The Book of Revelation presents us with a view of the conflict between the varied kingdoms of this world and the undivided kingdom of our God and of his Christ, and it uniformly declares to us this one consolatory truth, that these kingdoms shall become submissive to his kingdom. These kingdoms present themselves in the great world drama as various powers standing more or less in active opposition to the dominion of Christ over the life of men - in opposition to truth, to righteousness, and to God. "Another beast" arises, not from the sea, but "coming up out of the earth;" not from the world, in its heaving, disordered, tumultuous state, but from the solid earth - from the world in its settled order. It is not the power of rude violence, but as it were of meekness. "He had two horns like unto a lamb" - a smaller measure of power than pertains to the true Lamb, and smaller than is found on the seven-headed beast. But the character is complex. The speech is "as a dragon." It is foul, hellish, Satanic. He doeth great signs. "He deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by reason of the signs." The beast is distinguished by speech. This may indicate a connection with the intellectual and moral, not the physical or even the political, world. Is it a representation of the vast intellectual powers of the world if, and when, inspired by the evil spirit? Is it "wisdom" - the wisdom of this world in its opposition to the wisdom that cometh down from above? It has elements of the world, for it is of the beast; it has elements of the fiend, for it partakes of the quality of the dragon; it is a spirit of error, for it is a false prophet. But it is not merely error, for it is animated by an evil spirit. It is worldly wisdom, the tongue set on fire of hell - the human mind in its opposition to God. "Intellectual weapons which have united with external violence to attack the new principle which had begun to manifest itself in the life of mankind" (Neander). "He doeth great wonders" (see Matthew 24:24
). Here are all "signs and Dying wonders," by which men are deceived who cleave not to the truth. Perhaps visible signs, prestiges, prodigies, wonders, soothsayers, witchcraft, and fraud of a barbarous age; and then, as times change, the pretended wonders of the intellect. "It would seem like a new heathendom sinking down again to the deification of nature and humanity." It maketh an image. Often in heathen Roman times was the image of the beast set up, and the alternative lay between martyrdom and apostasy. But not only in imperial Roman times, or papal or Protestant persecuting times, but in times of proud philosophical, materialistic, atheistic, earthly wisdom that stands in opposition to God; and that is none the less exclusive towards men that accept it not. Proud, anti-Godlike, anti-Christlike wisdom persecutes to the death. The profession of the simple Christian faith is a sign for exclusion and proscription. Intellectual pride laughs in its sleeve at the simplicity of Christ. Here the Church is to learn -
I. THE EXCEEDINGLY VARIED CHARACTER OF THE ENEMIES OF THE TRUTH. Every spirit not of God will oppose the true.
II. THE NECESSITY FOR WATCHFULNESS AGAINST THE MOST SPECIOUS OPPONENTS.
III. THE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CHARACTER OF EVERY SPIRIT THAT IS OF THE EARTH, OR THAT PARTAKES OF THE NATURE OF THE BEAST.
IV. THE NECESSITY FOR PURITY, FIDELITY, AND PATIENCE. Purity
(1) of doctrine, and
(2) of life.
(1) to the Word, and
(2) to convictions, and
(3) to the indications of Divine providence.
(1) in maintaining the reproach and profession of Christ, and
(2) in enduring the severities of rude persecution or the proud rejection of a self-wise world. - R.G.
He causeth all... to receive a mark.
The words "he causeth" clearly ascribe this operation to the second beast. If it had been the first we might imagine that some outward mark or sign was meant, for that beast deals with the visible and outward. But this one stamps an image on the souls of men; this writes a name on all their inward thoughts, which afterwards expresses itself in their common daily acts. Men fancy, when they read and talk of some great tyrant-power which has established itself in their country or their age, that they are reading and talking of something which is far off from them. They can comment upon it, measure its effects, calculate the chances of its continuance or of its fall. If any complain of it as bad in its origin or immoral in its practices, wise persons will whisper, "But it does not hurt you. You can buy and sell happily under the shadow of it. Your gains are not seriously lessened. You incur no great risks of loss." And all the time these wise persons are not aware that they themselves, as well as those with whom they are conversing, have received the mark of this power on their foreheads and their right hands; that the image of it is graven in their hearts; that they are showing in these very discourses of theirs that they bear the name and character of that which they are excusing.
The question that I want to ask is this, Whoever the beast is, what makes him a beast? What is the bestial element in him, whoever he be? And the answer is not far to find, Godless selfishness, that is "the mark of the beast." Wherever a human nature is self-centred, God forgetting, and therefore God-opposing (for whoever forgets God defies Him), that nature has gone down below humanity, and has touched the lower level of the brutes. Men are so made as that they must either rise to the level of God, or certainly go down to the level of the brute. And wherever you get men living by their own fancies, for their own pleasure, in forgetfulness and neglect of the sweet and mystic bonds that should knit them to God, there you get "the image of the beast and the number of his name." And besides that godless selfishness, we may point to simple animalism as literally the mark of the beast. He who lives not by conscience and by faith, but by fleshly inclination and sense, lowers himself to the level of the instinctive brute-life, and beneath it, because he refuses to obey faculties which they do not possess, and what is nature in them is degradation in us. Look at the unblushing sensuality which marks many "respectable people" nowadays. Look at the foul fleshliness of much of popular art and poetry. Look at the way in which pure animal passion, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the love of good things to eat and plenty to drink is swaying and destroying men and women by the thousand among us. Look at the temptations that lie along every street in Manchester for every young man after dusk. Look at the thin veneer of culture over the ugliest lust. Scratch the gentleman and you find the satyr. Is it much of an exaggeration, in view of the facts of English life to-day, to say that all the world wanders after and worships this beast?
It is indeed remarkable that the seer should speak at all of "the number" of the name of the beast. Why not be content with the name itself?
1. St. John may not himself have known the name. He may have been acquainted only with the character of the beast, and with the fact, too often overlooked by inquirers, that to that character its name, when made known, must correspond. No reader of St. John's writings can have failed to notice that to him the word "nam" is far more than a mere appellative. It expresses the inner nature of the person to whom it is applied. No man could know the new name written upon the white stone given to him that overcometh "but he that receiveth it." In other words, no one but a Christian indeed could have that Christian experience which would enable him to understand the "new name." In like manner now, St. John may have felt that it was not possible for the followers of Christ to know the name of antichrist. But this need not hinder him from giving the number. The "number" spoke only of general character and fate; and knowledge of it did not imply, like knowledge of the "name," communion of spirit with him to whom the name belonged.
TopicsAble, Allowed, Beast, Buy, Either, Except, Mark, Order, Provides, Represents, Save, Sell, Trade, Unless, Wild
Outline1. A beast rises out of the sea with seven heads and ten horns, to whom the dragon gives his power.11. Another beast comes out of the earth,14. causes an image to be made of the former beast,15. and that men should worship it,16. and receive his mark.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesRevelation 13:1-18
9115 antichrist, the
4125 Satan, agents of
5242 buying and selling
LibraryHe Shall not Keep Silent.
THE heavens have long been silent. It is one of the leading characteristics of this present age, the closed, the silent heavens. But they will not be silent forever. "Our God shall come and shall not keep silence" (Ps. i:3). In His divine Patience the Lord has been at the right hand of God for nearly two thousand years. He will not occupy that place forever. It is not His permanent station to be upon the Father's throne. He has the promise of His own throne, which He as the King-Priest must occupy. …
Arno Gaebelein—The Lord of Glory
Letter xxxvii (Circa A. D. 1131) to Magister Geoffrey, of Loretto.
To Magister Geoffrey, of Loretto.  He asks his assistance in maintaining the Pontificate of Innocent against the schism of Peter Leonis. 1. We look for scent in flowers and for savour in fruits; and so, most dearly beloved brother, attracted by the scent of your name which is as perfume poured forth, I long to know you also in the fruit of your work. For it is not I alone, but even God Himself, who has need of no man, yet who, at this crisis, needs your co-operation, if you do not act falsely …
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux
Guelf and Ghibelline. (ii)
[Sidenote: Honorius III (1216-27) and the Crusade.] The bull of summons to the Lateran Council of 1215 mentions as the two great desires of the Pope's heart the recovery of the Holy Land and the reformation of the Church Universal; and it is made clear that the various measures of reform to be placed before the General Council are intended to bring Christian princes and peoples, both clergy and laity, into the frame of mind for sending aid to Palestine. Moreover, at the Council it was agreed that …
D. J. Medley—The Church and the Empire
refers to Exodus. The promise is, "I will give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it" (ii. 17). It is in this third Epistle, which refers to the wilderness period and Balaam's counsel, that we have a special reference to the manna, the wilderness sustenance, of which Exodus contains the record. "Bread from Heaven" and "Angels' food" (Ps. lxxviii. 24,25) are set over against the lusts of the …
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation
But Whilst the King Has not that Most Blessed Light...
But whilst the King has not that most blessed light, yet there are some things in which he can discriminate; and here are seven comparisons in which his unaided wisdom can discern which is the better:-- 1. A good name is better than precious ointment. 2. The day of death " " " the day of birth. 3. The house of mourning " " " the house of feasting. 4. Borrow " " " laughter. 5. The rebuke of the wise " " " the song of fools. …
F. C. Jennings—Old Groans and New Songs
The Blessing of God.
NUMB. VI. 22-27. We have already seen the grace of GOD making provision that His people, who had lost the privilege of priestly service, might draw near to Him by Nazarite separation and consecration. And not as the offence was the free gift: those who had forfeited the privilege of priestly service were the males only, but women and even children might be Nazarites; whosoever desired was free to come, and thus draw near to GOD. We now come to the concluding verses of Numb. vi, and see in them one …
James Hudson Taylor—Separation and Service
refers to the throne, of which Solomon's was in every respect the ideal type. This, the highest promise, is given to the overcomers in the lowest condition of Israel's degradation, which is described as in danger of being "spued out." What that was we have already seen (page 89), and now we have the chiefest of all the promises. The overcomers in that last terrible condition of things are the ones who most need the greatest of Divine help and encouragement. Hence the highest promise is given. "To …
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation
Of Antichrist, and his Ruin: and of the Slaying the Witnesses.
BY JOHN BUNYAN PREFATORY REMARKS BY THE EDITOR This important treatise was prepared for the press, and left by the author, at his decease, to the care of his surviving friend for publication. It first appeared in a collection of his works in folio, 1692; and although a subject of universal interest; most admirably elucidated; no edition has been published in a separate form. Antichrist has agitated the Christian world from the earliest ages; and his craft has been to mislead the thoughtless, by …
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3
The Fifth vision "On Earth"
E5, xiv. 6-20. The Six Angels and the Son of Man. The next vision which follows "on earth," follows closely on the last, and is preliminary to the pouring out of the seven Vials. No angel has been seen or heard since the seventh angel sounded the seventh trumpet in xi. 15. This shows us that the passage xii. 1-- 8 is parenthetical, and constitutes one series or episode. This fifth vision on earth consists of the appearance of six angels consecutively, each having his separate mission, and all but …
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation
The First vision "On Earth"
E^1, chap. vi. 1-- 8. The Six Seals, and the sealing of the 144,000 From the whole of the first Vision "in Heaven" (H^1, vi. 1-vii. 8) for the putting forth of power "on Earth" in the completion of the redemption of the purchased inheritance. The price has been paid in the shedding of the precious blood of the Lamb; and now, the necessary power is to be exercised so as to secure all its wondrous results, in wresting the inheritance from the hand of the enemy by ejecting the present usurper, and …
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation
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