New Defender's Study Bible Notes
13:11 another beast. The second beast will be, in effect, the minister of religion in the cabinet of the first beast, consolidating all the religious systems of the world in one syncretistic world religion of occultic pantheistic evolutionary humanism, just as the first beast will consolidate all the governments of the world into a one-world government. The second beast is later called “the false prophet,” and will evidently first come into prominence as a remarkable prophet, able to perform “signs and wonders” (Matthew 24:24; II Thessalonians 2:9), doing so, of course, “after the working of Satan” and his evil spirits.
13:11 like a lamb. Like the first beast, who will initially seem to have a very charismatic personality and will “come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries” (Daniel 11:21), the second beast will first appear like a lamb, gentle and winsome, only later revealing his dragon-like character.
13:13 fire come down from heaven. This is undoubtedly a “lying wonder,” performed by the help of the powerful spirits who roam the atmosphere and have knowledge of its electrical phenomena and how to control them (note Job 1:16). The two witnesses, like Elijah (I Kings 18:36–38), will have been able to call down real fire from heaven (Revelation 11:5), and the false prophet will desire to demonstrate to a still-intimidated populace that he has similar powers.
13:14 image to the beast. Apparently, all people will be required to make or buy small household replicas of the great image of the beast. The original image will be set up in the temple at Jerusalem (Matthew 24:24; II Thessalonians 2:4). Perhaps in some way (no doubt easily achieved in an age of electronically controlled and transmitted information), the loyalty of each household to the beast and his image can be monitored at a central data bank.
13:15 give life. This pseudo-life in the image must also be a lying wonder, since only God can create life. However, if complex audio-animatronix equipment of some kind is designed and constructed within the image, programmed with the capacity to produce word-like sounds, and if a powerful spiritual intelligence in the Satanic hierarchy possesses the image body (as demons have often possessed human bodies and controlled their utterances, making use of the vocal apparatus), then it could certainly be made to appear that the image was alive and speaking intelligently.
13:16 mark. The mark of the beast, which will be universally required for all transactions, will insure loyalty to the beast, but will also assure an eternal destination in hell for all who accept it (Revelation 14:9-11). This will be some kind of indelible marking, easy to see and impossible to remove.
13:17 number of his name. Maybe there will be three different types of marks, to distinguish three different classes of world citizens.
13:18 understanding. This information is evidently intended for people living before the beast is openly identified by his seven-year covenant with Israel. Thus, he will probably have become an important and influential political leader even before the rapture of the church, and Christians—as well as others—need to be warned not to be deceived by his charismatic personality.
13:18 number of a man. The beast appears to be a man, not a church or other kind of body; he has a name, and that name has a number (Revelation 13:17). In fact, every word in the Greek language (in which John wrote the book of Revelation) has a number, since every letter corresponds also to a number. That is, “alpha” (a) also signifies “1,” “beta” (b) signifies “2,” etc. To “count” the number of a word, one would simply total the numbers of its individual letters. Even though other languages don’t follow this system, the New Testament Greek language did, and it should normally be easy enough to transliterate any certain name into its Greek equivalent, and then to add the corresponding numbers (i.e., “Al” in English would become al, or “alpha lambda” in Greek equivalence, with a number value of 31). Although about one in every ten thousand names would add to 666, if any potential world leader’s name has this value, one should be extremely cautious about believing or following him.