This article first appeared in the Standard Bearer, for original source link click here
“And the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.” I Chronicles 12:32
In Revelation 13 the Holy Spirit revealed to the apostle John and to the New Testament church through John two beasts, one rising out of the sea (v. 1) and the other coming out of the earth (v. 11). It is our intention in this and future articles to examine developments in our twenty-first century world in light of this revelation in an attempt to grow in our understanding of the times.
Herman Hoeksema, in chapters 32, 41, and 42 of his significant work on the book of Revelation, Behold He Cometh, writes extensively about these beasts. The reader would do well to study that as background information. There Hoeksema identifies this first beast as representative of all the kingdoms of the world, when he writes:
…so the world-kingdom which is represented by this beast is one which combines in itself all the power and glory and ambitions and spirit of all the kingdoms which have aimed at world-power in the past and that do aim at it at the present.¹
Early Manifestations of the Beast out of the Sea
An early manifestation of this beast is seen in the establishment of the kingdom of Nimrod at the Tower of Babel, the purpose of which was to “make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” (Gen. 11:4). God’s direct intervention by confounding their language prevented this premature kingdom of antichrist from purging the earth of its creator and His cause, the church. Revealed in this history is Satan’s world-kingdom goal: a goal that shines through in his attempts to overcome the “deadly wound” (Rev. 13:3) inflicted by God at Babel.
Subsequent attempts of Satan to establish his kingdom through the earthly kingdoms of the world are exposed in Daniel’s prophecy. Here God, by means of the dream of a great image to King Nebuchadnezzar, reveals other historical manifestations of the kingdom of Antichrist. The head of gold (Babylon), breast and arms of silver (Persia), belly and thighs of brass (Greece), and legs of iron (Rome) all demonstrate Satan’s failed attempts to overcome the wound at Babel. The Roman Empire came the closest. No doubt the near success of the Roman Empire was in part due to the sometimes combined efforts of the Roman Catholic Church and the Roman State. Nevertheless these efforts failed as well, in part because of the constant power struggle between church and state.
Satan’s Final Attempt at World-Empire Building
Scripture makes clear that there will be a seemingly successful establishment of the Kingdom of Antichrist. Professor Herman Hanko connects this kingdom to the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream:
The feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s image were a mixture of iron and clay. That part of the image was a mixture because it indicated the final manifestation of the one-world government in the Antichristian kingdom. Its mixture indicates its weakness. Its weakness is that it is a union of apostate Christianity in Western civilization and Gog and Magog, the nations on the four corners of the earth. Its position at the feet of the image indicates that it is the final manifestation of all the developments that went before it from Babylon to the end of time. It is the real purpose of Satan, only partially expressed in the other parts of the image, but which, as the feet, supports and gives its true character to all these other parts. It does this by virtue of its being a part of the one image.
The weakness of the final manifestation of a one-world goal is that God’s intervention at Babel cannot be overcome by human effort. The diversity of nations and races are too fundamental to be repaired in a sinful world.²
While in the final analysis that is true, for a time it will appear as if Satan has been successful. In his exposition of Revelation 17:7-14 Rev. Herman Hoeksema proposes a way that this uniting of the nations could very well happen:
How then shall the final formation of the beast come to its realization? In order to understand this, we must, in the first place, understand the expression that there shall still be a seventh powerful kingdom which has not yet been [at the time of the apostle John, ck]…if we take in connection with this picture of the seven heads the symbolism of the ten horns (Revelation 17:7), and read that they are all of one mind and shall give their power to the beast, we receive the impression that the future realization of the kingdom of Antichrist shall rather be by way of confederation than by way of conquest.
…it seems that we are justified in drawing the following picture. The text speaks of a seventh mighty power which is still in the future. It had not yet received its dominion at that time. But there can be no question about the fact that it shall receive its dominion. For a short while it shall show its power as a separate power.
For it must continue a little while in the midst of all the other kingdoms or powers which may exist together with it. But after this little while is finished, whatever may be the history of it, the other powers, indicated by the ten horns, shall give their power to the beast together with that seventh head, thus forming the great, final confederation, or league, that shall constitute the ultimate form of the antichristian world-power. It shall be a league formed of the seventh head together with the ten horns. And then we can also understand the expression, apparently so difficult to grasp, “The beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven.” That is, the beast in its entirety, as a confederation of world-powers, all being of one mind and one purpose, and all giving their power to the beast,—that one great league is, in the first place, as such an eighth power. It is distinct from all the seven heads separately, for they formed no confederation. It is the old kingdom of Nimrod over again in modern form….
To recapitulate in brief, therefore, there are to be eight world powers in all. Six have been, in Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and Rome. The seventh is not yet, or, if it is today, it has not yet become plainly manifest. Its existence shall be peculiar in this respect, that it shall aim at the unification and combination of all the powers that exist at this time. And this shall lead to the final league of nations to realize the kingdom of Antichrist.³
Present Developments that Appear to Confirm Hoeksema’s Analysis
This writing of Herman Hoeksema is the fruit of sermons he preached shortly after World War I and in the era of World War II. Much has transpired in our world in the subsequent sixty-plus years that would tend to confirm his analysis.
During the years of his ministry there were two significant attempts to establish an effective Kingdom of Antichrist: after World War I the League of Nations and after World War II the United Nations. Both of these proved to be failures, in large part because the nations were not willing truly to confederate, although the U.N. continues to work toward that goal. True, effective unity of confederation will necessitate relinquishing, at least in part, national sovereignty, something the nations have been hesitant to do. (It may be that the European Union will show the world how it is to be done, or, more likely, how it is not to be done.) This reluctance is certainly understandable when one takes into consideration the history of the nations. Time and again the nations have been at each other’s throats and thus have been conditioned to be suspect one of another. The Republic of China, for example, might ask, “Why trust Japan now, when the ‘Rape of Nanking’ just 70 years ago proved their hatred for us?” Similar concerns by the Russian and German peoples could be expressed due to the atrocities committed by both during World War II. World history records countless other examples that could be cited.
While that question of trust is, and will continue to be, very much an issue, the times almost demand some sort of confederation of the nations that can effectively keep the world from self-destruction. Whether real or imagined, the rise of radical Islam, the proliferation of nuclear weapons by rouge nations, the purported growth of an unsustainable population, the supposed increase of man-caused global warming, and the interconnectedness of world economies, all seem to demand a unified world confederation for solutions.
The Third Way
At present, numerous world luminaries are promoting just such a confederation under the label “The Third Way.” On Sunday, April 25, 1999, the then president of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, hosted a roundtable discussion on the subject, “The Third Way: Progressive Governance for the 21st Century.” Those in attendance at the meeting included British Prime Minister Tony Blair, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok, Italian Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Al From, President of the Democratic Leadership Council.
At bottom the Third Way movement is an attempt to blend capitalism, socialism, and communism into a New World Order.
The vision of those behind the Third Way is the need to move away from what they see as a sterile debate between left and right—between those who favor either the state or the free market doing everything.
Instead, they are looking towards a new form of political philosophy that focuses on adapting economies and societies to the demands and pressures of globalization.4
The means of achieving this lofty goal has its roots in the comprehensive plan of action called “Agenda 21.” The plan was adopted by the Earth Summit that took place at Rio de Janeiro in June of 1992 and was reaffirmed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg, South Africa in August/September, 2002. Those interested in understanding the times would do well to delve into this comprehensive agenda for the world, by consulting available Internet sources. For our purposes we will summarize this freedom-robbing, all-comprehensive agenda by means of a paragraph written by Tom DeWeese of the American Policy Center:
Here [in two documents: “Agenda 21” and the “Biodiversity Treaty,” ck] the ideas were officially presented to world leaders that all government on every level, needed to be transformed into top-down control over housing, food production, energy, water, private property, education, population control, gun control, transportation, social welfare, medical care, and literally every aspect of our lives. To get the full picture, add to these the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, both of which create U.N. mandates on abortion, child rearing, and government interference on families.5
While Agenda 21 might be passed off by some as mere pie-in-the-sky of a few globalist-thinking radicals, it should be noted that Agenda 21 has been adopted by 178 nations of the world. Furthermore, U.S. President George H.W. Bush signed the document for the United States, which in effect committed the U.S. to the goals of Agenda 21. Not only that, in 1995 President Clinton signed Executive Order #12858 as a commitment to harmonize U.S. environmental policy with the directives outlined in Agenda 21. This executive order directs all agencies of the federal government to work with state and local governments to implement the guidelines set forth in Agenda 21. Furthermore, President Obama’s science czar, John Holdren, advocates this same agenda in his call for a “Planetary Regime,” which would have the power to control the use of all natural resources, regulate international trade, and determine optimum population for the world and for each region of the world.6
Agenda 21 is not just theory; it is being implemented as we write. To confirm this, one need only compare the goals of Agenda 21 with what is being promoted by the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States. While we do not have the space to go into the details to demonstrate this, neither is that necessary, for the reader is well aware of many of the regulations of the EPA on power plants, oil, coal, and all our natural resources to achieve what they call “sustainable development.”
The imposition of this agenda on the nations of the world necessitates a confederation of the existing political powers. Its promotion for acceptance by the peoples of the world employs the process of consensus and the Doctrine of Communitarianism as proclaimed by another beast. However, a discussion of that will have to wait for future articles.
¹ Herman Hoeksema, Behold He Cometh (Grandville, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2000), 455.
² David J. Engelsma and Herman Hanko, The Reformed Worldview (Ballymena, N. Ireland: British Reformed Fellowship, 2012), 107.
³ Hoeksema, 575-576.
5 Tom DeWeese, “Sustainable Development is the Evil You Face,” 8/12/2009,www.worldviewtimes.com/article.php/articleid_5251/Brannon-Howse/Tom-DeWeese.
6 Ben Johnson, “Obama’s Biggest Radical,” Front Page, Feb. 27, 2009,www.frontpagemag.com/read/Article.aspx?ARTID=34198.