15 And [the Beast from the Land] was allowed to give breath to the image of the [ the] beast [from the sea], 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.
Image above is from Wikimedia Commons; “The number of the beast is 666” by William Blake 1805 in the public domain.
We see in these verses the continuation of the message about the Beast from the Land —
The triple alliance between Satan (Dragon), the state (Beast from the Sea), and false religion (Beast from the Land) results in opposition God and persecution of His people.
This reminder about the apocalyptic images is important —
“Both these beasts oppose the Church throughout this dispensation [from the Resurrection-Ascension to the Second Coming of Christ]; yet the apostle describes them in terms that indicate the form that they assumed during the closing decade of the first century AD.” (see Hendriksen, p. 144, below.)
The reminder prevents us from reading newspaper/media headlines today, and then extrapolating today’s news as “Bible prophecy fulfilled,” specifically. Of course, it is fulfillment, but of the kind that every age sees until the Second Coming of Christ! This is the essence of progressive parallelism in Revelation.
I. All who bear unquestioning allegiance to the State/Civil Religion-amalgam are worshiping “modern Beasts.“
vs. 15 And [the Beast from the Land] was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast [from the Sea], 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.
False religion allied to evil government always manipulates things in such a way as to lend credence to itself. It only appears to possess vitality, however. Psalm 115 remind us the nature of allegiance to anyone or anything than The Lord our God —
Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear;
noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel;
feet, but do not walk;
and they do not make a sound in their throat.
Those who make them become like them;
so do all who trust in them.
O Israel, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and their shield.
In ancient Greece men would consult the Oracle at Delphi for guidance about decisions they had to make. A priest would be questioned by one seeking advice. The priest would speak to the Pythia, who had inhaled the psychedelic vapors from the fissure opened by an earthquake. She muttered some phrase that the Priest interpreted and conveyed to the inquiring person.
Priestess of Delphi (1891) by John Collier, showing the Pythia sitting on a tripod with mind-altering vapor rising from a crack from the earth beneath her. Wikipedia Public Domain image.
Croesus, king of Lydia, consulted Delphi before attacking Persia, and according to Herodotus was advised: “If you cross the river, a great empire will be destroyed”. Believing the response favorable, Croesus attacked, but it was his own empire that ultimately was destroyed by the Persians. (WikiPedia “Oracle” page.)
How can people be duped by false government-religion working in tandem? Religion doesn’t have an oracle to consult. No, but the state always has ruling-elite-handlers who know what the vassals ought to think and do. Figure into the modern mix the main stream media, and we have our modern day oracle piped into our dens.
In his day, Richard M. Weaver, called the government-media cooperative “the great stereopticon.”
Weaver gives the name “The Great Stereopticon” to “the technologically enhanced thought control to which we are subjected by newspapers, film, radio, and television.” [I’m sure Weaver would add the Internet if he were writing today instead of in 1948.] (see Brother André Marie, below.)
Here, notably, Weaver echoes the sentiments of C. S. Lewis in his book The Abolition of Man (which was written nearly contemporaneously with Ideas Have Consequences), and anticipates the modern critique of consumerism. (see Weaver, below.)
Consider this example of “a modern day oracle” speaking —
In November of 2015, a National Park policeman approached the tour group I was leading on the grassy knoll of Bunker Hill in Boston. He demanded I stop teaching about the battle that had been fought there in 1775, and drew his ticket book (not his revolver) and threatened to write me up for “illegal guiding,” a crime unknown in statutory law and a term new to Landmark Events, our history tour company.
We had been there a number of times in previous years and until now had always received a warm welcome and at least indifference over my lecturing about the battle on the grounds around the monument. I lecture using a headset transmitter while our guests have unobtrusive receivers and ear buds so we don’t disturb non-group members who may also be visiting the site. Unlike our groups, most people just visit the history center, climb the steps of the massive obelisk that commemorates the battle, and then move on. The National Park Service (NPS) personnel help people inside the monument and museum and run the gift store.
The president of our company…gently informed the irate guard that the NPS police and interpreters, indeed, work for us, the American people. In response, the guard threatened to ticket him and all our guests. In the end, the park rangers could neither provide a guide for us nor allow us to continue.
Sometime later [Landmark Events, a history tour company] led a tour to Charleston, South Carolina. The NPS interpreter told us that they would separate all the children from the families once we arrived at Fort Sumter. When [our tour director] remonstrated that we do not separate our families and that we have our own historians, she wagged her finger in his face and said “we know what your children need to know.” (see National Park Service, emphasis mine, below.)
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” ― George Orwell, 1984
The false prophet performs seeming miracles to convince the masses that the idolatrous religion is indeed real. But, it is a tool of Satan bent upon forcing men into loyalty to the state (and ultimately to Satan himself). The magical manipulations of the oracles and shrines in John’s day was proverbial. The Priests could make them say whatever they wanted to.
Christianity in the 21st Century must not lend an evil government a sense of propriety. The Church and faithful believers must speak out prophetically whenever the government depart from the clear teaching of Scripture.
Next time on to the Mark of the Beast!
Notes (Commentaries on which I rely sometimes without direct quotation.)
Beale, G. K. (2015). Revelation: a Shorter Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Kindle Edition.
Brother André Marie, (2008). “The Great Stereopticon” article accessed 21 November 2020 from https://catholicism.org/ad-rem-no-84.html
Death of an Age. (2013). Faith for all of Life May issue. Accessed 5 November 2020 from https://chalcedon.edu/resources/articles/the-death-of-an-age-and-its-faith
ESV. (2001). Accessed 24 June 2020 from https://www.biblegateway.com
Hendriksen, William. More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (p. 125).
Johnson, A. F. (1982). Revelation in Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Gaebelein. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Johnson, D. E. (2001). Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Kenner, C. (2000). The NIV Application Commentary: Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic.
Michaels, J. R. (1997). The IVP New Testament Commentary Series – Revelation. Accessed 29 October 2020 from https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/ivp-nt/Beast-Earth
Morris, Leon. (1987). Revelation in Tyndale New Testament Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
National Park Service. (2016). “A New Version of Making America Great (Again).” Accessed 10 November 2020 from https://chalcedon.edu/magazine/save-this-page-add-my-notes-a-new-version-of-making-america-great-again
NIV. (2001). Accessed 24 June 2020 from https://www.biblegateway.com
Patheos. (2014). “Your Ultimate Concern Is Your God.” Accessed 19 November 2020 from https://www.patheos.com/blogs/uncommongodcommongood/2014/09/your-ultimate-concern-is-your-god/
Weaver, R. M. (1948). “Ideas Have Consequences” article from Wikipedia. Accessed 20 November 2020 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideas_Have_Consequences
WikiMedia Commons for Images
Wilcox, M. (1984). The Message of Revelation. Bible Speaks Today series. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic. © 2020 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved