In Revelation, rulers and nations refuse to follow the “Lamb”; instead, they render homage to the “Beast.”
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.” Not a single government resists the final incarnation of the “ancient serpent,” for it is granted “authority over every tribe, people, tongue and nation.” There is no mention of any exception to the rule.
The book details the attempts by the “Dragon” and its vassals to destroy the “saints,” those who have the “testimony of Jesus.” Humanity falls 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 and 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. 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 one responds to the “Lamb,” 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 anyone’s nationality.
In chapter 13, another “beast” appeared “from the earth,” the “false prophet,” who used deception and economic pressure to “cause the inhabitants of the earth to render homage to the first beast.” Elsewhere, “inhabitants of the earth” refers to all humanity 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 “seven trumpets” targeted the “inhabitants of the earth,” for they refused to repent. If this term refers to a group limited by geography or nationality, logically, the effects of the “seven trumpets” are likewise limited by geography or nationality – (Revelation 6:10, 8:13).
The “false prophet” deceived the “inhabitants of the earth,” and therefore, all whether “small or great, rich or poor, free or slave,” take the “mark of the beast.” In contrast, those who “follow the Lamb wherever he goes” have 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,” no holdout nation.
In chapter 14, the angel announced the “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 drank 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 men whose “name is not written in the Lamb’s book” – (Revelation 14:9-10).
At the final “battle,” Satan gathers all the “kings of the earth” and the “nations from the four corners of the earth,” “Gog and Magog,” to destroy the “camp of the saints.” The reference to the “four corners of the earth” stresses the global scope of this assault – (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 beast’s “mark” and, therefore, suffer the consequences.
In the end, there will be no neutral ground, no room for compromise with Satan or his earthly agents. Every man and woman must choose whom they will serve – The “Dragon” or the “Lamb.”