And he [the land beast] exercised all the authority of the first beast in his behalf, and he forced the earth and those who live in it to worship the first beast, whose wound of death was healed. Rev 13:12.
Life is filled with sharp contrasts. Jackie was drawn to a newspaper article about a recent massacre in Burundi. It seems that some rebel Hutus attacked a UN refugee camp with machetes and automatic weapons. They shot and hacked to death some 180 men, women and children. "Their charred remains lay among the cooking utensils and the smoldering remnants of their former homes. . . . The attack . . . resembled the killing during the 1994 genocide in Burundi’s neighbor Rwanda.
While the article was fairly brief Jackie felt compelled to place herself inside the story. What would she have been thinking had she been a survivor of this attack? Why is this happening to me? How can I live without my family? Whom can I turn to?
In startling contrast on the same page were ads that screamed out, Cell phones that are cool and stylish. Buy one and get a second free. Video mail. . . Free for 60 days!. . . Fun and easy to use! Fashion hits! Big summer clearance blowout! Up to 75 percent off.
Jackie struggled to find some correlation between the Burundi massacre and the need for video mail. Were the survivors of the massacre concerned about getting a more stylish cell phone? How many of them would be relieved to know that video mail exists? Would they be excited that the latest fashions are now 75 percent off?"1
In the last days, God's people will be caught between two very contrasting worlds. The beasts of Revelation 13 counterfeit the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Like the Holy Spirit, the Land Beast exalts the counterfeit Jesus, rather than itself. These two characters, along with the dragon of chapter 12, do a work of deception in the final crisis of earth's history.
The land beast has two horns "like a lamb". In the Book of Revelation the true Lamb was willing to be sacrificed in order to redeem the human race (Rev 5:6, 9, 12). The Lamb does not force His way into the affections of human beings. This self-sacrifice was not for personal advantage, but for the benefit of others.
By way of contrast, the beasts of Revelation 13 force their will upon the people of the earth. Through economic boycott (13:16-17) and the threat of death (13:15), the Land Beast compels human beings to submit to its authority and to worship the Sea Beast. Although there are attempts to deceive, the character of the beasts will be in sharp contrast to that of Jesus.