Lord, demonic deception is everywhere in our world.
Read REVELATION 13:11–18
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.[a] That number is 666.
a Revelation 13:18 Or is humanity’s number
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
We live in a world where people distort the truth and peddle lies. Pray to know the truth that will set you free to live.
Know your enemy. Another beast comes out of the earth, very different from the first one. It has one head, not seven; and two lamb-like horns, not ten crowned horns. Obviously, here is someone mimicking Christ the Lamb. It deploys a deceptive public image and knows the techniques of good PR. However, its voice has echoes of the dragon that it serves. Its role is defined by the first beast, and its desire is to compel universal and unrestricted worship.
We speak often of the battle for hearts and minds; this is what is happening here. Behind the power of Rome is the imperial cult and the call to affirm “Caesar is Lord.” The beast resembles the priestcraft surrounding the personality of the emperor with mystique, magic, and attractive optics, turning an institution into a religion. Temples are erected to honor the emperor. In its propaganda campaign, this beast resembles a false prophet who understands the value of sound bites and alternative facts by which to create a charismatic leader. The beast appreciates the power of fake news to discredit others. It weaves a spell to suck others in. It wants to control the thinking and actions of people 24/7. It also exercises economic power by controlling the purchase and sale of goods and purports to destroy any who resist.
A number is attached to this beast, which is still recognized outside the church. If seven is the perfect number, then 666 falls short of it in every way. Whatever its posturing, pretense and power, the false message ultimately spells failure, failure, failure. In other words, it is an apocalyptic way of blowing a raspberry at the emperor, at the imperial cult and at Rome itself. Like the child in the story, it shouts out “The Emperor has no clothes!” We need to call things as they are.
Do not let yourself be seduced from your first love and come under another’s control, however attractive the appearance.
Lord, give to Your people a supernatural ability to recognize a spiritual trap when we see one.
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