The Genesis Parable
The Mark of the Beast - Part 3
In our last two videos, we considered the “mark” which God set on Cain and discovered that it is illustrated by the “sign” or “lesser light” of the moon. This “mark” or “sign” is symbolic of the Old Covenant Law of God which Paul declared “is spiritual” in Romans 7:14. So, it is the spiritual nature of His law which is illustrated by the “mark” or “sign” or “greater light” of the sun which symbolizes the “light” of His New Covenant Promise described in Hebrews, Chapter 8, verses 7 through 13. Now, let’s revisit the following passages from Revelation, Chapter 13, which we considered in our last study.
Revelation 13:16-18 (ESV)
16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.
Most everyone is familiar with the “mark of the beast” which is taken from these passages, and it is my opinion that the “mark” which God set on Cain is the same “mark” found here. In order to better understand, let’s consider what or who it is that “causes all” “to be marked on the right hand or forehead.” We find our answer in Revelation 13:11.
Revelation 13:11 (ESV)
11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.
The first thing to consider in this parabolic description is our word “beast.” This is the Greek word thērion, which means, “A dangerous animal.” We’ve already learned that our word “beast” is a symbolic reference to the natural or carnal essence of our being. In this instance, it is clearly to our carnal essence, our word “dangerous” describing our carnality or “exaggerated sense of self” as the primary component responsible for all the deception that is evident among His people today. Paul wrote, “THE MIND THAT IS SET ON THE FLESH,” i.e. the carnal mind, “IS HOSTILE TO GOD, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, IT CANNOT. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:7-8; ESV). Now, allow me to give you a simple key which identifies this beast of the earth in Revelation 13:11, found in Revelation, Chapters 16, 19, and 20.
Revelation 16:13-14 (KJV)
13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon (Revelation 12:3-4), and out of the mouth of the beast (Revelation 13:1-10), and out of the mouth of the false prophet (Revelation 13:11-18). 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
In these passages, we find three different entities; a dragon, a beast, and a false prophet. Note where I have inserted the various passages from Revelation which correlate with each entity. We see that the first entity is the “great red dragon” of Revelation, Chapter 12, while the second is the “beast” which rises out of the sea in Revelation, Chapter 13. Finally, our third and final entity is called a “false prophet,” and we need only consider the context of our beast of the earth in Revelation 13, verses 11 through 18, to see that Revelation 16:13 is clearly pointing to this third entity. Now, let’s go to Revelation, Chapters 19 and 20.
Revelation 19:20 (KJV)
20 And the beast (Revelation 13:1-10) was taken, and with him the false prophet (Revelation 13:11-18) that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Revelation 20:10 (KJV)
10 And the devil (Revelation 12:3-4, 9) that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast (Revelation 13:1-10) and the false prophet (Revelation 13:11-18) are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
The context of Revelation 19:20 also agrees with the description of the beast of the earth in Revelation 13, so in these passages, we see the beast of the sea from Revelation 13 again, followed by this beast of the earth or “false prophet.” In Revelation 20:10, we have all three entities again, showing our “great red dragon” or “devil” of Revelation 12, followed by the beast of the sea and the beast of the earth in Revelation 13. It should be clear by all of this that the beast that rises out of the earth symbolizes a “false prophet,” again confirmed by the context of Revelation 13 and especially Revelation 13:14, where we read, “And by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast (of the sea) it DECEIVES those who dwell on earth” (ESV). Our phrase “dwell on earth” means to walk solely by the carnal mind, religiously or otherwise.
Our phrase “false prophet” is the Greek transliteration pseudoprophētēs, which Strong’s defines as, “A spurious prophet, i.e. pretended foreteller or religious impostor.” Now, it’s here where many make the mistake of assuming that this beast of the earth is symbolic of an individual who will arise sometime in the future to lead both the church and the world astray. Not for a moment do I believe this. Rather, the beast of the earth, like the “great red dragon” and the beast which rises out of the sea, denotes a COLLECTIVE ENTITY and ESSENCE, not an individual. Paul confirms this in 1st Corinthians 12:12, speaking of the “body of Christ” and telling us, “For as the BODY is ONE and has MANY MEMBERS, but all the members of that ONE BODY, being MANY, are ONE BODY, so also is CHRIST” (NKJV). Friends, if Christ is “ONE BODY” yet “MANY MEMBERS,” then logic dictates that the same is true for “antichrist.” The following from 1st John aligns with this understanding.
1 John 2:18-19 (NASB95)
18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.
First, “antichrist,” singular, but then “many antichrists,” followed by “they” six different times. Clearly, “antichrist” is not a particular individual as some might believe. Now consider the following from 1st John, Chapter 4.
1 John 4:1 (NASB95)
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Our word “Christ” means “anointed” which all of us know refers to the Spirit of God. So it is that “antichrist” refers to “spirit,” however, as John later states, it is a “spirit of error.” So, as all three passages show, John speaks of both “antichrist” and “false prophets,” not of one, but of MANY. They are synonymous, for what makes a false prophet is the spirit out of which they operate. John stated, “Do not believe EVERY SPIRIT,” singular, but TEST THE SPIRITS,” collective. The Lord Himself confirms John’s perspective where we read in Matthew 24:24, “For false CHRISTS,” plural, “and false PROPHETS,” again plural, “will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect” (NASB), and again, “MANY will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’” or ANOINTED, “and will mislead MANY” (Matt. 24:5; NASB).
Though the reference to “false prophet” in Revelation is given in an individual sense, it should be viewed like the “natural man” which Paul referred to in 1st Corinthians 2:14 and the “old man” of which Paul wrote in Romans 6:6 and Ephesians 4:22. Not surprisingly, our principle of sowing and reaping explains this perspective for us. It’s known as the “exponential” function; that is, the principle of ONE to MANY. As everyone knows, one seed begins the process of producing a fruit tree, but once the fruit tree reaches maturity, it doesn’t produce just one piece of fruit and one more seed; rather, it produces MUCH fruit and MANY more seeds within the fruit. Now, even though it began with ONE seed, it became MANY by means of the “fruit” and the “seed” that followed. Beloved, when many are joined together by the ONE spirit of error, collectively speaking, “they” are ONE ANTICHRIST and ONE FALSE PROPHET. So, this being the case, how do we define such an entity? John tells us.
1 John 4:1-6 (NASB95)
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the SPIRIT of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
Here we have it, my friends. False prophets “are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them… by this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” This brings us back to our “three unclean spirits like frogs” which come out of the mouths of these three entities. Since false prophets “are from the world” and “speak as from the world,” then these three spirits correlate perfectly with 1st John 2:16 and our appetite, avarice, and ambition. In agreement, scripture records that the Pharisees or religious leaders of Jesus’ time were “lovers of money,” and Jesus told them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination to God”; see Luke 16:14-15.
Now, note the statement, “Greater is HE who is in you than HE who is in the world.” The first “he” in this statement refers to Christ, the “Spirit of truth,” while the “HE who is in the world” correlates with the “spirit of error.” It is this “spirit of error” which is the unifying energy behind our beast of the earth or “false prophet” who is “from the world,” speaks “as from the world” and to whom the world listens. Since our spirit of error points to appetite, avarice, and ambition, (which we now know is pictured in Adam and Eve’s “fall” in Genesis 3), then our “HE who is in the world” refers to the carnal essence of this “first man Adam” which Paul described in 1st Corinthians 15:45-49. In agreement, consider what Paul wrote in 2nd Thessalonians, Chapter 2.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (NKJV)
1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the FALLING AWAY COMES FIRST, and THE MAN OF SIN is revealed, the SON OF PERDITION, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
Here Paul refers to the “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” or “day of Christ,” telling us plainly that this “day will NOT COME unless the FALLING AWAY COMES FIRST, and THE MAN OF SIN is revealed, the SON OF PERDITION.” As stated, this “man of sin” is the collective, carnal essence illustrated by the “first man Adam.” For confirmation, see Romans 5, verses 12 through 19. And what do we read in 2nd Thessalonians? He “opposes” and “exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped.” Doesn’t this agree with our third component of ambition or braggadocio, i.e. the “boasting” of what we have and do? Paul goes on to state, “He sits as God in the temple of God.” Beloved, are we not His “temple”? We are, so by no means is this a reference to a literal temple but speaks of this carnal essence taking its position and control within our own being, within our own hearts and minds. Now, with all that we’ve considered, let me share with you a very sobering thought concerning the church of Laodicea in Revelation.
Revelation 3:14-17 (NASB95)
14 "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: 15 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17 'Because YOU SAY, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and YOU DO NOT KNOW that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked…
Laodicea is the seventh church of the seven churches found in Revelation, Chapters 2 and 3. Seven defines “fullness,” which speaks of “spiritual completeness” or the conclusion of a matter. For this reason, I see the Laodicean church as representing our spiritual condition at the END OF THIS AGE. When we reach this seventh and final church, we find our condition as one of DECEPTION, confirmed by the Lord’s statement that “YOU DO NOT KNOW that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” To put it simply, we have duplicated what the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees were guilty of in Jesus’ day. And, this spiritual disorder, along with Paul’s discourse concerning the “man of sin” and “son of perdition,” correlate perfectly with the following.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 (ESV)
1 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the DAY of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
Do you see it? “While people are saying, ‘There is peace and security,’ then SUDDEN DESTRUCTION” comes upon them “as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and THEY WILL NOT ESCAPE.” “Labor pains” are symbolic of tribulation; see Matthew 24:8 in the NIV. Furthermore, note that Paul DID NOT SAY “the RETURN of the Lord will come like a thief in the night,” rather, he said, “the DAY of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” Brothers and sisters, if we don’t know what the “day” symbolizes, then it will certainly come on us “like a thief.” Furthermore, if my understanding is correct, there is not one “day of the Lord” coming, but three, as typified by the third and final feast of Israel known as the Feast of Tabernacles.
God called the light DAY, and went on to say in 1st Thessalonians 5, “But you, brethren, ARE NOT IN DARKNESS, that the DAY would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of LIGHT and sons of DAY. WE ARE NOT OF NIGHT NOR OF DARKNESS; so then let us not sleep as others do, BUT LET US BE ALERT AND SOBER. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the DAY, LET US BE SOBER” (1st Thess. 5:4-8; NASB95). No wonder Paul also wrote, “AWAKE…” “AWAKE to RIGHTEOUSNESS, and DO NOT SIN; for some DO NOT HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. I speak this to your shame” (1st Cor. 15:34; NKJV).
Brothers and sisters, Paul said twice, “Let us be sober.” Our word “sober” means, “To abstain from wine (keep sober).” Figuratively speaking, this means that we should keep ourselves from becoming intoxicated by the spirit of the world, by the carnal essence of this “first man Adam” which permeates our society. I remind you, carnality is an exaggerated sense of self, so our enemy is not just outside of us but WITHIN us. It’s the “self” which Jesus said “deny.” And to be “intoxicated” means when we are completely absorbed in and deceived by our own “self-righteousness,” we will lack proper judgment and thus, proper action.
Friends, let me be raw and honest here and say that if pride underlies our religious belief, WE CAN AND WILL BE DECEIVED. What I mean by that is, if for any reason we believe that we are better than others due to our faith, we have missed the kingdom of God!
Don’t be deceived by the fact that our “self” is quite adept at being religious and the most obvious evidence of this is SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS, which loves to embrace traditions and teachings which give the illusion that we, as Christians or believers, are MORE DESERVING than others around us. It is out of this self-righteous spirit of error that comes erroneous teachings such as the “rapture” and “eternal torment.” Friends, this is not what Jesus taught nor the spirit out of which He taught. Jesus DID NOT DIE for Christians; He DIED FOR THE WORLD, and so it is that HE ALWAYS HAS THE WORLD IN MIND. Understand my brethren, He does not call us out of the world so we can condemn it, for that was the spirit of error out of which the religious scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees functioned and which Jesus clearly denounced and rejected. Folks, Jesus DID NOT see Himself as even slightly better than those around Him, for when the rich man asked Him, “Good teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Jesus responded, “Why do you call me good? NO ONE IS GOOD, but One, that is, God” (Mark 10:17-18; NKJV). The Lord knew within Himself that every precious deed He performed was not His own but instead issued from the Spirit of His heavenly Father; see John 10:38 and 14:10.
It is time to wake up to the fact that it is not those out there that need the Lord, it is everyone, ESPECIALLY HIS OWN PEOPLE, for a spirit of self-righteousness has become grossly evident in our time as we say we are rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing, yet, and according to the Lord Himself, WE DO NOT KNOW that we are “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” My friends, only one thing will change us and those around us and it is not the staunch hold we have on our traditions and commandments of men which are clearly failing us; rather, it will be the unconditional love of God by means of His Spirit through us which will turn this tide of wickedness that prevails throughout the world.
“The DAY of the Lord will come like a thief in the night,” and “day,” my friends, points to the “greater light” of the sun, of the NEW COVENANT PROMISE that He will be merciful to OUR unrighteousness, OUR sins and lawless deeds which He has promised HE WILL REMEMBER NO MORE. Since “day” denotes HIS nature, then this indicates the manifestation of HIS Spirit and righteousness and love arising in a people in accordance with His divine purpose. Beloved, the last thing needed is more of the “letter” of the law or the ministry of death and condemnation. Rather, we need the true ministry of His Spirit and righteousness, for the Lord has determined that we, His people, are the “light of the world. A city set on a hill” that “cannot be hidden” (Matt. 5:14; ESV). Let me close today’s study with the following.
Isaiah 60:1-5 (ESV)
1 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. 2 For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. 3 And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. 4 Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. 5 Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you.