Rendering Homage to Caesar

In the book of Revelation, the “False Prophet” uses religious symbolism and his 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. Men who refuse to submit and embrace the “Beast” are excluded from economic activity, thus, impoverished.

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.”

Dollar Map - Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash
[Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash]

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. Its basic sense is to “prostrate” oneself before someone of superior rank.


The term ‘proskuneô’ combines the Greek preposition ‘pros,’ meaning “towards,” with the word for “kiss.” In other words, “to kiss toward” 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 governments best represents the idea in a modern context.

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

And if this master deceiver is unable to persuade to submit to the demands of the imperial throne, he carries a very big stick, one he does not hesitate to use, namely, ECONOMIC CONTROL.

And in Revelation, the “inhabitants of the earth” who follow the “Beast” rather than the “Lamb” 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” since they follow him “wherever he goes,” even if doing so means deprivation, torment, and perhaps death.

Thus, the “mark of the Beast” is the Devil’s counterfeit to God’s “seal,” His name that is inscribed on the foreheads of all those who do follow Jesus. Whichever “mark” or name that one bears reveal where he has placed his allegiance - (Revelation 7:1-3, 14:1-4).


Because the “inhabitants of the earth” take the Beast’s “mark,” they are legally authorized by the Empire to engage in commerce - to “buy and sell.” But the followers of the “Lamb” who have been purchased by his blood and bear his name 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” often includes great personal loss.

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 or third option.

Moreover, to whom one belongs determines whether his 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).


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

But in Revelation, the “Beast” operates with the authority of the “Dragon,” the “Ancient Serpent, called the Devil and Satan.” And like the “Dragon,” 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” is heard “speaking like the Dragon” since he is the mouthpiece of both the “Beast” and his overlord, Satan. He is the “mouth speaking great things” as he slanders God and His “saints” – (Revelation 12:1-5, 13:1-12).

In the World Empire, the honor and loyalty that belong only to Jesus are lavished on the beastly image and the imperial regime that it represents. This is the ultimate form of idolatry, the worship of the state, and it occurs whenever the political order demands absolute loyalty that belongs only to God. And anyone who wishes to become a disciple of Jesus must choose between 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.