The Manifestation of The Beast
I watched one of the X-Men movies last night. I remember the young man whose mutated genes had given him feet like a creature. He was unaware of the full manifestation of what this represented of who he was but wanted to be ¯normal.¯ He even came up with a serum and injected it in his foot to counteract that which gave his feet the appearance of a grotesque creature. Little did he know that this act would actually enhance his true nature and he quickly became the full-blown ¯Beast¯ that was his caricature throughout the rest of the movie. It is interesting that as much as he wanted to hide who he really was, his true nature and character was destined to come forth for all to see.
I think of how this story depicts the formation and manifestation of the end-time ¯beast¯ that arises with great power and authority and amazes the whole world and is worshiped by the multitudes. This beast is allowed to run rampant, waging war against the saints and setting up ¯systems¯ that entrap men, bringing them into subjection under his deceiving ways. How can this happen? How will this happen? What is the ¯power¯ that this beast has to influence so many so directly and diabolically?
The beast is a representation of culture and all that makes up the fabric out of which we are ¯created¯ as a society. The beast¯s ability to gain control is based purely on deception and the willingness of the human heart to ¯buy into¯ falsehoods which have sweet sounding and sweet tasting elements to them. They are presented as pleasurable and desirable and worthy of consideration. This is the first step. Remember the Garden of Eden? From mere ¯consideration¯ comes a transfer of loyalty and eventually full-blown worship. It starts with a simple planting of a seed that ¯makes sense¯ to the natural man, but when ingested into the core of our being, corrupts the very meaning of our existence.
So that poor young man in X-Men who was trying so desperately to conceal his true nature is much like the serpent and the beast who so desperately desire to ¯not be known¯ for their true colors and motives. They try so hard not to be known that they ¯cover up¯ their true features by intertwining seemingly ¯acceptable¯ ventures that have a moral context with just enough sprinkling of ¯half-truths¯ to make it most palatable. Appealing to the moralistic nature of man, there comes a deep penetration into the will through an appeal to ¯know good and evil.¯ Once surrendered to this false authority, true freedom is lost and we have the beast in charge of a corrupt ¯yes-men¯ society. He is now free to ¯uncover¯ himself and be manifest for who he really is ¯ the ten horned, seven headed, blasphemous, leopard-like, bear-like, big mouthed lion.
Now, the young man in the movie was innocent enough in his desire to conform to his surroundings, not wanting to be one of the ¯odd-ball¯ mutants in his appearance. I was struck as to how we as Christians are called to be the peculiar ones and to show forth a certain strangeness as we refuse to conform to our surroundings and become that set-apart holy priesthood unto the Lord. What a temptation to get ¯caught up¯ in the throes of the agencies of ¯normal functioning¯ community life, buying hook line and sinker the ¯sensible¯ propaganda that is being proliferated through the beast system. It is way too easy to reason things out through the lens of man-centered comparisons as we eat from the wrong tree and come into agreement with the most despicable, hideous, deceptive, devouring beast that has ever been manifest in and through the very heart of man-kind.
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ¯From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.¯
Genesis 2: 16-17
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ¯Indeed, has God said, ¯You shall not eat from any tree of the garden¯?¯¯For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.¯ When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
Genesis 3: 1, 5-6
There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
Proverbs 14: 12
¯The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17: 9
For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever, Amen.
Romans 1: 25
I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12: 1-2
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God¯s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
1Peter 2: 9
And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority¯and they worshiped the beast, saying, ¯Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?¯ And there was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies;¯And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle¯And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them; and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.
Revelation 13: 1-2, 4-8