Revelation Chapter 13
VERSE 15 continued “And there was given to him (the two-horn beast) to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast might even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.” (NASB)
(As explained in The Keys of Revelation)
“Many may not realize how much stress was, and subconsciously still is, placed on “Apostolic Succession.” Although followed through hundreds of years of papal corruption(!), this doctrine is supposed to be a virtue transmitted by the “laying on of hands” of the bishops. Of course, this prerogative was vested in the Roman Church—and also in the English Church because of its being, at first, a secession from Papacy rather than a reformation. To many minds, even among the clergy, there was a veneration for that ceremony, which neither Papacy nor the English Church was averse to promoting.
In the introduction of Methodism into the United States, much difficulty was experienced because of John Wesley’s superstition on the subject of Apostolic Succession. He would not sanction the giving of the Sacrament by any except those ordained by the holy hands of an Episcopal bishop. Thus, up to 1874, Methodists could partake of the Sacraments only from ordained Episcopal ministers. The 1776 War of Independence had tended to make Methodist preachers independent, and they discussed the expediency of taking the authority unto themselves.
When John Wesley heard of their intentions, he applied to the English Church to have at least one Methodist minister ordained for the American Church. Finally, in despair and in the absence of a favorable response, Wesley did the best he could to improvise an “Apostolic Succession.” He, with two other ministers (none of them bishops), “ordained” Thomas Coke to the office of bishop, and from this makeshift arrangement sprang the office of bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church. This incident is mentioned merely to show the superstition on this subject, of even such a great and good man as John Wesley.
Now to return to the discussion of the World Council of Churches, which currently is a benign organization consisting of a relatively loose association of various denominations. The present alliance is more that of a mutual aid society and bridge whereby its membership can meet together in council to discuss ways and means to further enhance their goals and put into limited action certain aspirations which they could not achieve separately. Although the denominations “be folded together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be [figuratively] devoured as stubble” (Nah. 1:10).
What remains to be seen in the World Council of Churches is a further enlargement, a closer, more tight-knit collaboration, a solidification of the relationship of the Protestant and other non-Roman churches of the West and of the East—to be followed by, at first, a still further acquiescent recognition by the membership, and then a sudden acknowledgment, of the Anglican authority (the two-horn beast) and leadership as the chief representative.
The acknowledgment will occur at a time yet future, when the Church of England is endowed with the miraculous powers of Verses 13 and 14. This united relationship of the World Council of Churches with the then energized Episcopal Church, already found in its midst, will constitute the predicted super-colossus, namely, THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST.
Thereafter the English episcopacy will lose its identity as the two-horned beast, being satisfied with its new role within the framework of the new living organism henceforth known as the “image of the beast,” or synonymously as the “false prophet” (Rev. 16:13).
We move on to Verse 16 in our next post.
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