Sermon: The Beast Rising From The Earth: Revelation 13:11-18

Old Testament Reading: Daniel 3:1–18

“King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And the herald proclaimed aloud, ‘You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.’ Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. They declared to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘O king, live forever! You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.’ Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, ‘Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?’ Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.’” (Daniel 3:1–18, ESV)

New Testament Reading: Revelation 13:11-18

“Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.” (Revelation 13:11–18, ESV)

Introduction

I think it would be beneficial for us to ask the same questions concerning this beast that John saw rising out of the earth that we asked last week concerning the beast that John saw rising from sea. Do you remember the questions? There were five of them, and they were these: One, when will this beast appear? Two, who does this beast symbolize? Three, where does this beast have authority? Four, what does this beast do? And five, why does this beast do what he does?

When Will This Beast Appear?

The first question is, when will this beast whom John saw rising out of the earth appear?

We need not devote much time to this question, for a good deal of time was devoted to answering it in the previous sermon concerning the first beast raising from the sea. Remember that that beast – the one that John saw raising from the sea – was active in the world even when John originally penned the book of Revelation. That same beast is active in the world now, and will be active in the world until the Lord returns. In other words the sea beast symbolizes powers and entities that have been, are, and will be present in the world until the end of time, and not just some future figure.

I will not take the time to repeat the arguments that I presented in support of this view, though they would all apply to this second beast as well, for the beast from the sea and the beast from the earth are contemporaries. The beast from the earth works for the beast from the sea. Verse 12 says that the second beast “exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed” (Revelation 13:12, ESV).

The powers symbolized by the first beast from the sea are present in the world during the whole church age (symbolized by the time frame of 42 months, or 1,260 days, or a time, times and half a time), and so too are the powers symbolized by the second beast from the earth. These two – the powers symbolized by the first beast and the powers symbolized by the second – work together in their assault against the people of God living in this world.

So, when will this beast whom John saw rising out of the earth appear? The beast from the earth was present and active in John’s day, has been active in the world, and will be until the end of time.

Who Does This Beast Symbolize?

Secondly, who does this beast from the earth symbolize?

It would be helpful to remember that the first beast – the beast from the sea – symbolizes political powers that persecute. This is clear from the obvious connection that exists between the sea beast of Revelation 13 and the four beasts described in Daniel 7. The sea beast of Revelation 13 is a combination of the four beasts of Daniel 7. Those four beasts symbolized successive kingdoms that would rise and fall and persecute the people of God along the way. The beast of Revelation 13, being a hybrid of all four signifies, therefore, not one particular kingdom, but all kingdoms that persecute through political power. This beast, remember, “was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them” (Revelation 13:7, ESV). The original readers of the book of Revelation would have thought of Rome and the persecutions endured by Christians there. You and I might think of North Korea or the Islamic State and our brothers and sisters in Christ who suffer under those oppressive powers. The sea beast of Revelation 13 is as active in the world today as it was in the days of the early church. It symbolizes political powers that persecute the people of God.

And with that in mind it is important to recognize that the second beast – the one that John saw “rising out of the earth” – is closely connected to the first that rose from the sea. Not only are they contemporaries (active in the world at the same time), they are also colleagues (working towards the same goal).

We are told in verse 12 that the beast from the earth, “exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence” (Revelation 13:12, ESV). Some English Bibles say, “on its behalf” instead of “in its presence” – the beast from the earth, “exercises all the authority of the first beast on its behalf” –  it seems to me that this is the better translation. The Greek word refers to a position in front of or before an entity, and so it is understandable that the translators of the ESV have chosen the phrase, “in its presence”. But the the word might also mean to do something “on behalf” of someone – to go in front of them, as it were, to act on their behalf. Notice that the translators of the ESV have rendered the phrase, “in it presence”, but the have also indicated in a footnote the possible translation, “on its behalf”.  The meaning is that the second beast – the beast from the earth – carries out the authority of the first beast from the sea. The second beast works on behalf of the first. The beast from the earth is a kind of minister who serves the beast from the sea, carrying out it wishes.

If the first beast symbolizes political powers that persecute, the second beast symbolizes the political, religious, and economic entities that serve as agents who carry out the persecution of the church and the deception of the ungodly.

These two powers should not be hard for us to identify in the world. It really is quite simple to understand the way in which these two powers, though different from one another, do indeed correspond to one another and cooperate.

I want for you to imagine a situation where there is obvious, organized, and systematic persecution of Christ’s people taking place within a given society. Here I am not talking about isolated, random, and sporadic instances of persecution where an individual or small group decides to treat Christians badly for a time. But I am thinking of those instances where persecution is very deliberate being organized by those who have real political power. Think of the kind of persecution experienced by the Jews (and many Christians too) under Nazi Germany. Think of the kind of persecution experienced by Christians under Nero, Domitian and Trajan in Rome. And think of the kind of persecution endured by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego under Nebuchadnezzar. These are examples of obvious, organized, and systematic persecution motivated by those with real political power.

Now think of this, when persecution of this kind flares up within a society it is not Hitler or Nero or Nebuchadnezzar who carry out the acts of persecution, but their ministers go in front of them to do their bidding and to work on their behalf. These are the powers symbolized by the beast from the land. This second beast symbolizes the political, religious, and economic entities that serve as agents in the carrying out of the persecution of the church and the deception of the ungodly.

Do you see, then, how the first beast from the sea and the second beast from the land do correspond to one another. They are contemporaries and colleagues. The beast from the sea represents those political powers that persecute, but those powers typically remain at a distance from those they persecute. The beast from the earth represents those who get their hands dirty, if you will, who apply the political, religious, and economic pressure to the people of God who refuse to compromise and, through these pressures, deceive the non-elect, leading them away to false worship.

Where Does This Beast Have Authority?

Thirdly we ask, where does this beast have authority?

I do not wish to linger very long here either, but I think it is important to see that this beast from the land, just like the beast from the sea, exercises his authority in all the earth. Look again at verse 12: “It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed” (Revelation 13:12, ESV). Also in verse 14 we are told that this beast “deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived” (Revelation 13:14, ESV).

The beast from the land does not function as a precise symbol having as its referent one particular persecuting nation or one particular persecuting person, but to persecuting powers more generally and broadly. The authority of this beast can be observed throughout the earth.

What Does This Beast Do?

Fourthly we ask, what does this beast do?

We have already established that, in general, this second beast acts on behalf of the first. But here we ask, what in particular does he do? What are his methods? What is his objective?

First of all, we should recognize that this beast does try at first to deceive men and women to abandon the true worship of God and to commit idolatry.

Notice the appearance of this second beast. In verse 11 we are told that he looks like a lamb. Again, we have here an imitation of Christ. Do you remember how the first beast imitated Christ so as to function as a counterfeit? In 13:3 we were told that on of the heads of the first beast, “seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast” (Revelation 13:3, ESV). The first beast functions as a counterfeit imitating Christ in regards to death and resurrection.  But this second beast also imitates Christ functioning as a counterfeit to him. This one looks like a lamb. Remember that Christ was described in chapter 5 as “a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain…” (Revelation 5:6, ESV). Now, this second beast is described as a lamb. We should take note of this, for something of his method is revealed to us here. When this beast does his work he does not at first appear to be a beast at all, but a harmless lamb, gentle, meek and mild.

This beast has two horns. Once everything is considered I think it is best to see these two horns as corresponding to and countering the two faithful witness of Revelation 11. The two witnesses were faithful to proclaim gospel truth even in the face of intense persecution. This beast, as we will see, uses words, but he speaks lies and uses them as a weapon to deceive.

Notice that this beast “speaks like a dragon”. Remember that the dragon was identified in 12:9 as “that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world” (Revelation 12:9, ESV). This second beast, who symbolizes political, religious, and economic entities that serve as agents who carry out the persecution of the church and the deception of the ungodly on behalf of the first beast, is, like the dragon, deceptive. These political, religious, and economic entities that persecute to after look nice on the surface. They have smooth speech. They seem to care. They claim to love. They offer hope. They appear to do good. But when examined closely they show themselves to be wholeheartedly opposed to God and to his people.

Notice that this second beast from the earth is able to preform “great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of [or “on behalf” of] the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived” (Revelation 13:13–14, ESV).

Here we begin to see clearly that this beast is a false prophet. In fact that is what this beast is called later in the book of Revelation. In 19:20 we read, “And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence [or “on its behalf”] had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur” (Revelation 19:20, ESV). Here the second beast is called “the false prophet”. The same can be said of 16:13 and 20:10. Clearly, this beast from the land is the false prophet. He is not called by that name here, but his true nature is reviled via symbol.

Notice that this beast is allowed to preform “great signs”. He is a counterfeit of Christ. He is a counterfeit of the prophet Moses. Do you remember how when the prophet Moses preformed signs before Pharaoh, “Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts” (Exodus 7:11, ESV). Moses put down his staff and it became a snake, and then servants of Pharaoh did the same. How they did it, I do not know. I assume it was an allusion. The point is that they functioned as a counterfeit to the prophet Moses. Do you see that Pharaoh was a manifestation of the first beast and his servants a manifestation of the second They were false prophets who deceived the people.

This beast is even allowed to make “fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people” (Revelation 13:13, ESV). This should remind us of the contest between the prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal that is described for us in 1 Kings 18. Do you remember it? there stood the true prophet Elijah and there stood the 450 false prophets of Baal. An alter was erected by each and a bull was sacrificed upon the alter and the prophets were to call upon their God and the true God would send fire from heaven to consume the offering and the alter. The prophets of Baal danced around the alter for hours, cutting themselves, as was their custom, but nothing happened.

“And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, ‘O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.’ Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, ‘The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.’” (1 Kings 18:36–39, ESV)

But here the beast is said to be allowed to make “fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people” (Revelation 13:13, ESV). The meaning is that false prophets will have success in the world in the time between Christ’s first and second comings.

What is symbolized here in the book of Revelation is said plainly elsewhere in the New Testament. Jesus himself told his followers, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15–16, ESV). In Matthew 24, which has been quoted very often in this sermons series because it is there that Jesus speaks of how things will be in the world between his ascension and his return, Jesus says, “And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray” (Matthew 24:11, ESV). In verse 24 he says, “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24, ESV).

I want for you to recognize that it is those within the church who are threatened by the false prophets. They are active, not only out in the world. They deceive, not only those living in the world. But they threaten the church. They arise within Christ’s church, seeking to deceive even those who profess faith in Christ.

Listen to Peter’s words: “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies…” (2 Peter 2:1, ESV).

And remember Christ’s rebuke delivered to the church in Thyatita in Revelation 2:18: “But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols” (Revelation 2:20, ESV). This church had already been compromised by this beast from the land.

The same can be said of the church that was in Pergamum. Christ rebuked them, saying, “But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth” (Revelation 2:14–16, ESV). They too had been compromised by the beast from the land, in this instance, by the false teaching of the Nicolaitans.

Do you see that false prophets and false teachers have always threatened God’s people. They are able to lead people astray into false worship. They are able to deceive men and women to commit idolatry, that is, to false worship

To speak very bluntly, Christians today are very gullible and naive to the threat of false teaching within the church. They assume that if a man is called pastor, then he is to be trusted. If he reads a few words from the Bible in his sermon, then what he says must be “biblical”. If he is funny or eloquent or hip, then he is listened to. So many who claim to be Christ followers today do follow men who teach what is false, following them like dumb sheep going to the slaughter.

And how can we know whether a man be true or false? We have God’s word. He is to be tested by God’s word. Does he say what God has said? Does he teach God’s truth? Does he order the church and his ministry according to God’s directives? Does he himself meet God’s qualifications? Or has he gone his own way, having decided for himself what he ought to do and say?

Consider the task that God gave to the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel, the true prophet, was to confront the false prophets of his day. God called him, saying,

“Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who are prophesying, and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: ‘Hear the word of the Lord!… ‘They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the Lord,’ when the Lord has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word. Have you not seen a false vision and uttered a lying divination, whenever you have said, ‘Declares the Lord,’ although I have not spoken? Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore behold, I am against you, declares the Lord God.’” (Ezekiel 13:6–8, ESV).

There are many in our day who say, “thus says the Lord” and then proceed to say what the Lord has not said, or fail to say what he has said. Brothers we must beware of the of this beast from the sea who at first comes to us as a wolf in sheep clothing, “to deceive those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived” (Revelation 13:14, ESV).

Secondly, we should recognize that when the beast is unable to, through deception, pursued men to abandon the true worship of God and commit idolatry, he does then persecute them. There are two forms of persecution mentioned in this text. The first is physical, and the second is economic.

Look at verse 15: “And it [the second beast] was allowed to give breath to the image of the [first] beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.” (Revelation 13:15, ESV)

Clearly it is the story from Daniel 3 of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that stands behind this passage that we are considering to today.

What does the beast from the earth do? It compels the earth dwellers to make an image of the first beast – the beast from the sea who symbolizes political powers that persecute – so that men would bow down to it and worship it. And what did Nebuchadnezzar do? He set up an image of gold so that his subjects would come to bow before it to worship it.

Now please understand that when Daniel 3:1 says,  “King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold…” (Daniel 3:1, ESV), it does not mean that King Nebuchadnezzar made the image himself. No, his administrators certainly carried it out. And they also did not build the statue themselves, but compelled the people of that land to build it. Do you see that Nebuchadnezzar was a manifestation of the beast from the sea and his officials – “the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces” (Daniel 3:2, ESV) – were a manifestation of the beast that John saw rising from the earth? They were the ones who saw to it that the statue was built! And they would be the one to see to it that it was worshipped by all in Babylon.

Let us consider again the beast form the earth of Revelation 13. What does this beast do after the image is erected? “It was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain” (Revelation 13:15, ESV).

This also echoes the situation in Daniel 3.

“Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And the herald proclaimed aloud, ‘You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace’” (Daniel 3:3–6, ESV).

If the image were alive – if it were truly a god worthy to be worshipped – then it should speak for itself. But this was no god at all. It was merely the creation of man, and therefore it was dependent upon man, its creator, to speak for him. “The herald”, one of Nebuchadnezzar’s most trusted ministers, no doubt, “proclaimed aloud, ‘You are commanded, O peoples… when you hear the sound of the… music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.” And what was the threat? “Whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.”

The beast from the earth in Revelation 13 symbolizes the kind of power. It symbolizes those political, religious, and economic entities that serve as agents who carry out the persecution of the church when the faithful refuse to enter into idolatry and abandon the true worship of God.

Notice that this beast uses, not only physical persecution, but also economic sanctions in its quest to nudge men and women towards idolatry.

Look at verse 16: “Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name” (Revelation 13:16–18, ESV).

Friends, the mark on the right hand or the forehead is not to be taken literally. It is not a physical mark, but is symbolic. The mark on the right hand or the forehead indicates ownership and allegiance. For one to take the mark of the beast one must pledge allegiance to the beast, bow in worship before it, confessing it as lord.

Remember that those who pledge allegiance to Christ, bow in worship before him, confessing him as Lord, have been marked by him. They are the ones who are “sealed” from every tribe of the sons of Israel (Revelation 7:4). Turn over to 14:1. It is no accident that immediately after the mark of the beast is mentioned in 13:18 we read, “Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads” (Revelation 14:1, ESV). Certainly this is not to be taken literally either, but it a symbol ownership and allegiance. These who have God’s name written on their foreheads are those who belong to him, and he to them.

All who are of the world, who trust in the world, who bow before Caesar, saying, “Caesar is Lord” taken upon themselves the mark of the beast. All who are of Christ, who trust in Christ, who bow before Christ, saying, “Jesus is Lord!”, are “sealed” by him and have “his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads”.

Notice that it only those who have the mark of the beast who are allowed to buy and sell. The mark of the beast, though it is not a literal physical mark, but symbolic and spiritual, may from time to time manifest itself in physical and tangible ways.

There is evidence that during the reign of Decius (249 A.D.) and Diocletian (303 A.D.) that certificates were issue to those were loyal to the emperor and participated in the required rituals of the imperial religion. To have a certificate would mean that you could buy ad sell and enjoy life within the society. To lack it put you at risk. You would not be free to trade, and you may be in danger of imprisonment or even death. Here the mark of the beast took on a physical form, and so it might in the future too.

I remember a brother from Turkey telling me that the drivers licenses indicated your religion. If you were a Muslim it was easy to get a job. If your license said Christian, it was far more difficult. I’m not sure if this is still true today, but it is an example of a physical mark of the beast.

I do find it almost amusing to watch Christians who hold to the futuristic and literalistic interpretation of the book of Revelation freak out when there is talk of new payment method involving a chip implanted in the skin, or some such thing. Is that the mark of the beast? No! Not unless you are required to denounce Christ, or to bow in worship before Caesar, or to do or say some other thing that would amount to a denial of our Lord to get it! Then it would be a physical manifestation of the mark of the beast.

Verse 18 reveals to us the number of the beast. “This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.”

Last week I mentioned that this number might refer to the Emperor Nero, who was notorious for his mistreatment of Christians, who died in 68 A.D. This theory is based upon the method of assigning numerical value to the Hebrew letters of Nero’s name. When you add them up they equal 666.

I wish back away from this view a little. If the number 666 does indeed have reference to Nero I think it is probably of secondary significance. A much more straight forward interpretation of this number involves seeing it as then number of sinful and fallen man – a number that communicates total imperfection. The number which communicates completion or perfection in the scriptures is seven.The number of God and of his Christ would be 777. Here we have trinity of seven’s, if you will. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – 777. But the number of the beast is the number of man, or the number of imperfection, repeated three times over. We have here a trinity of sixes – a trinity of imperfection. It should be recognized that three figures have been introduced to us so far who oppose God and his people – the dragon, the beast and the false prophet. These three are a false trinity who seek to deceive men and women to worship them instead of God.

The number 666 is meant to impress upon the reader just how foolish it is to go the way of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. You’ll be sorely disappointed with what you find there. They are incomplete and imperfect. They are creatures of God, and not the Creator, who in six days made all things in heaven and on earth, and on the seventh day did enter into his holy rest.

Do not take this mark, friends, by turning from the worship of the one true to the worship of idols. Worship the Creator only, and not the creation. This calls for wisdom.

Why Does This Beast Do What He Does?

The fifth and last question is this: why does this beast from the earth do what he does? It is because he is Satanic. He is minister of the first beast, who is a minster of the dragon himself. Let us not be deceived.

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