The Third Woe: Persecution - Probation Closes.
“And it was given to him (the US religious power, the false prophet) to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.” Rev. 13:15
Here we have reached what we had been warned about: a repetition of the persecutions experienced by the Thyatira and Sardis churches. Remember in chapter five of this book that these churches were represented by two lamp stands along with the two olive trees of the Holy Spirit and Jesus? They witnessed and were persecuted for 1260 years from 538 CE to 1798 CE. Well, if we go back to Revelation 11, we see in verse seven that the beast who had his wound healed and came out of the abyss (see the previous section of this chapter entitled “Resurrection of the Beast”) makes war, overcomes, and kills these witnesses. But how can that be? Thyatira and Sardis are church eras that existed long ago. Yes, that is true, but the Holy Spirit and Jesus (the two olive trees) are still in this world working with and for true believers, witnessing to the truth, and calling for all who will to accept salvation.
“And their (the two witnesses, the two olive trees, the Holy Spirit and Jesus) dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city…Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.” Revelation 11:8-10
The persecutions will be widespread and will last for three and one half years (3 ½ days, see Appendix 2). The start time for this period could be when the beast regains power, when the laws are passed requiring everyone to obey the image of the beast, or it could be another event. We cannot know. But during this time the beast, its image, and the false prophet will appear to have complete control over the Christian world. The work of the Holy Spirit and Jesus will have been nullified and replaced with man-made rules and religions. The torment of a guilty conscience, the pleadings of the Holy Spirit, submission to the will of Jesus seem to have been eliminated and this will lead to great rejoicing by those bearing the mark of the beast.
The passing of a death sentence against those followers of God who refuse to receive the mark of the beast, ushers in the closing hours of probation. Those of us who refuse to follow the false prophet and become part of the image of the beast (the combination of religious denominations and political powers) will be persecuted and some will be killed. Why? Because the religious war with the radical Muslims has killed one third of the world’s population, and the other five trumpet judgments are making life on earth a living hell. It will be thought that God has turned his back on the Western Christian world and the only way to regain his His favor is to act perfectly, according to apostate Protestantism’s definition of perfection. The best and easiest way they can see to do this is to pass laws enforcing compliance with whatever laws they consider of great importance.
Once again we see works and deeds being substituted for simple faith in Jesus’ righteousness. Our duty is to God first and foremost, so when these so-called religious laws are passed we must compare them to what God has said in his Bible. “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.” Is. 8:20 Trust in Jesus and obey him; do not trust in man-made laws or in any good deed you can perform.