Osborne, Grant R. Revelation. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002. Location: Ellis BS 2825.53.O73 2002
III. God in Majesty and Judgment (4:1-16:21) pp. 218-602.
B. Great Conflict between God and the Forces of Evil (12:1-16:21) pp. 451-602
- “Conflict between the Dragon and God as Well as His People (12:1-13:18)” pp. 454-522.
(2) “The Beat from the Earth - the False Prophet (13:11-18)” pp. 510-522
In Revelation 13:11, a second beast ascends from the earth. Osborne likens the first beast to the four beasts found in Daniel 7:3, but this one as a parallel of the four kingdoms in Daniel 7:17 (Osborne 2002, 511). This beast completes the idea of a substitute Trinity, as the third person. Here, it appears with two horns as a lamb, but it decieves people. He speaks with the dragon’s voice as a false prophet (Osborne 2002, 512). Osborne observes that at this point John moves to the present tense, probably for greater vividness of the description. The beast from the earth works to bring worship to the first beast, who bears the “mortal wound” (Osborne 2002, 513). He does this by performing various miracles. Osborne cites various places in Scripture where true prophets performed miracles to draw attention to God and where false prophets draw attention away from God.
The attempts to deceive the dwellers on earth in Revelation 13:14 are done with authority given by God. Osborne compares this to Romans 1:24 and 26, where people are given over to their own desires by God (Osborne 2002, 514). The subjects of this deception have already rejected God, as recorded in Revelation 9:20-21. They are experiencing the results of their own refusal. The beast arranges for an image to be set up for worship, a practice Osborne sees as very common in the contemporary culture (Osborne 2002, 515). Among the signs given, the beast would even make his image appear alive and speak, a singularly persuasive sign (Osborne 2002, 516). The image would be worshiped, with neglect bearing a death penalty. Osborne does note situations in which failure to join in civic worship would bear the death penalty.
The beast requires an identifying mark to be placed on all humanity. Osborne sees this as a seal of ownership, which could be a parody of baptism or of wearing a phylactery containing Scripture (Osborne 2002, 517). The description in Revelation 13 seems like a brand or tattoo. It was required in order to engage in the economy, so the coercive force was substantial. The mark was to symbolize the beast’s name, a factor Osborne finds parallel to baptism, which ushers the Christian into identification with Christ’s name (Osborne 2002, 518). Osborne notes that the number of the name was cryptic but would likely have been understood fairly readily by theoriginal readers (Osborne 2002, 519). Osborne does list a bewildering number of possible interpretations, but finally concludes that it is a process which, as the text says, requires wisdom (Osborne 2002, 521).