1. Revelation 13:14 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Who is the agent of “it is allowed”?

Revelation 13:14 (ESV)

14 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.

In the present paragraph the phrase appears again in Revelation 13:15. It translates a particular Greek word that appears also in Revelation 13:5 (2x) and in Revelation 13:7 (also 2x). The Greek term is a common grammatical form known as a divine passive, where no agent is mentioned who does the acting but where context requires us to understand that that agent is in fact God almighty. With the use of this term in Revelation 13:14 (and this verse), we are reminded that this second beast (like the dragon and the first beast) ultimately has no right to accomplish anything; he is under Jesus’ feet. Whatever the beast does can only happen because the Lord Jesus Christ has given his permission.