Mystic Figure, the Beast from the Earth, Revelation Chapter 13 Verses 11-18 (NASB)

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    And I saw another BEAST
John is saying he has seen something like this before (verse 1) and it isn't any better the second time.
    coming up out of the earth; and
This is the last of the satanic trilogy: Satan (devil himself), the sea beast (antichrist), and the earth beast (anti-Holy Spirit).

John the Baptist in discussing Christ makes an interesting statement about what "comes from the earth" (John 3:25-36).

  • he had two horns like a lamb, and
What an odd description because lambs don't have horns. Thus, this must be a representation of something like power and authority. Perhaps one horn is political and the other is religious.

Note the "other Lamb" in Revelation 5:6 has seven horns (complete authority over seven realms not fully known to mankind?).

Lambs were considered unblemished and spotless as fit for sacrifice (1 Peter 1:13-21). However, this one as a lamb ....

  • he spoke like a dragon.
Now the dragon, too, is fictitious. So what we have here is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Matthew 7:15-20 is how Jesus described him. Paul says "God will send" this beast to deceive "even the elect" (2 Thessalonians 2:1-11-12). These "elect" must refer to the sealed 144,000 Jewish men (next chapter) because the rest of the elect are gone in the "uptaking" by this time. The remaining people on this earth will buy in to the anti-Holy Ghost completely!
    And he exercises all the AUTHORITY of the first beast in his presence.

What we see here is the apparent swapping of roles. Remember the "spirit" nature of the sea beast (verse 1)?  Here the earth beast receives all the spiritual qualities of the first beast.

Furthermore, things of this earth are usually tied to money. Watchman Nee points out that "the son of perdition" is used twice in the New Testament. In John 17:12, "the son of perdition" refers to Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples and also the money manager for the group. The second reference in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 points at the antichrist. Thus an argument can be made that the economic and religious systems of the world will combine to totally overwhelm all peoples of the earth except for those whose names are in 'the book' (verse 8).

Note also that this pair may be the devil's way to counterfeit the two witnesses (Revelation 11:3).

    And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to WORSHIP the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.

The lure of wealth will cause many people to lose their faith (1 Timothy 6:10). Or rather, the fear of losing their earthly means of accumulating wealth may cause people to take the mark (verse 16). Either the lure or fear will cause the WORSHIPPING of the beasts to occur.

Much has been written about the "fatal wound". It is not clear when or how....perhaps it occurred in the war in the heavenlies (Revelation 12:7-9).  If this is true, we, humans, probably wouldn't recognize the "fatal wound" because it is spiritual in nature (Revelation 21:8).

Incidentally, a religious and economic consortium knows no geopolitical boundaries. The WORSHIP is not unlike that demanded by Herod in Acts 12:21-23 until the Lord steps in.
    And he performs GREAT SIGNS, so that

These are no mere tricks; these are supernatural such that humans, individually or collectively, would have a difficult time devising them. Their purpose is the LEAD ASTRAY even the elect (next verse, Matthew 24:24).

Interestingly, when it was demanded of Jesus to show a SIGN (Matthew 12:38-45), he didn't do it but rather pointed the requester to Jonah and the Old Testament prophets. When a person is living an "unbelieving" life, they will constantly ask for SIGNS. That is what keeps fortunetellers and the like busy. The true believer, on the other hand, is trying to please God through FAITH (Hebrews 11:6).

    he even makes FIRE come down out of HEAVEN to the EARTH in the presence of men.

Now this FIRE must be permitted by God. It is not unlike that described in Job 1:16 at least as it was perceived to be. That the earth beast can do this shows the kind of AUTHORITY he has received (previous verse).

This kind of FIRE is well understood by Jewish people. They have heard how Elijah called it down (1 Kings 18:30-40, 2 Kings 1:9-16). They have had, most recently, two witnesses who breathed fire out of their mouths in self defense (Revelation 11:5). So fire has been used as a SIGN and defense before.

But the ultimate use of FIRE is in judgment, and, in particular, judgment associated with authority. The disciples, James and John, after receiving their "authority", wanted to call down fire on a Samaritan village (Luke 9:51-56). Incidentally, the village didn't get burned.

    And he DECEIVES those who DWELL ON THE EARTH because of the SIGNS

If the people in Christ's day didn't accept Him after he performed various miracles, then it follows the earth beast must perform as great or greater SIGNS to deceive the earth-dwellers. As believers, how do we tell the SIGNS apart? 1 John 4:1-6 tells us how.

E. W. Bullinger in "Commentary on Revelation" writes, "Christ's miracles, as miracles, were no evidence of His Divine mission. The real evidence was that the miracles which He wrought were the very miracles which the Prophetic Word had declared He should work, and which were on that account the sign and seal of His ministry, and formed His credentials from on high. This is clear from Matthew 11:1-6."  One wonders what 'prophetic word' will the earth beast use? But, on the other hand, if this is a deception, and it is, then the earth beast won't need any 'prophetic word'. He only needs the beast standing by.

    which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast,

Note the parallel 'in the presence' in the previous verse. This presence implies that the earth beast couldn't do these SIGNS without the presence of the sea beast. In contrast, Christ didn't need anyone else's presence to do the miracles he did because He always did what was pleasing to the Father (John 8:29). While it was not necessary for the Holy Spirit to be there, I would imagine that He was there as the 'fulness of Deity' dwelt in Him (Colossians 2:9).

    telling those who DWELL ON THE EARTH to make an image to the beast

It isn't clear if this image is a likeness of the beast or, more likely, one like Nebuchadnezzar put up in Daniel 3. The critical point is that 'earth-dwellers' have this need to belong and to pay homage to 'a hero'.  This image will do the trick, literally. However, after God's commandment in Exodus 20:3-5, you know this is going to bring judgment. In fact this is the 'abomination of desolation' Jesus referred to in Matthew 24:15-28.

Now those who refuse to participate in the image worship will be killed by this very image (next verse). Contrast this with Christ's purpose to come to this earth as He explains in John 3:16-21.

    who had the WOUND of the SWORD and has COME to LIFE.

How this will happen is not known at this time. That technology is doing amazing things with genetics is brought to us on television and the Internet everyday. This will be very believable to the 'earth-dwellers'. Be aware that the beast has to remove any doubts of his coming to life from earth-dweller's minds or he won't convince any. However even among Jesus' followers, Thomas has to be shown the nail prints in Jesus' hands before he would believe (John 20:19-25).

A final thought -- the expression 'dwell on the earth' is used twice in this verse. This means it has emphasis. The image of the beast will be restricted to this earth. It will not go into heaven or any other part of the universe. Only the Creator controls all; the devil and his beasts are earthbound as the devil himself explains in Luke 4:1-13.
    And there was GIVEN TO HIM

Who this refers to, sea beast or Satan himself, is not clear. Whomever did have the power to do this; thus, most likely this was Satan himself.

    to give BREATH to the image of the beast,

Now this is not an idol in the scriptural sense because Psalms 135:15-18 and Jeremiah 10:1-5 indicate that idols cannot speak. So this is a supernatural image. Some Bible scholars believe this is symbolic of political entity 'reborn'. Others believe this is another human being especially 'gifted' by Satan not unlike how Judas Iscariot was 'gifted' to betray Christ (John 13:27).

Others say it could be advanced technology in its finest hour.  Even as I put this onto the web site, the multimedia capabilities of this personal computer along with all the other similar personal computers interlinked by Internet could see and hear this image. Yet even this is not sufficient because much of the world doesn't have these personal computers, and they, too, will understand that BREATH was given to an image.

    that the image of the beast might even
        *  SPEAK and
        *  CAUSE as many as do not worship the IMAGE of the BEAST to be killed.

Now the image apparently doesn't do the killing but convinces everyone whose name is not written in the Book of Life (verse 8) to kill on its behalf.

How will they know who is to be killed? See verses 16 and 17. If you haven't accepted Christ as your personal Savior and end up in the tribulation period and still wish to have your name written in the Book of Life, you will give your own life to attain heaven. Wouldn't it be better to accept Christ today (and put your name in the Book)?

This is the first of seven times that the IMAGE is referred to (Revelation 13:15; Revelation 14:9,11; Revelation 15:2; Revelation 16:2; Revelation 19:20; and Revelation 20:4). The IMAGE always is tied to the earth beast and has a predetermined destination.
    And he causes ALL,

There is no exclusion, and once the MARK is taken, that person's eternal destiny is determined (Revelation 14:9-11).

        *  the small and the great, and

According to Hebrews 8:11, ALL shall know Me (Jesus), from the least to the greatest of them.  This is Satan's counterfeit of that passage of Scripture.

        *  the rich and the poor, and

This is both materially and spiritually (Luke 16:19-31).

        *  the free men and the slaves,

This is unknown in Christ's world (Galatians 3:28), so this must be a worldly distinction.

    to be given a MARK
        - on their right hand, or {if they don't have a right hand}
        - on their FOREHEAD, {which all living persons have.}

Much has been written about this MARK. There is speculation from ultraviolet tatoos to implantable ID chips to universal credit card, but that doesn't explain primitive peoples in the ALL part of this verse. Thus one should consider this as a symbolic commitment to worshiip the IMAGE (like a gang symbol) or a food voucher program (see next verse).

Moses indicated that it was a reminder of belonging to a special group, those who exited from Egypt, and was to be taught continually (Exodus 13:3-16).
    and he provides that no one should be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the MARK,

The MARK will be necessary to do trade. Consider that at this time, the world may have very little food. Previously there was drought (Revelation 11:3,6), famine (Revelation 6:5-6), and total disruption of food production (Revelation 6:12). NO SUN, NO FOOD!

So it is likely that the official economies of the world have broken down (see lament in Revelation 18:11), and the only thing left is the "underground market" controlled by the "earth beast". How appropriate that he should come "out of the earth" (verse 11).

        *  either the name of the BEAST

Probably the "godfathers" of the Black Market are privileged to carry the "name" of the BEAST.

        *  or the number of his NAME.

The rest of the population will just get THE NUMBER of his NAME.

Don't think it is unusal that the population will so readily accept the MARK. When one is hungry, you will do almost anything. Taking the MARK is a matter of survival.

Remember what was said of the tribulation saints, "They shall HUNGER no more," (Revelation 7:16).
    Here is WISDOM.

This is WISDOM for the reader, and its source is clear (Proverbs 2:1-6).  It is not from the beast or the devil.

This expression is used after Daniel's writings (Daniel 12:10) and again by John in discussing the beast's seven heads and the great harlot (Revelation 17:9). Ironically, the WISDOM in this verse has caused more discussion and speculation than perhaps any other verse in the Revelation. Sad to say, the world (and probably most believers) know very little about the Revelation but almost all have heard about 666.

This is not a parable but more like a puzzle. It will be revealed when necessary just like Jesus explained why he spoke in parables (Matthew 13:11).

    Let him who has understanding calculate the NUMBER of the beast, for the NUMBER is that of a man; and his NUMBER is six hundred and sixty-six.
This discussion will not go into the many attempts to 'calculate' the NUMBER, or do a gematria to determine whether a leader (past or alive) equates to 666. It is possible that the 666 may not be a calculation but a physical symbol like 3 coiled up spirals used in security tags in stores and libraries. The calculation becomes the unique resonant frequency of the security tag.

The number six, itself, is interesting in that man was created on the 6th day (Genesis 1:24-31); the archenemy of Israel, Goliath, was 6 cubits and a span, and had a spear head weighing 600 shekels, and wore 6 pieces of armour (1 Samuel 17:4); and lastly, the foulness of the devil is demonstrated in the 6th bowl (Revelation 16:12-16).  Perhaps this is what Daniel saw in Daniel 11:21-28 as directly impacting the world leaders.

Finally, if the 666 were some sort of ID chip to be inserted under the skin, Old Testament law forbids the Jewish people from cutting the skin 'for the sake of evil' or to have markings (tattoos). Yet those whose names are not written in the Book (verse 8), will accept the 666 NUMBER.
 

Leviticus 19:28 Lifestyle
Leviticus 21:5 Priest's standards
Deuteronomy 14:1-2 Not for sake of dead (idols, images?)

"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 Used by permission."

References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only