The Lamb or the Beast?

In Revelation, every man and woman is either “tabernacling in heaven” or included among the “inhabitants of the earth.” These descriptions are NOT geographical or spatial. Instead, they reflect the allegiance of either group. A man or woman either belongs to “heaven” or to the “earth.” Those who “tabernacle in heaven” elect to “follow the Lamb wherever he goes” no matter the cost.

In contrast, the “inhabitants of the earth” choose to swear fealty to the “Beast from the sea” and take its “mark.”  There is no third alternative, no neutral ground. And especially in the church, every believer must decide to whom and what he or she will swear allegiance.

Lamb Sitting - Photo by Sulthan Auliya on Unsplash
[Photo by Sulthan Auliya on Unsplash]

The group known as the “
inhabitants of the earth” is composed of men and women from “every tribe and people and tongue and nation.” No one is excluded because of his or her nationality, ethnicity, or gender. What qualifies anyone for membership in this company is his or her submission to the “Beast.”

Likewise, anyone who elects to follow the “Lamb” has his name written in the Lamb’s “book of life,” and he is included among those who “tabernacle in heaven.” This includes men and women redeemed by the “blood of the Lamb” from “every tribe and people and tongue and nation.”

INHABITANTS OF THE EMPIRE


In the book of Daniel, most citizens in the Babylonian Empire heed the king’s “herald” by rendering homage to the golden image “erected” by Nebuchadnezzar. It measures 60 cubits by 6 cubits – (Daniel 3:1-6).

By swearing fealty to the king and his image, the inhabitants of Babylon avoid death in the “burning fiery furnace.” No citizen must suffer that horrific fate except the ones who refuse to give Nebuchadnezzar the ABSOLUTE LOYALTY that he demands. But if anyone refuses to do so, he or she suffers death by fire in Babylon’s “furnace.”

However, in Revelation, the “inhabitants of the earth” that do render homage to the “Beast” seal their own fate in the “lake of fire that is burning with brimstone.”

The “inhabitants” of the beastly World Empire bear the “brand” of the “Beast,” and because they take its “number,” 600, 60, and 6, their names are excluded from the “Book of Life,” and consequently, they endure the “second death”, namely, the “lake of fire.”

FOLLOWING THE LAMB


Those who “tabernacle in heaven” are identified variously as “saints,” “lampstands,” those who have the “testimony of Jesus,” and those who “keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”

Rather than bowing before the image of the “Beast,” they are found standing with the “Lamb” on “Mount Zion.” Rather than the “mark of the beast,” they have the “seal of God” inscribed on their foreheads.

This group includes men who have been redeemed by the “blood of the Lamb from EVERY tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.”  No one is excluded because of his or her nationality, gender, or ethnicity.

What distinguishes members of this group from the “inhabitants of the earth” is their allegiance to the “Lamb.” They “follow him wherever he goes” even when doing so means death. It is in this way that they “overcome” in the very same way as the “Lamb”:

  • They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, and BECAUSE they loved not their lives unto death.”

For this reason, their names are “written in the Lamb’s Book of Life,” and they will not taste the “second death.” Instead, they participate in the “first resurrection” and are found in the city of “New Jerusalem” standing before the Throne and the “Lamb” - “And he that sits on the throne shall spread HIS TABERNACLE over them.”

There is no middle ground, no third option, and no “safety zone” in any supposed holdout nation. The “Beast” is granted authority over “over EVERY tribe and people and tongue and nation,” and in Revelation, “all” means ALL without exception.

Either you “follow the Lamb wherever he goes” and inherit life, or you render homage to the “Beast” and endure the “second death.” It is one or the other.

Believers must decide now to whom they will give their allegiance. In the kingdom of God, there is no concept of “dual citizenship,” no room for split loyalties. At the critical moment, will they follow the “Lamb” no matter what he requires, or will they bow in submission to the “Beast”?

Ultimately, how we respond to the “Lamb” now determines whether our name is “written in the Lamb’s book of life,” or expunged from it forevermore.


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