We return to Revelation 13 where last time, you will recall, we were introduced to a, beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. [Rev. 13:1 KJV] There are a couple of salient words here that I want to call your attention to. The first is the word translated, beast. This is the Greek word, therion and it carries with it the idea of a wild beast. This is a wild, ferocious, even venomous beast. It can also be, interestingly enough, a bestial man, or a man with beast-like qualities; and this certainly describes this one who will be revealed following the removal of the Church at the rapture. [See 2 Thess. 2:7]
The second word I would like to call your attention to is the word, rise. Grammatically speaking this is the present participle. The present participle is a command for doing something in the future that involves continuous or repeated action. Therefore, this word would better be translated as, rising or coming. This beast system and the wild beast at the head of it don’t just suddenly appear. No, they have been rising or coming for a long time. In fact, the Apostle Paul spoke of the Mystery of iniquity in 2 Thessalonians 2:7. This is the covert working of Satan and those working in conjunction with him to bring about a one-world political, economic, and religious system with the man of sin at the head of it. It has been rising for thousands of years now, and will appear in the not too distant future. Notice the word, sea once again. In biblical imagery this speaks of the “sea” of humanity or nations. It refers more specifically to gentile nations. The Beast and the Beast system will arise from the old Roman Empire. We get a clue concerning this in Revelation 17. John writes,
The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. [Rev. 17:8, 11 KJV] Past dictators like Charlemagne, Napoleon, Hitler, and Mussolini all tried to revive the old Roman Empire and failed. The United Nations tried tried to bring it back and failed. The Antichrist will succeed. It will not however be a revived Roman Empire as much as it will be a revised Roman Empire, as it will have traits and characteristics of past Empires of history. It will be the seventh in a succession of Empires or nations to come against Israel. It will eventually be headed up by ten kings from, what some see, ten regions from within the old Roman Empire.
Verse 11 continues, And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. There are a number of things to observe here. First, notice this is another beast. In appendix 24 of The Companion Bible, E.W. Bullinger lists six different synonyms for the word, another. The first is, allos, which denotes, “another of the same kind.” That is the word that is translated as, another here. He is just as ferocious, vicious, and brutal as the beast out of the sea. He is seen rising up out of the earth. “Sea” in biblical imagery speaks of the mass of Gentile nations. “Earth” is a symbol of Israel. The first “beast” will rise from the region of the old Roman Empire, in the Mediterranean Sea area. The second Beast, who is the same kind as the first one, rises up out of Israel and the Jewish people. It should be noted that the first beast is a political leader. A political power and person. He will be bent on world domination, but will come short of accomplishing it. This second beast will be a religious leader. Even though he is not identified as such here, this is the “false prophet” [See 16:30; 19:20; 20:10].
Notice he has, “two horns” of a lamb. This speaks of the “horns” of the male lamb, that are really nothing more than nubs that barely rise above the head. I want to suggest here that the “two horns” could speak of the mixing or combining of two religious systems within the Beast system. In the region of the world from which this second beast will arise the two most prominent religions are Christianity and Islam. Therefore, I want to submit to you that the “Beast” religious system will be a mixture of apostate Christianity and Islam. I have personally believed for several years that this would be the case but I couldn’t conceive of how such could ever be. We now know that such a combining of religions is not only possible, but has indeed already occurred. I speak of course of a movement gaining in popularity in several Protestant churches known as Chrislam. What is Chrislam? What role, if any, does it play in end-time events? First things first.
Sci-fi fans may remember Arthur C. Clarke’s 1993 novel The Hammer of God, in which he mentions a fictional religion known as Chrislam. Unfortunately, Chrislam is anything but fictional. In fact, it originally started as a Nigerian cult back in 1983. It was founded by one Tela Tella and became known for recognizing the authority of both the Bible and Qur’an equally. During Chrislamic worship services it was reported that people shouted both to God and Allah. When centered primarily in Lagos, Nigeria as it originally was it was a relatively small (about 1,500 adherents) unknown sect. It has since become a much larger movement that has emerged and is beginning to be embraced by several Protestant Christian churches. In fact, there was an official move to recognize the merging of Christianity and Islam on June 26 of this year when Protestant churches from virtually every State took that Sunday to place the Bible and Qur’an side by side in their pews to spread awareness of Islam and its compatibility with Christianity. We are there folks! Apostasy is on the rise at an alarming rate as more and more believers depart from the faith once delivered to the saints. There is something else interesting about the fact that this beast has two horns.
As Bible-believing Christians we believe, There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.[Eph. 4:4 – 6 KJV] Not only that, we believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and that no man can come to the Father accept through Him. [See John 14:6] Again, Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. [Acts 14:12] In other words, one excludes all difference and denotes that which is Sovereign. Two, on the other hand, affirms that there is a difference, or that is, another. What do we see today not only in this move to unite Christianity and Islam, but in the modern Church as a whole? Another gospel, another Jesus, and another spirit being promoted. In the beast having two horns like a lamb we see him not only seeking to appear like Christ, but to bring together that which is quite diverse and in reality diametrically opposed, merging two different religions under one perverted head. Notice however,
He spake as a dragon. He will appear to have some sort of affinity with Christ, however that which he will speak will be entirely as the dragon speaks. He will, if you will, have a satanic anointing. John continues in his description of this one,
And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. [Rev. 13:12] “Power” here is again, exousia or superhuman power. His power will be satanic in nature. His power or authority will be delegated from the first beast, the antichrist. He will however have the same power. He, the false prophet, will be to the Antichrist what the Holy Spirit is to the true Christ. What do I mean by that? The emergence of this second beast will complete what many have referred to as the “unholy trinity” – The dragon (Satan), the beast (Antichrist), and the lamb-like beast (the false prophet). The second beast will direct all attention and worship to the first beast, just as the Holy Spirit does to Jesus. He will arrest the attention of the masses. It is interesting how he will do it. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth 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 unto 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. [Rev. 13:13 – 15]
He will come on the scene as a miracle worker, performing great (Gr. Megas) wonders. He may even as some in years past have done claim to be the return of Elijah the prophet, appearing to make fire come down from heaven to the earth. He will amaze the crowds and once he has them “on the hook” he will direct them to make an “image” to the beast. This is the Greek, eikon , and of course this word is transliterated as icon in English. This word appears twenty-two times in the Bible, and every time is translated as “image”. This won’t be just any image or idol however. The false prophet will be granted power to give “life” to this idol. The Prophet Isaiah stated in his writings that idols are lifeless. The Apostle Paul reiterated this in his epistles. This idol however will speak. “Life” here is the Greek pneuma, which is breath or spirit. Of the 385 times in which this word appears in the NT, this is the only place where it is translated, “life”. He will somehow animate this idol. Whether this will be through some sophisticated protein based computer chip with massive computing power, or outright demonic power, this idol will appear to breath and will be able to speak. Not only that, it appears this idol will have the ability to execute judgment on those who refuse to worship it. We are not given details on how all of this will be done.
And he causeth 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 hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. [Rev. 13:16 – 18] “All” needs to be understood in the context of the region of the world in which the Beast system will have the greatest influence, and that would be primarily the old Roman Empire region, which would take in Northern Africa, the Middle East, and all of Europe. That is not to say that it will not affect things world-wide, however the primary area of the Beast system will be the old Roman Empire. What about this “mark”? It is from the Greek word charagma, and means a stamp or imprinted mark. If applied to horses or livestock it would be a brand. The use of this word seems to imply this mark will be visible. Some scholars suggest that the mark placed on the right hand or forehead is to distinguish those who labor with their hands from those engaged in intellectual pursuits. This is yet another attempt on the part of the unholy trinity to impersonate God or His commandments. For example, And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.[Deut. 6:6 – 8]
We see the false prophet wedding, if you will, religion with business here, for you will have to have the “Mark of the Beast” to do business. In John’s day soldiers were branded or marked by their commander. Slaves were marked by their master, and those attached to certain pagan temples were marked by the god or goddess whom thy served. This “mark” will be all about identification. I think it will also be about ownership. Those who bear the “mark” will have literally sold their very soul to the beast system. [See Rev. 14:9 – 11] Now, will it be some sort of tattoo, or brand, or bar code on the right hand or forehead? Many theories have been put forth through the years. One thing is for certain, and that is that the technology definitely exists to implement a widespread, if not global identification system that can store massive amounts of data in an implantable chip that is smaller than a dime and can be easily inserted under the skin of the hand, or right below the hairline on the forehead. Is this science-fiction? Absolutely not!
I speak of the RFID chip, and it is being currently used in credit and debit cards that we carry everyday, as well as chips that are placed in pets so that they can be identified if ever lost. I am not saying that this technology is definitely the “Mark of the Beast”, however I find it both interesting as well as troubling that “chipping” of American citizens is included in the so-called “Health Care Bill” that was for all practical intents and purposes shoved down the throats of the citizens of the United States. It is found under Class II, paragraph 1, section B of the Obama Health care Bill. It calls for an, “implantable device” to store “health data”. It will start out by being implanted in the majority of those who opt to become covered by the public health care option. With the reform of private insurance companies, more and more American citizens will opt for the more affordable public option, and thus more and more people will receive the chip. Under this system the adults who opt to have this device implanted will be the fortunate ones. Children who are “born in the United States who at the time of birth is not otherwise covered under acceptable coverage” will be qualified and placed into the CHIP or Children’s Health Insurance Program (what a convenient name). With a name like CHIP it would seem consistent to have the chip implanted into a child. Children conceived by parents who are already covered under the public option will more than likely be implanted with a chip by the consent of the parent. Eventually everyone will be implanted with a chip. I am not saying that this will definitely be the “Mark”, but it could be or something much like it.
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. What is the identity of the “Beast”? Exactly whom will he be? Again, many theories have been set forth. His name can be determined by the method of gematria, the rabbinical method of interpreting the numerical value of Hebrew, Greek, or Latin letters. John says his name can be determined in this way. However, it will not be able to be identified until this one is actually revealed. Those who are alive and left on the earth at the time the Antichrist is revealed, will be able to count the number of his name, and that number will equal the infamous 666. He will be revealed once the Church, and the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit through the Church has been removed. [See 2 Thess. 2:6 – 8]
We will continue by picking up with chapter 14 next time.