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“AND all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

John saw a beast rise up out of the sea (the peoples of the earth). This beast had seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. This beast was like a leopard, his feet were as of a bear, his mouth as of a lion. The beast received his power from the dragon, also his seat and his authority. We have no doubt but that there was given John here a vision of the rise and development of antichrist, of all nations, societies and organizations that, while perhaps professing godliness, are the deadly enemies of all real religion, of the pure and undefiled religion of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have not the ability to analyze this beast in detail, and to tell exactly what each of the seven heads signified, and each of the ten horns, and so on. It is said that one of these heads was, as it were, wounded to death. We believe this one head that seemed to be thus wounded was the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, which received such a serious wound at the time of the Protestant reformation in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when Luther, Calvin, John Huss and others revolted against the teachings of Catholicism and the supremacy of the pope. During this period there was a great mental and perhaps spiritual awakening in the minds of many men; learning, which had been confined to the nuns and monks, became more widely diffused among the people, owing to the invention of the art of printing and the translation of the Scriptures into native tongues of the various peoples, instead of being procurable only in Latin or Greek, which had been heretofore the case, so that none but the highly educated had been able to read the Bible up to that time. The result of all this was that Catholicism received a terrible wound, in that the pope lost his temporal power, and became a prisoner, practically, in the Vatican at Rome, which has remained the case ever since. At first it seemed that this wound was deadly, and that Catholicism would never be the power that it had been. Events since have, however, proved that Catholicism is resilient, and has continued to grow by leaps and bounds, so that at the present day there is no telling in what channels and to what extent the ramifications and influence of its power do extend. The whole of the world’s thought and religion is tainted with Romanism, either consciously or unconsciously. But we must remember that the beast which John saw had ten heads, so that Catholicism is only one of these heads, it is but a part of the beast, and not the whole beast. The whole beast taken together represents the whole of antichrist, the whole of all that is opposed to the truth of God as it is in Jesus Christ. Protestantism, which in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries revolted against Romanism, is to-day in league with Catholicism, not at all frightened by her doctrines, as it professed to be at that time. The whole world, Catholics and Protestants, too, has gone mad after the beast, all wonder after him and worship him. You do not hear to-day men arguing about the doctrines which this and that denomination stand for. The time was when Presbyterians meant one thing, when Methodists stood for something else, when Episcopalians held themselves aloof and would have nothing to do with either, but now not one person in a hundred who is a member of those denominations could tell intelligently what are the respective tenets of the churches to which they belong. Protestantism has ceased protesting, it has lost its backbone, and is as soft and yielding as a jellyfish. All this makes the steady encroachment of Catholicism upon our cherished liberties so much the easier, and so it will continue to go on and on until too late to remedy it, then look out for the bitterest persecution this planet has ever seen. While men talk and weep about the universal brotherhood of man, the wily beast with his greed and selfishness and cunning is carefully getting the upper hand. The end of it will be that there will not be left a single one but what will worship this beast, except those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. This Lamb, our text says, has been slain from the foundation of the world. Always and ever the Lamb of God, wherever he has seen fit to show himself, has met with the bitterest hatred and persecution. Satan opposed him in the garden of Eden when he enticed Eve to disbelieve what God had told her. Cain hated the Lamb in Abel and slew his brother. The antediluvians opposed Noah, Egypt sought to entrap Moses and keep him her servant forever, the Canaanites cost the Israelites many a hard fight, David had his Saul, Judah had her Babylon, the Jews hated Jesus, and so on and so on. Ever the Lamb of God has been slain from the foundation of the world whenever his sincerity and truth have shown themselves. Thus it will ever be until all prophecy and all Scripture and every word of God have been fulfilled. Our text states it as a certainty that all that dwell upon the earth shall worship error in some form or another, except God’s elect, those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. These, and these alone, shall, worship the only true and living God in spirit and in truth. It is just as much a certainty that the whole world shall go after the beast as it is that these, the elect, shall cleave unto the Lord. Between the two, the elect and the wicked, is a great gulf which cannot be bridged. It is a fixed gulf, fixed by God’s foreknowledge and his predestinated purpose, as well as his electing love. All who have been saved, and all who are still to be experimentally saved, were saved in the mind and purpose of God before time began. This number cannot be added or subtracted by men or devils or angels whatsoever. God alone could change it, and he will not, because, “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

Written at the request of Mrs. J. D. Lake, of Hurricane, West Virginia. L.

Elder H. H. Lefferts

Signs of the Times
Volume 84, No. 6.
March 15, 1916