Rev. Chapter 13
THE BEAST FROM THE SEA
Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. 2 Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.
As John is standing on the sand facing the sea, we might suppose that he is on the Island of Patmos looking out on the Aegean Sea. The vision he is experiencing of this monster rising out of the sea has terrifying implications! His vision is directly tied to Daniel’s vision in Daniel 7:1-8
1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts. 2 Daniel spoke, saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. 3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other. 4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. 5 “And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’ 6 “After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. 7 “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 8 I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.
I find it interesting that the two visions, although very similar, are in reverse order to each other. I believe that the explination is that Daniel is looking forward in time and John is looking back in time at the four beasts.
In both visions, the beast is rising up out of the sea. On a spiritual note, the sea is representative of the abyss. The beast has been summoned from the abyss by Satan to carry out his horrific tribulation plan! On another note, the sea is a metaphor for gentile nations. The seven heads represent seven world empires; Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome and the revised Roman Empire of the Antichrist. The dragon, of course is Satan. The ten horns with their ten crowns represent ten world governments, the future one-world government under the authority of Antichrist!
3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. 4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying,”Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
This certainly pictures Satan’s deceptive plan to enact Antichrist’s assassination and subsequent resurrection, which is nothing more then Satan’s attempt to counterfeit the death and resurrection of our one true Lord, Jesus Christ! However, the world will witness this event, believe and worship the risen Antichrist!
Consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:4-5;
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. 6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.
For the final three and one half years, the “Great Tribulation” God will allow Antichrist to speak blasphemies against Him. This is a sad testimonial of a fallen world. It seems whenever one wants to replace another, whether by force or election, blasphemies are spoken, insults are thrown and much mud is slung! It is sad that a potential leader will rarely run on his or her own merit, but rather attempt to drag their opponent down to their level! In this case, God is the One receiving the blasphemies, but He will place His sovereign controls on Antichrist!
It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation
For thousands of years, false religions have murdered Christians and Jews alike! In the final years preceding Christ’s return, Antichrist will be given permission murder a few more! The Great Tribulation will be a horrific time in-which the Antichrist will pull out all the stops and spew out his hateful and murderous rage on the world. His agenda is much the same as we hear today from the Arab nations surrounding Israel, destroy Israel and eradicate every Jew and every Christian at any cost!
All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Antichrist will have everyone who has not received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in his horrible spell! The good news? Everyone who belongs to God cannot be taken in by this master of lies and deception!
28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”
8 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10 He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
“…what the Spirit says to the churches.” The statement is omitted because the church is already in heaven via the Rapture! Those who believe during this horrible time of tribulation and persecution are given assurance in the knowledge that the horrific plight they have been given will come to an end and that they will be vindicated! Praise God!
THE BEAST FROM THE EARTH
Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.
The beast which is rising up out of the earth is known as the False Prophet. He will unite the religions of the world, with the exception of Judaism and Christianity, and create the one world religion of Antichrist’s short lived reign. His two horns as opposed to the ten horns of Antichrist portray him as a much weaker beast then Antichrist. He comes in a gentler fashion. He comes as a lamb, another counterfeit of the one true Lamb, Jesus Christ! He is not a politician like Antichrist, but he sings a false song of love and hope as one who appears to care for the spiritual well being of the people of the world. This song will soon lose it’s melodious tone and give way to the voice of the dragon, Satan!
And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
That he exercises the same authority as the first beast simply confirms the source of that authority, Satan! He is instrumental in convincing the world to worship the Antichrist as some sort of a deity. His role is important to Antichrist because the world will not be made up of government apart from religion, but rather a government of religion as the world begins to worships this world political leader! I am sure that the False Prophet will play an important public relations role in the alleged assassination and resurrection of Antichrist.
13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.
Satan has made a career out of imitating God and counterfeiting His great miracles. Do you remember the scene in Pharaoh’s court with Moses and Aaron?
11 But Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; so the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. 12 For every man threw down his rod, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.
So Satan can empower his false prophet to perform signs and wonders, it only makes him a good magician and nothing more! We need to always remember that Satan was cut off at the knees at Calvary and the only power he has over us is that which we empower him with by believing his lies!
23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
My good friend Joe Larson, who is a musician and song writer, wrote a wonderful song that tells of Satan’s deceptive powers entitled “Don’t Buy The Lie!”
Believe it my friends, you just cannot believe Satan! He’s not called the “Father of Lies” for no reason!
Daniel, chapter three tells of Nebuchadnezzar”s decree to have an image of gold constructed. The statue would be 60 cubits, or ninety feet tall and it would be of himself. He commanded all to worship the image or die! Here we see that the Antichrist is up to the same craziness!
He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
Antichrist will have his image constructed in Jerusalem as a means to abolish his established world religion and demand that the world worship him alone as god, or even God! Another sign and wonder, or maybe better stated, another cheap trick, the false prophet is able to make this image of Antichrist speak and appear to live. This will go along way in convincing the world that Antichrist should be worshiped, but to worship him as God may be a bit much, even for this crazy, twisted world! We shall see.
16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Antichrist will gain almost absolute control over the peoples of the earth with this extremely anticipated move! Every human being on the planet will be required, under the penalty of death, to receive this mark! Most will rush to have this mark applied to their forehead or right hand. Most likely, that people are given a choice as to where the mark can be applied, will be considered an act of benevolence by Antichrist. There will be a growing number of Christians, as well as Jews who now, more than ever will be forced to go underground in order to avoid execution for refusing to take the “Mark of the Beast!” The mark, a number which somehow reveals his name.
Today we are seeing much in the way of foreshadowing of this prophesied mark. From bar codes which contain information about products, to identification chips which can be placed under the skin for personal identification. Many believers have become concerned and somewhat worried as this technology progresses. I do not believe that as believers today we have anything to be concerned about. I am convinced that believers will be raptured and will be in heaven during the time of tribulation. it is interesting though, that we are witnessing the evolution of the very technology that may be employed by the Antichrist for such a mark! Christians should keep in mind that we are sealed in our relationship with Christ and that no one can take that away from you. So, rather then worry about what will not happen to believers today, we must walk out the Great Commission with the same passion and urgency that a Superbowl team would play their game at the two minute warning!
Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.
It is dangerous and unwise to attempt to use numerology to try to identify the Antichrist today. He will be revealed in a time that God has ordained. As Christians, we will not be on earth at that time, but rather in heaven! Way too many attempts have been made already to identify the Antichrist of tribulation and those attempts may have placed a false identity on an innocent person, something that God has commanded us not to do! The Bible teaches that Antichrist cannot be revealed until that which holds him back has been removed.
2 Thessalonians 2:5-12
5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
The number 6 is said to be the number of man. Man certainly falls short of the Glory of God, whose number is 7, perfection! These are valuable generalities to help us to understand that every man, Antichrist, every demon and Satan fall short of God’s Glory! Praise be to God that He has given us, mankind a way back into a relationship with God, something that is not given to Satan and his fallen angels! However, even as redeemed believers, our number is still six. Perhaps where the Antichrist is concerned, the number is repeated three times to drive the point home that he has no righteousness whatsoever and never will!