“All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast – all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.” Revelation 13:8
In chapter 13 we see the embodiment of the opposition of the church in the two beasts. The first beast boasts in its power and authority that was given to it by the dragon and leads many in the world astray as they marvel at its power. This beast is the embodiment of all political and governmental power that arrogantly boasts sovereignty and persecutes the people of God.
The second beast has the appearance of a lamb but speaks as a dragon and is the picture of false religion, signs, and anti-Christ philosophies. Just as the people of God are sealed and marked, the beast attempts a sorry counterfeit; spiritually marking his followers as well.
Revelation 13 Commentary
“The diadems symbolize the beast’s false claims of sovereign, universal authority which are in opposition to the true ‘King of kings and Lord of lords,’ who also wears many diadems. The blasphemous names written on the beast’s heads represent blasphemous claims to earthly, divine kingship by the beast in feeble imitation of Christ’s true kingship.”43
“Like the first beast, this beast speaks with the full authority of the devil: he was speaking as a dragon. This beast is later called ‘the false prophet’, suggesting that its role is primarily religious. A true prophet leads people to worship God, but the false prophet leads them to worship the state (and, by extension, the devil).”44
“Throughout this entire gospel age – the forty-two months, the governments of this world place themselves on the throne, arrogate to themselves the authority that belongs to God, and blaspheme God and heaven…the second beast is the false prophet. It symbolizes false religion and false philosophy in whichever form these appear throughout the entire dispensation.”45
“Just as the beast from the sea is Rome and yet is much bigger than Rome, so the beast from the earth is the imperial cult indigenous to Asia Minor but also a larger phenomenon that continues in our day.”46
“The mark on their forehead, which is the name of the beast, or the number of his name, is the parody of and the opposite to the ‘seal’ in 7:3-8, which is the divine name written on the foreheads of true believers. Since the seal or name on the true believer is invisible, so is the mark on the unbeliever. That the two are of a parallel spiritual nature and intended to be compared is evident from the immediately following mention of the names of God and Christ written on the foreheads of the saints. (14:1).”47
In light of this chapter, reflect on the foolishness of putting our hope, trust, and security in any person or institution that is not Christ on the throne.
In the church age we are facing the opposition of Satan in the form of political persecution and religious and philosophical deception. Ask the Lord for the “patient endurance and faithfulness” from Revelation 13:1, knowing that this age will end in the destruction of all things opposed to Jesus and our glorification and rewards.
43, 44, 47 Beale, G. K. Revelation: A Shorter Commentary
45 Hendriksen, William. More than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation
46 Johnson, Dennis E. Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation