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The three beasts and 666

The three beasts and 666
Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992. Click picture to visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site.

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.
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.

[13:1,2. The sea here represents the Gentile nations of the world, from which this beast comes. The Beast is the Antichrist, the false messiah (cf. Matt. 24:5, 24; 1 John 2:18). He is the final Gentile world ruler, also known as the "little horn" (Dan. 7:8, 20, 21, 24, 25), the willful king (Dan. 11:36), the coming prince (Dan. 9:26), and the man of sin (2 Thess. 2:3). In Revelation, he is both a person and an empire. The description of the Beast connects it closely both to the dragon (Satan, 12:3) and to the fourth beast of Daniel 7 (the Roman Empire, Dan. 7:7, 23), though his actions show him to be somewhat distinct from both. (The horns and heads are identified in ch. 17). He speaks blasphemy against God (cf. vv. 5,6). His resemblance to a leopard, a bear, and a lion refer to the first three beasts in the vision of Daniel 7 (representing the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece). This beast includes the people and cultures of the three previous empires, and is an outgrowth of the Roman Empire itself. The power and authority of the Beast come from Satan himself. Satan has his own false "trinity": Satan acts as the Father, the Antichrist as the Son, and the False Prophet as the Spirit who attempts to bring glory to the Antichrist (cf. vv. 11, 12).]

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.
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?
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.

[13:3-5. The wound may refer either to the apparent death of the Antichrist himself or to the decline and apparent dissapearance of the Roman Empire. The healing of the "wound" may be either the apparent resurrection of the Antichrist or the revival of the Roman Empire. One of his heads is apparently the Roman Empire (cf. 17:10, 11). This revival causes amazement throught the world. The mouth depicts the blasphemy of the Antichrist against God (cf. 2 Thess. 2:4). He will gain some type of worldwide authority for forty and two months (three-and-a-half years - the last half of the Tribulation - cf. v. 7).]

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

[13:6-8. The unbelievers of the world will be deceived into believing that the Beast is a god (cf. 2 Thess. 2:4, 11). Only those whose names are written in the book of life will refuse to worship the Beast. The Beast will persecute the saints of God, and exercise power throughout the world. The Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world in the sense that Christ's redemptive death for mankind was part of God's plan from eternity past.]

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

[13:9,10. God will punish those who do evil. The Beast and his followers will be overthrown and judged. Patience (Gr. hupomonē) is perserverance or endurance. Those who have genuine saving faith will endure all the persecution of the Beast (cf. 14:12), because they are God's saints (Gr. hagiōn, "holy ones").]

11: And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
12: And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

[13:11,12. The second beast is the false prophet (cf. 16:13; 19:20; 20:10), whose role is to bring people to worship the first beast. He is a deceiver (cf. v. 14). His two horns like a lamb represent an attempt to give the impression of gentle harmlessness (cf. Matt. 7:15). His dragon speech depicts his empowerment by Satan. He is given full exercise of the power of the first beast, who is the political ruler. His priestly role identifies him as a religious power or leader. He promotes global worship of the Antichrist.]

13: And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
14: And deceiveth 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 to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
15: And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

[13:13-15. The False Prophet deceiveth the unbelievers of the earth by means of wonders and miracles (cf. Deut. 13:1-13; Mark 13:22; 2 Thess. 2:9-11), accomplished through satanic power. He will produce the miracles of Elijah (cf. 1 Kings 18:38; 2 Kings 1:10), and as a false Elijah he will lead people to worship a false messiah (cf. Matt. 24:24). The image of the beast will apparently be set up in Jerusalem for the worship of the Beast (cf. 2 Thess. 2:4, 9, 11). Jesus called it the "abominaton of desolation" (cf. Matt. 24:15; Dan. 9:27). The ability of the "image" to speak is a satanic miracle. The people of the earth must either worship the image of the beast or be killed. There will be no room in the Beast's empire for religious freedom.]

16: And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18: Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

[13:16-18. Only unbelievers will receive the mark of the beast. The "mark" will be placed either on the right hand or on the forehead, both very visible places. No one will be able to buy or sell anything without having thus submitted to the political and religious system of the Beast. The word mark (Gr. charagma) is often used to describe an image, stamp, brand, or other mark (cf. Acts 17:29). According to verse 17, the mark of the beast may be (1) the name of the beast (either the person or the empire); (2) the number of the Beast's name (666); or (3) an image or other representation of the Beast (cf. 3 Maccabees 2:29). The number of the beast is 666, the number of a man (gr. anthrōpos, "man" or "mankind"). This number may be (1) the number of imperfection or humanity (666, the evil trinity, rather than 777, the holy Trinity - also 888 is the numerical value of Iēsous, i.e. Jesus); (2) a number representing the Antichrist's name, which will be recognized by believers during the Tribulation period; or (3) a number derived from the Hebrew spelling of Caesar Nero (Kaisar Neron), who prefigured the Antichrist in his evil actions (cf. Antiochus Epiphanes in Daniel 8).]

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Artwork © 1992 Pat Marvenko Smith. All Rights Reserved.
Text copyright © 0095-0096, Jesus Christ, All Rights Reserved.
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