Revelation 13-15

 The Beasts

In Chapter 13 we read that when Satan was cast down he stood on the sea shore and coming up from the sea was a beast that Satan gave his power to. The beast is the antichrist. It appears that in the early years the antichrist will do some good things like make a peace treaty in the middle east which will allow Israel to build their Temple. But when it comes time to dedicate the Temple the antichrist will kill the two witnesses and proclaim himself as god.

Judas was a disciple of Christ for the three years Jesus ministered on earth. He was one of the twelve who were sent out to minister in the communities that Jesus was planning to go to. For the most part he seemed like just one of the boys yet we do find that he had a weakness for money. He was the keeper of the money box and helped himself to the money from time to time. He was also concerned when Mary anointed Jesus with an expensive perfume complaining that the money spent for it was wasted. Apparently this weakness was an area where the devil was able to get a foothold. There came a time when Satan entered into Judas and he betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

I don’t think the antichrist was a believer or anything like that but what I do believe is that there was a dramatic change in him and how he operated after his encounter with Satan in Chapter 13:1-8.  Satan knows his time is short. We read the antichrist will have this power for forty-two months.

In verse 11 we read of another beast who will come out of the Earth. This beast is the false prophet. Both of these are called “beasts” because that is how God sees them. The world sees them differently.  John saw the antichrist as being like a leopard, bear, and lion. These describe in reverse order the nations that once ruled the world. They are Greece, Persia, and Babylon. The ten horns on the beast indicate that this is Rome with a ten nation alliance as described in Daniel 7.

In verses 16&17 we read that in order to buy or sell people will have to have a mark on their hand or forehead. Not too many years ago it was hard to imagine why anyone would do this or even how it could be done. Today, however, with identity theft, credit and debit cards that now need chips for security on them, it is not hard to imagine that people will gladly embrace any new technology (like bitcoins) that will protect their identity and money.  Presently with our smart phones we are quickly moving to a cashless society. If there was ever a need for evidence regarding the accuracy of the prophesies in the Bible it can certainly be found right here and in Chapter 11:9.

As the time grows short and the antichrist and the false prophet are identified we start to see the battle lines in Chapter 14 where we see our Lord standing with the one hundred forty four thousand who were sealed earlier. An angel is proclaiming the gospel to those who live on the Earth in verse 6. In verse 8 there is another angel following the one in verse 6 saying “Fallen,” “Fallen” is Babylon. There are two Babylon’s. The first one is a political Babylon that is represented by the antichrist. The second Babylon is an ecclesiastical Babylon represented by the false prophet. Babylon means confusion. These leaders are bringing political and religious confusion and deception to the world. This confusion has been around for a long time and many of our religious practices, such as idolatry and witchcraft find their source in the deception and confusion of Babylon. The same is true for everything political. Once the False Prophet helps to establish the antichrist with counterfeit miracles and signs the political Babylon will destroy the religious Babylon.

In Chapter 15 John sees a great and marvelous sign in Heaven, seven angels who had seven plagues. They will each be given a bowl which is filled with the wrath of God. When these are poured out the wrath of God will be complete, but we will have to wait until the next study to read about them being poured out.

Clearly, the old order of things caused by the fall and sin nature of man are about to pass away. God has a plan for the future so stay tuned we are almost there.

Pastor Dave