CHAPTER 30 – Revelation 13:11-18 第六奇象- 地中出來的獸 THE SIXTH SIGN: THE BEAST FROM THE EARTH

十叁章有兩頭獸,第一獸從海上來,代表政治的獸,因為羅馬海軍都從地中海登陸,惡勢力政權都從海裡上來。第二獸從地中出來,代表宗教勢力。通常宗教勢力比較低調,在人心也重視政治勢力多過宗教勢力。但其實宗教勢力影響巨大。留心看世上的國家,無論是在中東、歐美、亞洲或非洲、南美洲,只要知道他們的宗教,就大概知道他們的政治是怎樣的政治。

There are two beasts in chapter 13; the first beast that came up out of the sea represents the political regime. The soldiers from the Roman army often came ashore from the Mediterranean Sea, evil regimes all came from the sea. The second beast came up out of the earth which represents the religious regime. Usually the religious regime is low-key. In the hearts of the people, even though the political power is stronger than religious power, in actuality, the religious power is of greater influence.

這章的兩頭獸加上十二章大紅龍靈界的獸,一共叁獸一體,叁獸合一,叁大力量的聯合。不過由於這些經文太多人斷章取義,所以變得很混亂,很多解釋非常荒謬。我們要跟從聖經的解釋原則,纔能看到清楚的圖畫。我們來看這獸的特點。

The two beasts from this chapter plus the great red dragon from the spiritual realm in chapter 12 united as one form an extremely powerful evil trinity. Regarding these passages, many people interpret them out of content and therefore, a lot of confusion arises. We should follow the principles of Biblical interpretation in order to see the whole picture clearly. Let us take a look at the characteristics of this beast.

宗教的獸

THE BEAST OF THE RELIGIOUS REGIME

11 我又看見另有一個獸從地中上來,有兩角如同羊羔,說話好像龍。

11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon.

第二個獸好像「羊」,有宗教外貌。所以十六章、十九章、廿章,都稱牠為「假先知」,異教先知我們不叫假先知,他們只是代表低等鬼神偶像的工人,可以稱為巫師、法師、通靈人士。「先知」乃是「神的代言人」之意。「假先知」就是假借神的名說魔鬼的話。所以「牠說話好像龍」。名義上代表神,其實代表魔鬼。所以這宗教團體應該是自認敬拜獨一神的宗教。這獸有兩個角,表示有兩位宗教界的大人物。他們是披著宗教的羊皮,說的話卻是龍的話。

The second beast was like a lamb, it had a religious appearance. That is why, chapter 16, chapter 19 and chapter 20, all those chapters call it “false prophet”. We do call the pagan prophets “prophets” because they are just workers who represent inferior demonic idols. They can be called shamans, witch doctors or spiritists . “Prophet” means “God’s spokesman”. A “false prophet” uses God’s name to speak words from devil. That is why “he spoke as a dragon ”. Nominally representing God, but actually he represents the devil. Therefore, this religious group identifies itself as worshipers of one God. This beast has two horns which represent two great religious leaders. Even thou they had a religious cover-up of sheep’s clothing , they spoke as a dragon.

宗教團體卻有帝國權力

A RELIGIOUS GROUP WITH IMPERIAL AUTHORITY

12 牠在頭一個獸面前,施行頭一個獸所有權柄,並叫地和住在地上的,拜那死傷醫好頭一個獸。

12 He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.

第二獸雖然是宗教的團體,但牠卻有帝王的權力,有政治領袖同樣大的權柄。像回到古代政教沒有分離時代一樣。他們的權力也是皇帝所認可,是在頭一獸面前施行的。

Although the second beast is a religious group, it possesses imperial powers and great authority like that of a political leader; as in ancient times when there was no separation between Church and State. Their authority was recognized by the Emperor, and its authority was exercised in the presence of the first beast.

頭一個獸,那十國聯盟的帝國,為甚麽容許宗教人物有這麽大的權力?因為這些宗教領袖是推動人去聽從這帝國的,他們是帝國背後的力量。他們非常積極宣揚聽從這帝國的重要,假借神的名吹捧這個帝國,是背後的腦袋。

Why did the first beast, the empire formed of ten nations, allow the religious leaders to have such great authority? Because those religious leaders made the people to follow the empire, they were the power behind the empire. They actively promoted the importance of obeying that empire, falsely borrowing God’s name to praise that empire. They were the mastermind behind it.

這第二獸兩個角上都沒有皇冠,不像第一獸十個角、十個王冠。所以這兩個角不是王,是兩個宗教界精神領袖,但卻有王一樣的權力。

The two horns on this second beast had no crowns, not like the ten horns of the first beast that had ten crowns. Therefore, these two horns are not kings; they are two religious spiritual leaders but they had the authority of a king.

有撒但的權能

THEY HAD SATAN ‘ S POWER

13 又行大奇事,甚至在人面前,叫火從天降在地上。14 牠因賜給牠權柄在獸面前能行奇事,就迷惑住在地上的人。

13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast.

他們能行奇事,是真正神蹟奇事。所用的字,即耶穌時候所行「神蹟」同一個字,不是幻術,不是技巧。所以會得到很多人追隨、信任。他們能迷惑人心,全世界的人都相信他們有超過常人的能力。

They performed great signs, real miraculous signs. The word “signs” that was used is the same word that described Jesus’ miracles. It was not a magic illusion or a trick. That is why many people followed them and trusted them. They could deceive the people’s hearts. The whole world believed that they had special powers that ordinary people did not possess.

他們使「火從天而降」,這是舊約時代證明神悅納人祭物的行動。意思是,他們能做出一些事向人證明他們有神的同在、有神的印證。我們注意到,撒但所強調的是「能力」。政治獸使世人希奇他們的權力,他們能做出別的政治家做不出的事,沒有人能敵擋他們。「誰能比這獸,誰能與牠交戰呢?」他們的策略、計謀、才能,都使人佩服。

They made “fire come down out of heaven”. That was an act of God in the Old Testament to show that the sacrifice offered by the people was acceptable to God. This means that they were able to do things to prove that God was with them and they had the seal of God. Take note what Satan emphasizes is “power”. The first beast, the political beast made people marvel at his power, he could do things that other politicians were not able to do, no one could resist the political beast. “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” People admired their tactics, schemes, abilities.

至於他們的生命是否豐盛?是否有深度?是否有道德能力?是否能把人敗壞的生命改變,使能活出光彩?卻從來不提。我們也想到,有些教會所強調的,也是能力、奇事。強調「靈擊打」、瘸腿能行走的奇事,一點不重視是否生命改變,是否能脫離罪惡的權勢。我們要留心,這是末世撒但迷惑人的策略。

As to whether they lived an abundant life with profound meaning, or whether they had the ability to live a morally sound life, or whether they were able to change people’s lives that had been ruined, and live respectably, there was never any mention of those things at all. It also comes to mind that there are certain churches that also emphasize power and great signs, they emphasize being “stricken by the spirit” and miracles of healing people who are crippled, but they are indifferent to whether or not lives are transformed or breaking away from the influence of sin. Beware; these could be tactics that Satan is using to deceive people in the last days.

牠所做的一切,只為了迷惑世界的人去跟從、擁護這十國聯盟的新帝國,因為「在他面前」這字的意思,就是「為他而做」之意。牠一切所行的事,都是為頭一個獸。牠的能力是從撒但而來,「因賜給牠的權能」,那是撒但給的權能。

Everything he does is for the sole purpose of deceiving the people to follow and endorse the new empire which is made out of an alliance of ten nations, because the phrase, “in the presence of” means “acting on behalf of”. Everything he does is on behalf of the first beast. His power comes from Satan, “because of the signs it was given power to perform”, the power to perform the signs was given to him by Satan.

有先進傳播技巧

HAS ADVANCED TECHNOLOGICAL ADVERTISING SKILLS

14 牠因賜給他權柄在獸面前能行奇事,就迷惑住在地上的人說:要給那受刀傷還活著的獸作個像。「」15 又有權柄賜給他叫獸像有生氣,並且能說話。

14 Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak.

「作個像」的「作」字,英譯作setup ,不是在製造一個大的銅像、雕塑像或立體像,是弄一個image 出來。「像」字英文翻作image ,是「畫像」。耶穌在世上的時候,曾有人試探祂,問祂納稅給該撒,可以不可以?耶穌說:「拿一個錢幣來,上面的像是誰的?」「是該撒的。」「那麽該撒的物當歸給該撒,神的物當歸給神。」所以這「像」指的是畫像。

To “set up” an image is not to build a big bronze statue, to carve a sculpture or to make a tri-dimensional figure; is to set up an image like a “picture”. When Jesus was on the earth, some people wanted to put Him to a test by asking Him if it they should pay taxes to Caesar. Jesus said: “Let me see one of the coins used for paying taxes.” And he asked: “Whose picture and name are on it?” “Caesar’s,” they answered. Then Jesus told them: “Give to Caesar what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God.” Therefore, this “image” is a picture.

但這裡又說,它看起來有生氣,能說話。明顯是指現代的動畫,像電視、電影,或稱為video 的影像。以前的世代會覺得這種東西太神奇了。魔鬼不可能使死的畫像變得有生氣。現在我們知道,這些宗教家,將利用活動影像為帝國作宣傳,能迷惑人,使人聽從跟隨,這是現代人打廣告的方式,用先進的技術宣傳帝國的神奇。

But here is said that the image was given breath and could speak. It is obvious that it refers to modern animation, like television, a motion picture, or a video. In the old times people might have thought of these things as surreal. There is no way that Satan could make an inanimate image become alive. Now we know those religious leaders will use motion pictures to make advertisements for the empire to deceive people, so people will obey and follow; this is the way people advertise nowadays, using modern technology to promote the mystical empire.

末世的人以影音作宣傳,基督教團體也是一樣。舊約的時代,神吩咐用禮拜的方式、用禮拜的程序,用集體敬拜的見證,傳播神的榮耀。主耶穌教導門徒用生活的見證,藉著彼此相愛、互相關懷,以見證人的身份傳播天國的特色。到了末世,人都用有聲音、有動畫的電影做傳播工具。這不是不好,很多人也會因這個受感動。但這看起來很有生氣的東西,卻是沒有生命在其中的。沒有生命的宗教也可以利用它的。

During the end times, people will use recorded media to make publicity; Christian organizations will do the same. In the Old Testament times, God told the people to use certain ways and procedures to worship; to use collective worship to witness for Him and to show His glory. The Lord Jesus Christ taught his disciples to use their lives to witness to others by loving one another and caring for each other and in this way people would know about the Kingdom of Heaven. At the end times, people will also use motion pictures and sounds as an advertising instrument. There is nothing bad with that, many people could feel moved by it. But even though these things may seem to have life, there is no real life in them. A religion that is dead may even use those tactics.

有霸權的戰略

A DOMINATING STRATEGY

15 又叫所有不拜獸像的都被殺害,16 又叫眾人,無論大小、貧富、主奴,都在右手上或在額上受一個印記。17 除了那受印記,有了獸名,或有獸名數目的,都不得作買賣。

15 And cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the freemen and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.

「不拜獸像的都被殺害」,表明這是一場鬥爭。在十五章二節稱得勝的基督徒是「勝過獸、勝過獸像與牠數目的人。」如果不是跟獸像、獸的數目打仗,怎會有「勝過」這回事?所以知道,這邪惡的宗教領袖,利用這獸像、獸數目作武器,打擊屬神的人。

“And cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.” This clearly indicates that it is a war. Revelation 15:2 said that the Christians who were triumphant were “those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name.” If they had not fought against the beast and its image and over the number of its name, how could they have been “victorious”? Therefore we know that the evil religious leader used the image of the beast and the number of the beast as a weapon to attack those who belong to God.

( 一) 不聽從這帝國命令,乃是死路一條。不拜獸像的被殺害。

(1) Those that did not follow the orders of that empire and did not worship the image of the beast would be killed.

( 二) 沒有印記,沒有獸的身份證明,不知道獸的行事方式,連生活下去都會有困難。不能跟他們作生意。

(2) Those that did not have the mark, an identification card of the beast and did not know the ways of the beast would have trouble surviving. They wouldn’t be able to do any business at all.

到那時,只有跟隨他們的政策、系統的,纔有生存的空間。那些能得到他們的好處利益的人,就是十六節所說的「眾人」,那些不信的人,各種階層不屬於神的人。

At that time, only those who follow their policies and their system will be able to survive. The ones who will benefit from it are “all people” in verse 16, the unbelievers, those who do not belong to God.

這些屬於他們的人,也有叁個不同的層次、等級:

These people who belong to them have different ranks and levels:

( 一) 額上、右手上有印記的人:表示受過他們訓練,有證件、有文書認可的人。像古代的君王蓋上了玉璽,或有官方的印,證明他們有特別身份。「這印是在額上與右手上」,他們的「智慧」( 額上) 與「才能」( 右手上) ,顯明他們是這帝國中的精英份子。

(1) They have a mark on their foreheads and on their right hands: which represents those who had been trained by them; they have credentials and a document of approval. Like the ancient kings that used a jade seal or an official seal to prove that they had special status. They had “a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads.” Their “wisdom” (foreheads) and their “abilities” (right hands); this shows that they are the elite of the empire.

( 二) 有獸名,表示是該帝國的公民,是宣誓效忠於這個帝國的人。他們的生活方式與生活習慣與這國的公民是一致的。

(2) They have the name of the beast, which means that they are citizens of the empire; they have sworn allegiance to the empire. Their lifestyle and habits are consistent with the citizens of that country.

( 叁) 有獸名的號碼,表示是帝國的會員,從這帝國得到一個號碼。雖然不是該國的公民,但也可以參與他們的生意與投資作業系統。正如美國醫生都有一個號碼,沒有這號碼,就不能開藥方。這撒但的爪牙,也用這辦法作為他們的武器,使神的子民沒有生計。

(3) They have the number of the beast, which means that they are members of the empire. They have obtained a number from the empire. Although they are not citizens of the empire, they can have a part in their business and investment system . Just like the doctors in the US, they all have a number and without that number they cannot write up a prescription. These agents of Satan also use these means as their weapon so that the people of God will not be able to make a living .

有人批評基督教排斥他教,說應該學佛教,十幾種以上的教派,不同的教義。有重視戒律;有重視功德;有重視頓悟、明白人生空無;有重視咒語、誦經方式,以進入靈的世界;有宣稱只要倚靠西天阿彌陀佛打救。觀點各有不同,但互相接納。所以認為我們不要攻擊別人。

Some people criticize Christianity for rejecting their religion. They say that Christians should learn from the Buddhists and the different teachings from many of their religious sects. They should emphasize monastic discipline, cause-and-effect ethics, moments of enlightenment, and the illusory nature of the world; they should emphasize incantations and chanting as a way to enter the spirit world; to keep calling on the Buddha of the Western Paradise to be saved. Even though the points of view are different, they should accept each other’s opinions. They feel that we, Christians, should not attack other people’s beliefs.

是的,各種宗教教義都有好的地方,我們不需要攻擊別人。但要知道,得救的路,只有一條,不是很多條。好的教義不能指引人得永生。我們也要看見,基督教不會殺害異議分子,你不相信,沒有人會強迫你信。但這裡告訴我們,你如果不聽這獸的話,可能是死路一條。比較之下,基督教是不是更為寬大?Yes, the various religions contain some good teachings, we should not attack them. But you must know that there is only one way to be saved, not many ways. Good teachings cannot give people eternal life. Furthermore, Christians will not murder groups of people because they disagree with them. If you don’t want to believe in Jesus, nobody is going to force you to do it. But here it tells us that if you do not obey the commands of the beast, you will have to face death. Compared to them, isn’t  Christianity much more lenient?

人中極品

THE ELITE

18 在這裡有智慧,凡有聰明的,可以算計獸的數目。因為這是人的數目,他的數目是六百六十六。

18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.

這裡所說的獸,不是地中出來的第二獸,是指第一個獸。這第二個獸,除了開始的時候,說牠是從地裡出來之後,跟著說的,多是前面的獸。這宗教的獸,躲在第一個獸的背後,有非常強大的影響力,卻不要引人注目。牠鼓動人去跟隨第一個獸。

The beast mentioned here is not the second beast that came out of the earth but the first beast. The only time that the second beast was referred to was in the beginning when it said that it came out of the earth, all the other comments are about the first beast. This religious beast that hides behind the first beast; though inconspicuous, has very strong influential powers. It encouraged the people to follow the first beast.

很多人浪費時間在找誰是六六六。根據這裡的話,在最後的時間,會有人知道這獸是哪個帝國。我們不用傷腦筋去計算。因為:

Many people waste time trying to figure out who is the number 666. According to what it says here, during the end times, there will be some people who will know which empire is the beast. We shouldn’t bother to calculate who it is, because:

( 一) 計算它沒有意義。它只是告訴我們人間最大的力量。6 是人之數。666 是人中的極品數。正如7 是神的計劃與行動的完全數。70 x 7 是神最完全的計劃行動。又如12 ,是全民的數目,12 x 12 x 1000 是全民的完整數、精英數。666 也只表示是人間最大力量、最精明的組合。

(1) Calculating who it is is meaningless. It is just telling us about a great power among the people. 6 is the number of man . 666 is the number that represents the elite among the people. Like 7 is the number that represents God’s plan of action; 70 x 7 is the complete plan of action of God. The number 12 represents the entire population, 12 x 12 x 1000 is the number that signifies the completeness of the whole entire population, the number of the elite. Thus, the number 666 only represents the strongest power among men, an elite assembly.

( 二) 計算名字數目要用古代的文字纔正確。在希伯來文、希臘文、拉丁文時代,還沒有阿拉伯數字出現,所以數字都用字母代替。現在卻沒有人用字母來算數。用英、法、德文來計算它,都不會得到正確的數目,因為這些文字的字母,並沒有數目的含意。

(2) Calculating names with numbers requires it to be done with ancient characters in order for it to be accurate. During the times when the Hebrew, Greek and Latin languages were used, there were no Arabic numbers yet; therefore the numbers used were all letters from the alphabet. Nowadays, no one uses letters of the alphabet to compute. Using English, French or German alphabet to calculate the number would not be accurate at all, because the letters of the alphabet of those languages do not contain any numerical meanings .

( 叁) 這是一個「帝國」,不是一個人物。所以說它代表希特拉、尼錄等,都不正確。因為這獸不是指某人,不應該花時間去計算是誰。經文也沒有告訴我們要用字母來算他們的數目。在希伯來文中,「彌賽亞」是358 ,「蛇」也是358 。這樣的數字有意義嗎?

(3) This is an “empire”, it is not a person. Therefore, saying that it represents Hitler or Nero is incorrect; because the beast does not refer to a specific person. People should not waste their time trying to compute who that person is. Besides, the scriptures do not tell us to use letters of the alphabet to calculate their numbers. In Hebrew, “Messiah” is number 358; “snake” is also number 358. Do those numbers make any sense?

是哪一個宗教?

WHICH RELIGION IS IT?

馬丁路德、加爾文等都認為,獸是指天主教,現在還有人這樣想。這種解釋不準確,因為十七章「大淫婦」就是天主教,因為他們拜偶像。大淫婦騎在獸之上( 得羅馬帝國的支持) ,所以她就不是獸。啟示錄中每一個角色都清楚分別,不應該混為一談。

Martin Luther and Calvin believed the beast was the Catholic Church. There are still people who think that way. That explanation is inaccurate because “the great prostitute” in chapter 17 is the Catholic Church due to the fact that they worship idols. The great prostitute was sitting on the beast (It had the support of the Roman Empire); therefore, the Catholic Church is not the beast. The different characters in the book of Revelation are clearly stated; they should not be mixed up.

這頭宗教的獸是回教。因為可蘭經裡面的神「阿拉」,與希伯來文的神相彷。可蘭經的內容,好些與聖經相似。所以向回教徒傳福音,最好不是反對可蘭經,而是引用可蘭經。正如向猶太人傳福音,要懂得引用舊約聖經一樣。可蘭經的福音內容,比舊約希伯來文聖經更清楚。因為它除了舊約的材料,還有新約的資料。裡面講到馬利亞童女生子,耶穌是彌賽亞,是道成肉身的,沒有犯過罪,是由聖靈感孕,也沒有肉身的父等。所以向回教徒傳福音,引用可蘭經最有效。

The religious beast is Islam, because the god “Allah” from the Koran is similar to the word God in the Hebrew language. The content of the Koran are in some instances similar to the Bible. Therefore, in sharing the Gospel with Muslims, the best way is not to be against the Koran but to quote from the Koran. Just as knowing how to quote from the Old Testament when sharing the Gospel with the Jews. The Gospel content in the Koran is clearer than the Old Testament Hebrew Bible, because it not only contains data from the Old Testament but also from the New Testament. In the Koran there is mention of the Virgin Mary who gave birth to a child, of Jesus as the Messiah, the Word became flesh, who never sinned, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and did not have a worldly father, etc. Therefore, the best way to evangelize to the Muslims is using the Koran.

回教徒大部分重視傳統,只關心每天、每禮拜、每年要做甚麽事,只重視規條,像當日法利賽人一樣。他們的問題不是教義的問題,是人問題,不是他們教義邪惡,乃是他們的假先知邪惡。他們像說神的話,但說的卻是大紅龍撒但的話。

Most Muslims value their traditions; they are very concerned about the rituals that they have to perform every day, every week and every year, like the Pharisees in the old days. Their problem is not their doctrine but their people; is not that their teachings were evil, but that their false prophets were wicked. They seemed to be preaching God’s Word but actually they were speaking the words of the dragon, Satan.

在塔利班崩潰的時候,可以看見他們的領袖奧馬爾Omar 所過的生活。他的住宅可說窮奢極侈,水晶的天花板,大理石的牆壁。他家外面周圍,是貧苦的阿富汗人。他要求群眾過簡單的生活,他自己卻利用人的宗教熱情去魚肉他們。這就是假先知的所為。

When the Taliban collapsed, people were able to see what kind of life their leader Omar had led. His residence was extremely extravagant, it had crystal ceilings and walls made out of marble. The people who lived outside his mansion were poverty stricken Afghans. He demanded the people to live simple lives, and used their religious fervor to cruelly oppress them. That is what false prophets do.

有智慧聰明。似乎是鼓勵人去計算,像要人認出他們。其實這裡表示,辨認敵神的王國,還是有困難的,會受矇騙。是要有聰明智慧纔能認出他們。我們要記得,不是以能力或言語來分辨,是以生命來分辨。“This calls for wisdom.”

Apparently, it seems to be encouraging the people to calculate the number in order to recognize who they are. Actually, here it indicates that it is going to be difficult to recognize the empire that is against God, it could be deceiving. Wisdom and intelligence are needed to recognize them. We have to remember that in order to distinguish them we will need to look at their lives, not at their abilities or at their speech.