Today we meet the beast’s helper. The one who will direct the world to worship the beast. It will be “allowed” to perform miracles in order to fool the people.
Just like the first beast, this beast is not given a gender either. From its description, the second beast looks gentler than the first one. But what comes to my mind when John says “it spoke like a dragon” (verse 11b) is that what proceeds from its mouth will burn up the people. Its lies, when bought into, will certainly send people to Hell!
I wonder if Satan had this beast look like a lamb because he wanted to convince people it was gentle or that it was the “Lamb of God”? Missed it by a mile! This beast is NOT from God and NOT gentle.
In our reading last time John spoke about the first beast having a wound that should have killed it, but didn’t. Today we are told that the second beast made the people believe it was a sword that caused the wound. I’m not sure if the beast’s helper is tricking the people about the wound’s origin or not. We KNOW its deceit was instrumental in getting the people to build an idol of the beast though.
In the last reading we saw, “One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast” (verse 3). I wasn’t sure if this meant that one of the leaders the beast puts in power would be healed and wounded or if the beast itself had that wound. Today we see clearly that it was the beast itself that was wounded. That fact was what sealed the deal for some of the holdouts.
Did you notice too that the second beast was “allowed” to work miracles “in the presence of the beast” (verse 4b). Satan has power, but it is limited. He does NOT have the power to give life. Only God does. But the image made of the beast appears to come to life. “It was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain” (verse 15). GOD allowed the beast this power. It didn’t come from Satan, as he doesn’t possess that power.
The beast’s helper is also the one who instituted the mark signifying allegiance to the beast. The mark became necessary for commerce too. “It causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand of the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name” (verse 16-17).
This won’t simply be a new convenient way to check out at the grocery store. It will be a mark of ownership. This mark identifies those who belong to the beast; his property. And property of the beast are really property of the one who owns it; Satan.
There will be TWO marks during that time. Both will signify ownership. God’s mark and the beast’s mark. Both are permanent and both have eternal consequences. Without the beast’s mark people won’t be able to buy and sell, but I can bet that God will still take care of His people while they wait for Jesus’ return. Many will die but I also believe there will be many more He walks through this time of great tribulation. Whose name will you bear?
Father God, thank You for stamping me with Your name now. I DON’T want to be there to have to make the choice then. I PRAY my understanding of the time sequence is truth! I don’t want to have to walk through that time. But if I did, I would STILL choose You! No other name will do!
It is hard to read about what will certainly be the biggest lie of all times working on so many people. But those who put their trust in You will see through it. PRAISE GOD!!! And that time won’t last forever. It WILL end with Jesus as the victor! Thank You that You will still care for those who turn to You, even at that late stage in history. One last chance.