The Dynamic Duo of Doom
Revelation 13 is all about the beasts…not the “bass” but the “beasts”. Sorry, I realize that was a very bad pun. Two beasts are mentioned, the first one is most often understood to be the Antichrist and the second one, a false prophet. This is sort of a dynamic duo of doom; a Batman and Robin of evil. There are a couple of interesting things in this chapter. First, there is a description of the activity of the first beast in verses 5-8. In these verses the words “given” and “granted” are used four times. This beast makes war with the saints and kills them. This beast brings devastation and destruction to the earth but his abilities and power are “granted” to him. God is still in control. God is using this beast as an agent of judgment on God’s earth. God has not lost power; rather in His power He is using the beast. The same language is used in reference to the second beast. This beast is said to be able to do many signs and wonders. Satan always attempts to counterfeit the things of God. Jesus did signs and wonders when He came. These beasts do signs and wonders, in an obvious attempt to fool men on the earth into thinking that the beasts are from God. But Jesus already warned us in the gospel of Matthew this is not the case. Matthew 24:23-28
Second, this beast is said to have a “mark” that he gives to men so they can buy and sell. Here is what is written: 16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. I think for centuries this idea of a “mark” was baffling. How could a “mark” be used to control buying and selling? But it makes sense today. Imagine a microchip being implanted into your body which links to an account which controls your assets. When you go to the store, you don’t scan a credit card, you scan your hand or your forehead. This idea would eliminate the need for cash. And yet it could be controlled by a central governing authority. It makes sense to me. I don’t know for sure, but the idea of a mark that controls buying and selling makes perfect sense and can be “sold” to the masses as an advantage.
I believe that Revelation 13 is a chapter that makes some sense to us today but it will make even greater sense to those who are on the earth during this period of time. It will be a great comfort to the saints in the midst of the tribulation; as they will be able to know that their God is still in control of the situation.