Why Religion is such a beastly word

Revelation Revisited second beastThe second beast of Revelation 13 is connected to the constellation Taurus, the great earth monster of the night sky.

This ‘load of bull’ depicts Religion in all its forms and anyone who has been following this series already knows what I think of religion.

The word ‘religion’ itself is mostly used in a benign way as a label for the various ways humans worship God and seek to serve Him, but I use it in an entirely negative sense as man’s attempt to make a god in our image and then to prescribe a way of worshiping this idol. In essence, religion is the enthronement of Satan and the denial of God.

The bull was the animal associated with the Canaanite god Baal and this was why the Israelites made a golden idol in the form of a bull when Moses didn’t return to them from the mountain. Here are three strong clues from Revelation 13 that the Earth Beast represents Religion:

  1. The beast looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon. The lamb is an animal chosen to symbolise Jesus, and the Earth Beast cunningly presents itself as The Christ, but it’s evil and destructive words betray its real identity.The lamb is an animal chosen to symbolise Jesus, and the Earth Beast cunningly presents itself as The Christ, but it’s evil and destructive words betray its real identity.
  2. It operates under the authority of worldly leaders and governments (the first beast) yet it leads its followers to worship humanism. Religion and Government have always been powerfully evil partners. Worldly authority enables religion to operate, protects, and even funds it, and religion endorses and elevates worldly authority to almost god-like status. The idea of separating church and state in national affairs is a recognition of the danger of unholy alliances of this kind.
  3. It performs deceiving miraculous signs. Miracles are not necessarily signs of god-approved spiritual activity, yet most people think they are. Miracles are wrought through the application of spiritual power and the devil is spiritually powerful. This is why we are instructed to ‘test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world’ (1 John 4:1)

John gives another important feature of the work of the Earth Beast when he writes that it forces every unregenerate person to ‘receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead’. (Revelation 13:16). Now, instead of trying to argue that in a future cashless society we will all have to have a smart-card chip embedded on the back of a hand and foreheads, it is far more productive to seek to understand what John had in mind here.

Devout Jewish men of John’s time wore little boxes, called phylacteries, when they went to pray. These little boxes were bound with leather strips to their right hands and to their foreheads and contained small portions of the Jewish scriptures. This custom arose from a literal interpretation of Deuteronomy 6:8 and 11:18  where they had failed to see that God was simply instructing them to keep His word in their hearts and minds. Nevertheless, the association of God’s Word and the forehead and hand symbolism became a religious cliché. So, to the original readers of Revelation, to bear the mark of the beast on hand and forehead was a symbolic way of saying ‘think and live according to Satan’s word and not God’s word’.

Paul used the ‘seal’ imagery in a positive sense when he stated that born-again Christians are sealed by and with the Holy Spirit.

A follower of Jesus thinks and acts under the prompting of the Holy Spirit and according to the Word of God; a follower of the devil thinks and acts under demonic prompting and instruction.

Disciples of Jesus are sealed with the Spirit of God while disciples of Satan are sealed with his evil spirit.
One last point of interest in this chapter of Revelation is the unveiling of the Unholy Trinity. The Holy trinity consists of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but the unholy trinity consists of the dragon, the beast from the sea and the beast from the earth. The dragon represents Satan, the beast from the sea represents the False Prince, and the beast from the earth represents the False Prophet. Put another way, the devil tries to stand in the place of God the Father, the False Prince (sea-beast) tries to stand in the place of God the Son, and the False Prophet (earth-beast) tries to stand in the place of God the Holy Spirit.
“But Christopher, you haven’t even mentioned the infamous number of the beast, 666!”
O that … well I hate to tell you this, but you are going to have to do a little work to get my take on this subject. So, if you are interested click HERE  to download my book ‘Revelation in the Stars’, and then go to pages 178 to 180 where all will be revealed…



Christopher Peppler

Christopher Peppler



2 thoughts on “Why Religion is such a beastly word”

  1. Gregory Rogers

    Hi Chris,
    I have just read bits of your e-book Revelation in the Stars and am intrigued. The ‘coincidences’ are intriguing regarding the zodiac and the biblical data of Messiah, etc.

    You are aware, of course, that traditional Evangelical teaching runs that all zodiacal teaching is demonically inspired. You do appear to make an intriguing, if not compelling case, however.

    It always puzzled me how the wise men knew roughly where Jesus was going to be born by consulting their stars and I always dreaded being confronted with this by astrologers. Perhaps, however, this is an avenue that should be explored more.

    One or two other things to ‘throw in’: I have been interested for some time in exploring the possibility of God pre-revealing things to pagans in order to prepare them for the gospel.

    My evidence for this is admittedly hearsay, but from time to time I hear of missionary reports of coming across peoples and tribes that have had things supernaturally revealed to them, for instance, the tribal high priest has some vision of a redemptive messiah figure some generations before missionaries get there, etc.

    I know that when Cortez got to the Aztecs, they had a tradition of a people who would come from across the sea to destroy them. When one looks at the extraordinary high-point of Aztec violence and mindless slaughter taking place by the early 15th century, I see evidence that Cortez actually acted as a hand of judgment against them.

    Could you also comment on the following: there is a part in Acts (ch 17?) where Paul arrives in Athens and comes across the altar to an unknown god. Now apparently in Athenian history a plague had come and nearly wiped out the city, and a lamb had been slaughtered in order to redeem it, whereupon the plague stopped: this was somehow connected with the ‘unknown god’ altar. I am a bit hazy on details, but it runs something like that. This would have made things easier for Paul to present Jesus as the Lamb to take away sins and redeem the city.

    Would you by any chance have any other data that could add to this? I would be interested to hear your comments.


    1. chrispeppler@telkomsa.net

      Thanks for the comments Greg. Regarding astrology, in my first chapter in the book I go to pains to point out that I do not place any value on astrology and that the zodiac and its constellation names are ASTRONOMICAL devices going back millennia. Regarding God ‘pre-revealing’ things to pagans, there seems to be evidence of this in the Old Testament (Balaam, Nebuchadnezzar et al) and the New (e.g. Rom 1). I can’t comment on the origins of the ‘invisible god’ Paul cites because I have not researched the matter and am not familiar with the story of the plague and the lamb that you mention… sorry.

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My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.