Last Sunday night, a female immigrant from Pakistan joined our prayer meeting at church. She fled her homeland due, in part, to the persecution that radical Muslims perpetrate against Christians there. We prayed that her family would be able to escape so that they could worship the true God freely. Today (Wednesday), as I read the book of Revelation, this background information caused the text to jump out at me.
Revelation 17:3b says, “I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names…” The phrase “full of blasphemous names” struck me. Why doesn’t John say, “the beast had a blasphemous name?” I think the answer to that question is that the beast represents all religions other than Christianity. Though some fixate on the anti-Christ and guessing who might fit the bill, such that the beast becomes “the anti-Christ’s Prostitute’s chariot” (try figuring out what that is supposed to be today), John clearly means the beast to represent all of that which is blasphemous.
Do not miss this—John was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” (Rev 1:10) and “carried … away in the Spirit” (Rev 17:3). He identified Buddhists, Muslims, Mormons, and anyone who rejects God, as he revealed himself in Scripture, or rejects salvation by faith alone, that is, all non-Christian religions as making up the beast who carries along the Great Prostitute who serves the Anti-Christ.
In that same prayer meeting on Sunday night, it was shared that a 16-year-old man—I use that word intentionally—has been charged with blasphemy in Pakistan, not for being a Muslim, but for being a Christian.
Muslims call Christians blasphemers because we reject Allah. The Bible calls Muslims blasphemers because they reject Christ. Any way of thinking, movement, religion, or institution that rejects salvation by faith alone in Christ Jesus, the only begotten Son of God the Father, co-equal with Him and the Holy Spirit, who is truly man and truly God, is blasphemy.
How many Christians refer to Muslims, Mormons, and Make-Believe Christians as our “brothers and sisters”? Would John do this? Why is the Beast “full of blasphemous names?” Because the beast is called “Allah,” “Joseph Smith’s god,” “Buddha,” “Atheism,” and “I’m going to heaven because I’m a good person.” These are all blasphemous lies; those who hold them are not our brothers and sisters. Instead, they are lost souls, like all Christians once were (Eph 2:1). They demand our sympathy because they are hurdling toward the hellish fate that we all deserve (Rom 3:23). They must receive our clear language—we must make clear that they are not the same as us. They are goats, and we are sheep (Matt 25:32). If this is good enough for Muslims in Pakistan, why not for us?
The difference, however, is that we do not murder blasphemers like Pakistani radical Muslims do. Rather, we love them. We are willing to die to bring the message of True Salvation to the blasphemer, as Christ did. His message of hope cost Him His life. We dishonor that sacrifice when we pretend blasphemy is friendship. We are not “brave” or “kind” when we call Buddhists our brothers and sisters. Rather, we are being cowards, unwilling to do what John did in clearly speaking what God has revealed to us. We are afraid of the ridicule we will earn if we take such a “bigoted” stance to say that all non-Christians blaspheme the name of God by pretending salvation can be had outside of the precious, pure, and perfectly gracious blood of Christ. His blood is not only enough for all; it is required for all. Worshipping Him means making that crystal clear, with tears in our eyes. Because “there, but for the grace of God, go I.”
This was originally published on The Fight of Faith Blog.