Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Revelation 13

Revelation 13:1-10 – The Antichrist

Rev. 13:1-4 - John saw a beast coming out of the sea.  He had 10 horns, 7 heads, 7 crowns and each head a blasphemous name.  He looked like a leopard with feet like a bear and a mouth like a lion.  The red dragon gave the beast his power, his throne and his authority.  One head seemed to have a fatal wound that had healed.  The world was astonished and followed him.  Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast.  They also worshiped the beast.

The beast is a man.  He is the Antichrist rising up out of the sea.  The sea represents the nations of the world.  The Antichrist is the false messiah we’ve all heard about that will come someday.  He will set himself up as ruler and God.  He will be the final ruler of the world.  He is also known as the little horn in Daniel 7:8.  This will be a time of confusion and uncertainty and people will be looking for a leader.  They will get their wish, but he will be much more than they bargained for.  He will not protect them, but will be a cruel dictator and demand that all worship him.  He opposes Christ and God’s people.  He is Satan’s answer to Christ, hence the name Antichrist (1 John 2:18).

The sea means large numbers of people.  The heads of the beast show dominion.  The 10 horns show power.  He looks like a leopard, a bear and a lion which refers to the 3 beasts in Daniel 7 representing the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece.  All these empires come out of the Roman Empire.  We see the beast again in Rev. 17.

Rev.13:5 – God allowed the dragon to give the beast authority for 42 months (3 ½ years).  The beast spoke proud words and blasphemies to exercise his authority.  He blasphemed God and slandered His name.  He is granted authority to make war with the saints.  This is the beginning of the Great Tribulation Daniel called the Abomination of Desolation – also in Matt. 24:15.

Satan has his own false trinity.  He acts as a father, the Antichrist as the son, and the False Prophet as the spirit who attempts to bring glory to the Antichrist.  The Antichrist will declare himself as God.  He will have Godlike characteristic, perform miracles, and will deceive many people.

The last 3 ½ years of the Tribulation is called the Great Tribulation.  During these last years the Antichrist will be a man endowed with demonic powers. During that time he will be Satan himself.

In Matt. 24:15-21 Jesus warned the Jews.  “So when you see standing in the holy place the abomination that causes desolation spoken of through the prophet Daniel – let the reader understand – then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house.  Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak.  How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!  Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.  For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equaled again.”

When the Antichrist stands in the holy place (the temple) and proclaims himself to be God, there will be world-wide persecution of the Jews greater than ever before.  Daniel calls this abomination of desolation.  How will God protect them?  It is believed they will flee to a city called Petra, which is about 90 from Jerusalem.  There many Jews will finally believe in Jesus and be saved.

Rev. 13:7-8 – He will make war with the saints and all the people on the earth whose name is not written in the book of life will worship him.  The unbelievers will be deceived in believing he is God.  Only those whose names are written in the book of life will refuse to worship the Beast.  “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”2 Thess. 2:4:11.  God’s people must be strong through suffering.  Many will go to prison or be killed.  They must suffer with patience.  God will save them for their eternal home.

If you are here during the Great Tribulation, how will you be able to deny taking the mark?
Will you stand firm in your faith and trust God to help you?

The book of life – There are some who believe that there are 2 books – the book of life and the Lamb’s book of life.  There are disagreements about this, but we really don’t know the right answer.  I believe they are the same book.  I believe God registered the names of everyone in this book before the world began.  In this book, He knows who will accept Him.  The book belongs to the Lamb.  Those who are saved never have their names removed from this book.  If you choose not to believe in Jesus during your lifetime, your name will be blotted out of the book of life and you will not go to heaven.  “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book.” Ex. 21:33  “He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white.  I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.” Rev. 3:5

Some look at this book as having 3 categories of people:
The unsaved – all names are written in the book, but if they die before believing in Jesus their names are blotted out.
The saved or the elect– all names are written in the book and if they believe in Jesus their names are retained in the book.
The beast worshipers in Rev. 13:8 – these people are hardened and are destined to reject Jesus and their names were never written in the book.

Again, we really don’t know since there are scriptures that are used to argue all points.  When it comes down to it, all that should matter to us is that if we believe in Jesus and stand firm in our faith, our names are in the Lamb’s book and we will go to heaven when we die.

Do you think your name is in the book?  Why or why not?
If not, what will do about it?

The Bible gives us another warning to not let this go in one ear and out the other.  “He who has an ear, let him hear.” Rev. 13:9.  We are called to have patient endurance and faithfulness. (Rev. 13:10b)  John is saying to pay attention to what he just said.

Revelation 13:11-18 – The False Prophet

Rev. 13:11-17 – John saw another beast coming out of the earth.  He had 10 horns like a lamb, but spoke like a dragon.  He exercised all authority of the first beast on his behalf and made all inhabitants of earth worship the first beast.  He performed great and miraculous signs, because he, too was given power to deceive people.  He ordered an image of the first beast to be made and caused it to come alive.  He will demand that all people worship the image.  He will force everyone no matter who they are to receive a mark on their right hand or forehead so no one can buy or sell unless they have the mark.  This mark is the name of the beast or the number of his name.

How can Satan give life?  Satan doesn’t have the power to create life.  Only God can create life.  I believe this giving life to the image will probably be done through modern technology like holograms or robotics.  Or it may be another one of his miraculous signs that he was given the power by God to do.  What about the mark of the beast?  How can that be done?  This can probably be done through microchips under the skin, like they do for pets.  These chips can be easily scanned or maybe even traced by satellite.  So you can see we are living in the end times.  God’s judgments are not far away.  Are you ready?

This second beast is the False Prophet.  He will speak the words of Satan.  He will cause people to worship the Antichrist.  Now Satan’s false trinity is complete.  Christ received His power from the Father (Matt. 11:27).  The beast (Antichrist) and the (second beast) False Prophet received their power from Satan.  The Holy Spirit is the agent on behalf of Christ (John 16:14).  The False Prophet is the agent for the Antichrist (Rev. 13:12).

Those who do not worship the Antichrist will be killed – beheaded. See Rev. 20:4.  Jesus warns us to watch out for false prophets in Matthew 7:15.  Before the Antichrist comes there will be many antichrists.  Some have already come and are working in the world today.  They are people who oppose Christ.  They try to destroy who Christ is and what He has done.  They are enemies of the church and of Christians.  They hate all those who belong to Him.

How are you equipped against false prophets and false teaching?
How can you identify false prophets and false teaching?

“This calls for wisdom.  If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number.  His number is 666.”Rev. 13:18.  Sometimes people use numbers instead of letter for a name.  There are many views about this number, but we really don’t know exactly what this mean.

The mark of the beast – DO NOT TAKE THIS MARK!!  People will need food for their families so the pressures at this time will be very strong.  Jesus will help you to stand strong.  If anyone accepts this mark during the Tribulation he is permanently disqualified for heaven.  Give your allegiance to God and not the Antichrist even if it means death.  Remember you will live forever with Christ in heaven.  This earth is not your home. 

Can you take the mark of the beast accidentally?  I don’t think so.  To accept the mark you would have to willing renounce God. 

The dragon is Satan.
The 1st beast from the sea is the Antichrist.
The 2nd beast from the land is the False Prophet.
The false trinity is Satan, Antichrist and the False Prophet.
The mark of the beast is a mark that is forced upon people during the last 3 ½ years in order to buy or sell.  Those who take this mark are renouncing God and will not enter heaven.
The book of life or Lamb’s book of life is a record of all people written before the foundation of the world.  If you choose not to believe in Jesus during your lifetime, your name will be blotted out and you will not go to heaven.
Satan will mock the Holy Trinity by setting up his unholy trinity in order to deceive the world.
The work of Holy Trinity is defined by peace, wisdom, gratitude in our hearts to God, forgiveness, love, humbleness, faithfulness and thankfulness.  The false trinity is defined by war, threats, fear, dictatorship and authority over people.

Wow!  This study is really scary.  Remember the Bible is telling us all these things so we will be knowledgeable and know what is going to happen and we won’t be surprised - that way we will know exactly what to do and not to do.  We will be able to recognized false teachings and false prophets and especially be aware of the coming Antichrist and his agenda.  God doesn’t want us to be deceived.  He wants us to be assured that He wins in the end.

If you want to study more chapters in Revelation, you will find all of them on my website.  I don’t have all the answers, no one does.  I write about what God has revealed to me and what I believe.  Next week we will study Revelation 14.  Hope to see you here.

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