“Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb, but he spoke with the voice of a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he required all the earth and its people to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. He did astounding miracles, even making fire flash down to earth from the sky while everyone was watching.”
Revelation 13:11-13 NLT
The dragon, the second beast, endorses the authority of the first beast, which we assume is the global governmental system prevailing at that time. Perhaps a.k.a. the Antichrist. Note that this system is not just political. It includes the military. It includes attitudes affecting the society and culture. The global government in its entirety won’t just happen overnight. As is happening today, there will be a steady drip, drip, drip of new laws and the repeal or changing of existing legislation, designed to increasingly marginalise, even eliminate, Godly laws and precepts. Supposedly learned and influential people and committees rise up and promote their particular ideologies. Organisations, once considered the bastions of conservative thought, suddenly become “woke”. They will issue dictates that influence their members and add to the ideological “creep” that will ultimately end up as a significant influence in the behaviour of the first “beast”. Misinformation will increase persuading the general population to believe in lies, as is happening in some parts of the world today.
And now this second beast arrives. He appears to be an evangelist for the world system, explaining how wonderful it is, supporting it with miracles, all designed, presumably, to convince those who are unsure, that the first beast is the best. Jesus warned His disciples about false miracles. We read His words in Matthew 24:24, “For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones“. It’s all about deceit. Human beings can be very gullible at times, and can be taken in by all sorts of things. Just look at how many people these days fall victim to scams, following a plausible and logical story presented by someone on the end of a phone. We need to remember that the devil is a liar. Jesus had a conversation with the Pharisees (one of many) in which He said this, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44).
The most deceitful of the devil’s miracles are those that seem to fit in with Scripture verses. In our verses today, we read that the devil, the second beast, made fire flash across the sky. That might awaken thoughts of a Scripture that we have read in the past, such as Matthew 24:27, “For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes“. At best we might have doubts about the authenticity of the enemy’s fire crossing the sky; at worst we might think the Son of Man has come. We might rationalise our thoughts and think “Wasn’t that lightning and not fire”? Of course, this is a hypothetical picture, but regardless, we need to be on our guards.
What is all this about a fatal wound that has been healed? We don’t know, of course, though there has been much conjecture. It may be just another of the devil’s deceptive miracles. One thing that has struck me, though, is that this fatal wound is perhaps a counterfeit copy of Jesus’ death at Calvary. He was miraculously raised from the dead by the power of God on that first Easter Sunday, and the reference to the fatal wound that was healed might be the devil trying to copy what happened with Jesus’ amazing resurrection. Just a thought …
Back to what the Apostle John said in his first epistle. We read in 1 John. 4:1, “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world“. The End Times will be marked by the spirit of the Antichrist. And there will be many false prophets backing him up. People who will be propagating the devil’s lies in the societies in which we live. In 1 John 4:5, John goes on to say this about these people, “Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them“. But we pilgrims don’t of course because “… we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception“. (1 John 4:6).
One last Scripture verse for today. 1 John 4:4, “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world“. Whatever the world system is like in the last days, we have that assurance that God’s Spirit, residing within us, can overcome all that the enemy throws at us. Must be worth an amen?
Dear God. If there is ever a time when we need to cry out for Your help and protection, it is in these last days. Thank You for Your wonderful loving kindness, Your grace and mercy. We worship You today. Amen.