Revelation 13:3-10

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

July 23, 1997

Introduction

There are lots of different ways that people have come up with to look at the things in Revelation, some schemes are quite complex.

But to be fair, some of what Iíve been suggesting is really no than just suggestions.

I just want you to see the possibilities in the interpretation of the passage.

You need to be carefully taking what I suggest and weigh it against Scripture. Donít just take my word for it!

Last week

We saw a beast that looked like the dragon of chapter 12 (which we know to be Satan).

This beast had seven heads, ten horns, and ten crowns.

Our suggestion was that the seven heads might be the seven great Mediterranean-based world empires.

Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the one yet to come.

The ten horns seem a little more clearer, being ten kings that would be in a kind of confederacy with the antichristís kingdom, with the ten crowns showing their authority.

This beast came up out of the sea, which we believe to be the Mediterranean Sea.

The beast was similar to leopard, a bear, and a lion, three of the animals mentioned in Daniel 7, a very parallel passage to Revelation 13.

In this sense, following the parallels from Daniel 7, the beast is seen as a nation, not as an individual (the leopard was a picture of Greece, the bear was Persia, and the lion was Babylon).

We saw that this "beast" got itís authority from Satan himself.

Revelation 13 (contíd)

:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed

As weíve seen, there are different levels of interpretation in this passage. The "beast" at times seems to refer to an individual, yet at other times to a nation.

Here, this could have two ideas Ė

1. A nation will cease, then rise again.

If the heads do indeed represent empires, then this might refer to the fall of a nation, and itís rise back to power.

This might coincide with the fall of Rome, and a new, restored Roman empire made of the ten nations under the Antichristís rule.

Perhaps it could refer to a nation that was in decline, then comes back.

As if Germany took over again, or now even Russia.

2. The individual will die, then recover miraculously. (Zech.11:15-17)

The book of Zechariah talks about two shepherds, a good one and a bad one. The good one is Jesus Christ (Zech.13:7). The bad one is Antichrist.

(Zec 11:15-17 KJV) And the LORD said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd. {16} For, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, which shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that that is broken, nor feed that that standeth still: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces. {17} Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.

Because of this passage, it has been suggested that the Antichrist will have an assassination attempt made on his life, which will leave him scarred with a bad right arm and a blind right eye.

I know I always felt weird about Bob Doleís injured right arm!

Later on, in chapter 17, thereís another interesting description about the antichrist Ė

(Rev 17:8 KJV) The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

Itís an interesting play on words, very similar to the description often used of God:

(Rev 4:8 KJV) And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

:3 and all the world wondered after the beast.

wondered - thaumazo - to wonder at, marvel; to admire

Whatever it is that happens, the world is going to be admiring this "beast" (whether a nation or individual).

I donít believe that the antichrist is going to be a person that "reeks" of evil.

Heís going to be someone that everybody will want to put on their "top ten" list.

:4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast

worshipped - proskuneo - to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence; to worship

This hurts. This is one of our favorite words, our expression of our heart in worship that we give to God in our praise. And to think that the whole world will be giving worship to Satan.

I think itís possible that this might be done in one of two ways:

1. Directly - people will be worshiping Satan because of the Antichrist.

2. Indirectly - people will be following the Antichrist, and because he follows Satan, they will follow Satan.

This reminds me of the temptation that Jesus faced with Satan:

Mt 4:8-10 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Same Greek word. Jesus just said "no".

"serve" - to give service by performing spiritual worship duties as the priests in the temple, like praying, ministering to others.

Lesson:

Who do you serve?

I could probably come out on a bit legalistic trip here and try to condemn you for watching TV, going to movies, reading magazines, etc.

Thatís not where my heart is coming from.

Can you say that all that you do is aimed at being a servant of Jesus?

Iím not talking about being perfect, Iím talking about the direction your heart is pointing in.

:4 and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast?

Like father, like son.

The antichrist will want to be worshipped.

(2 Th 2:3-4 KJV) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; {4} Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

:4 who is able to make war with him?

The antichrist will be very shrewd when it comes to warfare.

We even have some future battles that heíll fight outlined for us by Daniel the prophet.

Daniel 11 -

This is an incredible overview of history from Danielís time until the time of Jesusí return. You can get more details from our Sunday night study on the chapter, but weíll just look at the section about the antichrist:

(Dan 11:36-45 KJV) And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.

Weíve already looked at these ideas tonight.

{37} Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.

Some have suggested that the antichrist might be Jewish, yet not a practicing Jew.

Some have suggested that the antichrist might be a homosexual.

Some have suggested that heís going to have marital difficulties (like Prince Charles and Diana).

{38} But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.

It is thought that this "god of forces" might be "military might", which the antichrist will honor with lots of money, building a large military ("who is able to make war with him?")

{39} Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.

The "strange god" might be Satan.

Dividing the land for gain has been thought to deal with dividing up Israel for the money.

Some look at the Palestinian peace process in this way, there has been monetary rewards offered for all the countries involved.

{40} And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.

You have to follow the flow of Daniel 11 to understand these kings, but the king of the south is Egypt, the king of the north is Syria.

They will attack Israel, which will have a treaty with the antichristís restored Roman empire.

In response to the attack on Israel, the antichrist will move his armies across Europe as he moves to rescue Israel.

{41} He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.

Though the antichrist will control Israel, some neighboring countries will remain out of his control, namely modern Jordan (Edom Ö).

I think this has to do with where the Jews have fled for refuge, according to Rev. 12, Is. 14, Is. 63, Math 24:15, etc.

{42} He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. {43} But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.

The antichrist will conquer Egypt and take itís wealth, and Ethiopia and Libya will also be taken over by him as well.

{44} But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.

It is thought that these "tiding out of the east" might include the huge army mentioned in Rev. 9:14-16; 16:12-16, possibly an army from China.

{45} And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.

The idea is that heíll set up his global headquarters in Israel, probably Jerusalem, which is between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

He will one day meet his end, when Jesus returns.

:5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies

great things - megala - great things.

This may not just be great in the sense that he speaks of himself arrogantly, but also in the sense that heís going to be a great orator. One of Hitlerís tools that led to his rise was his speaking ability. He knew that if he could be a great speaker, he could command a following. Hitler would mesmerize his crowds.

blasphemies - blasphemias - railing, slander; impious speech against God, blasphemy.

verse 6 tells us that he will slander Godís name and those who dwell in heaven.

We sometimes think that blasphemy is something outrageously evil like calling Jesus a dirty name. Not so.

Hereís some of what Antichrist will be saying:

1. Jesus is not the Christ.

I John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

He might be saying that Jesus is "a" christ.

He might say that Jesus wasnít God, but was a good guy.

2. Jesus didnít come in the flesh.

I John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

Another favorite today is that Jesus didnít have a real body, He was just a floating spirit (JWís).

3. I am God.

2Thessalonians 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.

This may not even come across as abrupt as "I alone am God", but might even be, "I am god, you are god, we all have god in us..."

Thatís what the New Age teaching says:

John Denver was taught by a man, Swami Muktananda, "Kneel to your own self. Honor and worship your own being. God dwells within you as You." Of Werner Erhard and Muktananda, Denver declared, "Theyíre gods and they know it...theyíre running the universe." Inspired by this insight, Denver expressed the goal that millions of Westerners now hold as the result of the influence of the gurus: "One of these days Iíll be so complete I wonít be a human. Iíll be a god." (Seduction, pg.58)

The Mormons teach that they will become "gods".

Even the "faith" teachers are teaching that we are "gods"

Kenneth Copeland says, "You donít have a God in you. You are one." (Seduction, pg.218-219)

Today

When the antichrist is around, we wonít be, but as you can see, we are already surrounded with his doctrine.

I John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

There is going to be a single "antichrist", yet the spirit of antichrist is all around us, deceiving people. We need to be aware and spiritually sensitive.

:5 and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

I believe this is talking about the authority that the antichrist will have over the last 3 Ĺ years.

This is the same 3 Ĺ years that the woman of chapter 12 (Israel) is hiding in the wilderness.

:6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

Weíve already seen some of this blasphemy.

:7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them

There are two teachings that this contradicts:

1. Post-tribulationism.

That the church will go through the tribulation and not be raptured until the end, but donít worry, God will protect you and there will be a race of super-saints, impervious to evil. Problem: the saints will be slaughtered left and right.

2. Reconstructionism

That the church needs to rise up and change this world. Donít wait for Jesus to come back and do it, do it now. Vote for Christians, change the laws, fight abortion, clean up the planet for Jesus. Problem: the antichrist is coming, heíll be killing the saints.

:7 and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

The Antichrist will have the ultimate world empire. He will rule the world. The battles at the end of the Tribulation are rebellions against his authority.

:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him

The Ecumenical Movement is a movement to unite all the churches of the world into one church. Nice thought. Maybe we can even unite all the religions of the world into one religion. It will happen.

Itís happening already. I get kind of squeamish when I hear about the Pope inviting Jewish rabbis, Muslim clerics, Hindu priests, etc. together for prayer.

The antichrist will be the ultimate unifier.

Lesson:

Donít look for antichrist, look for Jesus Christ!

Itís not uncommon for people to play the game of "Who is the Antichrist today?"

In my few years on the earth, Iíve seen lots of people pointed to.

During WWII, everyone was sure it was Hitler.

In the sixties, Kennedy was a favorite (some still think so!).

Other nominees have included Henry Kissinger, Ronald Reagan, King Juan Carlos of Spain, and a new one Iíve heard lately is Prince Charles of England.

Iím not sure anyone is going to know who the antichrist is for sure until the day that he steps into the temple, stops the sacrifice, and demands to be worshipped.

(Mat 24:15-16 KJV) When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) {16} Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

Itís not until the abomination of desolation that anyone is supposed to do any fleeing to the mountains!

When we see signs of the antichrist coming, it should only excite us to know that Jesus is coming too!

(Mat 24:32-33 KJV) Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: {33} So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

Itís Jesus weíre looking for, itís Jesus we keep our eyes on.

(Mat 24:42 KJV) Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

:8 whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

In other words, all those who have not been chose by God will fall under his deception.

How can I know if Iím chosen by God?

By whether or not youíve chosen Him.

No matter how you read it, we have been chosen before the world was even created. He knew you would chose Jesus Christ.

Spurgeon used to say, "In heaven, over the gates there is a sign that reads, "Whosoever will, come". And when you walk through the gates and look back, the other side of the sign says, "Predestined before the foundations of the world.""

Rejoice that God has chosen you.

Remember being chosen for kickball in grade school? How good it felt to be chosen and not just left over?

Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Lesson:

Be chosen, be a chooser.

If you havenít chosen Jesus, you can choose Him right now, then youíll know youíre chosen.

:9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.

Do you have an ear?

Then you should be paying attention.

Itís interesting to note that when we saw this phrase in chapters 2,3, it added the phrase, "what the Spirit says to the churches". Here itís missing. Maybe because by this time, the church has been long gone?

:10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

The idea is this Ė

Those people who will be trying to capture and kill believers, will one day be captured and killed themselves.

By God.

This is the thing we as believers wait for.

This is what we endure for.

Lesson:

Donít take your own revenge.

This is our "perseverance", what we can hold on to. God will make it all right in the end.

This is an exhortation to believers not to take revenge or seek to retaliate, God will make it right.

Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.