All The World Wondered After The Beast
“His deadly wound was healed,” John says, “And all the world wondered after the beast.” Note that the world wondered after the beast and not after the head. Therefore, it cannot mean that the world would necessarily have to enroll in the member-ship of the system represented by the head. The significance is that all the world has partaken of the spirit of the beast—worldliness. The world in general has never been otherwise. It could not be said that “all the world wondered after the beast” if the people whom God has entrusted with the gospel are free from the spirit of the beast. But it must be that they have betrayed their trust, and partaken of its spirit. Where is the distinction between the church and the world!
The Name Of Blasphemy
“And upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” That is, resistance of known truth, expression of defiant impiety and irreverence towards God, or things held sacred—mocking God’s personality and authority. The prophet Isaiah, looking forward to this time of wholesale deception, headed by so-called spiritual guides, says: “And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.” (Isa. 4:1.)
It is an admitted fact among Bible students that churches are symbolized by “women.” Pure woman—pure church, as in Jeremiah 6:2, Revelation 12:1; vile woman—corrupt church, as in Revelation 17:4,5. Isaiah says, there are “seven” women. The number comprises these same churches. They say, “We will eat our own bread.” That is, they want to have their own way; they care not for God’s way (Word). “We will wear our own apparel”; that is, they want their own plans in preference to God’s plans or His righteousness. Thereby, they clothed themselves with self-righteousness. Their aim is to be called by the one man’s name; that is, by the name of Christ (Christians) to take away their reproach. People have come to suppose they can do most anything under the guise of Christianity and get away with it. God will let them continue their course until they, like Belshazzar, have passed the boundary line of divine grace, and then He will call them to account.
“And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (Rev. 13:4.) The question may be asked, How can professed Christians worship the dragon? The answer is easy, and the worship of the dragon can be clearly seen. The present system of worship by so-called Christian institutions is unquestionably pagan.
Sunday, Christmas, and Easter keeping, etc., originated in ancient Babylon, from the old pagan religion in honor of the sun god. Christians, in modern times, assume to honor the most High God with pagan customs calling them “Christian Doctrines.” Protestantism has taken a grip on these pagan festivals as a leech on a human body. As the sluggard sucks the blood unaware that his satisfaction brings him to destruction, just so with protestants and their pagan commemoratives; even daring to call them by the name of Christ. Blasphemy indeed! Every student of ancient history knows this to be true; likewise every Bible student knows these so-called Christian festivals are unbiblical as well as unchristian. If these institutions were Christian, or Biblical, they would certainly have been spoken of in the Bible. But since they are not found in the Word of God, Christians had better leave them alone lest they be found worshiping the dragon.
Jeremiah, looking forward to this time of apostasy, says: “Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.” (Jer. 10:2-4.) Though the Word declares, “Learn not the ways of the heathen,” professed ministers of the gospel will cut a tree from the forest and deck it with silver and gold, then dare call it by the name of Christ—Christmas tree. What greater blasphemy can one do? Are ministers and religious teachers ignorant of these things? Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
John heard the men defying God, saying ,”Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” That is, who can abolish this pagan system of worship; is there one? They challenge God’s authority. It may not be said by words, but it is most decidedly expressed by action. Men’s discernment is blunted by sin, and when an attempt is made to associate the sacred with the common or pagan, they see no evil. Though the Word of God declares: “But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet as true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed, As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich: as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. . . . Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor. 6:4-11, 14-18.)
It is open disobedience to the plain “thus saith the Lord” that has brought about confusion and disgrace in the Christian world at the present time. True the reformers saw not all these errors, and were not responsible, for they had no light upon them. As God has given light upon His Word, by degrees, making it possible to grasp the truth, He expects us to receive it, and thus lead us to the victory.
But one may say, if God could save others with less light, why should He give us more light? Of the many reasons we shall comment on only two. By increased light on the Word, God is able to save a multitude instead of a few. The second reason is, as the last part of the church will be translated instead of resurrected, we need sufficient light to prepare us to meet God and immortal beings.
Just such ignorance of God’s Word in the days of Noah brought the world to its destruction by water. A similar wicked condition reduced to ashes the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. If in the days of Christ, just such hypocrisy, under the appearance of virtue, required the life of the Son of God to pre-serve the world from destruction, what would the outcome be at this present time? God cannot destroy the world, for He has a multitude to save. He has no other Son for a gift to the church, for Christ is the “only begotten” Son of God. If God’s ideal is to bless the world through the medium of His church on earth, and they to whom the gospel for the world is committed have left the sheep and are serving the devil, in the person of themselves, where is the hope of the world? The only answer that can be given is, woe to the sinners in Zion. God will gather His sheep. He will have a church; but what will be the reward of those who were instructed to feed the lambs and are feeding themselves? Christ, who sees the end from the beginning, and with his all-seeing eye focused on present day conditions, has said: “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, that he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites [with the heads of the beasts]; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 24:45-51.)” — The Shepherds Rod, Vol. 2, pp. 99-101