From Jim O'Brien
January 28, 2017

Hi Friend,

The Women and the Beast

Our Bible Study group is completing a study of the Book of Revelation having worked our way through the New Testament. Maybe it's coincidental that cultural earthquakes are taking place around the world at the same time, but John's writings have affirmed the truth of the book.

The writer, the Apostle John, makes the salient point that all nations have a system of religious beliefs that determines how justice is administered in the country. The most obvious, of course, are the Islamic countries. But there are others-the Vatican is a country ruled by a religious leader. And countries that are predominately Catholic are heavily influenced by the church regarding such things as marriage and abortion.

Still, John's message is broader-that ALL nations base their system of justice on their belief in whatever god they worship. John's message is given in metaphor which is not always easy to understand.

Even John had a problem understanding the visions from God, so an angel was sent to say, "I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides." (Rev. 17:7 NIV) In John's vernacular the church is a woman and the nation is a beast. When he says the woman "rides" the beast it is a religious way of saying that the religious system determines the actions of the state.

The religious system given to Moses by God was good-just as everything in creation was pronounced good at the beginning-and this system of worship would have been proven good if Israel had been faithful to God.

It was God's intent that surrounding nations would "hear about all these decrees and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.' What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them...? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?'" (Deut. 4:5-8)

Because the fruit of God's system is so good, there is an expectation that a rational mind will recognize the source of national blessings.

Other religious systems are not good. They are viewed as imposters, or to use John's words, prostitutes. In God's eyes, these imposters are responsible for the deaths of saints, as well as wars-in fact all the social problems of mankind.

Even Jesus expected that His works would speak for themselves. Once, when a heated discussion broke out between believers and skeptics, supporters of Jesus challenged the cynics citing the evidence of his miracles. "And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done? " (John 7:31) It is an enigma why man is so gullible to unscrupulous men and doubtful of miracles from God. Why do people overlook the plain evidence?

When God led the Israelites out of Egypt He performed at least 10 incontrovertible miracles. Later when Israel doubted God He became angry because they overlooked the evidence he had already shown.

A few years ago the Archbishop of Canterbury set off a firestorm of protests by declaring that certain aspects of Muslim law should be recognized in England. It's interesting that a religious authority failed to see the spiritual truth that laymen and non-believers were forced to defend. We are still looking for a Muslim court to condemn terrorists and terrorism. Why would anyone, especially a Christian teacher, embrace Muslim law?

The basis for justice in Western culture comes right out of the Bible. No other religion has created such a system to allow the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Of all people who have lived, our generation has witnessed one of the greatest validations of Christianity-namely that justice is a prevailing characteristic of the nation that sincerely embraces the Judeo-Christian ethic. And it prevails in proportion as the ethos of the Bible is valued.

Does God hold America and Western Europe to the same standard as He did ancient Israel and the people who witnessed the miracles of Jesus? The answer is found in the Book of Revelation.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien