I listened to your podcast series on Revelation. I thought you did an excellent job of exegesis on Revelation 13; the first beast being the political/military branch of Rome (or Satan's forces on earth), and the second beast being the cult of Emperor worship. What do you think about this hermeneutical application of this chapter in Revelation: the second beast is the Illuminati cult of American president stone masons, and the mark of the beast or 666 is a microchip? -- Andrew
These pop conspiracy theories have been around for decades. I would say that their proponents are reading the Bible incorrectly.
The context is ancient Rome, and direct applications to America are simply misguided. Not to say there are no parallels between Rome and America: perhaps you listened to my podcast last year on this very subject. It is The Fall of Rome, and Why We Should Take Notice. If not, may I recommend it? In every generation since the beginning there have been groups that believed that it is living in the last days. With all these theories circulating, and an apparent inability to appreciate historical context, it is easier than ever to be led astray.
Not to say the principles of the apocalypse have no relevance for today. We need to be on guard. I wouldn't worry so much about seven-headed dragon, if this were distracting me from my work as a Christian, as a disciple. I would worry about what is truly daemonic: materialism, lust, narcissism, gluttony etc -- truly soul-destroying evils that abound in our age!