“Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666“
We now turn to the second beast of this chapter, the beast out of the Earth. This is the religious leader of the Revived Roman Empire.
Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.
The first beast came out of the sea (v.1) but the second beast comes out of the Earth. Some think that this beast is a Jew from Palestine because of the term “Earth.” There is no evidence for this.
The second beast masquerades as a lamb with two horns. The “two horns like a lamb” is a difficult phrase to interpret. The “horns” represent authority. This beast has two horns and the first beast had 10 horns. At the same time, this beast is like a lamb that is a mild creature. This gentle-mannered creature will deceive people with his mild mode of operation.
The second beast has special demonic powers of communication for he can speak like the devil [dragon]. Apparently, he is the false prophet who speaks for the first beast. He represents world ecumenical religion. He looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon. He looks like the Lord Jesus (John 1:29; Revelation 5:6) but speaks like the devil. He pawns himself off as the Lamb, the Messiah.
The dictator of the Revived Roman Empire will eventually destroy this religious system (17:16). God will cast him along with the first beast into the Lake of Fire (19:20; 20:10).
And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
The second beast does the bidding of the first beast by receiving the delegation of authority of religion. He occupies a secondary role. The false prophet [the second beast] is the head of worldwide ecumenical religion. His purpose is to encourage worship of the dictator of the Revived Roman Empire.
He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.
The second beast persuades people to worship the first beast by performing miraculous signs. He is a wonder worker. In this, he operates as the personal prophet for the dictator of the Revived Roman Empire. The Greek indicates that he repeatedly performs these miracles so that a momentum of wonders occurs. The word “great” indicates that these will be extraordinary miracles. Present day miracle fakers are no match for this false prophet. The purpose of these signs is to authenticate the authority of the first beast.
Some people think that this “fire come down from heaven” is an imitation of the miracle of Elijah (1 Kings 18:38). His hope is to confuse biblical miracles with satanic miracles.
And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.
The second beast sets up an image of the first beast. The book of Revelation refers to many images (Revelation 13:14-15; 14:9, 11; 15:2; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4). The first beast accepts worship as he sits in the temple in Jerusalem. This is the abomination of desolations of which Daniel and Jesus warned us.
“…who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
Satan designed the miracles of the second beast to “deceive.” The word “deceive” means to “wander, mislead, lead astray.”
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
Not all miracles are of God, for the second beast performs these miracles in the presence and authority of the first beast (13:2). No discerning Christian trusts any and every miracle. He or she must ask the question, “Is this miracle demonic or divine?”
He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
The second beast gives breath and the power to speak to the image of the first beast. This is his second deception. The word “image” is more than a copy but represents the reality of the thing. This image symbolizes the religious authority of the first beast and is the force behind his worldwide power. This image had the power to convince people to kill those who did not worship the first beast.
He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,
The second beast will require everyone to wear the mark of the first beast. All men of every state in life must receive this mark in a prominent place – the forehead. This will easily categorize those who worship the beast and those who do not.
The word “mark” means an impression made by a stamp. The beast will brand, like so many cows, those who belong to him.
and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
The second beast restructures the economy of the world. Without this mark, no one could buy or sell even the necessities of life. This will exclude any believer who takes a stand for Christ. By this disenfranchisement, all believers will lose all their civil rights. Many believers will die because they refuse to accept the mark.
Here is wisdom.
There is wisdom in understanding the implications of the mark of the beast.
Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.
The attempts to find hidden meanings in the 666 are legion. This leads to futile conjecture. Nowhere does the Bible use gematria [mystical interpretation] as a system of interpretation. It does use numbers symbolically but this is different from gematria. This passage explicitly says that 666 is the number of man. All attempts to identify the name of the world dictator to come by running scenarios of numbers are futile.
The word “calculate” means to reckon, compute, count. The believer must calculate the number of the beast. The mark of the beast has something to do with mankind being central to reality. This is similar to humanism today. Humanism is not humanitarianism. Humanitarianism is simply people helping people in need. Humanism is about mankind being central to reality. Mankind will solve its own problems. People can get along without God. This religion promotes worship of mankind. Religion takes our eyes off God.
Christianity is a threat to world religion.
During the Tribulation, there will be one world government, one world religion and one world economic system. Anyone who refuses to conform to these systems will die. This is the Devil’s final attempt to gain the worship of the world.
Christianity is a threat to world religion. Because Christianity claims to be mutually exclusive, world ecumenical religion must put it down. Unity at all costs will be the theme of the future in order to obtain syncretism in religion. World religion must eliminate religions that claim distinction.
The false prophet speaks sweetness and light but deals in death when it comes to Christians. This will require the dissolving of nationalism. Therefore, all nations will surrender their sovereignty to the dictator of the Revived Roman Empire. A single credit card for the world will give him global economic power. This will intimidate dissenters to get with the “program.”
The Devil uses the system of religion to deceive. He wants mankind to act independently of God. To do this, he systematizes belief as well as behavior. There is nothing more misleading than religion. Religion is the ultimate weapon of the Devil.