Revelation 13:11-18

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

August 13 , 1997

Introduction

The topic we're getting into is kind of a delicate one, it's the kind of stuff that people love to weave into "conspiracy theories".

Personally, I'm rather skeptical of all these conspiracy theories. I'm afraid that people are willing swallow just about anything they're fed. With the advent of the Internet, any person can set up their own website and begin to tell the world whatever they want, and there will be people who will believe it.

I also cringe when I hear Christians spending too much time trying to be the first one to reveal the antichrist, or some other "new" tidbit in prophecy.

I skimmed through a book a few weeks ago where the writer claimed that he knew beyond a doubt that King Juan Carlos of Spain was the antichrist, and then list supposedly irrefutable evidence to prove it.

I've come across websites that have claimed that they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Prince Charles of England was going to be the antichrist, also with lists of irrefutable proof.

Don't be looking for antichrist, be looking for Jesus Christ.

We can find value in studying these things, not so we can put a name to the face, but so we can see how close we are to the end.

And if we realize how close we are to the antichrist, we'll realize how close we are to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

We shouldn't be preparing for the coming of antichrist, we should be preparing for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

:11-18 The False Prophet

:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth

This is the second beast of the chapter.

The first beast, known as the antichrist, was described as "coming out of the sea", which we believe is a reference to the Mediterranean Sea.

The idea was that the antichrist will arise from the area around the Mediterranean Sea, his empire being a sort of revived Roman empire.

Some have suggested that while the "sea" referred to the Meditteranean, the "earth" might refer to the land of Israel (just a conjecture).

This second beast is an individual who will later be called the "false prophet".

(Rev 19:20 KJV) And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. (Also, Rev. 16:13; 20:10)

Whereas the antichrist is going to be primarily a political figure, this person will be known primarily as a religious figure.

Some have suggested that this person completes what is known as an "unholy trinity", Satan, antichrist, and the false prophet.

Satan taking the place of the Father, the antichrist being a sort of "son" to Satan, and the false prophet being the imitation Holy Spirit who draws attention to the son.

:11 and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

Two horns -

Up to this point, we've seen horns being a symbol of power, specifically that of kings.

We saw this with the description of the antichrist, as having ten horns:

(Rev 17:12 KJV) And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

Because of this, we might think that this beast somehow has a connection with two kings.

It could refer to the false prophet as having authority or power, and that as a lamb.

But it could be that the horns are no more symbolic than that they are parts of a lamb, and the point is that this beast "looks like a lamb" but "speaks like a dragon".

The horns on a lamb aren't particularly threatening, they're just stubs, just kind of cute.

Perhaps there's going to be a kind of authority, yet a kind of gentleness about this person.

There's certainly going to be a resemblance between this person and Jesus.

Jesus warned us about false prophets:

(Mat 24:24 KJV) For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Lesson:

Appearances can be deceiving.

It's not just what a person looks like, but what they really are saying.

Jesus said,

(Mat 7:15-17 KJV) Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. {16} Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? {17} Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

If anyone would take time to examine the fruit of these two, the antichrist and the false prophet, they would be simple to find out.

Keep in mind that the antichrist has been persecuting the Jews, killing multitudes of believers.

:12 and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

We see that this second beast is primarily a "worship leader", one whose purpose is to cause the world to worship the antichrist.

The trend watchers are saying that while there's a lot of interest in angels now, it's going to switch soon to a lot of interest in demons.

We saw a few weeks ago that the world will be worshipping Satan as they worship the antichrist.

(Rev 13:4 KJV) And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

:13 And he doeth great wonders

semeion- a sign, mark, token; of miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men sent by him, or by which men prove that the cause they are pleading is God's

This is the word that was used throughout the Gospel of John regarding the miracles of Jesus:

(John 2:11 KJV) This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

(John 20:30-31 KJV) And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: {31} But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

This is part of the Jewish mindset, part of what they need to know that a person is from God:

(Mat 12:38 KJV) Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

(1 Cor 1:22 KJV) For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

And when this false prophet comes on the scene, he will provide the kinds of miracles that the world is looking for.

Lesson:

Be cautious concerning miracles.

Miracles in themselves could be from God, or they could be from Satan.

There are churches that want to make a big deal about the supposed miracles in their church.

It's not that we don't want to see miracles in our midst, but that we're not here for miracles, we're here for Jesus.

God warned Israel:

(Deu 13:1-5 KJV) If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, {2} And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; {3} Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. {4} Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. {5} And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

Lesson:

Theology is more important than miracles.

As dry and boring as it sounds, this is God's concern, that we be more concerned about having a correct understanding of who He is, than whether or not there are miracles being displayed.

Again, we don't have to sacrifice miracles for theology, but it's important that we understand what's most important.

:13 so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

A copy of Elijah's ministry.

Elijah had the ability to call fire from heaven.

Perhaps this is a way of copying/refuting the two witnesses.

When Moses came before Pharaoh, the magicians of Egypt were able to copy the first couple of "miracles" with their own imitations.

Perhaps when the two witnesses are ministering and calling down fire from heaven, this man will do it to show that he's just as good as them.

Also as a way of validating the antichrist as the "messiah", by copying the tabernacle and temple fire from heaven.

When the tabernacle and the temple were both dedicated, God sent fire from heaven to consume the offerings on the altar.

This was to show the people that God accepted their worship, that God accepted their new mode of worship.

Perhaps this fire from heaven will be in some way tied to temple worship, which has been changed to worship the antichrist.

:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles

People will be deceived by these miracles.

People are looking for things to turn their heads, not the truth.

:14 that they should make an image to the beast

Aaron and the golden calf.

The people didn't want to wait for Moses to come down from the mountain, and so they made a graven image.

Nebuchadnezzar and his statue.

Neb. wasn't content with just being the "head of gold" (Dan. 2), but wanted to be the whole statue (Dan. 3).

He commanded everybody to bow down to his image.

Modern video imaging

From Chuck Missler:

Commando Solo - a big airplane with an 11 man crew and equipment to jam a country's radio and TV broadcasts and substitute them with their own broadcasts. During the Persian War, they broadcast news to Iraqi soldiers who then deserted their posts. Specialists of the 4th Psychological Operations Group of the U.S. Army are considering morphing the image of a country's leader and having him say anything they want. For example, to have Saddam Hussein drinking whiskey and eating pork, both forbidden in Islam.

:14 which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

We talked a few weeks ago about some possibilities with this:

If we view the first beast as a nation, it might refer in some way to a nation that kind of "comes back from the dead", perhaps something as if Germany were to become a world power once again (oops, already happened ).

If we view the first beast in the sense of an individual, it has been suggested that the antichrist would somehow survive an assassination attempt, perhaps to the point of appearing dead, then coming back to life, as a pseudo resurrection.

(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.

:15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast

life - pneuma - spirit, breath.

Re 13:15 (NAS) And there was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast

In a sense, we see Satan using this false prophet to imitate God's own abilities, that of giving life.

Man was created in the "image" of God.

God "breathed" into man, giving him life.

Could the "image" be fulfilled with cloning?

Conjecture - what if the "image" of the beast were a clone of the individual, something like someone producing a clone of Adolph Hitler (sounds like a movie plot ).

An interesting concept, especially since cloning has now occurred in animals.

:15 that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

It appears that the way the language is written, that the image of the beast not only has the ability to speak, but it also has the ability to put to death whoever does not worship the image of the beast.

This "image" isn't just some dumb old statue, but something that can communicate and make decisions.

Some think of computers, robots, artificial intelligence.

:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

mark - charagma (our word "character") - a stamp, an imprinted mark; a mark branded upon horses

Some people are overly worried about credit cards.

They ought to be more concerned about getting their hands stamped with a picture of Mickey Mouse at Disneyland!

Keep in mind, this is the false prophet that is causing the mark to be distributed.

I wonder if the fact that the mark will be on the right hand and forehead is somehow tied to the prophecy in Zechariah, where the wounds of the antichrists seem to be on the arm and the right eye.

Some have suggested that if our society moves to implanting some kind of microchip on people, it might be dangerous to put it on a person's hand, because you could just cut their hand off. But it would be a little more tricky if you implant on a person's forehead.

There is a sense in which this too is another counterfeit.

The Jews were supposed to wear God's law in little boxes on their hands and foreheads as a reminder of what He had done for them.

Exodus 13:9 And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand the LORD brought you out of Egypt.

Exodus 13:16 So it shall serve as a sign on your hand, and as phylacteries on your forehead, for with a powerful hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.

:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

There are one of three things that will be required to buy or sell:

The mark.

The name of the beast

The number of his name.

There's been a lot of talk over the years about the mark being some sort of numbering system, tied to electronic funds transfers, etc.

But keep in mind, the buying and selling have to do with the mark of the beast, the number of his name, not our own number.

I'm not so sure it's wrong to have credit cards and computers.

The mark we need to pay attention to (not that we're even going to be around), will be a mark that is tied to worship of the beast.

It's the beast's number, not yours.

The fact that we are moving towards a cashless society only shows that there's probably going to be a unique way that the antichrist will be able to cause this mark/number thing to work.

Warnings about taking the mark:

It's going to be dangerous to take the mark:

Re 14:9-12 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive [his] mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. 12 Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

Re 16:2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and [upon] them which worshipped his image.

Believers won't be taking the mark:

(Rev 20:4 KJV) And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast

understanding - nous - the mind, the understanding, or in a narrower sense as the ability to understand spiritual truth, or recognizing good and hating evil.

count - psephizo - to count with pebbles, to compute, calculate, reckon

Here's where some of these kook groups get you.

They'll say, "Don't you have a mind? Then you should be able to figure this out!"

Yet people have been trying for centuries to figure this one out.

It's not time yet:

(2 Th 2:7-8 NASB) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. {8} And 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;

I believe it's the work of the Spirit through the church that is hindering the antichrist.

When the church is out of here, then it will be clear just who he is.

:18 for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

it is the number of a man - could also be just as accurately translated, "it is the number of man".

There is no definite article, and in English is could be translated either way.

It's possible that one way of looking at this number is by taking the number of man, 6 (man created on the sixth day), and deifying it (three sixes).

666 - it is actually just three Greek letters, chi xi stigma, the 22d, 14th and an obsolete letter of the Greek alphabet (intermediate between the 5th and 6th), used as numbers

People have been trying for years to figure out what this means.

There are all sorts of systems, such as the Hebrew Gematria, where each letter of the alphabet has a numerical equivalent.

Here's some of the proposed antichrists:

1. Caesar Nero - You need to take the Hebrew alphabet and its standard numerical equivalents (1-10, then 10-100 by tens, then 200, 300, 400). If you spell it just write in Hebrew it comes to 666, but you might come up with 667 if you're not careful.

2. Titan - a mythological character. Here you take the Greek alphabet, similar numbering to the Hebrew, and voila, 666.

3. Kissinger - using English alphabet, numbering 1-26, then multiplying each number by 6 (man's number). My old Bible teacher in seminary has this lucky number too (Rosscup).

4. Hitler - a favorite during WWII, using the English alphabet again, but starting at 100 and going up to 125.

5. Another number game - six is the number of man, take six squared, or 36. Add up all the numbers from 1-36, they equal 666.

The theory is that you take the numerical equivalent of a person's name and add it all up.

Some tried Ronald Wilson Reagan (six letters in each name, hence, 6-6-6).

I've seen a system using Prince Charles' name as well.

The Solomon connection

I think it's interesting in chasing things like this down, to consider whether or not this number ever shows up anywhere else in Scripture.

It does, two other places, both about the same event:

1Ki 10:14 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold, (Also 2Ch 9:13)

In the past I've just thought that there was no connection between the two.

But what if there is a connection?

What if the antichrist is in some way similar to Solomon?

I wonder if it has anything to do with rebuilding the temple?

Maybe just as a great king who will restore in a way the kingdom of Israel to it's greatness.

Lesson:

Should I be worried about this number?

I don't think we ought to get too superstitious about this number.

Keep in mind, it's going to be in conjunction with worshipping this person.

There's also going to be clear warnings about taking this mark.

It's not just the number, it's what's associated with it that counts.