The second beast of Revelation 13 is connected to the constellation Taurus, the great earth monster of the night sky.
This ‘load of bull’ depicts Religion in all its forms and anyone who has been following this series already knows what I think of religion.
The word ‘religion’ itself is mostly used in a benign way as a label for the various ways humans worship God and seek to serve Him, but I use it in an entirely negative sense as man’s attempt to make a god in our image and then to prescribe a way of worshiping this idol. In essence, religion is the enthronement of Satan and the denial of God.
The bull was the animal associated with the Canaanite god Baal and this was why the Israelites made a golden idol in the form of a bull when Moses didn’t return to them from the mountain. Here are three strong clues from Revelation 13 that the Earth Beast represents Religion:
- The beast looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon. The lamb is an animal chosen to symbolise Jesus, and the Earth Beast cunningly presents itself as The Christ, but it’s evil and destructive words betray its real identity.The lamb is an animal chosen to symbolise Jesus, and the Earth Beast cunningly presents itself as The Christ, but it’s evil and destructive words betray its real identity.
- It operates under the authority of worldly leaders and governments (the first beast) yet it leads its followers to worship humanism. Religion and Government have always been powerfully evil partners. Worldly authority enables religion to operate, protects, and even funds it, and religion endorses and elevates worldly authority to almost god-like status. The idea of separating church and state in national affairs is a recognition of the danger of unholy alliances of this kind.
- It performs deceiving miraculous signs. Miracles are not necessarily signs of god-approved spiritual activity, yet most people think they are. Miracles are wrought through the application of spiritual power and the devil is spiritually powerful. This is why we are instructed to ‘test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world’ (1 John 4:1)
John gives another important feature of the work of the Earth Beast when he writes that it forces every unregenerate person to ‘receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead’. (Revelation 13:16). Now, instead of trying to argue that in a future cashless society we will all have to have a smart-card chip embedded on the back of a hand and foreheads, it is far more productive to seek to understand what John had in mind here.
Devout Jewish men of John’s time wore little boxes, called phylacteries, when they went to pray. These little boxes were bound with leather strips to their right hands and to their foreheads and contained small portions of the Jewish scriptures. This custom arose from a literal interpretation of Deuteronomy 6:8 and 11:18 where they had failed to see that God was simply instructing them to keep His word in their hearts and minds. Nevertheless, the association of God’s Word and the forehead and hand symbolism became a religious cliché. So, to the original readers of Revelation, to bear the mark of the beast on hand and forehead was a symbolic way of saying ‘think and live according to Satan’s word and not God’s word’.
Paul used the ‘seal’ imagery in a positive sense when he stated that born-again Christians are sealed by and with the Holy Spirit.
A follower of Jesus thinks and acts under the prompting of the Holy Spirit and according to the Word of God; a follower of the devil thinks and acts under demonic prompting and instruction.
Disciples of Jesus are sealed with the Spirit of God while disciples of Satan are sealed with his evil spirit.
One last point of interest in this chapter of Revelation is the unveiling of the Unholy Trinity. The Holy trinity consists of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but the unholy trinity consists of the dragon, the beast from the sea and the beast from the earth. The dragon represents Satan, the beast from the sea represents the False Prince, and the beast from the earth represents the False Prophet. Put another way, the devil tries to stand in the place of God the Father, the False Prince (sea-beast) tries to stand in the place of God the Son, and the False Prophet (earth-beast) tries to stand in the place of God the Holy Spirit.
“But Christopher, you haven’t even mentioned the infamous number of the beast, 666!”
O that … well I hate to tell you this, but you are going to have to do a little work to get my take on this subject. So, if you are interested click HERE to download my book ‘Revelation in the Stars’, and then go to pages 178 to 180 where all will be revealed…