Sunday, 18 July 2021
Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. Revelation 19:20
In the battle where the armies are gathered together to make war against Christ and His army, it now says, “Then the beast was captured.” The beast is the beast out of the sea of Revelation 13:1. As this beast is an entity headed by the antichrist which had heads of governmental authority and leaders of those governments, it could be that “the beast” is only speaking of the antichrist who heads the entity, or it could be referring to him and all the leaders with him. Translations vary because of this. Some say, “with him,” while some say, “with this,” or “with it.”
If this is only referring to the antichrist, a hint of his demise may be found in Isaiah 14 –
“All the kings of the nations,
All of them, sleep in glory,
Everyone in his own house;
19 But you are cast out of your grave
Like an abominable branch,
Like the garment of those who are slain,
Thrust through with a sword,
Who go down to the stones of the pit,
Like a corpse trodden underfoot.
20 You will not be joined with them in burial,
Because you have destroyed your land
And slain your people.” Isaiah 14:18-20
To be “cast out of your grave” is explained by the words, “You will not be joined with them in burial.” In other words, rather than dying and going to the grave, a different fate awaits him. This is mere speculation, but it is still worthy of note.
Whatever is being referred to will be understood when the time comes. For now, it continues by saying, “and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence.” This is now the beast out of the sea first mentioned in Revelation 13:11. To see the connection, the relevant verses can be placed side by side –
“He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.” Revelation 13:13, 14
“Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.” Revelation 19:20
As noted in Chapter 13, this false prophet is said to have performed “great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.” It is with these signs “by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast.” Those who followed them willingly gave their full allegiance to them, acknowledging them as their supreme authority, and thus rejecting the Lord Jesus. In receiving the mark, they have rejected any chance of salvation, as is implied in Revelation 20:4. Of those taking the mark, it next says, “and those who worshiped his image.”
The verb is a present participle. It more rightly reads, “and those worshiping his image.” This is not a separate category, but the same group. They received the mark of the beast (a single event), and they actively and continually gave their devotion after that (an ongoing process of worship). This tells us that those who received the mark did so willingly. There was nothing forced about it, and it could be rejected. If some are to be given the mark involuntarily (of which the Bible says nothing), it could not be held against them because it is not followed up with the act of worship.
As far as the beast and the false prophet, the verse finishes with, “These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.” Whether these words speak of only two people (the leaders of the entities) or of many, the beast and the false prophet will be chucked directly into limnēn tou pyros, or “lake the fire,” where they will have an eternal swim. The consequences of their actions will be regretted forever and ever. Such is the nature of exalting oneself above the offer of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who come humbly before Him, acknowledging themselves as sinners in need of a Savior, will receive the grace and mercy of a tender and loving Creator. Those who fail to do so will receive their just due, even as the beast and the false prophet.
Life application: The false power, signs, and lying wonders mentioned by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2 and here in Revelation will lead many to take the mark of the beast and to worship the image of the beast. These words are not just a fairy tale, but they rather convey the truth of God’s word. The world is really heading in this direction, and when that day comes the people will rather believe a lie than the truth.
When a person takes the mark of the beast, his eternal fate will be secured. He will go to the same terrifying and everlasting doom which is the Lake of Fire. For now, in Revelation 19, it is the beast and the false prophet who are heading there. Their judgment will be immediate, and their punishment won’t be delayed.
The world will see the power and awesome display of righteous judgment when the Lord comes to accomplish His work by weeding out these miscreants and robbers of souls. Terrible times are ahead. However, after the time of terror, the Lord will reign in righteousness. Thank God for seeing things through to their completion. And thank God for sending His Son to make it possible. Praise God for JESUS!
Heavenly Father, we look to You now and thank You for sending us Your Son. The book of Revelation shows that many will be cast into the Lake of Fire, but the Bible implies that this terrifying place is what we all rightfully deserve. And yet, because of Your great love and mercy, You have given us Jesus to lead us back to You. Thank You for Jesus! Amen.