The Two Satanic Beasts and Their Deadly Work
Primary Truth Taught- The two beasts are empowered by Satan to destroy those made in God’s image.
Chapter 12 has shown us a vivid picture of Satan, the dragon, being hurled out of heaven. No more does he have access to heaven, he was given the deathblow at Calvary. His goal, now on earth, is to pursue the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. How does He pursue God’s people if he was defeated at Calvary? Here in this chapter John tells us through visions how it is a defeated devil does his dirty work. He operates through two major entities, as we’ll learn today. I pray that we will learn from the Bible how Satan still, even though he is a dying enemy, has some level of power on earth.
As we’ll see, Satan works through the two beasts found here in Chapter 13. Now, when we speak of the two beasts don’t think about these being beasts like monsters or even certain people, the beasts are worldly institutions in which Satan powers to do his bidding, the first being secular governments and world leaders and the second being false religions and the false church.
See with me how these work together…
Have you ever noticed that our secular institutions and various other organizations show tolerance to most all religions but when it comes to Christianity, they are intolerant? Why is that? I think we’ll see today why it is our secular world accepts other religions and the false church while at the same time rejecting Christianity.
A few examples of recent intolerance for Christianity:
• The Supreme court determining to exclude anyone who prays in Jesus name from a rotation of officials who open city business meetings
• The removal of US military Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, over the issue of praying in Jesus Name
• A San Diego elementary school created an extra recess period to allow 100 Muslim students to pray, while a federal judge upheld a Knoxville, Ky., jury’s decision that a public school could prohibit its 5th grade Christian students from studying and discussing their Bibles during recess
That’s why, as another example, murdering babies in the womb can still happen even though everyone knows that it’s a baby. They can hear a heartbeat, watch the heartbeat, see the baby move around in 3-D and still those fighting for it can get away with calling the child a woman’s choice.
The reason our world is like it is is because the two beasts are empowered by Satan and work together. So the beast that is our secular society tolerates all religions and the false church because Satan too powers those.
Understand the devil loves religion and liberal Christianity, he wants everyone to attend those services. Go to church all you want, the devil would say, as long as its not teaching truth from the Bible. He loves it when people commit themselves to wrong teaching and false doctrines and he loves it when they are endorsed by our secular world. He will fight against all who seek the true Gospel and the true church even to the death.
Jesus summed it up for us so we wouldn’t be caught off guard…
2 Timothy 3:12–13 (ESV)
12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
How does Satan accomplish his goal to trouble and persecute the Church?
His goal is to destroy the Church and steal God’s glory. Throughout the Church age Satan has been attempting this futile purpose. He will not be successful in either of his ultimate goals but try he will.
One way he seeks to destroy the Church is to rise up among its ranks and speak blasphemy and untruths. One way he seeks to rob God of His glory is to impersonate Him in many areas; therefore, many will worship him instead of God.
Human Need Met
We must be very wise as we live in this world under demonic influences. Never place your trust in man’s organizations or man’s religions. We must live holy lives separated from the world even though we are in the world. This passage today gives us the reality of the world we live in and the way to remain pure.
5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear:
10 If anyone is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
In this first half of Chapter 13, we see a description of the first beast. If you remember from last time, this description very closely resembles the description of Satan himself.
Revelation 12:3 (ESV)
3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems.
Notice that the dragon from Chapter 12 is giving this beast power, the influence and way in which the beast captivates the world of lost people is fueled by Satan himself.
Notice also that John does not say that the first beast is a person because repeatedly he calls the beast an it. We interpret the beast as the world system that is fighting against the Church. This world system is fueled by Satan and has but one goal and that is to rid itself of Christianity.
3 One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. 4 And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”
The early church believed the beast to be the Roman empire and many even connect this text specifically to Nero who was believed to have committed suicide but then was seen alive and well, pure lies of course. The issue is that the beast will have power for 42 months, again the time period between the first and second coming of Christ. Throughout the church age the beast will seek to kill the Church, just as it sought to kill the Lord Jesus at the beginning.
Every time Satan seems to be defeated (The Mortal Wound)he returns and sometimes even in greater power than before. A Nero, as it were, was replaced with a Domitian, an antagonistic government with another, a ungodly president with another. The world marvels and follows…those who dwell on the earth.
5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, Isn’t it amazing how vial and blasphemous society is?
Notice, there are always two groups of people on earth worshipping…one group; the mass of humanity is worshipping Satan through the beast. The other group, as John describes them, will be worshipping the true and living God through Jesus Christ. These are those whose name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
I want us to see something quickly this morning, the beast had what seemed like a mortal wound but was revived…that is the best con job Satan can do here, Jesus is contrasted as the One who was slain. Do you see the genuine death and resurrection of our Lord compared to the satanic system that continues from one generation to the next?
Satan loves to impersonate Jesus. He would give anything if his lies would be believed. He fakes everything Jesus actually did. Jesus really did die and really was raised. Satan on the other hand can just die. There will come a day when the defeated devil will be rendered powerless and there will never be a demonic resurrection.
Because the first beast is our secular world, which takes in human government, societies, financial institutions, Everything secular we have around us gets its power from Satan and the world of men chases after riches, fame, everything this current world order has to offer.
The church, however, is to remain separate and not chase after it like the rest.
We must not place our trust in governments. We must never think that they will ever do the right thing with right motives, no matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat. Our salvation is not to be found in any president or elected official only in Christ. Understand and make no mistake the entire secular world is powered by Satan and will never submit itself to the God of Scripture…ever. We should not waste our time trying to convert any system or pagan entity to Christianity. Don’t think the answer in to get a certain Dem or Rep elected.
11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. 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. 13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, 14 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. 15 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. 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, 17 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. 18 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.
To understand what this beast rising out of the earth is we must turn to Revelation.
Revelation 16:13 (ESV)
13 And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs.
Revelation 19:20–21 (ESV)
20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence 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.
The false prophet, the second beast is any religious group and any church that teaches wrong things about God. Is it really so bad to teach wrong doctrine? I mean what about all the good social things a church may do?
Galatians 1:6–9 (ESV)
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
The truth is everything…what good is it to feed the poor if while feeding them a church leads them to believe a false gospel. It would be better to starve to death with the true good news than be fed and filled and believe lies and end up in hell in the end.
11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.
Two horns like a lamb- shows us that its appearance is deceptive. Immediately we are reminded of John’s vision early on where he saw One worthy to open the scroll a slain lamb.
Satan’s counterfeit appears much like the real thing but notice its voice. While it has an appearance of godliness it’s voice is that of Satan himself.
John isn’t saying here that the voice sounds like Satan but what the false prophet says are the same things Satan would say. In other words, blasphemous words. He speaks lies that sound so good that people believe him. He looks the part and says things that may seem right and so, the second arm of Satan, the false prophet takes people to hell through deception.
Realize that any church that teaches anything outside of the truth of Scripture is being empowered by Satan. I realize that sounds harsh but listen that is exactly what this is telling us…the beasts receive their power from the dragon.
Also notice that this second beast is all about worship…
12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast,
Think with me how our world falls in love and even worships those who lead. We can think of Roman Emperors who promoted themselves as deity and required the world to worship them…Caesar is Lord was the chant of those citizens in the first century. Then we move on through the centuries to charismatic leaders such as Adolph Hitler who was evil incarnate. The German people flocked to him because he told them and promised them what they wanted to hear. We must not forget that Hitler was elected with over 90% voting for him. He was literally worshipped by the people. Here is the disturbing part; the Catholic Church even endorsed him.
So we see how the false prophet, false churches work in tandem with the first beast or secular societies and their goal is to lead people astray and to lead them to worship false gods or literally to worship Satan.
In Daniel’s day the image of king Nebuchadnezzar was stood up and the decree that everyone should worship it. This is the spirit of the antichrist, this is the spirit of false teachers, false churches, society that is totalitarian in nature and demands to be worshipped and in the end, this is all fueled by Satan himself. His age-old lies…if you just bow down and worship me I will give you all the kingdoms of the earth.
John continues his warning…
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, 17 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.
Here we have what has been the experience of many Christians over the centuries. An example of this was found in the first century. When a person swore allegiance to Rome and to Caesar and bowed they were often given a mark much like a slave who was branded to show he was owned by someone else. Here we have a mark that is really symbolic of being owned by someone else. It was also said that those who bowed down to Caesar would be given an opportunity for financial gain, those who did not were destined for poverty. And that’s why the believers in the ancient world shared their possessions with other believers in need because they would not bow and declare that Caesar is lord.
This has been the case throughout history and it still is in effect today. Go visit your brothers and sisters in Eastern Europe who have not bowed the knee to the beast and its system they are poor and hungry…and joyful. They are holding out for their Lord.
So, the second beast is the false church that has sold out its soul to the state. It’s the church who would rather be popular than pure, politically correct more so than theologically correct. The second beast is the false church that promotes socialism and a false message of hope and peace. We have many churches today that have traded in their birthright for a bowl of soup.
Revelation 13 is one of the greatest pictures of idolatry within the entire Bible.
John gives us the tactics we need to stand strong in a devil dominated world…
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
18 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.
John is calling the church to endurance, faith, wisdom and discernment. We must be wise and on guard because we are today facing satanic opposition, lies abound and we must be ready to sort out truth from untruth.
Many attempts have been made to identify whom this number represents. Most often it is connected to Nero Caesar. If you do some gymnastics with the Greek spelling you can get Nero to add up to 666. Others come up with other ideas. But I think the most important clue here is not the number itself but what John says about it. it is the number of a man or a human number.
It represents the first beast, the man made system empowered by Satan to blaspheme God and seek to destroy His church. The number 666 is not connected to any particular person but to all who seek to rebel against the true and living God.
Endurance and Faith-
If we’re going to remain steadfast in the wicked world it is going to require perseverance and faith. Even if things look like the wicked are prospering or that they have everything, remember without Christ, they have nothing. Don’t let the two beasts trick you into chasing after them hoping that they can deliver happiness. By faith stand firm with Jesus Christ to the end. Even if loving Christ costs everything you will never regret it.
Part of this wisdom is to discern potential areas where we might lean toward compromise in our personal lives and in our church.
We see the first beast desiring to be worshipped and the second beast seeking to help. First beast, again being the worldly system and the second beast, the false church.
In 13:17 we see the point at which the individual and the church might be tempted to compromise.
17 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 symbolic mark means that you’re a slave to the system. In Ancient Rome, you could not function, as a citizen without declaring Caesar is Lord.
Remain faithful to the end…
Declaration of Grace
1 Peter 1:3–9 (ESV)
Born Again to a Living Hope
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.