Counterfeiting In The Book Of Revelation As A Perspective On Non-Christian Culture -- By: Vern Sheridan Poythress

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 40:3 (Sep 1997)
Article: Counterfeiting In The Book Of Revelation As A Perspective On Non-Christian Culture
Author: Vern Sheridan Poythress


Counterfeiting In The Book Of Revelation
As A Perspective On Non-Christian Culture

Vern Sheridan Poythress*

Since we are engaged in spiritual warfare today, Revelation’s picture of spiritual war offers a significant way of engaging in critical interaction with modern culture.

Let us first note some of the salient features of spiritual war in the book of Revelation.

I. Counterfeiting

As others have recognized, the satanic forces in Revelation counterfeit the Trinity. 1 Satan is preeminently a counterfeit of God the Father. The beast, a kind of pseudo-incarnation of Satan, is a counterfeit unholy warrior opposed to Christ the holy warrior (compare Rev 13:1–10 to 19:11–21). The false prophet is a counterfeit of the Holy Spirit. By his deceiving signs the false prophet promotes worship of the beast. His actions are analogous to the manner in which the Holy Spirit works miracles in Acts to promote allegiance to Christ. Babylon the harlot is a counterfeit of the Church, the bride of Christ.

The beast counterfeits Christ in a striking number of ways. He has a counterfeit resurrection in the form of a mortal wound that was healed (Rev 13:3). The miraculous character of his healing creates astonishment and followers for him, just as the miracle of the resurrection creates followers of Christ. The beast has ten crowns (13:1), parallel to Christ’s many crowns (19:12). The dragon gives the beast “his power and his throne and great authority” (13:2), just as the Father gives the Son his authority (John 5:22–27). Worship of the dragon and the beast go together (Rev 13:4), just as worship of the Father and the Son go together (John 5:23). The beast claims universal allegiance from all nations (Rev 13:7), just as Christ is Lord over all nations (7:9–10).

Moreover, the beginning of Revelation 13, which introduces the beast, sets forth a parody of creation. Satan stands “on the shore of the sea” and calls up from the sea a beast in his own image, with seven heads and ten horns corresponding to the seven heads and ten horns of the dragon (12:3

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