The Revelation of John: Chapter 13 – False prophet, the mark, and 666

17 Aug

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II, Seventh Seal Opens, First Four Trumpets, Fifth Trumpet, Sixth Trumpet, Ten, Witnesses, Seventh Trumpet, Twelve I, Twelve II, The Beast

Revelation 13: 11-18

In this section I am going to quote only a few passages from the verses in question, as I want most of this post to be drawing parallels with our day.

The focus of this part of chapter thirteen is a second beast, which John later identifies as the “False Prophet.” We are not given much description of this beast, but I think what little is given is worth noting. In the New Testament Institute manual we read an interesting interpretation, and I am inclined to agree with it.

Having two horns like a lamb the beast is attempting to persuade the world that he speaks for Christ; but speaking as a dragon he is actually teaching the false doctrines of Satan. This itself shows this beast to be a false prophet, as Christ taught (Matthew 7: 15)

Recently I have had a conversation with a man who supports same sex marriage. He quoted Christ many times in his argument. He talked of loving our neighbor, not judging and forgiving other. To me, this is exactly the kind of thing that the false prophet will say. Similar things have been said on many other subjects; people trying to use the words of Christ to justify the wickedness that is prevalent in the modern world.

 

In verse twelve we read that is has the power of the first beast and causes the world to worship the first. It seems that this second beast holds a priesthood of sorts. Just as the true priesthood is the power of God on earth, so too is this false priesthood the power of Satan on earth. And, just as the true priesthood inspired worship of God, this false priesthood will inspire worship of Satan.

 

In verses 13-14 we read of great miracles that the false prophet will perform, through which he will persuade many to worship the first beast. As part of this worship they will turn to idolatry. I believe that this second beast and its miracles are very real. The beast represents false prophets who are able to do miracles by the power of Satan, just as the priests of Pharaoh were able to mimic the miracles of Moses. I do not say whether it speak to a specific false prophet that has yet to arise, or whether there will be many such false prophets working miracles. In our day, with mass communication through the internet and satellites a single man could be effective at this, as could a group.

Now, I said in my previous post that the first beast represents the corrupted kingdoms of the earth, but it can also be the philosophies of Satan that have corrupted the earth. I say now that these kingdoms could be any organization that has a set of rules by which it is governed, especially those dedicated to spreading a particular philosophy (like the Ordain Women movement). With this concept of the beast we can see that the image will be an earthly organization that is corrupt as is the beast.

 

In verse 15 we see that the image is given life and causes “that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” If the image is an organization than we see that the false prophet has power to give it life by drawing in support for it from the world. When it is strengthened socially and politically than it will have power to persecute any who disagrees with its philosophy, even to the point of ordering their death.

I believe we are seeing this today. Now, again this may not refer to only one false prophet or even one organization. I think we are seeing organizations that are formed around a philosophy that is spread by Satan rearing their heads and gaining the support of many; or being given life. One such is the activists that have been pushing the homosexual agenda. They have recently been given great life with the supreme court decision on same sex marriage, and I don’t think we have seen the end of the troubles they will cause. We also see many anti-religion (especially Christianity) groups gaining power and influence over the last 40 years. These two movements are already joining forces in an attempt to force religions to accept and perform same sex marriages. Similar organizations will likely arise in the near future.

In verses 16-17 we read of the mark of the beast, and “that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark.” This mark has confused and intrigued many over the years. Most recently there have been many who hold the theory that it is a micro-chip inserted into the forehead or hand that will need to scanned to purchase anything. I used to think this was silly, but I have seen things recently that make it seem a lot less silly.

I have read of attempts to limit or ban the use of cash (even at garage sales) and a fear that there will soon be a cash shortage. It may not be too long before electronic payment is your only option. In fact some companies and even government agencies already only accept electronic payment. Add to that this video of microchip machines in some Wal-Marts and the combining of the two doesn’t seem all that silly. Then, to take it one step farther, it would not be too difficult for the government to put holds or restrictions on your ability to use the chip if they don’t like the way you think.

 

The final verse of the chapter speaks of the number of the beast, which we all know is 666. However, it also states that “it is the number of a man.” What it means has not been revealed. I am inclined to think it speaks of a specific person who will eventually lead those who worship the beast. Some point to the United Nations. I would not be surprised, but at this time I am not going to speculate.

 

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