Thursday, April 7, 2016

Revelation, chapter 13, comments: the kingdom of the beast

The Kingdom of the Beast

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. 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.

Revelation 11:7  And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

A beast rises out of the sea here in verse 1 but Revelation 17:8 tells us that it is the same beast that ascended out of the bottomless pit.

Revelation 17:8  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.

Some commentators say that the sea represents the mass of humanity and it does appear that way as another beast comes out of the earth in a few verses from now. Others say the sea represents the area, the Mediterranean Sea from where he arises.

Revelation 13:11  And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

Think of the possibility of the sea representing the mass of people, the sea of humanity, and the earth representing religion as modern day paganism is often referred to as earth religion. This beast is a man of the people. There are People’s Republics. Some early American political leaders referred to, “vox populi vox dei,” the voice of the people is the voice of God. America is a big proponent of one man-one vote, democratic rule, around the world, which sometimes leads to chaos and slaughter in cultures where the masses are easily manipulated by clerics and politicians with a violent agenda.

The metaphorical aspect of this creature is represented by him having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns as does Satan in the previous chapter as does the woman in chapter 17 where it is explained that the seven heads represent seven mountains and the ten horns, kings. This beast is characterized by blasphemy against God.

The beast comes quickly as a leopard, with the power of a bear, and the fierceness of a lion, having great authority from Satan to do his bidding on earth. See similar typology in Daniel, chapter 7.

The beast that came as a conqueror in the seals earlier, whose spirit ascended out of Hell, physically came from the mass of people, perhaps as an elected political leader or perhaps simply a person of the people with no attachment to the power structure. Remember that Hitler was elected to office in 1933 and one of Stalin’s slogans was, “Peace, Jobs, and Democracy.”

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.

This beast receives a head wound. Is this a reference to an assassination attempt? And does the following verse in Zechariah apply to this?

Zechariah 11:17  Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.

The world marvels that this beast is still alive after such a blow.

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?

The world outright worships Satan as the power behind the beast. There is no mistake here. No deception. They are worshipping the enemy because the beast must claim that his healing is from Satan. Well, the Irish have a saying, ‘the devil takes care of his own.

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.

Again, here as in chapters 11 and 12 we are receiving an overview. First, the two witnesses preach for 3 and ½ years, the Jews are driven into the wilderness for 3 and ½ years, and the beast speaks blasphemies and great things for 3 and ½ years. This is the time of the Great Tribulation.

6  And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 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. 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. 9  If any man have an ear, let him hear. 10  He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

The beast blasphemes God, His name, Heaven, and those that dwell there. Think of such things today as Richard Dawkins’ book, The God Delusion. Will the beast curse God directly or will he deny God’s existence like Dawkins, mocking those who believe and trust in Him? It appears that he will curse God as previous statements have shown that people know who is causing their problems.

Revelation 6:16  And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Revelation 11:13  And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

Daniel, in referring prophetically and  literally to the great evil type of Antichrist, Antiochus Epiphanes, one of Judea’s Greek rulers who did so much horrific violence to them in between the years of the writing of the Old and the New Testament, spoke of this character, not uncommon in history, as a type of this beast.

Daniel 11:36  And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. 37  Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. 38  But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.

An important point of Bible prophecy, as touched on before in discussing Satan in Ezekiel and Isaiah, is that when the Holy Spirit gave a writer specific wisdom about a person contemporary to or in the near future of the writer, a description is given that also gives us information about another person. We must be careful, though, in our declarations and assumptions because we shouldn’t take away the relevance of the immediate context to the writer.  When you read Daniel 11 in context from the beginning it is clearly talking about Alexander the Great and his four generals who inherit his conquests. Understand that the Old Testament prophets had a limited view and understanding of what was to come and Revelation is the key to interpreting them, not the other way around, as Jesus’ statements in the gospels are the way to interpret the Law given to Moses not vice versa. [See Jesus define Exodus 20:13 in Matthew 19:18 although He quotes the commandment as it is in Exodus again in Matthew 5:21.]

Daniel 12:7  And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. 8  And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? 9  And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

Verse 7 here in chapter 13 shows he makes martyrs of many believers, making war with the saints.

The Beast makes war on the saints so there must be believers here on earth when he arrives on the scene. His is triumphant for a time in his slaughter of Christ’s people. He receives a serious head wound and people will worship him and Satan, but God’s people will not.

    11 ¶  And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12  And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13  And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14  And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15  And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16  And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17  And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18  Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

Another beast comes out of the earth. He is the false prophet.

Revelation 19:20a  And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him…..

 If this earth represents religion as the sea can represent the people, then we have a political beast followed by a beast of religion. He looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon. He appears to be a spiritual leader of peace and the humility of Christ but his words are that of the Devil.

This beast has equal authority with the first beast and he performs great wonders. Jesus gave a warning.

Matthew 24:24  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

It’s at this point that the second beast has an image of the first beast that recovered miraculously from the head wound and causes all to worship it. This might happen as things get really bad for his control during the ministry of God’s two witnesses with natural disaster and God’s hand of judgment causing widespread panic. He must assert control over a terrified population. He then requires a mark to be placed in the right hand or forehead of every person so that no one can do any business without this mark. Those who don’t worship the image of the first beast are killed. The number of the beast that is the mark that is placed in the right hand or forehead of the people is 666. The early church father, Irenaeus, commented on an error by some copyists that led it to be written as 616, so that nonsense can be safely dismissed when you hear an unbeliever or skeptic declare it, just like the fictitious Gospel of Judas, which Irenaeus also dealt with satisfactorily 1800 years ago.

Could this mean that in chapter 11 when the beast overcomes the two witnesses and they are taken to heaven that his reign tightens in his paranoia or in the other beast’s desire to keep at least the image of the fallen first beast at the head of government?

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