While many are looking for the appearance of a charismatic, smiling, world-seizing beast that is adored and idolized like a movie star, the spirit of the beast has already taken control of the world; having done so while everyone's gaze was fixed somewhere else, expecting something else.
When the Book of Revelation uses the term "beast", it does so interchangeably with 3 figures. Usually it is used to describe the seven-headed dragon with ten horns (Rev.12:3-4). This is Satan. He is the figure prophecy is pointing to when it says:
"The beast you have seen, once was, now is not; he is yet to come up from the Abyss, but only to go to his destruction." (Rev.17:8).
The term "now is not" refers to the fact that Michael the Archangel locked him up in the Abyss for a thousand years to insure that he not deceive the nations during the reign of Christ on earth, i.e., throughout the primary time of the harvest (Rev. 20:1-3). That same scripture tells us that he will be released from his prison in the Abyss for a short time near the end of the world. At that time, it states, he will again deceive the nations, and then go to his eternal death (Rev. 20:7-10).
His reappearance occurs because, at the end, the world becomes so wicked that God hands it over to Satan for punishment.
A second figure, also with seven heads and ten horns, is the world-image of the beast a spirit of evil visible in the world that embodies everything that is Satan (Rev.13:1-2). This is the spirit of the Anti-christ into whom Satan has handed over his complete worldwide authority and power. With the exception only of the thousand-year millenium (the reign of Christ) the spirit of the Anti-christ was, and is now again, the ruling spirit in this world.
A third figure, completing the trinitarian formula in reverse (in evil) is the "head" of the beast. The "head" is Satan's spirit made flesh. There are seven (Rev.17:3-11). Each head characterizes a key embodiment in the beast's worldwide authority. The number seven stands for seven hills and also seven emperors. Nero was the sixth of these "heads", and is the one that received the "mortal wound" from the sword of Christ.
According to the Book of Revelation, in the last days that mortal wound will heal and Nero will return to re-claim his Roman throne, leading a Parthian (Mesopotamian) army into that city. His re-appearance will astonish the world.
Because Satan was locked in the abyss during most of the term of Christian rule in the world, his return has also caused the world to marvel in astonishment a return which has been made manifest by the re-appearance of the spirit of the Anti-christ on earth, the same spirit that is bringing paganism back to world political power (Rev.17:15).
That spirit of evil (the spirit of the Anti-christ) is here now. Adolph Hitler, the seventh "head" could not have appeared if Satan were still in chains. That tells us the spirit of the Anti-christ is already active on the planet.
We can see the presence of this spirit clearly in the return of atheism, Christianity's blasphemous antagonist. That doctrine, forbidden by the Church during its reign on earth, was re-introduced and gained national prominence in the godless philosophy of Karl Marx, an atheist doctrine manifested in communism.
Sister Lucia de los Santos, the visionary at Fatima specified the danger inherent in atheism's sudden 1917 return in her second prophecy when she urged prayers for the conversion of Russia.
Another clear indication that Satan has returned is his mobilization of the world for war, a circumstance also acknowledged in the Fatima prophecies. Since 1914 the planet has been rocked by at least two world wars, and possibly a third in the cold war between east and west that left the world stockpiled with enough nuclear weapons to eradicate human civilization several times over. These wars are only the start of Satan's militancy.
In the end, his warfare will even crush the power of the Church, Fatima's final vision.
"When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive all the nations in the four quarters of the earth Gog and Magog, and mobilise them for war. His armies will be as many as the sands of the sea; they will come swarming over the entire country and besiege the camp of the saints, which is the city that God loves. But fire will come down on them from heaven and consume them." (Rev. 20:7-9).
The Apostle Paul tells us that in conjunction with the reappearance on earth of the spirit of the Anti-christ, God is going to send a power to delude the world's people because they refused to grasp the truth of the Gospel and chose to pursue wickedness instead (2 Thes.2:11-12). When this happens, he said, "there will be a deceptive show of all kinds of miracles and signs and portents, and everything evil that can deceive" (2 Thes. 2:9).
It seems likely that much of the delusion Paul foresaw has already occurred and has played a large role in allowing paganism to return into the Christian world. We can see that return graphically portrayed in the birth and growth of secularism, itself a return to paganism. Both paganism and atheism were forbidden philosophies throughout Christ's reign.
The power of deception Paul predicted seems to be responsible for the world's swift embrace of both of these philosophies. Although Marxism has fallen out of favor in Russia (at least for the time being), its atheistic formula continues to rule the mind of China and several other eastern countries. At the same time, the world's embrace of secularism is global. It has become the ruling philosophic ideology even in America.
At the same time, Christianity has fallen out of favor all across the earth.
No longer does it sit at the king's table. Christ and His Father have been evicted from government by virtually every nation in the western world. The secular doctrine that has replaced them has returned the western world to its "Babylonian" roots to paganism, the spirit of the Anti-christ.
The word pagan means "country people" and stands for the godless population into which the House of Israel was sent when God evicted them from the Holy Land:
"Writhe, cry out daughter of Zion, for now you have to leave the city and live in the open country. To Babylon you must go and there you will be rescued; There God will ransom you out of the power of your enemies." (Micah 4:10).
The pagans in the Roman world among whom the Christians and Jews were exiled were deeply involved in emperor and empire-worship. Their fixation on Greek and Roman gods played into this by giving them convenient formula's and models on which to build and imbellish their idolatry. Empire-worship if not emperor-worship could be seen in the secular government of Adolph Hitler, the seventh 'head' of the beast. Paul predicted that it will be an even greataer component of the final beast's government as well:
"This is the Enemy, the one who claims to be so much greater than all that men call 'god', so much greater than anything thaat is worshipped, that he enthrones himself in God's sancatuary and claims that he is God." (2 Thes. 2:1-4)
Much of the runaway evils we see now in society were not tolerated during the Christian era which spanned the years from 300 A.D. to about 1900 A.D. That is because the Church did not allow them to thrive in the public community. Christian morality was championed instead.
Like today's political warfare that paints opposing candidates in audaciously nefarious but fictional costume, that era bears little resemblance to today's revisionist history of it (a darkwash that has anachronistically painted it in the colors of an evil and inquisitional ghetto). The truth is, it is our current society into which Satan has returned that perpetuates sin on the greater scale.
Satan would not have had to be locked away if this were not the case. God removed him for good reason.
True, sin permeates all human society, but the orgiastic excesses that are sweeping around us today in art, film, music and real life express behaviors virtually unknown during the age of the Church. Violence, warfare, mass execution and genocide have shattered all records, and they show every sign of accelerating, not slowing. Hatred and condemnation grip everyone. Love of neighbor has all but vanished in a headlong pursuit of greed. All this, and far more, provide certain clues to the return of Satan and his recent release from prison.
Again, the fact that God had to put Satan in chains during Christianity's reign, proves this.
Scores of sins forbidden by the Church have returned in the cascade of wickedness that has accompanied the return of Satan's spirit to the earth. The marvel is that this poisonous outflow has been accepted so willingly. It is as if Christianity's leaders have all gone blind.
Not a whimper of protest was heard in the Christian world when the transformation from Christianity to secularism occurred. The delusion was that great. So stealthfully did it arrive, no one saw it coming. Few see it even now. For this reason, most Christians heartily embrace the godless political doctrine that now rules the nations in place of Christ.
Coming in, replacing Christianity, secularism's doctrine promised neutrality. Instead, it has openly embraced atheism and the irreligious while disesteeming and deprecating the Christian religion at every opportunity. It's disrespect for God and Christ is palpable and clear. In secularism's presence, the words "God" and "Christ" cannot even be written or spoken aloud without incurring censure.
This is spiritual warfare, pure and simple. It is not benign separation. It reveals that the secular agenda is ruled by atheists and controlled by the enemies of God. It shows that secularism is a philosophy driven by the Anti-christ. We have already seen how easily it can be leveraged to accomodate emperor and empire-worship, key features Paul said which will define the government of the final beast.
The rejection of Christ by the nations signals the fact that although God came into the world, the nations rejected Him. On that fact alone, said Jesus, is the whole Judgment based (John 3:19).
"We tried to cure Babylon: she has got no better. Leave her alone and let us each go to his own country. Yes, her sentence reaches to the sky, rises to the very clouds. God has vindicated our integrity." (Jer.51:9-10).
God has set Satan free from his prison in the Abyss on purpose. He has turned a wicked planet over to Satan because the Judgment is at hand. This is the sentence that has been pronounced: that though the light has come into the world men have shown they prefer darkness to the light because their deeds are evil.
While the Christian community stands around looking for a much-beloved movie-star-quality Darth Vader with anti-christian weapons ablaze, to strut across the planetary landscape amid adoring crowds, all that worship has gone somewhere else. Christ has been rejected, but not because of a popular and gregarious beast-made-flesh. Everyone has been decieved by a philosophy by propaganda so clever it decieved all the nations almost at once.
The world has experienced the demise of Christianity's rule on earth in a way never expected. Like a trick from a magician's wand, the 1700-year long "millenium" of Christian harvest has been erased before eyes that did not even see it happen.
And what was everyone looking for when the millenium of the harvest disappeared? These are the passages in the Book of Revelation upon which Christian gaze continues to fix:
"I was standing' on the seashore. Then I saw a beast emerge from the sea: it had seven heads and ten horns, with a coronet on each of its ten horns, and its heads were marked with blasphemous titles. 1 saw that the beast was like a leopard, with paws like a bear and a mouth like a lion. The dragon had handed over to it his own power and his throne and his worldwide authority."
"I saw that one of its heads seemed to have had a fatal wound but that this deadly injury had healed and, after that, the whole world had marvelled and followed the beast. They prostrated themselves in front of the dragon because he had given the beast his authority; and they prostrated themselves in front of the beast, saying, 'Who can compare with the beast? How could anybody defeat him?'"
"For forty-two months the beast was allowed to mouth its boasts and blasphemies and to do whatever it wanted; ·and it mouthed its blasphemies against God, against his name, his heavenly Tent and all those who are sheltered there"
"It was allowed to make war against the saints and conquer them, and given power over every race people, language and nation; and all people of the world will worship it, that is, everybody whose name has not been written down since the foundation of the world in the book of life of the sacrificial Lamb. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen: Captivity for those who are destined for captivity; the sword for those who are to die by the sword. This is why the saints must have constancy and faith." (Rev. 13:1-10)
It has taken about a hundred years for much of the spiritual transformation described in these words to quietly occur. During that time, the spiritual power of the Anti-christ over every person in the world not structured in Christ, has crossed all political boundaries and spread throughout all the nations regardless of their borders, affiliations or enemies.
Though this spirit came in stealth, it has been welcomed by all. The whole world has marvelled and worshipped its tenants. Convinced of its truth and lured by its pleasures, nation after nation has followed the beast into the secular morass of a godlessness that Satan alone has authored.
No matter which way the boundaries of the End are structured, the infection of Satan will be everywhere that Christ is not.
So, while the world will stand divided at the end, with the 8th head of the beast making his way toward Jerusalem, his path blocked by the ships of Kittim, the spirit of the Anti-christ will be in place everywhere, ruling the entire world in the godless doctrines of Satan, just as it is beginning to be ruled now, 44 years after the decree that brought to an end the last national Christian-favoring administration on earth outside of Vatican City.
How can we recognize the spirit of the Anti-christ? Simply look for its signs: secularism, atheism, greed, warfare, injustice, hatred, murder, pornography, wickedness, adultery, blasphemy everything unrighteous that can deceive.
Illustrating the character of the coming head of the beast, the Book of Revelation tells us that the image we should look for matches these words: He is "like a leopard, with paws like a bear and a mouth like a lion." (Rev.13:2). He will be a ravenous and terrifying killer. Not exactly the kind of image some expect. He will be more like Hitler. More like Stalin. More like Osama bin Laden.
Having been given power to crush the Church (to make war against the saints and conquer them, and given power over every race people, language and nation) the spirit of the Anti-christ will exert its world-rule harshly, until it collapses in the Second Coming of Christ.
With the returning darkness, the second war has begun. From here on out the rule of the world everywhere will be antagonistic to Christianity (Rev.13:7-10). There will be great coercion exerted for everyone everywhere to reject, just as they (the world's leaders) have done, God's offer of eternal life in Jesus.
In the waning moments of our present twilight, Jesus' admonition to "work while you still have the day, night is coming when no one can work" is more valid today then ever. (Jn.9:4). . Already we are walking the path amid deep shadows. Time is truly running out.
Anyone who escapes the clutches of Satan's spirit in this world by turning to Jesus will be saved. Those who put their trust in Christ's return will inherit eternal life and live forever in the new heaven and new earth that Christ has promised basking in all that is good, and never again separated from the presence of God.
Those who choose the world will have to look to the world for their salvation.
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