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The Future of False Religion
system. In the 13th chapter of
the book of Revelation, he re–
corded the following vision:
"And I saw a beast rising out of
the sea, with ten horns and
seven heads, with ten diadems
upon its horns and a
blas–
phemous
name upon its heads"
(verse
1).
John went on to show
how this particular beast pos–
sessed many of the same char–
acteristics of the four beasts in
Daniel 7 (compare Rev. 13:2
with Dan. 7:4-7).
An Ecclesiastical Counterpart
Like Daniel's fourth beast,
this many-headed creature of
Revelation 13 also has close ties
with a priestly potentate. Ac–
cording to John: "Then I saw
another beast which rose out of
the earth; it had two horns like
a lamb and it spoke like a
dragon [reminiscent of a wolf in
sheep's
clothing]. It exercises
all the authority of the first
beast in its presence, and
makes
the earth and its inhabitants
worship the first beast ... "
(ver–
ses 11-12).
Here we see what amounts to
a state-supported church using
authoritarian methods in order
to force people into religious
idolatry. To facilitate the pro–
cess, the second beast has an
image of the initial state system
erected (verse 14). An auto–
cratic state organization be-
55
comes an effective model for an
ecclesiastical hierarchy bent on
maintaining an iron grip on the
religious thoughts of its sub–
jects.
This particular pattern of
church and state authority was
put to use during the Middle
Ages. The medieval church was
organized along patterns pre–
viously established by Imperial
Rome and effectively main–
tained an exclusive religious
monopoly throughout the
Western world. Men feared the
power ofthe church more than
virtually anything else in their
lives. In that sense, the church
operated by using its own struc–
ture as an object of worship.
Under the Nazi Third Reich
the pattern was reversed, as po–
litical party modeled itself after
the church hierarchy in order
to maintain control over the
minds of men.
An End-Time Fulfillment
This type of church-state to–
talitarianism as described by
John has raised its ugly head in
successive revivals throughout
most of Western history. And
while the book of Revelation
does have an ongoing historical
fulfillment, its main emphasis is
on events that will occur during
the climactic end time just
prior to the return of Christ.
In the 17th chapter of Reve-