Revelation 2020 - Lesson 13

Chapter 13

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  • Tonight we return to the end of Chapter 12 to revisit something we learned at the end of last week

    • As we’ve been learning, at the mid-point of Tribulation the Lord makes a series of dramatic moves to prepare the Earth for the next 3.5 years

      • Among those dramatic moves is the establishment of a place of protection for the believing Jews on earth 

      • This place of protection, Botzrah or Petra, will become a fortress in the desert for the second half of Tribulation

      • The Lord supernaturally protects the remnant for 3.5 years in this place preventing the enemy from wiping out believing Israel

    • At the end of Chapter 12 we read this:

Rev. 12:17 So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
  • As I explained that text last week, Satan is now bound to the earth, which alerts him that his time is short

    • That realization sends him into a panic and enrages him against anyone who is aligned with God and against his purposes

  • His first target are the believing Jews, because as we will learn later, the Jewish people play a key part in God’s defeat of Satan

    • Satan attempts to end the existence of believing Jews on earth, but God won’t allow his plan to succeed 

    • Believing Jews are protected because God promises the Jewish nation that a believing remnant will always remain

Is. 37:31 “The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward.
Is. 37:32 “For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”’
  • God promises Israel that a remnant (meaning a group of believing Jews) will always exist by God’s power

    • Paul tells us in Romans that this has always been the case

Rom. 11:1  I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
Rom. 11:2 God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel?
Rom. 11:4 But what is the divine response to him? “I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.”
Rom. 11:5 In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice.
  • As Paul said in Romans, the remnant of Israel is always preserved by God’s grace ensuring faith remains alive in the nation

    • In Elijah’s day believing Jews were still present in the nation despite Elijah’s assumptions to the contrary

    • Today, that remnant is part of the body of Christ, the Church, consisting of Jews who come to faith in Jesus Christ

    • And in the Tribulation, it will be the same with Jews who have heard the Gospel and believed in Jesus after the Rapture

  • So the Jewish people have always and will always include a minority with saving faith, called the remnant

    • And in the time of Tribulation, God’s protection takes the form of a fortress in Petra to preserve the remnant until Jesus returns

    • And since Satan cannot wipe out the remnant as it sits in God’s protective custody, he must direct his anger elsewhere

  • That leads him to attack two other groups who oppose him on the basis of faith

    • The first group Satan attacks are those who keep to the commandments of God, which means those who maintain a faith in the Mosaic Law

      • The commandments of God is a reference to the Law of Moses

      • So this first group are Jews who continue to worship Yahweh, the God of Israel, through the keeping of the Mosaic Law 

    • However, these Jews are not yet believing in Jesus as their Messiah

      • If they had believed, they would have been included in the remnant that was delivered into Petra for protection

      • But because they are devoted Jews without protection, they oppose Satan on earth

      • Therefore they are persecuted and murdered by Satan through human agents under Satan’s control

  • Then we have the second group which are those who hold to the testimony of Jesus

    • As I said last week, this group are principally Gentiles who have come to faith in Jesus after the Rapture

      • But Gentile believers on earth are not given the same protection as Jewish believers during Tribulation 

      • Many Gentile believers will be attacked and martyred as a result of their faith

      • And we’ve already seen evidence of their deaths in the earlier chapters of Revelation – as souls under the altar in Heaven

    • This may seem unfair, but remember there is no promise from God to preserve a Gentile remnant on earth

      • Moreover, the plan of God for Christ’s return and the defeat of Satan does not depend on Gentile believers as it does Jews

      • So preserving a believing remnant of Gentiles on earth is not necessary to God’s plan

      • Nevertheless, as we will see, a group of Gentile believers do manage to survive until the end though most will die

    • Moreover, dying is not a bad outcome for those who live during the second half of Tribulation according to Revelation 14

      • We will come back to the implications of martyrdom when we get to Chapter 14

      • And also in Chapter 14 we learn about yet another group that is persecuted and does not receive protection after mid-tribulation

  • Meanwhile, let’s move to the next stage of action also taking place at the mid-tribulation moment

Rev. 13:1 And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore.  Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.
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. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.
  • Chapter 13 opens with some familiar symbols and some new symbols, which tells us that a story is building and new details are being added

    • We have our dragon again, which we know is Satan

    • He is confined to the earth and engaged in persecuting believers and Jews alike 

  • But as I said a moment ago, he does his work through the agency of human beings he controls and directs

    • Satan has always worked this way, most obviously with Judas betraying Christ, and he will do the same in Tribulation 

    • But at the mid-point of Tribulation, his tactics reach a new level, brought about by his casting down from Heaven

    • And Chapter 13 is the story of how Satan’s methods change dramatically at mid-Tribulation 

  • That story centers on a familiar character, called the beast

    • I say this character is familiar because he has already appeared in the book of Revelation in earlier chapters

    • Most specifically, a beast was mentioned in passing in Revelation 11, as the one who killed the two witnesses at mid-Tribulation

    • Now we will learn how it is that someone could obtain the power to defeat those two men when no one else could

  • And this beast also appeared in an earlier chapter of Revelation, though at that time he wasn’t being called the beast

    • He was riding the horses that opened the seal judgments

    • In those earlier references, he wasn’t called the beast because he had not yet risen to a place of prominence

    • Now we learn in Chapter 13 how that man’s rise to world domination happens

  • It starts with the dragon again standing on the shores of a sea, and the beast rising out of the sea

    • We know the dragon is Satan, so the suggestion is that the beast’s rise to power is made possible by Satan’s power

      • So what does it mean that the beast rises from the sea

      • Remembering our rules of interpreting symbols, we consult Scripture for the answer

      • And in this case, the answer comes easily because we should remember what we learned in Daniel 7

Dan. 7:1  In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind as he lay on his bed; then he wrote the dream down and related the following summary of it.
Dan. 7:2 Daniel said, “I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea.
Dan. 7:3 “And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another.
  • A beast coming up out of the sea is clearly defined in Daniel 7 as meaning a Gentile nation, or in this case a Gentile ruler coming into power

    • In fact, the use of the term “beast” to describe this world leader is a clear and obvious reference back to Daniel 7

    • So immediately we recognize that this chapter is closely tied to Daniel 7

    • And therefore, as we consider the symbols in this chapter, we will look back at Daniel 7 frequently to understand their meaning

  • In v.1 we’re told that the beast of Revelation 13 has features that are very similar to one of the four beasts described in Daniel 7, and to the dragon

    • The beast is a Frankenstein monster of other animals parts including a lion, bear, and a leopard

    • This beast also has ten horns and seven heads and there are ten crowns on the horns

    • And on the seven heads were blasphemous names

  • Before we go any further in understanding those symbols, let’s revisit the description of the four beasts in Daniel 7

Dan. 7:3 “And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another.
Dan. 7:4 “The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it.
Dan. 7:5 “And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much meat!’
Dan. 7:6 “After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, 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.
Dan. 7:7 “After this I kept looking in the night visions, and 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.
Dan. 7:8 “While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts.
  • When we studied Daniel 7, we learned that the four beasts each represent a world dominating empire

    • The lion represented Babylon, the bear was Medo-Persia, the leopard was Greece

      • The fourth beast was altogether different with multiple horns

      • Notice that in the description of the beast of Revelation 13, we see elements of all these creatures represented in that beast

      • He has features of the lion, bear, leopard and the fourth unnamed beast of Daniel 7

    • The implication is clear: the beast of Revelation 13 is the embodiment of the Age of the Gentiles

      • He is the final and most powerful leader of the Age of the Gentiles, which is why he has the features of the fourth beast

      • And he is also the one who fulfills the overall purpose of the age, which is to hold Israel under Gentile rule until Christ’s return

      • At the conclusion of the beast’s rule, Jesus will return

    • This beast is the final world ruler that Daniel 7 told us would end the fourth kingdom and the age of the Gentiles

Dan. 7:23  “Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it.
Dan. 7:24 ‘As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings.
Dan. 7:25 ‘He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, 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.
Dan. 7:26 ‘But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever.
Dan. 7:27 ‘Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’
  • So recognizing the connection with Daniel 7, we can begin to form a story from the symbols opening this chapter  

    • At mid-Tribulation Satan will permit a world ruler, called the beast, to rise to power in fulfillment of Daniel 7

      • That world ruler will be the final world ruler of this age and he brings Daniel’s prophecy full circle 

      • Just as the age began with one, dominant world ruler, Nebuchadnezzar, so it will end the same with the beast

      • This man is depicted with features of the lion, bear and leopard because he inherits and succeeds all previous kingdoms

      • He embodies all that the age of the Gentiles stands for

    • The beast’s rise to power is made possible by Satan’s power

      • In v.2 we’re told Satan gives the beast his throne and great authority on the earth

      • But notice the dragon also gives his power to the beast, which indicates that something new is happening here as well

      • The beast literally becomes as powerful as Satan himself

      • And the only way for that to happen would be if Satan and the beast become one 

  • Now at this point we would want to know the meaning of the beasts, horns and heads and crowns?

    • Obviously, they have great similarity to those of the dragon, and we might be tempted to make a direct comparison

      • But then we notice the arrangement of these symbols is slightly different so that means the meaning must be different too

      • Both have ten horns and seven heads but Satan wears crowns on the heads while the beast wears crowns on the horns 

    • If we follow our rules of interpretation we find the answer given elsewhere in this book, in Revelation 17

      • Rather than skipping ahead, we will wait for our answer until we get to that chapter

      • However, that will make interpreting the next verse a little tricky since it focuses on one of these details: the heads

      • In the next verse we learn how it is that Satan brings this world leader to rule over the planet

Rev. 13:3 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;
  • One of the heads of the beast is slain, but we don’t know what the heads represent

    • To make our study of this chapter easier, I will simply tell you now that the slain head represents the Antichrist himself

      • When we get to Chapter 17, we’ll unpack the meaning of these symbols carefully 

      • And at that time, we will learn that these heads represent seven world leaders, the seventh representing the Antichrist himself

    • Therefore, the death of a head on the beast represents the Antichrist himself dying, being killed by someone or something at mid-Tribulation 

      • Now that’s a stunning event, because it seems to run against everything we’ve been learning so far

      • Daniel said the Antichrist would rise to power at the mid-point of Tribulation and rule for 3.5 years

      • And we’ve already learned one verse earlier that the beast would receive the power and authority of the beast

      • So how does his dying fit into that plan?

  • Remember, during the first half of Tribulation the Antichrist begins his rise as a political and military leader

    • He is not one of the ten world leaders of that time, since Daniel 7 tells us he will be an eleventh ruler

      • Instead, he comes into power by negotiating a covenant to permit Israel to return to sacrifice according to Daniel 9

      • And he consolidates his power through threats of war and military conquest according to Revelation 6

    • Now we learn that as he reaches the height of his power, the Antichrist will suffer a head wound that is fatal

      • Notice the language in v.3 carefully: his would is “fatal” and by definition, a fatal wound means the body dies

      • But then it says that his fatal wound is healed

      • The only way a fatal wound is healed is if the body dies and then returns to life

    • And in v.3 the Greek language confirms this interpretation, because the Greek words for “as if slain” are hos sphazo

      • These are the same Greek words used back in Revelation 5 to describe Jesus in the throne room

Rev. 5:6  And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.
  • At that time, I told you that the phrase “standing as if slain” was a euphemism for resurrection 

    • So here we find the same phrase meaning the same thing: the Antichrist is killed and then is resurrected

    • We don’t know what kills the Antichrist exactly, but we can make an educated guess

  • Daniel 7 told us that as the Antichrist rises to prominence, he subdues three of the world leaders and becomes king of the world

    • So perhaps his rapid rise to power leads three of the world leaders to conspire to assassinate the Antichrist 

    • They succeed and it appears that the world is safe until the Antichrist is resurrected and then removes the three kings

  • How can the Antichrist accomplish a resurrection? Obviously, that would depend on supernatural power

    • God has the power to bring a dead body back to life, but in this case He isn’t the One doing the work

      • Instead, the Lord allows Satan to do something he has long desired to do 

      • God permits Satan to indwell the body of the Antichrist bringing the man back to life for the remainder of the Tribulation

      • Moreover, Satan indwells the Antichrist taking up residence in the man’s body

    • This is what v.2 meant when it said that the dragon gives his power to the beast

      • Satan literally puts himself and his power inside this man, which is how he may bring the man back to life 

      • Having been resurrected, the beast is now even more powerful than he was before 

      • And through this union, Satan becomes the object of the world’s attention and worship

  • Notice how the world reacts to this stunning development 

Rev. 13:4 they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?”
  • The resurrection of the Antichrist leads the world to say who can be like the beast and who could wage war with him?

    • And as a result the world worships the beast as we would expect 

    • But notice also that the world begins to worship the dragon, which suggests they begin worshipping a god behind the scene

  • Remember, Satan is now confined to the earth, so this is his only domain now

    • And by taking up residence in the body of the Antichrist, Satan assumes a physical form to gain control over the world

    • So the Antichrist and the “god” giving him his power become the objects of the world’s devotion and worship

  • Paul taught that this would happen

2Th. 2:8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;
2Th. 2:9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,
  • The one that Jesus slays at His coming is the same one whose coming into power is done in accord with the activity of Satan

    • Now we see how that activity happens, as Satan takes advantage of the Antichrist’s death to bring about his resurrection 

    • In fact, since we know that Satan has control of the ten world leaders, we must assume that Satan orchestrated the whole thing

    • He lead three kings to kill the Antichrist so that he could then resurrect the man and set his plan in motion 

  • This is the moment when the Antichrist becomes the ruler of the world at mid-Tribulation

    • And now we find the reason the man is called the Antichrist

      • He is a man who makes the claim to be Christ on the basis of his resurrection

      • John told us he is called Antichrist because he opposes Jesus and because he is indwelled by the spirit of the antichrist

      • And now we see he is an antichrist because he is a counterfeit Christ

    • This is also confirmed by Paul

2Th. 2:3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
2Th. 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
  • Paul said the Antichrist would claim to be God and take a seat in the newly built Jewish temple, claiming to be the Christ

    • And Daniel told us to expect the same thing 

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.
Dan. 11:37 “He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all.
Dan. 11:38 “But instead he will honor a god of fortresses, a god whom his fathers did not know; he will honor him with gold, silver, costly stones and treasures.
Dan. 11:39 “He will take action against the strongest of fortresses with the help of a foreign god; he will give great honor to those who acknowledge him and will cause them to rule over the many, and will parcel out land for a price.
  • Daniel told us that the antichrist would magnify himself above every god and speak blasphemous things

    • He will show no regard for the religions of the world because he will claim to be above the religions of the world

    • He will claim to be the Messiah, the Christ

  • But in reality, the Antichrist will honor a god of fortresses, which is a reference to the god of the world, Satan

    • With the help of this foreign god, the Antichrist will take control of the strongest of the world’s fortresses

    • He will also put an end to worship of any other god or religion so that all worship is directed to his god, Satan

  • And in Daniel 9 we learned that his rise to power includes the ending of sacrifice in the temple, because he alone will be the god of earth

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.” 
  • The end of sacrifice in the Temple happens at the middle of the week, and it coincides with an abomination that makes the Temple desolate

    • So the Antichrist stops Jewish sacrifice in the Temple because he claims such sacrifices are no longer necessary

    • He is god on the earth, so he takes his seat in the temple, as Paul says, displaying himself to be god

    • That is the beginning of the abomination in the temple

  • It’s the same moment Jesus was thinking about in Matthew 24 when He warned the Jews to flee to the mountains

Matt. 24:15 “Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),
Matt. 24:16 then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.
  • In Isaiah 28, the prophet warns Israel that their agreement with this man of the enemy will come back to haunt them

Is. 28:14 Therefore, hear the word of the LORD, O scoffers, 
Who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, 
Is. 28:15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, 
And with Sheol we have made a pact. 
The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by, 
For we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception.” 
Is. 28:18 “Your  covenant with death will be canceled, 
And your pact with Sheol will not stand; 
When the overwhelming scourge passes through, 
Then you become its trampling place.
  • In Isaiah 28, the prophet warns Israel that their agreement with this man of the enemy will come back to haunt them

  • So at mid-Tribulation the Antichrist is murdered, probably by three of the kings

    • Satan resurrects the Antichrist’s body and through this resurrection, the Antichrist claims to be the real Christ

      • He subdues the three kings that killed him and the other seven kings fall into line under him

      • He gains a worldwide following claiming to be god and directs the world to worship the god who gave him his power, Satan

    • Claiming to be God, the Antichrist enters the Tribulation Temple, runs the Jews out, and seats himself in the mercy seat

      • He desolates the temple and ends sacrifice there and puts an end to other worship 

      • And we now see how these turn of events fit with the events we studied in Chapters 11 and 12

    • In Chapter 11, the two witnesses are killed by the beast, and now we know how the beast had the power to do that

      • He was resurrected by Satan and with Satan indwelling him he has the power to kill the witnesses

      • Remember, the beast is celebrated for ending the terror of these men, and that would only add to the world’s desire to worship

    • So the Antichrist will be celebrated at mid-tribulation as the risen Christ and as the savior of the world 

      • He ended the terror of the judgments that the world has associated with those two witnesses

      • And He has established a new worldwide kingdom under his rule with one system of worship centered on him and his god

  • All of these details are further confirmed in Revelation 13

Rev. 13:5 There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.
Rev. 13:6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.
Rev. 13:7 It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.
Rev. 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.
Rev. 13:9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear.
Rev. 13:10 If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.
  • First, we come to that tell-tale indication that this chapter is describing events of the mid-point of Tribulation

    • In this case it’s expressed as forty-two months but that is exactly 3.5 years

      • And as Daniel foretold, once the Antichrist rises to power, he will speak arrogant and blasphemous things for forty two months

      • Paul told us to expect the same things of course

    • And the effect of the Antichrist’s resurrection and claims to be God are immediate and profound

      • The world is now set against anyone who would deny the truth of these claims

      • Remember at the end of Chapter 12 we learned that Satan went off to make war with Jews and with Christians

    • Now we see how that war will be prosecuted…Satan will use the Antichrist as his agent to leads those attacks

      • The Antichrist will bring the world to his side then use them to hunt down and kill anyone who will not worship him as god

      • And this war will largely be successful, because we’re told he is given authority over the people of the world 

    • Obviously, those who have come to know Jesus as Lord will not accept that the Antichrist is god and therefore they will not worship him

      • As a result, he overcomes the saints and make martyrs of believers who refuse to obey him

      • The rest of the world will fall in line and worship the beast as their god

  • Notice in v.8 everyone on the earth who were not recorded in the Lamb’s book of life from the foundations of the earth will worship the beast

    • Those who are recorded in the Lamb’s book refers to the elect of God, those who are saved by His grace

      • Consider carefully what this verse is indicating…if someone begins to worship the beast, they will never be saved

      • This moment at mid-Tribulation becomes a dividing point not only in the timeline of Tribulation but of humanity

      • From this point onward, those who worship the beast are unsaveable while those who refuse to worship are martyred

    • There is no third option so there is no hiding or avoiding a fate one way or the other

      • It’s worship the beast and live but be condemned 

      • Or worship Jesus and die, but have eternal life

    • John sums up this truth in v.9 with the iconic Biblical call to believe: if anyone has an ear (to hear the truth of God), let him hear (or believe)

      • This seems to be a call to the Tribulation citizen reading this book to believe while they still can

      • We will study the issue of the end of evangelism and belief at mid-tribulation in detail next week in Chapter 14

  • Then in v.10 comes a sobering reality of the last half of Tribulation, that if a saint is destined to be taken into captivity, then that’s where he/she will go

    • And if saint attempts to fight back against the Antichrist, then they are destined to die in the fight

      • There will be no resisting the power of the Antichrist for the time God has appointed for his rule

      • This ruler is one God has permitted to have absolute control over the world for 3½ years

    • And nothing the saints can do will impede his rule, so John says this is the perseverance of the saints

      • It could also be translated the endurance or patience of the saints

      • Which means if you enter mid-Tribulation as a saint, you must understand and accept the fate you are now facing

      • You will likely be a martyr and this is God’s appointed outcome

      • But later in Revelation we hear that it’s better to die at this point than to live through what is coming

  • So with a recap, we now we move to introduction of yet another character of mid-tribulation 

Rev. 13:11  Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon.
Rev. 13:12 He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.
Rev. 13:13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men.
Rev. 13:14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, 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.
  • Another beast emerges this time from the earth and not the sea, which indicates this beast is not connected to Daniel’s prophecy in Chapter 7

    • The beast is pictured as a combination of a lamb and a dragon

      • Using what we already know of these symbols, we can put a narrative to the images

    • A lamb is used in Scripture as a picture of Christ in his ministry as the dying prophet sent to be sacrificed (i.e., the Lamb of God)

      • And of course having a mouth of the dragon means he speaks for Satan

      • So this man will appear to be a prophet of the Antichrist’s god having been raised up by Satan to be his spokesman 

    • We commonly call this second beast the False Prophet of Tribulation for this reason

      • John says in v.12 he will exercise (or carry or bear) the authority of the Antichrist in the Antichrist’s presence

      • Which means he will accompany the Antichrist and perform miraculous signs by the power of Satan

  • We’re learning that Satan raises up a second man at mid-Tribulation, someone we haven’t heard about before

    • This second man will work hand-in-hand with the Antichrist to further the deception and further prompt the world’s worship of Satan

      • The False Prophet calls upon the world to worship the Antichrist as God, John says 

      • And his message is reinforced by a power to call fire down from heaven

      • His miraculous displays are further proof to the world that the Antichrist is god

    • But notice that he is only able to perform these miracles when he is in the presence of the Antichrist

      • This tells us that the power for these miracles is coming directly from Satan who is indwelling the Antichrist

      • Remember, Satan is not God, he is a created being, so he is not omnipresent and can only be in one place at one time

    • Moreover, Satan is currently indwelling the Antichrist’s body, so Satan can only be where the Antichrist is

      • Therefore, Satan can’t know what the false prophet is doing unless the Antichrist is nearby to watch him

      • And so the false prophet can’t perform miracles except in the presence of the Antichrist so that Satan is able to intervene

  • Then in v.14 we hear that the false prophet commands that an image of the resurrected Antichrist be constructed

    • This is a classic counterfeit maneuver that Satan has used since the fall of mankind

      • Icons, statues, relics and other physical forms of representing God are classic attempts by Satan to trap mankind in idolatry

      • Many churches today display icons of the resurrected Christ, and all false religions depend heavily on icons and figures

      • That’s why early in the ten commandments the Lord forbids setting up such things in our worship practices

    • And once again, Satan will have his representative, the false prophet, set up an image in the temple

      • The image will represent the Antichrist and give focus to the world’s worship when the Antichrist himself isn’t present

      • So the world will stream to the former-Jewish temple to worship the image of the beast

    • And this image will compel worship in a way that no image has likely done before

Rev. 13:15 And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 
Rev. 13:16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 
Rev. 13:17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. 
Rev. 13:18  Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.
  • The false prophet, by the power of Satan, gives some kind of life to this image

    • The image has breath and can speak and kill those who will not worship the beast

      • What could be responsible for this supernatural display?

      • One simple answer could be demonic activity, so that demons animate the image and give it the appearance of life

      • Remember, Satan is the father of lies, so everything he does is a charade and an imitation

    • From Daniel 12, we learn that this statue is the abomination of desolation that Jesus refers to in Matthew 24

Dan. 12:11 “From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.
  • The abomination of the temple begins with the Antichrist sitting in the mercy seat of the temple

    • But Daniel says there is an on-going abomination of desolation in the temple that is “set up”, indicating something put in place

    • That something is this statue brought alive by demonic activity

  • Finally, the false prophet enforces the command to worship the Antichrist through economic means

    • Every human being on earth must take a mark on the right hand or the forehead in order to buy or sell anything

    • The mark is similar to the sealing given to those who were God’s 144,000 bondservants in Chapter 7

    • That mark was the seal of the living God protecting them from harm for a time

  • So Satan, the great counterfeit, mimics God once again by developing his own counterfeit the mark for unbelievers 

    • And those who take the mark will be protected from Satan’s wrath and will be allowed to buy and sell

    • But those who refuse the mark will be killed (later in Revelation 20 we learn they are killed by beheading)

  • This further confirms that at mid-Tribulation there will be no more hiding or equivocating 

    • You are either believing in the Christ, in which case you will be persecuted and many will die

    • Or you are believing in the Antichrist, in which case you become the persecutor and are no longer eligible for God’s grace

  • While the 144,000 of Chapter 7 were sealed with the seal of the living God, unbelievers will take a mark bearing the name of the Antichrist John says

    • The mark will be represented by a number which John says is the number of the Antichrist’s name

      • Numbering a name is a uniquely Jewish way of turning a word into a mathematical quantity 

      • It starts by assigning a numerical value to each letter in the Hebrew alphabet

    • The Hebrew alphabet uses 22 characters but they aren’t numbered 1-22

      • Instead, the numbering scheme begins with 1-10, then moves to 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, then ends with 200, 300, & 400

      • So by adding up the letters in a person’s Hebrew name, you can arrive at a single value

      • For example, if we add up the Hebrew letters associated with Jesus’ full name and title (Jesus the Messiah), we arrive at 749

    • Keep in mind this system only works with Hebrew names, so the Antichrist’s name (whatever it will be) must be written in Hebrew

      • Once it is translated into Hebrew, then someone who knows Hebrew could calculate the number of his name

      • When his name is calculated, John says it will add up to 666

    • The number 6 in Scripture is the number of fallen or sinful man

      • And in Hebrew writing, to double a number means “more” and to triple a number means “most”

      • So 666 is the most sin or the most sinful man, and of course he is the world’s most sinful man because he is indwelled by Satan 

    • Only the world alive at mid-tribulation will be able to perform this calculation and confirm the identity of the Antichrist 

      • Statistically, many different Jewish names can add up to any particular number 

      • So we could imagine an uncountable number of Jewish names that might add up to 666 and learn nothing through the effort

      • Only after we have a name in Hebrew can we then verify if it adds up to the required number

  • Finally, we can look back on the activities of Chapter 13 and find an interesting pattern

    • We find Satan engaged in perhaps his biggest counterfeit of all time

      • First, we have a dragon, Satan, acting as the god of the world and  the unseen power behind everything

      • He raises up a beast, the Antichrist, to serve as the focus of the world’s worship

      • He causes the death and resurrection of the man to convince the world that the beast is a christ 

    • Then he is raises up another man to display supernatural power to create signs and wonders 

      • The second beast’s purpose is to lead the world to worship the Antichrist

      • Moreover, the false prophet gives all the Antichrist’s followers a mark indicating their faith in the Antichrist

    • All these patterns are direct counterfeits to the way the real God of Heaven operates with His followers

      • The Father is our invisible God above all

      • Christ is the Son He raised up and all worship is directed toward Him

      • And the Spirit of God leads the world to worship Jesus and marks believers by indwelling them 

    • Satan has created a false trinity to mirror the real trinity

      • The Christ is imitated by the Antichrist

      • The Holy Spirit is imitated by the False Prophet

      • And the invisible Father is Satan himself

  • So at mid-Tribulation the world is now faced with the prospect of choosing the false trinity or the real one

    • And everyone is now required to make that choice one way or another

      • Next week we see the effect of this forced choice and the end of evangelism on earth