Revelation chapter 13

An Unholy Trinity

“All the world marveled at this miracle and followed the beast in awe. They worshiped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they worshiped the beast …,Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he required all the earth and those who belong to this world to worship the first beast, whose death–wound had been healed. – Revelation 13:3-4, 11-12 NLT

I have to be honest. I discovered something in my reading this morning that I have never seen before. In chapter 13 we have the introduction of the Beast or the Antichrist. Most of us are familiar with the name. There seems to be speculation every year as to who the Antichrist might be, with the names of various celebrities, government officials, and powerful individuals being thrown out as possibilities. But the truth is, we don’t have a clue as to who this person might be. But there is a second beast mentioned in chapter 13. It is the False Prophet or the Antichrist’s lieutenant, so to speak. So in one chapter we see the Dragon, which represents Satan. We have the appearance of the Beast or Antichrist onto the global stage. Then we meet the second Beast, who functions as the second-in-command to the Antichrist. These three represent what many theologians refer to as The Unholy Trinity. Together they form this triumvirate of power that is a poor imitation of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Satan has always been an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He is the great deceiver who attempts to replicate the power and authority of God. So this unholy trinity makes all the sense in the world. It fits Satan M.O. As his time begins to run out, Satan will unleash a final assault on mankind. And he will do so by attempting to replicate what God has done in the world. Satan will give the Antichrist his power, throne, and authority (Revelation 13:2). Just as God has given Christ all authority and has seated Him at His right hand in heaven, so Satan will give Antichrist power and authority here on earth. Not only that, but the Antichrist will apparently suffer some kind of fatal wound, but Satan will restore him to life. In other words, Satan will resurrect Antichrist, and as a result, every person on earth at that time will worship Satan and the Antichrist. Isn’t it amazing how unimaginative Satan is? All he can manage to come up with is a poor rip-off of what God has already done through Jesus Christ. But it will have its desired affect. The people will be so taken with the Antichrist that they will say, “Is there anyone as great as the beast? Who is able to fight against him?” (Revelation 13:4 NLT).

But any similarities between Antichrist and Jesus Christ Himself are few. This individual will speak blasphemies (Revelation 13:5). He will speak against God, His name, His tabernacle, and all those who dwell in heaven. He will also make war with the saints who are on earth at that time. This will be those 144,000 who become Christ-followers during the Great Tribulation. Unlike Christ, the Antichrist will be against all that God stands for and all that Christ died for. Which is exactly why he is called ANTI-Christ. Yet everyone on earth will worship him. Except those whose names have been written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 13:8). They will remain faithful to the one true God and His Son.

The third individual in this unholy trinity is the False Prophet, the Antichrist’s right-hand man. He will get his authority from Antichrist and operate on his behalf. In fact, one of his jobs will be to make all those on earth worship Antichrist. He will perform great signs and deceive those who dwell on the earth (Revelation 13:12-14). He is a poor imitation of the Holy Spirit. He will be the antithesis of the Holy Spirit. While the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, the False Prophet will encourage it. The Holy Spirit comforts and encourages. The False Prophet confused, deceives and ultimately, destroys. He will actually sentence to death any who do not worship the Antichrist (Revelation 13:15). And He will cause a mark to be placed on the foreheads of any and all. This mark will determine who can buy and sell goods, and will act as a mark of ownership – that they belong to Satan. Yet the Word of God says that He “set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 1:22 NIV). In His letter to the Ephesians, Paul reminds us “when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation) – when you believed in Christ – you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13 NET). For believers, the Holy Spirit is our mark of ownership. But He is not a mark on our forehead. He lives within us.

Satan can only attempt to imitate what God has done, because he can’t replicate it. The Antichrist and the False Prophet will both be men. They are not divine. Their power is limited and comes from Satan himself. Unlike God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, this unholy trinity is not eternal and all-powerful. They are limited in their power and influence and their days are numbered. That is the central message of the book of Revelation. God is going to bring all this madness to an end. Yet it is amazing to see men falling down and worshiping Satan himself. But in his commentary on Revelation David Guzik gives this insight:

“It may seem fantastic to some that the world would be led into worship of a man and of the devil. But by nature, men have an undeniable religious impulse, and they also have an undeniable rebellion against God. What men want most is not the elimination of religion, but their own religion. They say they want the kingdom, but they don’t want God in it.”

Even today, men and women worship the kingdom of Satan. They worship the things of this world. They bow down before temporal things, making them the gods of their lives. In doing so, they worship Satan himself. We were made for worship. The question is whether we will worship God or Satan. In those days, man’s rebellion against God’s rule and authority over their lives will reach a crescendo. The worship of Satan will no longer be subtle and hidden, but outright and complete. But the story isn’t over yet. God isn’t done yet. Let’s see what chapter 14 has to say next.

Father, Satan is such a loser. He is unimaginative and unable to mount a threat against Your kingdom. He is destined for defeat. But He will do his best to destroy men in his attempt to destroy You. But He loses in the end. He has already lost. All because of what Your Son Jesus Christ has done. He has defeated Satan, sin and death. And for that I am eternally grateful. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org