Rather than parading around in a devious cape with keen canines, bearing a look of maleficence, Satan and his folk counterfeit truth. In Revelation 13, the truth of this cannot be denied.
Three characters make up this chapter. First, there is a Dragon (Rev 13:2), who John recently identified as Satan (Rev 12:9). The second character is the first beast who rules on earth, while, the third character is another second beast who empowers the first beast’s work on earth.
THE UNHOLY TRINITY
A few descriptions of this unholy trinity will bear discerning fruit. First, the Dragon is portrayed as the orchestrator from afar. He is the one who can give authority to the beast (Rev 13:2). His is the role of king and ruler behind the other two beasts. He is a father like figure to them.
The first beast acts on his behalf as regent on earth, prince or son of the Dragon. The key event in his career is receiving a death blow/wound and being healed and apparently rising from death (Rev 13:3, 12, 14).
Another beast rises after this death and resurrection-like experience of the first beast. He speaks on behalf or “as” the dragon (Rev 12:11). His ministry is to point to the first beast so that all people should worship the first beast; this is the on the basis the death-resurrection-like event (Rev 12:12). He performs wonders and signs through the first beast; again he points to the first beast and his near death experience (Rev 13:13–14). When images of the beast are set up on the earth (cf. Rev 13:14), the spirit (breath) of the second beast inhabits these images, so the first beast is seen to be present among his people (Rev 13:15). Finally, the second beast seals (marks) all the people of the earth in order to identify them as the first beast’s possession (Rev 13:16–17).
WARNED OF THE UNHOLY TRINITY
If this sounds familiar to you, it’s because the unholy trinity parrots the holy Trinity. The dragon is the Father, the first beast is the Son, while the second beast is the Spirit. John writes this to warn believers of the unholy trinity’s work on earth and gives two pieces of wisdom:
1. Since the beast is given authority to capture and kill, then “here is the endurance and faithfulness of the saints” (Rev 13:9). In other words, the saints know they in God’s eternal book and are sealed forever, so that seeing this counterfeit demonic religion should in no wise surprise or and let the worshipper’s spirit fall into demise.
2. At the end of this chapter, John writes, “Here is the wisdom: the one who has understanding let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of man, and his number is 666” (13:18). The religious faker named the beast is not God but man. Everything about him smells of human.
HUMANNESS OF UNHOLY TRINITY
John’s encouragement to endurance and knowledge of the humanness of this fake-god does not appear in a vacuum. Revelation 13 contains serious discontinuity between the true work of the Trinity and false work of the unholy Trinity.
1. the beast speaks blasphemy (Rev 13:1) not pure and holy words.
2. the beast works for Satan (Rev 13:2) not for the Father.
3. the beast never died but had a fatal wound; thus, his death and resurrection were false (Rev 13:3, 12, 14). Jesus died and truly rose from death to conquer sin and death. The beast is healed from a wound in order to deceive people (possibly that he died and rose like Jesus).
4. The beast rules for only a short time (42 months in Rev 13:5), while Jesus rules forever and his kingdom has no end.
5. the second beasts appears like a lamb (Rev 13:11) and speaks as the dragon (rev 13:11); thus, he speaks on behalf of the father-like-Satan and is another one like the lamb/first beast. Yet, he points to falsehood not truth unlike the true Spirit of truth.
6. the second beast points to the first beast’s “near death” through miracles yet this “near death” means nothing and is deceit (Rev 13:13–14). Christ’s true death conquered sin and death through his resurrection.
7. the second beast as a spirit dwells (?) with the physical idols of the first beast, so that his spirit is among his people. But the second beast can only be in idols by proxy and unlike the Holy Spirit who indwells every believer and is everywhere at all times, the second beast is in wicked idols and is present only locally.
8. the second beasts marks all his people externally (hand and forehead) with a seal, whereas the Holy Spirit seals the heart of the believer from the inside out; and this seal is sure because the name of believers have been written in the book of life from all time (cf. Rev 13:8).
The unholy trinity copies the holy Trinity, yet by grasping the meaning and warnings in Revelation 13 believers have no need to fear. Their work can be seen for what it is—a powerless, spiritless copy of the truth that leads to destruction.
PRESENCE OF THE UNHOLY TRINITY
Warning: Before you wipe the sweat from your brow because this is all “yet future,” be sobered by these words: “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour” (I John 2:18). While Revelation may describe the final form of these things, we are in the “last hour” and many antichrist’s have come and are here, today. Are you watching and heeding the warnings of Revelation 14:10 and 18 to endure the unholy Trinity and to discern their human-like identity? Or perhaps you have tripped into their demonic religion that looks almost like ours but is ever so different?