12 October 2022

Homage to Caesar


The Empire’s propagandists use every means necessary to coerce men to pay homage to Caesar, the Beast from the sea

Earth Photo by NASA on Unsplash
In 
Revelation, the “False Prophet” uses religion and its ability to manipulate commerce to coax the inhabitants of the Empire to render homage to the imperial throne. Whether he employs force or persuasion, the goal remains the same, and anyone who refuses to submit is excluded from economic activity - [Photo by NASA on Unsplash].

In painting this picture, the book employs a graphic Greek term when describing the Empire’s agenda. Unfortunately, its force is often lost in English translations. The “False Prophet” employs all the authority of the first “Beast” to coerce the “inhabitants of the earth” until they “WORSHIP” the “Beast.”

However, the Greek verb ‘proskuneô’ does not mean “worship” in the sense of ritualistic adoration of a deity or deities in a church or temple. Instead, its basic sense is to “prostrate” oneself before someone of superior rank.

HOMAGE


The term ‘proskuneô’ combines the Greek preposition ‘pros,’ meaning “towards,” with the word for “kiss.” In other words, “to kiss towards” someone. It is derived from the idea of bowing down to kiss the hem of a dignitary’s robe. From that image is derived the idea of “rendering homage” or submitting to the will of one’s overlord. The practice of swearing allegiance to persons, causes, and organizations best represents the idea in a contemporary context.

And this is precisely what the “False Prophet” does when he causes individuals, peoples, and even nations to submit and subjugate themselves to the “Beast from the sea,” ultimately, the ruler of the Empire.

And if this master deceiver is unable to persuade or flatter anyone into submitting to the demands of the imperial throne, he carries a very big stick, one he does not hesitate to use - ECONOMIC CONTROL.

And in Revelation, the “inhabitants of the earth” have the “number of the Beast” branded on their “right hand,” indicating just who their overlord is.

In contrast, the followers of the “Lamb” have his name “written on their foreheads,” the “seal of God,” since they follow him “wherever he goes.”  Thus, the “mark of the Beast” is the Devil’s counterfeit to God’s seal. Whichever mark anyone bears demonstrates where his or her allegiance lies, and exactly who owns them - (Revelation 7:1-3, 14:1-4).

ECONOMICS


Because the “inhabitants of the earth” take the Beast’s “mark,” they are legally authorized in the Empire to engage in commerce, to “buy and sell.” But the followers of the “Lamb” have been purchased by his blood, and because they bear his name, they are excluded from participation in the economic life of the Empire.

Loyalty to the “Beast” has its rewards, at least for a time, but remaining faithful to the “Lamb” comes with great personal loss and economic deprivation.


Dollar - Photo by Adam on Unsplash
[Dollar - Photo by Adam Nir on Unsplash]


Thus, humanity is divided into two groups: those who follow the “Lamb” and those who pay homage to the “Beast.” There is no middle ground. One is either subjugated by the “Beast from the sea,” or he or she follows Jesus no matter the cost.

And to whom one belongs determines whether his or her name is included or excluded from the “Lamb’s book of life.” Disciples of Jesus may be denied material prosperity in this life, but they will reap something vastly superior when they enter the “city of New Jerusalem” - (Revelation 13:16-18).

SATAN WORSHIP


The “False Prophet” also deceives men into fabricating an “image” of the “Beast” before which they must prostrate themselves. But what distinguishes this image is not its shape, size, or form, but the devotion and total allegiance required by the “Beast” and his mouthpiece.

But in Revelation, the “Beast from the sea” operates with the authority of the “Dragon,” the “Ancient Serpent.” And like the latter, the “Beast” has “seven heads” and “ten horns.” He is the earthly representative of the “Dragon,” Caesar is the instrument of the Devil.

So, also, the “False Prophet,” the “Beast from the earth” is heard “speaking like the Dragon” for he is the mouthpiece of both the first “Beast” and his overlord, Satan, the “mouth speaking great things” – (Revelation 12:1-5, 13:1-12).

The honor and loyalty that belongs only to Jesus are instead lavished on the beastly image and the Empire that it represents. This is the ultimate form of idolatry, state idolatry, and it occurs whenever the political order demands loyalty that belongs to God. But anyone who will become a disciple of Jesus must choose – either Christ or Caesar.

One day, perhaps sooner than we think, a political entity will appear on the world scene that will use its economic might against nations, peoples, and individuals that do not submit to its demands. When that day comes, it will be a sign that the “Beast” is “ascending from the sea” and about to launch the Dragon’s war against the followers of the “Lamb.”

Moreover, when this new imperial order does appear, the true disciple of the “Lamb” will have only one choice – follow and worship Jesus regardless of the cost.



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