empire. The angel divides and counts only to distinguish the last two important ones from God’s perspective – Constantine and Napoleon. The time element the angel gives in his interpretation relating to the seven kings more likely refers to the vision and not to John’s life, as we saw to be true with the previous time elements involving the epochs of the beast. This would most likely be the proper understanding. So then, ‘five kings have fallen’ would be a simple reference to all the Caesars that preceded Constantine. He is the one ‘that is’ as to the present tense of the vision. He helped the harlot ascend and control the beast in the time that the beast ‘is not’.

In the above explanation we may grasp insights into the double meaning of the prophetic number ‘seven’. When we spoke previously of the seven churches we understood that together we see a complete picture of the entire time of Christendom on the earth. But we also saw there were seven distinct states through time forming this complete picture. This is a similar understanding of the seven kings. It is a complete picture of all the Caesars, yet when the angel divides and counts, it is for the purpose of pointing out certain individuals.

Regardless, I believe the seven kings are referring to Caesars, the heads of the Roman Empire and beast. Why else would the angel be listing a succession of seven? This understanding becomes important when we address the next verse given by the angel in the interpretation.

Revelation 17:11

“The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.”

Just as king Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian kingdom itself are both the head of gold in the Gentile image (Dan. 2:37-38), so the second meaning of the beast is that he is, in fact, also a Caesar. The beast is the Roman Empire as well as the last Caesar. “The beast…is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven…” The seven kings are Caesars and the beast is of the seven – he is part of the ‘complete picture’ of Caesars associated with the Roman beast. When God counts the Caesars, the beast himself is the eighth and last one that will ever come, for he himself will go into perdition. The double meaning of the prophetic term ‘beast’ is both the kingdom and the king (Dan. 7:17, 23).

This insight itself will clear up many misunderstandings associated with the current study of prophecy. I’ll jump right into the fray by saying that I believe the last Caesar is distinct from the Antichrist. They are not one and the same. The Antichrist is not the head of the revived Roman beast. However, before delving into this distinction let us finish the interpretation given by the angel.

The Ten Horns: the Kings and their Kingdoms

Revelation 17:12-14

“The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. (13) These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. (14) These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”

The ten horns is the allegory being interpreted by the angel in the above passage. The double meaning of the horns is that they are both ten kings and ten kingdoms (Rev. 17:12). One thing that is both common and significant to all the different visions in Scripture of the fourth Gentile beast is that it always has ten horns. This is true when Daniel sees it (Dan. 7). It is true both times John sees the beast (Rev. 13, 17).

If we consider all the visions and prophecies that involve the fourth beast we should see that the ten horns serve a very specific purpose associated with its existence. The beast itself saunters through three states or epochs – this is its existence until it is destroyed. The ten horns have nothing to do with the beast that ‘was’ – the first period. The ten horns really haven’t much to do with the harlot riding on top of the beast – the second epoch when the beast ‘is not’. Where the horns become active is in bringing an end to the second state of the beast and the transition to the third – when the beast regains its character and ascends out of the bottomless pit. The power and prominence of the ten kings and kingdoms are shown during the third period of the beast.[130]

The allegory of the ten horns always points to the end, when prophecy will be fulfilled. The ten horns involve the final state of the Roman beast. The only part of the above quoted passage that isn’t associated with the third and final epoch of the beast is the first part of verse twelve (12) – “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet…” The remainder of the above quoted passage explains the involvement of the ten kings and their kingdoms in the activity of the Roman Empire and its last Caesar in the final epoch. During this time the horns have crowns (Rev. 13:1). During this time they have received their kingdoms and authority as kings. During this time the ten unanimously give their power and authority to the last Caesar (Rev. 17:13). They go off together with him to Armageddon, to make war against the Lamb and those with Him (Rev. 17:14). In the final state Satan has the ten kings along with the last Caesar thinking they can maintain possession of the earth away from God and the Lamb. The interesting thing is that we get greater detail of this rise to power by the Caesar and the Roman beast in the book of Daniel.

The Little Horn gains Power

Daniel 7:7-8

“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. (8) I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.”

The last Caesar is the little horn that comes up among the ten horns and uproots three. This uprooting would have to be by war and conquest. Once he wins these three kingdoms the remaining kings and kingdoms of the ten relinquish their power and authority to him. This is what forms the power of the revived Roman Empire. These kingdoms are formerly Christian kingdoms, for when the ten have their power and crowns with the beast, the harlot has been destroyed. These help the Caesar and the Roman beast to manifest their blasphemous and anti-Christian character (Dan. 7:11, Rev. 13:5-6).

The Judgment of the Babylonian Harlot

The last portion of the angel’s interpretation ends the chapter (Rev. 17). This passage reverts back to the second period of the beast, when the harlot was sitting on top and had her religious influence over the Empire. It concerns the judgment of the Babylonian harlot and the providential hand of God using the ten kings to accomplish His will (Rev. 17:17). This is an example of the Biblical principle that judgment starts at the house of God. God uses a greater evil and worldliness to judge that which should have represented Him in the earth and world. God judges His house first, before He judges the world. In historical time verses 15-17 occur before verses 12-14.

Revelation 17:15-17

“Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. (16) And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. (17) For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.”

The influence that intoxicates the inhabitants of the earth is the same intoxicating influence she has over the inhabitants of the many waters. This is the Gentile world beyond the Roman earth. Jezebel’s abominations and fornications stretch far and wide. The professing church is basically a Gentile church – until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Rom. 11:25).

The ten horns as John saw them in this vision were without crowns and without kingdoms as yet. Their rise to power in their individual kingdoms seems to be a result of an anti-Christian bigotry and persecution – the ten horns will hate the harlot. I believe that they come to power as kings and receive their kingdoms before the last Caesar becomes apparent (Dan. 7:8, 20, 24). But it seems they are kings in power in order to destroy the harlot’s influence. Verse sixteen (16) above may better read, “And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot…” Because the beast has a double meaning – the revived Roman Empire and the last Caesar – it is not clear whether the Caesar is present as yet and acting with the ten kings to destroy the harlot. Regardless, it remains true that the harlot is destroyed before the Roman beast is destroyed. Verse sixteen (16) occurs in the history of time before verse fourteen (14).

                                                               Chapter 15: Endnotes

[126] Ephesians 1:11 – “…being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will…”Many people believe the majority of events and things are ordered by the human will or the will of the creature. Even many believers have this viewpoint. The Arminian leaven that exalts the free will of the creature, and human performance and accomplishment, helps us to accept this mindset. If we walk by sight we fall into this. We look around and see people making all kinds of decisions, and we reason that man has this free will by which he may seek God if he pleases, or reject God by simple human reasoning. This is an improper and unbiblical view of man’s will as a fallen creature. I do not doubt that Adam in innocence had the freedom and ability to choose to obey God or listen to the devil. However, fallen man does not have this same freedom and ability. Sin in the flesh is his master, and he is its slave (John 8:34, Rom. 5:12-14, 17, 21).

The Arminian leaven will blind a believer to a proper walk of faith, and will encourage him to walk by his senses and to trust in some measure in the human condition. At its core is the stubborn belief that there is still good in fallen man, and by this good man can do right and do well and be saved. This is a Biblical fallacy. God spent four thousand years proving this thinking wrong. For four thousand years God tested fallen man in responsibility, looking for obedience. He found no fruit. And so we’re going to nonchalantly take back up these thoughts of Arminianism and add them to all our Christian doctrines? After four thousand years? By them the believer is blind to who God really is, what God really is doing, what really is the work of God. By them the believer is blind to the understanding of the sovereignty and providence of God.

[127] There are doctrines and teachings in the Christian world that have this obvious mindset.They get the believer to focus on life in the world and on this earth. He stops being a stranger and pilgrim on a walk in a wilderness, and becomes a dweller on the earth. The doctrines often are innocent enough – emotions, relationships, family, and money. But they are crafted in such an earthly way that they subtly lead the believer away from his true calling and the true doctrines of the body of Christ. At times the teachings are obvious in what they are emphasizing and implying. Other times, as I said, it is very innocently presented as sound Christian teaching. But the lifestyle that is produced is unquestionably connected with this world.

This is the general warning and principle. As a believer you have to understand it and by it judge all that you hear and are taught. I cannot do it for you. You have to understand Christian maturity and Christian hope for yourself. You have to understand the believer’s calling, the church’s calling. Her calling is her purpose. You won’t find her purpose anywhere else other than in her calling. Many modern Christian teachings deny this calling, or at least do a great job at obscuring it. It isn’t done in an obvious evil way, but in a religious way. Modern Christian doctrine makes the listener a dweller of the earth and world.

[128] The beasts come forth by the providence of God and according to His counsel and plan. God is responsible for all civil authority. The believer should be able to see and understand the counsel and plan of God – it is found in His Word and we have been given the Spirit of truth and the mind of Christ. Only by these understandings will we be able to see the providential hand of God at work. At this time God allows evil to grow, ripen, and prosper. It will all serve His purpose. He may restrict its full display at this time, but He does not judge it directly (II Thess. 2:6-7). God acts in goodness and grace at this present time. For the most part, He uses the preaching of the gospel to accomplish His work.   In the coming dispensation, by the use of His direct power, He will righteously judge all the evil and put it away. But we are not in that dispensation at this time, are we?

Other than knowing the plan of God, recognizing His providence, and understanding His authority in setting up civil powers, what should be our response? Should we buy guns and arm ourselves? Should we initiate civil unrest and protests against the powers God has set? Should the professing church seek civil power and office?

Revelation 13:10

“He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”

It is patience and faith in the plan and sovereignty of God. Do we think Peter was justified in cutting off the ear of the servant in Gethsemane (Matt. 26:52)? Jesus corrects him by making a similar statement to him at that time.

What then should we be doing? We should learn how to be faithful to Christ in the midst of evil. Learn how to be mature and patient, endure sufferings now, and persevere. Learn how to keep the Word of His patience (Rev. 3:10). Learn how to be found in Philadelphia. This is the grace He gives for the present situation, for the present circumstances. This is the grace He gives for the present need. Don’t allow some well-meaning brother to sway you that there is anything different, or something more (glory on this earth and great things to be done). The glory will only be realized beyond this world and beyond this physical earth.

[129] For a biblical understand detailing the ‘times of the Gentiles’ as the label assigned to the age, please consult the second book of the Son of Man series, ‘The Blessed Hope of the Church’ and read chapter thirteen (13), titled ‘This Present Evil Age’.

[130] In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great image, the fourth and fifth distinguishing portions of the image represent the fourth beast (Dan 2:33). Although there are five distinct sections of the image, there are only four Gentile beasts (Dan. 7:17). The fourth beast is represented by the fourth and fifth section of the Gentile statue. The legs of iron, and the feet and toes partly of iron and partly of clay, are two separate sections, but in one sense treated the same—they correspond to the same fourth beast. The fifth section of the image, its feet and toes, represents the final period of the fourth beast. It is the final state because the stone made without hands strikes the statue in the feet and toes. The strike of the stone is the return of the Son of Man to this earth to judge and destroy the Gentile powers. My point is that the ten toes are seen only in this last state of the Roman beast. If you allow that the ten toes represent the ten horns, then it shows us when the ten kings have their power and kingdoms and activity.