The worship of the beast is one which has been going on ever since Lucifer secured a following, a reverence from angels in high estate in heaven. When he found it in his own heart to make a bid for the place of the Almighty – to exalt his throne above the clouds, to ascend into the heavens, to be equal with the Most High (Is. 14:13-14) – he managed to gather to himself a company, all with the intent of drawing heaven’s worship away from God to himself; and ever since that lifting up of his heart in that infamous ambition, another worship has been going on. He drew that company with him, the company of angels “who kept not their own principality”, and are “kept in everlasting bonds under darkness” (Jude 6). Then he appeared on the earth, and sought again to usurp the place of God in the worship of His Creation here; and in this he succeeded, and became, by reason of a conquest and the consent of man, “the god of this age”, “the prince of this world”.
From that moment he set up a spiritual system of worship which is perceivable behind the whole record of history. We have the breaking in of this evil element all along the line of worship, wherever and whenever the rights of God are recognized by sacrifice. Immediately Abel recognized the rights of God and erected his altar, slaying his sacrifice and shedding sacrificial blood, in the simplicity of the testimony of faith that here on the earth God has sole rights, there broke in this very thing against that testimony. The murderer came in to withstand and destroy the testimony, with Cain as his instrument, who also set up an altar and made a pretense in his darkened understanding to worship God. But he never got through to God, and that was the very ground upon which the Satanic element of jealousy and pride was churned up within him, and he became, because the Devil had got a purchase upon him, the instrument against the worship of God. The enemy’s scheme is deep laid; he knows what he is doing. Through the other worship he breaks in against the recognition of the Divine Rights, the worship of God; and from Abel onward it is always so.