Attention!
StudyLight.org has pledged to build one church a year in Uganda. Help us double that pledge and support pastors in the heart of Africa.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Revelation 13

Verses 1-18

  1. Intro:
    1. If the book of Revelation was a rollercoaster ride, we just reached the highest peak(ch.12), & are now heading down its steepest slope.
    2. If you can take political & economic power, & control religion, you have a formula for controlling the world! [like Nebuchadnezzar’s gold image locally in his region]
      1. Back in John’s day in the Roman Empire it was the cult of emperor worship. [people were forced to sacrifice to an image of the emperor]
      2. Throughout history other “beasts” have raised their ugly heads.
      3. But none compare to the one to come!
    3. In Red Square in Moscow, sits a beautiful Cathedral called St. Basils. The story goes that “Ivan the IV”(the terrible)[mid 1500’s] had an architect build the most beautiful Cathedral in the world. When he was done building it Ivan asked the architect if he could build one more better? He thought about it & said, “yes I think I could!” {Ivan had his eyes put out, so he’d never be able to build 1 better}
      1. Ivan wanted this Cathedral to be the worlds Final & Greatest Masterpiece!!!
        1. Chapter 13 is Satan’s Final & Greatest Masterpiece...“The man of sin, the vile person, the son of perdition, the Beast, Antichrist, His Super Leader!”
      2. He would be the Tyrant of Tyrants - Dictator of all Dictators.
      3. He would be: “Alex the Great, Nero, Genghis Khan, Ivan the Terrible, Lenin, Mussolini, Ceausescu, Hitler, & Saddam Hussein all in one!”
      4. Jesus said, “I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.” Jn. 5:43
      5. Anti-Christ could say, “If you have seen me, you’ve seen my father!”
    4. Copycat – Remember copying someone’s every movement…until you annoyed them?
      1. Satan is the ultimate copycat. Nothing seems to be original with him.
      2. Here is Satan’s imitation, of Incarnation!
  2. BEAST #1 – THE ANTICHRIST! (1-10)
    1. (1) God describes him here not as “a man made in the image of God”, but as “a wild animal under the control of Satan”.
      1. “The world will worship him as a god, Heaven sees him as a beast!”
    2. Symbols help the writer: emphasize a point; move 1 to action; help the memory; are effective in illustrating; & are useful in making the unfamiliar, familiar.
    3. Sea - Defined in 17:15. “He comes out of the Gentile Nations.
    4. 7 heads - 7 mountains in 17:9. [Rome was built on 7 hills] Also, represent 7 kings in 17:10.
    5. 10 Horns - 10 Kingdoms
      1. Dan.7:24 “The ten horns are ten kings Who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones,” Also, Rev.17:12
      2. Some have speculated it was Rome from the 7 hills in 17:9.
        1. Others the European Union; & lately the possibility of 10 Islam countries coming together.
    6. (2) Leopard, Bear, & Lion - Point us to Daniels Dream in ch.7.
      1. Each represents a World Empire!
        1. John saw them in reverse order than Dan. ]John was looking Back in history; Dan forward]
    7. Power, Throne, & Authority - He is a man(18); Yet he is energized by Satan himself(Dragon)!
      1. Q: The only other to be Satan possessed? [Judas]
      2. He started out as a peacemaker(whitehorse); settled the Israeli/Arab problem by making a cov w/the Jews for 7 yrs; allowed them to build the Temple & reinstate religious ritual; then, midway breaks the cov, stops the ceremonies, & sets himself up as god in the Temple.
      3. This man accepts the offer Satan gave to Jesus!
        1. Mt. 4:8-9 “the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
    8. Quick Questionnaire, “who’s side are you on?”
      1. Q: Do you ever exercise your own power & not rely on God’s?
      2. Q: Do you ever try to be your own boss?
      3. Q: Do you ever try to have your own way?
      4. Welcome to “Team Antichrist” when you do!
    9. (3) A Copycat Death & Res? [thus appearing to be all-powerful]
    10. The people’s reaction to the Beast?
      1. All the world... Marveled, Followed, Worshiped!
    11. (4) His Chief Aim, to be Worshiped (to be like God)!
    12. Who is like the beast – A copy cat of Michael? (who is like God!)
    13. Note his Military Might - No one was able to make war w/him.
    14. (5,6) Words - Most all Dictators rose to power by controlling people w/their words.
      1. Hitler mesmerized huge crowds w/his speeches.
    15. Given - Remember the Beasts authority is delegated, not inherent!
      1. Permitted, Permitted, Permitted!
    16. Quick Questionnaire: “Who’s side you on?”
      1. Q: Do you ever have a mouth of Boasting?
      2. Q: Do you ever have a mouth of Blasphemies?
    17. (7) Quiet a job description here!
    18. We have seen martyrs in heaven, but not a lot was said how they got there.
    19. God permits this? Yes, it’s part of His plan!
      1. Heb.11:35 “ ...others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.”
      2. In every age, Gods people have had to face some Satanic Beast!
      3. Some are hunted some are killed - But all will enter God’s presence perfected & purified by the blood of the Lamb!
    20. Quick Questionnaire: “Who’s side you on?”
      1. Q: Do you ever make war w/other saints?
    21. (8) The book of Life – a heavenly ledger (see 17:8).
      1. Like Eph.1:4 “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world”.
    22. Note: only 2 groups!
    23. (10) From 2 O.T. quotes:
      1. 1st part is from Jer. 15:2 where God is speaking specific judgments upon Israel for their sins, because of king Manasseh.
      2. 2nd part is from Mt.26:52 “for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”
    24. Note 3 things:
    25. [1] If the Christian Faith means imprisonment, the Christian must w/o murmuring accept it!
    26. [2] Christianity mustn’t be defended by force! [not speaking of one’s personal/family self-defense, nor even nationally…but “Christianity”]
      1. It’s a paradox to defend the gospel of the Love of God, by using the Violence of man.
    27. [3] There are 2 weapons which the Christian can use:
      1. (1) Patience - Not just passively enduring, but courageously accepting the worst that life can do, & turning it into glory!
      2. Ps.37:7-9 “ Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret, it only causes harm. For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth.”
      3. (2) Faith(faithfulness) - Fidelity which will never waver in its devotion to its Master.
        1. George Muller said, “Trials, obstacles, difficulties, & sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith!”
        2. On the mantel of “Hinds Head Hotel” in London it said, Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. No one was there.”
    28. Simple Strategies of Satan:
    29. 1. Neutralize or paralyze the churches witness from within.
    30. 2. Poisonous persecution from without.
    31. 3. Smother its witness by giving it great popularity.
    32. 4. Disturb the unity of the church w/discord and division.
    33. 5. Undermine the church through bad teaching.
    34. His overall strategy is to supersede and overthrow the kingdom of God. It is a strategy of destruction. If he was too clever for man in his perfection in Eden, he has a much greater advantage over man in his fallen state. (Satan is No Myth, J. O. Sanders, Moody, 1975, pp. 72ff)
  3. BEAST #2 – THE FALSE PROPHET! (11-18)
    1. (11) Here we have his disciple, groupie, #1 follower, or PR manager.
    2. His wardrobe is a dragon in sheep’s clothing!
      1. He’s a lamb in appearance, but what comes out his mouth is Satan inspired
    3. Horns = authority.
    4. He is also called a False Prophet in 16:13, 19:20, 20:10.
    5. This completes (as some have called) the Satanic Trinity! (more copycat)
      1. Satan is the counterfeit Father - “I will be like the most high.”
      2. The Antichrist is the counterfeit Christ
      3. The False Prophet is then the counterfeit H.S. - the Holy Spirit’s ministry was to point people to trust in Christ & worship Him.
      4. And look at who’s the “keeper of religion” – vs.12.
    6. (12) I bet he’ll simply give the world the religion they seek: a religion palatable & appealing. Appealing to their lusts & carnal appetites, an “I want to be happy Religion.”
    7. (13) “Great Signs” – What Jesus refused to do, he gladly does!
    8. Humans have always been suckers for signs.
      1. We’ve had the Virgin Mary appearing on a tortilla.
      2. Mother Theresa is thought to have been seen in a Tennessee cinnamon rolls.
      3. Based on the eagerness of the general population to put faith in anything extraordinary, it wouldn’t take long for such a figure to accumulate a large following.
        1. He does the fire from the sky trick, & the make an idol talk one.
    9. (16) Maybe a copycat of the Jewish Phylacteries, worn on their left hand & forehead?
    10. Will they happily brand their bodies with his name?
      1. People do today w/tattoos(mom, Gloria).
      2. We even brand the back of our cars w/bumper stickers of the leaders we like during Election time!
    11. (17) He not only controls the people thru religious deceit but now also their Economy!
      1. When you combine Political power, w/Economic power, & Religious power, you have a formula for controlling the whole world!
      2. This took place at times during the Medieval times w/ the Roman Catholic Church (not world wide but close)
      3. People can’t last long w/o trade privileges.
    12. (18) Gallons of ink have been spilled trying to figure out this one...666!
      1. I can hear him sing, “Please to meet you. Won’t you guess my name!”
      2. In both Heb. & Greek, letters = numbers also!
      3. If you work long enough on any name you can make it fit!
      4. Wouldn’t we have benefited more from a physical description rather than a numeric one?
        1. 6’, brn, eyes, salt & pepper hair, we could at least come up with a good suspect list.
      5. People have tried every wicked, popular, & unpopular leader who has come along.
        1. Nero, many Popes, even Ronald Wilson Reagan, Gorbachev, Hitler, JFK, Henry Kissinger, Pope John Paul II, even Barney!
      6. Some have tied 666 with www.
        1. If that’s true you, me & Al Gore are all in trouble!
    13. Q: Can he be identified now? If so, he’d be taken out immediately!
    14. Today numbers are more important then names (as far as computers go it’s all about 0’s & 1’s.
    15. If it’s the end times, he’d be alive today!
    16. I believe at the right time (in the trib) he will then be easily identified!
    17. On the walls of Pompeii a lover wrote: “I love her whose # is 545!”
      1. Thereby he at 1 & the same time identified & concealed his loved 1!
    18. Rabbi Jonathan, “Blasted be the bones of those who calculate the end, for when the calculated time comes & Messiah does not appear, people despair of his ever coming.”
      1. But Jesus is coming again – 2 min. video!
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Revelation 13". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/revelation-13.html. 2017.