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Friday, August 03 2012

Introduction:

Last week, we saw that the beast which came from the sea derived it power from the Dragon (Satan).   He carried out three major assignments; blasphemy against God, make war with the saints and all that dwell on the earth worshiped him (Those whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world). Notice that the beast operated within the limit of his given power.

Another beast is revealed to John, only this one is distinguished from the previous since he came out of the earth or land. This completes the trinity of evil?the dragon (Satan), the beast out of the sea (The anti-Christ), and now, the beast out of the earth (the devil's "unholy spirit"). The land beast operates under the authority of the sea beast) and is totally committed to promoting not himself, but the first beast. The beast out of the land is also called the false prophet in other places in Revelation (16:13; 19:20; 20:10), probably because he promotes the first beast.

1)    His description, Power & Wonders [Verse 11-13]

"And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon. And he exercises all the power of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men"

And I beheld another beast." "Another" is the Greek allos meaning, "another of the same kind." He plays a different role, but in character he is another one who is beastly, rapacious, cruel, and of course hostile to God's people. And he had two horns." The horns are symbolic of great power, but not to the degree of the first beast who had ten horns. His horns were like those of "a lamb." As the lamb is a religious symbol, a symbol of sacrifice, so this beast is a religious figure and, as a lamb is also symbolical of a mild, lamb-like manner, so this second beast will adopt a mild lamb-like appearance, but he will be a wolf in sheep's clothing. He was promoting the 1st beast just like the Holy Spirit came to speak of Jesus Christ (Jhn.16:13-14). He is a counterfeit of the Holy Spirit.

Note that the signs are described as "great," the Greek megas meaning "large" but it is used of that which is great in the sense of significant, prominent, important, and outstanding. The signs the second beast performs won't be the run of the mill miracles that one hears about with pseudo healers or the paranormal events of today.

"So that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men" illustrates something of the power of his miraculous activity.  Whatever this will be, it is clearly designed to counterfeit the miraculous works of God, either that of Elijah in 1 Kings 18:38 or that of the two witnesses in Revelation 11:5  (2 Kings 1:10-15; Lev. 10:1-2). Some have suggested that this could be a reference to fire from heaven to imitate that which occurred at Pentecost (Acts 2:3) and could be a reference to pseudo-charismatic gifts to create a counterfeit religious community whose allegiance is to antichrist.

 

2)    His Deception [Verse 14-15]

"And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed."

And he deceives....The next thing we saw about the signs is that they are designed to deceive, they are deceptive. "Deceives" is the Greek planaw meaning "to lead astray, cause to wander, mislead, deceive." This word is consistently used in Scripture of the work of false teachers who lead people away from God into some form of false worship ( 2 Thess. 2:9-12). Satan and his Prophets are deceivers (2 Thes. 2:3-4).

 

This should be a warning to all of us. Miraculous signs are not in themselves a proof that whatever is going on is from God. There are other issues that must be discerned with the Word of God as the final index and authority, never just our experience. However, we are living in an esoteric, mystic oriented age where reality is too often reduced to a personal experience or some kind of enlightenment. Just note the rise of the psychic "hotlines" and the emphasis in TV shows on the paranormal or on psychic phenomena. Even within the body of Christ, the emphasis has moved away from the Word of God as our authority to an emphasis on phenomena and subjective experiences, the kind promoted in many charismatic circles today.

The image which breathes and speaks is the second great deception of these verses. The word "image" is eikwn which is not a mere copy but in fact partakes and constitutes the very reality of the thing of which it is a likeness. The image is designed not only to portray a likeness to the beast, but the reality of his rule and worship. Whatever the image will be it will portray a likeness of the beast which becomes a symbol of his power and majesty, and of the character of his system.

3)     The Significance and Meaning of the Number 666[Verse 16-18]
 

"And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred three score and six.

Here we see the means by which the second beast carefully and exclusively distinguishes between those who will worship the beast and those who will not so that they might be identified and killed. He forces all men of every class and category of society to receive the mark of the beast either in their right hand or in the forehead, two places that are prominent and easily seen.

Here is sheer tyranny. The word "mark" is the Greek caragma which means "an impress made by a stamp" like a brand used on slaves and cattle. Men will become the slaves of the beast and will somehow carry the identifying mark of their slavery.

To enforce the worship of the beast and to make life impossible without his worship, men cannot buy or sell without this mark. As a result of the decree to worship the beast and be branded with his mark, multitudes of believers will be killed directly because they do not have the mark and refuse to receive it or because they starve to death since they cannot buy or sell. Some will survive, however, by living off the land or because other believers who have food share with those who do not (Matt. 24:15-25 and 25:31-40).

We should note that to receive the mark of the beast is tantamount to the worship of the beast, to blasphemy of God, and rejection of Jesus Christ (13:8; 17:8; 14:9-12; 15:2; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4)

Conclusion

In conclusion, the general character of the Tribulation is clearly portrayed in this chapter. It is a time of slavery, blasphemy, apostasy, and gross satanic activity. Let us thank God that we have the blessed hope of the rapture (Titus 2:13). But let us not, as we contemplate on all this, forget our responsibility to be involved in the propagation of the gospel of Christ, the only hope for the world.

 

Contributor: Alex Alajiki

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 04:08 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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