commentary: The Beast and Religion
A Dynamic Anti-God Duo
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 05-Oct-13; Sermon #1179c; 9 minutes
Satan is highly organized and has extended his tentacles into every aspect of life, including religion. The second Beast of Revelation 13, the false prophet, is a religious leader, helping the Beast (the Lawless One) capture the minds and loyalty of the people. Both Beasts are under the power and sway of Satan. The deceptions will cause many to stumble; the miracles (perhaps televised through the Internet) will be persuasive, deceiving all except for those whose names are written in the Book of Life.
During my sermon on the Last Great Day ["The New World Order Rises"], I spent a portion of my time attempting to impress upon all of us that when God says that Satan has deceived the entire world, that He means exactly what He said: The entire world, not just the religious aspect of it.
Recall that I gave the illustration extracted from the book Dance With the Devil that the world consists of more than just its religious element. We've got to think of Satan as the head of a government, and a government consists of many different departments exercising authority.
Satan is aptly named. He is Abaddon and Apollyon, a destroyer, and he uses his invisible hierarchy of demons in his attempts to destroy God's purpose. He will not succeed, but along the way, he will make life miserable for just about everybody. Even as the U. S. Government has various departments like the Departments of Justice, Energy, Health, Education and Welfare, Defense, Interior, and so forth, so does Satan. He is organized in his operations to deceitfully and systematically destroy God's purpose. Even though these other areas of life are important, there is no doubt that religion is the most important to God's purpose and mankind's quality of life.
Other than prophesied events pertaining to nature, religion is, as far as I know, the only specific area of life God directly includes in His warnings regarding the end times. This is because it has greater effect on God's purpose and plan than any of the other areas of life, regardless of what mankind might think. Personal conduct is so important, it without a doubt affects the quality of life in all other areas of life.
You might want to write down the scriptures and then compare them later and do a little research on them. Revelation 13:11-15 provides some description of the personality and operations of the one who will persuade people to loyally support the beast in his operations. The description of this person says that he has somewhat the personality of a lamb, but he speaks like a dragon. The one the Bible directly calls the beast is shown in that chapter rising from the sea. The second personality, revealed in Revelation 13:11 is also called a beast, but this one rises from the earth, probably to clearly distinguish him from the first beast. Revelation 13:2 states the dragon gives power to the beast the rises from the sea, and though the Bible does not directly state it, in all likelihood, the dragon also gives power to the second beast, too, because he performs great signs in the first beast's presence. Together, the dragon, the first and second beast form a super, evil trinity.
Revelation 16:13 clearly calls the second beast the false prophet, and thus there is no doubt that this person is a religious figure. This shows me without the shadow of a doubt that those men forming the New World Order understand that even though they hate God and hate religion, especially the Christian religion, they will not succeed in their evil formation of a one world government without a religious component. It is absolutely necessary to catch the hearts and minds of people.
To them, religion, like the media, is nothing more than a tool to deceitfully win the favor of the public while they increase their political and economic power over the very ones they are persuading to be their followers. The human leadership follows the persuasions of their real leader, Satan.
II Thessalonians 2:9 states that the coming of the lawless one is according to Satan, and within the context, I take the lawless one as referring to the first beast of Revelation 13. The first beast will be accompanied by all power, signs, and lying wonders. It says that right in the verse. Both of the beasts are clearly established as tools of the invisible and powerful Satan, who is manipulating them partly through the use of his powers in and through them. Whether the first beast performs miraculous things is somewhat unclear, but there is no doubt the second beast, the false prophet, performs miraculous things, done for the purpose of deceiving onlookers in support of the first beast, as Revelation 13:11-18 clearly shows.
The miracles will be real, but their intent is to hide Satan's real purpose. This is where the deception comes in, the deceptions that are going to persuade multiple, multiple, maybe billions of people to throw their hat in with the beast and the false prophet.
What the second beast, the false prophet, does within the framework or the setting of all other things going on in the world—in this, I am thinking of worldwide political, economic and social circumstances—is going to be very persuasive. That is, in getting them to follow the beast.
I do not think that most people are merely hearing of these miraculous events. (I'm projecting forward to that time when those events are occurring.) But they will also be seen through Internet and TV, and therefore, they will be witnessed worldwide. So the strong influence of the signs and lying wonders is going to force choices to be made about what to do with one's life, and that even includes us.
This helps us grasp the importance of why Jesus' first warning in the Olivet Prophecy is to beware that no one deceives you. Be prepared with a clear understanding of your position before God, because Revelation 13:8-9 gives church members this warning:
Revelation 13:8-9 All who dwell on the earth will worship him [the first beast], whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If anyone has an ear, let him hear.
What that warning contains is a way of escape for us. If our names are written in the Book of Life, we must protect that by not allowing ourselves to be deceived. And we will not be, if we are truly following God. We will not be deceived. We will see it. We may get a lot of trouble because of it, but we will not be deceived. So give yourself every opportunity to make a clear and righteous choice by discerning the events that lie just ahead.