(7th article in a series based on the book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved, 666?)

Invincible! Such was the mindset of the Roman Generals and Legions, the Caesars who ruled from Rome, and the vast majority of Roman citizens during the zenith of the Roman Empire. Moreover, nearly all of the peoples and nations conquered by Rome felt the same way. Who could stand against such a powerful empire? Who could possibly defeat the Romans in battle? Who would dare oppose such a mighty domain that, by the end of the 1st century dominated most of the civilized world and civilized, by ruthless force if necessary, much of the uncivilized world? How could Rome ever fall from glory?

But fall she did, exactly like the Prophet Daniel predicted nearly one thousand years earlier: “I continued to watch because I could hear the little horn’s boastful speech. I kept watching until the fourth beast was killed and its body was destroyed by fire” (Daniel 7:11). The “little horn” was Daniel’s description of the man who would later be called the beast of Revelation and the Antichrist in I John 4. The “beast” of Daniel was the fourth and final Gentile kingdom, and though it was the mightiest and most terrible of the four kingdoms, it would one day cease to exist. This fourth beast would also be the “woman” graphically portrayed in Revelation 17.

For nearly six hundred years, the woman (the great city) that John saw in his vision would “…rule over the kings of the world” (Revelation 17:18). This on-going rule of Rome through Roman Emperors is a historical fact. No other nation on the face of the earth, including America, has ever attained the pinnacle of supremacy like the Roman Empire. But one by one the Roman emperors fell; piece by piece the colossus crumbled from within, until European barbarians dismantled her beyond recognition in the 5th century AD.

The woman continues to rule but in a far different way. Before we delve into the transformation of the woman from a ruler over kings to “the great prostitute, who rules over many waters” and with whom, “the kings of the world have committed adultery” and by whom, “the people who belong to this world have been made drunk by the wine of her immorality (Revelation 17:1-2), let’s take a perceptive look at the strategy of the one who is behind the rise of Godless empires and ungodly world systems whose sole purpose is to misrepresent and replace the true God and His Messiah. The one to whom I’m referring is Satan.

Satan’s Tactics Concerning Israel and Christianity

Because Satan cannot see into the future, he is forced to react to human events the same way we do … meaning in the linear unfolding of time, from day-to-day. But throughout Biblical and secular history we see two distinct patterns of Satan’s plans and operations. (1) An immediate attempt to destroy by external power whoever or whatever stands in his way and interferes with his evil purpose for mankind. (2) When sheer force doesn’t work, he resorts to attacking from within; through a diabolical agenda of twisting and perverting truth—by deceit, distortion, lies, counterfeit imitation, compromise, immorality, apathy—with the final result of rebellion against God and substitution of God’s eternal Word with ungodly man-made beliefs and ideas.

Make no mistake: Every evil thing that men do, including nearly every war or atrocity ever waged by one nation against another, or one ethnic group against another, or one race against another, begins with a belief system. Thus, Hitler and his Third Reich thugs sought to annihilate the entire Jewish race, because Hitler subscribed to the deviant and degenerate idea of Aryan racial purity and supremacy which led to a shocking view that Jews were sub-human. This type of thinking is straight from hell.

Conquest by Force

First, we’ll present a historical panoramic overview of Satan’s schemes to eliminate all those who would dare oppose him and his ultimate plan for world domination by usurping God’s authority; indeed, Satan’s warped and unattainable goal of being like the Most High God.

In these series of articles based on my book, Out of the Abyss, I’ve seldom quoted from the book; primarily to look at some things pertaining to the Antichrist and the Roman Empire in a new/fresh way. But for the purpose of this article, I would like to share an excerpt beginning on page 225 of the book. The excerpt is placed in the following italics:

Satan wanted to crush Christianity as soon as he could, which is why I believe God granted him the opportunity to raise up this ruler soon after Jesus returned to heaven. (Note– the ruler referenced here is, of course, Nero). If you examine Scripture, you will find this preemptive strategy and pattern of Satan in every situation that involves the promised Messiah or Israel as the racial ancestry of the Messiah. You only need to look at the historical proximity between the prophesied event or person and the timing of Satan’s preemptive attack.

It began with Cain’s murder of Abel, who Satan thought was the direct progenitor (seed) of the Messiah. Remember, Satan can’t see into the future; he acts on what he thinks is going to happen next, meaning soon. He tried to preempt Moses from his role as deliver of Israel; thereby, holding Israel under Egyptian bondage and keeping them from the Promised Land. He tried to exterminate Israel through the powerful, but wicked Persian official Haman. In the same pattern as Moses, Satan stirred Herod to kill all the newborn children in Bethlehem. He tried to get Jesus to sin in the wilderness, thereby, discrediting Christ from being a perfect sacrifice. He was instrumental in killing Jesus by crucifixion, hoping that Jesus could not arise from the dead. And now, he was diabolically obsessed with the destruction of the early Christian Church by means of killing all the Christians

This blueprint continued throughout history, culminating with the Holocaust—a depraved attempt to exterminate all Jews, which would prevent them from returning to Israel, which in turn would prevent Yeshua from returning to Jerusalem to establish Messiah’s kingdom … On and on we could go in demonstrating that Satan launches his attack as soon as he realizes that there is yet another event that could destroy his plan for the human race.

Do you see this? Satan never waited before. Why would he wait for an unknown, unspecified, interminable length of time for the Christian church to flourish and usher in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth? Revelation hadn’t been written yet, so Satan didn’t know the rest of the story. His arrogant ambition and pernicious pattern is always now. That’s why he selected Nero to be the king prophesied by Daniel.

Alas, the rebellion abruptly ended; rudely interrupted when Satan’s superman left the scene before all of the terrible things Satan wanted to do could be completed! Satan must have been furious a Nero, at the Roman Empire, at the Church, and at Christ.

Let’s stop here! As indicated, none of these blunt force tactics worked for Satan, not in the long-run. Because God’s plan and purpose will always be accomplished, the Bible (and as reflected in secular history) shows that God controls and, when necessary, intervenes in the rise and fall of empires and rulers. Sometimes God will supernaturally strike swiftly within a few hours, days or weeks, such as toppling the walls of Jericho. Other times he will intrude into the affairs of kings, cities, or nations over a period of years, decades, or even centuries, such as the rise and fall of the four Gentile kingdoms prophesied in Daniel … Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome.

When that happens, when Satan’s best laid plans are foiled by God, then Satan reverts to his ongoing Plan B to defeat God and God’s people, whether the people are Jews of the Old Covenant of Law or the new man (Jew and Gentile are one) under the New Covenant of Grace: Infiltration and Subversion from within.

An early Biblical and well-known example of this strategy is the idolatrous golden calf made by the Israelites who grew impatient for Moses to return from Mt. Sinai. These same people who had witnessed God’s powerful and persuasive miracles of the Egyptian plagues, yielded to the voice of a select few within the Israelite camp; that they needed a God they could see and worship visibly. And all this happened just a few weeks after their miraculous deliverance from Egypt and the stunning rescue of the Jews from annihilation when their backs were to the Red Sea. You remember: God parted the waters and the Jews walked across the sea! And what happened to the Egyptians? They had the audacity and arrogance to ignore this stupendous miracle, and pursued the Jews; as a result, they all drowned. Did Pharaoh and his army actually think that God would deliver his people by miraculously parting the waters, only to allow them to be massacred on the other side of the sea? Obviously, if he had truly contemplated the whole thing, Pharaoh would have stayed on his side of the sea!

Satan couldn’t destroy the Israelites by force, so he reverted to discord, disunity, and disaster from within the ranks. Hence, the golden calf and subsequent apathy, complaints, and rebellions from a discontented few. If you can’t beat them, join them. Right? So, stop trusting in God to get you to the Promised Land; devise and implement a plan, an idea … someone, something (like money) to get you where you want to go or be. Whatever it takes, do it your way. In the proverbial nutshell that’s Satan’s lie to the world and even to the people of God.

“Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe…” (II Corinthians 4:4).

“For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones” (Matthew 24:24).

Things to Ponder:
– In today’s world, what do you see as the greatest threat to true Christians? Is it persecution from without that is taking place all over the world, such as China’s suppression of believers or Muslim atrocities against Christians in many Arab countries? Or is it subversion from within, such as the growth of many cults?
– Recalling early Church history, did the ruthless oppression of Christians hinder the range of the Gospel, or did Christianity actual flourish and spread?
– In the next article(s), we will discover what actually did hinder the advance of the Gospel. None other than the woman we’ve been discussing, the same woman who will “sit on the beast” during the Great Tribulation.