Revelation Chapter 13
Revelation chapter 13 begins with a beast (the Antichrist), raising up out of the “sea”, which represents the nations of the world. The beast is the Antichrist or the false messiah. He will be the final world ruler, also known as the little horn (in the book of Daniel; see article “Antichrist”).
Daniel 7:8 “I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn [were] eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.”
Things during the end times will be chaotic. A time of confusion and uncertainty will cause the people to desperately look for a strong leader that could bring hope and security in a time of fear and apprehension. People will desperately seek a strong, charismatic, authoritative leader who can pull the world back from the very brink of disaster.
Those people will get their wish as a powerful, charismatic leader spouting peace and unity comes on the scene. But he will turn out to be much more than they bargained for. He will be a dictator whose cruelty will be more than any other the world has ever known. This man will be the Antichrist as he will rule the entire world and receive its worship.
Verses 1-2: The “sea” here represents the Gentile nations of the world, from which this “beast” comes. The Beast is the Antichrist, the false messiah (compare Matt. 24:5, 24; 1 John 2:18). He is the final Gentile world ruler, also known as the “little horn” (Dan. 7:8, 20-21, 24-25), the willful king (Dan. 11:36), the coming prince (Dan. 9:26), and the man of sin (2 Thess. 2:3). In Revelation, he is both a person and an empire. The description of the Beast connects it closely both to the “dragon” (Satan, 12:3), and to the fourth beast of Daniel chapter 7 (the Roman Empire; Dan. 7:7, 23). Though his actions show him to be somewhat distinct from both. “The “horns” and “heads” are identified (in chapter 17). He speaks “blasphemy” against God (compare verses 5-6). His resemblances to a “leopard”, a “bear”, and a “lion” refer to the first three beasts in the vision of Daniel chapter 7 (representing the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece). This Beast includes the people and cultures of three previous empires, and is an outgrowth of the Roman Empire itself. The “power” and “authority” of the Beast come from Satan himself. Satan has his own false “trinity”: Satan acts as the Father, the Antichrist as the Son, and the False Prophet as the Spirit who attempts to bring glory to the Antichrist (compare verses 11-12).
Revelation 13:1 “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.”
Both Daniel and John also saw political systems and leaders that they described using the term “Beast”. John sees this beast coming up “out of the sea.” This beast is a Gentile leader of a Gentile system. John didn’t call it a beast because it was a Gentile. He called it a beast because It comes up out of the sea of “nations”.
In Daniel Chapter 7, the prophet records a dream that he had in which he saw the rise and fall of four gentile world empires. Each was characterized as a beast coming from the sea of nations. So, the beast from the sea is the political part of the Antichrist’s system. Satan is a counterfeiter. So he has an “unholy trinity” that consists of himself (Satan), the Antichrist (the political, religious beast), and the false prophet, (the religious, political beast). See article “Daniel’s Prophecies”.
The sea here represents the Gentile nations of the world, from which this beast comes. The beast is the Antichrist, the false messiah (Matt. 24:5, 24: 1 John 2:18). He is the final Gentile world ruler, also known as the “little horn” (Dan. 7:8, 20-21, 24-25), the willful king (Dan. 11:36), the coming prince (Dan 9:26), and the man of sin (2 Thess. 2:3).
This “sea” means large numbers of people. One writer says unstable nations of peoples. This beast has to do with the powers of this earth opposed to Christendom. Whether John or the dragon stood on the edge of the sea is not material, since we are distinctly told that the ten-horned beast rose from the sea.
These “heads” show dominion. We have said before that “ten” has to do with world government and “horns” show power. We know then that this has something to do with world government and rulers of that. “Crowns” show dominion. This “blasphemy” denies the true God. It doesn’t matter who the “I” is here, but it is probably John.
We see a terrible vicious world power. I believe this “ten” here is the ten common market nations which were formed from the old Roman empire. The old Roman empire has been reestablished in the ten common market nations. The sad thing is, that it appears, the power that this group has is from the evil one.
It is not difficult to understand where their power comes from. “Upon his heads the name of blasphemy”. This beast has the ten horns of power. This is the personification of what Satan does with this world power. The personification of evil when it takes over governments and people who are heads of these governments.
Revelation 13:2 “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as [the feet] of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”
His resemblance to a leopard, a bear, and a lion refer to the first three beasts in the vision of Daniel 7 (representing the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece). This Beast includes the people and cultures of the three previous empires, and is an outgrowth of the Roman Empire itself.
“Leopard”: A metaphor for ancient Greece, alluding to the Greeks’ swiftness and ability as their military moved forward in conquest, particularly under Alexander the Great (compare Dan. 7:6). The Leopard and subsequent animal symbols were all native wildlife in Palestine, familiar to John’s readers.
“Bear”: A metaphor for the ancient Medo-Persian Empire, depicting that kingdom’s ferocious strength, combined with its great stability (compare Dan. 7:5).
“Lion”: A metaphor for the ancient Babylonian Empire, referring to the Babylonians’ fierce, all consuming power as they extended their domain (compare Dan. 7:4).
The description of the Beast connects it closely both to the dragon (Satan, 12:3), and to the fourth beast of Daniel 7 (the Roman Empire; Dan. 7:7, 23), though his actions show him to be somewhat distinct from both. The horns and heads are identified (in Rev. chapter 17).
As the first scripture indicated a beast with seven heads, the other two earlier empires were Syria and Egypt. To make the next scripture easy to understand, I will name the 6 again. They are Syria, Egypt, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. These are the 6 empires of the past.
We will revisit this again (in Rev 17:8-14), which begins:
“The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is”.
Be sure to read the next 5 verses as well (in chapter 17).
“The dragon gave him his power” (see notes on verse 1; 12:9).
Just so you know, the sixth beast is Rome. They were, and then they weren’t as they were no longer a force, but will be prominent again during the end times.
Verses 3-5: The “wound” may refer either to the apparent death of the Antichrist himself or to the decline and apparent disappearance of the Roman Empire. The healing of the “wound” may be either the apparent resurrection of the Antichrist or the revival of the Roman Empire.
“One of his heads” is apparently the Roman Empire (compare 17:10-11). This revival causes amazement throughout the “world”. The “mouth” depicts the blasphemy of the Antichrist against God (compare 2 Thess. 2:4). He will gain some type of worldwide authority for “forty and two months” (three and a half years, the last half of the Tribulation; compare verse 7).
Revelation 13:3 “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.”
I believe this means the apparent death of the Antichrist himself and the healing of the “wound” the apparent resurrection of the Antichrist.
“His deadly wound was healed”: This statement could refer to one of the kingdoms that was destroyed and revived (i.e. the Roman Empire). But more likely it refers to a fake death and resurrection enacted by the Antichrist, as part of his lying deception (compare verses 12, 14; 17:8, 11; 2 Thess. 2:9).
Others tend to believe it to be the decline and apparent disappearance of the old Roman Empire, then the revival of the new Roman Empire.
“World wondered after the beast”: People in the world will be astounded and fascinated when Antichrist appears to rise from the dead. His charisma, brilliance, and attractive but deluding powers will cause the world to follow him unquestioningly (verse 14; 2 Thess. 2:8-12).
This revival causes amazement throughout the world.
Revelation 13:4 “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who [is] like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?”
“Who is able to make war with him”: This confirms the absolute power that Satan will have over the world at this time. No one else will be able to stop the rise of the Beast to world dominion.
Revelation 13:5 “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty [and] two months.”
“Was given”: The sovereign God will establish the limits within which Antichrist will be allowed to speak and operate. God will allow him to utter his blasphemies, to bring the rage of Satan to its culmination on earth for 3-1/2 years (verse 5; 11:2-3; 12:6, 13-14).
Eventually the Beast turns this unbridled animosity toward all the people of God (as Rev. 13:5-7), makes clear.
Earlier John makes it plain that the beast’s power, authority and kingdom are given to him by Satan (verse 2). And John also tells us something revealed to no one else. This is the beginning of the Great Tribulation which Daniel spoke about in when the sacrifice and the oblation ceases. This is called the “Abomination of Desolation” (also see Matthew 24:15).
He speaks blasphemy against God. The power and authority of the Beast come from Satan himself. Satan has his own false “trinity”.
“Forty and two months”: The final 3-1/2 years, 1260 days, of the “time of Jacob’s distress” (Jer. 30:7), and Daniel’s 70th week (Dan. 9:24-27), known as the Great Tribulation (see notes on 11:2; 12:6; compare Dan. 7:25). This last half is launched by the Abomination of Desolation (see note on Matt. 24:15).
Verses 6-8: The unbelievers of the world will be deceived into believing that the Beast is a god (compare 2 Thess. 2:4, 11). Only those whose “names” are “written in the book of life” will refuse to “worship” the Beast. The Beast will persecute the “saints” of God, and exercise power throughout the world. The “Lamb” was “slain from the foundation of the world”, in the sense that Christ’s redemptive death for mankind was part of God’s plan from eternity past.
Revelation 13:6 “And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.”
“His name”: This identifies God and summarizes all His attributes (compare Exodus 3:13-14).
“His tabernacle”: This is symbolic of heaven (compare Heb. 9:23-24).
“Them that dwell in heaven”: The angels and glorified saints who are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night.
“The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty two months. It is Satan’s secret desire to have others worship him. The Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy because He said He was God, and He was crucified for blasphemy. But declaring that one is God is blasphemous only when untrue.
In the case of Antichrist during the Tribulation period, it will be untrue, but such supernatural powers will be given him by the devil himself that he will appear to have Godlike characteristics and thus deceive many human beings.
Thus, during the first 3-1/2 years of the Tribulation the Antichrist will be merely a man endowed with demonic power. But during the last 3-1/2 years, he will actually be Satan himself, clothed with the Antichrist’s body as the antichrist is the second person to be indwelled by Satan. Judas was the first. Remember Satan is not divine. He does not have the power to create, that is, to make something out of nothing.
He can only take what God creates and manipulate it or manufacture it into something else. He can, however, indwell individuals. Even his demonic demons have that power.
Revelation 13:7 “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”
“Make war with the saints”: The Antichrist will be allowed to massacre those who are God’s children (compare 6:9-11; 11:7; 12:17; 17:6; Dan. 7:23-25; 8:25; 9:27; 11:38; 12:10; Matt. 24:16-22; see note on Rev. 17:6).
The Power of the Beast: “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.” Today the world is prepared for a one world governmental philosophy. That philosophy, propagated by Satan and advocated by the intellectual, godless, atheistic leaders of world governments today, is rapidly spreading across the earth.
The wrath begins immediately after the rapture of the church. I have mentioned before and will state again, here, that the word “rapture” is not found in the Bible. It is just a short way of saying the catching away, or snatching away, of the believers into heaven.
Revelation 13:8 “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
“From the foundation of the world”: According to God’s eternal, electing purpose before creation, the death of Christ seals the redemption of the elect forever (compare Acts 2:23; 4:27:28). Antichrist can never take away the salvation of the elect. The eternal registry of the elect will never be altered, nor will the saved in the Antichrist’s day worship him.
“Book of life” (see notes on Rev. 3:5).
“Lamb slain”: The Lord Jesus who died to purchase the salvation of those whom God had chosen was fulfilling an eternal plan.
The unbelievers of the world will be deceived into believing that the Beast is a god (2 Thess. 2:4, 11). Only those whose names are written in the book of life will refuse to worship the Beast. The Beast will persecute the saints of God, and exercise power throughout the world. The Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world in the sense that Christ’s redemptive death for mankind was part of God’s plan from eternity past.
As already seen, humankind has just about come to the conclusion that the only solution to the problem of continuous war is a one world government.
That government will be the devil’s government, established during the Great Tribulation. In the midst of that time he will assume control himself and (as verse 7 tells us), will exercise power over “every tribe, people, language and nation.”
Satan’s “authority” will be all but unlimited, and almost everyone on earth will worship him. This is the very thing Satan has sought from the beginning, worship from angels and men. Of course, believers in Christ will not worship Antichrist, because they will have their names written “in the book of life of the Lamb” (see article “Book of Life – All Books”).
This book of life of the Lamb contains the names of all those who have called on the Lamb of God for salvation.
Verses 9-10: God will punish those who do evil. The Beast and his followers will be overthrown and judged. “Patience” (Greek hupomone), is perseverance or endurance. Those who have genuine saving “faith” will endure all the persecution of the Beast (compare 14:12), because they are God’s “saints” (Greek hagion, “holy” ones).
Revelation 13:9 “If any man have an ear, let him hear.”
Compare 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). This phrase omits “what the Spirit says to the churches” as in the 7 letters to the churches, perhaps because they have been raptured.
You see, this again is a warning not to let this go in one ear and out the other, but to take heed to this warning. This is emphasizing a very important truth.
Revelation Chapter 13 Questions
1. When he was standing upon the sand of the sea, what did he see rising out of the sea?
2. Describe him.
3. What was on his heads?
4. What does this sea mean?
5. What is this in opposition to Christendom?
6. What do these horns show?
7. When you put it with the number ten, what does it mean?
8. What do crowns show?
9. What does this blasphemy deny?
10. What modern group does the author believe this ten is?
11. Where does their power originate?
12. This is the personification of ________.
13. In verse 2, this beast was like unto a __________.
14. His feet were as the feet of a _________.
15. His mouth was a ________.16
. Who gave him power?
17. Who do all these names describing the beast show us?
18. What happened to the beast that caused the world to wonder?
19. Who is the dragon?
20. Who did the people Worship?
21. What was given to the beast?
22. What does this show us about the beast?
23. How long was this beast to reign?
24. Who did this beast blaspheme?
25. What is this Tabernacle?
26. Who would he make war with?
27. How do we know this covered the whole earth?
28. When does the wrath of God begin?
29. Who will worship this evil one?
30. Who are the only ones who will have their names written in the Lambs Book?
31. Give your opinion of the lesson learned from the lesson here.