Bible - NKJV  

Friday, 29 December 2017 23:45

93. The beast that comes out of the earth: A new power * Revelation 13:11-12 - PART 1

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11 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.

12 And he exercises all the power of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and them who dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.




*** Background ***: During the previous seven studies, we went deep studying the details surrounding the sea beast, which was the first of Satan’s allies on this Planet. We learned how the first beast is a religious and political power that seeks to dominate and deceive the world. As we saw in study #86, the term ‘beast’ is used in the bible to refer to a government force of global influence. The symbolism in Revelation 13 does not stop at the term ‘beast’. The entire chapter includes many symbols, including the beast’s place of origin. The first beast came out of the sea. The term ’sea’ is a reference to a portion of the planet that the dragon wanted to claim for himself when he was cast out of Heaven. The Bible says that after the dragon lost the war in Heaven, he directed his attention to the inhabitants of the sea and of the earth (Revelation 12:12; see also studies #84 and #85). The portion of the planet Satan was interested in was the people themselves.

*** A second beast ***: In his vision, John had witnessed the first beast emerge from the sea. After he described the activities of the sea beast and the mortal wound the first beast received, he went on to witness yet another beast power emerge. The second beast came from the earth, the other portion of the planet Satan was claiming for himself. This means Satan wanted to conquer the entire population of the world. The earth beast was a new powerful government.

In Revelation 12:13-16, we read about how Satan persecuted the Church, portrayed as the woman, and how God had prepared for her a place of refuge. Then we saw how Satan attacked the woman with a terrible flood of water coming out of his mouth. The water carried the woman away but the earth came to her rescue and swallowed the water. Note how the earth, who helped the woman, is also the place of origin of the second beast. What we have in Revelation 13 is the expansion of the details on the war against God’s people seen in chapter 12. The same elements are present in chapter 13. The water coming out of the mouth of the beast are the lies Satan is spreading about God and salvation. Revelation 12:16 says the earth swallowed the flood thus ‘saving’ the woman. In reality, the earth became contaminated by the false teachings coming out of the dragon’s mouth. It is from this contaminated earth that the second beast emerges. We must understand that the earth beast has the same poisonous speech as the dragon. We know that because he speaks like a dragon (Revelation 13:11).

*** He has horns like a lamb but speaks like a dragon ***: The first beast had a very similar appearance to the dragon himself, with ten horns and seven heads. In that sense, it looked like the dragon and it also acted like the dragon. The earth beast, however, does not look like the dragon. It only has two horns and it actually looks like a lamb. In Revelation 5:6, we saw Jesus as the “Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes”. The earth beast presents itself in a very favorable way, with the appearance of a lamb, a Christ-like figure. The earth beast looks like a lamb but is not exactly like the Lamb who was slain. As we read the beast’s next attribute, we find out that while he may look like an innocent lamb, his true character and allegiance lie with Satan, because he preaches the dragon’s message. The exterior presentation seems to be just a means to deceive people and distract them from his true satanic agenda. Because of the similarities between the first beast and the beast described in Daniel 7, it is easier for us to identify who the ten horns are. On the other hand, the two horns on the second beast are not as easy to fully comprehend. However, we can see the dual nature of the second beast in the way John described it:

- It has two horns (Revelation 13:11)
- He looks like a lamb on the outside but he actually is like a dragon on the inside (Revelation 13:11)
- He has great power himself but uses it to direct worship to someone else (Revelation 13:13)
- He dazzles the people with great miracles but he persecutes anyone who does not obey his decrees (Revelation 13:14-15)
- He gives life to an image but kills living, breathing people (Revelation 13:15)

Revelation 13:14 says that the earth beast deceives people by means of extraordinary miracles. The second beast is able to present his arguments in a way that makes them seem right and appealing. Now we see how the woman in Revelation 12 felt compelled to accept help from the Earth. The earth seemed so friendly coming to her rescue! In reality, it moved her away from the place God had prepared for her.

*** He has the power of the first beast ***: The first beast received his powers from the dragon (Revelation 13:4). The second beast “exercises all the power of the first beast” (Revelation 13:12). This means that the earth beast also received power from the dragon. Even though the earth beast does not look like the dragon and does not appear to be connected to the dragon, his actions and his message reflect the values of the dragon. His actions make people break God’s commandments: he causes people to worship someone else other than God. He “causes the earth and them who dwell therein to worship the first beast” (Revelation 13:12). Just as the first beast, the second beast not only exercised global political influence when he emerged but also had a foot in the spiritual arena. Yet, their approach differed significantly. While the sea beast sought to be worshiped and be god on earth, the earth beast prefers to be feared rather than receive worship. And so, he directs the worship to the sea beast and threatens to kill all who do not obey him (Revelation 13:15).

At the top of his influence, the earth beast will exercise ALL the powers of the first beast. This means that at the time of the end, the second beast will be doing what the first beast did during the Middle Ages. The sea beast persecuted and killed those who he considered heretics and wished to follow the Bible and not the traditions accumulated over time. Such traditions helped strengthen the authority of the beast system. The more the people blindly follow tradition, the more power the beast system gets. The first beast killed and persecuted. The second beast will do the same, and likely in a much more intense way. Jesus said: “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” (Matthew 24:21-22).

The first beast had to suffer a mortal wound just so a second power could come and reach the people who had rejected the first beast. Now we get a first glimpse of the similarities between the work done by the second beast and the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came from God to Earth after Jesus to teach the people the truth concerning Jesus (John 16:5-15). The earth beast emerged after the sea beast to teach the dragon’s message. One big difference between their work is that the false trinity established itself in order to deceive the world while the true Trinity is working to save it.

*** He directs people to worship the first beast ***: Directing people to worship the first beast is the manifestation of the dragon-like speech the second beast is said to have. According to God’s commandments, we are not to worship any other gods (Exodus 20:3). The first beast claimed to have changed God’s law, and the earth beast maintained that change. Remember that the first beast was a religious system claiming to profess the Christian faith. The second beast is also a system who presents Christian-like values to the people. Just as the dragon, the earth beast includes in his message some elements of truth mixed with some false teachings. Remember how Satan tempted Jesus by misquoting Bible verses? (Matthew 4:1-11). Remember how the serpent convinced Eve by twisting what God had taught her about the tree? (Genesis 3:1-5). That is what makes it so appealing. The message sounds right enough to be considered good and correct. Jesus was able to resist temptation by holding on to the Biblical truth (“it is written”) and to His relationship with the Father. Eve fell into temptation because she followed the serpent’s convincing message - she focused on the many good qualities the tree had to offer (Genesis 3:6). She abandoned God’s Word in that moment.

In Matthew 24:24 we read Jesus’ warning against those teaching a Cristian faith different from His Original message: “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.” Note the order Jesus says these impostors would come:

1) Christ impersonators
2) People prophesying a false message in the name of Christ.

The order is the same as the order the beasts appeared on the scene in Revelation 13. The sea beast is a system of Christ impersonators, and the earth beast is a system of false prophets. Such is the case that later in Revelation, the earth beast is referred to as the false prophet (Revelation 16:13; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10).

*** When did the earth beast emerge? ***: The bulk of the described activities the earth beast is involved in seems to happen at the time of the end, after the healing of the mortal wound to one of the sea beast’s head. But all the attention the earth beast directs towards the sea beast suggests that the second beast is involved in the healing process of the mortal wound. There was a need for a separate power to emerge because the first power had received a fatal blow to the head and was no longer exercising the political power necessary to drive their agenda in the political realm as it once could. Too many people had become opposed to the powers of the first beast. So once the first beast lost its reach, the second beast had the opportunity to present his case and offer an appealing spiritual and political opportunity for the people.This makes us think that the second beast appeared during the “is not” phase, meaning, right after the strike of the mortal wound onto one of the sea beast’s heads (see study #92, Revelation 17:8). During our last study, we saw how the time of the mortal wound seems to fit well with the time around the French Revolution. This is not an arbitrary time, but one based on the prophecies of Daniel, which we will not be studying in today’s lesson. Sometime during the French Revolution, a government power emerged away from Europe, very friendly to Christians, also holding Christian values. The lines defining which specific government that was are very blurry. Perhaps this is telling us that the focus should not be in identifying which nation is the earth beast but instead on which beastly behaviors to expect.

*** Overview ***: Jesus said: “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come”. (Matthew 24:11-14, NASB). The word lawlessness was is a literal translation from the Greek word anomia. People’s love for the Lord will diminish because they have abandoned God’s principles. They lost focus on God and started focusing on themselves. A state of lawlessness is a state of sin. Lawlessness is the dragon’s ultimate goal. It is evident here that the Law of God plays a very important role during the final events. It lets the heavenly records show whose side we are on, not for God’s benefit, because He already knows, but for our own and for the benefit of the entire universe. Those who keep it are those who love God (Revelation 12:17), therefore those who do not keep God’s Law are those who reject Him. We saw in study #92 how the sea beast and the man of lawlessness (anthrōpos tēs anomias in Greek) described in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 are one in the same. The earth beast is a power that looks right and sounds right but actually seeks to move people away from God’s Law. It does so by looking very friendly, and attractive. Once again, we must emphasize: the book of Revelation does not deal with a single individual. It’s always about a system put together in order to amplify the dragon’s message to the world. The good news is that it really does not matter whether or not we, as individuals, live under such beast-like governments. The Bible says that the entire world is under the influence of the beast system. It seems that everyone is impacted by it. If we keep trying to fit one single government as the beast, we may miss the fact that deceit is actually coming from every direction. The Bible says that the world leaders, as well as those who dwell on the earth planet, have been drinking from the wine of the fornication offered by Satan’s agents (Revelation 17:2). Instead, if we focus on what behavior to expect from the earth beast, then we will be able to recognize when any government sets out to speak like a dragon. Deceit is coming from all nations, and as Jesus said, we will be hated by all nations because of His name (Matthew 24:9). Besides, the spiritual war has not ended just yet and God is still extending saving opportunities and the true message to all those rebellious nations. Jesus said: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come”. (Matthew 24:14, NASB). The important thing to remember is that Jesus has already provided a way to victory. In fact, victory is guaranteed to those who trust in God, who love Him to the end, and who believe in salvation brought by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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