Revelation Chapter 13
VERSE 14 continued “And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.”
(As explained in The Keys of Revelation)
“The expression “in the sight [or presence] of the beast” indicates something even more significant; it has the sense of before or on behalf of, that is, with the consent or approval of the papal beast. When the time comes, in the near future, for the fulfillment of this Scripture, the “image,” in a later development of the two-horned beast, will allow itself to become spokesman or false prophet on behalf of itself and the first or papal beast (Compare Rev. 16:13).
The clause following directs attention to a particular class, namely, “them that dwell on the earth.” As “the earth” previously symbolized those obedient to and supportive of either the first beast or the second beast (or both beasts), depending on context, and thus under religious restraints, so “them that dwell on the earth,” in this instance, includes other independent Christian fellowships also under religious restraints who have not supported either of the two beast systems but who are subsequently confronted with a fateful choice.
In the time period from 1800 to 1846, great numbers of new sects arose, whereas before that, sects were few and prominent. Leaders of the various older denominations grew increasingly uneasy, wondering where this development would lead. As the Bible came to be read more and more by the masses, occasional individuals felt free to preach what they thought it taught, regardless of denominational creeds and the views of older sects. As a consequence, Protestants were fast splitting up into fragments. Denominational leaders began to ask,
“By what means shall we check and stop this disposition to individual thought and opinion relative to the teachings of Scripture?”
They wanted to stop the very thing God desired; namely, that each individual should be free and independent of restraint, with his faith based not on the views of others, not on the decision of the pope, not on things sanctioned by the head of the English Church, but on the Word of God.
The question arose:
“How can we restrain these preachers?”
This was a quandary to all except the Roman and Episcopal churches, since these both claimed the “Apostolic Succession,” an ordination conferring upon their ministers’ special power and authority to preach and to administer the “sacraments,” and hence asserting that no others had a right to do so, for they were clerical pretenders.
The example of the Church of England showed what prestige she had; by reason of the voice of authority, she commanded a reverence for her clergy and her teachings. This teaching by example was not lost.
The various denominations felt a necessity for some common standard of doctrine that would be supported and upheld by all of them, and thus give prestige to their teachings and bring the combined influence of all against any further advance in knowledge or the development of any different phase of truth.
They would protect themselves by being able to say, in substance: “The combined opinion of all Protestants is against you; (In essence they were saying, ‘You’re a cult because you believe and teach differently then what we approve of.’) therefore, you are heretics and we will shun you and not call you brethren, but use all our influence against you.” And so, history has attested, many are shunned even unto this day.
In A.D. 1846 the Evangelical Alliance was formed. One of the objects of the Alliance (and it is believed to be the principal one) was to “promote between the different evangelical denominations an effective co-operation in the efforts to repel common enemies and dangers.” Thus, by their actions, the Protestant denominations were following Papacy’s tactics, and in that Alliance, they did make “an image of the beast.”
How much, in part, the image of 1846 resembled the papal beast may be judged from the fact that the Roman pontiff acknowledged the image—owned it as a creditable likeness—by sending “greetings” to the last meeting of the delegates of the Evangelical Alliance.
Strange to say, the latter had so far lost sight of the principles and doctrines which had led to the protests against the papal Church (that it was the harlot Church—the Antichrist and the Man of Sin—mentioned in Scripture), that they actually felt flattered by the pontiff’s notice, instead of being alarmed and examining how and why he who is “THE [chief] ANTICHRIST” should feel pleased to greet them as fellows.
Continued with next post.
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