Satan is a counterfeiter. He wants to be like God, so he copies God. In Revelation, we see an unholy trinity- Satan, the dragon; the antichrist, the beast, to whom Satan gives authority and a one world government, and who appears to die and be resurrected (we know that Satan doesn’t have power to give life so it may be that Satan indwells the antichrist after he dies?); and the false prophet, the seventh key “player” in the end times “game”, the second beast, who performs signs and wonders, and who causes the whole world to worship the antichrist- the one world religion.
“And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon. And 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. And he performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. 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, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. And there was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast might even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand, or on their forehead, and he provides that no one should 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. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.” ~Revelation 13:11-18
This second beast is the false prophet. He, too, will receive power and authority from the dragon, Satan himself. And here are some examples of the copying that Satan will do: The first beast, the antichrist, will appear to die and then be alive again (think of Jesus!). The false prophet will call fire down out of heaven (think of Elijah on Mount Carmel, or even the day of Pentecost, with the Holy Spirit coming as tongues of fire). He will have an image made of the antichrist (think of Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon) and demand that all worship it or die (think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego). This image will appear to be alive and speak (think of the burning bush, perhaps?). And everyone will have to take the mark of the beast on his or her right hand or forehead (remember in chapter 7 the redeemed on earth are sealed by God on their foreheads?).
Everyone living on the earth will have to make a choice- the beast, his name or number, and earthly life but eternal death; or God, His sealing, and earthly death but eternal life. Satan is going to force the issue, and the choice will be a brutal one. Jesus leaves us to freely choose Him and does not pressure or force anyone into His way, truth and life.
Many speculations have been made about what the mark will be- a microchip, tattoo, or ? We aren’t told. We also cannot be sure what the number of the name of the beast represents. Numerology and other mathematical calculations have figured all sorts of wild possibilities. Some examples are Napoleon, Hitler, Prince Charles, Herbert Hoover, Ronald Reagan, and yes, our current President as well. Craziness! The Bible doesn’t clearly tell us who, what, or how about this and the antichrist. But it is clear that this unholy trinity will cause terrible things to happen upon this earth during the Tribulation.
“And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.” ~2 Thessalonians 2:8-12
Remember, the lawless one, the antichrist, will be sent out from heaven at the opening of the first seal. God is allowing all of this to happen. This is God’s wrath and judgment being poured out upon this earth. But even here in Revelation 13, there is still hope, there is still a chance to choose Jesus, to choose the Truth and to refuse the mark of the beast.
God does not take any pleasure in the death of any man. He desires that all would come to Him and be with Him for eternity. And in 2 Thessalonians 2:8, we are reminded again Who is going to win this end times “game”. Jesus will win, ultimate victory is already His.