Thursday, November 16, 2006

THE BEAST OUT OF THE SEA


In Revelation 12 the dragon, representing the Devil, tried to destroy the Christ child and has failed, we also see how the Devil has carried on a war for the possession of the Old Testament saints and has failed, and we can read how the Devil has tried to destroy the woman, representing the New Testament saints and has failed. And now, in this present time...

The Dragon Makes War With the Remnant of Her Seed

And now, when we enter into Revelation 13 we see how the Devil does make war with the New Testament saints. First, however, the Devil has to acquire a body. Since the Devil is a spirit he cannot move things, and he cannot carry weapons, and he cannot kill the saints, since he is only a spirit. But when he acquires a body he can do all those things. This is what we see revealed in Revelation 13.

We read here in Revelation 12:17,

Revelation 12:17
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 13:1
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.

Revelation 13:2
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 13:3
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.

Revelation 13:4
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?

Revealtion 13:5
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.

Revelation 13:6
And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

Revelation 13:7
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.

Revelation 13:8
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.

Revelation 13:9
If any man have an ear, let him hear.

Revelation 13:10
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.

And thus we see that Satan is very successful after he has acquired a body. In this 13th chapter we shall see in what manner Satan makes war with the saints. In principle Satan makes war with God and with His Anointed, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Devil opposes God’s plan simply because he wants to hang on to his own kingdom, and thus he will do anything to prevent the realization of the Kingdom of Christ. In this chapter God gives us a picture of “Antichrist”. It is very important that we understand this picture, for God says in verse 9, “If any man have an ear, let him hear.” The incarnation of God the Son is Christ. The incarnation of Satan is called “Antichrist”. Judas Iscariot was indwelt by Satan, and thus for a short time he can be called Antichrist.

Martin Luther proclaimed that the Pope is Antichrist. That is true, but do not stop there. There are many more people who are in leadership leading people to Hell. We have to realize that Antichrist is not one person. Since Satan wants to be effective all over the world, he and his demons must indwell many persons at the same time. All the false prophets and false teachers and false pastors are Antichrists, for they all are glorifying Satan. Let us now consider:

The Beast With Seven Heads and Ten Horns

We have here a chapter that is highly symbolic in nature. Nobody expects to see a monster with 7 heads and 10 horns come up out of the sea. We must remember that Satan works in a very subtle way. He will come as an angel of light. But God portrays him here as a grotesque monster to show his likeness to the dragon.

Just like when Jesus said in John 14:9:
“he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father”, so in like manner this beast that comes up out of the sea bears the image of the dragon.

Revelation 13:1
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.

Revelation 13:2
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.

The first thing we immediately see in this picture is the remarkable likeness to the dragon, as he is described in Revelation 12:3.

Revelation 12:3
And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

So great is the likeness of the dragon to the beast that many people think that this is the same dragon. But we have to distinguish the dragon, which is a spirit, from the beast, which has an earthly body. And even though the beast is just a symbolic representation of something, God portrays him here as a beast with a physical body.

We notice that this beast comes up out of the sea. The sea is the birthplace, the source, or the origin of this beast. There is little doubt that this sea must be taken in the sense of the peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues on the earth. For example, in Revelation 17 God describes to us a harlot who sits upon many waters. But she sits also upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. Little doubt that this is the same beast as in Revelation 13:1.

And then God says in Revelation 17:15:
“And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.”

These are the same waters that produced the beast with 7 heads and 10 horns.

Moreover, God says in Isaiah 57:20-21:
“But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”

And thus the sea does not represent every single individual of mankind, but only the wicked, even though they constitute the majority of mankind.
The description of the beast in Revelation 13 calls to remembrance the four beasts that are described in Daniel 7. In Daniel 7 they are four beasts. In Revelation 13 it is only one beast having all the characteristics of the four beasts, which means that these four beasts have now united, have formed a confederacy, and form a united front in their efforts to overthrow the plans of God.

Daniel 7:2-3
Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

Daniel 7:17
These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.

And thus we see that the sea in verse 3 does not represent water, but it represents the troubled sea of nations on the earth. And thus we see that it is a very fitting symbol for the wicked all over the world. The peoples and nations of the earth as they are under the power and principle of sin, and as they develop according to this principle, are indeed like unto the troubled sea, war-swept, revolution-swept, plague-swept, famine-swept and troubled all their lives. Let us now continue in Daniel 7, for we see that Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 are intimate entwined. First of all we read in Daniel 7:3 about:

Four Beasts Came Up From the Sea

Perhaps you remember that in Revelation 13:2 God said:

Revelation 13:2
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.

The leopard, the bear and the lion find their origin here in Daniel 7.

Daniel 7:3
And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

Daniel 7:4
The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.

Daniel 7:5
And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

Daniel 7:6
After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.

Daniel 7:7
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

What are we seeing here?

Some people interpret this chapter as if it represents a series of Kings in the course of history. They read as if the lion represents the kingdom of Babylon, and the bear represents the kingdom of Persia, and the leopard represents the kingdom of Greece. But when you continue to verse 12 this interpretation falls apart. Actually it is in chapter 8 that God portrays for us the kingdoms of Persia and of Greece in a historical fashion, but chapter 7 is given to complement Revelation 13.

What is the focus here in Daniel 7 and in Revelation 13?

The focus is the Final Tribulation Period when the saints will suffer almost total defeat.

Daniel 7:25 says:
“He shall wear out the saints of the Most High”

and Revelation 13:7 says:
“It was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.”

These are terrifying statements. But God placed these words in the Bible to give us advance warning that this would come to pass, so that we could arm ourselves and be spiritually prepared for these dreadful times. Let us now look at these four beasts.

First of all, the beast in Revelation 13 has a mouth as the mouth of a lion. In Daniel 7 the first beast was like a lion, and now we remember that Satan is described in 1 Pter 5:8.

1 Peter 5:8
as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

It means that Satan’s workers speak much, but through their speech they are really out to devour the souls of people. And even as the woman in Revelation 12 was given the wings of a great eagle, so this beast in Daniel 7 had eagle’s wings. Satan, through his Antichrist, tries to imitate the church. But his wings were plucked off, for he cannot provide the spiritual strength that God gives His people. This beast does not save people, but destroys them. But being a spirit, Satan has to work through men, in other words through his Antichrist. So, this beast was made to stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it, so that he can be called “the man of sin”.

Secondly, the beast of Revelation 13 has feet as the feet of a bear.
In Daniel 7 the second beast was like to a bear. The bear is another picture of Satan, or of his Antichrist. God says in:

Proverbs 28:15
“As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.”

Satan’s Antichrist is that wicked ruler over the poor people. Moreover, the bear had three ribs in his mouth. In the Garden of Eden God took a rib out of the side of Adam and formed the woman, which Adam later called Eve, for she was the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20). Thus in one sense this rib represents the entire human race. But God shows us three ribs in the mouth of the bear. And if three represents the purpose of God, then the picture of the three ribs assures us that Satan’s attempt to devour the whole human race is a part of God’s salvation plan.

Thirdly, the beast of Revelation 13 was like unto a leopard. In Daniel 7 the third beast was like a leopard, which had four wings. God spoke about flying leopards in Habakkuk 1:8.
God warned the nation of Judah that He would send the Chaldeans to destroy the nation.

Habakkuk 1:8
Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.

This third beast has four heads and four wings. The number four indicates universality, meaning “all over the world”.
This third beast underscores the universality of Satan’s rule over all nations during the Final Tribulation Period. Fourthly the beast of Revelation 13 is characterized by its 7 heads and 10 horns. But the fourth beast in Daniel 7 is described as having only ten horns. That is by no means a defect in Daniel’s prophecy. Daniel’s prophecy focuses on the little horn on this fourth beast, and that is why the description of this fourth beast is incomplete in Daniel 7:7. But this fourth beast definitely corresponds to the beast that comes out of the sea in Revelation 13:1. God gives us this clue in Daniel 7:23, where we read:

Daniel 7:23
The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

Therefore, when we see the beast in Revelation 13:1 in the light that Daniel 7:23 gives, we realize that the figure of the beast in Revelation 13 represents a great world-power ruling together with its government as its head. Thus we see that the four beasts in Daniel 7 represent the worldwide dominion of Satan as he works through his Antichrists, the embodiments of Satan. It is from verses like these that some people believe that one day there will be one worldwide government with one person as the Antichrist ruling the world. But this interpretation is a far stretch.

One World-Power and Its Government

Is this beast in Revelation 13:1, which represents Antichrist, is it a person, or a power, or a system, or a kingdom?

God tells us in Daniel 7 that the beast is both the kingdom and the king. Or to frame it in more general terms, the beast represents both the world-power and its government. The beast does not represent a person who in his personal power and strength subdues and controls the whole world. The beast also does not represent a single kingdom or nation that shall subdue and dominate the whole world. But since we see in Revelation 13:1 all four beasts combined into one, we realize that there will be a consensus, a mutual agreement, a confederation of a variety of nations, to operate in unison on important matters in the world.

And what could be more important to the Devil than to create a heaven on earth, so that mankind does not need God and His heaven any more?

This power, as it is pictured in this beast, does not consist of one nation, but it combines within itself all the kingdoms and republics of this world. The kingdoms of this world, usually like wild animals existing to their mutual destruction, have succeeded in forming a unity. The spirits and aspirations of these various beasts have combined into one, so that the world-power represented by this beast in Revelation 13, combines in itself all the glory and ambitions of all the kingdoms which have aimed at world-power in the past, and that do aim at it in the present time.

This is also symbolized by the ten horns that have now all been crowned. In Revelation 12:3 the dragon had seven crowns upon his heads, indicating his rulership over all the nations of the world. But in Revelation 13:1 Antichrist has ten crowns upon his horns, indicating that he is extremely successful in furthering the kingdom of the dragon. Although we do not interpret these ten horns as representing ten different kingdoms, we can see that these ten crowns represent a great deal more authority for the dragon. The beast is the incarnation of the dragon who possesses all the kingdoms of this world. The dragon could say to Christ in Matthew 4:9,

Matthew 4:9
Fall down and worship me, and I will give thee all the kingdoms of the world.

But now the beast has succeeded in actually combining all these kingdoms in such a manner that ultimately they are all serving the dragon. If the number ten symbolizes the completeness of what is in view, then we can see that the crowning of the ten horns indicates the completeness of the kingdom of the dragon over all the world through the workings of his Antichrist, the beast. And the period of history we are talking about is the Final Tribulation Period.

Let us now turn to some happier moments and consider:

One of His Heads Was Wounded to Death

Revelation 13:3
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.

The Lord Jesus Christ has indeed fatally wounded the head of Satan at the cross. God says in Hebrews 2:14,

Hebrews 2:14
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.

Exactly as God promised in Genesis 3 Christ bruised the head of the serpent. God said in Genesis 3:15

Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.

This was a promise that at the cross Christ would defeat Satan, and He would hurt him as badly as if He had bruised the head of the serpent. And since the beast in Revelation 13:1 appears as an image of the dragon, the beast also showed the sign of having been wounded to death.

But why was the deadly wound healed?

The death blow that Christ dealt Satan is that which guarantees eternal condemnation for Satan on Judgment Day. But Judgment Day will not come until God’s program to evangelize the world has fully unfolded. At that time, in AD 33, most of the people whom God has chosen to save must still be born during the New Testament time period. But as long as this world exists, Satan has still the right to rule over the unsaved. The statement that the deadly wound on Satan has healed appears in the context of “and all the world wondered after the beast”. And so we see that only in the blinded eyes of the world does Satan appear healthy and well. The unsaved do not understand what came to pass at the cross.

But God’s promise in Hebrews 2:4 still stands. Satan will have to stand at the Judgment Seat on the Last Day, and he will be found guilty, and he will be cast into Hell. This is a sure promise.

After having declared that Satan will surely be judged, God goes on to say in verse 10 that this is a time that calls for patience and faith on the part of the saints.

Why patience?

This exhortation applies mainly to those who are living during the end time period, the Final Tribualtion Period. We feel terrible to see that churches all over the world are modifying the Word of God just to please men, and they are preaching gospels that do not bring the message that God gave us in the Bible. We feel terrible when we realize that the possibility for our unsaved family members to hear the true Gospel is getting smaller every week. This is a kind of distress that the saints in other periods of history have never experienced, and it is something that the unsaved cannot understand. That is why the Lord warned us that the Great Tribulation would be different from the trials that the saints have experienced in the past. And that is why we need patience and faith to live through this period of great tribulation.

My Sheep Hear My Voice

We need faith!

When we read Revelation 13:7 we are frightened by these words.

Will Antichrist overcome us, will he kill us, and will we lose our salvation?

Remember that our God is immutable in His plans and actions. It means our God does not change. In John 10:24 we have here an event that may give us great comfort in times when we doubt our eternal destiny, or in a time when we wonder if Antichrist shall be able to overcome us. The scene is in the temple at Jerusalem, some time after the Lord Jesus had given the parable that He is the Good Shepherd. We read in John chapter 10:

John 10:24
Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.

John 10:25
Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

John 10:26
But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

John 10:27
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

John 10:28
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

John 10:29
My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

John 10:30
I and my Father are one.

First focus on verse 26. The Lord Jesus said, “Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep”.

He did not say, “Because ye believe not, ye are not of my sheep”. This would be the gospel that many preachers today are preaching: “If you do not reach out to Jesus, you cannot be saved”. But Jesus clearly said, “Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep”, thereby indicating that only those who belong to His sheep, whom the Father has given Him according to verse 29, only those will believe that He is their Savior. Clearly the Lord Jesus has election in view, and clearly the Lord Jesus indicated that the natural man will not believe because he is unable to believe.

Secondly, let us look at verse 27. The Lord Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice”. He did not refer to His audible voice. We must remember that God ceased to give Divine revelation after God finished Revelation 22:18. The Lord Jesus was referring to the Bible.

Do we hear His voice in our minds when we read the Bible?

Do we gladly read the Bible?

And why do we gladly read the Bible?

Is it because we then hear the voice of our Bridegroom?

Absolutely Yes!

This is why we rejoice to read and study His Word.

But are there verses in the Bible that we do not like?

Are we getting a little uneasy when the Bible confronts us with the sovereignty of God, or with election and reprobation, or with God’s promises of Hell and damnation?

If so, then we are displeased with Jesus when He wrote these words, and we then should honestly ask ourselves if we have been saved. But if we examine ourselves and we see that we rejoice in everything we can find in the Bible, then we know that God has done a wonderful work in our soul, for this is not something that the natural man rejoices in. And so, if we see that God has done this miracle in our soul, let us move on to the next verse, verse 28, where the Lord Jesus said, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

This is a promise from God, and we should not doubt His promise. If we live in the Final Tribulation Period, and times are rough, and students in school are a pain in the neck, and in an unguarded moment we blow our stack, and the situation at home is unfriendly, and so on, then remember that Jesus said, “They shall never perish”, for if He has paid for our sins at the cross, nothing will be able to remove His grace away from us until the end of time. This is our cherished possession until Jesus comes again and takes us home.

So what does the overcoming mean in Revelation 13?

What does it mean when it says that Antichrist shall kill us?

We will study this anothet time.

AMEN.

By Alfred Chompff

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