Revelation 13:1-18 Part 2

REVELATION 13:1-13 Part 2


12:18:  And it was positioned upon the sand of the sea.

1)    Then I saw a beast having ten horns and seven heads arising out of the sea; and upon its horns there were ten diadems, and a blasphemous name on its heads.

2)    The beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet as a bear, and its mouth the mouth of a lion and the dragon did give it its power and its dominion and great authority;

3)    and one of its heads as having been fatally wounded and its stroke of death healed, the whole land was caused to marvel after the beast.

4)    And they adored the dragon that gave the authority to the beast and adored the beast, saying ‘who is like the beast’ and ‘who is enabled to wage war with it?’

5)    And a mouth speaking great, blasphemous things was given it, and authority to act forty two months was given it;

6)    and it opened its mouth in blasphemies toward God, to blaspheme His Name and those tabernacling in His tabernacle in the heaven.

7)    And there was given it to make war with the holy people and to overcome them.  And authority over every tribe and tongue and people was given it.

8)    And all who dwell on the land whose names have not been written in the book of life of the Lamb slain before the foundation of the cosmos shall bow before it.

9)    If anyone has an ear, let him hear:

10) If anyone is for captivity, into captivity he goes; if anyone is for killing by the sword, he is to be killed by the sword.  Here is the determination and the faith of the holy people!

11) Then I saw another beast arise from the land, and it had two horns like unto a young lamb; but it spoke as dragon!

12) It exercises all the authority of the first beast before it and confirms for the land and those dwelling in it that they must adore the first beast, the one whose death-stroke was healed.

13) And it would perform great signs, so that it may make fire to come down from the heaven into the land before the men,

14) and deceiving those who dwell upon the land by the signs given to it to perform before the beast, telling those who dwell upon the land to make an image to the beast that had the death-stroke by the sword and did live.

15) And it was given to it to give life to the image of the beast that the image of the beast might speak, and (it was given to it to) cause even the least of those who would not adore the image of the beast that they be killed;

16) and it causes all, the menial and the great, the rich and the poor, the freemen and the servants, that they be provided a mark upon their right hand or upon their forehead

17) so that no one be able to buy or to sell without having the mark: either the name of the beast or the number of its name.

18) The wisdom is herein.  Let one having a mind calculate the number of the beast; for that number is man, and his number is six hundred and sixty six.


Last Lord’s Day we were made aware of three errors in translating the Textus Receptus: 1) it’s not John who is standing on the sand of the sea; it is the dragon that is positioned, or located, on the sand of the sea (verse eighteen of chapter twelve); 2) it’s not “the saints” (Christ’s newborns) given to the dragon to suffer war and be overcome; it’s “the holy people” – God’s set-apart people of the covenant that are given over to the devil for their overcoming and final judgment (verse seven); and 3) it’s not “the nations of the earth” upon which the dragon is focused here in the sign of Yahveh (a nonsensical translation); it is “the land” of Israel, the paradise of his holy people – and where His earthly tabernacle is located.

As the sign of the woman and the sign of the dragon continue here in chapter thirteen, that’s what this is all about!  The earth and its nations is not the dragon’s primary concern; its concern is with the land of God’s covenant people.

The dragon’s full intent for the previous seven hundred years has been the annihilation of the covenant people; and this fourth beast that’s called up from the sea is more savage and ferocious than any of the previous three.  Having failed in that previous seven hundred years to completely cut off the land of Israel, it raised up a fourth dominion so brutal as to avoid a fourth failure!

But underlying and supporting all of these things is the Biblical Theology concerning the absolute authority of the risen and ascended Christ.  The dragon, full of vengeance and self-importance, does only what it is permitted to do; and what it is permitted to do is what has previously been decreed.

And its corrupted, deceptive and vengeful nature is used against it in order to fulfill all things decreed and prophesied – certainly the complete desolation of the land of Israel, and ultimately the salvation of the world.

We’ve said here a number of times that it’s impossible to fully comprehend the Gospel of Matthew without also knowing John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ.  And that it’s impossible to fully comprehend the Revelation without also knowing Matthew’s Gospel.

Well, since all of the newer testament was written in the few, short years between the resurrection and glorification of the Christ and His Parousia (forty years), the same thing is true of all four of the Gospels and all of the letters of the apostles!

One just can’t fully comprehend the apostles’ letters to the Churches without knowing the Revelation; and the Revelation can’t be comprehended without knowing the letters of the apostles!  They were all written during the same short period of time… a time that God called “the appointed time” and “the end of the age”.

It was a time in which the “beast” was being raised up out of the sea of humanity; it was a time in which the beast was being provoked by Satan (the dragon-serpent); it was a time during which Israel’s idolatry and harlotry and hypocrisy (fifteen hundred years of it) was being filled up; it was a time during which there were great plagues and infestations and the release of demonic creatures in the land; it was a time during which the lost sheep of the house of Jacob were being sought and found and exfiltrated into the nations; it was a time in which those “newborns” in Christ were stalked and hunted and persecuted by the rabid leadership of Israel; and it was a time in which all the little Churches in the nations were under the civil authority of the “beast” that had been raised up.

It was the letters of the apostles that were the apostolic correction to the Churches’ theology and practice and obedience.  It was the letters of the apostles that explained what was happening to them and what was happening to those that remained in “the land”.  It was the letters to the Churches that gave them comfort during the period of wars and rumors of wars and the great “shaking” of heaven and earth.  It was these apostolic letters that provided the Churches confidence and assurance in the sovereign authority of Christ the King.

Right in the “seat” of world power (the whole earth’s civil magistrate) were a number of these little Churches (we don’t know just how many there were).  Some of them had been formed right after Pentecost 30AD; and by the time the letter from the apostle Paul arrived in Rome there were many elect Gentile converts.  At the same time the dragon was provoking the invasion and destruction of Israel, The Christ was already invading Satan’s house and taking all that was His.  But these newborns in Christ in and around the city of Rome were already suffering brutal persecution (and it would get much worse).

That letter from Paul bore many examples of theological correction, and many other examples of faith and obedience to Christ the King.  It also contained exhortations to assurance and confidence during a time that looked like the “end of the world” was upon them.

It was in this letter that Paul expounded upon such towering doctrines as the depravity of man, the salvation and preservation of God’s elect, and predestination, and union in Christ, and the love of God in Christ Jesus from which no creature could separate them.

And in the same letter, Paul prepares these Churches for that which would shortly come to pass in the land that God had set apart for Himself some fifteen hundred years before.  And I want to read a portion of that for you this morning.  It is a great example of apostolic instruction to the Church during this time of intense draconian activity as the beast is made ready for its attack on the covenant “holy people”.  Here it is from chapter eleven:


1)    I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not!  For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

2)    God has not cast away His people who He foreknew.  Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying,

3)    “LORD, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”?

4)    But what was the divine response to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.

5)    Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

6)    And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace.  But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

7)    What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

8)    Just as it is written: “ God has given them a spirit of stupor,  Eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear, to this very day.

9)    And David says: “ Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a recompense to them.

10) Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see, and bow down their back always.

11) I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.

12) Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!

13) For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,

14) if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them.

15) For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

16) For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

17) And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,

18) do not boast against the branches.  But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.

19) You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.”

20) Well said.  Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear.

21) For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.

22) Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness.  Otherwise you also will be cut off.

23) And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

24) For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

25) For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

26) And so all Israel will be saved….


Now, at the time that this letter was received by these Roman Churches, it was about twenty-five years after Pentecost, and about fifteen to seventeen years before John’s Revelation was received.

The original Churches in Rome having consisted of Jewish Christians – those who were at Pentecost 30AD and those lost sheep who had been sent there by the apostles – here twenty five years later there were many Gentiles who had been added to the Churches.  So the apostle addresses them as well as the “first-fruit” Jewish believers.

And this chapter thirteen is of great import to both Jews and Gentiles, for Paul makes it clear to them that all who are in union with Christ are true Jews!

Not only was our Lord faithful to His promise to His covenant people in saving the remnant (a hundred and forty four thousand of them), but He was also being faithful to His promise to Abraham that he would be the father of many from all the nations of the earth!

And here Paul tells these Gentiles that they are “IN CHRIST” just as these lost sheep of the house of Israel are in Christ.  They are “grafted in” (using the horticulture analogy), grafted in to the original root, which is the covenantal promise that “all Israel shall be saved”.  The Gentile believers are “In Him” just as the Jewish believers are.

And the whole of the teaching is set firmly in the context of the “cutting off” of all of the dead branches, leaving only the “root”, which is saved in Exodus out of “the land”.  So the “root” – the covenantal promise to Jacob – is scattered into the nations, having been harvested from “the land”; and “the land” is about to be the threshing floor from which all the rest are gathered in bundles and burned in the fires of Gehenna.

Our Lord’s promise will be faithfully executed as “the land” of Israel is to be left a wilderness; and the nations of the earth will bear the fruit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It (the whole earth) will become “the land”, the new “heaven and earth”, the “new Jerusalem”, the paradise of God, with the mountain of Christ above all the mountains of the earth.

All this to say that in no way can the letter of Paul to the Churches of Rome, or any of the letters of the apostles, be separated from the Revelation; and if they’re read and preached and heard in any other context, then they’re misunderstood.  If we had time, we could pick multiple examples from each of them!

This letter from Paul to the Churches in Rome prepares all the newborns there for the prophesied termination of the covenant “land”; and he prepares them for the persecution and suffering that they will endure.  And he does so in soaring theological discourse.  The apostle Paul knows that they live and worship in the belly of the beast!  They know they live and worship in the belly of the beast!  That IS the broader context of the letter!  And the “grand” theological expositions are exactly what’s needed to build up and sanctify all of the newborns in that city for all that is about to take place.

Surely there are many instances of practical instruction for Christ’s newborns about worship and marriage and the Law of God (and many other things), but never are any of those instructions to be removed from the context as if they stood alone; for the Parousia of the Christ looms large in the minds and letters of all the apostles as they comfort, correct and instruct the Lord’s Church.  After all, Jesus warned them in His Olivet Discourse about all that was to take place at the “end of the age”; and that His Parousia would be manifest “in this generation”.

So it is impossible to conceive that the letters and the preaching and the teaching events, and the very lives of the apostles themselves, could have been detached and/or isolated from the most portentous event in the history of the world.

And as John looks on from his place in the glory cloud, he sees the very things that he heard prophesied by the Lord and that he had read in the prophetic Word, and that he had anticipated in his letters to the Churches; he sees them now in a “sign”… the sign of Yahveh.  It is God’s perspective of the whole; and it is for the comfort and assurance of all those in union with the risen and ascended Jesus Christ… the Churches in all the nations.  And John writes to them of that which will take place quickly.

And as we pick up with the sign at the end of chapter twelve verse eighteen, the dragon is positioned on the sand of the sea to call up the fourth beast out of the sea – a culmination of seven hundred years of frustrating failure to cut off the covenantal “holy people”.  And remember that the verb in the verse is written by John in the passive voice, indicating that the dragon isn’t there by accident or by the luck of the draw, or by its own calculation!  This creature is under the authority of the “Person” – God the Son.

Augustus, who came to power in Rome about forty four years before the birth of the Christ, was the first of the Roman rulers to call himself “caesar” – god of all the earth… emperor of all the world.  And by the time of our Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection, all the nations (including Israel) were proclaiming the Roman emperor “caesar”.  Remember that John had written in His Gospel, chapter nineteen, that the priests of Israel had said “we have no king but caesar”!

So, just remember that the dragon had called up the beast; and by the time of our Lord’s trial (30AD), Israel’s leadership, including the priesthood, was in compliance with the Roman emperor.

As chapter thirteen continues from the twelfth uninterrupted, the fourth beast is described by John in the same language in which it is described by Daniel in his prophecy.  And the fourth beast is the mirror image of the dragon (which is described by John in chapter twelve at verse three!  The beast is described here in chapter thirteen in the same language as the dragon is described in chapter twelve).

The beast comes up out of the abyss, the deep, the sea, which is the domain of the dragon.  John will hear (later in chapter seventeen) that the waters that he sees are “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues”.

So Satanos – the dragon – has instigated the rising up of a ferocious beast from the sea of humanity which is its very image!  It is a vicious and ruthless and feral beast in its appearance and in its predatory dominion.  It looks like the dragon; and it acts like the dragon.  And it calls itself “caesar, god of all the earth”.

And, as we’ve mentioned previously, the dragon has called this beast up, and it provokes it for one purpose and one purpose only… which is to wreak vengeance upon God and all the creatures in the heavenly tabernacle, and to humiliate God by desecrating his earthly tabernacle and leaving His covenant land desolate.

The three former beasts failed; but they weren’t the mirror image of the dragon.  They didn’t have the dragon’s character and nature.  They weren’t as brutal and ferocious as this fourth one.

As animalistic as Nebuchadnezzar was, or as calculating as the Persians were, or as militaristic as the Greeks were, they weren’t even close to this wretched, monstrous beast now brought forth.

During the forty years between our Lord’s ascension and the “end of the age”, the caesar/emperors of Rome became progressively provoked by the devil, and they became more and more insane, more and more sexually deviant, more and more tyrannous, more and more bestial with regard to human life… Nero caesar being the epitome of degeneracy.

Nero was caesar/emperor of the world from 54 AD to 68 AD.  It was he who ordered the extreme persecution of all followers of “Chrestus” (the Roman name for Christ); and it was he who ordered the total destruction of Israel.  And the siege of Jerusalem was in progress when he committed suicide in sixty eight AD.

The desecration of the temple and the final desolation of the city of Jerusalem was accomplished under Titus in 70AD (nothing remained in all the land).  And every Jew that could then be located in the empire was slain by the sword (as had been prophesied).  And the fourth beast had finished all that the dragon had hoped to do since calling up the first beast from the sea some six hundred and sixty six years before.  (I’ll just let that number hang there for a while and let you contemplate it.)

But let me read for you Daniel’s Revelation regarding the fourth beast.  We’ve done this once or twice before; but it’s time to do it again.  The prophet has just been shown all four beasts, and he’s greatly troubled, for it’s obvious that it is “the land” of God’s covenant people that is in grave danger from all four.  And it is the fourth beast that troubles Daniel the most (since it is so terrible); so he’s given additional information about it.  And here it is:

The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from the other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole land, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.


24) And as for the ten horns, out of this kingdom shall ten kings arise: and another shall arise after them; and he shall be diverse from the former, and he shall put down three kings.

25) And he shall speak words (blasphemies) against the Most High, and shall wear out the holy people of the Most High; and he shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and half a time.

26) But the judgment shall be set, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.

27) And the kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the redeemed of the Most High: his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.


Now, as the apostle John looks at the sign of the dragon, he knows this prophecy of Daniel; and he knows that this is the fourth beast raised up from the dragon’s abyss; and he is aware of the grave implications for Israel and, indeed, for the Lord’s Church.

And when the letter is received by all the Churches, they, too, will be reminded of Daniel’s prophecy; and they’ll be strengthened in the knowledge of the ultimate overcoming of the dragon’s domain and the complete victory of Christ the King!

Now, at verse one you see the description of the beast (the mirror image of the dragon), which matches the description in Daniel chapter seven.  John observes that it has a blasphemous name on its heads.  Listen to Exodus chapter twenty-eight at verse thirty-six:


36) And you shall make a plate of pure gold and engrave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLY TO YAHVEH.

37) And you shall put it on a lace (or ribbon) of blue, and it shall be upon the mitre (a headband); upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be.

38) And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, and Aaron shall bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before YAHVEH.


The high priest of Israel is always to have, engraved in gold and on his forehead, “holy to Yahveh”.  The high priest was the representative of the “holy people” in the Presence of God in His holy tabernacle.

But the beast that John sees here in the sign of the dragon (verse one) “imitates” the high priest of Israel by putting blasphemous names on its foreheads!  This is, of course a “mockery” of the priesthood and a mockery of the “holy people”.  It’s also a mockery of the Name of Yahveh.  And at the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, when the priests of Israel said “we have no king but caesar”, it was a complete abandonment of the holy people before the throne of Almighty God; for the Lord Jesus Christ was “the sacrifice”.  And He was the One Who made the sacrifice – The High Priest!  He was the One Who Aaron foreshadowed in Exodus twenty-eight; He WAS “Holy to Yahveh”.  And the priests of Israel blasphemed Him!

As we near the end of the preaching this morning I want you to hear two short passages……one from the Psalmist and one from the prophet Isaiah; for John sees an “imitation resurrection” in verse three.  The beast suffers a fatal “stroke” and revives.  The language is important.

Here is the familiar passage from Psalm thirty-nine:


9)    I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because You did it.

10) Remove thy stroke from me: I am consumed by the stroke of Your hand.


The Psalmist actually writes the words of the Christ as He suffered under the hand of His Father.  And the stroke was fatal; yet He arose out of death victorious over it.  And the blasphemous beast imitates that resurrection.

And listen from Isaiah thirty at verse twenty-six:


26) Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD binds up the breach of his people, and heals the stroke of their wound.


 Out of the fatal stroke of judgment to come upon the “holy people” of God, there will come (says Isaiah) a “healing”… a “resurrection” (if you will) in Christ; for there will be a new heaven and a new earth – and a new “holy people” of God growing from the covenantal “root” of Jacob.

But the beast that’s been raised up is the “spitting image” of the dragon; and its deception (verse three) includes an imitation resurrection!  John sees its “stroke of death healed”.

There seems to be no limit to its deceit and fraud and blasphemy as it imitates both the resurrection of the Christ and the rebirth of the elect of God from the twelve tribes of Jacob.

  We’ll pick up right here at verse three next Lord’s Day.  But it’s no wonder that the apostle Paul quoted the prophet in his letter to the Roman Church:


“God has given them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear, to this very day.


God had caused a “stupor” to be given to all the land, and had blinded them, and had deafened them to the fraudulent priesthood and to the fraudulent resurrection.  And, as John writes here at the end of verse three, the entire land “marveled” after the beast.