Idolizing Caesar

In Revelation, the “False Prophet” uses religious symbolism and economic control to coax the inhabitants of the World Empire to render homage to the Imperial Throne. Whether force or persuasion is employed, the goal remains the same. Men who refuse to embrace and venerate the “Beast” are excluded from economic activity and thereby impoverished.

Since the Tower of Babel, monarchs and emperors have encouraged their subjects to venerate their absolutist regimes. Antiochus Epiphanes fancied himself the son of Zeus, the Roman imperial cult encouraged subject peoples to offer incense to the image of Caesar, Filio Dei as it read on Roman coins, and so it remains to this day.

Caesar - Photo by Gertrud on Unsplash
[Caesar - Photo by Gertrud on Unsplash]

In painting its picture, 
Revelation uses a graphic Greek term to describe the agenda of the “Dragon,” but its sense is lost in many English translations. The “False Prophet” exploited the authority of the “Beast from the Sea” to lure men to “worship” the “Beast.”

The Greek verb ‘proskuneô’ translated as “worship” does not mean doing so in the ritualistic adoration of a deity. The real sense is “to prostrate” oneself before someone of superior rank, to “render homage” to him or her. It combines the Greek preposition ‘pros,’ meaning “towards,” with the word for “kiss.” In other words, bowing down to kiss the hem of a dignitary’s robe.

From this comes the idea of “rendering homage” to an overlord. The practice of swearing allegiance to persons, causes, and governments best represents the idea in a modern context, which is what the “False Prophet” does by causing individuals, peoples, and whole nations to submit to the “Beast from the Sea.” If this master deceiver cannot persuade men, he carries a big stick - Economic Coercion.

The “Inhabitants of the Earth” who follow the “Beast” have its “number” branded on their “right hand,” but the followers of the “Lamb” have his name “written on their foreheads.” The “Mark of the Beast” is thus the counterfeit of the “Seal” of God.

The “Inhabitants of the Earth” who take the beastly “mark” remain legally authorized to engage in commerce, to “buy and sell.” The followers of the “Lamb” are excluded from the economic life of society. Loyalty to the “Beast” has its rewards. Remaining faithful to the “Lamb” often means personal loss.

Humanity is divided into two groups: those who follow the “Lamb” and those who give allegiance to the “Beast from the Sea.” There is no middle ground. To whom a man gives his allegiance determines whether his name is included in or excluded from the “Book of Life” - (Revelation 13:16-18).

The “False Prophet” leads men to manufacture an “image” of the “Beast” before which they prostrate themselves. What distinguishes the image is not its shape or size, but the total devotion to it required by the “Beast” and his mouthpiece, the “False Prophet.”

The “Beast” employs the authority of the “Dragon,” the “Ancient Serpent, called the Devil and Satan.” Like it Master, the “Beast” has “seven heads” and “ten horns.” He is the earthly representative of the “Dragon.” Likewise, the “False Prophet speaks like the Dragon” since he is the mouthpiece of the “Beast,” and the “mouth that speaks great things” as he slanders God and His “saints” – (Revelation 12:1-5, 13:1-12).

The allegiance that belongs only to Jesus is lavished on the beastly image and the World Empire it represents. This is the ultimate form of idolatry, the veneration of the STATE. It occurs whenever the political order demands absolute loyalty that belongs only to God and His appointed King. Therefore, any man who wishes to be a disciple of Jesus must choose between Christ and Caesar.

One day, a political entity will appear in the world that will use its economic might against nations, peoples, and individuals that refuse to submit to its demands or acknowledge its absolute authority. That will be a sign that the “Beast” is “Ascending from the Sea” in preparation for its war against the “Lamb” and his “saints.”

  • Servants or Overlords? - (The submission of Jesus to an unjust death stands in stark contrast to the political mechanisms and ideologies of this age)
  • The True Emperor - (The New Testament applies messianic promises in the Psalms to the present reign of Jesus who possesses all authority in Heaven and on Earth)
  • Kingdom or Christendom? - (‘Christendom’ is the idolatrous tactic of invoking God and Jesus to validate national and political institutions, agendas, and ideologies)



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