1 Then I 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 on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.
2 Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.
3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.
4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.
6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.
7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.
8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear.
10 He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.
12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.
14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth—by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.
15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,
17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.
Though there is a wide variety of perspectives that are held across the earth, there is the capacity in each heart to be persuaded to believe in one thing where supernatural power is in unexplainable demonstration. When the beast is granted healing, speaking, and warring powers, even apparently overcoming the saints, everyone in the world will come together in one belief. Amazingly, this show of power will not promote coexistence of faiths, but rather the uniting of all into one faith. While impressive in the display of convincing power, the purpose of evil’s movements is not to bring blessing and unity, but to enslave and destroy. The only ones not susceptible to belief in this condemning being are those whose hearts have already been convinced by the effect of the blood’s power. The only protection from being swept up with the massively popular belief is a heart already transformed and made new in Christ.
There is an answer to every skeptical, agnostic, unbelieving resistance to believing. It’s in the revelation of a realm that far exceeds the natural realm where doubts have their source. It was not just Jesus’ teaching and wonderful glorious presence that convinced people to believe in Him, but the miraculous demonstrations, and especially His rising from a sealed tomb after many days. He was compassionate and caring for the people that received miracles from Him, but there was a larger purpose than personal blessing as He pursuaded many who wouldn’t have otherwise believed to believe. In this revelation of how satan will wield his power, it is interesting that he will emulate what Jesus did in many ways, performing signs and producing life where there should have been death. He will also show how that all will eventually bow their knee to the only true Lord. It will be because of the display of power.
Supernatural power is undefeated in its ability to persuade hearts when it is fully granted. The greatest need at this time before the advent of the great deceiver is for hearts to be impressed by the Greater One. It’s in the miracles, signs and wonders we’ve already been given power from Jesus to perform that hearts will believe and be secured from the enslaver’s impressions. Doing His works and speaking His truth in the fulness of His Spirit’s power is not optional for those who profess to know Him. It’s essential for the defense of the heart that does the work. When the enemy comes in like a flood, showing himself to be full of impressive spiritual movements, the only effective resistance will be the raising of a standard from a heart that is full of that Greater One. There is no keeping from believing what the enemy is up to in a heart that has yet to see what God does. When it is seen, though, and when it is proven (Elijah and the prophets of Baal) there will be a turning of all those beast-believing deceived to truth of who God really is. While this is an inevitable occurrence yet to come, it is a principle here today. We’ve been given power for the persuasion of hearts and their defense against what everyone will follow after.