The only thing that may be worse for the saints to bear than the Antichrist’s persecution is his cosmic arrogance
Now Comes the Beast (Part 3). Part 1 explored the way the Beast appeared. Part 2 last week surveyed the Beast’s Power. Today, in Part 3 we will see the Beast’s Blasphemy.
#1: The Beast Speaks Evil of God (v6b)
The blasphemy of the beast is seen first of all in his speaking evil of God. See verse 6, “He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander His name and His dwelling place and those who live in heaven.” Daniel 7:25 indicates the same thing, “He [Antichrist] will speak against the Most High…”
Satan has been slandering the name of God since the beginning. At the end he will vent his vitriol vicariously through the Antichrist.
Quote: J.B. Phillips pg 168
What is blasphemy? Blasphemy means to speak evil of God, to revile God, to rail against God. Blasphemy means to do verbal violence to God. To talk about Him in ways that attack His character and Person. Blasphemy means to speak of God so as to try and destroy His glorious reputation. To verbally rail against Him, spewing insults and attacks on His holy name and character.
His tongue will be set on fire by hell. No one has yet to utter such abominable blasphemies as the Antichrist. His whole life will be a blasphemy.
Application: Glorify God. It is not through the worldly unbelievers that God’s name is glorified, but, through those who are His. We are to uphold the wonder of His name and speak to the praise of His glory.
#2: The Beast Exalts Himself (v5a)
Then we see the blasphemy of the beast as he exalts himself. Verse 5 says, “…” The arrogance of the Beast will be seen in the titles given to the leaders of the final end of days government as well. Each of the 7 heads of this beast, this government, are kings and they will each have divine titles that blaspheme God. Notice 13:1, “And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.”
William Barclay explains, pg 101
John Walvoord points out that Domitian, the Roman Emperor was addressed as “Our Lord and God”).
Self-exaltation will be the chief characteristic of the antichrist. Over and over we are informed of how arrogant he will be. Daniel 7:8 says he is the “little horn with eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully.” Verse 11 says, “then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking.” Verse 20 says, “I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell – the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully.” Daniel 11:36-39 describes in detail how he will exalt himself, “…”
The only thing that may be worse for the saints to bear than the Antichrist’s persecution is his cosmic arrogance. Second Thessalonians 2:4 says “he will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” This is the moment Daniel spoke of in Daniel 9:27, the “abomination that causes desolation”. It is this abomination Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:15.
Application: Be humble. It is so difficult to overstate how much God hates pride.
#3: The World’s Enthusiasm for the Beast (v4, 8, 12, 15)
Third we see the World’s Enthusiasm for the Beast
Not only will the beast blaspheme by his arrogant claim to be God, but, he will demand to be worshipped as God. Notice verse 4 and verse 8, “….”
The world will be so enthralled with the beast that they will see him as in a class all his own. “Who is like the beast?” That is specific language robbing God of glory. Moses sang to God right after the Red Sea, “Who is like you O Lord? Majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” Psalm 113:5 says, “Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits entrhoned on high?” Like it says in the song “The Lord is My Salvation” by Kieth and Kristyn Getty,
“Who is like the Lord our God?
Strong to save, faithful in love
My debt is paid and the vict’ry won
The Lord is my salvation
This is language long used to worship God. At the end of days Antichrist, in his blasphemous ways, will steal it as the people say of him what they should only say of God.
But notice what verse 8 says about those who worship the beast, they are “those whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” In other words, they don’t belong to the Lamb. They are perishing. They hate righteousness and love evil. Their destiny is the Lake of Fire with the one they worship – Satan.
The implication here is that those who do belong to the Lamb will not worship the Beast. Why? Because they worship the Lamb. They will not worship the Antichrist because they know and worship the Actual Christ.
Application: Is your name in the Lamb’s book of life? Ensure your name is in His book. How? By coming to Him. Come to Him and be forgiven your sins and to be given eternal life.
#4: The Beast Exalts Satan (v4)
Fourth, the Beast Blasphemes God by Exalting Satan, notice verse 4a, “…”
Just like Jesus is worshipped and leads people to worship His Father, Antichrist will be worshipped and lead the world to worship his father.
Satan was humiliated in heaven, but, on earth he will be revered. He was hurled down from heaven, but, he will be lifted up on earth. The life of Antichrist will lead many to worship Satan. With open demon-worship already en vogue (9:20) they will soon turn openly to the prince of demons in worship.
Application: Cause others to worship God.
#5: The Beast Endurance of the Saints (v9-10)
Lastly, the Beast career of Blasphemy requires the Endurance of the Saints. NOtice verses 9-10, “…”
This is a proverb for believers. Here’s what it tells us: to patiently endure persecution. It requires that those believers see their persecution as the will of God. They are not to resist it, but, like Jesus did with His own persecutors, accept it. First Peter 2:23 says, “When they hurled their insults at him he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” Prison, execution, labor camps will all be what’s in store for those believers.
But that is true for believers in all ages also, isn’t it? Yes. All believers must live with the firm conviction that God is sovereign, and, He may very well determine we must suffer for His name. That would be a privilege though, did you know that? Turn to Philippians 1:29-30. In Acts 5:41 it says that after the Apostles were flogged by the authorities, “The Apostles left the Sanhedrin rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.”
Application: Consider disgrace an honor. When the world pours out disgrace on you because of Jesus’ name, lift your head up high. If earth shame you because of His name understand that heaven is greatly honoring you for enduring it patiently. Do not shrink back from suffering disgrace for Jesus’ name. He will reward you greatly when you see Him. “Whoever is ashamed of Me before men I will be ashamed of him before my Father in heaven. But whoever confesses Me before men I will confess him before my Father in heaven.” That is the promise of our Lord.