Revelation chapter 13 is set in a day not too distant!
This second beast arises out of the earth as opposed to the sea (13:1).
The first beast we have categorised / identified as the AntiChrist on the basis of:
- Wild beast description (13:1) by way of contrast with the description of the Lord Jesus as the lamb.
- His incarnation in arising up out of the depths of the sea (13:1) in contrast to the one who came down from God (John 6:33,38)
- 7 fold names of blasphemy (13:1) in marked contrast to those names associated with the 7 fold spirit of God, described of the Lord Jesus in Isaiah 11: 2 and ascribed to the Lord Jesus in Revelation 5:6.
- His mouth “speaking great things” (13:5) that also quite strikingly contrasts with the “gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth” (Luke 4:22)
- The duration of his reign of 3 ½ years which compares to the 3 ½ of public service of the Lord Jesus as a humble servant.
- AntiSermon on the mount of 13:6, as the beast opens his mouth in blasphemy against God, His place on earth and His place in heaven. The complete opposite of what we find from the lips of Christ in Matthew 5:2; 6:9.
The first beast then we characterised as the AntiChrist. He had the object of distracting us from Christ, providing us with an alternative, a Satanic alternative opposite to the Christ of God.That of course has always been the object and purpose of Satan, to provide an alternative Christ, an antichrist, anti in:
The second beast is intimately tied into the mission of the Antichrist (13:12). His purpose is not so much to provide the lie; that has already been done, but to get us believing the lie, subscribing to the lie and under the power of the lie.
This second beast is referred to as the false prophet in Revelation 19:20.
He is not only false of course but in verse 11 he is DANGEROUS; dangerously deceptive. The second beast looks superficially, to the passing glance, like a lamb, although intriguingly he looks like a lamb in rather peculiar way. That feature of the beast which connects him to, that echoes of the lamb, is perhaps the least lamb like feature of the lamb, the horns! You won't find any reference to that feature of the lamb in the OT. The closest perhaps, is the reference to God providing Himself a lamb in Genesis 22. When Abraham turns there is the provision for the sacrifice, caught by it’s horns in the thicket, but the language is changed from lamb to ram. The horn is symbolic of strength and power in the Old Testament. The power of this beast however is unassuming, maybe even strangely attractive. His power is disguised lamb like as non-threatening, benign and perhaps even kindly. This is the power behind deception. This beast, whilst we appreciate his power, can be trusted because, well quite clearly he is acting in our best interests! We can trust him! He is the master propagandist. He is powerful and dangerous. His power seems to be benign, beneficent. He has managed to convince a lost world that they can trust him! Trust me, I’m a devil.
You don’t need to look too far to get a flavour of that today, religious leaders who project themselves as warm, friendly, with your best interest at heart and in the process get you to swallow a lie hook line and sinker.
There is currently circulating on Facebook and You Tube a video with 3 million views, fronted by a benign and friendly looking Buddhist monk advising us of 3 things we need to know, one of which was ‘don’t be a prisoner to your past, the past is just a lesson not a life sentence.’
That seems to be, on the surface quite a warm and helpful statement, encouraging people not to be hindered by burdens in the past they cannot alter. But of course it contains the seed of a most profound lie and it fails to stand up to logical scrutiny.
It’s illogical – if the past is but a lesson for the present, then logically the present is a lesson for the future, which begs the question a lesson for what? For life? When does the living come if this is but a lesson. The reality is that the past and present and future are no mere lessons to be learned and moved on from. By all means we must learn lessons from our mistakes in the past. The subtle twist brings in the most profound lie. We learn lessons from the past and in the past but the past itself is not a lesson. The past is our life. The past has consequences for us, what we sow we reap. Consequences for others in time and for us in eternity, ultimately, we receive the ‘due reward of our deeds.’
We are accountable for our past and our past will be judged by God. It is no simple matter to learn the lesson, dismiss the past as a mere lesson and move on. That denies
- accountability for and
- judgement of and
- salvation from sin.
This second beast is dangerous and deceptive.
What is the nature of this apparent miracle?
On surface he produces an image / a statue like perhaps that of Nebuchadnezzar and then make it live – that would be a miracle. It would indeed be a miracle! Comparable to the miracle of creation. This is very unlikely.
To God uniquely is imputed the power to give life. We have that truth in Creation.
- “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28)
- “in Him is life and that life is the light of men”
- So much so, come John’s Gospel, it is the fact that Christ is able to make alive that John uses as a proof of the Deity of Christ.
Come the replication of the miracles of Moses, the magicians of Pharaoh seemed to have a real problem in turning dust into lice, in producing life from the dust (Exodus 8:18). How come Satan can do it now but not then?
The word here for life is a bit unusual in verse 15. It is not the word for a living organism, animate with motion and activity ‘zoe’ but rather “pneuma”. This false prophet, manages to take a man made object and impute a spirit to it. By analogy to God’s creation of Adam we recall that God breathed into Adam the breath of lifes and Adam became a living soul then perhaps what we have here is a man made artificial entity empowered by the spirit of the false prophet. As strange as that may sound that is not out with the realms of possibility.
Man cannot create life but he can transfer his life force or spirit to a previously inanimate object.
The story begins back around 1999 with a Prof Miguel Nicolelis creating a Brain Computer Interface. Probes were inserted into the brain, which measured brain action potentials and electrical activity. Some very clever computer analysis was able to anticipate which muscles and movements these electrical activities triggered. He then got a monkey to play a computer game with a joy stick whilst that brain computer interface was reading the monkey's brain. He then disconnected the joystick and the monkey was able to control the screen and computer with mere thought read by the brain computer interface.
Professor Kevin Warwick, professor of Cybernetics at the university of Reading, used an implant into his nervous system in 2002 to control a robotic arm. What was interesting was that he added a further dimension to this by making use of the internet, so that he moved the robotic arm in a different continent. His spirit in a sense animated the inanimate object.
Currently an Elon Musk funded company in California – Neuralink is experimenting with a neural brain implant, about the size of a £1 coin, inserted into a hole hollowed out of the skull, to which is attached 1024 fine electrically conducting channels. The neuralink has inductive, wireless charging and megabyte wireless transfer speeds. These channels pick up the action potentials, the electrical activity of the brain. Complex and clever computer decoding is able to tie those patterns of electrical signals to the physical movements which they cause. Musk’s neuralink group were able to use the brain signals from a monkey to play ping pong!
We are also the first generation to live in the era when we no longer need to doubt the possibility of the fulfilment of verses 16 and 17, nor need we greatly speculate as to how this could be possible.
You can order one over the internet today.
British Polish company Walletmor has now gone into commercial production of these devices just a few months ago. It uses the same technology as is in your contactless NFC payment system in your mobile phone.
“The microchip implants that let you pay with your hand” BBC Website 2022
Cost euros: 249.00
The technology referenced in Revelation chapter 13 is already with us.
How long before the antichrist and false prophet are likewise with us?