Living in the world we do today, with such easy access to information on the internet, is both a good thing and a bad thing. It is good because we can easily use today’s technology to teach and to learn new things, learn a new skill, get information about any topic your mind could possibly think of; there are no limits to what you can find on the internet. It’s a bad thing, because it also opens a world of false information, fake news, unbiblical teachings and writings and a world of information that can mislead you. It is, through the Spirit, that we must learn to sift through the noise of all this information and discern what is true and what is not.
This is the first post to my 30 day challenge.
If you’re wondering why I started with the above paragraph – it is too easy to read something on the internet and immediately take it as the truth, something that strikes fear and panic into your mind. Today I want to [attempt] (emphasis on attempt) to give clarity on the book of Revelation, and more specifically, Revelation 13, which many have interpreted as the coming of a “one-world government” (Revelation 13:7), with “one-world leader” (Revelation 13:2), with a “one-world religion” (Revelation 13:8) and with a “one-world currency (Revelation 13:16-18).”
Disclaimer: I encourage anyone to correct my interpretations in this blog. Revelation is a book in the Bible that uses many metaphors, and they can be difficult, if not impossible, to decipher and explain. What follows below is open to comments, disapproval, re-proof, and correction (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Introduction to Revelation
The purpose of the book of Revelation is to reveal the full identity of Jesus Christ and to give warning as well as hope to all believers. The person who penned Revelation is identified as the Apostle John, but Revelation 1:1-2 announces both the book’s title (it is a revelation) and its divine author, Jesus Christ. (The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ). Jesus the Messiah has the authority from God, Our Heavenly Father and His, to describe the coming events to His servant John, for communication to churches (specific churches as well as Christians who are the church).
Revelation is an unveiling of unseen Spiritual forces operating behind the scenes in history and controlling its events and outcome. It is the cosmic conflict between God and his Christ on the one hand, and Satan and his evil allies (both demonic and human) on the other. We as Christians already know and accept that Jesus, the Lamb of God, has already won the decisive victory through His sacrificial death, but the dragon continues to assault His church by death-throes, false teaching and the allure of materialism and cultural or secular approval. This is conveyed in a series of symbolic visions that exhibit the influence of Old Testament prophecies, especially those from Daniel, Ezekiel, and Zechariah. The visions granted to John both warn the church and fortify it to endure suffering and to stay pure from the defiling enticements of the present world order.
The book of Revelation identifies as both a book of “apocalypse” and as a book of prophecy. Apocalypse is derived from the Greek “apokalypsis”, meaning “revelation, disclosure, unveiling” – that is the disclosure of unseen Heavenly or future realities.
At God’s appointed time, the risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ will burst onto the world scene. Then everyone will know that Jesus is Lord of the universe! Those who love Him will rejoice, greeting their Saviour with hearts overflowing into songs of praise. But His enemies will be filled with fear.
Is COVID-19 the “Mark of the Beast?”
Straight up, easy answer to this question is No. Revelation does not speak of the mark of the beast being anything medically related. It is easy to understand how in today’s times, how easy it is to find news on the pandemic, can cause panic, fear and protests, which could easily be seen as the end times – the start of the end times.
Many pandemics have occurred in the world over centuries and millennia; from Antonine Plague (A.D. 165-180), Spanish Flu (1918-1920), AIDS, Ebola and now COVID-19, all of which claimed and in some cases are still claiming the lives of many, and yet we are still here. The world hasn’t ended. Jesus hasn’t returned. So why should COVID-19 be viewed any differently? The point is, COVID-19 is no different, and should not be viewed as the “Mark of the Beast”.
Revelation 13 – The Beast of the sea and of the earth
The beasts spoken of in Revelation 13 are from a dream, some might say a disturbing dream for anyone, a dream that Daniel, a godly prophet and a man of unshakable faith, steadfast in his daily walk of fellowship with God, had.
Earlier in this blog, I mentioned that many have interpreted sections of Revelation 13 as the coming of a “one-world leader” (Revelation 13:2) a “one-world government” (Revelation 13:7), with a “one-world religion” (Revelation 13:8) and with “one-world currency (Revelation 13:16-18).” I cannot emphasise my next point enough; when reading the Bible, the most dangerous thing to do is to take single verses in isolation and make a conclusion from it. So, I will not be doing that. I will be looking at Revelation 13 as a whole. Also, please remember, the book of Revelation uses vivid imagery and metaphors, so the beasts and images described, will not be manifested in the form they are described.
The Beast out of the Sea
13 The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. 4 People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?”
5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. 7 It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.
9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.
10 “If anyone is to go into captivity,
into captivity they will go.
If anyone is to be killed with the sword,
with the sword they will be killed.”
This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.
The Beast out of the Earth
11 Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13 And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. 14 Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.
We are first introduced to Satan’s two accomplices – the beast of the sea and the beast of the earth. Together the three evil beings form an unholy trinity opposing the Holy Trinity. The beast out of the sea is given political power and the beast out of the earth is given power to do miracles. Satan and these beasts work together in an attempt to capture the control of the world and to overthrow God. This could be seen as one world leader (Revelation 13:2), but only temporary.
The beast of the sea is the Antichrist, a false messiah, people will follow and worship him because they will believe they have been saved by his power and miracles. He will attempt to unite the world under his leadership, so “one-world government” (Revelation 13:7) and will try control the world economy, so “one-world currency” (Revelation 13:16-18). This beast will manipulate others, to point to himself and promote evils plans. Following the beast will be foolish as God, by contrast, will use His infinitely greater power and love to build up. The message here is, do not be misled by claims of great miracles or reports of the return of Christ – When Jesus returns, He will reveal Himself to everyone at the same time.
The power the beast has, although given to it by God, is limited by God as well. The beast will only have authority for a short time, but God will still maintain full control.
The best part is, the beast may be able to rule over us, but Spiritually, it cannot touch us. It will establish worldwide dominance and demand worship, which many will do, except true believers. As a believer, in your refusal to worship this beast, will mean temporary suffering, but eternal life awaits you. Being faithful in this time could mean imprisonment, persecution or even execution. All the beast will be able to do is harm believers physically, but no Spiritual harm will come to those whose faith in God is sincere.
This time of persecution will give believers the opportunity to exercise their endurance and patient faithfulness. So, do not allow yourself to fall into Satan trap when the hard times come. Instead, testify for God.
The beast of the earth, identified as a false prophet, is a counterfeit of the Holy Spirit. What will seem as good works, serve only to deceive us. The second beast gains influence through the signs and wonders he performs on behalf of the first beast. We must ask, with great respect, to each miracle we see, if it is consistent with God’s way.
Finally, the most spoken of and most focused on part of the book of Revelation, is the mark of the beast. This leads many to think that the book of Revelation is a book about Satan, which couldn’t be furthest from the truth. To the contrary, the point of Revelation is to reveal and uncover the victory of the Lamb and the victory the Lamb shares with his people. Jesus is the focus. Identifying what form this mark will take, (although it is identified in Revelation 13:18 as a number, “666”), is not as important as identifying the purpose of the mark. It’s simple, accept this mark and you choose to operate in the economic and political system Satan promotes, and rebel against God. Refuse the mark, means you commit yourself entirely to God, choosing physical death in faith to Jesus Christ.
Each and every generation have to keep a healthy degree of skepticism about the pressures of society’s pleasures. We have to discern what is good for us Spiritually and what is not.
Is any of this happening right now? You’ll have to discern that through the Spirit for yourself. Is COVID-19 the beginning of any of this? Again, no one can be sure. Only God knows when this will happen.
Is COVID-19 the mark of the beast? No. Are we currently living with a one-world government, a one-world currency, with a one-world leader with one-world religion? Also No. Are we living in the end times, well Yes, we have been ever since Christ rose into heaven, as His promise to return continues to give us hope.
We are reassured that good will triumph over evil, we have hope as we face difficult times and we have guidance when we are wavering in our faith. Christ’s message is clear – there is hope for all believers in every generation!
In the greatest battle mankind will ever see, Remember – Jesus wins!