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Revelation’s Counterfeits: The Trinity

October 10, 2009

Isn’t it interesting that everywhere you go in the world, everyone is trying to keep up with the Jones family. Everyone wants what other people have. If your neighbour gets a flash new TV, you also want to get one so you can “keep up” with modern technology, right? No! It’s really so you can keep up and compete with your neighbour. And you know, that is really how we got into this mess called sinned. First of all, somewhere way back in eternity, an angel in heaven by the name of Lucifer – which means “morning star” – wanted to “keep up” with God. He fancied himself to be a pretty special angel, and indeed he was. He was known as the “covering angel” (Ezek. 28:14). So he began to scheme how he could get the others in heaven to start giving him a little recognition. You know how the rest of the story goes.

Ever since that time, Satan has been seeking to divert the praise and worship of God to himself. This is revealed throughout the whole Bible, but most clearly in the book of Revelation. The key issue through the whole last book of the Bible is who will you worship – God or Satan? (see especially chapters 13-14). So how does the Devil seek to get everyone to worship him? By counterfeiting God.

A counterfeit, of course, is something that resembles something true, but is actually false. If I wanted to counterfeit a $3 note, would that work? No, because there is not even a real $3 note. So the Devil has subtly devised a way to counterfeit God himself. As Christians, we know that God is a triune God, and though He is one indivisible essence, He consists of three individual persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (see Matt. 28:19; John 14:25-26; 2 Cor. 13:14). So how does Satan manage to counterfeit that? Revelation reveals how.

The Dragon vs. The Father

In chapter 12, we are introduced to the “great, fiery red dragon” that had “seven heads and ten horns” (12:3). Verse 9 tells us that he is none other than “that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan.” Now, we read that he comes up against some problems. First of all, he tries to devour a Child as soon as it is born, but fails (12:4-5). Then he tries to destroy the woman who gave birth to the Child, but fails (12:6). Finally, he goes out to make war with the rest of the woman’s offspring (12:17). In order to be more effective, he “went away” to call up some allies to help him out. First, he calls up a beast from the sea: “Then he [the dragon] stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns… and the dragon gave him his power, his throne and great authority” (13:1-2). Do you notice some similarities between these two antichristian powers? The sea beast very closely resembles the dragon as they both have “seven heads and ten horns” (cf. 12:3; 13:1). Notice also that the dragon gave his power and “authority” to the sea beast?

The dragon therefore seems to be a counterfeit of the Father. Jesus said that “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me” (Matt. 28:18). He also said that “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). So in the same way the Son reflects His Father and receives His power and authority from His Father, so the sea beast also reflects the dragon and receives his power from him.

The Sea Beast vs. The Son

John continues to describe the sea beast in 13:3, “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded (σφάζω), and his deadly wound was healed.” So at some point, this beast had died, so to speak. It had received a mortal or fatal wound. But, it was healed. A resurrection had taken place. This seems to be a very clear parody of Jesus as He was also mortally wounded on the cross when He died. That fatal wound was healed when He rose from the dead. In fact, the underlying Greek makes this connection even more clear as Rev. 13:8 uses the same word to describe the slain Lamb: “The Lamb slain (σφάζω) from the foundation of the world.”

We continue to read that as a result of the healing of the fatal wound of the sea beast, “The whole world was astonished and followed the beast” (Rev. 13:3). The very same thing happened with Jesus, “And I, if I am lifted up [on the cross] will draw all people to Myself” (John 12:32). The whole world is drawn to the sea beast when it is resurrected from death, the same way the world is drawn to Christ through His death and resurrection.

Chapter 13 goes on to tell us how long the sea beast would rule: “The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months” (Rev. 13:5). Wasn’t the ministry of Jesus also three and a half years (forty-two months)?

It seems clear by now that here Revelation is not really talking about animals and wild beasts. The message behind these symbols is that there will be a counterfeit of Jesus Christ in the last days of earth’s history. There will be powers and perhaps even a person (see 2 Thessalonians 2:8, 9) that will walk, talk, and look like Jesus Christ. Is this excitingly scary or what? The Bible tells us these things in order that we can be prepared to avoid the deception in the final crisis of world’s history.

Now, if the dragon is a counterfeit of God the Father and the sea beast is a counterfeit of God the Son, then the land beast would seem to be a counterfeit of the Holy Spirit.

The Land Beast vs. The Holy Spirit

Notice Revelation 13:12: “He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf.” We know that the Holy Spirit speaks not of Himself, but rather of Christ (John 16:13).

The land beast also makes “the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast” (Rev. 13:12), in the same way that the Holy Spirit invites us to worship and follow Jesus (John 16:13, 14).

We continue to see a parody of the ministry of the Holy Spirit by the land beast in Rev. 13:13: “And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men.” You will recall that it was the Holy Spirit who brought fire down from heaven to earth to anoint the disciples at Pentecost (see Acts 2). What we seem to have here is a counterfeit of not only the Holy Spirit, but Pentecost.

Why does the fire come down here? Verse 14 says: “And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to perform.” This point is important as it seems to indicate that there may well be a counterfeit revival of Pentecost in the last days in order to deceive people into worshipping “what they know not.” In contrast to this, the Bible says that the Holy Spirit’s role is not to deceive people, but rather to “convict the world of sin” (John 16:8).

So, how does Satan “keep up” with God? By receiving worship. And how does he achieve that? By counterfeiting God – the Father by himself as the dragon, the Son by the sea beast, and the Holy Spirit by the land beast. Praise the Lord that He has revealed to us the importance of keeping true to His word in order to avoid being sucked into the greatest deception of earth’s history! May we all stand firm for God’s truth, not only then, but each and every day.

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From → Bible Prophecy

One Comment
  1. Newton permalink

    Good stuff Ben

    Thanks heaps!!!

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