Monday, 22 March 2021
Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. Revelation 13:11
In verse 13:1, a beast rose out of the sea. That was symbolic of an alliance of nations arising out of the chaos of the nations of the world. Now, another beast arises out of the earth. As John says, “Then I saw another beast coming out of the earth.”
It has already been noted that the word “earth” is a general term. It can speak of the inhabitants of the earth, the actual earth upon which we stand, a particular region of the earth (such as “the land of Israel”), and so on. The first beast is spoken of without the second beast at times, but this second beast is never seen apart from the first beast.
This second beast, meaning its leader, has been equated by some with the False Prophet of Revelation 16:13. If so, that may speak of a religious rule of the beast, just as the antichrist will rule over the first beast. Of this beast, John notes, “and he had two horns like a lamb.” Horns are a symbol of power and authority. Being like a lamb, these two leaders will appear to be mild and gentle. If the “earth” is referring to the land of Israel, the beast is an organizational structure that appears to have the best intent of the people in mind. One horn could be the high priest of the reestablished temple service, for example. Or this could be a global religious system as well. It all depends on what the term “earth” is referring to here.
However, John next notes, “and spoke like a dragon.” The beast will give the impression that its actions are caring, loving, and with completely good intentions, but as it directs its actions verbally, its true source of power will be revealed – it is speaking on behalf of the devil.
A couple possibilities are:
* This is referring to a religious body, or at least one horn of it is religious in nature. It is one that is working in harmony with the alliance led by the antichrist, having two leaders that support its cause.
* This is speaking of a body in the land of Israel. As the first beast will be a group of gentile nations led by the antichrist, and this second beast may be a Jewish entity. In the Old Testament, there are several words translated as “the earth.” The most prominent word, eretz, can and often does mean specifically the land of Israel. The same is true with this word in the Greek, which is ge.
It could be that John is building upon this concept. As the first beast is specifically coming out of the “sea,” and this second beast is coming out of the “earth,” the difference may be to define one as Gentilet and the other as Israel.
Another possibility is given by the Pulpit Commentary, saying, “We shall find reason to interpret this beast as self deceit – that form of plausibility by which men persuaded themselves into a belief that they might without harm worship the former beast. … the writer wishes to show the universal character of the temptations with which Christians are assailed; and thus one beast seems to pertain to the sea, and the other to the earth, thus dividing the whole world between them. And he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. That is, while simulating an appearance of Christ, his words betrayed his devilish nature. The aim of this beast throughout is to assume a plausible exterior, that men may be beguiled by him (cf. vers. 13-17). Such is the nature of that self deceit which we believe this beast to typify. Many men, who were not to be tempted into a renunciation of Christ by the bitter persecution of the first beast, because coming in such a form they recognized easily its true nature, were nevertheless beguiled into such acts by specious reasoning and the deceit of their own hearts.”
That analysis doesn’t explain why there are two horns, meaning two leaders, but it provides a distinction from the first beast.
These are but a few of the countless possibilities that have been suggested concerning this second beast. If it is, in fact, the False Prophet later referred to, it would be a religious body as suggested above. Being a false prophet suggests being in a position to prophesy. At the time of this commentary, the pope is currently making alliances with the leaders of Islam. Such an alliance could have two horns, or religious leaders, but it would certainly speak like a dragon.
If this is speaking of “coming out of Israel,” it could be that the two horns are a false Christianity and a Judaism that has rejected Christ uniting together. This might be an alliance between the Pope and the chief rabbi or even the High Priest of the reestablished temple – uniting their voices in regard to end-times events.
Until the beast arrives, the speculation could go on and on. But it will be known once it comes forth.
Life application: A good way to visualize such an unholy entity is to simply look at the politicians in one’s own city, state, or nation. Far too often people are duped by those who appear to have other’s best intent in mind. However, in the end, they only find wickedness in their elected official. The people of the earth will see one thing, but will come to find another in this Satan-filled beast.
It is important for Christians is to be discerning. We cannot just look at a person, religious or otherwise, and decide he is good or bad based on externals. But rather, we need to listen to his words, evaluate his actions, and then make our decisions as best as we can. In the end, our hope should never be in a person or government, but in God. As God has sent His Christ to reveal Himself to us, let us place our ultimate hope and trust in JESUS!
Lord, how easily we look to our elected officials as if they have all the answers and as if they are the epitome of moral rectitude, but then we find that they are filled with deceit, moral perversion, and greed. Give us discerning eyes to know the truth of our leaders and to reject those who would bring discredit to Your great glory. Amen.