Lesson 10

The Dragon Versus the Remnant - Part 2

(Revelation 13)
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Introduction: Two weeks ago we learned about the Big Red Dragon. Last week we learned about his Beast buddy and this week we are introduced to another one of the Dragon's friends. Unfortunately, they all moved into our neighborhood! Let's jump into our lesson to learn more about the last of this sorry trio of bad boys.

  1. Earth Beast Arrives


    1. Read Revelation 13:11. We have another beast that joins the "party." This one comes out of the earth. As we saw last week, all of Daniel's beasts came out of the sea. The Beast we studied last week also came out of the sea. What do you think it means that this beast comes out of the earth? (We know for sure that this Beast comes from a different place. Last week we learned "the sea" might mean either the Mediterranean or an area in which the population is in agitation. The older commentaries suggest "the earth" means a settled population.)


      1. Read Genesis 1:24 and 2:19. Did the land really bring these creatures into existence? (No, God made them out of the earth. Our lesson has this interesting suggestion that the reference to the Beast coming out of the earth may mean he is created by God.)


      2. Read 1 Corinthians 15:48. "Of the earth" is a reference to humans. Is it possible this Beast is really a man, and that is why it refers to this Beast "coming up out of the earth?"


    2. Let's go back to Revelation 13:11 again. What else do we learn about the appearance and speaking characteristics of this second Beast, the "Earth Beast?" (He looks like a lamb, he speaks like a dragon. He is comparatively short on the number of horns --the Dragon and the first "Sea Beast" each had ten horns.)


      1. What comes to mind when you read "lamb" in the Bible? (You think about Jesus, the Lamb of God.)


      2. What do you think about when you read "dragon" in the Bible? (You think about Satan, the Dragon of Revelation 12 and 13.)


      3. What do you think the Bible means when it says this Earth Beast looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon? (Perhaps it is someone or some group that appears to be God-like, but sounds like Satan. Perhaps it is a religious system that reflects evil.)


  2. Earth Beast Observed


    1. Read Revelation 13:12-13. Remember in Revelation 13:2 we found the Dragon gave the Sea Beast his authority and power. Now we find the Sea Beast lends his authority to the Earth Beast. Why is that? (Because the Earth Beast causes the "earth and its inhabitants [to] worship" the Sea Beast. The Earth Beast and the Sea Beast have a joint work as buddies of the Dragon.)


      1. What special ability does the Earth Beast possess? (He can do miracles, even causing fire to come down from heaven.)


        1. What miracle does this bring to mind? (This reminds me of 1 Kings 18. There, God proved that He was the true God ( 1 Kings 18:24) by sending down fire from heaven.)


        2. If this refers to the Mt. Carmel precedent, and the Earth Beast can replicate the miracle on Mt. Carmel, what does this mean for those who live during this time? (It means they must be close to God or they will be deceived. This Earth Beast uses "Bible quality" miracles to deceive people.)


    2. Read Revelation 16:13 and 19:20. What is another name for the Earth Beast? ("False Prophet." This unholy trio is identified as the Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet. The False Prophet is the one who, according to Revelation 19:20, performs the miracles that cause people to worship the image of the beast. At least three commentaries that I consulted identified the False Prophet as the Earth Beast. (The False Prophet "apparently [is] identified with the second beast [the Earth Beast] of Revelation 13:11-17." 7 SDA Bible Commentary 844. Accord, Jamieson, Fausett and Brown; Elwell, Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (commentary on Rev. 16:13).)


  3. Earth Beast Identified


    1. Let's review what we have learned for a minute. We have this Earth Beast who is created by God, he is short on the number of available horns compared to his buddies, he is also known as the False Prophet, he resembles Jesus, but speaks like Satan, he performs great miracles apparently to confirm that he is the true prophet (or god). He does this to force false worship. Who do you think this Earth Beast represents?


      1. Our lesson identifies the Earth Beast as the United States. What have we studied here that supports that conclusion? (1. The reference to this Beast coming up from the earth can be understood to mean a sparsely populated area. The United States has a "gentle" (lamb-like) system of government. The lesson suggests the Earth Beast comes up after the end of the 42 months (Rev. 13:5) which is understood to be a 1,200 year period that ends about 1798.)


        1. Can you think of any other reasons? (The United States has always considered itself to be a Christian nation (thus the "lamb" parallel). It speaks world-wide with its entertainment industry which largely provides "dragon-speak." It is the only nation to detonate nuclear weapons in war ("fire from heaven").)


        2. Can you think of any reasons the United States is not a good candidate for being identified as the Earth Beast? (The "False Prophet" identification does not make the Earth Beast a very good "fit" for the United States. It seems to point to a power that is symbolized by a man. Another problem is that neither in the "fire from heaven" nor in its public speech does the U.S. attempt to force worship of any specific religious system. Its influence on behalf of freedom of speech and worship is not "dragon speak." On the other hand, it has great influence over the youth world-wide to encourage Satanism through some musical bands.)


    2. Seiss' Apocalypse contains a summary of many commentaries and it concludes that about half identify the Earth Beast with Papal Rome.


      1. What reasons do you see this interpretation as being right? (The idea is that in the middle ages Papal Rome forced worship by killing dissenters. It is symbolized by a man. "False Prophet" could fit for doctrines not supported by the Bible.)


      2. What reasons do you see this interpretation as being wrong? (It is hard to see how Papal Rome fits the "fire from heaven" analogy. The "two horns" is also not a good fit.)


    3. Barnes' Notes on Revelation 13 also identifies the Earth Beast as Papal Rome. However, Barnes sees the Earth Beast and the False Prophet as being different. He has a very interesting commentary on Revelation 16:13 which suggests the False Prophet is Islam, the followers of Muhammad. Since we have found that the False Prophet is also the Earth Beast, how do you see Islam as fitting the description of the Earth Beast?


      1. What reasons support the identification of the Earth Beast as Islam? (There is a very interesting fit here. Consider these parallels:


        1. Remember we discussed that coming out of the earth (Rev. 13:11) could mean this beast was created by God. Was Islam created by God? (Read Genesis 16:11-12, 17:2 0 and 21:17-18. Ishmael is considered to be the father of the Arab nations - the nations which today are largely Moslem. God promised Hagar (Ishmael's mother) that God would "make [Ishmael] into a great nation." Thus, God "created" this man and his "great nation.")


        2. Remember we found the Earth Beast has two horns. Horns have generally meant kingdoms or powers. Is there a "two horn" analogy with Islam? (Islam has two main divisions (sects)- the Sunni and Shi'te Moslems.)


        3. The Earth Beast looks like a lamb. We decided that the lamb is an illusion to Jesus. Is anything Muslim "lamb-like?" (Islam teaches that following the words of Muhammad is the way to the heaven. Thus, we have a salvation parallel.)


        4. The Earth Beast looks like a lamb, but speaks like a dragon. Has Islam a "dragon" voice? (Needless to say, Islam has a violent past and present.)


        5. We found that the Earth Beast was also identified as the False Prophet. How does this fit Islam? (Almost all Muslims believe "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His prophet." Since Christians believe that Muhammad is a false prophet, and since this is a major religious influence in the world, this fits the "False Prophet" description perfectly.)


        6. If Pagan or Papal Rome is the Sea Beast, how is there a link between Islam and the Roman Empire or the historic Catholic Church? Does it seem reasonable that Islam would make the world worship the Sea Beast? (On the surface, this is not a good fit. However, both religious systems rely on works for salvation. The great desire of Satan, the Dragon, is to make man reject Jesus as the source of salvation and make man believe he can be saved by his own efforts. Thus, Islam reinforces the "works" approach of Catholicism.)


        7. Finally, is there any evidence that Islam caused "fire to come down from heaven in full view of men?" (How about the September 11 attack on the World Trade Towers? Bet the entire world saw that. Was prophecy fulfilled there?)


    4. Which of these theories do you think is correct? Should we adopt a "wait and see" attitude? (We should, of course, always be alert. However, I am troubled that we may miss the "big picture." God tells us that Satan and his two buddies are roaming the earth to deceive us. Our Bible is not the "North American version." Unless Islam is a true religion, I do not know how Revelation could miss mentioning this "1,000 pound gorilla" as part of the problem.)


  4. Earth Beast in Action


    1. Read Revelation 13:14-17. What is the work of the Earth Beast in these verses? (He deceives those who live on the earth. He helps create "an image" to the Sea Beast. He then helps to force worship of the "image.")


      1. What is the issue in this "false worship" controversy?


      2. What is the issue in the "true worship" controversy? (Read Revelation 12:17. God's followers obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.)


      3. Assume for the sake of discussion that Papal Rome is the Sea Beast. Read Daniel 7:24-25. What does this suggest the Sea Beast will try to change? (Set times and laws.)


        1. If the Earth Beast is trying to force the world to worship the "image" of the Sea Beast, and this worship involves changing times and laws, what does this suggest will be the big issue about worship? (It suggests changing the day of the worship of God.)


          1. Has Islam changed the day of the worship of God? (Yes. Islam commands that Friday is to be the day of worship.)


          2. Does this paint a picture in your mind of two Beast buddies that are working to confuse the world about the true worship of God - a worship that is at odds with the Fourth Commandment?


    2. Read Revelation 13:18. What response is required of us? (God calls on us to show wisdom.)


    3. Friend, our study this week feels like speculation in many ways. Our obligation is to continue to study and keep our eyes and ears open so that we can recognize when these prophecies are fulfilled.


  5. Next Week: The Three Angels' Messages: Revelation 14:1-12.

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