The Book of Revelation with commentary by Dr. Henry M. Morris and paintings by Ramona Lowe
The paintings are a work in progress and the finished pieces are highlighted in red on Page 2

Page 98

The Kingdom of Man

    Ever since Nimrod, there have arisen many powerful and ambitious men who have aspired to rule the world.  Ruthless and evil almost to a man, such dictators have managed to enlist many followers and conquer many nations.  In addition to those mentioned in the Bible, one thinks of Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, and others.  But one after another, they have failed.  God would not allow Nimrod to establish a world government, nor has he allowed any other.  Even the mighty Roman empire could not accomplish it.  The Romans could not even subjugate the Parthian empire (Persians), let alone the great nations of Africa, the Orient and Northern Europe.

     The idealists of the western world have also dreamed of world government.  Tennyson, with his poetic “parliament of man,” Woodrow Wilson and his League of Nations, the modern-day United Nations organization, all have tried and failed.  Various conspiratorial societies (Communists, Illuminati, etc.) have hoped to bring it about, and the international banking/business establishment today seems to cherish such a goal.  But God will never allow it.

     Not until the very end of the age, that is.  Finally, however, there will be a world government of sorts, but once again it will be merely a grand exercise in humanistic futility.

Revelation 13:7.     And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

     Before the beast can establish the world empire which he covets, he must subjugate both those who still resist him in his own kingdom and also those other nations which have not yet surrendered.  His greatest resistance will be offered by “the saints,” a great number of believers in the true God and His Christ who will have been converted during the first half of the tribulation.  There is no indication that these offer armed resistance, but their moral resistance, coupled with the apparent immunity which they seem to have against the plagues that have been sweeping the earth, will make them the special object of his hatred and wrath.  Many believers will be martyred during the first half of the tribulation and many more during the second half as a result of the beast’s vicious campaigns against them.

     Daniel speaks of this warfare against the saints: “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them” (Daniel 7:21).  Particularly after the death and subsequent translation of the two witnesses (Revelation 11:7-12), the beast will systematically seek to destroy every one who worships the true God (or any god except himself and the dragon, for that matter), and the only ones who escape death must do so by fleeing and hiding.  We have noted already that the “woman,” mainly symbolizing at this time Israel’s believing remnant, is supernaturally protected in a special wilderness retreat prepared by God (Revelation 12:6, 13-16).  No doubt many others will survive by hiding in other places around the world, but multitudes will die as martyrs for their faith (see Revelation 6:9-11; 7:9-17; 12:10-11).

     The beast must also conquer the other nations of the world and their armies and this conquest will occupy much of his attention during the first half of the tribulation.  To some degree he must acquire a position of leadership at least among the Mediterranean nations even before the seven years of the tribulation itself actually begin.  This period corresponds to the seven-year covenant which he will make with Israel (Daniel 9:27) as discussed previously (see Chapters 6 and 11).  It is possible, of course, that he will rise to this position of prominence before the rapture of believers (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17) takes place, but it is also possible that some period of time will elapse between the rapture and the signing of the seven-year treaty.  The rapture is undated in Scripture and always imminent (“Watch!” commanded Jesus).

     Some of the beast’s struggles to attain supremacy over the nations are outlined in Daniel 7:3-8, 19-25, and Daniel 11:45.  The account in Daniel 7 culminates its account of this struggle by stating: “And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time” (Daniel 7:25).  The account in Daniel 11 is concluded with the statement: “At that time shall Michael stand up . . . and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time” (Daniel 12:1).  Then, in answer to the question, “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?”  The angel replies: “it shall be for a time, times, and an half” (Daniel 12:6, 7).  Both accounts obviously take us up to the last half of the tribulation, indicating again that this “prince that shall come,” the beast, will have attained his coveted position of world supremacy by the middle of the tribulation or very shortly thereafter.

     Thus was “power” (the word actually means “authority”) given to him over every nation, every language group within that nation, and every clan within the language group.  This, no doubt, will be an uneasy reign.  Many other ambitious leaders will submit grudgingly, and there will not be adequate time nor enough military police to completely consolidate these triumphs.  Nevertheless, he will be the first man since Nimrod’s abortive attempt at Babel long ago who is able to exercise even nominal rule over all people.

Revelation 13:8.     And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 

     We have already been told (verse 4) that “they” will worship both the dragon and the beast.  Here we are told who are included in the term “they.”  All men and women everywhere, in every nation, will worship this very brilliant but very evil man.  They will reject the true God as God, even though they no longer doubt His existence.  But they will believe that this man (and his master, Satan) are greater and more powerful than God, and therefore they should be worshiped (that is, their will should be obeyed) rather than God.  As did the ancient pagans, and as do modern evolutionists, they “changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:25).

     Here is humanism gone mad.  Man desires human autonomy and so concludes that man himself is the pinnacle attained by the cosmic process of evolution and thus that man himself is God.  But then he must have a visible representative of mankind to whom his representative worship can be given.  In thus worshiping the world’s greatest man, he is subliminally worshiping himself.  Thus he gladly yields fealty to the monster of evil, finding vicarious satisfaction in the ability of a man like himself to attain such cosmic eminence.  Also, of course, he can find practical release from any pangs of conscience due to the evil in his own heart and the wickedness of his own hands.

     All will worship the beast, that is, except those whom the Lord has reserved for Himself.  The terminology here is significant.  Not all those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life will have, to this point, made an open profession of faith in Christ.  But they will in good time, (or at least may do so) since they are not among those who have submitted to the beast.  (See the discussion on the significance of the “book of life” in Chapter 3, under Revelation 3:5.)  Many of these are godly Israelites, preserved by God in the wilderness until such time as they come to understand and acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah and Savior.  In any case, there will even in these very last days be a substantial number of people who recoil at worshiping the beast, even though it may cost their lives.

     Since the Lamb had, at least in principle and in God’s foreknowledge, been slain from the foundation of the world, He had been able in perfect justice to write in His book of life the names of everyone who would someday be born.  The redemption price which He would pay (His innocent blood, shed on the cross in substitution for the sins of the whole world) was of more than sufficient merit to cover every person, and so their names were written in His book before the world began.  However, one name after another had been “blotted out of the book of life” as people had lived and died without validating their entry, as it were, through personal appropriation of Christ by faith.  By far the majority of men and women through the ages have either rejected or neglected Him and thus died in their sins.  This will be even more the case in the awful tribulation period, when men will have to worship the beast or die.      

Revelation 13:9.     If any man have an ear, let him hear.

     This is the same pleading message which John had earlier conveyed from the Lord to the angels of the seven churches.  And if it was important for people in the churches of the Christian dispensation to heed such a message, how much more urgent it will be for people in this future age.  In this case, the message was not addressed “to the churches,” since there will be no organized churches as such in the fearful times of the tribulation.  Nevertheless, the admonition is needed more than ever.  If men will worship the beast, they have no part in the book of life, and thus face the certainty of an eternal hell.  If they do not worship the beast, they will be persecuted and slain.  It is a solemn choice they must make, and they need to hear and understand its implications.  If any have been putting off this decision for some reason, the beast is about to force it.  Refuse his mark, renounce his worship and die, or else accept his mark and worship him, hoping that he and the dragon can vanquish Christ and empty hell.

     Other martyrs have fearlessly made a similar choice in the past, and the witness of their blood will bear its testimony to many last-day martyrs as they confront the beast and his minions.

Revelation 13:10.     He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword.  Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

     The Lord graciously interjects here a word of encouragement to those saints who are being persecuted.  Those who are the instruments of their suffering will soon be repaid in like measure.  God long ago had enumerated such a principle (an eye for an eye and a life for a life), and He will diligently enforce it in these days of judgment.  The day of grace is completely past, as far as these are concerned who become enforcers for the beast.  Those police agents who pursue and imprison the suffering believers of the tribulation period will soon be thrown into a dungeon infinitely worse. Those who capture and execute men who refuse to worship the beast will themselves be slain – perhaps by the awful sword proceeding from the mouth of the coming conqueror (Revelation 19:15).

     It is this promise and confidence which will help to sustain the saints through such a bitter time of persecution.  Here (in this promise) rests the faith of the saints, making them patient in tribulation. The patience of which this verse speaks means “patient endurance.”  Like their Lord, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2), they know that they “have in heaven a better and an enduring substance” and that their confidence in His promise “hath great recompence of reward” (Hebrews 10:34, 35).

     In yet another sense, the emphatic “Here!” would urge us to realize that the awful stress of these final days will dwarf anything endured by believers in former days and will provide the greatest test of patience and faith ever experienced.  Here patience and faith are defined.

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