Title: EVIL COMES FROM THE SEA
Text: Revelation 13:1-18
In our study of the book of Revelation we are at the middle of the Great Tribulation, the final 3 1/2 years before the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. With the death of God’s restraining witnesses in chapter 11, the world is set up for the arrival of Satan’s evil one that comes up from the sea. Chapter 13 opens with the Apostle John seeing the dragon (Satan) standing on the seashore and calling forth a beast from the sea. This beast will be a super leader who will take over the world for Satan’s purposes. Read Text.
1. Is this beast an animal or a man? (Rev. 13:18) From his description in verses 4-8, who do you think he is? (The Antichrist.)
2. Do you remember from last week’s study what the seven heads and ten horns symbolize? (Heads = mountains where the Great Harlot sits, 17:9; horns = 10 kings under his authority, 17:12).
Insight: The prophet Daniel had a vision of a beast that looked similar to John’s vision. Daniel’s reveals that three of the ten kings had to be defeated in order for the beast to take control. These ten kings are from the same kingdom. When you think about it, ten kings (each having their own country), but aligned with the same kingdom, could represent a league of 10 nations. Do we have any such league of nations today? Compare Rev. 13:1-3 with Dan. 7:1-3, 15-28
3. Where does the beast, or the Antichrist, get his power? (Satan 13:2) What happened to the beast that will cause the whole earth to follow after him? (Slain and come back to life. 13:3,12) What does this chapter say about how his fatal wound was inflicted? (With a sword.)
Insight: There is a riddle in verses 9-10 that the wise reader is urged to understand (to have an ear that listens to the Holy Spirit’s explanation). Verse 14 answers the riddle by stating it is the beast (the Antichrist) that is to be slain by the sword. But it closes with an encouragement. What do you think John is trying to covey to us here?
4. How will the world treat the dragon and the beast when they come? (They will worship them. 13:4) For how long has Satan been trying to gain worshippers for himself? (Ever since he was cast out of Heaven. Isa. 14:12-15; Matt. 4:8-10
5. Who organizes and promotes the world to worship Satan and the Antichrist? (The other beast, the False Prophet. 13:1-12) Rev. 19:20
6. The Antichrist will be a great orator, per 13:5. But the words from his mouth will not be holy. What three things will the Antichrist blaspheme? (13:6)
Insight: Since Satan has been cast out of Heaven, this blasphemy is to be expected. It shows his utter hatred for God and the consequences of his foolish, selfish motive of worship.
7. How long is the reign of the Antichrist? (13:5) If everyone on earth is worshipping the Antichrist, who will he make war with? (The saints who would not worship him. 13:7)
Insight: The world can be divided into two groups at this time of history. Those who worship the beast and those who do not…those who have the mark of the beast and those who do not.
8. How is John able to say that those who belong to the Lord (their names written in the Lamb’s book of life) have their name there since the foundation of the world? Eph. 3:1-6; Rom. 8:29-30
9. Describe how the beast is a counterfeit christ.
Insight: The world would not receive Christ, but it will receive the Antichrist. The world would not believe the truth of Jesus, but they will believe the lie of the Antichrist. Jesus spoke gracious words of salvation and men turned a deaf ear, but they will listen to blasphemous words of the Antichrist. The world will not worship the Christ, but they will bow down to the Antichrist. But carefully note the comment at the end of verse 7 – the world doesn’t really want to – they just realize that no one is able to wage war against him; thus they worship him out of fear, not reverence.
Insight: The Holy Trinity consists of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This unholy trinity consists of Satan (the counterfeit father), the beast (the counterfeit christ), and the false prophet (the counterfeit spirit).
10. How is the ministry of the false prophet deceivingly like that of the Holy Spirit?
Insight: The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ and leads people to trust and worship Him. The false prophet will point to the Antichrist and his image and compel people to worship Satan through the beast. Deut. 13:1-3
Insight: Notice in Rev. 13:11 that the beast that represents the false prophet has horns like that of a lamb (13:11). He will have the appearance of a lamb, but the voice of a dragon. This is a hidden message for the believer to be alert to the fact that Satan will use such deceptive tactics that he will lead the world into listening to Satan, the dragon.
Insight: When Jesus was on earth, the Jewish leaders often asked for a sign to prove that He was indeed their Messiah. He did not comply with their wish. (Matt. 12:38-39) In this respect, the beast is not like Jesus. Rev. 13:13-14
11. The biggest telltale sign of the Antichrist is the abomination of desolation. Do you know what that is? 2 Thess. 2:1-4; Dan 11:31
Insight: An idol is bad enough, but setting it up in the temple is the height of all blasphemy. Since Satan could not command worship in Heaven, he will go to the next best place – the temple in the Holy City.
12. God raised the two witnesses from the dead when they were slain. How does Satan imitate that miracle with the Antichrist? (13:14-15) We can see that Satan is attempting to control the world at this time by religious deceit. But he is not content with this; he uses strong economic controls as well. What are the economic controls? (13:17) What is the only way people will be able to get the mark of the beast? (By worshipping him.) Rev. 14:9-11; 20:4
13. What is the mark of the beast? (A number of a name that is imprinted on the forehead or right hand; 666.)
Insight: In the ancient world the letters of the alphabet were used for numbers, both in Greek and Hebrew. A = 1, B = 2, K = 20, L = 30, T = 100, U = 200, etc. in the English alphabet, for example. The Antichrist’s name, substituting numbers for letters, would then total 666. For ages people have tried to calculate different names to find out whom the Antichrist is. Word of caution: It’s not important to try to discover ahead of God’s timing who it is. What God wants are alert Christians who stand their ground in opposition.
It is interesting that the author of this mysterious revelation also wrote some simple to understand epistles. In his first epistle he writes that the spirit of the Antichrist is already at work in our world, but he goes on to exhort us to not be a part of it. 1 Jn. 2:18-24 Christians must have no part of that deceptive system. We must shun false worship and be found faithful to the Lord in these last days. 1 Tim. 3:1-5
In every age true believers have had to take their stand for Christ, and we must prepare ourselves to accept what will come with such a stand…even the loss of our possessions and our life. We may lose it all now, but the promise of our reward is that we will gain even more in the age to come. Matt. 5:10-12