THE LAKE OF FIRE - Part XIII
WHO IS THE BEAST?
This installment of "The Lake of Fire" will possibly be the very most shocking to most of my readers. That everyone wants to know "WHO IS THE BEAST," there is no doubt. That most will be totally shocked and dumbfounded when they find out, there also is no doubt.
If any wish to stop right here and search another site for a milder and more palatable interpretation of "Who is the beast," there is no shortage of material. My Web Master has found on the four or five most popular search engines, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of papers on "The Beast of Revelation." And, NO, I haven't read one of them.
THE BEASTS OF REVELATION
The word "beast(s)" is found 356 times in the King James Bible-59 times in Revelation alone. Most of these beasts are literal four-footed animals, albeit, all 59 of the beasts in Revelation are symbols for something other than four-footed animals. The four beasts made reference to 7 times in the singular from Rev. 4:6 to 6:7 should be translated "living creatures" and not "beasts." And all references to "beasts" in the plural (15 times) from Rev. 4:6 to Rev. 19:4 should be also translated "living creatures," with the exception of Rev. 6:8 and 18:13 where "beast" is correct.
The Greek word which should be translated "living creature(s)" these total of 22 times (7 singular plus 15 plural), comes from zoon (do you recognize the word "zoo" in there?), and it means "a living creature or living animal" and can includes ALL creatures that live on earth including man.
That leaves 59 minus 22 or 37 times that the word "beast(s)" is translated properly. Well, almost properly. The remaining 36 of the remaining 37 times that we find the word "beast(s)" in the King James it is from the Greek word, therion and it, "almost invariably denotes 'a WILD beast.'" (Strong's #2342, p. 116). The one occurrence of "beasts" in Rev. 18:13 is from the Greek word ktenos , and it means "beasts of burden" or domesticated animals.
All of the occurrences of the terms "living creatures" in Revelation have reference to the creatures associated with the throne room of God. These are benevolent creatures. All of the remaining beasts with the exception of the two "beasts" already mentioned in the plural, have reference to a "WILD beast," in the singular and should be translated such as numerous translations do. These are clearly not benevolent creatures, but ferocious "wild beasts." The remaining 35 references to "wild beasts" in Revelation all concern one "wild beast" and his mirror "image of the beast."
WHENCE THE BEAST WITH SEVEN HEADS AND TEN HORNS?
Who or what is this Wild Beast?
ANOTHER WILD BEAST
Let me recap this just a little for you. First comes a wild beast out of the sea with seven heads and ten horns. A second wild beast comes out of the earth like a lamb with two horns speaking like a dragon and he calls down fire from heaven and deceives the whole world by miracles. This second wild beasts makes everyone worship the first wild beast. This wild beast from the earth then causes everyone on earth to make an image of the first wild beast from the sea and makes everyone worship this image of the wild beast from the sea or be killed.
This image of the wild beast from the sea then causes everyone to worship this image, and causes all to receive a MARK of the first wild beast from the sea in their right hand, or in their foreheads. They can have either a mark or the name or the number of his name, and that number is said (albeit not correctly said) to be the number of a man, and it is the number 666.
Now repeat all that back to me in your own words! Okay, let's try this shortened version: a beast from the earth causes all to worship a beast from the sea and to also make an image of this beast from the sea, who then causes all to receive either a mark, name, or number. Got it?
*the image, name, and number of the wild beast" all have reference to the one beast that comes up out of the sea and is the wild beast made reference to for the remainder of the book of Revelation. It is this very "wild beast" along with the "false prophet" which is ultimately "...cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone" (Rev. 19:21).
Who is this WILD BEAST?
It behooves us to know just who or what this wild beast is, and especially his image. It is a force and a power to be reckoned with by every human that has ever lived or ever will live.
On the one hand we have this:
On the other hand we have this:
Talk about finding oneself between a rock and hard place!
Apparently we can either be AT WAR with this wild beast, though we were just warned: "...who is ABLE to make war with him"? Or, we can partake of "THE WRATH OF GOD poured out without mixture..." Either prospect is extremely frightening. But I would rather be on God's side than on the side of the wild beast. However, how well will we fare in war against this wild beast, seeing that God warns us, "Who is ABLE TO MAKE WAR WITH HIM?"
Before I was yet a teenager, my older brother read to us one time from this section of Revelation. Even at that early age, I quickly realized that this book of Revelation was an hard book. For I immediately saw that if we didn't follow the beast it would kills us and if we did follow the beast, God would kill us. My brother did not have an explanation for this, and it bothered me somewhat for many years to come. It was, in fact, the only thing that I never forgot in this mysterious book of Revelation. I wondered just how fair can God be if we are left with two fatal choices such as that. Maybe I've even frightened you by now. That is not my objective. "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you FREE."
Like everything in Revelation leading up to the consummation of all things, this wild beast is the wild beast that "is, was, and will be." This wild beast has been around from before John received his revelation, and will be around until the consummation. However, that is not to say that these things that "are, were, and will be" do not build into a giant and violent CRESCENDO in these end times:
Evil men have always been with us. And so "evil men are, were, and will be." But notice what Paul tells us will happen as the consummation of the age is upon us:
And so too, this wild beast that comes up out of the sea is the beast IS (at the time John wrote of it), WAS (before it was introduced to John), AND WILL BE (down through the centuries until our time and beyond until the consummation of this age).
You will never understand the book of Revelation as long as you try to make it either "Preterism"of the past or "Futurism" of still-to-be-fulfilled events for the first time. The events of Revelation are neither, Preterism or Futurism, but rather things that "are, were, and will be."
I STOOD UPON THE SAND OF THE SEA
I mediated and prayed long and hard on this phrase "sand of the sea" before God opened my mind and spirit to it.
So many many times in Scripture we find little phrases (apparently, insignificant little phrases) that seem to add nothing to the meaning of the verse. And yet, there they are. I have come to realize that NOTHING in Scripture is 'insignificant.' But here again, we find one of these little phrases:
Why doesn't it just say, "And I saw a beast rise up out of the sea..."? What does it matter from "where" John saw this vision? Oh, but it matters a lot.
The wild beast out of the sea is not making its first appearance at the very time that John writes about it in a book. Oh, no. Remember that this book is "the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 1:2), and Jesus Christ said:
And so our Lord's testimony of a beast out of the sea is a beast out of the sea, "which IS, and which WAS, and which IS TO COME." For just once in your life BELIEVE your Lord, and just maybe you will begin to learn and understand the truly "DEEP things of God."
But how can I say that this beast out of the sea is something that already existed at the time of John's writing? Was he not to write about "...things which must shortly COME TO PASS..."? (Rev. 1:1). Is this not then making all that John sees, things that are all in the future from the time of his vision? No. Everything in this book is part of Christ's testimony, "which IS, and which WAS, and which IS TO COME." It is needful that we read several verses now to catch the significance of, from what perspective it was that John wrote this prophecy:
Ah yes, John heard this trumpet (or message) " behind him" and therefore, had to TURN BACK in order to see, hear, and understand the message! And so John writes about the things he sees "BEHIND" him (1:10), and "...things which must be HEREAFTER."
And so it is in this context that John said: "I stood upon the sand of the sea..." Did you not notice what we just read concerning John and ourselves? Let's read it again:
The very elect are all "companions and brothers" in our quest for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Where Jesus walked, WE WILL WALK. Where John walked, WE WILL WALK. Where John stood, we all have stood or will yet stand.
We all must walk the walk that Jesus Christ walked! We must all "take up our cross." We must all
Back to the sand of the sea. Why was John standing on the sand of the sea? Why must we at some time in our lives, also, stand on the sand of the sea? This is where John was standing when the wild beast first makes its appearance to John, not when the beast first came into existence.
THE SPIRITUAL SYMBOL OF THE SAND
I have already stated a dozen times or so in this paper that we must all "follow Christ." Peter puts it this way:
Notice that we are all to follow His steps. But Jesus "did NO SIN," and we ALL sin. There is the giant difference. We have to KEEP WALKING in His steps until we STOP SINNING. But the point to be made here is, that we must and WILL "follow His steps."
John " stood on the sand of the sea," and I said that we must ALL 'stand on the sand of the sea.' Jesus was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness [a desert waste place-sand] and was tried and tested there by the Adversary. Jesus appeared to be alone with the Adversary and the sand. Nothing to eat and nothing to drink-just sand. But Jesus was only alone in this physically desert of sand. Spiritually Jesus was IN HEAVEN with His Father.
Jesus had built a spiritual house. His house was about to be tested to see if it could withstand the rain, and flood, and wind. Satan would do all in his power to bring down the spiritual house of Jesus. But His house did not fall under the temptation of Satan, for he was FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD, and His spiritual house was 'built upon THE Rock' (John 3:34). The spiritual house of Jesus was to DO THE WILL OF THE FATHER:
And just what is it that we also must do if we are to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven?
Jesus said that many would profess Him, but were really workers of iniquity and did NOT do the will of His Father. Jesus says, "Therefore..." in verse 24. The 'Therefore' refers back to what He had just told them about "doing the WILL of His Father."
Now I am sure that we all would like to declare that we have built OUR spiritual house upon The Rock of Jesus Christ, and that certainly WE are not among the foolish saints who have build our spiritual house upon the sand.
Make no mistake about it; if your spiritual house is built upon sand, IT WILL FALL! ALL spiritual houses built upon the sand, will fall.
The Great Church in Revelation is called:
This great church decidedly does NOT spiritually dwell in the heavens, but is ' of the earth, earthy.' This great church is built upon the spiritual sand of this world's doctrines. And being built on sand, SHE WILL FALL:
And so, dear reader, if you have built your spiritual house upon the sand of this world's great Church, you are warned to COME OUT OF HER, because she is going to fall, and "GREAT will be the fall of it."
This then, is the condition of ALL the saints at some time in their life, as they along with John, "...stood upon THE SAND OF THE SEA, and saw a wild beast rise up out of the sea..."
Now Jesus does not leave us in the dark as to just what the sand represents in this set of parables. Jesus says,
What is missing in this house that we built upon the sand? Why it is a solid foundation, of course.
JESUS CHRIST-THE ONLY LASTING AND SURE FOUNDATION
We could spend an entire Installment on the two categories of things with which people build in their spiritual houses. These works apply every bit as much to what we believe, what is our faith, what are our doctrines of Scriptural Truths. This is so because out of "the abundance of the heart..." flows ALL of our actions, deeds, thoughts and works-whether they be good or bad. And BAD works, acts, actions, thoughts, teachings, etc., will be burned up. But GOOD works, acts, actions, thoughts, teachings, etc., will be refined in the fire to be made even more pure and more valuable.
These Scriptures clearly show that those taking part in this particular judgment by fire, MUST be building on the ONLY POSSIBLE foundation that will lead to salvation [ 'he himself SHALL BE SAVED']. But notice that it is possible to build on something other than "this foundation"-"Now if any man build upon this foundation..." So clearly it is possible to build on 'another' foundation-a foundation of SAND. And every spiritual house built upon the sand will fall.
Now then, what are the options for all those who build their spiritual house upon the sand?
These are they which are being judged NOW:
THERE IS HOPE FOR THE BUILDERS ON SAND
Yes, there is HOPE for all those who build their house upon the sand? But there is hope only according to God's choosing. Remember, "many are called, but FEW ARE CHOSEN."
Every one who is chosen out from the called, will have first built their spiritual house upon the sand, and it will FALL! Every one who is of the chosen FEW will leave his "First Love" (Rev. 2:4). There is a time when all of the chosen will "look back," and see a time when they were not, "...FIT for the Kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). It happened to Peter, it happened to the other eleven apostles, it happened to Paul, it happened to Paul's followers, it happened to the entire early church, it will happen to US!
Everyone's first house (the house built upon the sand) FALLS! It is just part of the process in our suffering to learn obedience, that God has mandated.
These are "Christians" ( Lord, Lord) who BELIEVE in the Name of the Lord, and they do MANY... WONDERFUL... WORKS in the Name of the Lord. But what happens to them? Their house on the sand FALLS- "...DEPART from Me, you that work iniquity [lawlessness] " (Ver. 23). Jesus then goes on to show how those who do not build on the foundation of Jesus are building their house upon the sand, even though they do MANY wonderful works.
Their house falls, not because of the super structure itself. No, the super structure is composed of MANY WONDERFUL WORKS. The house falls because it is not build upon the ROCK of Jesus Christ who is the ONLY FOUNDATION that will support a spiritual house. The "wonderful works" part of Christendom is good. Jesus doesn't say that all of their works are bad. No, they are wonderful, however, their house will not stand and therefore it must come down. A Christian's personal good works will not forgive his personal SINS! These must be REPENTED of and OVERCOME.
Now for all of you whom God is calling only, you will not believe what I am saying, you will not do what I am teaching you, and you will not recover (in this lifetime) from the disaster of building your spiritual house (life) upon the sand. But what about those of you whom God is calling AND choosing? What are you to do when you see that your spiritual house has fallen with a GREAT FALL? Answer:
And so after we repent of leaving our first love, and all the sin and corruption that goes along with it, what are we to do? Why we begin building our spiritual house upon The ROCK of Jesus Christ-the FOUNDATION of Jesus Christ, of course.
THE HOUSE UPON THE ROCK
Oh yes, the rains and floods and winds of trials and persecution will surely come, but we have this absolute assurance of God:
I love this verse. Read it over a half dozen times. It is sheer spiritual poetry! This is one of those absolutely POWER-PACKED Scriptures that should make our hair stand up! It is in verses like this that the King James Version really shines.
WHO IS ABLE TO MAKE WAR WITH THE WILD BEAST?
It is at this pivotal time in our walk with God, when our spiritual house has fallen, and we are alone standing on the sand of the sea, that the wild beast from the sea... makes war with the saints (that's US) and OVERCOMES them (this wild beast overcomes us because "WHO is able to make war with him?") (Rev. 13:4). Even we, who are saints of God, are NO MATCH for "the WILD BEAST that comes up out of sea."
But I have already shown you that God gives us a way out of this dilemma. We are to COME OUT OF HER and REPENT of leaving our first love, and for building our spiritual house upon the sand.
WHEN FIRST WE SEE THE BEAST
Why is John standing on the sand of the sea when he first sees the wild beast rise out of the sea? Why isn't he standing on solid rock when first he sees this wild beast? Because standing on the sand of the sea depicts our spiritual condition at the time that we see a wild beast come up out of the sea. When we see the wild beast, God shows us our vulnerability.
We are standing DEFENSELESS on the sand of the sea!
There is a spiritual process that God takes His called and elect through that only the few ever experience. The common opinion seems to be that one can become sick and tired of his sinful ways, and so turn to Jesus Christ to get him out of his mess. Once he has accepted Jesus as his Saviour, it is presumed that all will begin to go well with the new convert.
Finances will improve, health will improve, our social life will improve, and certainly our spiritual life will improve. As we study and pray and go to church, it is believed that one will progress further and further until one's life is nearly perfect. In fact, if one is still having trials and tribulations after decades in a church, it is assumed by all that that person is not living right and that God is cursing him for some sin or disobedience.
I showed you in a previous installment that the very first thing that Jesus pointed out as a spiritual flaw in the first of the Seven Churches, was that they "LEFT their first love."
This is referred to in fundamental circles as "backsliding." But, supposedly, only a few ever "backslide." Most, it is assumed, just keep growing and growing from grace to grace until they die a happy death of old age.
The Seven [COMPLETE] Churches of God represent the WHOLE CHURCH OF GOD in all generations. And so, what is it that God says those who are ALREADY IN THE CHURCH have to do if they are to overcome and be in the Kingdom of God? Answer:
Repent of WHAT? Repent of "...leaving your FIRST LOVE."
But you say, "I have never left my first love." Well then, this Scripture isn't speaking to you. But everyone who does make it into the Kingdom, does leave his first love. There are those, however, who have left their first love, AND DON'T EVEN KNOW IT! Repenting will come especially hard for them, as they see nothing to repent of.
Whenever someone is called of God and he repents, is baptized, confirmed, initiated, or whatever, it is into a church. And sooner or later that particular church will bring you to the point where you will leave your first love for God and turn to the church and its religion as the idol of your heart. God calls His people OUT of the Babylonish System of Religion which has a strangle hold on 'The Church.'
"Mystery Babylon the Great" is a CHURCH! But it is also A SPIRITUAL WHORE:
Jerusalem above is our MOTHER. Jerusalem below is also a MOTHER with children in bondage. Revelation speaks clearly of this Mother and her Children:
MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
And now for one of the most amazing Truths in all Revelation:
GOD CALLS HIS PEOPLE OUT OF THE VERY CHURCH THAT HE CALLED THEM INTO!
Few realize that there is a "church WITHIN the church." When God chooses us FROM AMONG the called, we become separate from their doctrines and sins. We are still "The Church of the Living God," but we are a peculiar people that no longer follows the traditions of men, which the many called who are building the house upon the sand continue to follow.
Therefore, WE WILL SEE THE BEAST that comes up out of the sea. We will be forced to WAR with the beast from the sea. And we will be OVERCOME by the wild beast. This really is serious business.
SEA, EARTH, AND HEAVEN
There are three realms spoken of in Revelation: sea, earth, and heaven:
The angels [messengers] of God communicate things from heaven to both the earth and the sea:
There are three realms of humanity and three realms of spiritual understanding. The lowest of all is the sea. Those with at least some spiritual understanding are those who dwell in the earth. And those who have the very mind of Christ are those who dwell in heaven. ALL REALMS will give honor and glory to God:
Is this not saying the identical thing that Paul teaches in Phil. 2:10-11:
Next notice that:
Where is the Church? Does she dwell in the spiritual realms of heaven? No. Is she located in the sea? No. She dwells in the earth. She is higher than the sea, but lower than heaven; she dwells in the earth. These are the three realms spoken of in Revelation. If we can't get our thinking above the symbols themselves, we will never ever understand the book of Revelation.
The saints have left the earth in their spiritual walk with God. Those who are now 'spiritually-minded;' dwell in heaven-a much much higher realm than that of the earth. And yet... and YET, of the wild beast that comes out of the sea in Revelation 13, we are told:
Now maybe you don't catch the significance of these verses. Here is a wild beast that not only has power, "...over ALL KINDREDS, and TONGUES, and NATIONS," but also can, "...make war with the SAINTS, and to OVERCOME THEM ..." Is it possible for Satan to OVERCOME THE SAINTS? How can this be? Where? Show me?
Does this verse sound like there is some wild beast OUT THERE somewhere, who can make a mockery of this verse, because this wild beast really can "...make war with the saints, and to OVERCOME them?" What ever happened to:
Is there, OUT THERE SOMEWHERE, a power for evil that is even GREATER than Satan the Devil, himself? Why haven't we been warned about him before we come to Rev. 13:7?
Did Jesus ever warn us of this wild beast? Did the apostles? Did Paul to the nations, warn of this evil power? How could the saints themselves, be deceived by this wild beast? I thought that the very elect of God CANNOT be deceived :
Ah, but it is NOT POSSIBLE to deceive the very elect! Will someone tell me what's going on here with this wild beast?
WHO ARE THE SAINTS?
If the very elect can't be deceived, is it possible for saints to be deceived? Yes, there is a difference. One can be a saint long before he becomes the VERY elect. Were the believers in Ephesus called, saints?
So, Yes, the believers in Ephesus were called saints. But were they perfect? Were they spiritually mature? Were they the VERY elect? No, they weren't.
Is Jesus accusing the whole church at Ephesus of leaving their first love, if in reality, there were only a few? But there were NOT just a few-the WHOLE CHURCH of Ephesus "left their first love." And furthermore, since the Seven Churches are ONE CHURCH, THE WHOLE CHURCH left their first love! Believe it or not, leaving one's first love, is part of the process of "going on to perfection" (Heb. 6:1).
"I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH - JOHN TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES"
Jesus said, "...upon this Rock [Himself] I will build My church..." And the testimony of Jesus Christ is "unto His servant John" and then "John TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES" (Rev. 1:1 & 4). Jesus began to build His church when John was yet a carnal-mined, unconverted follower of Jesus. And, as the messages in Revelation "are, were, and will be," then certainly the message to the Seven Churches also must be a message that "IS, WAS, and WILL BE."
John sees a " wild beast come up out of the sea" when John himself "stood upon the sand of the sea." This had to be at the time when John "heard BEHIND ME a GREAT VOICE, as a trumpet" (Rev. 1:10).
JESUS CHRIST IS THE SOUNDING TRUMPET
The Alpha and Omega is CHRIST. This "voice of a trumpet" is Christ. There is something most interesting about this statement of John's. John says he "heard behind me a GREAT voice, as of a trumpet."
You will be interested to learn that the word "great" is used 72 times in Revelation. But only five times is it said to be a "great VOICE." We will look at the last four and then come back to the first:
The second time a "GREAT voice" is trumpeted or announced as a powerful, earth-shaking message or event is in Rev. 16:1:
This is a GIANT event, unparalleled in the history of the world. But remember, although this prophecy may also crescendo toward the consummation, it to is also, the "wrath of God" that "IS, WAS, and WILL BE."
The third mention is when this horrible wrath of God is over in Rev. 16:17:
The fourth mention is also an event of heretofore, unequaled glory:
Now it is pretty honorable to just be "called unto the marriage of Christ," but to ACTUALLY BE THE BRIDE-Well, that's something else! We'll take that subject up some time later.
The last time we have the mention of a "GREAT voice" is in Rev. 21:3:
I am sure that we all agree that these four mentions of a GREAT voice are among the greatest events and proclamations in the history of humanity. But we have yet one to look at:
What POSSIBLE thing could John have heard, that happened "BEHIND him," that was in the same league as the four GIANT events portrayed by the other four GREAT VOICES? What was it that John saw "BEHIND him" as he "stood upon the sand of the sea" and "saw a WILD BEAST rise up out of the sea?" What did this wild beast mean to John? What will it mean to the world? What should it mean to US?
Whatever this wild beast from the sea is, it is among the five greatest pronouncements that bring in the "end of the world" - the "consummation of the age."
This wild beast from the sea is the only thing in all Revelation that "makes war with the saints" AND "OVERCOME them." Seven times in Rev. 2 & 3 were are told to OVERCOME seven categories of sins. Yet here we read that it is the saints themselves that are overcome. Let's make some sense out of all this.
ALL FALL AWAY
I showed numerous times that all: leave their first love, forsake Jesus, look back, blaspheme, build a spiritual house upon the sand, etc.
It is when John is standing on the sand of the sea that he first sees the wild beast come up out of the sea. Now the questions become: "WHEN did John stand upon the sand in HIS life? WHEN do we stand upon the sand in OUR lives?
Answer: When the spiritual house that we all build falls down with a 'GREAT FALL.' When (notice I did not say, 'IF')...when our spiritual house built upon the spiritual sand falls, WE ARE LEFT STANDING ON THE SAND OF THE SEA. We are only INCHES above the very sea itself-the masses and multitudes of humanity who do not have any knowledge of God AT ALL. It doesn't mean that we have no knowledge of God at all at this quandary in our spiritual lives; it just means that we are no closer to God than all the humanity in the sea. Hence, we are not IN the sea, but rather standing on the SAND of the sea where out spiritual house just FELL!
And since God is not only calling some of us but choosing us also, God begins to teach us anew. And the first thing He begins to show us is the WILD BEAST coming up out of the sea that is the CAUSE of our being overcome and the CAUSE of our spiritual house falling! This wild beast will be reckoned with by all humanity sooner or later.
THERE MUST COME A 'FALLING AWAY' FIRST
I have shown you that John, Paul, Peter, ALL of the apostles, the whole church in Asia, the Seven Churches of Revelation, the entire flock of God's called, all built their houses upon spiritual sand-in other words EVERYONE ever called by God, falls, falls down, falls away.
The Proverb tells us that, "For a just man falls seven times..." That's a COMPLETE fall. But strange as it may seem, this is necessary in God's plan. What happens to a just man after he falls seven times? "...and RISES UP AGAIN" (Prov. 24:16). When he completely falls, he falls from grace. But for those whom God is both calling AND choosing, they will RISE UP AGAIN, for
We will ALL FALL! But afterwards, God "raises us UP AGAIN," and "makes us STAND." And from that time onward we have this sure promise of which we read before, but I want to read again:
When John's spiritual house built upon the sand fell down, he was left, standing on the sand of the sea by himself alone with God, and it is then and only then, that he is able to see the wild beast that came up out of the sea.
This wild beast is further identified in Rev. 13:14 when we are told this
He was wounded to death, but the wound was healed and he again lived. He also has a mark, and a name, and a number. What is this mysterious number that has baffled scholars, theologians, and saints for centuries? I will not give you the complete answer to this at this time, but will only show you that it is the number of mankind-humanity.
THE NUMBER 666
Is this indeed what the Greek manuscripts of Rev. 13:18 state? No, it is not.
The Greek word used when only man is meant (always excluding woman), is aner. But the Greek word translated "man" in Rev. 13:18 is not aner, but rather the word anthropos, which means "a human being, male or female." Strong's Concordant.
Furthermore, it is not the number of "a" anything. It is just the number of human or of mankind! Even the Revised Standard Version translators saw this and therefore, states, " It's number is six hundred sixty-six." The number of the wild beast is not the number of "a" man, but rather the number of "man" or "mankind."
With this in mind let's read II Thes. 2:3:
Whenever man builds his spiritual house upon the spiritual sand, his spiritual house will fall. And it is then that God reveals to him the wild beast that comes out of the sea. What does Paul tell us happens when there comes a 'FALLING AWAY' first? What follows? When our house on sand falls, what is then revealed? Why "the LAWLESS one" is "REVEALED." When the falling away occurs, then the man of sin, 'the lawless one' 'the one destined for destruction' is REVEALED.
And what a revelation it is! What a blast of the trumpet it is! What a shock to all humanity when at long last this wild beast is revealed to EVERYONE! Trust me when I tell you that it is a hard pill to swallow. It will shake you to your sandy foundation.
As I am now at the end of this Part XIII, I don't want to close without revealing just who it is that constitutes the wild beast of Revelation 13 and the lawless one of II Thes. 2. I did title this Installment: Who is the Beast? And so I will tell you.
"So okay Ray, enough, TELL US WHO THE BEAST IS. Who? Tell us WHO?"
The "beast" is you!