Revelation 13:11-18

Sunday Morning Bible Study

March 18, 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.

We’ve now begun a chapter that looks at one of the key figures of the Tribulation period – the “antichrist”, which we saw pictured as a beast coming out of the sea.

But the antichrist isn’t the only “beast” that rises up in the Tribulation. 

13:11-18 The False Prophet

:11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.

:11 anotherallos – another, other; another of the same kind

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

This is the same word used to describe the antichrist in 13:1

:11 earthge – arable land; the earth as a whole; a country, land enclosed within fixed boundaries

:11 another beast

“Another beast of the same kind”

Though we’ve talked about the first “beast” being closely connected with the nation or empire over which he will rule, both “beasts” are persons.

This beast is the individual we will come to know throughout Revelation as the “false prophet”. (Rev. 19:19-20)

(Re 19:19–20 NKJV) —19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
This “false prophet” will apparently be some sort of religious figure whose role it will be to support the political figure we call the “antichrist”.

In a way, this “false prophet” is sort of a “sidekick” to the antichrist.

We are familiar with sidekicks.  The Lone Ranger wasn’t really alone, he had Tonto.  Batman, that troubled cape crusader, had Robin.  And Inspector Clouseau had Cato. Play Clouseau v. Cato clip
Think of the false prophet like Kato, but not as funny.

:11 out of the earth

The first beast (antichrist) came up out of the “sea”.  This one comes out of the earth.

Perhaps the first beast (antichrist) coming out of the sea has more of a global connection while the second beast might be more of a local boy.

A.T. Robertson put the second beast coming out of Asia Minor (Turkey)

Some suggest the “earth” might be a reference to Israel.

The word translated “earth” here (Grk:  ge) is often the translation in the Old Testament for the Hebrew word eretz, which is synonymous to those in Israel for the nation of Israel.
One of their major news publications is called “Haaretz”, or, “the land”.

:11 likehomoios – like, similar, resembling

:11 … likehos – as, like, even as, etc.

:11 two horns like a lamb

The horns might indicate that this “beast” has some sort of authority, but since he doesn’t have crowns (like the antichrist and Satan), his authority is not political.

Who do you think of when you hear the word “lamb”?  You think of Jesus.

There will be something about this man that will remind people of Jesus.

:11 spoke like a dragon

This beast might “look” like a lamb, but he sounds like Satan.


Looks are deceiving

We don’t have to be around during the Tribulation to learn the lesson that things aren’t always what they seem.
I remember hearing about a Sunday School teacher who wanted to teach her students about the deceitfulness of sin.
She prepared for class by taking some of those small pearl sized onions and covered them with chocolate.
In class she asked if anyone wanted some chocolate treats.
You can imagine the surprise of the students as they bit into the chocolate, only to taste the onion.
Some of us need to learn that there are deceptive people in this world.
They will do and say things in order to get you to do what they want.
Jesus warned of “false prophets” who are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
(Mt 7:15–20 NKJV)15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

How did Jesus teach us to recognize a false prophet?  Look at their fruits – look at the kinds of things that come out of their lives.

Fruit doesn’t happen all at once.  It takes time for a tree to develop fruit.

Sometimes it takes time to see what people are really like.

One of the “fruits” of this false prophet will be killing people who don’t agree with him.  Does that sound like Jesus?  The One who died so we might live?

We read this week how Jesus was misunderstood.  He challenged people not to make judgments simply by how things appear.
(Jn 7:24 NKJV) Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

Sometimes “righteous judgment” takes time.

:12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

:12 exercisespoieo – to make; to do; to carry out, to execute

:12 authorityexousia – power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases; physical and mental power; 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)

:12 he exercises all the authority of the first beast

The authority of the antichrist was the authority of Satan. (Rev. 13:2)

(Re 13:2 NKJV) …The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.

:12 earthge – arable land; the earth as a whole; a country, land enclosed within fixed boundaries

:12 the earth and those who dwell in it … worship

This might refer to the entire planet worshipping the antichrist, or it could be a reference to nation like Israel.

Keep in mind that the antichrist will be initially perceived as the “Messiah”, the savior of the nation of Israel.

:12 worship the first beast

The “false prophet” will have the job of pointing people to the antichrist.



You can see a sort of perverted counterfeit of the Trinity at work.
We worship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Father sent His Son.
The Son died and rose from the dead.
The Holy Spirit comes to glorify the Son.
The Satanic trinity is the devil, the antichrist, and the false prophet.
The devil empowers the antichrist with his power.
The antichrist has a deadly wound and is healed.
The false prophet glorifies the beast.  Satan has no originality.

:12 was healedtherapeuo – to serve, do service; to heal, cure, restore to health

:12 woundplege (plague) – a blow, stripe, a wound

:12 deadlythanatos – the death of the body

:12 whose deadly wound was healed

We saw last week that this might refer to antichrist’s empire being a revived form of a once dead nation, or it could refer to the antichrist being wounded and revived.

:13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.

:13 performspoieo – to make; to do; to carry out, to execute

:13 signssemeion – a sign, mark, token; of miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men sent by him

This is the word we saw throughout the gospel of John connecting Jesus with the amazing miracles that he did while on earth – things that proved He was the Messiah.

(Jn 20:30–31 NKJV) —30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

Signs” are an important part of the Jewish mindset.  They want to know what kind of proof a person offers who claims to be the Messiah.  Jesus performed signs.  The antichrist and false prophet will also perform signs.

:13 greatmegas – great; things esteemed highly for their importance: of great moment, of great weight, importance

:13 makes fire come down from heaven

We usually look at this to mean that lightning comes down at his command.

This is a miracle that seems connected to God being at work.

When David purchased what would become the Temple Mount as a place to present a sacrifice to God to atone for his sins …
(1 Ch 21:26 NKJV) And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called on the Lord; and He answered him from heaven by fire on the altar of burnt offering.
When Solomon set up the first Temple and the first sacrifice was made, Solomon prayed …
(2 Ch 7:1 NKJV) When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.

This is one of those “signature miracles” of the prophet Elijah, like when he challenged the prophets of Baal (1Ki. 18:38)

(1 Ki 18:38 NKJV) Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.
(2 Ki 1:10 NKJV) So Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.

We saw back in Rev. 11:5 that the two witnesses will have been doing this as well.

 (Re 11:5 NKJV) And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner.

And this is one of the miracles that the false prophet will perform??

It’s kind of like what Pharaoh’s magicians did when Moses performed a sign.  They tried to copy it.
The two witnesses will be calling down fire, and now so will the false prophet.
Perhaps the false prophet will also call down fire to simulate God’s acceptance of David and Solomon’s sacrifices on the Temple Mount.

:14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth— by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.

:14 deceivesplanao – to cause to stray, to lead astray, lead aside from the right way; to lead away from the truth, to lead into error, to deceive

:14 he deceives those who dwell on the earth

Can you see how confusing it will be?


Miracles can be deceiving

Jesus said this would happen:
(Mt 24:24 NKJV) For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
Paul also warned:
(2 Th 2:9 NKJV) The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,
The Old Testament has a warning about people who show up performing miraculous things:
(Dt 13:1–3 NKJV) —1 “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
We live in a day an age where miracles can be faked.

Years ago a fellow named Peter Popoff deceived many people by pretending to hear from God about people in his miracle crusades.  It was found out that he had a little receiver in his ear, and his wife was transmitting information from people she had interviewed. The sad thing is that Popoff is back.  People are still falling for his tricks.

The false prophet will probably be a little more sophisticated than Popoff.

Satan has great power and it would not surprise me that some of the things done by the false prophet won’t be tricks.

One of the keys to tell who is a false prophet is what they say about God.

Jesus pointed to the worship of the One True Living God.

The false prophet will be pointing people to worship the antichrist.

:14 to make an image

imageeikon (“icon”) – an image, figure, likeness

Jesus used this word to describe the “image” of Caesar on a coin (Mark 12:16)
(Mk 12:16 NKJV) —16 So they brought it. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”
Some have suggested it might be some sort of a statue, or perhaps a robot.
Others have suggested the magic of computer animation – cgi – like the people in Avatar.  This is no longer some sci-fi dream, we understand and now accept this kind of technology. 
PlayAvatar” animation clip.

:14 woundedplege – a blow, stripe, a wound

:14 who was wounded by the sword and lived

This is what gives us the idea that the antichrist would receive some sort of wound either by a weapon (“sword”), or through war.

:15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

:15 breathpneuma – spirit; wind; breath

:15 imageeikon (“icon”) – an image, figure, likeness

:15 worshipproskuneo – to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence; to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence

:15 to give breath to the image

It will look like this “image” is alive. (literally given “spirit”)

It would be giving the image the ability to talk and interact with you in real time, intelligently.

PlaySiri:  The Horror Movie” clip.
It not only “speaks”, but also causes non-beast-worshippers to be killed.

Another possibility:

What if the “image” was a human “clone” of the antichrist? It would have “spirit”.

:15 worship the image or be killed

Some have suggested that this “image” will be set up in the Temple in Jerusalem as part of the “abomination of desolation”.

The antichrist himself will initially go into the Temple and demand to be worshipped as “god”, but then his “image” will be placed in the Temple to direct the world to worship the antichrist.

The image will be given the ability not only to speak, but to put people to death who do not worship the image.


Just say “no”

This idea of making people worship an image or die sounds strangely familiar.
This is what three young Jewish men heard in Babylon a long time ago:
(Da 3:4–6 NKJV) —4 Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, 5 that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; 6 and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Adeb-nego were those three young men who chose not to bow to the image.  This is what they told Nebuchadnezzar:
(Da 3:17–18 NKJV) —17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
They were thrown into the furnace, but they were not alone.  Old Neb said:
(Da 3:25 NKJV) “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
You and I may not be around during this time in the Tribulation, but we are always being faced with the world telling us to fall into line and do things its way.
(1 Jn 2:15–16 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.
The world wants you to sell out and to bow in love before things of the flesh, things we lust after, things that make us proud.

You can say no. You might lose friends.  You might face difficulty.  You might be tossed into a fire. But you won’t be alone.

:16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,

:16 all, both small and great

The list here is intended to show that nobody is exempt.  People from all spectrums of life will be required to do this.

:16 a markcharagma – a stamp, an imprinted mark

The word is used for engraving (Act 17:29)

(Ac 17:29 NKJV) —29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.

It was also used for official stamps, seals, or even cattle branding.

:16 a mark on their right hand …foreheads

Could the placement be tied to the wounds that the antichrist will sustain (Zech. 11:17) where he will be injured on the arm and the right eye?

(Zec 11:17 NKJV) —17 “Woe to the worthless shepherd, Who leaves the flock! A sword shall be against his arm And against his right eye; His arm shall completely wither, And his right eye shall be totally blinded.”

If the mark were some sort of microchip, some have pointed out that implanting on the forehead is safer than the hand.  A thief might try to cut off your hand, but might think twice before removing your head…

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

The Jews were supposed to wear God's law in little boxes (phylacteries) on their hands and foreheads as a reminder of what He had done for them. (Ex. 13:9,16)
(Ex 13:9 NKJV) —9 It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the Lord’s law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt.
(Ex 13:16 NKJV) —16 It shall be as a sign on your hand and as frontlets between your eyes, for by strength of hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt.”
The antichrist will have his “mark” put in the place where God wants His law written.

:17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

:17 maydunamai – to be able

:17 buyagorazo – to be in the market place; to do business there, buy or sell

:17 sellpoleo – to barter, to sell

:17 mark … name … number

These will be the requirements to conduct financial transactions. Either will do – the mark, the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Over the years I’ve seen people raise all sorts of concerns about the use of ATMs, credit cards, and all types of electronic funds transfer.

Others are concerned about social security numbers, checking account numbers, and bank routing numbers.
The fact that we now have technology to see all financial transactions requiring some sort of mark or number simply shows us that we are living in the time when this could happen.
But the system itself, so far, isn’t evil of itself.

:18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

:18 understandingnous – the mind; the intellectual faculty, the understanding

:18 calculatepsephizo – to count with pebbles, to compute, calculate

reckon; to give one’s vote by casting a pebble into the urn; to decide by voting

from psephos – a small worn smooth stone, a pebble; in the ancient courts of justice the accused were condemned by black pebbles and the acquitted by white; a vote (on account of the use of pebbles in voting)

:18 numberarithmos – a fixed and definite number; an indefinite number, a multitude

:666 χξς (chi, xi, stigma) – six hundred and sixty six.  Three letters from the Greek alphabet used as numbers.

The 22nd (chi), 14th (xi), and an obsolete letter (stigma) from the Greek alphabet.

Just to be even more confusing, some of the ancient manuscripts have the number as “616”.

:18 for it is the number of a man

The phrase could also be translated, “for it is a number of man

It could be that this is simply meaning that this “number” is all about mankind, exalting man, worshipping a man.

This might simply be a way of describing this Satanic trinity, with six being the number of man (created on the sixth day), and the devil, antichrist, and false prophet being pictured as 6-6-6.

The Alphabet Codes.

In the ancient world, letters of the alphabet were used for numbers, both in Hebrew and in Greek.
Some ways people work this is to put a name into Greek or Hebrew and figure out the total for their name.  Other systems are more complicated.
Here are some of the many proposed antichrists over the years:
1.  Caesar Nero – Put his name into Hebrew it adds up.

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.  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).
3.  Hitler - a favorite during WWII, using the English alphabet again, but starting at 100 and going up to 125.
4.  Ronald Wilson Reagan (six letters in each name, hence, 6-6-6).

See how ridiculous this gets.  Don’t spend too much time on this.

The Solomon connection

The “number” does show up in another place in Scripture:
(1 Ki 10:14 NKJV) The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold,

Could there be a connection between the antichrist and Solomon?

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

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

Maybe like Solomon he will be known as a “king” who will restore the kingdom of Israel to its greatness?

:17 one who has the mark


Accidental hell?

Taking the “mark” of the beast will have eternal consequences.
(Re 14:9–11 NKJV) —9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. 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 ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”

Those who receive the mark will end up in hell forever.

Will it be possible for someone to accidentally “take the mark”?
This will not be some trick that the antichrist will pull on the world where you wake up one day and find that you’ve been tattooed with the mark against your will.
Receiving this mark will be clearly tied to the worship of the beast, the antichrist.
We don’t need to be afraid of being tricked if we already believe in Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the one who came to save us from hell.
He died to pay for our sins so we could be saved.
(Jn 3:16 NKJV) —16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.