Have you ever wondered why the rule of law and the freedom of speech in many democratic nations including the United States is under attack like never before?

Podcast Transcript:  Click HERE to listen to the full episode.

I don’t know about you, but I hate to be forced to do something I don’t want to do – even if deep down I know what I am being forced to do is something that is good for me.  This type of obedience (if you want to call it that) is contaminated with contempt.  Yes I am obeying, but I am only doing so to avoid a worse consequence. 

And while we all may have endure a certain amount control by laws governing our country and policies governing our workplaces it becomes spiritual devastating when that same control is applied to individual rights.

When someone is told what they can and cannot say and believe and those restrictions are enforced by the state – it is evidence that we are no longer living in a free society.

The freedom of speech and freedom of religion are hallmarks of a free society – and 25 years ago, at the end of the Cold War, many believed that these freedoms would one day be adopted by all the countries on this earth.  But astonishingly according to Freedom House, in a little more than a decade, a disturbing trend has seen these freedoms reversing in 113 countries in which they were once celebrated.  In fact, in the last year alone, 25 governments imposed internet blackouts.

So why is this happening?

Well, According to The Economist there are two main reasons for this. First, ruling parties in many countries have found new tools for suppressing awkward facts and ideas. Second, they feel emboldened to use such tools, partly because global support for free speech has faltered. This is true even in the United States, who has always been a champion of free expression, but now is led by a man who routinely calls his own country’s press core the “enemy of people.”  In fact in a recent Tweet on September 2, 2019, the president said, “Our real opponent is not the Democrats, or the dwindling number of Republicans that lost their way and got left behind, our primary opponent is the Fake News Media.”

This is an astounding statement.  In one statement he not only attacks the freedom of speech but essentially politicizes it by calling the press – not his democratic rival – his primary opponent in the next election cycle. 

But as we all know, or should know based on past history, is that criticizing what elected leaders say and do is one of democracy’s most essential safeguards.

What would happen if this freedom to hold government accountable was taken away or worse given away?

Who would then be the arbitrator of truth?  And what would happen to those trying to hold those in power accountable for what they are doing?

These are serious questions we all must wrestle with.  Especially those of us who are Christians.

For if God never forces the will but rather reasons with it through truth and compels it through love (episode 2) then how could we align ourselves in any way with a person or a system that respects neither?

“The end justifies the means” is not a principle advocated by God.  But it is the primary principle advocated by devil and all who are influenced by him.

In fact, it was the primary argument used to justify putting Jesus to death by those opposed the truth he spoke.

“Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.” And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.”” (John 11:47–50 NKJV)

Free speech and those who advocate it are always the victim of those in power who are threatened by it.

However we should never be afraid of the truth.

The truth is not our enemy (episode 3).

In fact quite the opposite, Jesus said, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” (John 8:32 ESV)

According to Jesus truth is our Savior – its acceptance into the heart and mind set us free from the lie we have believed about God, ourselves, and the world around us.

Truth is the anti-venom of control and deception.

So what do we do when truth once again becomes openly attacked and politicized by the nations of our world?

What happens when we as a people no longer what to hear the truth and instead elect leaders who tell us only what we want to hear and believe about God, ourselves, and the world?

the Bible tells us,

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3–4 NKJV)

This is happening now and it has happened before – but to really understand it we must go back to Bible Prophecy and the book of Revelation.  For it is hear in chapter 13 we are introduced to the most infamous character in all the Bible:  The Beast aka the Antichrist.

Now we already introduced you to the antichrist concept in episode 17 – so be sure to check that episode out if you haven’t already – but now we are getting into his cosmic incarnation.

“Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:1–8 NKJV)

Quite the description I must say.

Now why is it important we understand who this beast is?

Because later on in this chapter we are told that all who dwell on the earth will one day be forced by threat of economic sanction and death to take the Beast’s mark.  And then on the flip side we are told in Chapter 14 and the rest of the book that God will destroy everyone who does take the Mark of the Beast at Jesus’ 2nd coming.

So we are definitely dealing with both temporal and eternal life and death consequences here.

So would God be love; Would God be just if we gave us a warning about receiving the mark of the beast without allowing us to know the identity of the beast?

How can we know what the mark is if we don’t first know who the beast is?

Remember the antichrist is not against Christ as much as he put’s himself in the place of Christ.

Paul makes this clear in his 2nd letter to the Thessalonians when we wrote:

“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4 NKJV)

So according to Paul the 2nd coming of Jesus will not come until the Antichrist is revealed – and when he is revealed it will be seen that he has set himself up inside the church as a counterfeit christ – who receives worship in the same way God does.

So in other words the antichrist will set himself up in the church pretending to be Christ while actually undermining God’s authority.

This is an important truth to grasp as we tackle the sensitive topic.

So with that background in mind we can go back to the description of the Antichrist in Revelation 13.

Notice if he is counterfeiting Christ – we should expect to see some similarities to the ministry of Christ.

The first is the most obvious:

Both the beast and Jesus begin their ministry by rising up out of the water.  Jesus of course was baptized in the Jordan river by John the Baptist but he did not receive his authority from him.  In fact we are told after Jesus came up out of the water and began to pray the heavens were opened “And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”” (Luke 3:22 NKJV)

Thus, Jesus received authority from the Father in heaven before beginning his ministry.  In like manner the beast receives its authority from the Dragon.

So now we can begin to see that the beast is not the only counterfeiter being exposed in this chapter.  The Dragon or Satan himself, is exposed as the wannabe father god of this world.

In fact Paul said it this way:

“the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV)

We will have more to say about this in our next episode:

Interestingly, Christ’s baptism in 27AD marked the beginning of his ministry hear on earth, which was very same year that had been prophesied would mark the beginning of the Messiah’s ministry in chapter 9 of the book of Daniel.  We will also spend more time with that particular prophecy in a future episode.

From here Jesus’ earthly ministry lasted 3 1/2 years.  The beast’s ministry according to verse 5 lasted 42 months – which of course is another way of saying you guest it –  3 1/2 years.

And at the end of that time period both Christ and the Antichrist receive a deadly wound that they are subsequently resurrected from.

And this is this the amazing part – both have a gospel that results in the world-wide worship of the inhabitants of the earth.

Thus we can see the fundamental issue at the heart of the controversy that will engulf the world in the last days is worship.  

However when Jesus died he was taken back to heaven and in his place he sent the Holy Spirit to convict the world of the truth of God and the love of God and to point people to Jesus as the only way of salvation.

In fact notice what Jesus said about Him:

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:13–14 NKJV)

So the power of the Holy Spirit is used to convict and glorify Christ – not the Holy Spirit himself.

In a similar manner we are introduced the Sea Beast aka the False Prophet in Revelation 13:11-17 where we find it using its power to compel the world  to worship the antichrist beast by deception and force.

While it is the job of the Holy Spirit to place the seal of God on the true followers of Christ in the last days it is the job of the False Prophet to place the Mark of the Beast on all the true followers of the antichrist.

I hope you are starting to see the big picture now.

In the last days their will be a world-wide true church aka Remnant church that worship God through the sacrifice of Christ and live as a reflection of his character through the power of the Holy Spirit and there will be a world-wide counterfeit church – aka Babylon – that worship the dragon through the intercession of the antichrist and who reflect his character of force and deception through the power of the False Prophet.

The Counterfeit Trinity is real! This is not a conspiracy theory – this my friend is the Great Controversy

There is no escaping it.

We are all apart of it whether we like it or not.

In fact this counterfeit trinity is referred to or alluded to several more times as we dive further into the book od Revelation.

The good news is that the counterfeit trinity ultimately fail to deceive the whole world – the bad news is that most of the world is deceived by them.

“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.“Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.” (Revelation 16:13–16 NKJV)

As you can see the counterfeit church is going to have supernatural power – beyond what this world has ever seen – to deceive if possible the very elect of God.

And in the midst of the this warning – Jesus is crying to us all – behold I am coming!  Are you ready?

Are you?

Are you ready for Jesus to come?

Well to be ready for Jesus to come means that you are ready to withstand the counterfeit Jesus as well and all the power of darkness that will be used to portray him as the true light of the world instead of Christ.

Thus to be ready means we entertain no ambiguity between light and darkness – truth and lies – facts and opinions.

The prophet Isaiah says it this way: 

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20 NKJV)

The only way we can be deceived is if we ignore this warning.  If we ignore the battle that is waging for the souls of all those living on the earth.

The Great Controversy is real.

Eternity is real!

God’s love for you is rea!

But so is Armageddon. That day will come as well.  

There will be an end to the battle.

And we will have a choice to make.

That bible makes exceedingly plain what is going to happen to those who are ultimately deceived by the power and reasoning of the counterfeit trinity.  We can read about it in Revelation 19

“And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.” (Revelation 19:19–21 NKJV)

This is the ultimate outcome for all those who side with the counterfeit trinity in the battle of Armageddon.

Doesn’t it then behoove us to do everything we can then to know the truth now while we can?

Does it make any sense that God wouldn’t want us to know what is about to happen that literally involves every living human being in the world today?

Obviously not? Then shouldn’t we expect God to allow us to identify who the Beast and the False Prophet actually are?

Yes of course!

God wants us to know the truth – but not simply because we are curious. Curiosity is not enough.  We have to want to know because not knowing means potentially missing out on eternity.

Jesus said you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free!

That’s the true motivation and that is why Adventology exists – to share truth that will set you free to know Jesus in a way you never thought possible.

Don’t worry we will begin putting the clues together to help us identify these end time players in the the epodes to come, but for now all I am asking is that you commit yourself to the truth no matter the cost.

Truth in the world is precious commodity and one day the freedom to share will be taken away from us.

So won’t you commit to applying it in your home life, your work life, your religious life, and yes even your political life.  Truth must run in and through us in all aspects of our lives and the people and institutions we publicly support.

God never forces the truth on anyone – but he does give it to whoever is seeking it.

Remember what Jesus said,

““Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7–8 NKJV)