This Is the Way... La Belle et la Bete

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This Is the Way... La Belle et la Bete

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No, let me assure you, you haven’t opened up a French translation of our magazine, but you have opened yourself up to a valuable lesson regarding biblical prophecy. The lesson is this: Not all things are as they appear and, to understand certain vital lessons, you must never be satisfied to simply scratch the surface. Why? So you may gain a full understanding. Truth be told, one day your life could depend on it!

So let’s dig a little deeper as I translate the title for you. It is “Beauty and the Beast” of fairy tale fame. Many of us are familiar with this tale of a beautiful young lady’s growing respect and admiration for a beastly figure of a man. At the end of the tale, love triumphs and the beastly character is transformed to his original state as a handsome young prince.

But it was only the young lady who saw beyond the hideous exterior and gruff mannerisms of the beast to understand his inner beauty. Everyone else had rejected him except her. The moral of the story is to never judge a book by its cover and to appreciate love’s power for renewal and transformation.

Truth can be stranger than fiction

But beyond childhood bedtime reading, did you realize that the Bible has a lot to say about One who is truly beautiful versus another who is a “beast”? Both personalities come into contact with one another in prophetic Scripture.

But this truth is stranger than fiction. Why? In the Bible, the roles are much different from the fairy-tale scenario. It is the hero of the biblical narrative who is thought to be ugly and worthy of repudiation, whereas it is the Beast who is thought to be “the beauty” and gains almost everyone’s admiration and allegiance.

The messianic writings found in Isaiah 53:2-3 Isaiah 53:2-3 [2] For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he has no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. [3] He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
American King James Version×
introduce a figure who “shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we would desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”

God is pretty plain here. The Messiah was no “looker.” In fact, people even looked the other way.

The wonder and dilemma of inner beauty

And yet what made Him so beautiful was not how He appeared, but what He looked like inwardly and thus what He does for you and me to this very day.

The narration continues in verses 4 and 5 describing how “He has borne our griefs…carried our sorrows…[was] bruised for our iniquities, chastised for our peace…and by His stripes we are healed.” Of course we are speaking of none other than Jesus Christ as “the beauty” of God’s story commonly called the gospel.

A fitting description of how humanity reacted to the Messiah’s inner beauty is offered by Dorothy Sayers: “He was tender to the unfortunate, patient with honest inquirers, and humble before heaven…He showed no proper deference for wealth or social position; when confronted with neat dialectical traps, He displayed a paradoxical humor that affronted serious-minded people, and He retorted by asking disagreeable questions that could not be answered by rule of thumb…

“But He had a daily beauty in His life that made us ugly, and officialdom felt that the established order of things would be more secure without Him. So they did away with God in the name of peace and quietness.”

Beware the Beast

While religious leaders of His own community framed Him for capital punishment, it was another force that executed the “Beauty” of God’s plan on an ugly piece of wood. This governmental system was none other than the empire known in its day for its splendor and glory, and even today we still speak of the “glory that was Rome.”

But God does not associate glory with Rome. He has His own comments. Clear back in the sixth century B.C., when Rome was just an emerging town on the Tiber River, God vividly described her future prominence in world affairs in Daniel 2:40 Daniel 2:40And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: for as much as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things: and as iron that breaks all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
American King James Version×
: “And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others.”

What a fitting portrayal of the armies of Rome on the move! Indeed a terrifying prophetic description of the fourth element of the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2). Nebuchadnezzar, who personified that image with his Babylonian-Chaldean kingdom as the head of gold, is described as one who would possess “the heart of a beast” (Daniel 4:16 Daniel 4:16Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given to him; and let seven times pass over him.
American King James Version×
).

Rome would be a continuation of that system with a bestial nature opposed to all that is holy and all that is beautiful in God’s sight. In A.D. 31, that “beast” killed the ultimate beauty of God’s creation. Isaiah’s prophecy would come true as all men, both Jew and gentile, would hide their faces from that which is beautiful—God in human flesh.

But biblical prophecy tells more than simply the coming of God in the flesh to this earth. It describes a very real second coming that is yet to occur. And, incredible as it may seem, your Bible indicates that the majority of humanity will once again fall prey to siding with the Beast and thinking he and his system are beautiful. As a whole, humanity is going to take up arms and literally fight the arrival of the ultimate beauty of all that is in heaven and earth, Jesus Christ, as He brings His Father’s realm to this earth.

Jesus was not simply rejected once when He came in ordinary form, but is going to be initially rejected again as He comes in extraordinary form, even as the cosmic elements announce His arrival.

Even the elect almost deceived!

Yes, truth can be stranger than fiction. Notice how humanity at the end of this age will marvel over the Beast, as John describes in Revelation 13:4 Revelation 13:4And they worshipped the dragon which gave power to the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like to the beast? who is able to make war with him?
American King James Version×
. People will gasp in wonderment, “Who is like the beast?”

This future system that the Bible calls Babylon (taking us right back to the image found in Daniel 2) is figuratively draped in glittering attire of purple and scarlet, gold and precious stones and pearls. This system is going to catch everyone’s eye and almost everyone’s heart. The Bible says that if those days were not shortened, the wondrous outward trappings of such a system could “deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:22-24 Matthew 24:22-24 [22] And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. [23] Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. [24] For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
American King James Version×
).

This bestial system supported by the majority of humanity is foretold to “make war with the Lamb” (Revelation 17:14 Revelation 17:14These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
American King James Version×
)! That is just an amazing, take-your-breath-away thought. How could this be? Mankind fighting Jesus Christ? The same One who came to die for humanity? Don’t believe me. Believe the Scriptures. Revelation 19:19 Revelation 19:19And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
American King James Version×
gives us tomorrow’s news in advance as it declares: “And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him [Christ] who sat on the horse and against His army.”

A just end for one so bestial

Unlike the French tale of our childhood, the Beast of the Bible is not transformed. Its ending is not happy, but it is just. While appearing beautiful and glittering to almost all, it is the same system that down through the ages and into the future is “drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Revelation 17:6 Revelation 17:6And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
American King James Version×
) and traffics in the “bodies and souls of men” (Revelation 18:13 Revelation 18:13And cinnamon, and odors, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.
American King James Version×
).

The triumphant Christ, the pinnacle of beauty throughout the universe, is going to clearly grab and remove the tantalizing disguise of this system in clear view of all humanity. He will show that such outward beauty has been “weighed in the balances and found wanting.” This Beast, along with the False Prophet, is thrown alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone (Revelation 19:20 Revelation 19:20And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that worked miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
American King James Version×
). All of their false beauty will be incinerated.

But these are only the human instruments of the greatest beast of all. God describes Satan, the adversary, as a serpent and a dragon. Revelation 13:4 Revelation 13:4And they worshipped the dragon which gave power to the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like to the beast? who is able to make war with him?
American King James Version×
tells us that as men follow the bestial government of this earth, they are actually “worship[ping] the dragon which gave authority to the beast.” This is the same dragon that the apostle Paul says has the ability to transform himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14 2 Corinthians 11:14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
American King James Version×
).

Just imagine something so horribly ugly pretending to be “the beauty” when the true beauty of God, Jesus Christ, was rejected by humanity! But thanks be to God who is not going to allow injustice to stand. This ultimate beast, perpetually riled with a heart filled with spiritual insanity, is going to be cast into a bottomless pit, and shut up, and a seal set upon him (Revelation 20:3 Revelation 20:3And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
American King James Version×
).

Thus, the Beast, whether temporal or spiritual, will no longer cast its long shadow of ugliness on man’s history. It will no longer be “Beauty and the Beast” in spiritual confrontation for the hearts of man. Only one personality, Jesus Christ, will take center stage on this very earth and will bring into being the most beautiful time in all of the human experience—the Millennium—1,000 years of the Kingdom of God on earth!

Beauty came into our beast

Until then, let’s remember that now is our time to be discerning. The reality of life is that not all things are as they appear to be, whether it is the title of a back-page column or emerging personalities on the prophetic world stage. We must dig deeper and not simply live life at a glance.

Why is this? It has been said, “Beauty is skin deep, but ugliness runs all the way to the bone.” That is the heart of the matter before each serious student of the Scriptures. It is a heart in our matter, our lives, that realizes that God’s beauty through Jesus Christ came into our beast, that is our untamed heart. He offered us a world of transformation from the prison of our sins to a spiritual kingdom with limitless horizons.

Perhaps it is in the words of Dorothy Sayers that we may find a guiding light as we strive to move forward in a life of transformation in step with the biblical admonition of “this is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21 Isaiah 30:21And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk you in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left.
American King James Version×
). Speaking of Jesus, she reminds us that “He had a daily beauty in His life that made us ugly.” But because He did, we are ugly no longer. And because He did, the world has a beautiful future ahead—without a beast. WNP

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