Study Notes

Revelation 13:1-10


Last week, we saw in chapter 12 the conflict between satan and Israel. The first sentence of chapter 13 should more likely have been the last sentence of chapter 12, for John is describing the dragon making war with the Jews and believers in Christ. He is doing that while standing on the sand of the seashore. Now that could mean literally that he is on earth on the beach and directing his demonic destruction from there, or that he is crushing the Jews around the world, who are described in the Bible as being "as the sand which is on the seashore" (Gen 22:17; Josh 11:4; etc.).

13:1-2 The Beast

The beast. Who is this beast? Although he has many titles in Scripture - the beast, the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction, the prince that shall come, the worthless shepherd, the little horn, etc., most of us know him as the antichrist.

Now the word "antichrist" does not mean "the opposite of Christ." It is used with the meaning of "instead of" or "in place of." The antichrist is "in place of Christ" to the world. He is not the evil twin brother of Jesus. He is the man that the world will choose as their Messiah in place of Jesus.

Out Of The Sea

The antichrist will arise out of the sea. What does that mean? It could mean a number of things. It could mean that he arises out of the Gentile nations. It could mean that he is the foremost among every wicked person on the planet, because Isaiah wrote,

Isa. 57:20 ...the wicked are like the tossing sea...

If we follow that line of reasoning, he very well may be among the apostates - people who proclaimed a Jewish or Christian faith, but then fell away from that faith. Jude said that apostates are,

Jude 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam...

But it could also be something more literal that leads it to be less understandable. You see, there seems to be something about the sea that we don't comprehend. We will read in chapter 20,

Rev. 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them...

It appears that there are some beings who are dead in the sea rather than in death and Hades. This makes even more mysterious the two accounts in Matthew 8. You recall that when Jesus was sleeping in a boat while crossing the sea with the disciples, a great storm arose.

Matt. 8:26 ...Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and it became perfectly calm.

He rebuked the sea? That sounds strange. Then, when they got to the other side, they encountered a legion of demons in two men that cried out not to be sent into the abyss. Instead, Jesus allowed them to be sent into a herd of pigs, and...

Matt. 8:32 ...and they came out, and went into the swine, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters.

Why would the demons prefer death in the sea rather than be cast into the abyss? These are things that show us we don't yet have all the facts.

Ten Horns, Seven Heads, Ten Diadems

When we saw the devil in chapter 12, he was portrayed as...

Rev. 12:3 ...a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.

Now we read that the antichrist has these same attributes. This is very reminiscent of the visions in Daniel 7. One night, Daniel was laying in bed and had a prophetic vision, a dream. God was showing him the outline of the earth's ruling empires from Daniel's time until the Lord's Millennial kingdom begins. These earthly empires were represented by beasts - first a lion, which was a picture of the Babylonian empire. Then a bear, which was the Medo-Persian empire. After this came a leopard, which was representing the Greek empire.

Then came the fourth beast that Daniel described as:

Dan. 7:7 "...Behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed, and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns."

This fourth beast is the final empire - the antichrist's empire. The last world empire before Jesus comes back. John describes the beast as having the characteristics of all the previous empires -

Rev. 13:2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like {those} of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion.

The antichrist and his empire will be more vicious and worldwide than any that have come before. In chapter 17, we'll see that an angel tells John that the seven heads are seven kings, and the ten horns are ten kings which give their power and authority to the beast.

Power, Throne, and Authority From the Dragon

Now, the antichrist's power, throne, and authority will be empowered by satan himself. This was prophesied by Daniel,

Dan. 8:24 "And his power will be mighty, but not by his own power..."

And by Paul,

2Ths. 2:9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,

That is the amazing thing about this guy - he will have all power and signs and false wonders. These aren't tricks, mind you. This is satanically-charged supernatural power at his disposal here.

13:3-4 His Fatal Wound Was Healed

The devil has the power to make some really effective imitations. As we talked about back in chapter 6, he rarely has an original idea, but simply imitates what God does, because he wants to be like the Most High. Thus, he has satanic versions of miracles, the mark, the messiah, and even the messiah's death and resurrection! Here in verse 3 we read,

Rev. 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast;

In chapter 17, the beast is described as the one who "was, and is not, and will come." We are going to read next week of the "ministry" of the false prophet:

Rev. 13:12 ...He makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.

Rev. 13:14 ...telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life.

So the antichrist incurs a fatal wound, presumably by some assassination attempt. The world knows he's dead, but then he comes back to life. They will proclaim what a miracle it is! But is is a satanic deception.

From what the book of Zechariah says, it appears that he will be left with some permanent disability:

Zech. 11:16-17 "For behold, I am going to raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for the perishing, seek the scattered, heal the broken, or sustain the one standing, but will devour the flesh of the fat sheep and tear off their hoofs. Woe to the worthless shepherd Who leaves the flock! A sword will be on his arm And on his right eye! His arm will be totally withered, And his right eye will be blind."

So the assassination attempt is only temporarily successful. Satan will make sure that the beast is risen from the dead. The False Prophet will make sure everyone worships the beast. And the beast will have a withered arm and blind right eye.

The Earth Followed After & Worshiped

"And all who dwell on the earth will worship him." How sad, but how true. Today, just like always, people are looking for miracles. And the antichrist will give them what they're looking for.

Never forget that Jesus' ministry of miracles was not for validation, or to gain a following. It was because of His intense compassion for people that He performed miracles. But His main mission was to teach and preach. When the crowds were searching for Him because of the many miracles He was doing,

Luke 4:42-43 ...He departed and went to a lonely place; and the multitudes were searching for Him, and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from going away from them. But He said to them, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose."

How sad that much of the church today has forsaken the teaching and preaching of Jesus and follows after miracles and wonders instead. I can't be emphatic enough here - miracles are not God's validation of a minister or a ministry. Furthermore, miracles are not even necessarily from God! The antichrist will have more miracles that you can shake a stick at - but all his power comes from satan. John the apostle wrote,

1John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

If you don't hold the miracle, the minister, the ministry, and the message up to the litmus test of the Bible, you will be deceived by false signs and lying wonders - I guarantee it.

13:5-6 Arrogant Words And Blasphemies

Now, the antichrist personally has one trait that is mentioned frequently in the Bible: He's got a really big, blasphemous mouth. In Daniel 7 it is mentioned three times that he has a mouth uttering great boastful words (Dan 7:8, 20, 11) We also read that...

Dan. 7:25 ...he will speak out against the Most High

He is described in Daniel 8:23 as a king who will arise, insolent and skilled in intrigue. And in Daniel 11, his big mouth is highlighted yet again,

Dan. 11:36 "Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god, and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.

Paul wrote of his committing the abomination of desolation, saying that he,

2Ths. 2:4 ...opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship

And John wrote,

1John 2:22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.

He's belligerently boastful and blatantly blasphemous.

Authority To Act For 42 Months (3 1/2 years)

In Daniel 7 we read,

Dan. 7:25 ...And he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.

That's the fancy Jewish way of saying one year, plus two years, plus a half a year - 3 1/2 years.

The antichrist will be a prominent player throughout all seven years, but the last three and a half all authority is given to him, and he uses it all to persecute the people of God.

Dan. 9:27 "And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations {will come} one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate."

At the 3 1/2 year mark, the antichrist commits the abomination of desolation, and from that day forward, being a Jew or a follower of Christ is a death warrant.

13:7 Overcoming the Saints

He will overcome the saints. This comes as no surprise, we've known that the antichrist will do this ever since Daniel 7:

Dan. 7:21-22 "I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom."

Dan. 7:25 And he will... wear down the saints of the Highest One

Dan. 8:24 ...And he will destroy to an extraordinary degree and prosper and perform his will; He will destroy mighty men and the holy people.

This is where it becomes essential to make the distinction between the church and those who become believers in Christ after the church age. The pre-Tribulation rapture marks the end of the church age. Although millions will come to Christ after this, they are not the church. They are Tribulation saints.

The church has a special promise from Jesus:

Matt. 16:18 "...I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it."

Believers in the Tribulation will be conquered by and large.

13:8-10 The Book of Life

Those whose names are written in the book of life will not worship the antichrist. If your name is not written in the book of life, you will not only worship the beast, but you will spend eternity in hell.

Rev. 20:15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Is your name written in the book of life today?

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