The Rise of Anti-Christ
The Beast from the Sea. v1 - 10.
1. "Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name."
John stands on the shore of the island of Patmos as he receives this vision of a beast coming up out of the sea. The key to the symbolic meaning of "the sea" here is given in Rev. 17:1 and verse 15 where the word "waters" is used instead. The Beast rises out of the turbulent nations. This suggests that the Beast originates from a Gentile nation. This Beast differs from the one in Rev. 12:3 as he wears diadems on his horns, whereas Satan wears them on his heads (Rev. 12:3). The ten crowned horns are representative of a confederation of ten kingdoms and the seven heads are seven regents appointed and controlled by the Beast. The very nature of this Beast is the embodiment of all blasphemy.
2. "Now 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. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority."
The creature dominantly resembled a panther, that is with the grace, slyness and swiftness of that animal. His feet are like a bear's, powerful and deadly, for unlike a cat, bears are unable to retract their claws and so are always ready to attack. The lion's mouth depicts the cruelty of the creature and the way it tears its prey apart with its teeth. It is to this Beast, who is his offspring, that the Devil gives all his power, his throne and great authority, he is Satan in human form, the Anti Christ.
3. "And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marvelled and followed the beast."
The Anti Christ is apparently killed and raised from death in a mocking parody of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of this the whole world follows him with amazement and admiration.
4. "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?"
The world worships the Devil because he gave his authority to Anti- Christ. They also praised and worshipped the Anti-Christ as God, announcing that there was no one as powerful who was able to overcome him. How wrong they were.
5. "And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months."
This man is given the eloquence to propound (in a surprisingly impressive, stunning or overwhelming way) astounding and blasphemous things. He was given the freedom to exercise his authority for three and a half years.
6. "Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven."
The Beast continually blasphemes God, speaking against His person, His dwelling place and all who dwell in heaven.
7. "It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation."
The Anti-Christ is given power by the Devil to make war against the faithful Jewish remnant (144,000 -- the Great Tribulation) and to overcome them. Power is also given him to rule over all nations and language groups throughout the world.
8. "All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
Every inhabitant of the earth will pay homage to him "bow down, in voluntary, inward veneration of soul, to him as their god" (Tatford). Except those who have been sealed by God (Rev. 7:4) and whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
9. "If anyone has an ear, let him hear."
A warning is given at this point for all who have heard these words to understand the serious implication of them.
10. "He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints."
Here is a reminder that vengeance belongs to God (Deut. 32:35; Rom. 12:19). Whoever takes people into captivity will themselves be taken. Whoever kills with the sword will be killed with the sword. As God's sealed people are persecuted by the Beast they are called to exercise faith and endurance. They are not to take up arms against him.
The Beast from the Land. v11 - 18.
11. "Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon."
John saw another beast coming out of the earth. The first beast came from outside Israel but this one arises from within that nation. He had a different pretentious appearance to the first. He pretends to be as gentle as a lamb, being plausible, smooth tongued, not exhibiting the vicious ferocity of the first beast. The words that he speaks, however, are the same as those spoken by the first beast and are uttered with authority of the Devil.
12. "And 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 exerts all the power and authority of the Anti-Christ in his presence. In so doing he makes all the inhabitants of the world to revere (to regard with great awe and devotion) and worship the Anti-Christ who had apparently died and had risen again.
13. "He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men."
This second beast (the false prophet) also performs great miracles even to making fire come from the sky to the earth in the sight of the people (2 Thes. 2:9 - 10)
14. "And 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."
Satan gives this beast the power to perform such miracles in the presence of the Anti-Christ in order to deceive the people of the world. He commands them to make a statue in the likeness of the Anti-Christ.
15. "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."
So great was the power given to the false prophet by Satan that he is able to impart life to the image so that it could speak. This will not be effected by trickery, robotics, or televised media, but by an appalling manifestation of Satanic power, imparting demonic life to the statue of the beast. Those who refused to bow down and worship the statue he caused to be put to death.
16. "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,"
The false prophet compels everyone, irrespective of their station in life, to receive a mark engraved on either their right hands or in their foreheads. This does not necessarily mean that the mark will be visibly seen.
17. "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."
Without this mark, either the name or number of the beast, no one could work or buy and sell. They would be outcast from the world and doomed to starvation.
18. "Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: his number is 666."
There are many speculations about the number of the beast. Note that it is not six, six, six; but six hundred and sixty six. John says that it requires the wisdom of God to interpret its meaning. It will require a deep, thorough knowledge of figures to compute the number of the beast. The number is said to be the number of a certain man (Strong's Dictionary: "of a man" = a certain human being) and his number is six hundred and sixty-six. Tatford says, "whatever the interpretation of the symbol, identification of the individual referred to will doubtless be impossible until the particular period in which he lives".
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Copyright (2012) Sharon Full Gospel Church, UK. Reg. Charity No. 1050642 www.sharonchurch.co.uk
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