In Revelation, “all” means “all.” All rulers and nations that refuse to follow the “Lamb” will render homage to the “Beast from the sea.”
In Revelation, there are no geographic restrictions on the reign of the “beast”; all the “inhabitants of the earth” take its “mark” and render homage to its “image.” Nowhere is there any mention of nation-states or governments offering any resistance to the final incarnation of the “ancient beast,” which is granted “authority over every tribe, people, tongue and nation.”
The book details the attempts by the “Dragon” and its vassals to destroy the “saints,” those who have the “testimony of Jesus.” In it, humanity is divided into two, and only two, groups: those who follow the Lamb, and those who render homage to the Beast. Nowhere is any third category or neutral ground described.
When one of the “seven heads” of the “beast” was mortally wounded, then healed, the “whole earth marveled after the beast and rendered homage to the Dragon.” In contrast, the “Lamb” redeemed men and women “out of” every nation and ethnic group. And if this language is limited geographically or ethnically when applied to the “beast,” the same holds true for the extent of the “Lamb’s” authority – (Revelation 7:9).
Not only do “all the inhabitants of the earth render homage” to the “beast,” the same group is identified further as “those whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb.” All whose names are not written in the book will “render homage to the Beast.” Whether one’s name is excluded from the “book of Life” is determined by how he or she responds to the “Lamb,” and not by geography, nationality, or political affiliation. The statement – “all who dwell upon the earth will render it homage” – cannot be limited by geography or nationality.
In chapter 13, another “beast” appeared “from the earth,” the “False Prophet.” He used religious deception and economic pressure to “cause the earth and its inhabitants to render homage to the first beast.” Elsewhere, “inhabitants of the earth” refers to all humanity that is in rebellion against the “Lamb” – (Revelation 3:10, 13:11-15).
Similarly, after the fourth trumpet sounded, an angel cried out, “Woe, woe, woe, for the inhabitants of the earth.” The judgments unleashed by the trumpets targeted the “earth dwellers” who refused to repent. If those “who dwell on the earth” refers to a group limited by geography or nationality, logically, we must assume the effects of the seven trumpet blasts are likewise limited – (Revelation 6:10, 8:13).
The “False Prophet” deceived the “inhabitants of the earth.” All, whether “small or great, rich or poor, free or slave,” took the “mark of the beast.” In contrast, those who “follow the Lamb wherever he goes” had his Father’s name inscribed on their foreheads, the “seal of God.” Once again, two and only two groups are in view. There is no “third way.”
In chapter 14, an angel announced an “everlasting gospel to the inhabitants of the earth, even to every nation and tribe and tongue and people.” If anyone rendered homage to the “beast, he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.” This warning anticipated the final judgment of the whole earth, the time when the angel would “gather the vine of the earth and cast it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God.” Described in this passage is the judgment of all whose “name is not written in the Lamb’s book” – (Revelation 14:9-10).
At the final “battle” to destroy the church, Satan gathers all the “kings of the earth” and the “nations from the four corners of the earth,” “Gog and Magog.” And the reference to the “four corners of the earth” stresses the global scope of this force; the entire world will be arrayed against the “camp of the saints” – (Revelation 19:17-21, 20:7-10).
Nowhere does Revelation describe or even suggest the possibility of any nation or government opting out of or resisting the authority of the “beast.” In the book, “all” means exactly that – “all nations.” The only men who do not submit to the “beast” are the ones who “follow the Lamb” and refuse to take the “mark of the beast,” and therefore, suffer the consequences.
In the end, there will be no neutral ground, no room for compromise when the “Dragon” and his earthly agents. Every man and woman must choose whom they will serve.