At the close of Chapter 10, John was told to eat a little book and to prophesy about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings. In Chapter 11, John wrote about the rebuilding of the Temple, the two witnesses, and the impact they will have on the world. In Chapter 12, he wrote about Satan being cast out of heaven, and how it will affect Israel and other believers in the world.
Now in Chapter 13, John will tell us about the two powerhouses of the Tribulation Period – the Antichrist which is the political powerhouse, and the False Prophet, which is the religious powerhouse. These two end-time dictators will merge church and state. The results will be disastrous for those left on earth.
Verse 1 – 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.
This sea that the beast rises from, will be the sea of wickedness after the Church is gone. He will be the “Antichrist.”
The ten horns are ten rulers who will reign with the Antichrist. The seven heads have a double meaning: (1) they are seven world governments, and (2) they are seven hills where the world religion will be located for a short time. The ten crowns are the ten divisions of the last world government. It will be divided into ten divisions with each division having its own ruler and set of false religions.
Verse 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. And the dragon gave him power, his throne, and great authority.
The Antichrist is not Satan. This beast is a world power which has been swift to shed blood: like a leopard leaping on it prey, tenacious and relentless as a bear, and all-devouring as a lion.
This beast, the Antichrist will be the incarnation of Satan. Whoever he is and whatever he does, his power comes from the pits of hell. He will form a “One World Government.”
Verse 3 – 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.
One of his heads, seemed to be fatally wounded, is the Antichrist. He is not actually dead because he doesn’t have that power to be raised from the dead, only Jesus Christ has that power and the few He chooses to give it to. This beast will exhibit a counterfeit and imitation resurrection. This will be the great delusion, the big lie of the Great Tribulation Period.
We are told in 2 Thessalonians 2:11 that: “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they shall believe the lie.”
Verse 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?”
Satan has always wanted to be worshiped. His pride is at the root of being cast out of heaven. The occult will be in charge of this blind and corrupt world. The Antichrist will also desire to be worshiped. That will be fine with Satan because he’s the one giving the power to the Antichrist.
Matthew 15:14 – “If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
Verse 5 – And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority for forty-two months.
Everything that the Antichrist has or does is given to him. He has no power of his own. This boasting and blasphemy will continue the rest of the three and one-half years that are left of the seven-year Tribulation.
Verse 6 – Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.
This antichrist slanders God, at the Church which is in heaven, and believers still on earth. Anything or anybody that has anything to do with God will send him into a rage!
Verse 7 – And it was granted him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.
This will be a worldwide hunt to destroy every believer. He will slaughter thousands so his Satanic religion can be established. Everyone must submit to him or be killed. Those that are killed for their faith in Christ will spend eternity with Him. Those who worship this beast are condemned to hell for all eternity.
Verse 8 – And 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.
This is the “Lamb’s Book of Life” that John was referring to. All those who have been born-again and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, have their names in this book.
Secularism is giving way to New Age mysticism as the do-it-yourself religion of our time. The gospel has been so watered down that now we have homosexuals, lesbians, and pedophiles running congregations. How sick is that? Well in end times it will be even worse!
Verse 9 – If anyone has an ear, let him hear.
Verse 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.
Here is what I think this verse means: In the Old Testament, it was an “eye for an eye.” In the New Testament, Galatians 6:7, it says a man reaps what he sows. During the Tribulation Period, if you kill, you will be killed. In other words” for the saints of this period, leave revenge to the Almighty. And that is where faith and patience comes in.
In today’s society, our murder laws have become too lenient. Not all murders are put to death. However, in the end-times, if a person kills another, God is going to do what society will not.
The Beast Out of the Earth
Verse 11 – Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.
While the first beast (the Antichrist) emerged from the sea (unrest of the troubled nations) the second beast emerges from the earth – land symbolically, it usually refers to the land that belongs to Israel. So, this second beast just might very well be a Jew.
Verse 12 – 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.
This beast is described as gentle as a lamb but speaks like a dragon. He will hold as much authority as the first beast. He also is the third member that makes up the un-holy trinity. He will use his authority to exalt the first beast, the Antichrist.
His deeds will betray his sweet sounding words. Instead of bringing unity, he will try to change everyone’s beliefs. He will attempt to merge religion and politics by promoting a one world religion and world government. Everyone will be ordered to worship the Antichrist and he will not hesitate to use force.
This man is the “False Prophet” who will perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect (read Matthew 24:24).
Verse 13 – He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.
Verse 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.
The Apostle Paul tells us, “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing (II Thessalonians 2:9, 10).
The image of the antichrist will be built in the Temple at the mid-point of the Tribulation. Jesus said, “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel – let the reader understand – then those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matthew 24:15, 16).
Verse 15 – 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.
This is going to be worse than any horror movie! When the image begins to breathe, it will be a reminder that the Antichrist was once dead, but now alive.
This image will proclaim that all who do not worship it will die.
Everything that is spoken or done by someone who calls themselves a prophet, teacher of the gospel, or pastor, should be tested by the Scripture, and then you won’t be deceived.
Verse 16 – And 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,
Verse 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.
Verse 18 – 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.
People will be allowed to select one of two different places for the mark. No one will be exempt. Those who have the mark can buy food and medicine, but those who don’t wont’ be able to buy anything. Merchants will need this mark to sell their goods also. Control over the necessities of life amounts to control over the people.
This will be a “cashless society,” having the ability to track all buying and selling.
This False Prophet will devise a perfect way to identify all the followers of Christ.
To calculate the number 666, we must realize many things have changed since John wrote Revelation. Our modern world has two sets of symbols – the alphabet and numbers. We have two systems. A letter is a letter and a number is a number. But the ancient world did not do this; they used a single set of symbols to represent both letters and numbers. Such a system is called an “alphanumeric system.” Every number is a letter, and every letter is a number.
Concerning why the Antichrist’s name will equal 666 is another matter of speculation. However, if you are born-again and are raptured with the Church, you won’t put too much thought into trying to figure out who the Antichrist will be.
This cryptic puzzle is not intended to point a finger at some unknown person.