Power Religion (aka 666)

In Deuteronomy 17 God gave instructions to the Israelites about their future king. God said that the king must never multiply horses for himself, not multiply wives for himself, and not multiply gold for himself.

To not multiply wives and gold means God did not want the heart of the king to be drawn away from God.

To not multiply horses means that God never intended Israel to be a conquering empire. They were to be a nation of priests to the Gentile nations. The surrounding Gentile nations were to protect Israel. God’s people always had a “Gentile sponsor” — someone to support and protect them. For Abraham it was Melchizedek, for Joseph’s family (the Hebrews) it was Egypt, for Moses and the people (now called Israel) it was Jethro, For David and Solomon it was Hiram of Tyre, and for the post-exile Jews it was Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome (the four beasts of Daniel 7 called up out of the Gentile sea to protect God’s people). Each time a beast went bad, God replaced it.

The Roman beast protected God’s people (now called Christians) all throughout the book of Acts. It was only the apostate Jews who wanted to destroy the Church, and the Romans always protected the Church. But after the events of Acts, the Roman beast went bad and turned on the Church — so God killed it.

The first century apostate Jews worshipped the religion of power. They wanted their Messiah to come with a sword and establish a Jewish empire. Jesus offered a religion of righteousness and self-sacrifice, but the apostate Jews rebelled against that and said, “We have no king but Caesar!” The Jewish leadership caused the people to worship the Roman beast — power religion.

We read about this in Revelation 13. The Land Beast (the Herods and the High Priesthood — two horns) caused all the people on the land (Israel) to worship the Sea Beast (the power of the Roman empire). The Land Beast caused all the people to put the mark of the Sea Beast on their foreheads — 666. That’s in direct contrast to the mark of God put on the foreheads of the faithful Jews in Revelation 7. No one could buy or sell without the mark. Buying and selling refers to worship, which is why Jesus says, “I counsel you to buy from Me gold…” (Revelation 3:18).

Solomon, at the peak of his career, did exactly as God intended for Israel. He built the temple and people from the surrounding nations came to Israel to see the glory of God and to learn from the kingdom of priests. But, Solomon went bad and began to worship power religion. We can read of his downfall in 1 Kings.

In 1 Kings chapters 10 & 11 we read that Solomon multiplied for himself horses, wives, and gold — exactly what he was not supposed to do as king. And we know he became a harsh king because when his son, Rehoboam, took power, the people asked for a more lenient rule (1 Kings 12).

When we read about Solomon multiplying gold (1 Kings 10:14), the bible says that he had 666 talents of gold coming to him each year. There’s more to that number than just this, but anyone “with understanding” reading the book of Revelation in the first century would have seen that the number 666 directly tied the Jewish worship of power religion to the fall of Solomon and his worship of power religion.

There is no need to go outside the bible to understand the number 666 or any of the other symbols in Revelation. 666 does not refer to Barak Obama, George W Bush, three W’s, or any of that stuff. It can all be understood by looking back into the Old Testament.

*This explanation of 666 is derived from James B Jordan’s teaching on the book of Revelation, which you can buy here.

Take Over the World for the Glory of God

babelRight at the beginning of creation, humanity received from God what could easily be called our first “Great Commission”.

God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
~Genesis 1:28 NASB

“Take over the world for the glory of God” is basically what we’re commanded to do.

Skip ahead to Babel and read what the people’s two reasons were for building the tower:

They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
~Genesis 11:4 NASB

They wanted to make for themselves a name (above God’s name and for their own glory), and they did not want to be scattered abroad; which is exactly what they were commanded to do: “…fill the earth, and subdue it”.

So, God scattered them. God scattered them by using different languages to cause division.

Right after the Babel story we are introduced to Abram, later to be named Abraham, the father of many. Starting with Abraham, God enters into a covenant with the Hebrew people, and for many hundreds of years, deals only with these people.

Did the Church exist in the Old Testament, or was that some different dispensation? Absolutely the Church existed in the Old Testament. Israel was the Old Testament Church; they were also of the same ethnicity. All those who were saved in the Old Testament were saved by the person and work of Jesus Christ. The animal sacrifices and the temple were types and shadows.

The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship.
~Hebrews 10:1 NLT

Now we can jump ahead to Pentecost.

At the beginning of the book of Acts, Jesus gives the Great Commission.

“…but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
~Acts 1:8 NASB

And this is what happened when they were filled with the Holy Spirit:

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.
~Acts 2:1-6 NASB

The miracle of Pentecost was not that they spoke with other tongues. The miracle of Pentecost was that all the people present, from “every nation under heaven”, heard “the mighty deeds of God” (Acts 2:11) spoken to them in their own languages.

At Pentecost God used different languages to bring the people together.

At Pentecost God did the reverse of what He did at Babel.

Where as before God was only dealing with the Jewish people, now God was opening His arms to the gentiles as well.

The miracle of Pentecost was not that God was creating the Church in some new dispensation. The miracle of Pentecost was that God was taking the gentile nations and grafting them into the Church, which already existed as Israel, the true Israel.

Now reread the Great Commission as stated in Matthew:

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
~Matthew 28:18-20 NASB

“Take over the world for the glory of God.”