Hucksters and charlatans and scam artists have been plying their fakery for at least as long as recorded history. No one can speak to the dead or predict the future or raise the dead. No one can read minds. No one can melt a rod years after the rod had been inserted into a man's leg following surgery to stabilize a break. And yes, I once heard that claim by someone right here in Lenawee County.
Years ago, The Amazing Randi, magician and debunker of trickery extraordinaire, did a little experiment with a college psychology class. He had each student write down their name and date of birth. He told them he would have a professional astrologist do a personal reading for each one. The next week, he handed out each reading, tailored specifically to each person. He waited as the class of roughly thirty college students read their forecast. He then asked their reaction. The class excitedly shared how the astrologist nailed it. "That's me." "Wow, uncanny how she truly captured
me." They were buzzing aplenty about how amazing this was.
Then next thing Randi did was have each student pass their forecast to the person behind them, with the last person in the row bringing theirs up to the person in the front. As this process unfolded, laughter began to build. Then a huge shuffle commenced, as personalized horoscopes were more broadly passed around. Every personalized astrological forecast was exactly the same. How foolish we can be.
Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived.
- Revelation 13:11-14
Here's where we left off with the first beast from Revelation 13:1-10. The first beast, out of the water, connected with the sociopolitical situation of the time. The beast out of the sea pushed emperor worship on people throughout the empire. You can imagine what a threat that was to the church.
Look at the point and purpose of the second beast: