Revelation 13:11,18 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the
earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six.
The beast John sees coming up out of the earth has two horns like a lamb. Now Jesus is called the Lamb of God (John 1:29). He is also called the Good Shepherd (John 10:11), and Christians are referred to as the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100:3). Therefore we understand that the lamb, symbolically, speaks of that which is of the Lord. So the beast coming up out of the earth with two horns like a lamb tells us that the beast system seems to be something of God. Our text also says that it speaks as a dragon. So while it appears to be something of the Lord outwardly, inwardly it is of the dragon nature – that old serpent the devil.
Verse 18 says, Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six. The beast has a number, and it is the number of man. Therefore, we understand that this beast coming up out of the earth comes forth through man. Mankind is the earth from which the beast comes. It is something that has the organization of man, thus a beast system.
II Corinthians 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming
themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, and his ministers are transformed as ministers of righteousness. In other words, Satan does not come on the scene in a red suit with horns, a long tail, and a pitchfork. If he did, his identity would be very obvious and he would be recognized immediately. So he transforms himself into an angel of light and his ministers as ministers of righteousness. This means that Satan’s maneuverings, as he comes against and opposes the Kingdom of God, are through religious systems. He comes in a religious way, seeming to be righteous and pious. He does it that way because it gives him advantage at being successful in his deception. So he comes as John describes him in Revelation chapter 13. Transforming himself into an angel of light, he comes forth with two horns like a lamb. The beast system looks very righteous outwardly, but within is the satanic nature of Satan himself.
Obviously, this beast system is the antichrist that comes forth in the earth. We call it a beast system because the antichrist spirit comes through religious movements. It comes in such a way as to appear to be the true thing, something that is really of the Lord. Next we want to see where these ministers appear. What kind of religious movements do they work through? Paul gives us the answer in Acts chapter 20.
Acts 20:28-30 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the
flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the
Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.
29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Paul is speaking to the elders of the Church in Ephesus. He is saying, in effect, that the ministers of Satan who transform themselves as ministers of righteousness, those who will come forth with two horns like a lamb, yet speak as a dragon, will come forth right in the very Church of God. He says, “I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”
This should not be a difficult thing for us to understand. Yet we tend to take the antichrist, the beast marked 666, and place its workings outside of the Church. But Satan would not have much hope in deceiving Christians if he came forth in some other way. He wants to be as successful as possible in hindering the Kingdom of God, to deceive as many Christians as he can. So where is he going to work? He is going to work in the Church. He is going to enter in among God’s people. He and his ministers are going to disguise themselves, not only as Christians but also as ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Acts 20:30-34 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking
perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears.
32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
33 I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.
34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
It is interesting to note that Paul always traveled with an apostolic company. He rarely ministered alone. Satan may imitate this to some degree, but usually his ministers stand alone because each one wants to be king of the mountain. Their desire to be placed on a pedestal will maintain a division among them. On the other hand, the apostolic company that the Lord sends forth will move in a oneness that can only be created by God (Joel 2:7-8; Acts 2:14). This is one way we will be able to recognize the ministers of Satan who have transformed themselves into ministers of righteousness.
Another way is revealed to us in verse 33. Paul said, “I have coveted no man’s silver, gold, or apparel.” The false ministers will always have covetousness in their hearts, because that is one of the basic aspects of the satanic nature of the antichrist spirit. Ministries that covet the silver and gold will be ministers that come forth from the beast system.
Then Paul said, “Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.” I realize that it can be argued that a ministry must have financial backing to be effective. But I also realize that when the Lord Jesus Christ sent out His disciples, He told them, “Don’t take any money with you” (Luke 9:3). Money was not an issue. They were to trust the Lord. They had one focus and one focus only. They were to minister the Gospel of the Kingdom, heal the sick, cast out devils, and raise the dead (Matthew 10:7-9). That was to be their focus, and that is the same attitude we must have. If we are going to be true ministries of God, then we must only be concerned about ministering Christ. We must not covet the silver and gold. We must trust the Lord to supply everything that is needed for the ministry to function.
Jude gives another example of the beast system that comes forth right in the midst of the Church.
Jude 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
One would think that the men described in this verse – “ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” – would be easily recognized. However, it says that they “crept in unawares.” Don’t forget that the antichrist comes in a very deceptive way. The ministers of Satan come forth by transforming themselves as ministers of righteousness. These certain men who have crept in unawares are a part of the beast system, and they are cunning enough to not deny the Lord Jesus Christ outwardly and boldly. In fact, they will even preach Jesus as Savior, saying, “If you will repent and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior then you will be forgiven of your sins and go to heaven when you die.” What they will not do is minister the work of the cross so that you may become a disciple of the Lord. They will not minister in such a way as to bring people under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Listen! Satan does not really care how many people accept Jesus Christ as Savior. What he does not want is for Jesus to become the Lord over them. He knows that when people come under His Lordship that they will become the army that crushes him under their feet (Romans 16:20). He knows that Jesus defeated him at the cross, but that defeat has not yet been carried out. Moreover, he wants to delay the execution of his defeat as long as he can. So he does that by hindering people from coming under the Lordship of Christ.
Jude 11 Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
They have gone in the way of Cain – Cain hated his brother Abel and killed him (Genesis 4). Our pulpits have no lack of ministers who are killing the Abels. How do they do it? They do it by not bringing the people of God into spiritual maturity. They keep the people in a state of babyhood, and that kills them spiritually. They preach Jesus as Savior, but they do not bring the people under His Lordship. They will tell you to worship Him, but they can’t teach you how. They will tell you to walk with God, but they won’t teach. Come on Christians! Wake up! Doesn’t it tell you something when the vast majority of Christians are not growing spiritually? The antichrist spirit is trying to destroy God’s people, and he is doing it through the pulpits.
…and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward – Balaam had a lust for money. He prophesied blessings over Israel, and then sold them out for reward (Numbers 22-24; Revelation 2:14).
…and perished in the gainsaying of Core – Korah was of the priestly tribe of Israel. He opposed Moses and Aaron, endeavoring to undermine their authority, because he wanted to exalt himself in the eyes of the people (Numbers 16). Anyone who seeks a place of importance, wanting to look superspiritual in the eyes of others, are of a Korah spirit. And, of course, they always do that by undermining the authority of the Lord upon those He has commissioned. Nothing destroys true ministry more than arrogance and place seeking. Wherever you find church organizations that have been wrought by man, you will also find the antichrist spirit of Korah working. The Cain-spirit, Balaam-spirit, and Korah-spirit are different manifestations of the beast system.
Jude 12-13 These are
spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves
without fear: clouds that are without water, carried about of winds; trees
whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;
13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
It would seem, by this description, that these men would be very easily detected. Yet we must remember that they come forth as ministers of righteousness. Satan transforms himself as an angel of light. So while they are corrupt inwardly, they appear to be men of God outwardly.
Jude 16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.
We see this a lot today – the murmuring, the complaining, walking after their own lusts. That is a mark of the beast system. Their mouths speak great swelling words having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. These are all indications of the antichrist spirit that comes forth in the Church-world.
I John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
John says that antichrists are already working in the earth. In THE BEAST MARKED 666 #1, we saw how Jesus was opposed during His ministry by the spirit of antichrist. There are doctrines floating around that make the antichrist an individual that appears in the future. They say that the antichrist is one who will rise up in the last days, and they always put those last days off in the future. That teaching was implanted within Christianity by the antichrist spirit. Antichrists and false prophets are already here. The beast system is already functioning. If Satan can get people to believe that the antichrist is yet to come, then that will create a cover-up so the antichrist spirit can work unnoticed in the religious world.
I John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Where did the antichrists come from? “They went out from us, but they were not of us.” The antichrist spirit wants to work among Christians. That is the only way it can be effective. Then John tells us in the fourth chapter how we can discern and know whether a spirit is of God.
I John 4:1-3 Beloved,
believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because
many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God.
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
First of all, notice that John equates the false prophets with the spirit of antichrist. Satan is the ape of God. So the antichrist spirit endeavors to work through people in the same way as the Holy Spirit. Then John tells us how we can know the difference between the antichrist and the spirit of God. He says that the spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God, but the antichrist spirit does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.
Notice that the test John gives is in the present tense. Whether Jesus Christ came in the flesh almost 2,000 years ago is not the issue. The demons, speaking through the demoniac at the tombs of the Gadarenes, confessed that; What have I to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of the Most High God? Mark 5:7. So the issue is not whether Jesus Christ came in the flesh as Jesus the Nazarene. The issue is this: Is Jesus Christ coming forth in flesh now? Listen to what John says, “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God.” It is not, “Did He come in the flesh?” or, “Will He come in the flesh?” It is, “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God.”
The beast system will only teach about Christ in a past or future tense. It will speak of Christ that came forth as Jesus the Nazarene. It will also speak of Jesus Christ who is to come in the future, but it will not recognize Christ as coming forth to be glorified and admired in His many-membered Body at the present time (II Thessalonians 1:10). And that is another way to detect the antichrist spirit.
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in
at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to
destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Jesus tells us that most people will enter the wide gate that leads to destruction. On the other hand, only a few will find the narrow way that leads to life. What does He mean? Simply this: It is not going to be as easy as you might think to enter into the Kingdom of God.
He is even more explicit in Luke 13:24. Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. Many people today are not even interested in entering the Kingdom of God. However, Jesus says that many of those who do seek to enter in will not be able to.
That is a hard saying. It is one that will bother you right down to the core of your very being, to understand that many will seek to enter in and not be able. Why won’t they be able? They won’t be able to enter in because of the bond they have with the beast system. They will be like Esau who cried with tears but could not find a place of repentance (Hebrews 12:17). Many will be so deceived by the antichrist spirit that while they have a conscious desire to enter the Kingdom of God they will not be able.
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
The false prophets have come, and they have come in sheep’s clothing. That means they are operating within the church-world. Outwardly they look like sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. That is the same thing John told us in Revelation chapter 13, that the beast system comes forth with two horns like a lamb, but speaks as a dragon.
Matthew 7:16-20 Ye shall
know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
This is a very familiar scripture. By their fruits ye shall know them.But we must understand this fact: their fruits will not be that easily discerned. Look about you. Many of today’s more popular ministers are a part of the beast system, and yet there are literally thousands of Christians supporting them. If people have a hard time discerning that which is not of God, they are certainly not going to be able to discern what is of God. Satan is much more easily discerned than God, because he operates on a very low level of spirit, whereas God dwells on a very high realm of spirit.
Jesus said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” But don’t take it for granted that you will automatically know them. Satan transforms himself as an angel of light, and his ministers are transformed as ministers of righteousness. The fact is, the average Christian does not have enough spiritual perception to discern the spirit of antichrist. The only way their fruits will be discerned is by revelation. And that kind of discernment is only found among those who are submissive to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Copyright © 2003 by Henry DuBose