Revelation 13

rev-sermon-notes

This chapter reveals the coming of two world rulers. The Beast is the political leader, while the False Prophet is the religious leader. A combined One World Government and One World Church is an appealing idea to many in the world today. The Beast (political leader) is known as the Antichrist, though Revelation does not actually give him that title. We know that he is the Antichrist because he sets himself up to be worshipped. The False Prophet will declare him to be the Messiah and God. He will be Satan’s man – the embodiment of evil.

1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

The “sea” in its literal sense can only mean the Mediterranean Sea, but symbolically it is referring to “the sea of peoples”. By linking the two thoughts together it is logical and reasonable to believe that the Beast comes out of one of the nations that make up the Mediterranean region. Some commentators suggest that the Antichrist will be a Syrian with Jewish descent.

The First Beast – the political leader – will rise up from humanity. Daniel describes him as “the prince” (Daniel 9:26). John describes the Antichrist as the Beast thirty-two times in Revelation to indicate his wild and diabolical nature, but he is a man rather than another description of the Dragon. Some have stated that he will be a demonic spirit in a fleshly body. He in fact will be born like anyone else, but it has been suggested that cloning may have something to do with this. A cloned human cannot have a spirit given by God! The apostle Paul calls him “the son of perdition” and “the man of sin” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

He rises up out of “the sea”. The “sea” is symbolic of humanity, especially the Gentile nations (see Revelation 17:15; Isaiah 17:12; 57:20-21). He will offer hope to a world at war and in political and religious disarray. 

He is described as having seven heads and ten horns. Scripture interprets itself, so we know that the seven heads are actually seven hills (Revelation 17:9; Daniel 7:16-24). In the Mediterranean world this can only refer to Rome. What we call the European Community (now the European Union) was originally named The Treaty of Rome. The E.C. was founded in Rome, therefore it is the Antichrist’s system. The Ten Horns are actually the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12. This describes a confederation of ten nations – exactly what the E.C. originally was. It is said that world empires build upon the previous empires they conquer; for reason the seven heads may refer to the seven world empires that dominated Israel throughout its history, rather than the seven heads being a reference to the seven hills of Rome. These empires are: Sumeria, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. A mountain can also symbolise an empire (Daniel 2:34-35, 44-45). Each empire’s religion was very similar, just the names of the gods changed, since they were all based on the same pagan foundation. Roman Catholicism’s religious system is as thoroughly heathen as the rest.

We must recognise though that the Beast is the central figure – he wears all the crowns of authority! These nations have pledged their allegiance to him. This man will claim to be the God of all gods, thus he will wear the crowns of all religions other than Biblical Christianity, referred to as the “name of blasphemy” or as in other versions, “blasphemous names”. Note what Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God“.

2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

John portrays the Beast as looking like a leopard, having feet like a bear, and a mouth like a lion. This imagery is very similar to that used in Daniel 7. The leopard represents Alexander the Great, who was as swift and cunning as a leopard. The bear represents Medo-Persia, for it was strong and fierce in battle (Isaiah 13:17-18). The lion represents Babylon (Jeremiah 4:6-7).

What we are seeing here is a combination of three of the world’s most terrifying empires – Medo-Persian, Babylonian, and Greek. An in-depth study of Daniel will advance our understanding of these symbols. The Antichrist Empire will have the traits of the other three, but the Beast’s power comes directly from Satan. So here we see the demonic trinity; Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet. He gets a “seat” – this is the place of total authority – a dictatorship. History is full of evidence of the evil resulting from one man gaining ultimate control over a nation. It is possible that this man will be fully possessed by Satan.

3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

This verse teaches us that he will have a deadly wound that has miraculously been healed. This wound should have killed him. There are three possibilities here in interpreting the meaning of this verse:-

a) It describes the revival of the Roman Empire, and that the spirit of ancient Rome is still alive and well within the European Union.

b) Some have suggested that the Antichrist will be a reincarnation of a previous world ruler of ancient times since he comes from the bottomless pit. This is highly unlikely and unwarranted in Scripture, nevertheless it could be the same demonic spirit that possessed them.

c) The wound is actual evidence of an assassination attempt. The world thinks he is dead, but instead he is resurrected (just like Jesus). 

A revised Roman Empire is the most likely fulfilment of this prophecy, for the original empire was indeed destroyed. It has been revived and revised as the EU in the modern era. That said, since the beast is a person, we have to be open to a false miracle being performed to win over the masses (2 Thessalonians 2:9).

Whichever way it works out, the world will worship him. Something about him draws the adoration of the masses. They would never venerate another Hitler, would they? Hold that thought!

4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

He becomes the star of the nations. Everyone loves him. Who will dare speak out against such a wonderful man? Notice just how corrupt humanity will have become, for in Exodus 15:11 it was, “Who is like the Lord?”, but now, “Who is like the beast?” This has always been Satan’s ambition (Isaiah 14:2-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Matthew 4:9).

It will be at this point that the central government will be set up with the Beast as its elected president (emperor). In adoring the Antichrist mankind will be actually worshipping Satan. So, we see, that the final one world church will be Satanic rather than Christian or Jewish. All the multi-faith talk is leading society one way, directly into the arms of Satan. Mankind will get the government it deserves.

The Antichrist will gain power through several means, including:

a) He will be able to gain power because mankind will have given themselves over to Satan and wickedness. This means that there will be an increase in witchcraft as we approach the return of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul speaks of such a time as this in 2 Timothy 3:1-5.

b) He will gain power through his ability and appeal. He will be an extremely loveable and charismatic figure. Through insight and genius he will attract the loyalty of the masses, and as a great orator, he will win people over to his cause.

c) He will gain power through military and economic strength. The beginning of his rulership will be a time of peace and safety, but he will gradually turn up the pressure. He will control the world’s greatest military machine, so it will be a peace maintained by force. Like all dictators, he will control the economy also.

5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

d) The Antichrist will have utter contempt for Jesus Christ, and no doubt this will appeal to the godless masses who hate Him with a passion, too. He will have no qualms about setting up his own image in the temple (Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Daniel 11:31; 12:11). 

Being a charismatic leader, he will promise to solve all the world’s problems (war, economical, social), if only people submit to him. Through such means he will easily and quickly become a dictator. He will gain power, but only for 3½ years, that is, the second part of the Tribulation period; therefore his reign is extremely short. We must remember that he does not have his own power, but is under the authority of Satan himself. 

6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

e) He will gain power through atheism and humanism. He will reject everything of God whilst promoting himself to be the only God. By building his headquarters in Jerusalem he seeks to offend the Lord God Almighty as much as possible. All religions will accept him as their spiritual leader (see Daniel 11:36). Notice who and what the Antichrist will stand against and blaspheme. God’s name: he will focus on totally discrediting the God of the Bible through outright offensive language, mockery and political means. The Tabernacle: this may refer to Heaven itself or the Temple. The inhabitants of Heaven includes angels and believers.

7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

f) He will gain power through religious persecution. The world hates Biblical Christianity, so guess where his first line of attack will be! The world will not raise its voice, especially now that he is seeking to destroy post-Rapture Christianity. He will also turn upon Judaism (as we saw in the previous chapter). Daniel prophesied that the Antichrist will speak blasphemous words against God, and that he will seek to “wear out” believers on earth (Daniel 7:25).

g) Though he is building a Europe-wide empire, he will endeavour to control the entire planet. This may include forcing other nations to submit to his authority by threatening war. Globalisation is a constant theme of many governments today, so the way is being paved for it to become a reality.

8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Everyone who submits to the Antichrist can never be part of God’s Kingdom. Once the pledge of allegiance has been made, there is no going back. Such people will doom their souls to a lost eternity. Even in the Tribulation years, those being saved must come through the Blood of Christ, otherwise their names can never be entered into the Book of Life. This means that there is no possibility of repentance for anyone who takes the Mark of the Beast. 

“Slain before the foundation of the world” does not mean that certain people (the elect) had their names entered into “the Lamb’s book of life” in eternity past. Instead, it was the pre-creation plan of God for Jesus to come to earth to save mankind, that is, all who would, through freewill, believe. It is the salvation plan that is pre-ordained rather than individuals, for God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance“ (2 Peter 3:9).

9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.

It is time for the church of our day to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. The book of Revelation is purposely ignored by the majority of the church world today, but those who are willing to hear will read and understand it. The phrase is similar to that used in Revelation 2 and 3, but notice that “churches” is omitted due to the fact that the church has been Raptured before the Tribulation.

10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

It is up to us as individuals how we respond to the message of Revelation. We go into spiritual bondage by personal choice. We can damn our souls simply because we choose to disobey God. Those who have true faith will endure and stand firm in Christ until the end (see Matthew 10:22). The last sentence of this verse can be viewed as a call for believers to stand firm during such terrible days (see 1 Peter 2:19-24; Romans 12:19).

11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

Here we have the prophecy concerning the second beast and his area of activity upon the earth. The word “another” (Greek: allos) literally means “another of the same kind”. Though most Bible commentators focus upon the Antichrist (the first beast), it is important to note that he needs the second beast. In this final section of Revelation 13 we will come to understand who he is and what he will do.

He comes from the “earth”. This probably means that he will come from the common people and that he will not be a politician, though he will be elected to high office under the Antichrist. The masses will accept him because he will be “a down to earth”, gentle type of person, as suggested by the term “lamb”. He will be a man of humility and meekness, but behind his sugar-coated words is all the power of Satan, and he will eventually drop the mask to reveal his true character. He will appear to be a man of God, but in fact he will be devoted to the devil. Some commentators believe that he will be of Jewish descent, but there is no Biblical support for this. Jesus warned us to be careful of wolves dressed in sheepskin coats! – “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matthew 7:15). This false prophet will spread the doctrines of Satan (1 Timothy 4:1).

This second beast will be a religious leader, however he will not be promoting the truth, instead he will be the Antichrist’s PR man, so he too will be a gifted orator. He will motivate people to accept the first beast as their saviour. We know that he will be a religious leader because he is called a “false prophet” wherever he is mentioned (Revelation 16:13; 19:20; 20:10).

12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

His Satanically given ministry involves directing mankind to worship the Antichrist. He will represent the Antichrist on the religious level, and like him, he will be a very charismatic figure. In this we must see that religion and politics must be united in the Antichrist’s Empire. This will evolve into a Europe-wide single religion.

13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

Because he has the power of Satan he will be able to perform impressive miracles (or at least appear to do so, since the next verse reveals that it is deception). Calling down fire from the sky will certainly convince many that he is from God (2 Timothy 3:8).

14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

He will work by counterfeiting the power of God (the devil has been highly successful in this area). In a word, it is all ‘deception’. The word “deceiveth” indicates ‘slight of hand’ to mislead people. The goal is universal worship of the Antichrist. It will then be suggested that a statue of the Antichrist be built as an aid to worship. Amongst all the denominations within Christendom, the Catholic Church alone has had no problem with idolatry. Some believe that this “image” will be an holographic representation, which could be true considering the next verse. This, whatever form it takes, will be placed in the new temple in Jerusalem. “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand)” (Matthew 24:15).

15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

With the help of modern technology he will cause the image to speak. Statues (idols) do not have the ability to communicate by themselves, so therefore there must be some technology used to make the image to do this (Psalm 135:15-16). We have three options here:

a) It will contain pre-recorded speeches by the Antichrist.

b) It will be live audio-visual broadcasting from the Antichrist’s headquarters.

c) It will be the direct voice of Satan (which is the least likely).

It seems that this image helps bind this multi-faith religion together, and that it is vital if the Antichrist is to secure total devotion. There will be those who know the truth and will not accept this deception. Through this image the Antichrist will be able to pronounce the death sentence upon them. We should read a Europe-wide persecution of Christians and Jews into this.

16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

How will the “image” know that the person is not a devotee of the Beast? Probably, by the same modern technology; it will be able to scan for the “Mark” through NFC (Near Field Communication) that is already a feature of modern smartphones. Everyone who submits to the Antichrist system will receive an identification mark in their right hand or in their foreheads. This “mark” will be similar to “barcode” but based upon personal DNA. It is highly unlikely that it will take the form of a tattoo since it is placed “in” the hand and forehead, that is, implanted – a silicon chip implant. Those who take this mark will have irreversibly damned their souls for all eternity (Revelation 14:9-11).

17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

This implant contains everything about the person, and those who refuse to take it will be deemed to be traitors. Where a person lives, how much they have in the bank, and a record of every aspect of life will be encoded on this implant. Credit cards are not the Mark of the Beast, but the next step in the process must be the implanted version. The Antichrist system will control every person’s finances, but it also proves that they must be contained within a Europe-based Centralised Bank, which also means that one country within Europe will hold the purse-strings of all. The majority will take the mark because they will have no other way of putting food upon their tables and sustaining life. We are already on our way to a cashless society, and as technology is advancing so fast, we can see it being fully implemented during the Tribulation, just as the Bible clearly states.

18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

Here is wisdom. Who is the Beast? Many have come up with names of historical characters whose names added up to 666. It is no use trying to figure it out in English, Latin or Hebrew, since Revelation was written in Greek. The Greek language will reveal who this man is. This part of Revelation will not be unfolded until the time God has planned for it, therefore nobody before the Rapture of the Church can possibly take the Mark of the Beast. One man will have 666 (Six Hundred and Sixty-Six not three sixes or three times six [18]). It is that person’s DNA / Identification code. Many Bible Commentators teach that 6 is the number of man who has fallen short of perfection (7), therefore 666 explains that the Antichrist is a fallen man. Revelation does not offer us three individual sixes, rather it is a single mathematical figure – Six hundred, three score and six. The Mark of the Beast, as stated above, cannot be received until the Antichrist appears – this is the main reason no one today can work out the meaning of 666.

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