Week - 24 An Evil Parody of the Holy Trinity Revelation 13:11-18
Updated: Dec 15, 2021
Authored by Jerry Marshall Jesus described the Devil as “a murderer from the beginning” and, “one who does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him.” He further described him as “the father of lies” (John 8:44). The Apostle Paul describes the Devil as one who disguises himself as “an angel of light” (2Corinthians 11:14), although in truth he is the prince of darkness. Paul also states that Satan constantly blinds the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the Gospel (2Corinthians 4:4).
Satan traffics in deception. It’s a part of his natural pattern of operation. During the time of the Great Tribulation, Satan will solidify his control over the inhabitants of the world with a tremendous use of deception. He will accomplish this through the vehicle of the marriage of political power with religious seduction.
The final expression of ultimate allegiance to Satan will be manifested by worldwide worship of the image of the Beast. The chief agent used by Satan to accomplish his objective will be the third member of His counterfeit trinity. He will serve as the primary religious prompter mandating the worship of the Antichrist under penalty of death. Together, they form a parody of the Holy Trinity.
The passage that is the focus of our study today reveals three points of information about this third member of the evil trinity.
I. The Manifestation of the Third Person (Revelation 13:11-12)
A. His appearance (11)
From other references in this book, we can be sure that this second Beast majors in spiritual deception because he is called, “The false prophet.” (Rev 19:20; 20:10)
His major mission is the promotion of a one world religion which will focus on the worship of the Antichrist which will serve in correlation with the one world government and one world economic structure that will exist during the time of the Great Tribulation.
And since John uses the Greek word “allos” which is translated “another of the same kind”, we can be sure that like the first Beast, this second Beast is a person, a living being. He is not to be understood as a metaphorical reference to an institution, or a form of government or a particular ideology.
This Beast comes out of the earth unlike the first Beast who came up out of the Abyss or the sea (Rev 11:7). His place of origin suggests that he will emerge to this prominent position of religious leadership from the masses of humanity that are the inhabitants of this earth during the time of the Great Tribulation.
His appearance seems to be a part of his deception. He is described as being like a two horned lamb, which is an attempt to present him as being gentle and harmless, docile and conciliatory. This might also suggest that he will be winsome and persuasive in his demeanor.
He seems to be the epitome of what Jesus warned of when he spoke of the wolves in sheep’s clothing who are in fact false prophets, ferocious wolves (Matt 7:15).
Despite his appearance, his words will be as the dragon, (Satan, that serpent of old). He, like all false prophets, will serve as Satan’s mouthpiece, speaking his words, his perspective, distortions and deception.
But he will not be blatantly blasphemous, as the Antichrist. “Instead, he will speak winsome, deceiving words of praise about the Antichrist, luring the world to worship that vile, satanic dictator.” MacArthur
B. His authority (12a)
Where did the first beast get his authority (Revelation 13:4)?
This second Beast (who is the false prophet), will carry out or execute the authority of the first Beast (the Antichrist). And he will do so literally in the presence of the antichrist. This implies that this authority is delegated to him and it is to be used for the benefit of the Antichrist.
Please note the counterfeit nature of this action. Just as Christ received authority from the Father (Matt 11:27), so Antichrist receives his authority from the Dragon who is Satan (Rev 13:4); and as the Holy Spirit glorifies Christ (John 16:14), so the false prophet, using the authority delegated to him glorifies the Antichrist for that is his assignment.
C. His assignment (12b)
The assignment of this second Beast is to give the world what it has always longed for, a one world religion. In this case, it will be the one world religion of the cult of the worship of the Antichrist, the one world leader at this time. He will serve the Antichrist as his minister of propaganda and prompter of praise.
His winsome and persuasive words however will be greatly enhanced by a satanic counterfeit of the resurrection (note 13:3-4).
Take note of what you have heard. A satanic counterfeit of the Trinity, A satanic counterfeit of the incarnation, and a satanic counterfeit of the resurrection, all working together to promote the worship of the Antichrist, which in fact is the worship of Satan.
II. The Methods of the Third Person (Revelation 13:13-15)
What sort of schemes and practices will this false prophet use in order to fulfill his assignment of promoting the worldwide adoration of the Antichrist?
A. The miraculous (13-14a)
The false prophet will use as his primary means of deception which has worked throughout the centuries to get people to give their allegiance to a particular religious system or to a particular belief, and that is the perception of the miraculous.
Now this idea did not originate with the false prophet, the antichrist or even with Satan. During the time of God revealing His person, His will and plans in a progressive manner; He used the miraculous to affirm that what was being communicated as truly coming from Him.
The miracles of Jesus were designed to affirm His true identity.
30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
And so Satan noting what has worked for God presents a counterfeit version of the miraculous so that it might work for him as well (i.e. the magicians of Pharaoh Court).
God had warned the nation of Israel about such attempts to rob their love and reverence from Him through the vehicle of false prophets performing miracles (Deuteronomy 13:1-5).
Jesus warned us that false prophets can have ministries in the name of Jesus and a sense of security of a place in heaven, when in fact, not truly knowing the Lord and being totally lost.
22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
In addition to the counterfeit resurrection of the Antichrist, the false prophet performs great and miraculous signs, even mimicking what the two witnesses had done by calling fire down from heaven (11:5). This deception works well (13:14).
The Apostle Paul informs us of an additional reason why the inhabitants of the earth will be deceived.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10
9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
B. The mandate (14b-15)
For the purpose of solidifying even further the worldwide allegiance to the cult of the Antichrist, the false prophet issues a mandate to set up an image in honor of the Beast (probably in the Temple in Jerusalem).
And in case the apparent resurrection of the Antichrist was not enough to convince the inhabitants of the earth to give their worship to the Beast, and if the miraculous signs and wonders done by the false prophet did not convince them either, then one more astonishing feat would be added to the mix.
The false prophet, using the power given to him from the antichrist (which is really the power and authority given to him by Satan), will cause the image to breathe and speak (the image no doubt is a replication of the Antichrist).
The false prophet causes the image (ikon), to be animated unlike all the other idols that have ever been created for the promotion of the worship of false Gods. They did not speak, or hear or breathe. But this image will, by the power of Satan.
The syntax of this verse suggests that the image will mandate a death sentence upon all that refuse to worship it. So that if all of these counterfeit miracles don’t convince people to give their worship and loyalty to the Antichrist - perhaps self-preservation will work. No doubt this is what leads to the death of those tribulation saints that we studied about previously in the 6th chapter of Revelation.
III. The Mark of the Second Person (Revelation 13:16-18)
A. The significance of the mark (16-17)
The 144,000 were marked or sealed by God to distinguish them as belonging to God and protected them from the wrath of God which was being expressed against the inhabitants of the earth during the time of the Great Tribulation (Rev 7:2-3).
Even in this, Satan is compelled to mimic God and to mark out those who belong to him. To add to his one world religion and his one world leader, he will have a one world economic system with a certain socio economic sanction against those who refuse to receive the “mark.”
People at every level of society will be required to receive this mark or be excluded from participation in commercial exchange. Without this mark, no business can be done.
“Food, clothing, medical supplies, and the other necessities of life potentially in demand in the devastated earth, which has felt the judgment of God (6:5-6), will be unobtainable for those without the mark.”
The significance of the mark is that it will indicate that those who bear this symbol of the name of the Beast or the number of his name are loyal worshippers and followers of the Antichrist.
The word “mark” in this passage in the original language of the NT is the Gk word charagma (Khar-ag-mah), which speaks of a stamp or an imprinted mark or even an engraved symbol. This is not the first time that such a strategy has been used to test the true loyalty of the subjects of an earthly empire.
The Roman Emperors required their subjects to prove their loyalty by offering a sacrifice to Caesar at least once a year. Those who refused to do so like those who refuse to take the mark of the antichrist, were subject to execution.
B. The significance of the number (18)
I don’t know of anything else in the entire Bible that has generated such speculation and convoluted configurations as the number 666.
Many have sought to identify this number with certain historical figures like Nero, Caligula, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin and a host of others. However, since the Antichrist is a future figure of world history, and since this number is the number of his name, it is foolish to attempt to associate this number to some historical figure. And besides, the Bible is not unclear about informing us what this number signifies. The Bible always tells us what we need to know! It is the number of the Beast, which is the number of man, which is 666.
The number 7, which is the number of perfection, is the number of God. For example the number for the Trinity would be 777. The number then for the false Trinity would be 666. The number 6 is always one short of 7 which symbolizes the perfections of God. Therefore the number 6 is man’s number, giving a numerical equivalent to man’s constant imperfections.
1. Satan has used, continues to use and will use, spirituality and religion as vehicles for the promotion of deception and the obstruction of truth (Revelation 13:11-18; 1Timothy 4:1-4; 2 Corinthians 11:14).
2. There are types of antichrist always in the world. Therefore, there is always a need for the church to be biblically discerning (1John 4:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 5:21).
3. Just because something seems miraculous does not mean that it is a mighty act of God (Revelation 13:13-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11; Matthew 7:22-23).
The perception and assumption of the miraculous should not cause us to automatically assume that such miraculous activity is from God. Especially if such an assumption is coupled with a proclamation or teaching that leads us away from the revealed truth of God.
4. The uniting of all religious systems into one is not the work of God but of Satan (Revelation 13:11-12; 2Thessalonians 2:3-4).