Revelation is a challenging book and our passage today is no exception. In fact, here we have one of the things most people outside of Christianity know about Revelation—the mark of the beast. For a detailed exegetical summary of this passage I would highly recommend reading Constable’s Notes at https://lumina.bible.org/bible/Revelation+13.
Instead of getting into the details of the passage, which is a source of much disagreement anyway, I want to discuss the point of the passage. This passage is about wisdom, stated very clearly in verse 18, “ This calls for wisdom.”
The second beast rose out of the Earth, he is the false prophet of the first beast. This second beast is what one scholar calls the “Minister of Propaganda.” He “makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast.” What the Holy Spirit does in pointing people to Christ, this second beast does in pointing people to the first beast.
This should be a warning to all believers. Perhaps one day the number “666” will be presented in some way that we all go, “Now, wait just a second.” I think, though, probably not. I remember my first job at Taco Bell. I was handing the change back to a customer that just happened to be $6.66 and they made me keep a quarter so the change wouldn’t be exact. I doubt their burrito combo was a sign that the end has come.
Whatever that number represents, we can clearly see that this second beast is someone or something that wants to elevate the first beast and has no interest in elevating Christ. Revelation and end-times theology should always cause us to prepare for that moment, in every moment. We should be preparing for the end of times at all times. That starts with wisdom and living for Christ every single second of your life.
When you think about passages like this and the end, what comes to mind?
In what ways are you not ready for the end to be here? (i.e. if the end were tomorrow, what would you do today?)
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate