November 2011


Dear Friends,

I am using an outline from John MacArthur's message on Revelation 13 to describe the ancestry, authority, acclaim, and adoration of the Antichrist. The material here in chapter 13 is parenthetical but fits the chronology of the midpoint of the Tribulation just after Antichrist has broken the peace treaty with Israel. He has seduced the world into believing that he is the savior who can deliver mankind out of the chaos and confusion going on across the entire world but he now reveals his true colors. The church has been Raptured and many Jews and Gentiles have come to salvation in the first 31/2 years of the Tribulation, yet the great majority of mankind are lost and easily deceived by the beast. In fact, they worship him as God. Unrepentant people are always ready to follow a powerful, godless leader who will not require them to submit to the One true God who judges their sin yet truly has their ultimate good at heart. They finally get what they want only to their eternal ruin as Antichrist rules the entire world through his ten-nation confederacy. Although Daniel, Paul and John have already written about him, this is by far the clearest description of the beast (Antichrist) out of the sea. What remains unclear to us now, will become clear to those who are left behind at the Rapture and come to salvation in the Tribulation. The book of Revelation will be a great source of encouragement and guidance to them.                                                          

ANCESTRY – Like father, like son.  "And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name."  As we learned from chapter 12 last week the dragon is Satan and the description of him in v.3 is almost identical to the one here for Antichrist. Jesus said all unbelievers were children of the devil (John 8:44) but this is his favorite son. Some commentators note that Scripture often uses the sea as a symbol of all the Gentile nations and the turmoil, sin and restlessness of fallen man. (Isa. 57:20) It is as if Satan stands there looking over the nations and calls forth a man out of this chaos to be his man and fills him with his spirit to do his evil work. This beast is the Antichrist and is the head of the revived Roman Empire that Daniel predicted would be revived in a ten-kingdom form (Dan. 7:24). The seven heads (see in 17:9, 10) are seven kings referring to the seven different stages of the empire: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and a revived Roman empire (which some commentators believe will not be restricted to western Europe). These are the nations that oppressed Israel and the focus of the Antichrist's evil rule will also be primarily against Israel as we saw in chapter 12. This is yet another evidence that the Tribulation period is about Israel and that the church has been Raptured. The ten diadems on his horns speak of the power to rule, which was given to him by the dragon, Satan. He has a blasphemous name on his heads, and he makes claims for himself as if he were God and not a mere man. One meaning of blasphemy is for a person, like the Roman emperors, to declare themselves to be divine and to be worshiped as God. 

AUTHORITY – "The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.  And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation."  Here we see that the beast/Antichrist also symbolizes the Revived Roman empire as well as being a person. (See 17:8-11) In Daniel 7, the leopard symbolizes Greece; the bear is a type of Medo-Persia; and the lion represents Babylon. The revived Roman Empire headed up by the Antichrist (Dan. 7:19-25) resembles its predecessors in that it is swift to conquer like a leopard, powerful as a bear, and greedy as a lion and it combines all the evil features of the preceding world empires. The beast receives his power and authority from the dragon (but only because God allows this).                           

ACCLAIM – RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD  – "One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast." Since Satan does not have the power to raise someone from the dead there are two basic views regarding the "resurrection" of the beast. It could be a counterfeit resurrection (to imitate Jesus' resurrection; 2 Thess. 2:9-10) or it could be referring to the "resurrection" of the Roman empire which "died" (fell) in 476 AD, as "one of the heads" refers to a nation not a person; yet verse 12 refers to a person (not a nation) with a fatal wound. Once again note that the revived Roman empire may not be restricted to western Europe and in fact, as Steve Griffith and others believe, it could consist of the ten most powerful nations in the world and rule the entire world. "And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation."  Thus the Antichrist's acclaim would be that he is the most powerful ruler the world has ever seen.

ADORATION OF ANTICHRIST – "Men worshiped the dragon (Satan finally gets what he has always wanted – see Isa. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:12-15 – but only for a short time and only then to serve God's purposes) because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?" (Jesus alone will take him out; see Rev. 19:19-21)  All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast-all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world."  {"The false prophet (the beast out of the earth; see vv. 11-18) leads the world to worship the Antichrist by controlling all the wealth. It was a matter of life or death! When you combine political power with economic power and all religion, you have a formula for controlling the whole world. But the lost world worships money and power, so the task of the false prophet will not be too difficult." Wiersbe, Warren W.: With the Word Bible Commentary. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1991}                                     

"He who has an ear, let him hear."  These are the same words Jesus spoke to each of the seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3 but note: {"the omission of the phrase "unto the churches" is most significant and tends to support the teaching that the church, the body of Christ, has previously been Raptured and is not in this period." J. Walvoord – Bible Knowledge Comm.}                                                  

"Whoever leads into captivity will himself go into captivity; if anyone slays with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Herein is [the call for] the patience and the faith and fidelity of the saints (God's people)."   I use the Amplified translation here as it makes the meaning clear. {"The captor will be taken captive; the killer will be killed. When God's purposes are finished through the beast, God will take him captive and confine him to the lake of fire. The knowledge of this is the patience and faith that sustains the saints who endure these persecutions." Charles Ryrie}

                Until He comes, 

                Len and Kristen                

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