And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon.…
The Book of Revelation presents us with a view of the conflict between the varied kingdoms of this world and the undivided kingdom of our God and of his Christ, and it uniformly declares to us this one consolatory truth, that these kingdoms shall become submissive to his kingdom. These kingdoms present themselves in the great world drama as various powers standing more or less in active opposition to the dominion of Christ over the life of men - in opposition to truth, to righteousness, and to God. "Another beast" arises, not from the sea, but "coming up out of the earth;" not from the world, in its heaving, disordered, tumultuous state, but from the solid earth - from the world in its settled order. It is not the power of rude violence, but as it were of meekness. "He had two horns like unto a lamb" - a smaller measure of power than pertains to the true Lamb, and smaller than is found on the seven-headed beast. But the character is complex. The speech is "as a dragon." It is foul, hellish, Satanic. He doeth great signs. "He deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by reason of the signs." The beast is distinguished by speech. This may indicate a connection with the intellectual and moral, not the physical or even the political, world. Is it a representation of the vast intellectual powers of the world if, and when, inspired by the evil spirit? Is it "wisdom" - the wisdom of this world in its opposition to the wisdom that cometh down from above? It has elements of the world, for it is of the beast; it has elements of the fiend, for it partakes of the quality of the dragon; it is a spirit of error, for it is a false prophet. But it is not merely error, for it is animated by an evil spirit. It is worldly wisdom, the tongue set on fire of hell - the human mind in its opposition to God. "Intellectual weapons which have united with external violence to attack the new principle which had begun to manifest itself in the life of mankind" (Neander). "He doeth great wonders" (see Matthew 24:24). Here are all "signs and Dying wonders," by which men are deceived who cleave not to the truth. Perhaps visible signs, prestiges, prodigies, wonders, soothsayers, witchcraft, and fraud of a barbarous age; and then, as times change, the pretended wonders of the intellect. "It would seem like a new heathendom sinking down again to the deification of nature and humanity." It maketh an image. Often in heathen Roman times was the image of the beast set up, and the alternative lay between martyrdom and apostasy. But not only in imperial Roman times, or papal or Protestant persecuting times, but in times of proud philosophical, materialistic, atheistic, earthly wisdom that stands in opposition to God; and that is none the less exclusive towards men that accept it not. Proud, anti-Godlike, anti-Christlike wisdom persecutes to the death. The profession of the simple Christian faith is a sign for exclusion and proscription. Intellectual pride laughs in its sleeve at the simplicity of Christ. Here the Church is to learn -
I. THE EXCEEDINGLY VARIED CHARACTER OF THE ENEMIES OF THE TRUTH. Every spirit not of God will oppose the true.
II. THE NECESSITY FOR WATCHFULNESS AGAINST THE MOST SPECIOUS OPPONENTS.
III. THE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CHARACTER OF EVERY SPIRIT THAT IS OF THE EARTH, OR THAT PARTAKES OF THE NATURE OF THE BEAST.
IV. THE NECESSITY FOR PURITY, FIDELITY, AND PATIENCE. Purity
(1) of doctrine, and
(2) of life.
(1) to the Word, and
(2) to convictions, and
(3) to the indications of Divine providence.
(1) in maintaining the reproach and profession of Christ, and
(2) in enduring the severities of rude persecution or the proud rejection of a self-wise world. - R.G.
Parallel VersesKJV: And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.