E^4, xii.13 -- 18.
THE RESULT |ON EARTH| OF THE |WAR IN HEAVEN.|
This Vision, as a whole, is occupied with the Result |on Earth| of the |war in heaven| (chap. xii.). It is two-fold: First, the effect is given as it concerns Israel, and then, the effect as it concerns the Earth as a whole; and all forming part of this parenthesis or Episode, which takes us back to the period before xi.13, and shows us how the Beast came to be on the earth. It is he who makes war against the |Two Witnesses| (ch. xi.); and it is against him and his armies that the judgments and plagues of chaps. vi.-ix. are directed.
Now, we are taken back to have these prior events further made known and explained to us. The Episode does not end till chap. xv.8.
The Structure of this fourth Vision |on Earth| is presented in two separate parts, because they concern two separate Peoples (Jew and Gentile), which are never |reckoned| together (Num. xxiii.9). The two divisions are as follows: --
E^4, xii.13-xiii.18. The Fourth Vision |on Earth.| The Result |on Earth| of the |War in Heaven.|
E^4 W xii.13-xiii.1-. The effect as regards Israel. X xiii. -1-18. The effect as regards the Earth.
Dealing first with the former of these two divisions, we have to give its expansion. It will be seen that its Structure exactly corresponds with the preceding Vision |in heaven,| (chap. xii.1-12); the correspondence showing that both parts of chap. xii. refer to the same subject, viz., Israel. The following is the expansion of W:
W, xii.13-xiii.1-. The Result of the War |in Heaven| as regards Israel.
W A xii.13-. The Dragon cast unto the earth. B a -13. The Dragon and the Woman.
b 14-16. The Woman's flight.
c 17. War on the
A xiii.1-. The Dragon standing on the sand of the sea.
The Dragon, as soon as he is cast down into the earth, at once proceeds to make war with the Woman, and the remnant of her seed. He does this by bringing up the Beast in his superhuman form.
xii.13. And when the dragon saw that he was cast down to the earth, he pursued (or persecuted) the woman which brought forth the man-child (14) And there was given to the woman the two wings of the great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, unto her place, where she is nourished there a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.] Thus the wilderness will, as of old, afford a refuge for Israel; for the coming Exodus is to be like the first. (See Isa. xi.16. Ezek. xx.35-38.) |There will I plead with you face to face, like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt.| These are significant words. And we have like words in Hosea ii.14, 15, where we read that the valley of Achor (which was the first place on the road from the wilderness to Canaan, Josh. vii.26) shall prove |a door of hope.|
|Therefore, behold, I allure her,
And bring her into the wilderness,
And speak comfortably unto her.
And I will give her her vineyards from thence,
And the valley of Achor for a door of hope:
And she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, And as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt| (Hos. ii.14, 15, and see Ex. xv.).
|The woman fled into the wilderness.| So of old |it was told to the king of Egypt that the people fled (Ex. xiv.5. Josh. xxiv.6). That flight was literal. So will this be. And at that time such passages as Ps. xxxv.1-5 and Lam. iv.19, etc., will find their exhaustive fulfilment. They |shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger| (Zeph. ii.3). The Lord Jesus spoke of this |flight| in Matt. xxiv.15-28 and Mark xiii.14-23. This flight is not the same as that which He spoke of in Luke xxi.20-24, for that took place at the destruction of Jerusalem, long |before all these things| (Luke xxi.12) which the Lord spoke of in Matthew and Mark.
This |flight| is from Jerusalem and Judea, for this is the central point where the two witnesses had been slain; and the final testimony borne to the doings of the Beast. The woman (i.e., the nation) flies because of the persecution of the Dragon. If none might buy or sell save those who have the mark of the Beast, some miraculous sustinence must be provided. And God Himself will again |furnish a table in the wilderness.| Of old, He fed them there. In Ex. xix.4, He appeals to them and says: |Ye have seen... how I bare you on eagles' wings and brought you unto myself.| And so again, in Deut. xxxii.11, 12, in the song of Moses, he mentions the same form of Divine help. The eagles' wings are |a sign| which signifies the miraculous swiftness, by which the Divinely given help will come to them. They are no |Roman eagles|! It does not say eagles, but eagles' wings. The Roman eagles possessed no wings, and had themselves to be carried!
Fleeing, first to the |mountains| and then on to the |wilderness,| there the people will be fed for three years and a half. The period is expressed exactly as in Dan. vii.25 and xii.7. And it has already been mentioned in this book in different forms (see chap. xi.2, 3).
xii.15. And the serpent cast out of his mouth after the woman, water as a river, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.] At the first Exodus it was the sea through which she went into the wilderness with its forty-two stations. It is |a flood| which drives her into the wilderness for forty-two months. The delivering from the sea was miraculous; so will be the deliverance from this |flood.| Why should not one be as literal as the other? Where is the difficulty? Observe, it does not say |like a flood,| as in Jer. xlvi.7, 8. Nor does it say an army like water; but |water| like a river.| The first is literal, and its likeness is given. It does not expand into a lake, but rushes forward like a |flood.|
16. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.] And why not? The sea helped the same woman when it swallowed up the armies of Pharaoh, and why should not the earth help the woman again by swallowing up the forces of Satan. It is to be again as it was at the Exodus. And it will be a time of earthquakes and great physical disturbances. (See Is. xi.15, 16).
In Isa. lix.19, we read of the enemy coming in like |a flood,| just before |the Redeemer shall come to Zion,| and when Gentile times shall come to the full.
The earth once opened to swallow the host of Dathan and Abiram (Num. xvi.); and so it is written: |According to the days of the coming up out of the land of Egypt, I will show unto him marvellous things| (Mic. vii.15).
17. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have (or keep) the testimony of Jesus. ] Being baffled in his attempts to destroy the seed of the woman, who has been, ere this, |caught away to God and His throne,|! he turns his forces against the remnant of her seed. The description of this remnant is given, and agrees with that spoken of in other parts of this book; and while the bulk of the nation is safe and nourished, a faithful remnant on earth is having war made against it. We have these two seeds in chap. vii. First, the 144,000 sealed for testimony in the earth; and, afterwards, the great multitude caught away to heaven. In the next chapter they are called |saints|; and we have the two bodies again, the former in xiii.15 and the latter in vi.9.
In the Textus Receptus the first sentence of the first verse of chap. xiii. is the concluding sentence of the twelfth chapter, but the AV. wrongly transposes it, and puts it as the first sentence in chap. xiii. The translators were doubtless misled by the wrong reading of the Textus Receptus, which has (...) (estathen) I stood, instead of (...) (estathe) he stood (i.e., the dragon). The RV. (agreeing with L.T.Tr.A. and WH.) has restored the sentence to its proper place, at the close of chap. xii.17; and given the correct reading, |he stood,| in accordance with all the critical Greek texts and oldest and best manuscripts.
The structure shows that this must be right; as that sentence is necessary in order to balance the first sentence of xii.13.
It is the dragon who has been cast into the earth (A. xii.13-); and it is the same dragon who stands on the sand of the sea (A. xiii.1-). Foiled in his attempts to destroy the woman's seed, as he had been foiled in his assault on the woman herself, he is now seen by John standing on the sand of the sea, and from thence, as it were, calling up the first of the two Beasts from the Abyss to carry out his final plans. So this section ends with the words:
And he stood upon the sand of the sea.] i.e., upon the shore. Daniel saw this same |great sea| and the four winds of heaven striving upon it (Dan. vii.2).
Before proceeding to the second great division of this fourth Vision |on Earth,| it may be well to read and study carefully Dan. vii.7, 8, 19-27, which treats of the manifestation of Satan's power in the two powers of chap. xiii. in their final superhuman form, and in their obsessed spirit characters.
X., xiii. -1-18.
The Result of the |War in Heaven| as regards the Earth at large.
We have seen and considered the result of the |War in Heaven| as it concerns Israel. (W., xii.13-17). We have now to consider its further effect as it concerns the Earth at large.
This effect is twofold, inasmuch as it results in the rise of the Two Beasts:
The one from the Sea (verses -1-10).
The other from the Earth (verses 11-18).
The description of these two -- the Beast and the False Prophet -- occupies the whole of chap. xiii. The chapter is divided thus: --
X. xiii. -1-18. The Twofold Result as regards the Earth at large.
X Y xiii. -1-10. The Beast from the Sea.
Z xiii.11-18. The Beast from the Earth.
Y and Z are now to be expanded. They concern the last mighty form of Satanic re-incarnation.
The one is Anti-Christ.
Another is Anti-Spirit.
The other is Anti-God.
Thus completing the Infernal Trinity.
These two (the Beast and the False Prophet) are described in seven particulars, and the two members marked Y and Z are arranged precisely in the same order. They are given in a corresponding Extended Parallelism, of which the last members of each are divided into two; these two being arranged as an Introversion -- h, i; i, h.
The following is the Structure: --
X. xiii. -1-18. The Effect of the |War in Heaven.|
X Y a -1-. The Vision. |And I saw| (...). b -1-. The first Beast.
c -1-. His origin. The Sea (...).
d -1, 2. His Description.
e -2. His power (...) derived from
f 3-8. His deeds.
g h 9. The call to
hear. |Let him hear.|
i 10. The
lesson. |Here is patience and faith.|
Z a 11-. The Vision. |And I saw| (...).
b -11-. The second Beast. The false prophet
c -11-. His origin. The Earth (...).
d -11. His description.
e 12-. His authority (...) derived
from the first Beast.
f -12-17. His deeds.
g i 18-. The
lesson. |Here is wisdom.|
h -18. The call to
count. |Let him count.|
This Structure is already so minute and exhaustive, that none of its members have (or need) any expansion. It completes the effect of the |war in heaven| so far as it regards the earth at large as distinct from Israel; and concludes the fourth Vision |on Earth.|
After the failure of Satan's attempt to destroy Israel (the woman's seed), John sees him standing on the sand, or shore of the sea, as though pondering over, weighing, and forming his future plans. And while thus occupied, John sees the outcome, in the Beast which rises (as though at Satan's call) out of the sea.
The beasts of chap. iv. are (as we have seen) (...) (zoa), and are rendered by us as Zoa, and in the singular Zoon. This, is (...) (therion), a wild beast, or a beast of prey.
The text supplies us with the Divine information given on this great subject.
xiii.1. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and upon his horns (gen.) ten diadems, and upon his heads (acc.)blasphemous names.] This is the Beast in his superhuman stage. Already he has been on the Earth for 3 1/2 years, in his mortal stage. He then receives his death-wound mentioned below, in verse 3 (as the seventh head), and comes up out of the Abyss as the eighth king, comprising all the seven heads and the ten horns. These are, in their now superhuman form, crowned. In their mortal form they were not crowned. (See xvii.12).
It will be better to defer the interpretation of the heads and horns of this Beast until we come to chap. xvii., where we can consider it with greater advantage. The Holy Spirit has confined Himself here to an outline description, or brief statement, as to the general characteristics of these two Beasts; while in chap. xvii. He has explained them more fully.
It will be well, therefore, for us to follow on these lines, and content ourselves now by the general statement that we have here something far beyond Rome, papal or pagan; something far beyond the |fourth Beast,| or Roman Empire, as it is called. We have all the world powers, and all dominion in the earth, gathered up and concentrated in this one sign. We see them in their superhuman form, here in the Apocalypse, as we see them in their human or mortal form in Daniel. It is the whole Image of Dan. ii. in its superhuman form which we see here, rather than one of its mortal parts. IT IS THE IMAGE REVIVED AS A WHOLE. It reaches to |wheresoever the children of men dwell| (Dan. ii.38); it affects |all that dwell upon the earth| (Rev. xiii.8; xi.10; xiv.6). When the time for these final judgments arrives the great stone falls. It smites the image upon the feet, it is true (Dan. ii.34); but it is immediately added, |Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, and the gold BROKEN TO PIECES TOGETHER| (Dan. ii.35). This is far more extended than the Roman Empire.
It takes in the whole earth; in fact, all earthly power, and all worldly dominion, in its final consummation. Hence, all the heads and horns of the various successive powers are here combined and united in one, forming the embodiment of all political sovereignty on earth. There is to be no other during it existence; and there will be none but our Lord's and His Christ's after it is gone. In chap. xvii. we have them separately, and can so consider them when we come to that chapter.
2. And the Beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and great authority.] We are at a loss to understand how this can be the Roman Empire revived! For the Beast itself is like a leopard (Greece) (Dan. vii.6). Its feet are those of the bear (Medo-Persia); and its mouth is like a lion's mouth (Babylon). Where is the Roman Empire here in any form? If the Beast be the Roman Empire, does he have himself, intact, for one of his own heads? The notion is only a venerable, but vain, imagination. Rome cannot be at the same time one of the heads, and yet the whole Beast himself. |One is| (xvii.10). This is said to be the Roman Empire. But it is added, |the other is NOT.| Is this the Roman Empire, too? Clearly, Not! What we have here is the embodiment and personification of the sovereignty of the world under Satanic power, for |the whole world lieth in (the power of) the wicked one.|
When we say personification, we must recognise the spirit-being from the Abyss (xvii.8), i.e., the superhuman agent, through whom he works. As Satan delegates this special mission to the Beast (a superhuman-being), so does the Beast act through a human being by obsession, or in some other way. God, here, takes us behind the scenes and shows us the Satanic machinery by which the whole thing is operated. While the people on earth see only a man, -- |the Man| -- they may know nothing of the power of the Abyss behind him, and out of which he comes.
This is exactly what is foretold by our Lord, in the parable of the strong man (Matt. xii.43-45), when He tells how the unclean spirit returns to his house whence he came out, and |taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse then the first. EVEN SO SHALL IT BE ALSO UNTO THIS WICKED GENERATION.|
This shows that the Lord is speaking a parable with regard to the nation of Israel; and what does it teach if it does not show us that there will be obsession by evil spirits acting through human agency; not only with regard to Israel, but with regard to the whole world. Doubtless, the human agent will have already been alive some time on earth, working up to this point, when Satan takes him in hand uses him henceforth for his own purposes; by rapid strides raising him to the pinnacle of earthly pride and power.
The moment will come when a human being will be found who is willing to accept that which the Lord Jesus rejected in Luke iv.6, 7, when the devil, having shown Him |all the kingdoms of the world,| said unto Him: |All this power will I give Thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will, I give it. If, therefore, thou wilt worship me, all shall be thine.| The Lord refused it, but he did not deny the truth of the words, or dispute Satan's authority or power. He merely says: |Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.| The whole question is one of worship, and it will never be settled till at last Satan finds one to worship him. In return, Satan will get for him, and give to him, the worship of the world.
xiii.3. And I saw one of (lit., from among) his heads as it were slain to death; and his death-wound was healed: and the whole earth wondered and followed after the Beast.] What is said of the Lamb in chap. v.6, is here said of the Beast.
It does not say which of the seven heads is thus characterised; or when the sword would was given; but the Beast is repeatedly spoken of as |he whose stroke of death was healed.| It is this last or seventh head, this man himself who is killed and restored to life. The whole world wonders at him and follows after him, on account of this great satanic miracle worked on his behalf.
This is the hour spoken of in iii.10, |which is to come upon the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.| |Satan's throne| will then be set up in the earth (ii.13; xvi.10), and a man, |the lawless one,| will occupy it, and take the sovereignty of the world, obsessed and energised by satanic power.
xiii.4. And they worshipped the dragon because he gave the (i.e., his)authority to the Beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying,
|Who is like unto the Beast?
And who is able to make war with him?|]
It is clear from this that everything is combined in this man to make him not only acceptable to the world, but to call forth their wonder, admiration and praise. He is not in any way a terror to men, but full of blandishments, attractions, allurements, and activities which will be all put forth in the interests of human greatness and happiness. It will be Satan's brief millennium, in which mankind will, by every art and artifice, be made happy. It will be a time of peace and progress for the whole world. Great secrets of nature will be discovered; evil angels will be the teachers, and deceiving demons the guides of mankind. Great inventions and discoveries will be made, and turned to the utmost possible account. Philanthropy will be the governing principle of the world and of the |Church.| The great ethical revival is at our doors. Its advent is announced by the foremost preachers of the day. All this is preparing the way for the man of sin, and the lawless one, who shall be a law unto himself and unto the whole world. Men will delight in him, and regard him as the greatest benefactor the world has ever known. Kings will gladly owe him suzerainty; and behind all will be Satan himself, swaying the hearts, tongues and energies of thousands of willing agents.
xiii.5. And there was given to him a mouth speaking great blasphemous things (lit., |great things and blasphemies.| The Figure is Hendiadys; for the great things are his blasphemies); and authority was given to him to act thus forty and two months. (6) And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven] This is the one great distinguishing mark of this wild Beast (see Dan. vii.8, 11, 20; xi.36. Ps. lii.), and it identifies him with the former of the two described in 2 Thess. ii. If we place the words side by side, this will be at once seen: --
Rev. xiii.5, 6
2 Thess. ii.4
|There was given to him a mouth speaking great blasphemous things... and he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.|
|Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.|
Is it not clear from this comparison that the same person is the subject of both? and that 2 Thess. ii.4 relates to the same judgment scenes as Rev. xiii.5, 6? Indeed, the connection is closer than this: for in each of these Scriptures the same two beings are referred to. This will be more clearly seen if we notice
The Structure of 2 Thess. ii.1-12 (in brief)
A ii.1-3-. Exhortation not to believe what the Apostle did not say. B -3, 4. Reason. |For...
A ii.5, 6. Exhortation to believe what the Apostle did say. B 7-12. Reason. |For...
This may be set forth more fully as follows:
The Structure of 2 Thess. ii.1-12. (expanded).
A ii.1-3. Exhortation, etc. Negative.
B a -3. The Apostacy: (open).
b -3. The revelation of |the man of sin.| The
Beast from the sea, of Rev. xiii.1-10.
c 4. The character of his acts. (Compare
with Rev. xiii.6-8)
A ii.5, 6. Exhortation, etc. Positive.
B a 7. The Mystery or secret purposes of lawlessness. b 8. The Revelation of |the lawless one.| The
Beast from the earth, of Rev. xiii.11-18
c 9-12. The character of his acts.
(Compare Rev. xiii.13-15).
The two Beasts thus stand out very clearly. We have compared the character of the first, and may leave that of the second till we come to consider it in its place, below, in this chapter.
We are told, of this first wild beast, that his course will be limited in its duration. It will be as brief as it will be brilliant. Only for 42 months will be the duration of his superhuman career. |In the midst of the week| (Dan. ix.27) will he break his covenant which he will have made with Israel, and make war against the saints (commencing, as we have seen, with the Two Witnesses, xi.7), and persecute the woman (xii.13-17).
It is during this time that the martyrs will be slain (vi.9; xx.4).
xiii.7. And it was given to him to make war with the saints (Dan. vii.21; viii.12, 24; xi.31. Rev. xi.7), and overcome them: and there was given unto him authority over every tribe, and people, and tongue, and nation.] What do the great bulk of interpreters do with this when they teach that this is the Roman Empire revived within its old limits? It surely agrees with what we have said above as to this being the sovereignty of the world gathered into one head for |a little season| (x.6; xii.12; xvii.10), and soon to become the sovereignty of our Lord and of His Christ (xi.15).
But although authority was given him over all, all will not at once submit to it. Hence this war is to compel men to worship him and receive his mark.
8. And all who dwell upon the earth will worship him, each one whose name hath not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb slain.] There is nothing to show whether the sentence, |from the foundation of the world,| should be connected with the verb |written,| or |slain.| We have rendered the words in the same order as the Greek, which looks as though it should be read with the word |written.| Moses knew of this book (Ex. xxxii.32), and Daniel (xii.1). Compare Is. iv.3. But the latter connection is the most natural, and agrees with 1 Pet. i.19, 20. The death of the Lamb was thus |foreordained before the foundation of the world|; while the names are written |from| the foundation of the world.
|All who dwell upon the earth will worship him.| Is this worship given to the superhuman individual who will thus exalt himself, or to the Roman Empire revived? Few, if any, will be so bold as to maintain the latter; and in this case the revival of that Empire, as such, so confidently taught, cannot be looked for.
This worship of the Beast will be well-nigh universal. Even in the plain of Dura, only three out of all the Jews there present stood out true to God. But these days will be more terrible than those. See Matt. xxiv.9-27. Flight is the only resource of the faithful (chap. xii.).
xiii.9. If any one hath an ear let him hear] For the last time this appeal of the Son of Man goes forth. Assemblies are no longer in question. It has come down to individuals. The last of the Dispensations is about to end, hence this admonition is given for the last time.
10. If any one is for the captivity, into captivity he goeth: if any one is to be killed with the sword with the sword he is killed.] The Greek Text of this verse is very confused, and there are many various readings. But the sense is perfectly clear. The Hebrew idiom was not understood by the transcribers of the MSS. and hence they tried to correct it. It is a Hebraism expressing destiny, and denoting a certainty of approaching judgment, from whichever side it comes. See Jer. xliii.11: |And when he (Nebuchadnezzar) cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt, and deliver such as are for death, to death; and such as are for captivity, to captivity; and such as are for the sword, to the sword.| And Jer. xv.2: |And if they say to thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the Lord, such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for captivity, to captivity.| See also Ezek. v.2, 12 and Zech. xi.9. From these passages it is abundantly clear that Rev. xiii.10 means that so sure and certain will these judgments be which are executed by the Beast, that none will escape them. Hence the need for the admonition of verse 9 and the words which follow.
Here is the patience (i.e., patient endurance) and the faith of the saints.] These will be the three great requisites for those |times of trouble.|
Flight (Matt. xxiv.15-28. Mk. xiii.14-23. Rev. xii.14); Patience (chap. i.9; ii.2, 19; iii.3, 10; xiv.9-12); and Faith (chap. ii.10, 13, 19; xvii.14).
Z., chap. xiii.11-18.
The Second Beast: from the earth.
The Second Wild Beast is distinguished from the first, twice in the twelfth verse, and elsewhere. As soon as he is mentioned, |the Beast| always means the first Beast, as being pre-eminent and predominant.
xiii.11. And I saw another Beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.] The second Beast, like the first, is superhuman, obsessed and energized by Satanic power. Three times he is called |the False Prophet| (xvi.13; xix.20; and xx.10). He is also the great coadjutor of the first Beast, and his mission is to aid the first Beast by deceiving mankind. The Lord Jesus, in speaking of this great Tribulation, warned against False Prophets as well as against False Christs, and spoke of their great work and power to deceive (Matt. xxiv.5, 11, 24. Mark xiii.22). Here is |the False Prophet,| and this is his proper title.
He has two horns, and not ten, as the first Beast. The ten denote dominion; the two speak of testimony; in this case false testimony. He spake as a dragon, i.e., subtilely, craftily and deceitfully. (Compare Gen. iii.1; xlix.17.2 Cor. xi.3).
And all these are used in behalf of the first Beast. The former is Political, the latter is Religious. The Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet form the Devil's travesty of the Holy Trinity.
It is infernal, as the other is Divine. The Dragon is the anti-God; the Beast is the anti-Christ; the False Prophet is the anti-Holy Ghost.
The majority of interpreters know nothing between |the Church| on the one hand, and |Popery| on the other. The Jew is cut out of the Apocalypse and almost out of all prophecy. All that is good refers to the Church, and all that is evil to Papal Rome. So contracted is man's vision that his conceptions savour of a Village Club instead of the mighty crisis of the struggle for universal Sovereignty. Others see only the Greek Church, the French Republic, or the heathen priesthood. Most interpreters view the two Beasts as two aspects of the same thing. All seem to be agreed that they are not individuals; which is the very thing that the ordinary reader would at once take them to be. Little hope, therefore, can be expected from such guides.
All the Scriptures which refer to these Beasts speak of them, without exception, as individuals. There is no hint as to their being anything else.
But because we believe this False Prophet to be an individual, there is no necessity for singling out some dead man, such as Judas Iscariot! His sin was surely great enough, without adding all this on to it. The second Beast is a spirit-being, but it is a man who is obsessed by it. The man will not have two horns. To the world he will be seen as a man. To us, now and here, he is shown to be superhuman; and as immediately led, influenced and energized by special spirit-agency. Already, there are many who are tampering with Spiritism, and who have their |familiar spirits| and guides. Spiritists, themselves, are well aware of the dangers and evils of obsession. But presently there will be one who will be obsessed by this mighty spirit-agent of Satan. Acts xvi.16-18, and xix.15, 16 throw a little light upon it.
Eight times is the expression |he causeth| used of this False Prophet ; so that he is an efficient agent. What |he causeth| we are told in the verses which follow:
xiii.12. And he exerciseth all the authority of the first Beast before him (i.e., in his presence), causeth the earth and those who dwell therein that they shall worship the first Beast, who was healed of his deadly wound.] |The earth and they that dwell therein| is a figure of speech called Pleonasm, or redundancy; a Hebrew figure characteristic of this book. The sphere of activity of the first Beast will be Political; of the second it will be Ecclesiastical. The basis of the worship will be his miraculous resurrection. People are induced to pay him divine homage. The False Prophet reduces it to a system. There is nothing in all this that is beyond our faith. Such things have happened before; why not again? Herod received Divine homage and took it as his right (Acts xii.21-23). History is full of similar examples, and can easily repeat itself. |New| Religions are in the air in our own day; and in each there is less and less of God. In the new religion that is coming, God will be entirely left out, and man exalted. It will be a combination of wisdom, science, progress, and philanthropy, combined with all that panders to the lowest instincts of fallen humanity. Given all this, plus Satanic and spirit-agency, and what is here described is easily possible, and what is more -- it is revealed as positively certain.
xiii.13. And he worketh great signs (i.e., miracles), so that he causeth even fire to come down out of heaven to the earth before men,] That these are real miracles there can be no doubt, since that very same word is constantly used of the miracles wrought by Christ. And these miracles are |great.| This again is no new thing. Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses (Ex. vii.11.2 Tim. iii.8), and up to a certain point worked the same miracles. Elijah caused fire to come down out of heaven more than once (1 Kings xviii.38.2 Kings i.10, 12), and in this Book it is used by God as one of His judgments (xx.9). The two witnesses deal in like manner with their enemies (xi.5).
xiii.14. And he deceiveth those who dwell on the earth by reason of the signs (miracles) which it was given him to work before the Beast:] Here we have the very words, almost, used of this same second Beast in 2 Thess. ii.9. We will place the two descriptions side by side (as we did with the first Beast) to show that the same person and work and time are referred to in both scriptures: --
Rev. xiii.13, 14
2 Thess. ii.9-11
|And he worketh great signs, so that he causeth even fire to come down out of heaven to the earth before men. And he deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by reason of the signs which it was given him to work before the Beast.|
|Whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders; and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish... For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie.|
Here we have two accounts of the same being and his work. In 1 Tim. iv.1-3 we are told of the times coming on the earth when |deceiving spirits| (i.e., evil angels) should be teachers, and |teachings of demons| should be taught and received. We are in those days already, and these lying spirit-teachers are at their awful work. Demoniacal teachings are being received on every hand. Many professing Christians are dabbling with Spiritism; and even ministers are presiding at lectures where this abomination is being advocated. What it will come to ere long, we are told in these scriptures.
Miracles are becoming common-place. And, strange as it may sound, they are, in themselves, no evidence whatever as to proof of a Divine Mission. We are aware that theology teaches the opposite; adopting the false premisses of Paley and his successors.
Christ's miracles, as miracles, were no evidence of His Divine mission. The real evidence was that the miracles which He wrought were the very miracles which the Prophetic Word had declared He should work, and which were on that account the sign and seal of His ministry, and formed His credentials from on high. This is clear from Matt. xi.1-6. It was not that they were mere miraculous acts, but that they were what God had foretold, and the essence of their testimony was to the truth of God's word, rather than the power of Christ. Hence it is that they are so generally called |signs,| and not merely |wonders.| They are not for the crowd to gape at, but for the Bible students to study and learn their Divine lessons and teaching as to the truth of God's word and the Divine mission of the Lord Jesus.
Miracles and wonders, as such, have always been wrought; and will be wrought again by the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet. And while the evidence furnished to the people by their miracles will be to the establishment of their false claims: to those who will keep the faith in those days, the evidence will be to the truth of God's Word, which has foretold these very miracles. Their miracles will establish their infernal origin and Satanic power, and not their Divine mission.
Ordering those who dwell on the earth, to make an image to the Beast, who hath the sword-wound, and lived. (15) And it was given to him to give breathe to the image of the Beast, that the image of the Beast should speak, and cause also that as many as would not worship the image of the Beast should be killed.] Again we ask, Why not? What has been can be again . On the plain of Dura (Dan. iii.) a similar scene was witnessed and a similar law enacted, so far as the worship and the penalty are concerned. How the speaking will be effected we do not know, but we know enough to see how easy the task is becoming.
Nikola Tesla, the Hungarian-American electrician, boldly declares (in The Century magazine for June, 1900), that he has a plan for the construction of an automaton which shall have its |own mind,| and be able, |independent of any operator, to perform a great variety of acts and operations as if it had intelligence.| He speaks of it, not as a miracle, of course, but only as an invention which he |has now perfected.| But again we say we care not how it is going to be done. God's word declares that it will be done, and we believe it. |Human energy| is getting on, and it will, ere long, be superhuman when developed by the Satanic agency of the second Beast, exercised through the human False Prophet. We already hear of talking machines; with |a little| Satanic power thrown in, it will be a miracle very easily worked.
This, and Tesla's idea for the |increase of human energy,| is further described in The Daily Express (London) for June 12, 1900.
In seven passages we read of |the image of the Beast| (xiii.15; xiv.9, 11; xv.2; xvi.2; xix.20; xx.4).
Psalms lxxiii. refers to those troublous and perplexing times, when the faithful are at their wits' ends, and desolation and destruction of the ungodly are described. In verse 20 it is added:
|As a dream when one awaketh,
So, O Lord, in the city ((...) bair), thou shalt tread down their Image.|
(...) (bair) means in the city, as in the P.B. version (Coverdale) and RV. margin; and (...) (bazah) means to tread down, tread under foot, as in Ps. xliv.5. Isa. xiv.19; lxiii.18. So, when God awakes to judgment, He will tread down this Image, and cause it to vanish from the city as a dream vanisheth on awaking. The city is, of course, Jerusalem, where this abomination will be set up.
xiii.16. And he (i.e., the Second Beast) causeth all, even the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the bond, to receive a mark on their right hands, or upon their foreheads:] Thus, out of Democracy comes Despotism: out of Liberalism comes |Boycotting| on a large scale: out of Reason comes Idolatry; out of Socialism comes the abrogation of the rights of |Free labour.| What was thought impossible in this direction a few years ago is now seen to be an accomplished fact in all directions. In whole districts it is often forbidden to buy or sell either their merchandise or their labour; and none are exempted from this new enslavement. The False Prophet will bring |Boycotting| to perfection, and employ it as a political power and a religious agency. The object is
xiii.17. That no one should be able to buy or sell, except he who has the mark, or the name of the Beast, or the number of his name.] The plan is truly Satanic in its wisdom: for each one becomes a spy on the other. Living will be made next to impossible: even money will be useless. The rich will be as the poor if they have not this mark. It will be far worse than famine.
The word for |mark| is (...) (charagma) brand. In the Papyri, (...) is always connected with the Emperor, and sometimes contains his name and effigy, with the year of his reign. It was necessary for buying and selling. It is found on all sorts of documents, making them valid; and there are many on |bills of sale.| Charagma is therefore the official seal; and this brand will be received by the great majority rather than suffer the torture of death from violence or privation.
xiii.18. Here is wisdom. He who hath understanding let him calculate the number of the Beast: for it is man's number; and its number is Six hundred and sixty-six.] The words imply that the calculation is possible but difficult. The task is generally undertaken on the assumption that the problem is to be solved by Gematria; i.e., by reckoning (after the manner of the Hebrews and Greeks, who had not Arabic numerals) a letter as being put for the corresponding number for which it stood. But this is enumeration, not computation; and the vast number of names which have been thus formed forbid us either to increase the number, or to select from it. We believe the clue is to be found in the statement that it is |man's number.|
Now three is the Divine number. Seven is the number of the Spirit. Eight is the Dominical number, and so on. But Six (with its multiples) is peculiarly man's number. It is first mentioned in connection with man (for man was created on the sixth day). Six, therefore, is to man what the |hall-mark| is to silver. It is man's hall-mark; stamping everything which it is used in connection with as pertaining to man. The great defiers of God have been so stamped. Goliath was six cubits in height, his spear's head weighed six shekels, and he had six pieces of armour.
Nebuchadnezzar's Image was sixty cubits in height, and six cubits wide; and six instruments of music summoned its worshippers.
The number 666 has, moreover, another remarkable property. It is marked by the triple concentration or essence of six, being the sum of all the numbers which make up the square of six. The square of six is 36; and, 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 + 11 + 12 + 13 + 14 + 15 + 16 + 17 + 18 + 19 + 20 + 21 + 22 + 23 + 24 + 25 + 26 + 27 + 28 + 29 + 30 + 31 + 32 + 33 + 34 + 35 + 36 = 666.
But the great significance of this number is seen when we remember that the secret symbol of the great ancient Pagan mysteries was SSS or 666; and that to-day it is the secret connecting link between them and their revival in Spiritism and Theosophy which aim at the union of all religions in one.
The number 666 is expressed in the Greek by the letters (...). The first (...) stands for 600, the second (...) for 60, and the third (...) for 6. The last is not a real letter, but was a mark invented by the Greeks to represent 6. They called it (...) (stigma ), and it is not without significance that, as associated with man, the word has come to be used in a bad sense.
The first and last of these three letters are the abbreviation of the word |Christ,| being the first and last letters of the word Christos. So that, when we have the (...), like a crooked serpent, put between them, we see a fitting symbol of Satan's Messiah -- the Anti-Christ.