Revelation 13:1-2

Sunday Morning Bible Study

March 4, 2012


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

The apostle John found himself caught up into heaven before the throne of God.

He saw Jesus take a scroll from the hand of God that had been sealed with seven seals.

As Jesus broke each seal and unrolled the scroll a little further, events begin to take place on the earth and the time that we call the Tribulation begins to unfold.

The Tribulation is a time when God’s wrath is poured out on an unbelieving world and God begins to make right all the things that have been so wrong.

For the last couple of chapters we’ve been looking at various events that are connected to the middle of the Tribulation period when the antichrist reveals himself to be pure evil.

We’ve seen the ministry of the Two Witnesses in Rev. 11.

Last week in Rev. 12 we looked at a section that told a symbolic story of the great cosmic battle between the seven-headed dragon Satan and the nation of Israel.

In the middle of the Tribulation period there will be a war in heaven where Satan is kicked out and thrown to the earth.
When Satan was unable to destroy the Jewish believers who had fled from Jerusalem …
(Re 12:17 NKJV) And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
One of the ways this will happen is through the antichrist.

Before we enter a chapter that looks more closely at the antichrist, we need to set the stage with some prophetic background from the book of Daniel.

Daniel 2 (turn to it)

King Nebuchadnezzar had a really weird dream, and not only needed someone to interpret it, but even to tell him what it was.  Daniel was the man …

Neb’s dream was about a statue with four parts to it, and this statue was destroyed by a mysterious rock.  Daniel explained that these four parts of the statue were four world empires, one after another. Daniel explains to Nebuchadnezzar…

(Da 2:37–45 NKJV) —37 You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38 and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all— you are this head of gold.

Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian empire was the statue’s head of gold.  This would be the first empire, the one current with the time of Daniel.

39 But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.

As silver is inferior to gold, the Medo-Persian empire would be inferior to Nebuchadnezzar’s empire.  It was the second empire.

The bronze kingdom was that of Greece, the third empire.

40 And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others.

The fourth empire is going to be a little more complex because it not only has legs, but feet and toes.  It represents the Roman Empire.

41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay.

This fourth empire had a section different from the legs, it had feet and toes which were made of a different substance.

As we’ll see, this will be the Antichrist’s empire, a form of the older Roman Empire, yet made of slightly different stuff.  This is one of those prophetic “skips” through time where there is a huge gap of hundreds of years between the legs and the feet, when an ancient empire shows up in another form.

Note that two feet usually contain ten toes.

42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile.

There will be some strengths and weaknesses in the kingdom.  Some see this mixture of materials as a kind of weak confederacy or union of nations.  The idea is that different things are mixed and held together.

43 As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. 45 Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”

The stone cut without hands is Jesus Christ, who will come to set up His kingdom, and will destroy the other kingdoms.

Important points:

There is a set of four empires, with a fifth empire being related to, yet different from the fourth.

Progression along the body parts is equal to the progression through time.

The further down you go down the body, the later the time is.

Ten toes, related to Rome.

Daniel 7

In this chapter, we’re going to see lots of parallels with Daniel 2, but this is going to be a vision that Daniel himself receives, along with some interpretation.

(Da 7:1–28 NKJV) —1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts. 2 Daniel spoke, saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. 3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.

Daniel’s vision is going to be about the same four world empires, but here they’re going to be pictured as beasts instead of body parts.

These four beasts all come out of the “Great Sea”, which is most likely a reference to the Mediterranean Sea.

All four of these world empires touch the Mediterranean at some point.

4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.

LION:  This is again the Babylonian Empire.  The “man’s heart” is a picture of Nebuchadnezzar as he went through his conversion in Daniel 4.

5 “And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’

BEAR:  This was the Medo-Persian Empire, in which the Persian portion became more dominant through time.  The ribs are the three major nations that were conquered to form its empire: Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt.

6 “After this I looked, and there was another, 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.

LEOPARD:  This was the Greek Empire under the leadership of Alexander the Great.  The Grecian Empire was later divided into four kingdoms with four kings after Alexander’s death.

7 “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.

BEAST FOUR:  This was the Roman Empire.  Note that just as the statue in Dan.2 had ten toes, this beast has ten horns.  It isn’t compared to any known animal.

8 I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.

This “little horn” is the person of the antichrist.  He’s got a mouth on him.

9 “I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire;

The Ancient of Days is God the Father.

10 A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened. 11 “I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. 13 I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.

Jesus Christ taking dominion over the earth!

15 “I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. 16 I came near to one of those who stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things: 17 Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.’ 19 Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet; 20 and the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows. 21 “I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom. 23 “Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast shall be A fourth kingdom on earth, Which shall be different from all other kingdoms, And shall devour the whole earth, Trample it and break it in pieces. 24 The ten horns are ten kings Who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones, And shall subdue three kings.

The ten horns are ten kings that arise from the older, Roman Empire.

The “little” horn, the antichrist, will “subdue”, or apparently conquer three of the ten kings.

25 He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time.

The antichrist will speak blasphemous things against God.  He will persecute the “saints” – believing Jews.

In changing times and laws, it is thought this might refer to the taking away of the temple sacrifices, the morning and evening offerings, etc.

He is given authority for time, times, half a time (or, 3 ˝ years)

26 ‘But the court shall be seated, And they shall take away his dominion, To consume and destroy it forever. 27 Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.’ 28 “This is the end of the account. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly troubled me, and my countenance changed; but I kept the matter in my heart.”

In the end, antichrist will be destroyed.

Important points:

The progression of the four empires.

The empires come out of what region?  The Mediterranean Sea.

The first three empires are represented by what animals?  A lion, bear, and a leopard.

The fourth, Roman Empire will have a latter form with ten kings

A smaller king (antichrist) will come from this Roman empire.

Revelation 13:1-2  The Beast

:1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea.

:1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea

Some of your Bibles read “the dragon stood on the sand…” There is a single letter discrepancy among some of the ancient Greek manuscripts.  We’re not going to spend time worrying about it…

Some of the translations have “Then I stood on the sand of the sea”, and some of them say “Then he stood on the sand of the sea”.  Some even say, “Then the dragon stood on the sand of the sea”.  Some have all this in verse 1 of chapter 13, others have it in a verse 18 of chapter 12.

What’s this all about?  Why the confusion?

Our English New Testament is translated from the original Greek.  We do not have John’s original handwritten copy of Revelation, but only copies of copies of copies.  We actually have thousands of these ancient copies, but they are just copies.  And from time to time there are going to be small, minor differences between some of the thousands of ancient Greek manuscripts that we have.
In this case, the difference is a single letter at the end of a word.  Some manuscripts have the Greek word “estathen”, meaning “I stood”, and some manuscripts have the Greek word “estathe”, meaning “he stood” – which in context would be the dragon back in chapter 12.

Is the Bible reliable?  Is this a problem?

The Bible is extremely reliable.  There are places like this where a letter is missing or a word is spelled differently, there are even a few places where entire verses are not in some of the manuscripts, but there are no discrepancies where any major doctrines are involved.
When you compare the manuscript evidence of the New Testament against other ancient documents, the New Testament is overwhelmingly accurate and solid.

:1 And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.

:1 a beasttherion – a wild animal, wild beast; implies ferocity and brutality

We’ve already seen this “beast” back in Revelation 11 when he rises up and kills the Two Witnesses:

(Re 11:7 NKJV) When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.

This “beast” is the antichrist.

There is some confusion that comes with the usage of this term “beast”.

There are times when this term seems to be speaking of an individual.
There are times when this term seems to be speaking of the nation or empire of the antichrist.
In fact, this “beast” could be the “anti-god” empires all rolled into one.

NOTE:  The word “antichrist” does not mean “the opposite of Christ”.

The word “anti” in Greek means “in the place of”.
The “antichrist” is an individual who will try to take the place of Jesus Christ.

:1 out of the sea

A beast that comes out of the sea.

Reminds me of the “Creature from the Black Lagoon”.  Play clip.

Some see this “sea” as a “sea of nations” a picture that’s used later.  We’re going to see a parallel passage in Revelation 17:

(Re 17:15 NKJV) Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.

I think that if we put this together with the empires we’ve looked at in Daniel 2&7, we might have a clue that this “sea” might also be a geographical location - the Mediterranean Sea.

It’s the idea that his empire arises around the Mediterranean just like the ancient empires of history.

:1 heads … horns … crowns

This beast sounds very similar to the dragon of chapter twelve.

Both have seven heads.
Both have ten horns.
The dragon has seven crowns on his seven heads, but the beast has ten crowns on his ten horns.

I wonder if this “beast” isn’t a clearer picture of what Daniel described as the “fourth beast”, and he didn’t compare it with any kind of animal.

We’re going to see this same “beast” later on in Revelation 17 where we connect this same beast to the kingdoms of Daniel 2&7, and Rome, but we’ll wait until we get there to do that.

 (Re 17:3 NKJV) So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

(Re 17:9–13 NKJV) —9 “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.

seven mountains - some say this is Rome because Rome is known as the “city on seven hills”.  It very well could be this, but keep in mind Rome actually sits on nine hills.
I found a list in Wikipedia of 60 cities that claim to sit on seven hills, including Albany New York and Cincinnati, Ohio.

John also says that these mountains are seven kings (or even kingdoms) …

10 There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time.

These seven kings (or kingdoms) in John’s day contained five kingdoms of the past.
Remember in Daniel 2, how as you progressed along the body of the statue, you progressed along in time?
Here, as you go from head to head, you are passing through time.
The five earlier kingdoms (in John’s day) would be the five great world empires:  Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece.
Egypt and Assyria weren’t in any of Daniel’s prophecies, because he was only looking in the future, and they were in Daniel’s past.
The king that “is”, refers to the Roman Empire, current in John’s day.
There would be an empire in the future to John, that of the antichrist’s.

11 The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition. 12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.

The Antichrist is both an empire himself, as well as part of the seventh.
The ten horns are ten kings who band together, making up the Antichrist's empire (of course from Daniel 7 we know that this is after the antichrist conquers three of them!).
I think the ten horns are all on the seventh head since they are the kings that form the antichrist’s empire
We used to think this was the Ten Common Market countries, now known as the European Union.  It’s still possible, but the EU now has 27 member countries (and their flag is a blue background with a circle of twelve golden stars)
This Empire of the antichrist will be some form of a “revived” Roman Empire, most likely an Empire centered on the Mediterranean.


The seven heads are seven world empires through history.

The ten horns, located on the seventh head, are ten kings that make up the seventh empire, that of the antichrist.

The ten crowns refer to the power and authority of these ten kings who band together in the last empire.

:1 blasphemousblasphemia (“injure” + “fame”) – slander, detraction; impious toward God

Remember the “horn” of Daniel 7 spoke “words against the Most High”.  This is the epitome of the “world”.  The world has set itself up against God. These Empires are not godly Empires.  Each empire carries a name that blasphemes God.

(1 Jn 2:15–17 NKJV) —15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

:2 Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion.

:2 leopard … bear … lion

It could be that this is referring to animal qualities.

Do these animals sound familiar?  I think John is referring to the picture of world empires in Daniel 7.

The leopard was the Greek empire.
Perhaps the overall look of the antichrist’s empire will be similar to Alexander’s empire.
The bear was the Medo-Persian empire.
Perhaps the way the antichrist’s empire conquers, or perhaps the way it moves, will be somehow similar to the Medes and the Persians.
The lion was the Babylonian empire.
Perhaps the way in which the antichrist speaks will be similar to Babylon, to Nebuchadnezzar.

Nebuchadnezzar was an absolute dictator.  He had the power of life and death by simply speaking the words over people.

:2 his mouth

Note, there are seven heads, but only one mouth.

Probably the mouth is located on the last head, the one of the end times, that of the Antichrist's empire.
Remember from Daniel 7
(Da 7:20 NKJV) …that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows.

:2 The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.

:2 powerdunamis – strength, power, ability

:2 thronethronos – a throne seat; a chair of state having a footstool; assigned in the NT to kings, hence, kingly power or royalty

:2 authorityexousia – power of choice; the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege); the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed)

:2 power, throne, authority

One of Jesus’ temptations by Satan involved these very things:

(Mt 4:8–10 NKJV) —8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”
It sounds as if the antichrist will be tempted with the same temptation, but he will give in to Satan unlike Jesus.


Servant Leaders

Jesus did not take His ideas of leadership from Satan or the world.  His followers are not to take their ideas of leadership, power, and authority from the world either.
(Mk 10:35–45 NKJV) —35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” 36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.” 38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” 39 They said to Him, “We are able.” So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; 40 but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.”
I was reminded this week that godly leadership is connected to suffering.  The “cup” Jesus referred to was that of suffering.  God’s leaders aren’t those who live lives without pain, but are willing to learn through pain and endure it – just like Jesus.
41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John. 42 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
We can live like those in the world, seeking power and authority over others, but that is Satan’s way of doing things.
Jesus’ way of leading is by being a servant and laying down your life for others.

He laid down His life for us.  He died so we could be forgiven.

We can get caught up in these prophetic issues and miss the whole point of it.

We should not be looking for the antichrist, we should be looking for Jesus Christ.
We should not be patterning our lives after the world, but living to follow Jesus.


Look for Jesus Christ

We can get very curious about all this talk about the antichrist, but frankly, I’d rather be talking about Jesus Christ.
(Heb 12:1–2 NKJV) —1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

As fascinating as all this end times stuff is, don’t lose sight of the race we’re in.  Don’t let your eyes lose sight of the goal.  Don’t lose sight of the One who has given us an example to follow.

Don’t lose sight of Jesus.

As we continue to get into this over the next few weeks, we’ll be able to lay out some of the distinguishing characteristics of this person.

It’s not uncommon for people to play the game of “Who is the Antichrist today?”
In my few years on the earth, I’ve 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, and just about every American President since then.

I’m 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.

(Mt 24:15–16 NKJV) —15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
It’s not until the abomination of desolation that anyone is supposed to do any fleeing to the mountains!
It’s not until the antichrist steps into the Temple and declares himself to be God that it will be obvious that he is the evil one.

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

(Mt 24:32–33 NKJV) —32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!
When you see all these kinds of things begin to develop, know that Jesus’ return is just around the corner.
When you see the Christmas decorations starting to appear in the stores, what does it tell you?  It tells you that Christmas is coming.  It also tells you that Thanksgiving is close.  It probably tells you that Halloween is in a couple of weeks.

It’s Jesus we’re supposed to be looking for:

(Mt 24:42 NKJV) Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.

When we keep our eyes on Jesus’ return, it will affect us:

(1 Jn 3:2–3 NKJV) —2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.