13:13,14 FIRE FROM HEAVEN
“And he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and he deceives them that dwell on the earth by those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast, saying to them that dwell on the earth, to make an image to the beast, which had a wound by a sword, and lived” (Revelation 13:13, 14).
The beast from the earth has two horns which work together, its political and its religious system. Is the fire that comes down from heaven from the political or from the religious side, and is it literal or symbolic fire? From a political or military point of view the United States, with its military might, could make fire (such as conventional and nuclear bombs or laser weapons) “come down from heaven.” However, the manifestation of military power serves to frighten people into subjection rather than deceive them, as this passage specifies.
Jesus made it clear that in the last days deception would be from false prophets coming in His name (Matthew 24:11). As we will see later, another name for the beast from the earth is “the false prophet” (see 16:13 The Unholy Trinity). We should also remember that the purpose of the deceptive signs is to get “those that dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword and lived.” The image is a religious object of worship (the world will be forced to “worship the image of the beast”). The “beast, which had the wound by a sword” represents the apostate Roman Catholic Church. Everything in this passage points to deceptive religious activity by a church that claims to be Christian, which tells people that they must make “an image to the beast” and convinces them by making “fire come down from heaven.”
Fire from heaven is reminiscent of what happened in the time of Elijah, as recorded in 1 Kings 18. King Ahab, spurred on by his wicked wife Jezebel, had led the people of
The priests of Baal tried first, using all of their magic and rituals, but could not bring down fire.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Elijah offered a simple prayer “that the people may know that you are God” (v. 37), “then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” Fire falling from heaven was a powerful miracle from God, which convinced the people to worship Him.
In several other passages miraculous fire was a sign that confirmed God’s acceptance or blessing.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Even today the “miracle of the holy fire” which appears every Easter at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in
In the last moments of history people will still be convinced by miracles, but God will not be the only one working them.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved…but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). Jesus warned repeatedly in Matthew 24, “Take heed that no one deceives you…For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:4, 24). In chapters 16 and 19 we will again encounter the beast from the earth, there known as “the false prophet.” He is one member of the unholy trinity which is the source of “spirits of demons, performing signs” (Revelation 16: 14) and wil "work signs...by which he [will] deceive those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image" (Revelation 19:20).
All of these passages use the word “signs” (Greek simeion) which, surprisingly, is the same word that is used to describe the miracles that Christians filled with the Holy Spirit will perform—“and these signs (simeion) will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues…they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:17,18).<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The American “false prophet” will employ miraculous signs which will be almost impossible to distinguish from the signs and miracles from the Holy Spirit, “bringing fire down from heaven” to “deceive them that dwell on the earth by means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast” (Revelation 13:14).
Continue to next section: 13:15 THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> Since Satan is able to bring fire down from heaven (as he did in Job 1:16) he obviously would have liked to have answered the priests of Baal, thus locking the nation of
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> Leviticus 9:24, Judges 6:21, 2 Kings 1:12, 1 Chronicles 21:26, 2 Chronicles 7:1.
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> For contrasting views on this miracle see www.holyfire.org and www.greatlie.com.
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them’, you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams” (Deuteronomy 13: 1-3).
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> Job 1:6-12, 16 shows that Satan also can make “the fire of God” fall from heaven.
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> See also Mark 16:20, John 4:48,54, 6;2,14,26, 12:18, Acts 2:43, 4:9,16,22, 5:12,15,16, 8:6,7,13, 1 Corinthians:14:22, 2 Corinthians 12:12, Hebrews 2:4, Revelation 16:14, 19:20.