The dragon gives authority to the beast from the sea. Men worship both the beast from the sea – miraculously healed of a head wound – and the dragon. Then along comes the beast from the earth who is like a religious cheerleader for the beast from the sea, doing miracles on his behalf.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The devil wants to be God, so he makes a fake trinity, right down to the resurrected beast with authority on the earth, and the other beast doing miraculous signs on his behalf. He looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon – sounds like a false religious leader to me! Funny how authoritarian government needs religion for legitimacy, and religion needs government for protection.
Their “believers” even have a false “mark” like the one on the foreheads of the 144,000. As C.S. Lewis said of the White Witch, “beware of the thing that seems to be human, but isn’t.”
Life at this time will really, really stink for those who believe. John warns: “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.”
Not exactly the prosperity gospel, is it? But it will be worse for those who take the mark.