Revelation Chapter 13: Satan versus the Followers of Yeshua through Antimessiah (Antichrist) and the False Prophet
This chapter details how the devil, through his incarnation Antimessiah and his global religious leader the False Prophet, goes about destroying the Disciples of Yeshua and others who refuse to take the mark of the beast (Antimessiah) and establishing his tyrannical dominion over Earth.
13:1-2 Then I stood on the sand of (a) the sea. And I saw (b) a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads (c) a blasphemous name. Now (d) 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. (e) The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.
a. This is the mass of humanity (cf. 10:2).
b. This is Antimessiah, the incarnation of Satan. Notice that he is very similar to Satan (12:3) but has crowns on his horns rather than on his heads. The significance of this difference will be clarified when we get to Chapter 17. During the last half of the Final Seven Years, Antimessiah embodies the spirit of Satan and, as we will see, rules over the fourth kingdom described by Daniel (Daniel 7:7), the Revived Roman Empire.
c. It is not clear what the blasphemous name is, but it must vainly use and violate the name of the Lord (cf. Exodus 20:7).
d. Antimessiah also embodies the spirit of the first three kingdoms described by Daniel (Daniel 7:1-6). Daniel had previously interpreted an image that had been seen in a dream by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, as representing four ancient empires: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome (Daniel 2:26-43). The spirit of the beasts of Daniel 7:1-7, although they represent four modern empires, is the same as that of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. And all of these empires have one thing in common: They have sought or will seek to oppress and destroy Yehovah’s people, both Jews and Christians.
e. This confirms that the beast of this chapter is not Satan - he receives his power, throne, and authority to rule from the dragon (Satan).
13:3-5 And I saw (a) one of his heads (b) as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And (c) all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and (d) he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.
a. As we will see, when we get to 17:9, “heads” is synonymous with “mountains” - worldly kingdoms or domains.
b. “As if it had been mortally wounded” is a misleading translation. The Greek (hos esphagmenen) should be translated, “as having been slain.” In other words, the kingdom represented by “one of his heads” was actually destroyed. Likewise, the literal translation of the next clause, “and his deadly wound was healed” (Greek: kai plege thanatos autos therapeuo) is “and the wound of his death was healed.” So, the kingdom or empire represented by the beast’s head that was slain will be revived.7
c. Naturally, the whole world, including the Jews and the Followers of Yeshua, who were deceived, no doubt thinking he was the true Messiah, was amazed by the anti-messiah's power in reviving his kingdom that was destroyed by "fire" (cf. 17:16; 18;8), followed Him and worshiped both him and his spiritual father Satan/the devil; hence, Antimessiah’s name, which means “false messiah.”
d. And he was given authority to rule as “Lord of the World” for 42 months (the last half of the seven years) which, as we have seen, will be cut short by the plagues of the seventh trumpet/bowl judgments (cf. Matthew 24:22). And Scripture does make it clear that Satan, the prince of this world, has the authority to (temporarily) turn the world over to whomever he pleases, as he offered to Yeshua if He would worship him (cf. Matthew 4:9). Antimessiah accepts the offer, becoming the ultimate Satanist.
13:6-10 (a) Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against [Yehovah], to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. (b) It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And (c) authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, (d) whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (e) If anyone has an ear, let him hear. He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. (f) Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
So begins Antimessiah’s campaign against Yehovah and His People the Followers of Yeshua.
a. He starts by blaspheming (“cursing in an irreverent manner”) Yehovah, His Tabernacle (a temporary dwelling place for Yehovah among His People on the earth (“Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?” - 1 Corinthians 6:19), the living creatures, the 24 elders, the angels, and others who dwell in Heaven.
b. Next, he makes war with the Saints (Gr. hagios - “holy ones”) and overcomes them. Although “saints” can refer to either Israel or the Believers in Yeshua in the Bible, here the term refers to the Messiah's Disciples, because, as Chapter 12 indicates, the remnant of Israel (the Jews) has already fled into and is being protected in the wilderness at this time. After pursuing the Jews into the wilderness but failing to destroy them, Satan, through Antimessiah, goes after those ". . . who keep the commandments of [Yehovah] and have the testimony of [Yeshua the Messiah]" (12:17). More than 50 times the term “saints” refers to the Assembly of Believers in Yeshua in the New Covenant Scriptures ("New Testament"), including in the Revelation (5:8; 8:3, 4; 14:12; 19:8). There are numerous places in the Revelation, as it is written to both the Assembly of Believers and to the Jews, where “saints” refers to both the Jews and the Followers of Yeshua (11:18; 15:3; 16:6; 17:6; 18:24; 20:9). But, in the context of Chapter 13, the term obviously refers to the Followers of Yeshua. So, whereas Chapter 12 was primarily about Satan versus Yehovah's People the Jews, in Chapter 13 the emphasis is on Antimessiah’s campaign to annihilate Yehovah’s People, Yeshua's Disciples, during the Great Tribulation. Notice that this same exact scenario was also prophesied by Daniel: Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time [three and one-half years—42 months]” (Daniel 7:25).
c. Antimessiah is not only given the authority and power to overcome the Saints, he is given the authority to rule the whole, unsaved, perishing world (“those who dwell on earth” - a term frequently used in the Revelation for the unsaved people of the world - 3:10, 6:10, 11:10, here, 13:14, 14:6, 17:8), all of whom will worship him.
d. The earth dwellers - the unsaved, those who worship Antimessiah, the ones who are alien to the Kingdom of Heaven - are those whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. And no matter how bad it gets, they will not repent and be saved from the Wrath of Yehovah (cf. 9:20; 16:9; 16:11). They are the “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction” spoken of by the Apostle Paul (Romans 9:22).
e. “If anyone has an ear, let him hear” is a statement in Scripture that refers to an enigma. In this case it seems to refer to the destiny of Antimessiah (and, by association, his followers): They who take Yehovah’s people captive and kill them will “reap what they have sown” - be destroyed in the same way.
f. One purpose of the Revelation is to encourage Yehovah’s people to “hang in there” until the end. One way to do that is to let them know exactly what to expect so that they can be prepared for it, patiently and faithfully enduring Antimessiah’s persecution, knowing that it will end; and, in the same way that Antimessiah persecuted and killed them, he will be destroyed.
13:11-18 Then I saw (a) another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And (b) 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. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And (c) 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. (d) 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. (e) 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, 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. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding (f) calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: (g) His number is 666. (h)
a. As was suggested in the commentary on 10:2, “the earth” seems to refer to organized religion. This second beast, having two horns like a lamb (a symbol of authority and power combined with religious meekness - messiah-likeness) is deceitful in that his speech is satanic (probably full of lies and blasphemy like that of the first beast).
b. This second beast, who is later identified as the False Prophet (19:20), is the head of Satan’s false, global religion and his chief executive for world control. He stands in the presence of Antimessiah and falsely prophesies (to “prophesy” is to speak for one's god) that Antimessiah is "God" (Paul called this “the lie” - 2 Thessalonians 2:11), and causes the “earth” (members of organized religion) and all the earth dwellers to worship the one whose fatal wound was healed.
c. Exactly as Daniel, Yeshua, and Paul foretold (cf. Daniel 11:23; Matthew 24:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10), the method that the anti-messiah and False Prophet will use to get the earth dwellers to worship Antimessiah is deception (in the same apparent but counterfeit power and authority given to the ancient prophets of Yehovah and, indeed, to the true Messiah Himself).
d. The most powerfully deceptive and compelling sign is an image of Antimessiah made by the earth dwellers, which the False Prophet causes to come to life, speak, and cause those who refuse to worship it to be killed. It is not difficult to imagine, with today’s holographic technology, how a life-like image that speaks could be made, but this image actually comes to life and causes people to be killed. And, just as a holographic image can be projected anywhere in the world (as Al Gore’s was when he opened the Live Earth concert series from Sydney, Australia, and his holographic image was projected onto a stage in Tokyo, Japan, on July 7, 2007), it is not that difficult to imagine how an image of Antimessiah could be projected anywhere and simultaneously everywhere in the world to facilitate total world control.
e. Another way the False Prophet facilitates control of the earth dwellers is to permanently identify each with a “mark,” and to allow only those with the mark to buy or sell, effectively isolating and/or starving to death all those who refuse to take the mark. The mark is specifically identified as the name of the beast (the “blasphemous name,” whatever that is - 13:1) or the number of that name. It is also easy to imagine how, with today’s technology, a person could be implanted with a micro-computer chip that could be read or with some kind of bar code that could be scanned, accessing all of that person’s information. And computers exist (e.g., the NSA computer in Fort Meade, Maryland, and the EU computer in Brussels, Belgium) that could be used to hold information about and track every individual on the earth. At the present time (2019), Blockchain and 5-G cyber technology is being developed for that very purpose, as well as to develop a global, cashless, digital economic system.
f. This statement confirms that Antimessiah is not a spiritual being or entity, a group or category of people, or a kingdom or nation; he is a man, a person, a human being - the false messiah.
g. And he is identified by the number 666. Theories as to what 666 represents are endless, and Yehovah has not given this commentator insight into what it means. He will venture only a common-sense opinion: The number 7 represents perfection or completeness - it is the number of Yehovah. So, 777 could represent the Trinity - Yehovah the Father, Yeshua the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The number 6 represents imperfect man - “a little lower than the angels [Hebrew: elohim - gods]” (Psalm 8:3). So, 666 could represent the unholy trinity - Satan the father, Antimessiah the son, and the False Prophet, executor of the will of Satan on Earth. 666 may well represent a specific name, but until Antimessiah is specifically identified, and he will be (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:3), perhaps this is a step in the direction of understanding who he is. The “number of the name” may simply refer to the fact that the name of the beast is converted to a number which can be read by a scanner, of which, of course, no one had any concept at the time Revelation was written.
h. So, this second half of the seven years includes the sealing of the 144,000, the Great Tribulation (Antimessiah pursuing the Jews into the wilderness then persecuting and killing Yehovah’s People the Followers of Yeshua); and the plagues of the trumpet judgments of the Lord. This whole period of time is called The Birthpains of the Messiah (Hebrew: Chevlai shel Mashiach) (the Hebrew meaning of "beginnings of sorrows" in Mark 13:8) and The Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), because it will be a time of such persecution, suffering, and devastation of Yehovah’s People before the Messiah returns to give birth to His Millennial Kingdom that it is compared to the pains of a woman in the labor of childbirth (cf. Micah 4:9, 10; 1 Thessalonians 5:3).
7The majority of Bible prophecy expositors state that the anti-messiah himself will be slain then miraculously revived, causing the whole world to follow after him in awe. However, although obviously an individual will receive a fatal wound, there is a double entendre here. Only one of his seven “heads,” which 17:9 states is synonymous with “mountains” (kingdoms or empires), is, consistent with the personification, “slain” (destroyed). In Chapter 17 we will see it is the seventh empire - modern Babylon the Great - that will be destroyed then revived as the global empire ruled over by ten “kings” (represented in this chapter by ten “crowns”) who yield their authority over their individual domains in the empire to Antimessiah.
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