• Facebook
  • VK Profile
  • OK.ru Profile
  • Telegram channel
  • Reddit
  • Twitter profile

12 April 2023

Religion and Economics

In the book of Revelation, John sees a “Beast ascending from the Earth,” the “False Prophet.” He is intent on deceiving the “inhabitants of the earth” on behalf of the “Beast from the Sea.” The latter is characterized by its political power, while the “False Prophet” uses religious propaganda to deceive men, and economic might to suppress anyone who does conform to the demands of the World Empire.

Those who are among the “inhabitants of the earth” render homage to the “Beast from the Sea,” and by proxy, to the “Dragon,” namely, to Satan himself. With members of this group, no coercion is needed to secure their subservience to the “Beast.”

The “False Prophet” promotes religious devotion to the “Beast” and gives it concrete expression by encouraging the “inhabitants of the earth” to erect an “image” in honor of the “Beast.” But he employs economic sanctions against the followers of the “Lamb” who refuse to give their allegiance to the “Beast” and otherwise do not comply with imperial decrees - (Revelation 13:4-8).


The “Beast from the Sea” has “ten heads” and “seven horns,” and one of its “heads” appears “slain.” Buts its “death stroke was healed,” and the description of it “as having been slain” was applied previously to the “Lamb.” Likewise, the “Beast” was wounded “and lived,” just as Jesus “died and lived” - (ezésen - Revelation 2:8, 5:6, 13:3-4).

The restoration of the wounded “head” mimics the death and resurrection of the “Lamb,” and the restoration of the “Beast” to life strikes the “inhabitants of the earth” with awe. Thus, the “Beast from the Sea” is the counterfeit of the Lamb - (Revelation 13:3-6).

Likewise, the “False Prophet” has two “horns like a lamb.” It is not identical to the “Lamb,” but it imitates him by speaking with what sounds like his voice. And while the “Lamb” has “seven horns,” the second “Beast” has only “two.” Thus, it is a pale imitation of the true “Lamb,” at least for those “with ears to hear.”

The “False Prophet” also has the power to summon fire from heaven, making it the satanic counterpart to the “Two Witnesses” who consumed their opponents with “fire from their mouth.” But unlike the witnesses, the “False Prophet” does not bear the “testimony of Jesus,” but instead, promotes the ideology of the “Beast.” Like the “Two Witnesses,” it is a “prophet” though a false one, and this is why he is called the “False Prophet.”


The “False Prophet” employs religious devices to direct the “inhabitants of the earth” to venerate the first “Beast.” But it uses economic pressure to punish anyone who resists, especially, the overcoming saints who, like the three Jewish exiles in Babylon, refuse to render homage to this “image” - “O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, you serve not my god or RENDER HOMAGE TO THE golden IMAGE THAT I HAVE ERECTED!” - (Daniel 3:13-14).

His attempt to deceive the “saints” was anticipated in the letters to the seven churches with their warnings against “false apostles,” the “Nicolaitans,” the “prophetess Jezebel,” and the “teachings of Balaam.” Each of these deceivers encouraged believers to “commit fornication and eat food sacrificed to idols,” allusions to attempts to trick or coerce the churches to participate in the imperial cult.

Thus, the “Beast from the Earth” was active already among the churches of Asia. The economic attacks by the “False Prophet” are reflected in the economic deprivations suffered by the congregation in Smyrna, a foretaste of the more severe attacks to come - (Revelation 2:2-6, 2:14-15, 16:13, 19:20).

And the seven churches certainly would have recognized in the vision’s language and imagery the pressure by local magistrates of the cities of Asia on believers to venerate Caesar and his image.

But the stress in chapter 13 of Revelation is on the use of religious deception to seduce the “inhabitants of the earth” and to coax the churches to give their allegiance to the first “Beast.” But when coercion becomes necessary, the “False Prophet’s” tool of choice is ECONOMIC POWER.

And in the book, humanity is divided into two groups: Those who “follow the Lamb” and those who render homage to the “Beast.” Total allegiance is given to one or the other, and there is NO middle ground or third alternative.


The “False Prophet” imitates the “Lamb” and mimics his true prophets. He employs a counterfeit of the true faith to deceive men and thereby cause them to render homage to the “Dragon” and his earthly surrogate, the “Beast from the Sea.”

The beastly goal in all this is to destroy the church through deception and apostasy, or more directly, by economic pressure and persecution. Already deceived, the “inhabitants of the earth” are willing supporters of the “Dragon” in his quest to annihilate those who have the “testimony of Jesus” - (“And the inhabitants of the earth rejoice over them… because the two prophets tormented them”).

The marginalized congregations of Asia would have recognized the arrogant pretensions of Rome in John’s visions, especially the demand for the veneration of Caesar.

If there is a lesson for today, it is that the “Beast” will imitate the true faith so as to deceive the “saints.” For disciples of Jesus, this counterfeit faith will look and feel all too familiar, and very likely, it will direct them to give the total allegiance that belongs to Jesus ALONE to the political rulers of the World Empire.