Ad Hoc Interpretation of Revelation 13

For the majority of my Protestant years, I have been taught emphatically that the future would hold a global government dedicated to worshiping Satan and that the Pope would be the devil’s right-hand man. There’s money to be made in hysteria and such an idea brings about much hysteria among the biblically faithful.

I’m not a trained theologian or some expert on ancient biblical texts and their culture. What I offer is merely my own poor attempt to understand Revelation in light of what is currently happening. I’m probably wrong, but I know what I offer is superior to the silliness that is the “Left Behind” phenomenon.

Let’s begin some basics. In Revelation 13, there are descriptions of what John calls “beasts.”

The first:

The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. – Revelation 13:1

The second:

Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. – Revelation 13:11.

According to the Left Behind crowd, the first beast is a government because it exercises authority and the second beast is a religion because it causes people to worship:

[The first beast] was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation … [The second beast] exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, – Revelation 13:7,12

Okay, fine. I agree that the first beast could symbolize a government. However, the second beast is curious. The primary work of the first beast is to rule with power, but the second beast’s primary work is not religious, but economic.

It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. – Revelation 13:16-17

If there are two great evils in the world, it is not power and faith, it is power and money. So, I see the first beast as a massive movement of governmental power and the second as a massive movement of economic power.

The governmental power is waging war against God’s saints:

It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them … – Revelation 13:6-7

The economic power enslaves people:

It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. – Revelation 13:16-17

In 2015, today, there are two major movements that are proving to be dangerous to the West and the world. It is my contention that the governmental power is the persistent presence of Marxist believe in the world and the economic power is global corporations and criminal enterprises.

It makes sense that the money beast would make people worship the government beast. The constant solution offered to the problems of economic poverty and exploitation is Marxist government. A dream of utopia of socialist democracy that eliminates poverty, wealth domination, and criminal enterprise is spreading through the West and in many countries, Marxism is the governmental model.

Whenever the American left says “We need a Marxist society,” without actually using those words, the main points are always inequality between the poor and the rich and corporate greed. So, people enslaved by a non-free market controlled by economic elites are turning toward Marxist elites to save them and will find themselves enslaved by a non-free market controlled by the heavy hand of Communism.

If the thirteenth chapter is predicting events in 2015, then the godless two prongs of global Marxism and global corporations make the most sense as a real-world interpretation.