Revelation Chapter 13
VERSE 16 continued “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads…”
(As explained in The Keys of Revelation)
“This text indicates a far more aggressive policy on the part of the already organized 1948 Amsterdam union (or another similar alliance) of non-Roman churches with the second beast, which formerly possessed lamb-like horns. At a future date the alliance will take on new life and power—due to the incorporation into its midst of a remarkably transformed and vigorously energetic Anglican Church.
The statement earlier in Verse 15 that the two-horned beast had “power to give life unto the image of the beast” bears repetition.
It reveals that the two-horned beast and the image of the beast will be transformed into a metamorphic union, and after this chapter the two-horned beast will not be mentioned again in Scripture. In other words, the English Church will steer Protestantism in the direction of its destined course. There is an analogy to the fabled sculptor who, in creating an inanimate statue, put so much care and vitality of his own spirit into the statue that it became alive.
Indeed, The Living Bible renders this passage as follows:
“And he [the two-horned beast] ordered the people of the world to make a great statue of the first Creature, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life. He [the two-horned beast] was permitted to give breath to this statue and even make it speak! Then the statue ordered that anyone refusing to worship it must die!”
At that time the image will be anything but the proverbial “paper tiger.” Its influence will be all pervasive in lands traditionally Protestant. Every sector of the populace, religious or otherwise, will be required to at least outwardly conform to its regulations, which the civil power will legally sanction and ostensibly enforce in the interest of the common good.
ALL will be required to submit by rendering material aid and cooperation (the mark in the right hand) and/or by mentally assenting to its decrees (teachings, precepts and etc., the mark in the forehead).
John the Baptist’s experience (Matt. 14:3–12; Luke 3:19,20; Mark 6:16–28) clearly and forcibly illustrates where the responsibility is to be placed in connection with the death of the Lord’s people at the end of the age. When John the Baptist was in prison, the mother Herodias, not satisfied with his imprisonment, desired and plotted his death, but on the surface the one who appeared to be most responsible for his execution was Salome, her daughter. It was the daughter who did the dancing. Although she may not at first have intended to obtain the Baptist’s head, her dancing attracted the king’s attention and admiration, resulting in his rash promise that made it possible for Queen Herodias to advise her daughter to request John’s beheading. It is interesting that the king was reluctant to kill John, but he was entrapped by a chain of circumstances. This situation is a reminder of Pilate, who did not want to put Jesus to death. The threat to Pilate was that if he did not have Jesus killed, his actions would be reported to Caesar (John 19:12). In the final analysis, the Roman soldiers, acting as the governor’s agents, crucified the Savior.
Daniel in the lions’ den (Daniel 6) is another example. At the urging of others who were jealous of Daniel, the king made a rash decree relating to the purported laxity of religious worship in his empire. When Daniel prayed at his window “as he was wont” (Compare Luke 22:39), the king was informed. Although the monarch immediately recognized the duplicity of Daniel’s enemies, he was ensnared. He did not want to put Daniel in the lions’ den, but what could he do? An irrevocable decree had already been declared. King Ahasuerus was deceived in like manner through the wicked counsel of Haman the Agagite.
Similarly, Herod made a vow before many witnesses on the occasion of his birthday when Salome danced before him: “Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom” (Mark 6:23). Herodias, the mother, was the real perpetrator and instigator of the crime, but she remained in the background and, therefore, was the least obvious from a visual standpoint. In the forefront of the narration were the king and the daughter.
The lesson should be apparent. The “MOTHER OF HARLOTS” (Rev. 17:5) or Catholicism corresponds to the first beast, in whose sight or presence the deeds of the second beast and/or the image are performed (Rev. 13:14). The role of the second symbolic beast is that of deceiver (also Verse 14), much like that of the daughter of Herodias (Protestantism). King Herod represents the civil power. In the fulfillment of Revelation 13:15, neither the image nor the papal beast will do the killing; instead, the image will cause 51 as many as will not worship it to be put to death by the civil power.
There can be no question about the killing power of the beast being literal in Rev 13:7,8 and in Rev 6:9,10. So likewise, the death referred to in Verse 15 will be literal as well as figurative.
The development of the image of the beast consists of three primary stages, with the killing power to be exerted in the last stage. The three stages are (1) its primitive formation or molding, (2) its completion preparatory to dedication, and (3) its dedication and vitalization (bringing to life) by the English Church with the support of the dragon civil power.
51. Some dispute whether the second beast or the image is the subject of the verb “causes” with which Verse 16 opens. Nor is the answer too material. The second beast manifestly is the prompting force in the enactment of the drama, and the image is but its mouthpiece. Yet in a subtle and more responsible sense, it is the first beast, quietly seen in the background, before whom the persecution takes place.
Before we move on to Verse 17 in our next post, we would like to consider a few important thoughts and questions concerning the “mark” and who may receive it.
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