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The Christian Counter

     
THE TWO BEASTS IN REVELATION Part lll
Lesson 19
Page 1 OF 2

Review and introduction

The last two lessons covered Revelation 12 and Revelation 13:1-10, respectively.  In Chapter 12, we were introduced to a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns.

In 12:9, we were plainly told that the dragon was Satan.  We were also told in 12:17 that Satan is preparing for a final war upon the remnant of God who obey His commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

In chapter 13:1-10 we were introduced to a dragon-like beast also having seven heads and ten horns.  The important difference between the great red dragon in chapter 12 and the dragon-like beast in chapter 13 is made of earthy remnants from ancient empires (the lion, bear and leopard).  In other words, the dragon-like beast represents the rise of Babylon.  Like a hand within the hand puppet, Satan will be the power inside the great global system that shall rise up when the trumpets begin to sound.  The trumpets are a global catalyst for the formation and establishment of Babylon because people, the world over, will seek to appease God to stop the judgments falling upon the earth.

The seven heads represent the seven religious systems of the world, and the ten horns represent ten political powers into which the world will ultimately be divided.  The title, Babylon, fittingly describes this diverse creature because the cultural and religious diversity of the world’s religious bodies prevents a unanimous merger on the compelling issue of how to appease God.

But there is one who can achieve a merger!  After Satan appears on earth (during fifth trumpet), he will unite the seven heads into a global confederation or one-world government through his miracle working powers or through force.  He will establish a universal congress that dramatically increases his control over the people of earth.  This coming one-church/one-world federation is referred to as the “image of the beast” in Revelation 13:14 and the harlot in Revelation 17:1.  We will later study this union in this lesson.  For now, understand that the universal confederation will be a duplicate or copy of Babylon in that it manifests the same rebellion against the gospel and the saints as Babylon.  The only difference between the “image” and Babylon is consolidation.  Babylon is diverse due to religious differences and cultural backgrounds.  On the other hand, the image appears consolidated and united.  In either form, the point is the same.  Babylon and its image are without morals and are exceedingly corrupt.

The seven-headed ten-horned beast described in Revelation 12,13 and 17 is essentially the same power all the way through Revelation’s story.  Because Satan can transform himself “even into an angel of light”, Satan’s identity remains constant in the story, even though his form changes.  The necessity of this symbolic process is about to be seen.

The Lamb-like beast

Now we come to the most important and most powerful beast in Revelation’s study.  Notice the following details taken from revelation 13:

  1. This beast arises out of the earth.  It has two horns like a lamb, but speaks like a dragon.  {V11}
  2. The lamb-like beast has greater authority than the first beast having seven heads and ten horns, Babylon, and for a while makes the inhabitants of the earth worship Babylon.  One of the heads had received a deadly wound but the wound had been healed when Babylon rises.  {V12}
  3. The lamb-like beast performs great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men (to convince them of his divinity).  {V13}
  4. The lamb-like beast deceives the earth by means of his miracles that he does on behalf of Babylon.  {V14}
  5. The lamb-like beast then orders the inhabitants of earth to set up an image in honor of Babylon.  {V14}
  6. The lamb-like beast gives life to the image, causing it to speak and causing all who refuse to worship it to be killed.  {V15}
  7. The lamb-like beast ultimately forces everyone to receive a mark on the right hand or forehead.  {V16}
  8. Those without the mark cannot buy or sell.  {V17}
  9. The mark contains the name of the lamb-like beast or the number of his name.  {V17}
  10. The number of the lamb-like beast is a man’s number.  It is 666.  {V18}

 

Point 1.

 

This is the only beast in both Daniel and Revelation that does not rise out of the sea.  This beast does not rise out of people, multitudes, nations and languages, nor does it need them for power.  A fascinating issue must be raised.  John gives no description of this beast other than having two horns like a lamb.  Did he mean the horns appeared lamb-like or did he mean the beast, having two horns, appeared lamb-like?  This writer takes the position that the beast, having two horns, appears lamb-like.  Actually, the Greek syntax will sustain either view.  The latter view seems more correct for John would not likely ignore the appearance of the beast and just notice its two horns looked lamb-like!

 

The contrast between Jesus as the “Lamb of God” and the lamb-like beast is obvious.  Twenty-nine times in Revelation Jesus is called the “The Lamb.”  Knowing that Satan is going to appear on earth as God, it is consistent to interpret the lamb-like beast as being Satan in his assumed role as God upon earth.

 

John says this beast “looked lamb-like but spoke like a dragon!”  Note the contrast.  Its lamb-like appearance and its dragon-like speech are opposites.  Its appearance is designed to deceive and its ability to speak (make laws) is designed to take control.  Perhaps the reason John does not provide more detail about the appearance of this beast is that he immediately recognized who it was.  He was introduced to this beast earlier in the story of Revelation as the angel from the Abyss.  See Revelation 9:11.  And he also saw this beast from the Abyss in Revelation 11:7.

 

Note the origin of the lamb-like beast.  John says the lamb-like beast rises “out of the earth.”  Does John infer that rising out of the earth and coming out of the Abyss are similar?  It appears so.  This beast does not rise out of any existing kingdom – he just appears.  Even more, this beast is the rival of Jesus in Revelation’s story.  The lamb-like beast is the most powerful and influential beast in Revelation.

 

The irony of the final conflict is that again, the two angel kings, Michael the Lamb, and Lucifer, the lamb-like, do battle.  This time, the war will be on earth.  The followers of Lucifer will war upon the saints of Michael.  There will be much loss of life on both sides.  But this time, Satan will lose everything.

 

Point 2.

 

The lamb-like beast has superior power over the first beast of chapter 13 for it makes the earth and its inhabitants worship Babylon!  This fact alone makes it possible for the lamb-like beast to be a particular nation on earth.  One nation cannot be greater than the sum of all the nations!

 

Knowing the first beast represents the religious and political powers of the world, it is interesting to know that when Satan first arrives, he wants the world to worship according to their respective religious systems.  When the devil has gathered enough support, he will change the process and order the earth to set up a consolidated religious system.  Thus he will gain control of earth.

 

Point 3.

 

The lamb-like beast will gain control of many people through its deceptive miracle-working powers.  The most convincing miracle will be to command fire to come down out of heaven in full view of men.

 

Fire has been called from heaven on a few occasions.  Once at Mt.Carmel, Elijah prayed that God would demonstrate that He was stronger than Baal by sending fire from heaven to burn up the sacrifice.  (I Kings 18)  Again, fire came down from heaven at Elijah’s request and consumed 100+ solders that refused to believe he was a prophet of God.  (II Kings 1).  When Solomon prayed at the dedication of the temple, fire came from heaven and consumed the burnt offerings to signify the approval of God.  (II Chronicles 7)  The power to call fire from heaven will be an overwhelming deception and confirmation at the same time.  People will fall prostrate at the feet of Satan, “This is God!”

Point 4.

 

As mentioned before, Satan orders the inhabitants of the earth to set up an image to Babylon when he has gained enough power from the rulers of earth.  And when the image is set up, Satan decrees that all who refuse to worship the image are to be killed.

 

This image is the consolidation of Babylon.  Remember, Babylon has seven heads and ten horns.  Babylon is diverse and multi-national.  Satan wants a one-world government.  In other words, Satan sets up a universal congress representing all religious and political powers of earth.  This congress shall create laws and inflict injury upon all refusing to obey its decrees.  The image of Babylon is simply a global church/state.

 

Point 5.

 

Most of the world will receive the mark (or permit) of the lamb-like beast to survive, for no one, anywhere in the world, can buy or sell without it.  How does Satan achieve this?

 

When Satan arrives on earth, the world will be reeling from the effects of the trumpets.  To stabilize the economy in a state of emergency, leaders in their respective nations will implement rationing.  Satan only needs to deceive those controlling the laws of rationing to obtain control of the economic systems of the world.  By using severe sanctions against smaller nations, Satan will achieve global control over the economy.  All governments will have to cooperate or there will be total ruin.  Think of the horrific consequences of refusing to go along with the system!  What if Saudi Arabia couldn’t sell its oil?  What if Japan could not export its automobiles?  What if America could not buy oil or Japanese products?  The global economic dependence that exists now is exactly what Satan needs.

 

People will not be able to buy or sell anywhere on earth unless they cooperate with the devil.  Those standing for Jesus will not be able to pay their rent, buy food or provide for the bare necessities of life.

 

What a time of wrath!  The only way the remnant will survive is by faith in the promises of God.  This condition literally pushes everyone into two camps:  those obeying the devil and those obeying God.

 

Many who know what is right but are unwilling to live by faith, will join the camp of the enemy.  On the other hand, those who know what is right and are willing to live by faith will be saved.  Thus, “the just shall live by faith.”  Jesus asked his disciples, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”  Luke 18:8

 

This is the final exam of earth.  The one thing that will separate and polarize the people of earth is faith.  Faith is easy to talk about, easy to define and easy to understand.  However, living by faith is altogether another matter.  Jesus is leading his children today in small steps.  He tests us in small ways to see if we are willing to live by faith, so that when the final exam comes, we are prepared!

Point 6.

 

The lamb-like beast has a name.  It is a man’s name.  The number of the name is 666.

Revelation doesn’t tell us the name Satan takes when he appears.  In fact, Revelation doesn’t tell us the name Jesus takes when He appears!  Notice, “His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.  He has a name written on him that no one but he himself knows.”  Revelation 19:12 Angels call him Michael.  Human beings call him Jesus.  At the second coming however, Jesus takes a new name that is unknown to us at this time.  If Satan knew the name Jesus is going to use, he would probably steal it and use it to make his deception even more secure.

 

Satan and/or his name will somehow be associated with the number 666.  Just how this will be done is unclear at this time.  Some suggest that using Roman numerals for each letter in the name is how this is to be done.  Protestants used to take the Latin title of the Pope, Vicarious Filii Dei, which means, “in place of the Son of God”, and arrive at 666.

The problem though, is that there are many names that add up to 666.  However, all specifications of the prophecy must be met in order to declare a fulfillment.  (Remember rule 2 in our rules of interpretation in lesson 12?)

 

The number 666 is found in the Old Testament too.  Solomon received 666 talents of gold (about 25 tons) per year from his kingdom as a royalty.  II Chronicles 9:13 The number in Revelation is literal and somehow represents an identification of the devil.  Just how this will occur, is not yet clear.  Whatever the answer, we’ll soon know the details.  This number, along with all the other details of Revelation 13:11-18 will be a positive indication that the world is really following the devil.  Here’s why:

 

When Satan is seen on earth, he will physically appear as a dazzling being.  Paul says,  “And no wonder, For Satan himself masquerades as the angel of light.  It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.  Their end will be what their actions deserve.”  II Corinthians 11:14,15 Few mortals have ever seen anything that compares with the glory that will surround Satan.  His appearance is designed to deceive.  His actions will appear generous and gracious.  He will heal the sick and show concern for the poor.  He will work wonderful and extravagant miracles.  Billions will watch him on TV!  He will deceive, if possible the very elect!  For all the kindness and benevolence, there will be a price.  He makes great demands.  His demands upon people will be hard, even dragon-like.

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