The 12th chapter introduced us to warfare in heaven and after satan is disposed from heaven warfare breaks out on earth. The 13th chapter gives us a more detailed examination of this warfare as it centers on two men that John calls beasts because of their character.
- Vs. 1-10 Describes the Antichrist he will be the political world ruler over the revised Roman empire spoken of in Dan. 7:7
- Vs. 1-18 Describes the false prophet and he will be the religious world leader
Both will serve satan, but the false prophet’s desire will be to get people to worship the antichrist.
Vs. 1-10 The world’s choice
Vs. 1-2 It is thought by most that the sea here refers to the mass of humanity as well as the most prominent sea of that time being the Mediterranean Sea. The fact that this person comes out of this sea tells us two things:
- That he will be a man who will be completely possessed by satan.
- That he most likely will from the region of the Mediterranean.
His description is reminiscent of what Daniel records in chapter 2 as well as chapter 7. As you study Daniel’s prophecy in these two chapters it becomes clear that God was showing him the future world ruling gentile empires:
- The head of Gold [2:32a] is the same as the beast, which is like a lion [7:4] identified as the Babylonian empire.
- The chest & arms of silver [2:32b] is the same as the best which was like that of a bear [7:5] identified as the Medo-Persian empire.
- The belly & thighs of bronze [2:32c] is the same as the beast which was like that of the leopard [7:6] identified as the Grecian empire.
- The legs of iron [2:33] are the same as the beast, which is, described as terrible and exceedingly strong [7:7] identified as the Roman empire.
Both of these chapters depict the same thing but from two very different perspectives: Man’s ands God’s. In the 2nd chapter of Daniel these visions came from Nebuchadnezzar’s dream where he saw the future ruling gentile empires as glorious. In the 7th chapter the perspective is Daniel’s dream, and he sees the same things only as brute beasts. There is one last world ruling empire that both Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel saw:
- 2:33-35 Nebuchadnezzar dream saw: “its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”
- 7:7-8 Daniel’s dream saw: “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. 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.”
Both of these dreams depict the final ruling empire giving way to a “little horn” which causes three of the kings of the revised Roman empire to be uprooted. In Revelation 17:9-10 John says, “The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time.” John sees seven successive rulers five of which have come and gone, one that is still ruling and one that is yet to come. In Daniel’s dream he saw a 10-nation confederacy, which will give way to the antichrist dictatorship, as he will have been the head of the confederacy. He starts out his reign as the peacemaker on a white horse which will end at the 3 ½ year mark as he then sets up himself as the object of worship in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.
In the 2nd verse John sees the antichrist having the same characteristics of the past ruling world empires of the Grecian, Medo-Persian and Babylonian. In other words, the antichrists reign will have majesty and power of the lion, the strength and tenacity of the bear and the swiftness of the leopard of Alexander the Greats conquests. Interestingly we can see who it is that is behind all man’s conquests and power.
Vs. 3 The world will marvel at the antichrist’s rehabilitation from his fatal wound. But just what is this wound? Well verse 14 tells us that is to be inflicted by a sword. Several possibilities exist:
- The wounding is reference to the revived dead Roman empire
- The reference is to a European leader who will be part of this 10-nation confederacy, will be slain then resuscitated.
The 10th verse of this chapter 17 seems to point in the direction of a leader (antichrist) which will be mortally wounded and who’s healing will cause the world to worship satan. It is interesting to see this wounding in the light of satan’s desire to be worshipped and mock God. You see satan can’t create he can only duplicate, also notice that this seems to be a direct assault on God’s words in Genesis 3 where He declares that Jesus will crush his head. This “resuscitation” becomes the centerpiece of the antichrist worship as in verse 14 the false prophet commissions an image to be made of the antichrist depicting his wounding and resuscitation. Zech 11:17 is an apparent prophecy of this very event as we read, “Woe to the worthless shepherd, who leaves the flock! A sword shall be against his arm and against his right eye; His arm shall completely wither, and his right eye shall be totally blinded.”
Vs. 4-6 The worlds marvel will turn into worship, and this is what satan has always sought. As such we see that the final form of religion will be satanic and perhaps this will be made possible by the promise which satan told Adam that they will all be as God’s! They praise the antichrist for two specific things:
- His ability to completely dominate world affairs, no doubt in the fashion they want to see.
- Then they praise him for his ability to stay on top. The world wants a dictator but one that will dictate according to his or her own lusts and desires.
The word “antichrist” literally means “opposite or instead of” which reveals that his aim is not against religion but rather to oppose or replace Jesus! His character is identified both by his description as well as his speech as hi is both blasphemous as well as boastful (Dan. 7:7-8,11,25). The main feature of his short yet tyrannical reign will be that he is both “opposite” as well as opposing everything of Jesus. Isaiah 5:20 declares what no doubt his speech will be like as he will, “call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Verse 6 reveals three things that he speaks against:
- His name: That is God’s character and nature as creator.
- His tabernacle: He will speak against the thought of and existence of heaven.
- Those who dwell in heaven: Those that have been taken up will be also spoken against and probably said to have been reincarnated.
Vs. 7-10 Based upon these verses we see that he will have complete and universal reign over the whole world. The object of his hatred will be the “saints” but that cannot mean the Church as we are told in Matt. 16:18 that against His “church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” So, these must be the believers who receive Jesus after the rapture during the tribulation period. Of the last days Church Jesus promised in Rev. 3:10 that He would “keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” So, to those who refuse to take the mark of the east in 14:9-11 they will the object of his hatred.
Not only will the antichrist enjoy world domination he will also receive universal appeal and worship. The book of life here mentioned appears eight times in the bible, seven of which are recorded in Revelation. The correlation can be made that those whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life are those who will worship satan. This reminds us of Jesus’ own words in Matt. 12:30 where He said, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.” It is Jesus’ book and as such our name can only be entered in by way of Him and this before the foundations of the world! God does not make mistakes and He chose all believers before time began. There will not be one person in hell solely because of Adam’s sin they will be their because they refused to choose Jesus.
John sounds a warning for all left on the earth to hear, as their choice will seal their fate! The worship of satan will be ecumenical, as all will unite regardless of their former religious preference. What will possibly unite such diversity? The hatred of Jesus and all who trust in Him.
Vs. 11-18 The world’s religion
Vs. 11 The word “another” means of the “same sort” and as such point back to the antichrist which will be closely linked to the false prophet. The first three verses give us description of him and his ministry. The use of the word as “lamb” depicts his religious character but the fact that he will speak like a dragon will not only show where his power comes form but also that his words will be prideful and centered around pleasing self! From one perspective he will be meek yet from another very self-righteous. Satan has no problem conforming to what the world wants as long as it benefits his goal! In this we see a satanic trinity: Satan = the Father, antichrist = Jesus, false prophet = Holy Spirit. No doubt his message will be similar to that of what Jeremiah spoke of during his day in 6:14 “Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace.” The key ingredients of the message will not be what is said but rather what is not said! He will speak of his own authority and the world will be impressed at how he says what he says without listening to what he says. There is always one thing you can count on about false teachers they never look like ones! Satan never looks like the red suited pitch forked person he is depicted as but instead appears as an angel of light.
Vs. 12-13 There will be an unholy alliance between the antichrist (the world political leader) and the world religious leader as long as it centers on his worship. No doubt there will be a law in acted that will make it illegal to worship any one or thing accept the antichrist. Mankind is always looking for a religious system that will agree with their flesh and be tolerant of all points of view. People don’t want truth; no, they are looking for something that will agree with their experiences and tell them that whatever they are into is just peachy! The false prophet will at least appear to have supernatural powers and perform great signs one of which seems to mimic Pentecost as well as the two witnesses of 11:15. Jesus gave two warnings about this saying in Matt 12:39 “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Then n John 5:43 He said, “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.”
Vs. 14-15 The purpose of these great signs is given us here as we are told to “deceive those who dwell on the earth by those signs”. We are not given what this image is in appearance only that it speak and that this causes those of the earth to worship the antichrist. Those in the world that refuse will be branded an atheist and put to death. The 14th chapter of this book tells us that God will send an angel to proclaim to the world not to listen to these lies and instead worship the true and living God, so that those who chose to worship the beast will do so fully knowing what they are doing.
Vs. 16-17 The words “small and great” refer to status, “rich and poor” to possessions and “free and slave” to their state within society. Again, we see the copying of Satan as the mark of the beast copies the believers being sealed by the Holy Spirit. It is however the exact opposite of that which the Holy Spirit does for us in as much as the antichrists seal is an external sign connected to earthly survival. The believer’s seal is internal and connected with things above.
This mark also reveals the desperation for worship that satan has in that he first deceives the world and not being content with worship given him by way of deceit institutes economic measures that force all to worship his image. The only way to get this mark will be to submit to the antichrist and worship him. A “name” in the bible refers to much more than just what a person is called it represents the character and nature so people will exalting satan’s character. The antichrist will be able to control every body’s personal finance, there will be only one culture, and central government, monetary system and he will control all of it.
Vs. 18 The number is introduced with the phrase “here is wisdom” and then an appeal to those who understand. There are many possibilities as to what is meant by this number, but no one today can be certain as too whom it refers. But this does not matter, as it will have different understanding to those alive during the tribulation. The number 6 is the number of man and that it is repeated three times indicates perfection. So, what we have in the antichrist man at his zenith as far as worlds standards go but still opposite of what the least in God’s kingdom are in Christ.