Beast from the Earth

The beast from the earth mimics the Lamb, is the mouthpiece of the Dragon, and the propagandist for the first beast – Revelation 13:11-15

Earth Artistic - Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash
In chapter 12, the “
great voice in heaven” pronounced “woe” on the “inhabitants of the earth and of the sea, because the Devil descended to you, having great wrath, knowing he has but a short time.” He then launched his war against the “seed of the woman” by summoning his own “seed” - The “beast from the sea” the “beast from the earth.” - [Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash].

The image of a “beast rising from the earth” continues the theme of something wicked “ascending” from a dark place: from the “Abyss,” from the “sea,” and now from the “earth,” which is associated with the human opponents of the “Lamb,” the “inhabitants of the earth.”
  • (Revelation 13:11-15) – “And I saw another beast ascending from the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and began speaking as a dragon. And all the authority of the first beast he uses before him and causes the inhabitants of the earth to render homage to the first beast, whose stroke of death was healed. And he does great signs, so that he causes even fire to descend to the earth before men; and he deceives the inhabitants of the earth by the signs which it was given him to do before the beast, saying to the inhabitants of the earth that they should make an image for the beast who had the stroke of the sword, and yet lived. And it was given to it to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and should cause that as many as should not do homage to the image of the beast should be slain.”
The arrival of this “beast” meant “woe” to the “inhabitants of the earth” because this creature deceived them so they rendered homage to the first “beast,” ensuring that their names would not be “written in the book of life.”

The language used to describe the “ascents” of these two “beasts” is derived from Daniel’s vision of the four beasts that were “ascending from the sea.” As with the previous paragraph, the present passage employs language largely from Daniel - (Daniel 7:2-3):
  • (Daniel 7:17) – “These great beasts are four kings who will ascend from the earth.”
The “beast from the earth” speaks with the voice of Satan and the authority of the first “beast” - (“he spoke as a dragon”). He is the mouthpiece of the “beast from the sea” that summons all men to give their allegiance to it.

The “beast from the earth” is, in fact, the “mouth speaking great slanders” that was given to the first “beast.” He was authorized to do so for the “forty-two months,” the same period allotted for the “trampling of the sanctuary by the nations,” the ministry of the “two witnesses,” the “nourishment” of the woman for “a thousand, twelve hundred and sixty days,” and the “short season” for the “Dragon” to wreak havoc on the “earth and the sea” - (Revelation 11:1-3, 12:6-14, 13:5).

His “voice” echoes the characteristics of the “little horn” from Daniel that was “speaking great things.” And though his “power was mighty,” it was “not by his own power.” He has “two horns like a lamb” - He mimics Jesus, the “slain Lamb” – (Daniel 7:8, 8:23).

Nebuchadnezzar's Golden Image
He “
causes the inhabitants of the earth to render homage to the first beast.” This alludes to the story of Nebuchadnezzar’s “golden image” that he “erected” and compelled all “peoples, nations and tongues” to render homage to it - (Daniel 3:1-7).

The “beast from the earth” corresponds to the “herald” who summoned all peoples to render homage to the “golden image” erected by Nebuchadnezzar. Moreover, as in that story, he threatened death to all who refused to do so - “Whosoever shall not fall down and render homage shall be cast in the same hour into the burning furnace of fire.”

The “beast from the earth” had “two” horns and the authority to “cause fire to descend from heaven to the earth” to deceive its “inhabitants.” This means that he also imitated the “two witnesses” from whose mouth fire proceeded to “consume their enemies.” The “two witnesses stood in the sight of (enopion) the Lord of the earth”; likewise, the “beast from the earth” exercises all the authority of the first beast “in the sight (enopion) of it.” Each serves its respective master - (Revelation 11:4-6).

The “two witnesses” inflicted punishment on their opponents, much like the plagues inflicted on Egypt and the “sign” performed by Aaron before Pharaoh when he cast his rod down and turned it into a serpent; however, the Egyptian sorcerers were able to imitate the same “sign” – (“they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents”). So also, the “beast from the earth” performed “signs” like those of the “two witnesses” - (Exodus 7:9-12, Revelation 11:6).

Saying to the inhabitants of the earth that they should make an image for the beast.” The “beast” does not erect the “image” but convinces the “inhabitants of the earth” to do so, making them full participants in his idolatrous endeavor. And he gives life, purpose, and justification to the “image”; that is, he provides the rationale and ideology for giving absolute allegiance to the first “beast” rather than to the “Lamb” – (“It was given to it to give breath to the image of the beast”).

As many as should not render homage to the image should be killed.” The statement echoes the action of Nebuchadnezzar, who threatened to cast all who refused to bow to his image into “the burning fiery furnace.” “Killed” translates the Greek verb apokteinô, the same one used when the “beast from the Abyss” killed the “two witnesses,” and to describe the “perseverance of the saints” - “If anyone is to be killed with sword, with sword he must be killed.” Faithful “saints” are “killed” for refusing to give allegiance to the “beast” - (Revelation 11:7-13, 13:10).

Fiery Furnace
In the book, the source for the “
lake of fire” is the action by Nebuchadnezzar against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego when they refused to render homage to his “golden image,” though it is employed paradoxically in Revelation. In Daniel, the men who cast the Jewish exiles into Babylon’s fiery furnace were burned alive by its super-heated flames. Likewise, the “beast” and “false prophet” that attempted to destroy the “saints” were themselves “cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone” - (Daniel 3:1-6, Revelation 19:20).

The task of the “beast from the earth” is to cause the “inhabitants of the earth” to give allegiance to the “beast from the sea.” If the first “beast” represents political power, the second represents the ideology invoked to legitimize the idolatrous allegiance demanded by the first “beast.”

Elsewhere, the “beast from the earth” is called the “false prophet.” Just as the deceitful activities of “that prophetess, Jezebel” corresponded to the “Babylon who made the inhabitants of the earth drunk with her fornication,” so the efforts of the “false prophet” to deceive humanity parallel the proponents of the “doctrines of Balaam” and the “Nicolaitans” at Pergamos, who taught saints to “fornicate and eat meat offered to idols.” Thus, the deceptions of the “beast from the earth” were found also within the “churches of Asia” – (Revelation 2:14, 2:20, 17:1-4).

Whether the “false prophet” represents an actual person, an organization, an ideology, or something else remains to be seen. For now, the stress is on his ability to deceive others to “render homage” to the “beast from the sea,” the earthly representative of the “Dragon.”

Since the exaltation of the messianic “son,” the “Dragon” was banished from heaven. Though enraged, he had only a “short time” remaining to destroy the church, likewise his earthly agents. He could only operate when and how far allowed by the “Lamb.” In the end, his assault against the “saints” would guarantee his own eventual destruction, including the death of every martyr slain by his “seed.” Though momentarily horrific for his victims, the attacks by Satan and his vassals constitute his final death throes of his dark kingdom.

In chapter 13, the political, economic, and religious aspects of this satanic effort become prominent. In the end, the decision of each man and woman is between giving allegiance to the “beast” or following “the Lamb wherever he goes,” even when doing so means an unjust and violent death.

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