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Bible Commentaries

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary
Revelation 13

 

 

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Verses 1-18

John said,

I stood upon the sand of the sea ( Revelation 13:1 ),

Probably the Mediterranean Sea.

and I saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads, ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy ( Revelation 13:1 ).

The sea represents, of course, the multitudes of people, the Mediterranean Sea, the multitudes of people that live around the Mediterranean Sea. And out of it he sees this hydro-headed beast with seven heads and ten horns. We are told in the book of Revelation that the seven heads are the seven mountains upon which the beast sits. The ten horns are ten kings.

Daniel, as he also describes the beast that he cannot really describe, non-descriptive type of a beast, it had ten horns. And again the Lord told Daniel that the ten horns were the ten kings that were going to give power to the beast.

So, there is going to arise upon the earth a ten-nation federation, ten kingdoms federating together. Daniel two and the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and the interpretation by Daniel, "and there shall arise," Daniel said, "the eleventh which shall destroy three speaking blasphemous things, he will take control, take power." So, the rise of the beast, the antichrist, the one who is going to rise to take over the control of the earth, speaking, as Paul said, blasphemous things against God. Daniel makes reference of his blasphemies. "He shall speak great words," he said, "against the most High and shall wear out the saints of the most High."

And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were like a bear, and his mouth was the mouth of a lion: and the dragon [who of course is Satan] gave him his power, his throne, and great authority ( Revelation 13:2 ).

Now, where is Satan"s throne? It is on this earth. We say the earth is the Lord"s and the fullness thereof, and all they that dwell therein. That is prophetic. The earth right now is under Satan"s control. This is his place of dominion. He rules. Jesus came to redeem the world back to God. Satan took Him into a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and said, "All of these will I give unto you and the glory of them, if you will bow down, and worship me, for they are mine, and I can give them to whomever I will"( Luke 4:5-6 ).

Now, the fact that they are still Satan"s is demonstrated by the fact that the antichrist, which is yet future, receives from Him his authority, his power, and his throne. And so Satan is going to invest in a man, all of his power, and all of his authority. It will be Satan incarnate.

And I saw one of the heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast ( Revelation 13:3 ).

Now, we are told a little further down verse fourteen, that the false prophet comes and says to the people who dwell upon the earth that they should make an image to the beast which had the wound by a sword and did live. This man will be a world leader. There will be an assassination attempt, apparently successful, but he miraculously survives the deadly wounds. Though, according to Zechariah, it will probably leave him blinded in his right eye and without the use of his right arm. Yet the very fact that he survives this assassination attempt causes the world to marvel and it brings him immediately into a prominent position in the minds of so many people, because it is by a definite miracle that this man survives. "One of his heads were wounded to death, but the deadly wound was healed."

And they worshipped the dragon which gave power to the beast ( Revelation 13:4 ):

Satan worship. Oh, people wouldn"t worship Satan. That is ridiculous. We used to think that, didn"t we? Now, they have the Satanic Church and people are consciously, knowingly worshipping Satan. And here they worship the dragon through his incarnated person the antichrist.

and they say, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? ( Revelation 13:4 )

He will have tremendous power, tremendous authority. He will subdue three probably of the most powerful kingdoms to take over the rule. He will put to death the two witnesses who have up to this point been invincible.

We remember last week, in chapter eleven, the two witnesses; whoever tried to hurt them, they would call fire down from heaven and consume them. And they had been invincible up to this point and the beast destroys them. He puts them to death. And so the world will marvel at this man"s power and they will say, "who can make war with him?

And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies ( Revelation 13:5 );

Again this is mentioned by Daniel both in chapter seven and chapter eleven.

and power was given unto him to continue [for three and a half years] forty-two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle [that is His dwelling place], and them that dwell in heaven ( Revelation 13:5-6 ).

Now, this man is a man of open blasphemy. Again, Paul makes mention of that in second Thessalonians two, as Paul talks about the man of sin, the son of perdition. So, he opposes and exalts himself against all that is called god, that is worshipped, so that he is god and sits in the temple calling himself God and declaring himself to be God, speaking blasphemies against God.

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all the families, tongues, and nations ( Revelation 13:7 ).

Now, this war with the saints and overcomes them also is predicted in Daniel. He makes war with the saints, Daniel says, and prevails against them. These saints could not be the church of Jesus Christ. When Jesus announced to Peter his church, he said, "Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." There is no way that Satan can prevail against the church of Jesus Christ.

But these are the people who have received Christ during this final seven-year period after the church has been taken out. As a result of the witness of those two witnesses, or the witness of the one hundred and forty-four thousand, these people have received Jesus Christ as Lord. They have acknowledged Jesus as their Lord. But "he will make war against them and prevail them". He has power to put to death and he will put to death those that believe in Jesus Christ. But being martyred is preferable to submitting to his authority or worshipping him, because we will find out in the next chapter that if anybody worships him they lose any chance of salvation forever.

And so John tells us here of the reign over all of the families of the earth, the tongues, and the nations.

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 13:8 ).

So, there is interestingly enough a book of life. And Moses made mention of this when he was praying to God and interceding for the nation of Israel. "God forgive and if not them," he said, "I pray you will blot my name out of your book of remembrances" ( Exodus 32:32 ).

The book of life is mentioned again here in the book of Revelation. Paul makes mention of it. And Paul tells us that our names were written in the book of life from the foundation of the world. Now, here is the book of life of the Lamb, the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world.

Now, there is a teaching that I feel borders on blasphemy of the character of God that declares the limited knowledge of God. In other words, it would deny that God is omniscient, that He knows all things. And this teaching basically declares that Adam disappointed God and took him by surprise when Adam sinned. That then the plan of redemption was inaugurated. Now that Adam blows it, what are we going to do? And then the redemption plan was then devised. But here the plan of redemption we are told existed before the foundation of the world, before man was ever created. God knew.

Why would God create man if He knew that man was going to blow it? Because God desired fellowship. God desired meaningful fellowship with man. It"s a big universe. You could get awfully lonely in the universe. But to have true friends, to have a meaningful relationship with them there has got to be this freedom.

God could create robots. The worship of a robot would be meaningless. The robot says, "I love you," but how do you know? It is all programmed into his computer. You could also program into the computer "I hate you." Again it wouldn"t do too much to you. You wouldn"t go home all devastated because the robot said, "I hate you". You know it is just a robot. It doesn"t have a will of its own. It is only spitting out what has been programmed into it. God could have made us that way like little robots spitting out what is programmed in, but you really would not have a meaningful relationship. You will never develop a meaningful relationship with a robot. You may have a more meaningful relationship with your dog than you will a robot, because your dog can disobey you at times too. He has the will. You usually make him submit to your will, but he has a will of his own. So you can develop a relationship of sorts with a dog, but you will never be able to develop a relationship with a robot.

So, God made us with our free wills in order that my relationship with Him might be meaningful. I don"t have to relate to God. I can blaspheme God, if I want. I can turn my back on God, if I want. And because there is that capacity, and because my relationship with God is something that is volitional on my part, I want to relate to Him. I desire and long for this relationship. I love Him and my declaration of such is meaningful then, because it is the expression of my will. You see, I don"t have to; I am not forced to.

So from the foundation of the world, God knew that man was going to sin. God was ready to redeem man using really a strong incentive for man to come to God declaring God"s love to man. I mean, how could God show you that He loves you more than by sending His Son to die in your place? "Greater love," Jesus said, "is no man than this, that a man will lay down his life for his friends" ( John 15:13 ). The supreme sacrifice showing supreme love.

No man can ever doubt God"s love who looks at the cross. And it is interesting that God never seeks to prove His love for you apart from the cross. There is not one scripture where God tries to prove His love for you except those that relate to the cross. "God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son." "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and gave His Son as the propitiation for our sins"( 1 John 4:10 ). "For God demonstrated His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for the ungodly"( Romans 5:8 ). And God giving His Son to you is the only way by which God has ever sought to prove that He loves you.

Sometimes in our relationships, as peril as they often are, we say prove that you love me? Want do you want? Sees Candy, or at Calvary, Helen Grace Candy. Prove that you love me. Well, if you would say to God, "prove that you love me?" He would just point to the cross. There is the proof. It is the only proof that you will ever need. Jesus died for your sins, and that was a part of God"s plan from the foundation of the world. Now, because He knows all things, that is, when He wrote your name in that book, knowing my response to His love and grace, my name was written in the book of Life from the foundation of the world.

Now, some have suggested that God has written everybody"s name in, but then those who refuse to receive the grace of God, their names are blotted out. I don"t know, but here we are told that "those that dwell upon the earth whose names were not written"; so it sort of contradicts that concept that everybody"s name was written, whose names were not written, or are not written in the book of life, slain from the foundation of the world.

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

Whenever the Lord has had something quite important to say, He usually throws in, "He that hath an ear to, let him hear".

He that leads into captivity shall go into captivity ( Revelation 13:10 ):

Now, the antichrist is making war against the saints taking them captive, destroying them; but they that live by the sword will die by the sword. Those that take those believers into captivity will themselves soon be taken into captivity.

he that kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints ( Revelation 13:10 ).

So, it is a word of encouragement to the saints who are going to be experiencing this horrible persecution from the antichrist.

And I beheld another beast [the false prophet] coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb ( Revelation 13:11 ),

In other words, he looked like a lamb.

and he spoke as a dragon ( Revelation 13:11 ),

Jesus said, "Beware of false prophets, who will come to you in sheep"s clothing" ( Matthew 7:15 ). The one thing about false prophets is they never look like a false prophet. Satan never looks like the characters of Satan. He does not have horns, a forked tail and a pitchfork in his hand and he doesn"t wear red leotards. He would like you to think that he did. He would like you to think that he is some grotesque-looking character that would scare the wits out of you, if you saw him. He would like you to think that, because that way he can go around cleverly disguised as an angel of light, beautiful, speaking such soothing words to the flesh. "Why don"t you just go ahead and enjoy yourself. Drink of pleasure till it is full." And you would say, "Oh, that can"t be Satan. That is so charming, and so enticing. Satan is ugly. I don"t see any pitchfork." And that is why he"s able to deceive.

So the false prophet has horns like a lamb, but listen to what he says.

And he exercises all the power of the first beast which were before him, and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed ( Revelation 13:12 ).

So, several times there is the mention of this deadly wound being healed. And it is really sort of the rallying point by which the false prophet draws the people to worship the beast.

And he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of man ( Revelation 13:13 ).

Now, you remember the two witnesses were doing this. They were bringing down fire from heaven. Now, he duplicates it.

You remember in the case of Moses going before the Pharaoh how that the magicians in Pharaoh"s court were able to duplicate to a point the miraculous things that Moses was doing. Moses threw down his rod on the floor and it became a serpent. They threw down their rods and they became serpents too; that duplication of godly miracles.

Now Satan is able to counterfeit many of the things of God. He can"t counterfeit all of them, but he can counterfeit many of the things of God, and does counterfeit many of the things of God. And here is a counterfeit, the two witnesses calling down fire from heaven. Now, this fellow comes along and he calls down fire from heaven in the sight of men.

And deceives 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 of them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image of the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live ( Revelation 13:14 ).

Now again in second Thessalonians you have parallel-type of passages in chapter two as the antichrist is described, he is called "whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause"( 2 Thessalonians 2:9 ). What cause? Because people didn"t love the truth, the truth of God. Jesus said I am the truth and the life, but people don"t love the truth. "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they would believe a lie: that they might be damned to believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness"( 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 ).

So, God is going to give them a strong delusion that they might believe. In the Greek it is a definite article, "the lie", the big lie of Satan, the antichrist, the false prophet. So, he deceives them. You don"t want to believe the truth. God gives them over to delusion. God allows them to be deceived.

You know I am amazed at the things that people believe who have rejected Jesus Christ. When you reject the knowledge of the truth in Christ, you are a prey to all kinds of stupidity. I am amazed at the foolish things that people do who reject the truth of Jesus Christ. They wear white robes standing on street corners, shaving their heads and working finger symbols, doing their little chantings, doing the mantras, and doing their "ums". Watching the people up in Oregon as they are worshipping their guru, seeing the outlandish things that he is leading them to do, as they have mass hysteria, heavy breathing calisthenics followed by uncontrolled screaming. What a prey man becomes when he rejects the truth. You don"t want to be wise and receive the grace of God then be stupid. And people believe and do the most stupid things who have rejected the truth of God.

I am amazed at many of these college professors who pretend towards superior intelligence of some of the weird things that they do of supposedly intelligent men. But because they did not love the truth, God gives them over to a strong delusion. They soon believe a lie.

Several years ago I was invited to come to a meeting of the supposed Intelligencia of Orange County. There were a bunch of college professors and doctors who were supposed to be the cream of the Intelligencia. And I was brought as a specimen of ignorance so they could play games and be amused by the fact that I actually believed in a living God who created the heavens and the earth. So, I was brought in for their amusement that they could eat me up. And as I sat there during their preliminaries, and this one sort of leader of the group of superior intelligence sat on the floor in the lotus position and began to tell me of all of his accomplishments and all of his intelligence and everything else. I felt sorry. He was so wise, yet so deceived and so foolish.

Finally after a period of time, they said, "Well, what do you have to bring to us tonight?"

Because they told me how that they had had LSD sessions, these very intelligent people, they called themselves "seekers". They were seeking truth, and they had had LSD, they had Cocaine and everything. After all of your seekers, you can excuse anything that you want to do seeking truth. The one sitting in the lotus position declared that he was a Buddhist priest. He had studied Buddhism under him.

I said, "Well, you have obviously searched through everything, but the fact that you call yourselves "seekers", you obviously are still searching." I said, "Maybe in all of your searching you have overlooked something that you have already searched through." I said, "Why don"t we start with the basics. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." One of the men interrupted me immediately and said, "Now, when you say God, are you talking about an anthropomorphic concept of God?"

And then some other guy started challenging him and they got in this big rhubarb. And as they were in this big rhubarb, I bowed my head and I started praying. I said, "God if you get me out of this place I promise I will never come again. I have been neglecting my wife. I haven"t spent enough evenings at home with her. Lord, forgive me. I am sorry. I should be home tonight with my wife and my family. My kids, they need me, Lord, and here I am in this mess. God, get me out of this mess, or do something." Because I knew that there was no way I was going to get anywhere and I didn"t need the hassle.

So finally some lady there said, "Will you guys shut-up. We hear you all the time. Every week we hear you guys going through the same inane arguments. Now, we have invited this fellow to speak to us; the least we can do is listen." So they apologized and said, "Okay, you have the floor." And I looked at them and I said, "My soul and spirit are at complete rest. I am completely satisfied." Hey, they all sat up on the edge of their seats and they started listening extremely attentively, because that is something none of them could say. With all of their arguments, with all of their intelligence, with all of their background, none of them could say, "my soul and spirit are at rest. I am satisfied." And the Lord allowed me to share for about an hour the richness and the fullness that can be experienced in Jesus Christ. And then the Lord got me out of there.

But in the succeeding weeks I had several of them call and come in and receive Jesus Christ. Because there is only one way that a man can find rest and peace, that is in and through Jesus. And you may search the world over and you may have all kinds of bizarre experiences, but you will never have rest until you have Him. But those who refuse the truth are open for deception.

So, he comes with deceiving wonders and they make this image.

And then they have power to give life to the image of the beast ( Revelation 13:15 ),

Now, there is a lot of talk lately by some of the far-out physicists of creating a computer that can be biologically connected to certain types of organisms and will have life in itself. And this bio-kind of a computer has had several articles written on it. There is a research group in Canada that is working on such a thing. It is sort of a computer that will be able to think on its own kind of an idea; one that you can"t turn off. And they say that this is the next step in the evolutionary process. It will be higher than man and will be able to rule man and give us the answers to life and its problems and so forth, because they can create it with so much more intelligence than man. That"s the talk of the far-out physicists.

Interestingly enough, they are going to make an image of the antichrist and put it in the Holy of Holies of the rebuilt temple and then they are going to give life to it. Now, this is the ultimate blasphemy. This is the abomination, which will cause the desolation or the Great Tribulation. This is the final straw. At this point the wrath and the fury of God will be poured out upon the earth. And the earth will go through a time of great tribulation such as it has never seen before or will ever see again. When the antichrist comes to the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and proclaims himself to be God and stands in the Holy of Holies, the Holy place, and announcing himself as God, that is the ultimate blasphemy. They set up this image in the temple and they give power to it.

that it should both speak and have life, and they caused that as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed ( Revelation 13:15 ).

You have sort of a historic kind of a picture when Nebuchadnezzar, you remember, made the golden image and set it in the plains of Dura and caused everyone to bow down and worship it, in order that if anyone should refuse to worship it that they should be cast alive into the burning fiery furnace. Now the image that he made was making a statement.

Nebuchadnezzar had had a troubling dream that Daniel had interpreted. It was a great image. It had a head of gold, chest of silver, stomach of brass, legs of iron, and feet of iron and clay with ten toes. This dream interpreted was the image where the nations that would rule the world headed by Babylon, the head of gold, which was to be replaced by the Medo-Persian Empire, the chest of silver, which would be replaced by the Grecian Empire, the stomach of brass, which would be destroyed by the Roman Empire, the legs of iron, and the final world governing empire a relationship to the Roman Empire, ten nations, the ten toes federated together. And during the time of the reign of these ten kings, the Lord of glory would come and establish His kingdom that would never end.

Now, Nebuchadnezzar was making a statement with this image. Why? Because he made it all of gold. "Though, O Nebuchadnezzar, are the head of gold, God has given you a kingdom to reign over the earth and all, but you are going to be replaced"( Daniel 2:38 ). He is saying I am not going to be replaced. Babylon will last forever. It was a statement. And people were ordered to pay obeisance to that statement, to acknowledge that Babylon would be eternal. It would not be destroyed. It would not be overthrown. It was a statement of contradiction to God"s word that declared that Babylon would be overthrown. It was a statement of rebellion against God. And people were commanded to agree to that statement by bowing down and worshipping the image. And you have that same counterpart to this image being set up and everyone being ordered to worship this image and being put to death if they refused to worship the image.

You remember that shortly after that he went insane and spent seven seasons in insanity until what? Until he acknowledged that God did rule over the kingdoms of man and would set on the thrones those who He would. His little statement of blasphemy against God was finally changed.

And he caused everyone, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their forehead ( Revelation 13:16 ):

Now, in France they have developed and have already trial-marketed a Smart card. A Smart card looks much like your Visa card or Mastercharge with the exception that the Smart card has implanted in it a little computer chip that keeps track of your account and if you try to use that card and you are above your limit it just won"t work. Your card knows just what your limits are. It keeps a constant monitoring of your account and you can"t go over your limits with this Smart card.

Now, the Bank of America and Citibank of New York are extremely interested in looking into this Smart card and they are thinking about this same thing for our use in Visa and Mastercard. In fact, there is an article in today"s paper on that. It was in the Santa Ana Register on the Smart card. According to the article the banks are extremely interested and encouraging people away from writing checks. They are getting buried in paper and they want you to start using Smart cards.

Now, there is of course already talk about the implanting of computer chips under the skin on a person"s hand for a positive identification. It is the same kind of a thing as the Smart card. It would be the same kind of computer chip implanted under the skin of your hand, and it would do the same thing. It would keep track of your account so you could never overdraw. It could replace money completely. The computers could keep the whole accounting. The chip would establish your limits and you would do all your buying and selling with the mark that is in your right hand.

He causes all both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond to receive a mark in their right hand or in their forehead. This technology exists today. These Smart cards are in use and they are going to test market them in several of the cities of the United States. They have already been test-marketed in France and have been successful to a point. There is still a few problems, but it has eliminated a lot of the shenanigans that take place with credit cards.

Do any of you have the new Pacific Security card? The one with the holograph of the dove on it. What are the last three numbers in that Security Card? Take a look. The numbers that appear right over the holograph of the dove. One of our pastors has one with666. He is afraid to use it. I was curious as to whether all of them had666 , but evidently not. That is interesting. They have the holograph of a dove in the card. It is a very beautiful card. But suffice to say, technology does exist already to establish a monetary system that is based upon buying and selling with cards or identities such as a computer chip. This will be inaugurated by the false prophet.

And no man will be able to buy or sell, unless he has the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred and sixty-six ( Revelation 13:17-18 ).

Now the number of man in scripture is "six". You"re aware with Biblical numerics that each number has a significance. The number seven is the number of completeness. The number six is short of completeness, incomplete man. The number twelve is the number of human government, and number thirteen is the number for Satan. And in Hebrew and Greek it is more meaningful than in English, because in the Hebrew and Greek they also count with their alphabet. In other words the alpha, beta, gamma, delta is one, two, three, four as well as your A, B, C, D. And aleph, bet, gimel, daleth is the same in Hebrew, the one, two, three, four. It is your A, B, C, D also, but it is also the numeric so that every Greek letter has a numeric equivalent.

So, you can do fun things with Greek words, such as you can total up the numeric equivalence of a Greek word, or you can total up the numerics in it. And interestingly enough, the number eight, being the number for Jesus, it is the number for new beginnings. Seven is the complete number. Seven notes in a scale, seven days in a week, so that the eighth becomes the new beginning.

When you come to the eighth day, you have a new week. You come to the eighth note; you have a new scale. So eight is the number of new beginnings. Significantly, it is the number of Jesus. He is a new beginning. And you total up in Greek the letters that spell Jesus and you have the number888. And every name for Jesus, if you total up the letters, it is always divisible by eight. If you total up the letters in all of the names for Satan in Greek, they are divisible by thirteen. So, there is a lot of interesting games that they can play with these numerics, because there are the numeric values there.

So, there are a lot of things that you could probably figure out that are spoken cryptically in the Bible if you would follow through on this numbers program. In fact, Chuck Missler is trying to set up his computer to do this, to find what cryptic messages might exist in the Bible by setting his computer to discover these numeric patterns that exist.

Now, here is the mind that has wisdom. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number. It is the number of a man, and the number is666. It is probably the total numeric value of the man"s name, 666.

Now as we get to the seventeenth chapter, I will give you another clue. "

 


Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.

Bibliography Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/revelation-13.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, July 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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