Before we begin our study from Revelation, I want to ask you a quick question. Who, in your opinion, is the most evil person who has ever lived? Would you say it’s Hitler? Maybe Napoleon? Or maybe you would say it’s Nero. Or maybe you want to look back even further and time and say it’s wicked Queen Jezebel. All of those people were truly evil, but there’s really no way we can know for sure who is the most evil. But church, as we’re going to see tonight from Revelation thirteen, there will be a man in planet earth’s future that will make Adolf Hitler look like Mother Teresa. To see what I’m talking about, please open your Bibles to Revelation 13:1-10.
“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. 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 his authority. 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. 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?’ 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. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in Heaven. 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. 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. If any man have an ear, let him hear. ‘He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed by the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.’”
In the course of the next fifteen or twenty minutes, I am going to give you nine qualities of the man we call the Antichrist. And just as a little disclaimer, all of these facts are subject to my understanding of the book of Revelation. Some people believe that the Antichrist is not one person, but is an entire belief system. But, I believe that the Antichrist is a future man who will rule the world during the Tribulation period. So when I read these ten verses, I believe they are talking about one literal human being. And as I understand these verses, John tells us at least nine different things about the kind of man he will be.
Quality #1: He will exercise world-wide power
Look at the first half of verse one again. “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.” Ok, so this verse tells us a couple of different things. First, it tells us that he will rise up out of the sea. Later on in the book of Revelation, the sea refers to the people of the earth. So when the Bible says the beast will come out of the sea, I take this to mean that the beast will be a human being. And then, the Bible says that he will have seven heads and ten horns. If you remember from last week, the same thing was said about the devil. We talked about how this was the fulfillment of a prophecy from Daniel chapter seven. But just hold onto that thought, because we’re going to talk about that more later.
Finally, this verse says that the beast will have ten crowns. Obviously, a crown is a symbol of majesty and power. And the fact that the beast has ten crowns tells us that he will rule over the entirety of the planet. This fact is reiterated again in verse seven, but it says it first here in verse one. So quality number one, the Antichrist will exercise world-wide power.
Quality #2: He will claim to be God
Look at that last phrase in verse one. “And upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” In our day and time, blasphemy typically refers to someone using the Lord’s name in vain. But in Bible times, it often referred to someone that was claiming to be God. If you remember, when the Pharisees put Jesus on trial, the charge against Him was blasphemy. Jesus was not tried because He used the Lord’s name in vain, Jesus was tried because He claimed to be God. I am confident that this is the same idea here in this verse. I believe that the Antichrist will claim that he is God. And as we’re going to see in a little bit, the Antichrist is like a cheap imitation of Christ. In his own perverted way, the Antichrist tries to mimic what Jesus Christ did on earth. And one way that he mimics Jesus; is that like Jesus, he will claim to be God.
Quality #3: He will be the sum of all evil
This quality is seen in the first half of verse two. Verse two reads, “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.” Now you might be thinking, “Brother Josh, how on earth does saying he looks like a bear, a leopard, and a lion make him the sum of all evil?” But once again, John is referring to the book of Daniel. In Daniel chapter seven, Daniel describes four empires that will conquer the Jewish people. And by the way, just like in this chapter, the four beasts are said to come up out of the sea. One of the four is described as a lion, one of the four is described as a bear, and one of the four is described as a leopard. And in Daniel’s prophecy, the fourth beast described is the Antichrist. And John adds to Daniel’s prophecy by telling us that the Antichrist will be like the previous three put together. The idea John is driving for is that the Antichrist will be completely ruthless and evil. And that brings us to quality number four.
Quality #4: His power will come from Satan
Look at what the second half of verse two tells us. “And the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and his authority.” I don’t know exactly what the relationship between the devil and the Antichrist will be like. I don’t believe that the devil will be the Antichrist, but I know that the devil will be behind the Antichrist. Many people believe that the devil will possess the Antichrist much like demons possess some people. So, instead of being demon-possessed, the Antichrist will be devil-possessed.
Quality #5: He will mimic Christ’s death and resurrection
I mentioned earlier that the Antichrist will be like a cheap imposter of Jesus Christ. And of course, the way that Jesus definitively proved that He was the Messiah was by His death and resurrection. But look at what verse three tells us about the Antichrist. “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.” Apparently, at some point during his reign, the Antichrist will be mortally wounded, but his wound will be healed. The question that arises is whether or not he actually dies, or if he was just on the verge of death. Personally, since I think this is a mockery of Christ, I believe that he will actually die, and Satan will bring him back to life. But even if he doesn’t actually die, it is obvious that the Antichrist is trying to make himself out to be the Messiah. So quality number five, he will mimic Christ’s death and resurrection.
Quality #6: He will be worshipped alongside the devil
Look at verse four. “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?’” In this verse, we see how the non-Christian world will worship not only the Antichrist, but they will also worship the dragon. Isn’t this tragic? The beast will come proclaiming that he is God, and then he will mimic Christ’s death and resurrection. And the tragic part is, his rouse will be largely successful. While sin is rampant in today’s world, most Americans still hold onto some nominal form of Christianity. Even if they don’t live like a Christian, they claim to be a God-fearing person. But church, in the endtimes, that’s not what it’s going to be like. When the Antichrist reigns, he will lead people to worship himself and to worship Satan. So quality number six, the Antichrist and the devil will be worshipped.
Quality #7: He will have an absolute reign for forty-two months
Look at what verse five says. “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.” Now, this forty-two months has been a very common length of time in the book of Revelation. It comes out to be three and a half years, which is half of the Tribulation. It seems apparent that this forty-two months is the second half of the Tribulation period. While it’s impossible to say for sure, it seems as if the Antichrist will become much more aggressive and ruthless during the second half of the Tribulation. While at first, he comes as a peacemaker, eventually he will declare that he is God, and that he needs to be worshipped. So in essence, while he will rule the world the entire time, during the second half of the Tribulation he will rule the world with an iron fist.
Quality #8: He will temporarily overcome the church
Verse seven tells us that the Antichrist will make war against the church. This is the same message from Revelation chapter twelve. Since the devil won’t be able to touch the remnant of Jews that trust in Jesus, the devil and his Antichrist will focus their full attention on the Gentile church. And church, I’m not trying to scare you, but the Bible says right here that he will overcome the church. Now, it does not say that he will conquer the church, because Jesus said that not even the gates of hell could prevail against the church. But at least for a few years, the Antichrist will overcome the Christian church. Many believers will die, and many more will be driven underground. For Christians, it will be a difficult time. But thankfully, John doesn’t leave us on such a gloomy note. Let’s look at the final quality.
Quality #9: He will be defeated
Look at what verses nine and ten say. “If any man have an ear, let him hear. ‘He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed by the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.’” What are these verses saying? John is telling us that the Antichrist is going to get what’s coming to him! John is challenging believers to be patient in the course of persecution, because one day, he who used to be a slave driver will be led into slavery. He who used to kill will be killed. While this has applications all throughout history, the main thrust of John’s warning is aimed at the Antichrist. He may have world-wide power. He may claim to be God. He may even be resurrected from the dead. People may worship him as if he were the Messiah. But church, our Jesus will defeat him.
And while John was pointing his finger at the Antichrist, this principle in verse ten also applies today. The final word in this passage is, “Justice will be done.” And church, I know that often times, we wish that God would hurry up and make everything right, but we should actually praise Him that He’s waited as long as He has. Because remember, we too were once under God’s wrath. While none of us were ever as wicked as the Antichrist, we were sinners dead in our sins. And while I praise God that one day His justice will be accomplished, I also praise God that He waited long enough for me to trust in Him. So the book of Revelation presents us with an interesting paradox as Christians. On one hand, we should echo the words of John and say “Come, Lord Jesus.” But on the other hand, we should earnestly pray that as many people as possible would come to Christ before it is too late. At this time, I’d like to have a special prayer of thanks to God for His mercy and His justice.
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