Tuesday, 23 March 2021
And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. Revelation 13:12
The previous verse introduced the beast coming out of the earth with two horns like a lamb, but which spoke like a dragon. As noted, those words may be referring to an entity that is religious in nature. If so, it is assumed to be led by the false prophet.
As noted in the previous verse, the speculation could go on and on. At this point in history, the events are future. Being dogmatic about the exact meaning is futile. For now, John says, “And he exercises all the authority of the first beast.”
This second beast, possibly led by the false prophet, has the same authority as the first beast. This means that he is filled by Satan just as the first beast is. The antichrist and the false prophet both obtain their authority and power from the devil.
John then notes that he exercises this authority of the first beast “in his presence.” This means that what he does is with the expressed approval of the first beast. If this is a religious alliance of the false prophet, it will deal mostly with religious matters while the antichrist will deal with the political/military matters.
With this as a possibility, John next says, “and causes the earth and those who dwell in it.” As already noted in several verse commentaries, the word “earth” can mean quite a number of things. The more dogmatic one gets on its meaning, if wrong, the more the analysis will steer away from the correct interpretation. Is this referring to the whole earth? Is it referring to the land of Israel only? And so on. As “the earth” appears to be set in contrast to “the sea” of verse 13:1, the distinction is probably one of two things. It is either religious as opposed to secular, or it is Israel in contrast to the nations.
Because it is speaking of the “earth and those who dwell in it,” this may more likely be speaking of the land of Israel. Until the time comes, it is all speculation. But either way, the result is the same. The people of “the earth” are caused, “to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” There is such a deception concerning these end times events that the healing of the head of the first beast will be a point of awe – “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
This great alliance of nations will appear to be the premier force on earth. As such, allegiance to it is to be expected. This should not be thought unlikely. In the world today, people worship the World Health Organization in the sense that they have all of the medical answers needed to rescue the masses. People worship the UN as if they have all of the governmental answers to align the world under one head. And so forth.
The mentality of globalists is that if it consolidates power and authority, it is a good thing. This is exactly what this false religious beast will convince the people concerning the beast that rose out of the sea (meaning the nations) to become a world power.
If, in fact, the earth is signifying those in the land of Israel – as opposed to the “sea” which signifies the gentile nations – then this religious body will lead astray the Jews who reject the message of the 2 witnesses (that which testifies to the truth of Jesus).
He will have them thoroughly convinced that the beast “whose deadly wound was healed” is worthy of following and giving their allegiance to it. Regardless of whether this is a Jewish person or not, he will have the ability to mislead the masses concerning the workings of the antichrist and will have them following him.
Life application: As unlikely as it seems to us who look forward to these things and understand them from a Jesus-centered worldview, the people of the world won’t look at the events around them in this manner. Instead, they will simply think that what they are doing, and the one they are following, is their great deliverer.
This has been the case time and again in history as leaders arise to deceive those who follow them, but when the tribulation comes, it will be on a global scale. As noted above, the consolidation of power by globalists is their own god. They look to man as the final rule and authority, but they fail to see that man without Christ belongs to the devil.
There is only one way to have that default position corrected. That is to accept God’s offer of reconciliation which came about in the giving of His Son. In accepting this, one moves from the authority of the devil to the authority of God. This can only come through receiving JESUS.
Lord God, it is heartbreaking to read through the pages of the Bible and see the history of man continuously repeating itself. We fall away from the truth, are judged in order to correct us, and then for a short time return to You. But time and again, we stray right back to our ways of error. Give us wise and discerning hearts to follow You obediently. Amen.