Previous article in this series: December 15, 2012, p. 139.
“And the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred, and all their brethren were at their commandment.” I Chronicles 12:32
The near monopoly of power once enjoyed by sovereign entities is being eroded. . . .states must be prepared to cede some sovereignty to world bodies . . . . Globalization thus implies that sovereignty is not only becoming weaker in reality, but that it needs to become weaker . . . . The goal should be to redefine sovereignty for the era of globalization, to find a balance between a world of fully sovereign states and an international system of either world government or anarchy.¹
With these comments Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, whose ultimate aim is that national boundaries be obliterated and a one-world rule established, echoes the goal of the first beast of Revelation 13 to have power over “all kindreds, and tongues, and nations” (Rev. 13:7). Visionary John D. Rockefeller, whose family donated the property on which the United Nations headquarters was built, sets forth a role for the church in accomplishing this goal of the first beast:
Would that I had the power to bring to your minds the vision as it unfolds before me! I see all denominational emphasis set aside . . . . I see the church molding the thought of the world as it has never done before, leading in all great movements as it should. I see it literally establishing the Kingdom of God on earth.²
“Molding the thought of the world . . .” would appear to be the task of “another beast” revealed in Revelation 13. It is our purpose in this article to look into the identity of this second beast and some of his deceptive activity as we continue our quest to understand the times.
Herman Hoeksema’s Exposition of the Meaning of the Second Beast
The apostle John informs the church in Revelation 13:11-12: “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” According to Herman Hoeksema, broadly speaking these “. . . two beasts together form the picture of the full and complete antichristian power. But the first beast pictures it in its political aspect; the second beast deals with its religious and moral and scientific forces. The first beast tells us that this kingdom has sway over all men and over all things; the second beast rather explains to us how this first beast exercises his authority.”³
Hoeksema continues by writing more specifically concerning the meaning of the second beast. Paraphrasing Hoeksema: we are informed that this second beast is from the earth rather than the stormy sea, indicating that the second beast is “less formidable in appearance.” Not only that, the second beast has horns as a lamb, nevertheless he speaks like a dragon, which indicates that he serves the first beast and exercises his authority. In fact, it is the task of the second beast to cause the inhabitants of the earth to worship the first beast, and if they don’t, to see to it that they are easily distinguished from those who do in order that they may be killed. Hoeksema contends that this second beast does not exercise his power by commands but by persuasion: “He comes by speaking and doing great signs and wonders. He comes therefore with the persuasion of a prophet. He does not force, but convince. He does not command and issue laws, but he wins the hearts of men.”4
Further investigation into the book of Revelation reveals who this second beast represents. In chapter 19, writing about the judgment of the two beasts, the apostle John records: “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Rev. 19:20). Revelation 20:10 further confirms that the second beast is identified as the false prophet: “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are . . . .” Hoeksema concludes about this second beast that he “is indispensable to the first. The world-power has need of false science [for one, think Darwinism, ck] and philosophy [for two, think naturalism and postmodernism, ck] and religion [for three, think Arminianism, common grace, and postmillinianism, ck] to maintain his authority and the integrity and unity of his kingdom.”5
The Activity of the Second Beast
With all the power of science, philosophy, and religion at his disposal, the false prophet (second beast) utilizes agents in this world to promote his lies. At his disposal for this purpose is the false church. This becomes clear when we examine the similarity of what we read in Revelation 13 to what we read in Revelation 17. The second beast described in Revelation 13 is given the power to cause “the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast” (v. 12). Furthermore, he has the power to “. . . cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (v. 15). Interestingly, we find this same vile activity carried out by the whore Babylon (false church) revealed in Revelation 17. There we read, “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Rev. 17:4-6). Herman Hoeksema expounds this passage:
. . . we have a picture of the harlot church, the false church, the counterfeit church. For even as the devil aims at establishing a counterfeit kingdom, so he also establishes a counterfeit church. Naturally! We have told you before that he uses all the institutions which God has placed on the earth in this dispensation for the maintenance and establishment of his kingdom, that he employs them all for his own purpose and for the propagation of his own principle. The same is true of the church. Also the church as an institution in this dispensation, designed to be the army of the kingdom,—also that church the devil shrewdly employs in his service. And the result is that a counterfeit church, the harlot church, is established. The true church is the spiritual bride of Christ, ingrafted into Him by a true faith, and through Him stands in covenant relation with the Lord Jehovah. But that counterfeit church is the church which still bears the name of church, still appears as the church in the world, still claims or pretends to be the church, outwardly also looks like the church, has its ministers and sacraments, the preaching of the Word and teaching, and all kinds of institutions and societies besides, but employs all the blessings she has outwardly received in the service of Antichrist . . . . (A)ll her members she educates to work for the dragon and his kingdom . . . . The more she labors in the interest of the antichristian kingdom, the more she will enjoy the favor of the dragon: for she is nothing but his harlot, and allows herself to be the instrument of Antichrist.6
Tracking the Second Beast
In a previous article (“The Beast Rising”—see December 15, 2012, p. 139) it was demonstrated that there is progression throughout history in the attempt of the devil to establish his antichristian world power. The same is true of the work of the second beast. This is understandable if one considers that “. . . he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast” (Rev. 13:12).
In tracking some of the past activity of this second beast, one is naturally drawn to the obvious examples of the persecution of God’s people by that which has called itself the true church. After all, the apostle John records that the woman is “drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the martyrs of Jesus.” Countless examples of this can be seen throughout the new dispensation. A few that immediately come to mind include the persecution of the infant church at Jerusalem by the Jewish leaders shortly after the death of Christ. Specific examples that are recorded in Scripture are the murder of James, the stoning of Stephen, and the zealous pursuit of the early Christians by Saul of Tarsus. And who can forget the countless heinous crimes of the Roman Catholic Church, especially as they were carried out by its Dominican Order, in the dreaded Inquisition throughout much of the Middle Ages?
But it should not be forgotten that the second beast also works throughout history through the counterfeit church to deceive. The apostle John takes note of this when he describes the power of the second beast to deceive “them that dwell on the earth by means of those miracles which he had the power to do in the sight of the beast” (Rev. 13:14). She does this in part through false doctrine. In John’s day the counterfeit church revealed itself in the false teaching of the Judaizers. During the rise of the Roman Catholic Church, its counterfeit nature would be demonstrated in its teachings of Semi-Pelagianism, Mariolotry, papal infallibility, and salvation by faith and works.
Furthermore, Rome has been quick to promote its cause by the use of miracles (whether real or contrived). A few specific examples will suffice to demonstrate this point: Many have been deceived by the supposed appearance of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children at Fatima, Portugal on May 13, 1917 and the thirteenth day of each of the following six months. Even more fantastic is the “miracle” of the Virgin of Guadalupe that won the hearts of the Indians in Mexico:
The Spaniards, after they had conquered Mexico, had in mind the goal of converting the indigenous Indians into catholicism. But the Spaniards encountered many difficulties because the Mexican people had existing strong beliefs in their many gods. It wasn’t until the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe and Juan Diego that this started to change.
Juan Diego was a young indigenous Indian walking toward the Hill of Tepeyac on December 12, 1531 when he was stopped by the appearance of the Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mary appearing to Juan Diego was a young woman with black hair and dark skin which looked more like an indigenous person. She ordered Juan Diego to go to the bishop and ask him to build a church at the Hill of Tepeyac. Juan Diego then ran to the Bishop to tell him what the Virgin Mary had told him. The Bishop did not believe what this young man was telling him and decided to ignore the petition.
The Virgin Mary appeared again in front of Juan Diego and told him to collect flowers from the top of the hill, but because it was December Juan Diego knew that there was not going to be any flowers at the rocky hill. Upon reaching the top of the hill, Juan Diego was surprised to see that it was covered with colorful and beautiful flowers. Juan Diego, as he was asked to, collected the flowers using his overcoat and ran again to see the Bishop.
Juan Diego gave the coat full of flowers to the bishop, and here the bishop discovered the image of Virgin Mary’s picture was miraculously traced on the coat. Seeing both the unseasonal flowers and the image of the Virgin, the Bishop realized Juan Diego had told him the truth and The Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe was built on the hill of Tepeyac in Mexico City.7
That the Virgin of Guadalupe was like them (dark hair and dark complexion) won the hearts of the indigenous Indians to the Roman Catholic Church and their bodies to the service of the Spanish government.
Of particular interest in this particular case is how the supposed miracle promoted by the Roman Catholic Church served the political cause of the Spanish government. It appears to demonstrate how the false church can be of service to the first beast in promoting his political goals. Is it possible that similar forces are at work today to bring to fruition the kingdom of Antichrist?
As the return of the Lord nears, the tracks of this beast are becoming more numerous and distinct.
But following this trail must wait for a future hunt.
¹ Richard N. Haass, “Sovereignty and Globalization,” February 17, 2006, posted at: http://www.cfr.org/sovereignty/sovereignty-globalization/p9903.
² John D. Rockefeller, quoted in James W. Wardner, “Unholy Alliances: The Secret Plan and the Secret People Who are Working to Destroy America,” 1996 (privately published).
³ Herman Hoeksema, Behold He Cometh (Grandville, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2000), 467.
4 Hoeksema, 467-468.
5 Hoeksema, 471.
6 Hoeksema, 561.