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ch. 13:1-10     ch. 13:11-18

The Beast Out Of The Sea  (ch. 13:1-10)


In the last chapter we are introduced to the beast which Prophetic Futurists believe to be the anti-Christ.  We've seen the anti-Christ a bit earlier, but here in this chapter we learn more about him.  The second section of this chapter fills us in on another beast who Prophetic Futurists understand to be the false prophet who supports the anti-Christ on the religious front.  


In verse 1 we see the dragon, who we know is satan, standing on the shores of the sea.  Either this sea is to be taken symbolically or literally.  If you take it symbolically, the sea is often in reference to the nations of the earth, and that might well be the meaning here.  If you take the sea literally, I would suggest, as many Bible teachers agree, that the sea is the Mediterranean Sea. That only makes sense due to the fact that the known world surrounded the Mediterranean Sea back then.  At the moment, I tend to believe the second choice.


We should note that the NIV as well as other translations actually put this verse where it should be put, and that's at the end of chapter 12.   


As a side note, we first see this beast back in Revelation 11:7 where he is coming out of the Abyss.  Most Bible teachers understand the Abyss to be a literal place, probably the lowest part of Hades.   Now, since satan is standing on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea here in Revelation 13:1, and, sense the beast comes from the Abyss, the Abyss might well be deep below the Mediterranean Sea.   


Verse 1 tells us that the beast had seven heads and ten horns, and on each horn he had a crown.  We do know from Daniel 7, verse 7 and following, that the 10 horns we see here in Revelation 13 are 10 kings of which 3 will be defeated by a little horn who Futurists understand to be the anti-Christ


One thing we should note is that even though the dragon and the beast are somewhat similar in appearance, they are two separate identities.  The beast is the anti-Christ and the dragon is satan.  


The Bible calls the anti-Christ by different names.  He’s called the little horn, the prince that will come, the willful king, the one who comes in his own name, the lawless one, son of perdition, the man of sin and many more names.  They say there are at least twenty names given to the anti-Christ in the Bible which are all descriptive of whom he is.   


To help understand this chapter and the anti-Christ one should read and understand the book of Daniel which we won’t get into in this study.  Prophetic Futurists believe that Daniel sheds great light on the Tribulation period and all that happens in it, including details of the anti-Christ.


From Daniel, Prophetic Futurists see the anti-Christ as a ruler of the re-emerging Roman Empire, which many feel is the present day European Union.  Daniel 9 helps explain this.  Verse 26 tells us that the ruler of the people; that the ruler of the Roman Empire, will destroy Jerusalem.  Then, in verse 27 we see the "he", and "he" refers to the rule of the Rooman Empire, will make a covenant and then break it in the middle of the last of the seventieth week. Futurists believe that verse 27, and the pronoun "he", refers to the leader of the Roman Empire.  They also believe that verse 27 shoots the scene up to the end of this age and that the pronoun "he" refers to the anti-Christ.  Therefore, they say the anti-Christ will come from a renewed Roman Empire.  


In verse 2 we see that this beast appears to have body parts that look like animals.  They are a leopard, a lion and a bear.  These images can be seen in Daniel chapter 7.  The important thing to learn from this verse is that the beast gets its power from the dragon, thus the anti-Christ gets his power from the devil.   Another thing to learn is because the beast looks like the above three animals that Daniel 7 tells us represents 3 world wide kingdoms, the anti-Christ's kingdom will be the accumulation of these 3 empires.  So, the anti-christ empire will be a product of the Greek, Persian, and Roman Empires.         


Some Prophetic Futurists view this beast, not as a man but as a world system, a world government.  They say this because of Daniel 7.  In Daniel, we see these animals signifying world systems and governments, so why should we stray from that thinking when thinking of the last great empire as represented by animals.  Some believe that one of the seven heads is the anti-Christ himself.  That would make the beast his kingdom, which is really the product of all earthly kingdoms to date in human history.  This sounds logical to me at the moment.  


At this point I want to refer you back to Revelation 6 and the first seal that is opened.  When the seal is open a rider on the horse goes throughout the world and is bent on conquest.  Most Prophetic Futurists, including me, believe the rider on this horse is the anti-Christ.  At this moment in time in Revelation 6, he is just a man.  He has not been given the power and authority of the devil.  Many people believe the devil actually enters the anti-Christ, and he does so here in Revelation 13, not in Revelation 6. 


Another thing to think of concerns 2 Thessalonians 2:6 and following.  Here we see someone holding back, or, restraining, the lawless one from arriving on the world scene.  The lawless one is the anti-Christ.  There is no debate over that.  The debate is over who the one who is holding the anti-Christ back from appearing on the world scene.  The majority view among Prophetic Futurists is that he is the Holy Spirit, or, He is the church.  I've never been comfortable with the view that the restrainer is the Holy Spirit.  I can't see the restrainer as the Holy Spirit, because the text states that once he is taken out of the way, the anti-Christ can appear on the scene.  Well, the Holy Spirit can't be taken out of the way.  He is everywhere at all times.  I can't see how the restrainer could be the Holy Spirit, or, as some say, the Holy Spirit in the church. 


Here's another view to consider.  Here in Revelation 13 it is the devil that gives the anti-Christ his real authority and power.  Because of the Greek construction of 2 Thessalonians 2:6 - 7 some translators feel the one holding the anti-Christ back is not a one, as in, not a person.  That which is holding the anti-Christ back is actually a thing according to the Greek text, and that thing as seen here might well be the Abyss.


What we should note here is that the devil was cast down to the earth in chapter 12.  Once he is thrown down to the earth, it is then that he gives the anti-Christ his power and authority.  The anti-Christ is already on the world scene at this point, and probably is a leader in world politics, but it is here where satan takes control of him, or, he gives himself to satan for the last three and a half years of the tribulation.               


In verses 3 and 4 we see that the beast had a fatal wound to one of its heads.  The wound was miraculously healed, resulting in people all over the world worshipping satan as well as the anti-Christ.  Whether people really know that they are worshipping the devil is uncertain.  I would not be surprised that they would not even know who they were worshipping.  I think they’d understand that they were worshipping the one true God, but in fact they aren’t.  That being said, I believe there is sufficient evidence in Revelation to say that before it's all over, people will realize who they are worshipping and that they are fighting against God.


Much has been said about this fatal wound.  The NIV says that the beasts seemed to have a fatal wound.  This might suggest that the wound wasn't deadly.  Some believe it was deadly and that the beast, or, the anti-Christ, was raised from the dead.  Whatever the case, it appears a real miracle had taken place, a miracle from the devil, not from God.  The Greek text does not have a corresponding word for our English word "seems".  The word "seems" is inserted because the translators believe it is understood.


Whatever is the case with the wound of the anti-Christ, after the miracle takes place is when he gets real popular throughout the world.  


Those who believe this beast is a kingdom and not a man believe that this evil kingdom had a major setback here.  Again, I believe the beast to be a man, who also represents his kingdom.     


In verses 5 and 6 we see the beast was given great power for 42 months. Here we see the three and a half year period once again, which is the last half of the tribulation, or, the last half of the last seven years of this age.  Some believe the tribulation actually last three and a half years, not seven years, and, it starts right here.  I believe the tribulation last seven years but the last half is much worse than the first half.


I've often called the time of tribulation the last seven years of this age but it's my thinking now that it is actually a distinct dispensation of time.  Just as the New Testament is a different era than the Old Testament, the tribulation is a different era than the New Testament.  


The anti-Christ is given power over every nation.  That doesn't necessarily mean that everyone will submit to him.  Obviously the true followers of Jesus won't submit to him and there might well be others who don't follow Jesus who don't submit to him.  Daniel 11:41 suggests that Edom, Moab, and Ammon, now present day Jordon, will not submit to him.  Whatever the case, the anti-Christ's power and authority will spread rapidly around the world. 


Verse 5 also states that the anti-Christ will persecute God’s people, that is, true believers in Jesus who come to Jesus during the tribulation.  Many, if not most, of these believers will be executed by the anti-Christ for their association with Jesus.        


Many people in the early church actually thought that the anti-Christ was Nero who came back from the dead.  Nero was one of the worst, if not the worse Roman emperors up to that point in history.  He killed many Christians and Jews.  Those holding to the Preterist view of prophecy say this to be true. Of course, I don't believe Nero was the anti-Christ.


Verse 6 tells us that the anti-Christ will speak evil of all that is of God, even of those who dwell in heaven.  It is clear that the anti-Christ knows who his enemies are.  He knows that he is in opposition to God.


In verse 7 we see the anti-Christ being given the authority to persecute Christians as I've already mentioned.  Note that he was given power.  I believe satan gave him the power but ultimately the power came from God because God gave satan the authority to give to the anti-christ in the first place.


We note in verse 8 that the Lamb of God was slain from the creation of the world.  The cross of Christ was not an afterthought for God.  God knew that man would fall and He knew that Jesus would hang on that cross before He even made Adam and Eve.


Verse 8 also tells us that those whose names were not written in "the Book of Life belonging to the Lamb" worshipped the beast".  Does this mean that everyone who was not a true Christian received the mark of the beast?  I don't think so.  Some might worship but not have the mark.  Maybe they worship outwardly but not inwardly just to save their skin.  I make this point because I strongly believe some will survive the tribulation who didn't get the mark of the beast.  I won't explain all that here, but if you read Zechariah 14 and Isaiah 65:20, and other such passages, you'll see that there are unsaved people on earth during the thousand year rule of Christ.  These are those who survived the great tribulation, even though they are few in number.


Even though verse 8 says that "all" will worship the beast, the word "all" is qualified by the fact that those who were believers didn't worship the anti-Christ.  It's a simple hermeneutical fact that there are places in the Bible where the word "all" doesn't really mean "all" as in every last one or thing.  The context often determines how to understand how "all" is supposed to be understood.  That is what I believe is the case here.  There will be some who aren't believers who will not support the anti-Christ. 


Verse 8 seems to speak of the Lamb's Book of Life while Revelation 20:12 seems to speak of the Book of Life.  Some believe these are the same book while others believe they are two different books.  Those who believe they are two different books believe all names are written in the Book of Life until such time when that person rejects Jesus and then his name is blotted out.  The Lamb's Book of Life records the names of those who except Jesus into their lives.   Those who believe this say that your name can be blotted out of the Book of Life but once your name is in the Lamb's Book of Life, it can't be blotted out.  I think they say this to justify their thinking on the doctrine called "Eternal Security", that is, once you're saved, you can't get unsaved.


Verse 9 simply means that if you have an inner ear that is open to hearing the Holy Spirit, listen closely to what you will hear.  You will eventually understand.             


In verse 10 we read that if anyone goes into captivity, into captivity he will go and if anyone is to be killed, he will be killed.  The point to these words is that we are now at the last half of the tribulation, the very worst three and a half years in human history.  People have now made up their minds for Jesus will either go into captivity or be executed.  These are words of certainty.  It might well be saying that it's too late now to change your mind to come to Jesus.  There seems to be a finalness to these words that haven't been seen so far in Revelation when it comes to finding salvation during this period of time.                


I can't say for sure, but, I would not be surprised from here on out that there are no believers left on earth that will have to endure the wrath of God as seen in the rest of the book of Revelation  As I've just stated.  There seems to be a sense of finality in these last couple of verses that in my thinking, might, and I say might, suggest that if those who are to die for Jesus will die.            



The Beast Out Of The Earth  (ch. 13:11-18)


In verse 11 we see yet another beast, but this beast comes from the earth, not the sea.  This beast is under the authority of the first beast.  This beast has two horns, looks like a lamb, and speaks like a dragon.  Even though this beast looks like a nice little lamb, he speaks like a dragon.  He speaks like the dragon, and really, he speaks on behalf of the devil.  This beast is known as the “false prophet”.


The reason why this beast is pictured as a lamb is probably because he is a false imitation of the Lamb of God.   


I've attempted to be as literal as possible when it comes to the book of Revelation.  As has been said by many, use common sense in your interpretation, but, when common sense isn't possible, then interpret.  .  The use of the word beast seen here and in verse 1 are descriptive words that speak of both the anti-Christ and the false prophet.   


In verse 12 we see this beast that comes from the earth exercising authority like the first beast.  He makes people worship the first beast and has great power like the first beast.  We know from the last section of Revelation 13 that the first beast, the anti-Christ, got his power and authority from satan, so, the same is true with this beast, the false prophet.  


What helps the false prophet in his false ministry is the fact that the anti-Christ's fatal wound was healed.  We've seen this fatal wound earlier.  This seems to be satan's attempt to duplicate the death and resurrection of Jesus. 


This beast is a satanic prophet that leads the world into worship of the anti-Christ.   You might say that this person has the authority over the religious aspect to the anti-Christ’s kingdom.  We should understand that the kingdom of the anti-Christ is just as much religious in nature as it is political and economic in nature.  It is religious in nature because the devil is religious and the devil is attempting to take God's place over all of creation.   


In verse 13 we see this person has great miraculous power, even to call fire down from heaven.  He seems to copy the power of the two witnesses.  This power gives him great credibility to all those who live on earth and he is seen as a great person.  .   The miraculous powers of this man make it very clear that the battle that takes place on earth in this time period is really a battle between God and satan.  The battle ground is earth and those living on this planet.    


We should note the time frame here.  The anti-Christ is already on the world scene, but at the mid way point of the seven year tribulation, satan gives him his super-human power.  The false prophet arises to support the anti-Christ at this mid way point.  


In verse 14 we see that this false prophet sets up an image that comes to life. Many Prophetic Futurists see this as the abomination of desolation spoken of by Jesus and Daniel.  Prophetic Futurists see the erection of this image at the half way point of the tribulation which is obviously the case.  As we've noted in the last section of chapter 13, the anti-Christ is given his power and authority here in chapter 13 which begins the last forty two months, or, the last half of the tribulation period. 


The idea of the abomination of desolation is that the image of the anti-Christ is set up in the rebuilt Jewish temple and all men are forced to worship the image of the anti-Christ, which in the eyes of the Jews would be an abomination.              


The term abomination of desolation goes back to Daniel 11:31 and 12:11.  Jesus comments on this in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14.  The prediction of this abomination of the Jewish temple had an Old Testament fulfillment when Antiochus Epiphanes during his rule as a Greek king from 175 B C to 164 B C sacked Jerusalem and offered a pig, an unclean animal, on the altar of the temple.  At this point it is important to understand that many prophecies have a double, or, even a triple fulfillment.  Jesus mentioned this abomination in the future tense, not in the past tense that would have referred to Antiochus Epiphanes.  Therefore, this abomination was future to Jesus' day.  Some say this abomination took place  when Rome sacked Jerusalem in 70 A D but there is no record of a specific abomination taking place, other than, if you understand the burning of the temple to be such an abomination.  I believe the abomination of desolation that Jesus spoke about is what we see here in Revelation.           


Many have guessed what this image is.  In verse 15 we note that this image speaks and has power to kill people who do not take the mark of the beast.  Could this be some kind of bio-technical computerized image?  Well, we just don't know, but that could certainly be the case. 


We should note that this image has power to kill those who don't take the mark of the beast.  Obviously, some of those who are killed are those who belong to Jesus.  I suggest that there will be some who do not belong to Jesus who will also not want to take the mark of the beast for various reasons.  Many of these might well be killed as well.  I believe there will be some survivors of the tribulation who will not take the mark of the beast who do not belong to Jesus.  They will inhabit the earth when the thousand year rule of Christ begins.   


Verse 14 speaks of the anti-Christ's fatal wound again.  This time the text states that he was wounded by the sword.  Nowhere in Revelation do we know why he was wounded or who wounded him.  I suggest that even though the anti-Christ is very popular, he will have enemies.  There will be some who oppose him and do not want the take his mark.  I suggest those who attempt to kill him aren't Christians because I don't think their mission during the tribulation is to kill the anti-Christ or those working with him.  Remember, Jesus told Pilate that He would not fight with the sword on behalf of His kingdom.  I believe that the saints who are alive during the tribulation will view things in like manner.       


In verse 15 we see the mark of the beast again.  People will need to receive this mark in order to buy or sell.  That will certainly put a lot of pressure on people to take the mark.  This mark will be on people’s foreheads and their right hand.  Like the image that comes alive that we've just seen, the mark of the beast has been well debated over the years.  Computer technology has certainly made such a mark to be possible.  Some say it's a computer chip, but the text simply says it's a mark.  I suggest that it might well be just a mark with some kind of computer technology associated with it. If we can use printers to build material objects, surely we can turn a simple mark, or tattoo, into some kind of computerized mark that can emit personal I D that now exists on things like bank cards.       


Along this line I refer you to what is called Digital Angel.  This is a micro chip that is powered by the bio-mechanical energy that comes from one’s body.  This chip can do many things including sending a signal to a satellite and will be capable for use with commerce.  Although originally invented for medical use, the creators of the chip say it has multiple uses. The slogan associated with this technology is “technology that cares”.  The company that holds the patent to this chip is called Applied Digital Solutions.  I’m not saying that this is the mark of the beast.  I’m saying that we have the technology for the mark and this is an example.  This chip might well be the forerunner to a simple electronic tattoo.


In verse 18 we see the number 666 associated with the name of the anti-Christ.  Again, like the image that comes alive, like the mark of the beast, this number has been guessed at for centuries.  I really don't know what the number 666 represents other than what the text states.  It represents the anti-Christ and it is man's number.  I don't know if all who receive the mark will have this number or if they will have their own personalized number.  The text doesn't say.  


In verse 18 we see this number is the number of man.  Most Bible teachers say the numbers in the Bible have specific meanings.  This verse seems to suggest that.  It appears to state that the number 6 is the number of man.  The number 3 seems to be the number of completion.  Therefore, three six's might well represent the compote man.


Verse 18 says that if anyone has wisdom, let him calculate the number of the beast, something Christians have been trying to do ever since John penned these words.  Some day our calculations will be correct, but at the moment, I'm not even sure how to calculate it.   These words are most likely written in order for those saints still alive during this time.  Only then will the true understanding of this number be understood.  


Over the years I've heard critics of Bible prophecy make fun of those who do as this verse says and try to calculate the number of the beast.  The simple fact is that we are permitted to calculate this number as this verse says we can do.


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