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GATEWAY TO VAINGLORY
ii Thessalonians 2
The Australian August 11, 2011
SPARE A THOUGHT BUT DON'T GET CAUGHT
for the image of the beast is rearing
Revelation 13:11-15 speaks of a second beast. It is a very religious one. In fact, it has a distinctive outward form that reminds of Jesus Christ. It has two horns like a lamb, we read. The really disconcerting thing is this: it speaks like a dragon. Now a lambish dragon is quite a spectacle. The concept of devious deceit and playing games to get power, is strong. Why on earth would a dragonish spirit want a lambish body ? Why the better to eat you with, as the fairy story goes, but there is nothing fey about this spectacle. It is deadly, in earnest.
Review for one moment the role and purpose of 'beast' in the Bible. I it focussed heavily in the eminently predictive book of Daniel. There the young cadet from Israel, taken to Babylon in a raid from that country, soon developed a godliness that impressed all, to the level of Kings! In answering the dream-meaning quest of a king, he established a reputation, one built solidly, since he had stressed that the wisdom did not come from himself through any special holiness, but from God who protected him and his companions, in danger because of a challenge to all the 'wise' to interpret the King's dream.
He showed, in Daniel 2, 7 and 8, a sequence of empires present and to come, which were designated or symbolised by types of animal, or beast. You have the same sort of thing in cars, as in the Jaguar, and the personification concept, as in the former Rebel car. We will look, as this is just rapid review at Daniel 7.
However, it is clear in the context and application of these roles, that the bestial is by no means a flattering term, but rather suggests a roughness, inhumanity, self-important, or even pompous, a self-acclaiming thrust of gross power and perhaps swagger, and a tendency to disregard pity for the sake of power. It envisages whatever makes the power grow and show, whether it be military or other bases - in modern terms it would be likely to include the so-called industrial-military complex. Babylon in this case was a lion, and the next which triumphed over it, namely Medes and Persians, a bear, while the famed Macedonian thrust was a leopard of great speed, namely the Macedonian or Greek thrusting and sudden power of Alexander the Great, as found when history converted beast to empire. The fourth beast is "dreadful and horrible", the epitome of the essential plain badness, a sort of bad breath turned into a creature, of beasts. "Exceedingly strong" (Daniel 7:7), it "devoured, breaking in pieces."
It eventually adds to its ten horns, a little one which growing, becomes a megalomanic paranoid, which brings the procession and progression to an end at the hands of God (cf. Revelation 19, II Thessalonians 1, and 2). Daniel 8 gives more of the detail, while Daniel 9 gives the coming of the Messiah, as does Daniel 7, and dates it at what in current terminology is about A.D.30, the death date assignable to Jesus Christ (cf. Christ the Citadel ... Ch. 2). Daniel 2 gives the same procession*1 in static terms, easy to contemplate.
By Revelation 13, we come to a vast extension of data and detail. Not only is the beast, the last and fourth one of the series, through many predicted vicissitudes now arrived at a time near its end, for it was to be partly strong and partly fragile. It now has a companion, like Dr Goebbels, famous propagandist and psychological warfare expert for Hitler. This is the second beast, if not quite a mirror image of the first one, then a close companion like members of a bike racing team. His job is to deploy dynamics to make people focus on the transient and vulnerable glory of the first beast. To this end, he uses the sort of duplicitous tactics common in Communism and the Inquisitorial phase of Romanism, and in the realms of many of the mighty. Finance becomes a brilliant member, and the endeavour is to so control it that it is hard at all to move!
As we follow this SECOND BEAST, the propaganda-phile one, we find that he "exercises all the authority of the first beast." Now that is very considerable, since the prince of this world, behind these specious pantomime, has no intention of entertainment. Actually, he is rather angry, that is his author is, the devil, for he knows that his time for exploits and intemperate extravaganzas is indeed short (Revelation 12:12). The second beast effort is to make people on earth worship the first beast, for which he is ancillary, augmentative, auxiliary. He has signs to show and fire from heaven to deploy - whether or not this be in the form of the hydrogen, neutron or other facility, or more direct. He seeks to intimidate and induce worship in a kind of revulsion from tyranny, converted to kissing its hand (just as some kidnappers try to do with victims).
MAKE AN IMAGE for the beast! he demands. He likes symbols, images, as many in false religions do, who have nothing substantial to offer, though symbols CAN serve as an introduction not only to evil but to good, as the Jewish Temple in its ministrations did (cf. Hebrews 7-10). We read that not satisfied with cold symbolism, he wants to give, and does give breath to the image of the beast. This image can now both speak and bring in death warrants, effectual ones, slaughtering man, as now in Libya or Syria, there is slaughter for power. This however becomes more international, as Communism threatened to be, and Nazism and Napoleonic thrust, and for that matter, the work of Alexander the Great and some of the Emperors of Rome.
THINGS TO COME
Could the giving of breath to the image of the beast on the part of the second beast, the religious one, perhaps refer not to some form of life being imparted to a material and contrived object, but to some form of extension of power, say augmentative connection, being granted to a man as in II Thessalonians 2:4-10. Thus the image of the beast could become a man, being electronically capacitated, through hook-ups, implants or other gear, and made susceptible to large images by comparison with a normal man looks small ? Even now you sometimes see on the TV and it has been seen thus in the political scene, giving a strong psychic impression. In this way, instead of the image being a construction, a fiction with enabled function, a projection, it could be a man with enablements of additive kind, giving the illusion of all power.
Giving breath to the image would then mean finding, funding, enabling a person by intelligent means, to have access to power, knowledge and agencies such that he might try to look like a beast becoming a god. In such terms, he might even aspire to BE God, though it would be rather late to begin in time, what made it! but then, logic never matters in madness. II Thessalonians 2 shows just this happening." We read that "in the temple of God, as God, he sits down." To make it even clearer, we find he exalts himself above all that is called God. Show him anything that is called God in any style, manner or form: and "I am greater," says he. Naturally it does not last long, any more than any other drunken spree, as the results bite. In this case, the very brightness of the Lord is his damnation, since darkness exposed to light has nowhere to flee!
Thus a man would be selected to have the burnishings and the electronic or other furnishings which would give the impression of colossal, daunting, super-human power, though it would all be in the end through a human and for humans. It would be a form of humo-mania! and many have been the entrants for that sort of thing already.
It is not at all easy to be the acme of the antichrist movement (cf. I John 2:18). What does John say ? "Little children"- he grew to be very old - "it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us."
The book of Revelation shows a vast array of coming events, indeed an Age, before the Lord comes back, but as Peter points out (II Peter 3:9), a day in the sight of the Lord in this eschatological context, is like a thousand years. In that perspective, this is just two days! When it is the POWER of God that is in view, to create, a day of morning and evening in an ordinal progression telling us the steps leading to the finished creation (Genesis 2:1-4) is in the logical sequence shown, most ample. When however it is a matter of man, of the divine patience in dealing with him, in his cross-patchy pollution and impenitent servitude to sins inglorious or unspeakable, then a thousand years can indeed be as a day, as one step!
But as to this day, the current epoch, there is no more Christ to die, no more Church to be founded, no more world to be deceived, no other Satan to delude, nothing more but more of the same Gospel, in continuity (Galatians 1), on and on, till He comes back, regal to rule. The stage is set already, but its drama comes in stages, most of which are now past. Yet not so is the crescendo of evil, just that of good. It is the latter which endures while its light is not darkened by the thunder of angry skies, projected by obstructive opposition, but merely hidden to those being lost.
In all this, then, there is to BE an antichrist figure who is the acme of the breed. What does this one have to have to qualify ? First, he will need an inordinate pride, then a devastating deviousness, a capacity for a dynamic delusion (Hitler and Mao were specially gifted in this respect), an appeal that aids the melt-down of clear thought, and helps create a psychic surge which would prove helpful to the devil as he seeks to conquer by a mixture of
fear (like the terrorist model),
fixity (the 'immovable world culture' of corrupt pretence
mobility (as he ascends more and more to the platform on high
This is as shown in II Thessalonians 2:4-10, where he SHOWS HIMSELF that he is God.
It is apparently very satisfying to him, as well it might be in view of the payment arrangements for such impersonation, to be covered when it ends! Succinctly, it is put that he is the one "whom the Lord will ... destroy in the brightness of his coming."
He is to have quite a cartel of power support (like multiple caddies for a famous golfer, to carry the weight of it for him), for he is to "come with all power, signs and lying wonders," II Thessalonians 2:9.
For those bent on perishing, while propounding the usual self-elevating rubbish, there is the need to be susceptible to "unrighteous deception," and since this is taught in schools and colleges with peremptory pre-emption and dictatorial law-supported aplomb, it should not be hard to find such a crew. They would be like Army 'seals', but with a distorted purpose. They are in any case, part of the army of "those who perish," which is not a great place to be, though its inhabitants seem to multiply lately. Of course, there is a preparation camp, so that you can be amongst those who "did not receive the love of the truth," which again, should not be too much of an issue, since relatively few seem overly concerned about it. The truth which they did not receive was essential "that they might be saved;" but in its wilful obscuration, they become admirable potential for this evil task.
The functions of false prophet, lying spirits (Revelation 16) and second beast (Revelation 13) are all supportive, so that the evil ambassage to this world, spectacular in power and single in purpose, should receive no small measure of the inane infatuation which came to Mao, Hitler and Stalin, and is near to arriving at the doors of some other world politicians of our own day. It will all be organised; for although God CAN disrupt things, as at the flood, or with Sodom and Gomorrah, or in the solemnly assured destruction of Jerusalem in the day of Jeremiah (following ever so many appeals, divine offers and deliverances at hand, all rejected cumulatively), or with Nineveh or Tyre or Babylon (cf. The Pitter-Patter ... Ch. 4): yet there are many things which NEED to be made exhibits.
It is like a sporting meeting or an examination, or a championship, or a tour like the Tour de France. There are things at stake. As Armstrong reportedly wrote in a message to Cadel Evans following the 2011 Tour de France, "That was a demonstration." With all eternity to come, it is well to have things demonstrated, when you get to the spiritual level, that of morality, godliness, reality, purpose and program, intention and intensity, truth and fiction. Tests proceed very openly.
In this evil case, however, there is a cost. The world will for a time be bestially belaboured; but then, think of the way some Japanese soldiers treated prisoners of war (as told in The Seed and the Sower, filmed as Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, from Laurens van der Post). Consider how Communist Russians treated their OWN returned prisoners of war, not to mention small farmers in Stalin's day, and think of Britain returning them! or of the way Nazis dealt with the Jews, or again, how the Inquisition of Romanism dealt with its victims (cf. Ancient Words, Modern Deeds ... Ch. 14). There is scarcely any limit to what misdirected man can do, when certain traditions, ideologies, concepts, perspectives are inculcated and man becomes bewitched (cf. I Timothy 4:1ff., II Peter 2:1ff. with II Timothy 3-4).
It is but a small step to having a WORLD CULTURE, an international delusion, so much the more forwarded by the many sharing modes, which facilitate movement. These are means, not subversive in themselves, but readily usable, such as the new I-Google which allows different groups of contacts to receive from you different messages, along with other facade-parade opportunities. By some such means, flagrantly rampaging thankless youth can co-ordinate assault as in London recently, in the blitz of the ferociously bewildered, the cannily self-seeking and the exasperated non-performers, buoyed by public financial support, and such opportunists and derangers as may be sent. A medical man very familiar with Britain dwells on his understanding of the cause of this in The Australian, in A Plus, August 11, 2011.
Whatever the contributory causes (and on the same page, Greg Sheridan dwells on the differentially harsh dynamic seeking to remove first and foremost, Christianity from the path of the brave new, fooled world), the intensive results are an excellent if costly exhibition of nation increasingly cutting the moral objectivity, the religious certainty and the resultant verve in its recidivist mode. With news media and convergent delusions about God, man and the universe, both from education and multiplied inculcation, this is an exhibit of mindless immorality, eruptive psyches and desperate confusion. Ruin the child in the propagandising schools (cf. Beauty for Ashes Ch. 3), and do you expect no temple to be built to the result ? or more aptly, no distemper to show. Just as Sir Christopher Wren's works were to be seen by looking about you in London, so now the grand educational revolution (there before Julia and Kevin's disaster), is showing its ruins at work in the field. There is more to it; yes, but not less.
If youth features in high profile in this London affair, it is not the only casualty, and the level of moral certitudes in Europe has a surprising number of high level affairs which have given an example from the mighty, which many a midget might follow. Folly is taught, sin has big ears, and ruin is wrought, first in the psyche, then in the city. It may be direct as here; but later, more sophisticatedly, it gets bigger teeth, and grinds away with them from the level of high authority. Impossible ? Ask prelude performers, such as Russia (never happen here! what ...), Germany and China. They know because they have seen it and suffer it, whether from this gross distortion and dynamic unchecked, or from that. Open the throttle, put down the pedal, roar in heart, and it is not so much accidents as incidents that happen, as when a boulder runs down hill.
Man has done this sort of thing many times, in recent times with amazing scope, as if to elope with his madness, and cover the earth with the spawn of the seduction. Yet now he has formally approved agencies which, evilly used, can hasten the process.
THE VICIOUS VIRTUOSO
Still, the MAN OF SIN as II Thessalonians 2 calls him, has to have relevant gifts, not only cultural but personal, in order to occupy his uncoveted place for a little time. Yet again, is it so hard to find ? Deception can play on misguided human imagination like a harp, as some new thing, as in the US and Australia, is given a near fatal fling.
Was Goering so lacking in panache and elevation ? or Hitler ? did he not hypnotise rather adroitly ? He appealed to things people wanted and marrying these to things he wanted, took power with his own version of Aryan charm, charisma or some combination, variably exposed. Then he followed his will and ignored the rest. Many were his followers, since he promised possibilities they were not willing to lose.
When the universe is the objective,
then there is quite a stir. Besides, it is not a mere question of selection. The charmer-disarmer-disclaimer-dynamic is far from a rarity; and people have an inbuilt capacity to be charmed, to glorify, because being made by God, towards God this is apt and fitting. Towards one another, it is ludicrous, a perversion of the worship thrust to which man is as liable as rain clouds are to rain, because there IS One to worship. Abort that, and unwonderful worship supervenes, in this or that, sooner or later, unless death of soul, mind or body, effectually intervene to produce a deadened cynic (cf. SMR Ch. 3).
Thus placed the antichrist acme, the 'man of sin,' the last word in the lost world, its final self-tormenting thrust at greatness, stalled in many, foiled in Hitler and Stalin, derailed in Mussolini and Tojo, has scope for action, and will assuredly grab it. Here is the one to strut throughout the world with astonishing power, foisted by naturalists hoping to make of "their man" what will show there is no need for God (despite logic, for this is the psychological substitute for thought), and to give as Henri Spaak of Common Market fame described it, SOME ONE, someone to lead! Where ? Oh don't be trivial: LEAD! Give us a man, a leader, he intoned, and be he god or devil, we will follow him. They look for leadership very intently when as now, quite lost.
That soon ashen spark, it flares to die. Spaak put it rather well, the thrust of the lust for the essence of the evil. Back of that, of course, is WHY there is such a feeling or potential fever; but we have already gone into that. Back of that, once again, is the question of what man is, that he is so susceptible, but this is simple, since as a spiritual product, bodily and mentally equipped, created by God who is Spirit, One not limited by our own mechanisms and electronics, man has to be susceptible to what he is. Pervert that from its due source and centre, its Maker and God, and naturally it will be manipulable, rather like a locomotive which, having gone onto the wrong set of rails, sails on merrily till the crash comes.
THE PLACE OF TEST
Evil without play does not have a chance to show its inferiority and unsustainability. God is keen on testing (I Thessalonians 5 tells us to test all things, and Isaiah 41,43, 48 incites us to contest in truth with God, and His word, if we will, for there is only one outcome to that). The results speak for themselves (as in Matthew 24:21-22), the more obviously as this world's condition is rapidly being exacerbated, and its fallacies and fabrications make its perils keener. We have great power to use the laws and power God has given as input for this world; and the difficulty is that we have no power to make worlds. This being so, it is a downward process, with every mistake taking its toll, and every big-headedness showing no small result.
The antichrist figure becomes a self-assessment mode before the Lord, and his abject failure is to be as obvious (as it has always been in the past, in the preparatory phases), as are the reasons for it. Deception can never face truth; truth impacts on it negatively, and systematic truth does so in ways not only traumatic to the human spirit but disruptive of the human environment, whether social, financial, political, educative, physical and spiritual. Just as our human genome is now fast deteriorating (Waiting for Wonder ... Appendix), so is the psychic mode of man, violence is becoming a mere mode of expression, vileness a norm.
You cannot sorrow for the antichrist, for he is to be with the great murderers of all time, if not in mere numbers then in the spiritual seduction and sedition of souls. It is great to know in the midst of all this, that greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world (I John 4:4). The term 'great' signifies rank, power, authority. God having no limits (Romans 11:36, Psalm 145:3), and no delimitations (John 8:58, Matthew 28:19-20), all antichrist action and devilish dynamic is a lost cause. Evidently, as in other sports, such as wild driving, youth (et al.) blitzing London, some find the thrill covers the spill; but when it is eternity, the very thought is a form of spiritual insanity (Hosea 9:7).
Unsurprisingly, we yearn for the lost, mourn for their deception and warn while there is time.
THE PLIGHT OF NIGHT
In a little while, the night comes when no man can work (John 9:4 cf. John 14:30). Obfuscatory foulness has enterprise, often uses surprise, and before its demise, its demagoguery becomes unspeakable. Thank God for heaven; for hell from beneath is going to try its utmost surges, before it fizzles in its own shame. Its efforts ? just a large-scale foozle ... not so much fun, really.
*1 For more on the beasts and Europe, see for example SMR pp. 886ff., 905ff. (at B. In the Grand Format), 686ff., 743ff.. See also Empire in Index.