Revelation can often feel cryptic when it talks about beasts and dragons, but there is so much fruit to be learned from each verse if we seek to understand it. Chapter thirteen is no exception, so let’s figure out what’s going on and how to apply it to our lives.
Who are these beats that come out of the sea and earth? Short answer - I don’t know. The text doesn’t tell us that. What we do know is that the beasts appear to be sent by the dragon in chapter twelve, as he declares war against God’s people left on the Earth (12:17). These beasts are also given power and authority from the dragon. More important than who these beasts are is what they are doing.
The first beast appears to have a mortal wound. He looks like he is going to die. He is beyond recovery, but to the world’s surprise, he is healed! The second beast who comes out of the Earth performs miracles and wonders. He even calls down fire! Then verse fourteen clues us in on what’s going on. “He deceived all the people who belong to this world.” The two beasts are trying to replicate God in order to deceive the world. The first beast is trying to copy the resurrection of Jesus. The second beast copies God’s miracles through Elijah. The beasts use these signs to deceive people to worship themselves - and then use their influence and authority to persecute/kill God’s people.
A couple of notes here. First, notice that the works of the beasts bring death and destruction. The signs deceive people to worship them, and then they use their influence to kill God’s people. The works of God, on the other hand, bring healing, restoration, and eternal life. Instead of appearing to be wounded - Christ actually died to save you and me.
Second, notice that the beasts seek to deceive people by looking like God. The dragon is cunning. His ways look nothing like the ways of the Lord, but he chose to have the beasts replicate the works of Jesus to lead the world astray. But there is no replacing the real thing.
“But do not be dismayed, for here is your opportunity to have endurance and faith.” (13:10)
Let’s apply this to our lives today.
1. How can you prevent being deceived?
Know the real thing. Deeply. Intimately. Speak to God and listen to his voice. We prevent being deceived by knowing the truth - and God has revealed to us the way, truth, and the life in his Word. Also, trust that “He who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Phil 1:6)
2. How can you prevent others from being deceived? Be the real thing.
Imperfectly, yet authentically live a life of repentance and faith in Christ. Live a life that reflects the truth of who God is and what he has done, then share that truth with everyone you meet!
By: Joe Weaver
Great word today, Joe! I’ve never heard this passage explained so clearly and I appreciate the thought behind this post.
I think you hit the nail on the head in terms of how we avoid being deceived and deceiving others. There’s no certain act or thing to look for, but if we truly know Jesus and know him deeply then we will not give in to the Antichrist. Likewise in living it out, we must remember people are always watching to see if we really do what we say we believe.
Good words today, Joe! The only way to prevent being deceived by a counterfeit is to know the real thing. Let us know Christ and God’s Word so well that we can recognize and avoid anything false.