Can we have a personal response to a global crisis without considering or comparing ourselves to our neighbours? Can we see pestilences and catastrophic events without blaming God? If we did either of these we would not be the wisest people in history. We, the now generation, are so soaked in glitter that we are ready to sell it to the owners of the gold mine. Identifying the beast – the bad actor who is in responsible for global commerce, deception, and death threats – specific acts of God is a biblical exercise. Would you prefer to have a cop, a lawyer, a taxi driver, a pastor over to fix your elevator? God has marked the beast by its sheer humanity: 666 is the icon for failed and broken humanity, whcih is what the church looks like as long as it wants to be
That the church imitates the beast is evidence that personal success and influence are more important than growing in grace and loveliness. Comparing the beast’s behaviour to church interests will uncover some striking similarities that remind us of ancient Israel’s quest to be like the neighbouring nations.
- SLANDER – Rev 13:5. And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. ESV2011
- WAR – Rev 13:7. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, ESV2011
- ENFORCE WORSHIP – Rev 13:12. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. ESV2011
- DOES WONDERS – Rev 13:13. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, ESV2011
- CREATING UNITY AND CONTINUITY – Rev 13:14. and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. ESV2011
- DEATH SENTENCE TO PROTESTERS – Rev 13:15. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. ESV2011
- MARKS EVERYONE FOR IDENTIFICATION – Rev 13:16. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, ESV2011
Glitter glossy gee-wiz
The human element in church, state, work, and family, remains disappointing. The best of us – humans – can be found trying to ace every test, win every race, conquer every foe, remove every obstacle from life, and declare those outcomes the proud of our integrity. Of course it never seems to dawn on these triumphant ones that the Lord has a way to enjoy (no disappointment) us enjoying life without us dragging others into the picture.
It still eludes many of us that truth is not magical answers to every problem. Our preaching lacks precision if the outcomes we seek are so-called deliverance from the common lot of humans. Whether we are a herd of complaining brats or blessed children of God seems to have nothing to do with us wanting to acquire health, home (property), and honour.
Our greatest enemy is ourselves and having Christ – his love in particular – is more than enough to affirm our victorious status. The beast will deceive us as long as we are thrilled only with miracles and signs. Truth is divine, personal, and permanent, unlike the things we seek. Death and decay are with us until the Lord appears. It is no longer amazing to me that the church is adopting all the moves and attitudes of the beast.