Our world is changing before our eyes in frightening ways. What’s behind the bizarre things we are seeing, and what can we do about them?
The scene looked like some nightmarish vision straight out of the book of Revelation. A fiery structure appeared, clearly modeled after common depictions of the Tower of Babel. This was followed by a giant, hellish, smoke-shrouded beast in the form of a bull. With its red eyes glowing, the mechanical monster was first pulled with chains by what appeared to be dozens of enslaved women led by a man clad in what appeared to be Roman military armor.
Several young women then submissively approached the glowing beast, followed soon after by the formerly “enslaved” women and dozens more young men and women, who then bowed and prostrated themselves in a form of “worship” toward this beast. Flags of dozens of nations were then brought before the beast and set up before it. A spotlit woman emerged and symbolically “rode” the beast; then most of those who had bowed before the beast approached the Tower of Babel structure and entered it as it grew in height.
Other apocalyptic imagery was worked into the bizarre scene, along with seemingly supernatural “signs and wonders” (see 2 Thessalonians 2:9).
The setting, strangely enough, was last summer’s opening ceremony of the international Commonwealth Games (for nations in the Commonwealth of Nations) in Birmingham, England. Many millions of people, represented by the 72 nations and territories participating, were watching.
The Beast, Babylon and Bible prophecy
Readers of the book of Revelation may instantly recognize some key symbolism: “So [the angel] carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy . . . And on her forehead a name was written: Mystery, babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth. I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement” (Revelation 17:3-6).
And: “. . . They worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’ And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies . . . Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God . . . It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:4-8).
Babylon is also repeatedly mentioned in the book of Revelation. Notice: “And another angel followed, saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication’” (Revelation 14:8).
“And [the angel] cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, ‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.’
“And I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities’” (Revelation 18:2-5; see also 16:19; 18:1-2, 10, 21; 19:1).
What in the world is this all about? There’s much more.
The Grammys—entertainment from hell
Most people are aware that the music industry is a cesspool of perversion. But this year’s widely televised annual Grammy awards, supposedly celebrating the best in the year’s music, managed to plunge to new depths. Depths of exactly what is hard to describe.
One couldn’t ask for a stranger pairing than the winners of the award for best pop duo/group performance than Sam Smith and Kim Petras. Smith is a former avowed homosexual who now claims to be “genderqueer”—neither male nor female. Petras was born male but has undergone surgical and chemical treatment to appear female.
Together they performed their Grammy-winning song titled, appropriately enough, “Unholy.” Smith was dressed in an all-red outfit, appearing like common depictions of the devil. Petras wore a red miniskirt while dancing and singing inside a cage. Smith was surrounded by crimson-clad dancers of indeterminate sex who at times bowed and appeared to worship him.
Both were bathed in red spotlights during the performance. Red lights flashed around the auditorium. At the back of the stage flames burned, sometimes erupting many feet into the air. The imagery was clearly designed to convey some kind of demonic hell.
The evening also featured a blasphemous depiction of performers, all dressed in black, parodying Leonardo da Vinci’s famous “Last Supper” painting.
This, too, is only scratching the surface. In New York City, a statue was recently erected to honor the late U.S. Supreme Court associate justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for her longstanding crusade for abortion rights. (Normally statues are erected for individuals who have done great things for others, but apparently now statues are in order for those who paved the way for the murder of millions of innocent unborn children.) But rather than depicting Ginsburg realistically, the seemingly demonic statue had gigantic curled horns emerging from her head and multiple tentacles growing where her arms should be.
And around the time this issue will be mailed, Boston will be hosting what’s billed as “the largest Satanic gathering in history,” where participants can attend a number of Satan-themed presentations, discussions and social events. Meanwhile, after school “Satan clubs” are springing up in schools across the United States.
Again, what in the world is going on?
A world becoming unrecognizable
Our world is rapidly becoming unrecognizable. It seems to be growing insane. Think back to just a few years ago and compare everyday life then to our world today. The differences are staggering. It seems the world has taken a U-turn into dark days and will never be the same again.
In the United States, the Covid epidemic saw churches and synagogues closed by government edict while strip clubs, liquor stores and marijuana shops were allowed to stay open. We now know that various government branches and health agencies conspired with mainstream media, major social media companies and big tech to censor news unfavorable to the government-approved narrative about Covid.
Millions of people were forced to be vaccinated or lose their jobs and livelihood. Citizens were encouraged to inform on neighbors who didn’t follow lockdown orders. In some cases protestors against such actions had their bank accounts frozen. Some banks blacklisted or dropped companies whose political views didn’t align with theirs. Jails and prisons were emptied, supposedly to prevent the spread of Covid. “Defund the police” movements grew, as did the number of prosecutors who refuse to prosecute criminals but will prosecute citizens who defend themselves and their loved ones.
What does all this have in common?
What does all this mean? What does it have in common? What pattern or plan is at work before our eyes?
The answer is evident only when we have a perspective and worldview rooted and grounded in God’s Word. And the answer is simple: The world is embracing evil.
We see it all around us, as in the examples above. And powerful forces are behind it—governments at all levels, judicial systems, educational institutions, popular entertainment of every kind, a dominant and purposefully deceitful mass media, and yes, even religion.
In 1962 the U.S. Supreme Court banned prayer in public schools. It then banned Bible reading in public schools the following year. In 1973 it struck down restrictions on abortion, legalizing the murder of the unborn throughout the nation. In 2005 it banned display of the Ten Commandments in courthouses. In 2015 it essentially abolished biblical marriage by legalizing marriage between homosexuals.
With God and His Word systematically driven from public life, what should we expect to happen?
The apostle Paul, writing to the church in Rome, described what happens in a society that willfully rejects the knowledge of God:
“Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful.
“They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too” (Romans 1:28-32, New Living Translation).
Sadly, this is increasingly a perfect description of Western society. It describes a culture that rejects God and willingly embraces evil.
In his 1796 farewell address, George Washington prophetically said of American society and culture, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” We are now seeing the breakdown of society when its foundations—religion and morality—are removed. The nation faces doom.
Another dimension at work
But that’s not the whole story. Another dimension is at work—a very real but unseen spiritual dimension.
The biblical book of Revelation contains many sobering prophecies, some noted above. But one of the most sobering reveals that in the time of the end, shortly before Jesus Christ’s return, Satan the devil will be “cast down” to earth. The results will be horrifying.
God warns: “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time” (Revelation 12:12). In the ensuing devastation described in the surrounding chapters, literally billions of people will perish in earth-shattering catastrophes.
Are we seeing a foretaste of this time of Satan’s wrath in our headlines today? Are Satan and his demons no longer hiding their presence, as shown in the examples mentioned above, and coming out in the open?
God’s servants are not to be fearful or overly anxious about such demonic influence directly affecting them (though it powerfully affects the world around us). Evil spirits are fewer in number and inferior in power to God’s faithful angels, who are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). Christians can and should be confident because “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
A strong mind spiritually attuned to God’s way of life is the best way to resist demonic influence and the growing evil of the world around us. Faithful servants of God are to be filled with God’s Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), enabling them to resist such influence, causing evil spirits to flee (James 4:7). After all, God is the ultimate source of power.
As the world around us increasingly embraces evil, we must resist all forms of evil and embrace our loving God. This is the way to avoid the worst of the horrifying times coming on the world for its rebellion against God—catastrophic events foretold to happen in the end times leading up to Christ’s return!
Where and How Did Satan and Evil Originate?
To understand the spiritual dimension that increasingly affects what’s going on in society today and the reason for the evils growing around us, we must go far back in time—to before humankind existed. Genesis 1:1 tells us that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Job 38:7 further tells us that at this time “all the angels shouted for joy” (New International Version).
The angels—spirit beings God had created—already existed when God made the earth. Sometime after this, however, the situation dramatically changed. Genesis 1:2 tells us that “the earth was without form, and void.” This English translation doesn’t adequately convey the meaning of the original Hebrew. The words tohu and bohu, translated “without form” and “void,” are better translated “waste and void” (Young’s Literal Translation).
The Hebrew word hayah, translated here as “was,” can also be translated “became,”as it is appears in Genesis 2:7 and 19:26. The earth was not created waste and void but became that way at some point after its creation.
God created the earth in such beauty that the angels were overjoyed. But something brought it to a condition of devastation and waste. God then reshaped it, forming it into a beautiful home for the first man and woman as recorded in the remainder of Genesis 1. But the Genesis account does not tell us the entire story.
God elsewhere gives us additional details of what brought on this condition of destruction and waste. In 2 Peter 2:4 we read that “God did not spare the angels who sinned, but thrust them down into Tartarus [a place or condition of restraint], and delivered them into chains of darkness, being reserved for judgment” (Modern King James Version). When did these particular angels sin, and what was their sin?
The short answer is that they rebelled against their Maker!
The first war
In Isaiah 14 we find more information. This chapter describes this angelic rebellion and its ringleader. It gives us many important details we could learn of in no other way.
In verse 4 God addresses the “king of Babylon.” In Isaiah’s time the city-state of Babylon was emerging as the major power in that region. Its warmongering king plundered and enslaved the nations around him, acquiring wealth and power through violence. This king of Babylon exemplified Satan and his characteristics.
In verse 12 the subject shifts from this physical king to another powerful being, here translated “Lucifer.“ The original Hebrew word for this being—used only this one time in the Bible—is Heylel, which apparently means “brightness” or “shining one.”
God then addresses this being, saying: “You have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God . . . I will be like the Most High’“ (verses 12-14, emphasis added throughout).
Who is this being who dared to challenge God Himself?
In Ezekiel 28 God gives us the answer. This chapter is written much like Isaiah 14. God begins by discussing a human ruler, then shifts to the spiritual power behind the earthly throne (compare Luke 4:5-7).
In Ezekiel 28:2 God addresses the “prince of Tyre,” a famous port trading center whose rulers had grown haughty because of their power. In verses 6-10 God tells this ruler that his might would fail and he would be overthrown. But in verse 12 God begins to address “the king of Tyre” rather than the prince. This being is the true ruler, the real power behind the throne.
God’s description of this “king of Tyre” makes it clear that He is speaking to no physical human being. “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God . . .” (verses 12-13).
No mortal human being could accurately be described this way. This being was created(verse 13)—unlike human beings who are born. This being had also been “in Eden, the garden of God.” Other than Adam and Eve, no people had been in Eden.
In the next verse God mentions some of the history of this being. “You were the anointed cherub who covers” (Ezekiel 28:14).
Fall of a superangel
What does this statement mean? What is a “cherub who covers”?
Hebrews 8:5 tells us that the tabernacle Israel constructed in the wilderness was “a copy and shadow of what is in heaven” (NIV). In Exodus 25:18-20 God instructed the Israelites to make a representation—a physical model—of His heavenly throne for the tabernacle. At either side of the “mercy seat,” which represented God’s throne, was a golden cherub with wings extended to cover the mercy seat. These two cherubim represented real angelic beings—great superangels whose wings cover God’s throne.
The being God addressed through Ezekiel is called the “cherub who covers,” indicating that he had once been one of the great angels depicted in the model of God’s throne. Many other scriptures say God “dwells between the cherubim,” showing that these wondrous creatures accompany and serve Him (1 Samuel 4:4; 2 Samuel 6:2; 2 Kings 19:15; 1 Chronicles 13:6; Psalm 80:1; Isaiah 37:16). This magnificent being apparently held a position of great honor and distinction in God’s angelic realm.
God also says to this cherub: “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you . . . you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub” (Ezekiel 28:15-16, NIV). This once-marvelous being sinned and was expelled from God’s throne, cast away in disgrace.
What had been an amazingly beautiful, immensely talented spirit being became, through his rebellion, a reprehensible, despicable creature. He became Satan—the adversary, slanderer, accuser and destroyer. He became the devil—the enemy of God and humanity!
The immense powers he had used in God’s service were turned to thwart God’s purposes. Now his powers are used for wicked, destructive ends!
And he was not alone in this rebellion. Millions of other angels joined him in rejecting God’s authority and leadership. We find this symbolically described in Revelation 12:3-4: “And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon . . . His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth . . .” Verse 9 identifies this dragon as Satan. The Bible uses stars as a symbol for angels (Revelation 1:20). This indicates that a third of the angels followed Satan in this rebellion.
The Bible refers to these rebellious angels as demons or evil spirits. They are fallen angels—who had plummeted from their purpose of serving God and humanity (Hebrews 1:13-14), reduced to hatred and bitterness toward God and His holy purpose for mankind.