Today’s post will deal with what Revelation 13 calls the the first and second beasts, one of which is also called “the man of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) and “the antichrist” (1 John 4:3), who must appear before Jesus returns.

A little background.

By the time the first and second beasts come onto the scene—and if it’s correct to read Revelation chronologically up to this point—the seven angels have already blown their trumpets, and some excruciatingly horrible things have transpired on the earth. Strange, perplexing events have occurred. Very many people have suffered and died. However, the wrath of God has not yet been poured out upon the earth. It may be difficult to think what has happened before the two beasts are revealed is not God’s wrath, but what is called the “bowls of God’s wrath,” which begins in chapter sixteen, has not yet happened.

In my opinion, these bewildering and terrible events will pave the way for people to accept and even worship these evil beings that are to come. Mankind will be crying out for deliverance. They will “long to die” (Revelation 9:6). However, as difficult as it may be to believe, after all the misery and death, people will not repent: “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. (Revelation 9:20–21). 1

After all these dreadful things, there is an interlude in chapters ten through twelve. In chapter ten, an angel with a little scroll appears. Chapter eleven relates the appearance and subsequent deaths of the “two witnesses.” Chapter twelve describes the woman, the child, and the dragon.

Then, in chapter 13, the two beasts are revealed.

I’d like to address some characteristics of these beasts. The first beast is healed of a mortal wound, which causes the world to marvel (verse 3). He makes war on the saints and conquers them (verse 7). Then the second beast creates an image of the first beast, gives it life, and commands people to worship that image or be killed: “And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain” (Revelation 13:15). It may seem odd to us that anyone would want to worship such an image, but keep in mind that this second beast is a miracle worker, much like the beast that preceded it. He performs “momentous signs” and even makes “fire come down from heaven in front of people” (verse 13). Keep in mind that many shocking, supernatural events already transpired before these two beasts arrived and many have suffered and died. In addition, how long will it take before the reality of getting slaughtered causes people to submit and worship this image, especially after all the wondrous things they have done? Had these two beings, after all, caused them? Christians and non-Christians alike must choose to worship or not at the price of their lives.

Now, about this living image. What I write below about it is speculation.

Most of us are familiar with holograms. The technology to create them is relatively new as of 2016, and making such images is still relatively primitive compared to what we may have seen in movies. Creating them demands a massive amount of data. They naturally require the interaction of people and the energy technicians supply. But the anti-Christ will create an image with life and will require no human interaction or power source. It will not just be a projection. How will people explain this? Perhaps they will believe that the anti-Christ is an alien, who has the power to create life. It seems that humankind almost yearns for such beings to exist. In fact, some scientists now wonder if aliens are responsible for life on earth.  We have come to such a state of unbelief that the source of life here is either from an asteroid or an alien, because after all, life does not spontaneously emerge from nothing. If this second beast were to claim he was an extra-terrestrial, it would not be a gigantic stretch for humanity to believe it. In addition, UFOs have been appearing for a long time, and many of them and the actions they display—making right-angle turns at tremendous speeds, for example—have convinced or at least caused people to wonder—if, somehow, aliens are “out there.” Regardless, an individual who possesses such power—remember he is lawless and will thus fit well and confirm the immoral cultural standards we see so quickly emerging—and who creates a living image of the first beast who has blasphemed God (verses 5 and 6) and is able to create life and then threatens to take it away from people—it is believable that mankind will bow down to such a one as this and the living image it creates.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.