In this chapter, John sees a beast arising from "the sea." The sea is, throughout the Bible, a word-picture of humanity -- dark, turbulent, acted upon by exterior forces. The Beast from the sea is, obviously, both Rome and Caesar. The Caesar is, obviously, Nero. The dude who used to dress up in an animal costume with razor-sharp steel claws, to tear into chained captives in the arena. The chapter uses a discrete code to label Nero -- if you spell out Caesar Nero in Hebrew characters and add up the numeric values of those letters, you get 666. The Roman empire was in the midst of a turbulent period. At one point, it had five emperors in less than a year. Yet somehow Rome managed to pull itself together and stagger on for another four centuries.
The beast I'm fascinated by, however, is the Beast from The Land. Which land? THE Land -- Israel. After this (Bundan sonra) ... well, let's let John use his own words:
Bundan sonra bir canavar gördüm. Yerden çıkan bu canavarın kuzu gibi iki boynuzu vardı, ama ejderha gibi ses çıkarıyordu.And, today's word list:
- kuzu gibi -- like a lamb
- ejderha gibi -- like a dragon
They pledged allegiance to God's enemy, and the ultimate enemy of their people. Their immediate descendants paid the price for that misplaced loyalty.
Yet, time after time, we see God's people functioning as "Sampsons in reverse," propping up enemies of God and man. Israel's ruling class provided a credibility transplant to Rome, that helped Rome over a rough spot in their history. The Soviet experiment was funded with American money during the "New Economic Policy," the "Lend-Lease program," the post-Stalin "thaw," "detente," and "glasnost."
Finally, here in America Christian parents are politely cooperating with the godless plan for their extermination by "rendering unto Caesar that which is God's." Christian parents support secular humanism by willingly providing this beast with the feedstock and fodder it demands -- the bodies, minds, and souls of their children. As public education has become ever-more consistent to the dreams of its founding fathers, Horace Mann and John Dewey, those who go through the intestines of this leviathan emerge quite changed. Unlike "weasel coffee," it's not for the better. Very few are able to think like Christians any more -- although they may "feel" and emote in culturally sanctioned ways.
Yet, every proud enemy of the gospel eventually collapses under its own weight. And we can hasten that glorious day by simply refusing to provide artificial life support to godless systems.