From the beginning, Satan has been the great deceiver. In Eden, he used deception to try to establish a new law and create a new race of rebels against God. At every point in history he has sought to be the great usurper and imposter of God. In place of God, the great deceiver has been constantly seeking to establish himself as the sovereign ruler over mankind. He is not Sovereign, and he is not ever going to be. His destruction is declared throughout scripture, and as we have studied Revelation, especially in chapter 12, we have seen clearly the foiling of all Satanic enterprises.
Now, in Revelation 13, Satan seeks to continue his great deception. From the depths of the earth, a new creature arises. Satan, the dragon, has commissioned this creature to come forth and deceive the inhabitants of the earth. In describing this creature, the imagery is strikingly similar to the details that we know of Christ. It is as though Satan has attempted to create another Christ. Just like Paul warned of “another gospel that is not gospel,” Satan presents another Christ that is not Christ. Just as Christ had been slain and rose from the dead, this imposter had been injured but was now healed. The deception was flagrant, but many would still be willingly deceived by this faux-Messiah.
As Satan, the dragon, unleashed his misleading beast on mankind, he issued claims that mirrored the claims of the resurrected and omnipotent Christ. “Who is like the beast? Who can war against him?” The arrogant confidence was meant to mislead mankind into imagining they had finally found the all-powerful one that their souls longed for. Furthermore, as Scripture tells us in Ephesians 1:13 that all believers and children of God have been sealed with the Holy Spirit, the beast seals all of his own with a mark, signifying his seal on them.
This satanic scheme of deception is dark and wicked. Following the agonies of the previous months, many turn to this false savior in the hope that he will alleviate their suffering. Instead of repenting, they seek shelter in a lie. The final call of this text is to endure faithfully in the face of dangerous blasphemy and agonizing apostasy. John writes to the readers of this vision, “Endure and have faith.” Do not let the darkness of your souls in the face of such a powerful imposter deceive you. Stand firm in the faith. Know Whom you have believed in. Do not lose sight of the “Lamb who was slain” for you. He has not neglected or forgotten you. Endure to the end.
Reflect: Read through Revelation 13:1-10. List some of the deceptive comparisons that Satan seeks to accomplish through the beast that is revealed in this passage?