The Book of Revelation, Part Two, Chapter 11, The Beast out of the Earth

Revelation 13:11-18

11. 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. 

12. 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. 

13. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 

14. And he deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 

15. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 

16. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 

17. And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 

18. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

We have discussed the first beast, that came up out of the sea and that combined within itself the appearance of a leopard, a bear, and a lion, that had the ten horns and the seven heads. We came to the conclusion, in the first place, that this beast is the symbol of a great political world power, as is evident from the passages in the book of Daniel that refer to similar beasts. We found that it is not merely a king or an emperor or government that is here pictured, but that the beast represents the entire power, the government and its dominion, and that they belong together inseparably. We also found that this world-power is universal in its sway. It has dominion over all nations and tongues and tribes, and that not by main force but by free alliance of all the nations together. For they all wonder after the beast, think him great, admire him, and subjecting themselves to him willingly, offering him even their worship. But universal this kingdom also is, we saw, because it has absolute sway over all things in its kingdom, over industry and commerce, over science and art, over religion and philosophy, and over all the powers and talents of creation. 

As to its spiritual character, we found that this kingdom is anti-God and anti-Christ, anti-kingdom and anti-saints. This was plain from the fact that the beast received his power and throne from the dragon, the old serpent, the devil, the incurable opponent of the Most High and of His Christ. This is clear also from the fact that he bears names of blasphemy on his seven heads, that he has a mouth to blaspheme, and that he opens that mouth actually to blaspheme the Most High and the saints of Christ in His tabernacle. This is clear, in the third place, from the fact that he kills and persecutes the saints who refuse to worship the beast. And finally, this is evident from the fact that he himself allows himself to be worshipped as God instead of the Most High. Thus the kingdom of man under Satan is complete. It is a kingdom that has sway over all the universe, over all men, over all the powers of creation, a kingdom in the which man worships his own work and in the which the devil is lord supreme. 

As to the historical realization, we pointed out that it is already in the world as to its spiritual principle, and that it is in the making all during the history of the present dispensation, revealing itself more or less boldly at different stages of history. In the second place, we warned that you must not imagine that it has already reached its full manifestation and that Revelation 13 has already been fully realized. But, in the third place, we also pointed out that for him that has understanding and that can at all read the signs of the times it is plain that the time is at hand and that all things develop very fast in the direction of this fascinating world-kingdom. 

Now the text speaks of a second beast. And to prevent any misunderstanding at all, let me say from the outset that there is a definite relation between the first and the second beast. We must not have the impression that in the first part of the chapter Antichrist was pictured in its full manifestation, and that now in the second part we have the representation of something quite different. But much rather we must maintain that in the entire thirteenth chapter of Revelation we have the picture of Antichrist. The 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. 

It is clear from a glance at the text that the symbolism of the first part is simply continued. In the preceding part of the chapter we found the picture of a beast rising up out of the sea, with seven heads and ten horns, and appearing like a leopard, a bear, and a lion, all in one. In that first part of the chapter we found things that were really unintelligible without the second. And therefore, to complete the picture we must really insert the picture of the second beast into that of the first. The full symbolism is as follows. The first beast is followed by a second that rises up out of the earth. He is less formidable in appearance. Nor is his origin in the stormy sea, but from the more quiet and more stable earth. He looks like a lamb, it seems, for he has horns as of a lamb. But when he speaks, he reminds one of the awful red dragon. He stands in a very definite relation to the first beast. Repeatedly this is indicated in the text. He exerciseth all his authority in the sight of, in the presence of, in behalf of, as servant of the first beast. All that he does he does in the presence of the first beast. And therefore, the purpose, of this second beast lies in the service of the first. And this soon becomes apparent. For the second beast causes the inhabitants of the world to wonder after the first, admire him, and worship him. This second beast makes man build an image of the first beast, in order to worship the beast through his image. This second beast makes that all the worshippers of the beast receive a sign that distinguishes them from those that refuse to worship the first beast, in order that they may be killed. This second beast is therefore, as it were, the actual power of the first; and the first works and exercises his power through the second. The first beast could not exist and could not exercise his authority and would not be worshipped without the work of the second beast. And the second beast would have no reason to exist and to work, were it not for the fact that this first beast must reach its full power. 

Thus is the picture. What now does this second beast represent? It is plain from what we have said that it cannot represent a second kingdom. True, in Daniel, as we have said, the beasts are symbols of kings together with their kingdoms. And also here we have the picture of a beast. But let me call your attention to the fact, in the first place, that this second beast makes a radically different impression from the first and from the beasts that are pictured in Daniel 7. There we have the wild animal,―leopard and bear and lion, and all combined into one. But here we have an entirely different picture. This beast evidently makes one think of a lamb first of all. He has horns like those of a lamb, though he speaks like the dragon. In the second place, let me call your attention to the fact that evidently his power is quite different from that of a king. A king commands, makes laws, and thus exercises authority. But this beast, although it exercises authority, even the same as that of the first beast, does not exercise his power by commands, but evidently by persuasion. He speaks. And what this speaking of the second beast implies may become plain from the repeated indications in the text concerning the manner of his work. We read that he makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the beast, that he deceives man by the great signs and wonders which he performs, that he says to them that dwell on the earth that they should make an image. He causes all that worship the beast to receive a sign. And therefore we receive the clear impression that the beast here mentioned does not work like the first beast, but that he is of a different character. 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. And if we add to this that we read repeatedly that this second beast works in the sight of and in the presence of the first beast and that he does all he can for the power and maintenance of the first .Least, it is plain that this second beast represents some power in the kingdom, some tremendous influence in that great universal kingdom which we have pictured to you according to the first part of the chapter, through which the hearts and minds of men are influenced and bewitched and charmed, so that they worship the beast and admire him and submit themselves gladly. 

What power, then, does this second beast represent? We will find no difficulty to identify him. Scripture itself tells us. In the nineteenth chapter of the book of Revelation we find that this same beast is referred to. And there we read: “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet, that wrought the signs in his sight, wherewith he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast and them that worshipped his image: they two were cast alive into the lake of fire that burned with brimstone.” And in Revelation 20:10 we find mention of him once more: “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where are also the beast and the false prophet.” The identity is unmistakable. The beast that is mentioned in these passages is evidently the first beast; and the false prophet is none other than this second beast, with the two lamb’s horns, that speaks as the dragon. And therefore we come to the conclusion that this second beast is called the false prophet. What is a prophet? We must banish from our minds the popular conception that a prophet is chiefly a man that foretells the future. True, a prophet also foretells the future. But that is not his only work. We find from Scripture that a prophet is characteristically a person that speaks for someone else. Aaron is called the prophet of Moses when they two together go to Pharaoh and Aaron expresses the message instead of and for Moses. So are the prophets of God among Israel. They are men that speak for God and bring His message, that appeal to the minds and hearts of men, of Israel, in behalf of Jehovah and His covenant and cause. They teach and speak and reveal the will of God and try to persuade men that they may embrace Jehovah’s cause. Now this second beast is also a prophet: he speaks for someone else. He tries to influence the minds of men, to persuade them, to gain them for the cause of him in whose interest he speaks. But he is a false prophet. He does not preach the truth. He speaks the lie. He persuades men and teaches them, and by doing so deceives them, so that they believe the lie. 

H.H.