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Exposing the Hideous Evil (Revelation 13:1-18)
Bethel Church | Jackson, Michigan | Ken Pierpont, Lead Pastor | February 14, 2021 AM
Introduction: Read Proverbs 2:1-5; Rev. 1:3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. God honors people who are diligent in their approach to the Bible. There is a treasure here and it is worth digging for.
Ask: What do we know? (The plain things are the main things) What do we need to know? Remember that the Bible is a self-interpreting book—much more than you would initially think.This chapter has multiple symbols that need to be de-coded, including a creature with seven heads and ten horns and ten crowns and a beast that has features like a leopard and a bear and a lion who is wounded and lives again... and an evil personage numbered 666 who who looks like the answer to all the world’s problems at first, but then he turns ugly and demands the loyalty or death of all the earth… So there is a lot to decipher, but the main thing is very clear from 20,000 feet: you have two evil personages that are inspired and empowered by Satan to oppress the earth especially God's people and they are going to rise to power during the last half of the seven years just before Jesus returns. We can expect that the evil factors and evil forces that exist in the world are going to last all the way to the very end and their evil is going to intensify then, so our spiritual insight and stamina and preparation need to intensify. This is clear before you understand every detail. —READ REV. 13—
I. The Beast from the Sea (1-10)
1. This Beast is the Antichrist. (v1) As the dragon stands on the seashore (12:17), a beast emerges from the sea. (The Abyss) This beast is the Antichrist (see 1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7) The Anti-christ will be a person who will come to prominence during the Tribulation. He is also called the man of lawlessness in 2 Thess. 2:3–12. If you compare this passage with Daniel 7 and passages later in Revelation you will see that it represents not only a future individual but also present world powers that wage Satan’s war against the Lamb and his church.
Familiar with the OT book of Daniel, the original readers would immediately have seen the connection between this description and all four beasts that Daniel saw emerge from the sea before the Son of Man appeared (Dan. 7:1–8, 21). Those beasts were symbolic of kingdoms (Dan. 7:17, 23). (Earlier in Daniel chapter two the world empires were symbolized in a great statue. The book of Daniel predicted these empires would rise to power before they did… History ahead of time.. Prophecy),
This Beast represents the cruelty and cunning of all the beasts before in one. This includes Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and their successors. Its 10 horns and seven heads mirror those of the dragon (Rev. 12:3), who gives the beast its great authority.
John Wolvoord says; "the heads represent successive world rulers, the horns (with crowns) represent kings who reign simultaneously during the final phase of the revived Roman empire. So John is seeing the beast and both its historic and its prophetic characters. (blasphemous—world powers who oppose God).
2. This Beast is a Powerful, Evil Composite Representative of all the Godless Evil Empires Before it. (v2) The Apostle John is looking back into history so his order is reversed from the way Daniel recorded his dream looking forward into the future. This is all united into one ferocious and evil world empire that will be animated by Satan himself. “…dragon gave great authority…”
3. The Beast is Wounded/Killed and Survives. (v3) Satan is a Counterfeit Until the End.This is mentioned three times by John. Five times in Scripture. [Lamb slain and resurrected--Beast wounded and lives] What is that wound? What does that mean? The seven heads are symbolic of seven mountains, but also seven kings or kingdoms.. We will see later that the Beast or the Antichrist is the eighth... He apparently reigns twice. The Beast who ruled as the seventh King is raised to rule as the eighth King. Rev. 17:9-13 helps us understand that it is the kingdom dead and resurrected—the kingdom dies and comes back to life… But this is death by a sword and most likely refers to a person resurrected or a fake resurrection by Satan drawing from the Abyss one who had appeared dead to deceive. Again you can see that he is counterfeiting the resurrection of Christ. This causes great wonder and deceives people into following the diabolical dictator. So “..the whole earth marveled…” But it will also bring worship... the beast of Rev. 13:1-10 is both an empire and an emperor. a Kingdom and a King. If the second beast (11-18) is an individual and it clearly is--for the passage to really make sense the first beast (1-10) would be an individual, too.
So the Beast is a real person--"resurrected"
and a representative person--of a revived Roman Empire
4. The Whole World Will Worship this Beast. (4) This is what Satan has always wanted. (Matthew 4:8-10) This religion will be very popular but demonically false. The second beast mentioned in the second half of this chapter will organize that worship.
5. This Beast Will Be a Powerful Orator. (5-6) People will flock to hear him speak. He will be a blasphemer. He will have authority for 3.5 years.
6. He Will Make War on God’s People (7-8) Earth-dwellers vs. “…those whose names are in the Lamb's Book of Life… “ v9 If ANYONE has ears... spiritual perception... listen.. God or a demon-possessed man. Truth or a counterfeit that is popular and looks good. Don’t pick the wrong God... a false god! (Earth-dwellers are those who have invested everything in this world alone). “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. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15–17, ESV)
John 5:43 "I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name him you will receive..."
2 Thess 2:8-12 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
7. God’s People Must Be Prepared to Suffer and Die. (9-10) According to vs. 9-10 some saints (those who are saved after the rapture of the church) will die by the sword and some will be taken captive. Remember they Perseverance of the Saints may die but they will never perish. Now we meet a the second beast in the chapter… who is he? Patience.
II. The Beast from the Earth. (11-18)
Not all religion is good. False signs and wonders will deceive many into deadly loyalty to Satan especially as the world as we know it comes to its close.
1. This Beast from the Earth is the False Prophet. (11-15) 16:13, 19:20; 20:10 refer to the beast from the earth as the False Prophet. (a great religious ruler--the Beast from the sea is initially a great political ruler). the horns indicate rule, but the absence of crowns shows his rule is not political but religious rule. v. 11 Satan has planned a Satanic Counterfeit Trinity. Satan, the Beast, and the False Prophet. The Dragon/Satan impersonates the Father (I will be like the Most High), The Beast impersonates Christ, the False Prophet, the Spirit. When an image of the Beast is erected in the Temple (14) this is what the Daniel referred to as the Abomination that Desolates... It is mentioned in Daniel 9:27; 11:36. Jesus quotes Daniel’s prophecy in Matthew 24:15; and Paul mentions it in 2 Thess. 2:4... (14) worship the Beast or die!
2. He Will Have Authority to Pressure People Economically. The Mark of the Beast. (16-17) Satan knows that unprincipled and unregenerate men will chose their own personal gain over who is right. Their greatest concern is not the will of God but their own personal gain. This second beast, the False Prophet, will also have authority to institute economic measures to pressure people into compliance. The majority people try hard to remain neutral when the pressure comes down.... But in this time there will be no neutrality. There will come a time when you will be marked as a saint or marked by the beast... forehead or hand. The whole world is forced to worship the Beast... or suffer and die.
3. He Will Be Satanically and Demonically Empowered and Inspired but He will Be a Man. (18) The Number of the Beast.Then we have the mark of the number 666. what is that all about? I will tell you next week... Just kidding. Some people get all superstitions about this.
In the ancient world letters had numerical equivalents. This is true in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, so through the years much ink has been spilled with possible identifications. Problem is if you work hard enough you can almost make any name fit. Hundreds of eager but embarrassed students of prophecy before us would tell us that that is not a prudent way to handle this text...
6 is the symbolic number of man. The Beast is the ultimate human but comes short of God. What is does this number mean? Don’t be sensational. Don’t be speculative. Don’t be superstitious… but recognize what is not of God… but of demon-possessed man.
Maybe the best way to understand the number, until things come into focus later, is this way: In Revelation and in the Bible it is very clear that 7 is the number of completion. 6 is just short of that. 6 is the number in the Bible that is symbolic of man. He was created on the sixth day of creation. The text says; It is the number of a man... So we know he sets himself up as god... but he is not God. He is man. No one knows for sure, but when the time comes this reference will be clear and useful to people who are alive in the Great Tribulation and they will know clearly who this is and they will not receive his mark or worship him, even if they have to die. We do know that in modern times that a universal personal identification system based on numbers is possible. During the second half of the Tribulation saints will clearly know through this number 666 that the Beast is not the one to worship. If raptured, good. If not, lets stick together. :)
Go back and look closely at vv. 10 and 18 Two CALLS
—a call to courage, faith endurance (Get in the game—war) Will you endure and finish faithful (10)
—a call to understanding and wisdom. Are you listening (9) Do you understand (18) The beatify of Jesus and how hideous we will see evil to be in the end. [story] tempted to immorality—elderly leper up close. [story] newlyweds with bibles on night table
Talk with God this week. Ask Him for Three Things.
Understanding, Hatred for Evil, Endurance
1—Ask him to give you understanding. [ill] Bible on Night Table
Because we know our Bibles:
- Know your enemy
- Know his tactics and weapons
- Know his plans
- Know you weapons and be familiar with them
- Know your allies.
- Know you commander
2—Ask him to give you a hatred for evil.
- In the end we will all see the ugliness of evil.
- in the end we will all be horrified by it.
- In the end we will all see how foolish and ignorant it is, even though now it appears wise and scholarly.
- In the end we will all see how empty the world’s promises were.
- In the end we will realize the cruelty of Satan and those He controls.
3—Ask him to give you endurance, courage, faithfulness.
2 Tim. 3:1-5 end times... many will depart... chose the right God and his people! “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1–5, ESV)
Prayer: God help us to hate and abhor evil and choose good and God and recognize evil things when our spirits encounter them and bring us and all we love home safely to glory one day where will will enjoy you in your presence forever.