Revelation 13:1-18 Part 4


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.


At the close of the second hour last Lord’s Day, a question came up in the discussion; and I thought some additional comments might be good.  It was regarding the obvious state of the nation (and the rest of the world) right now. 


With godless progressives in charge of our own, the islam-beast making steady gains in the nations, and with other clueless pseudo-religions on the rise, where are we?  What’s happening?

Since I’m just a messenger with no prophetic mandate other than preaching, I can’t confidently give you anything that will happen tomorrow, or the next day, or the next week; and I certainly can’t predict what will happen during the next twelve hundred and sixty days, or forty-two months, or three and a half years.

However, from Yahveh’s sign of the dragon, John confidently writes to the Churches those things he has seen and heard; and he tells them of what is to happen “shortly”; and, beginning at verse five of our text, he says that the beast that the dragon has raised up from fallen mankind has been given authority over the holy people for forty two months (a number John knows well from the prophetic Word).  And that it will make war with them and “overcome” them!  (All through the Scripture the word translated “overcome” carries the idea of “completion” and “victory”.)

And since the risen, ascended and enthroned Christ of God is the only One Who has the authority to give, that’s where the authority came from.  Otherwise there would be no dragon, and there would be no empire-beast to compete for world dominion.

Except on a grander scale, of course, it’s the same authority given to the dragon to make war with Job and his household and estate.

The Revelation of St. John is made out to be most mysterious, isn’t it? – with tragedy of mythological proportions to come upon the world, with tectonic eruptions, and asteroids, and man-made catastrophes, and storms from an evolving, super-heated eco-system and solar system, and epic wars, and with anthropological annihilation and cosmic fire from heaven, and many such things that man can produce from his fallen imagination.

But why not just read the text?  It’s a lot easier than writing a fiction novel.

As stated at the beginning, this letter to the Churches is for their comfort and assurance!  How could they be comforted by fable or mystery written from a state of delirium?  (Besides, we’ve already learned the mystery was completely revealed in an earlier chapter.)  But the comfort and assurance arises from the fact that the events to take place shortly were prophesied, and that our Lord possesses all authority.  That possession of authority is not only prophesied from the beginning of the written Word, but that His authority is revealed and confirmed from the beginning to the end of this letter!

What I’m trying to get across here (and probably not too well) is that you have to try, really hard, to get this wrong!

Now, the forty-five hundred years of world history during which our Bible was written reveals the facts, doesn’t it?  Our Lord protected His people all the way through.  At every event of man’s striving to cut off the seed and exercise dominion over all the earth, the people of God were providentially delivered.  And it was due to His complete authority over His Own creation and His Own history.

The culmination of that divinely written history states clearly that the most significant event of providential care in all the history of the creation was the Parousia of our Lord Jesus Christ at the “end of the age” – the last forty-two months of Israel’s existence as a set- apart covenant people.  Scripture states that there had been nothing like it before; and that there would never be anything like it again.  The Biblical record, from Moses to The Revelation, describes the horror of the devastation that would take place.  And yet God’s elect people were delivered from the wrath of the Lamb to the last man, woman and child!

So, if there were only one, central theme in all of John’s Revelation, it would be this: that our Lord’s elect people in the Churches, even during the most catastrophic events of world history, are to be confident and assured of His complete and unquestionable authority.  That’s it!

They are not caught up in accidental and uncontrollable events; they are not confronted with dragons and beasts that have their own authority; they are never lost in chaos; they are never, ever, subjected to chance (there is no such thing); they are never left to circumstance; and they are never abandoned!

All who belong to Him are precious in His sight.  Why?  Because He shed His blood for us; we belong to Him.  We’re in His body (the second, and perfect, human body), and we are His brothers… His “seed”.  And nothing, and nobody, can separate us from Him.

And we, and everything around us, are under His authority (the fact that some don’t acknowledge it has no effect whatever on that authority).

What we’re getting at here (in response to the original question from last Lord’s Day) is that, since there is written record (God’s Word) of forty five hundred years of world history in which our Lord has kept His Own people unto Himself, isn’t that sufficient for our faithfulness?  Some of that time, the last forty years of that written Word, were the worst in all of His history; and it is the worst that will ever be!

And yet it was the very best!  Because the exodus from Israel before the “real” historical holocaust was the most impressive display of the love and grace and mercy of God the Son toward all who belonged to Him!  Not a single one was left subject to His wrath.  All of them were saved from the wrath shortly to come.

The wrath of the Lamb of God was shown to Daniel and prophesied by him six hundred and some-odd years in advance; and it was completed in a forty-two month period in which a “beast” would be given authority over the “holy people” (as seen once again by John here in verse five).  And it culminated in a three and a half year period of siege and destruction of the city of Jerusalem.  The humanly written history is hereby confirmed by the prophesied Word.  That’s the exact amount of time that it took the beast to complete its authorized work!

And there was no one in the city, or in the towns and villages, or in the countryside belonging to the Christ that were abandoned to the chaos.  They were all gone.

So, since we have all this written history (the last event being the worst there will ever be), what then do we “anticipate” from the One Who has all authority in the heavens and the earth?

Since He has demonstrated His faithfulness (forty-five hundred years of it) to all who belonged to Him, and since He has also revealed His further work to glorify the Father, we can exercise “insight” with regard to the nineteen hundred and forty years since 70AD; and we can provide Biblical “prescience” to others about current conditions and the future.

Not prophesy; “prescience”.  “Insight”.  “Anticipation”.  “Hope”.  “Expectation”.

Not mysterious premonition; not a higher state of knowledge; not additional revelation; not divination; but “prescience”.

And, once again, how is that?  Upon what is our anticipation based?  It comes from the written Word of God concerning His faithfulness during forty five hundred years of His history, culminating in the deliverance of every single one of His people in the world’s worst event – ever!

That’s why we’re told to “remember”.  Remember His faithfulness; and therefore hope – anticipate – His promises.

World dominions have been raised up from fallen mankind to compete for the kingdom (all under God’s authority); intricate, centuries-long schemes have been devised to cut off the seed and capture the authority over this creation.  Yet we’re informed, all the way through the Revelation, that the authority for the schemes and dominions was given.

And we’re told, at the end of this chapter, that we can even calculate who, what, where and why!  We have the prescience to discern the source and reason for all that’s revealed.  It’s all about God’s faithfulness to His Own.  His justice and goodness and grace and mercy toward all that belong to Him demonstrates His supreme authority over all, and glorifies Him.

The satan vengefully wishes to embarrass Him and humiliate Him; but the Second Mankind – the Second Adam – glorifies Him.  The first Adam and his seed wishes to compete; but the Second Adam was given all the authority!

The dragon and its seed (fallen mankind) strives for dominion over the world; but it is only given whatever authority it demonstrates.  Talking about humiliation and embarrassment!  All it receives is ridicule and laughter!  God the Son has it on a leash!

The “kiss” was once an acknowledgment of superior authority.  And all the leaders of the earth were warned that they had better “kiss the Son” lest He be angered, even a little, by their insubordination!

The risen God-man has all authority.  He was given it for His faithfulness.  He glorified the Father.  He redeemed all that belonged to the Father.  And He has promised to deliver it to the Father, for His glory, in pristine condition!   And not just every single one for whom He died; but the entire creation itself.  He is the Savior of the world.

So we know the history from the beginning to the Parousia.  And we have the promises of the Christ’s continued faithfulness in all His work.  And therein lies the source for “prescience” – insight; not prophesy or divination, but anticipation… discernment… perception.  Not intuition, but expectation… perspective (God’s perspective).

Rousas John Rushdooney left us with a pretty good history of this country from God’s perspective.  Somewhere I have notes that I took from about twelve hours of lectures.  I was writing as fast as I could, and they’re probably completely unreadable.

But I don’t know of a history of the post-Parousia world from God’s perspective.  That would be a very worthy life-long task for a Reformed historian.  I don’t know how he would make a living, but the Church would really benefit from it.

However, when we read linear history since 70AD (which we all should do), in all probability it will be the history of man rather than the history of the Christ and His work.

Let me put that another way.  The nineteen hundred and forty years that have passed since our Lord’s Parousia occurred because of Him!  It’s His history.  It didn’t come to be unless He caused it to come to be, since all things consist by Him and in Him.  The Bible analogy is that He is “The Rock” upon which this creation is attached!  It all exists due to the One to Whom it is attached. 

I think that’s a very good example of His authority, don’t you?

So, every event in world history since 70AD that you read about ought to be read with “prescience”, remembering His work, His faithfulness, His promises and His complete authority.   Therefore the process of gaining knowledge about world history has to be one from His perspective; for His Kingdom is from the heaven, and history proceeds from there.  The Kingdom isn’t “in” heaven, it is “from” the heaven.  He rules all things from the tabernacle/sanctuary.

The history of the last two millennia can’t be understood if it is the history of man.  That is, by definition, defiant.  History must be read as the history of The Christ and His Kingdom.  It IS His history, so how can it be read in any other way?

This is not meant to discourage you from reading history or studying singular events in history; that is not the case, for you are encouraged to gain as much knowledge as possible about it.  But you must read in the whole “light” of His Kingdom and His work and His promises.  You already know of His further work and promises, so why shouldn’t you read His history in that light?!  That’s what we mean by “prescience”.

Let’s take that a step further (and we’re still addressing the questions and issues that arose last Lord’s Day).

With godless progressives in charge of our own, the islam-beast making steady gains in the nations, and with other clueless pseudo-religions on the rise, where are we?  What’s happening?

The passage that we read last Lord’s Day (from Paul’s letter to the Church at Rome) referred directly to the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem.  Their “fall” was the “signal” event to the grafting in of the Gentiles; for the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ was to be over all the nations.

One can’t understand world history of the last two millennia without clarity regarding that event.  It’s impossible.  That’s one of the reasons that Scripture refers to it as one such as has never occurred before, and never will again.  And please remember all that we’ve read and heard in the preceding chapters of this letter; that the forty years after our Lord’s crucifixion in which Israel suffered so greatly, and then the three and a half years of siege and destruction at the end of the age, are all described by John as the “wrath of the Lamb”.

It was under the authority of the enthroned Christ of God that the nation of God’s holy people was made a wilderness fit only for jackals and birds of prey.

And it was a just sentence, carried out for the glory of God by the risen God-man.  And the Gentile nations were the beneficiaries.  And we still are.  Undeserving as we are, we are the subjects of His great beneficence.

Since we Gentiles have been made recipients of His mercy, there have been the passing of nineteen hundred and forty years (that’s 70AD to the present).

During that short period of time (all under His Kingship), He has established His Church among all peoples and tongues and tribes, showing mercy (to the thousandth generation) to those loving Him and keeping His Commandments.

And we have learned, here in the Revelation, how our Lord “proves” His Church, haven’t we?  We heard it again in chapter twelve.

“Those who keep His commandments and hold the testimony of Jesus.”

As in the forty-five hundred years before His Parousia, so in the more recent nineteen hundred and forty years.

There were raised up great schemes to cut off the seed; and there were raised up world-wide dominions (four of them) against the holy people.  There was judgment, and there was proving.  In the first case, there was judgment for those defiant; in the second there was proving for His Own.  And it is all for His glory.  He glorified Himself by raising up magistrates of His choosing, and brought judgment on them for their own wickedness and defiance.  And those evil magistrates “proved” His Own elect by their defiance!

So it is now.  This is our Lord’s Kingdom.  Please let that soak in thoroughly.  It is not the history of man.  It is not the history of Rome; it isn’t the history of Europe, or Asia, or the United States (as some would like for it to be).  It is the history of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

As Scripture says, He raises up who He will; and He takes them down as He will.  And He “proves” His Church as he will.  The Kingdom is His.  And it includes all nations and all peoples and all tribes and all tongues!

Fallen man desires to have dominion over the earth (John writes to the Churches that they’re supposed to be able to “calculate” that!), and our Lord uses them (fallen mankind) to prove His Church; for the Church is the visible representative of His Kingdom.  And those who belong to Him are those who obey His Commandments and hold His testimony in times of His “proving”.

As covenantal continuity gives us “prescience”, we’re enabled to see in that Light.  Forty five hundred years of written Revelation prepares us to recognize what Jesus Christ is doing in His Own Kingdom.

The world has seen numbers of attempts at dominion during the two millennia since the Parousia.  The dragon can’t give up; it’s its nature!  It’s given to it (i.e. the authority to provoke fallen mankind).  It must resist the Kingdom – not only because it’s its nature, but because it knows its time is short!

And every instance of provocation is used by our Lord to judge the wicked (who He has given the authority to be defiant), and, of course, to prove those who belong to Him.

And each and every time the Church is proved, it grows stronger!  Then there seems to be a “falling away” (which the letter to the Hebrews sternly warned against); then another beast (or several at once) is raised up to prove (or “try” or “test”) His people.  And from the proving come mighty people of God who obey, and who hold the testimony of Jesus.  They’re made evident, you see.  And the Church once again is awakened and becomes strong and faithful and expansive.  That’s our Lord’s history, you see… HIS history.

We have to learn to see it that way (and, of course, defend it); because that’s the way He brings glory to the Father!  Each and every occasion of defiance is an occasion of “overcoming”.

There is never a case in which the Kingdom (and its earthly representative) are overcome by the dragon and its seed.  Our Lord is The Overcomer!  His people will grow in numbers and in faith as Jesus Christ proves His Church and overcomes His enemies.  He’s the One Who raises up His enemies; and He’s the One who mocks them and laughs at them and overcomes them to the glory of the Father!

And that’s the way it should be until all nations acknowledge Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Lastly (as we finish with this line of thought), let’s put the United States into this context.  This is important for us… not only since we live here, but because pride and nationalism are real issues for a great nation.

But how does what we’re learning here affect our thought regarding our country?

A great Christian economist and philosopher has said “you can’t beat something with nothing!”  Well, what was once a strong interest in the history and founding documents of the nation has been excised from the public memory; but that awareness, having been “erased”, has been replaced with “nothing”.  It’s called “nihilism”.

If, on the other hand, the intense attachment to the early history of the nation and how it was formed had been put in context of our Lord’s Kingdom and its history, then that “something” would have been greatly enhanced with “something greater”!

The evolutionary, nihilistic public school system has expunged the history and founding documents from its teaching material; so several generations of Americans have grown up without having any basis for nationalistic pride.  However, these educators have put “nothingness” in its place!  (That’s what is meant by the use of the term “nihilism”.)

Then there are some who “deify” the country and provide it with a “divine right” and directly inspired documents.  They, and some other cults, even locate the future kingdoms of their false gods in specific places in the United States!  These places include Missouri, Utah and even Garden Valley, Texas!!

So, what we have, then, is a very large portion of the contemporary population with “nothing” (in terms of knowledge of, and attachment to, the nation’s history and how it was formed); and then, on the other hand, a fierce and growing segment of the public has associated the nation and its history with divinity!

The point is, that they’ve both missed it entirely!

Gary North is right on when he wrote: “you can’t beat something with nothing”; and the “something” that has to be beaten is “nothingness” and “idolatry”!

And the “something” that will beat “nothingness” and “idolatry” is the history of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom!

So (still regarding our own country), including what we heard last Lord’s Day, that there is a great beast loose in the world (given some authority by the Christ), that would establish a world-wide caliphate in Mecca or Medina; and it would have North America as a satellite!

And then we have a huge portion of our population with nothingness as their “something”; and then there are prophets of false gods injecting the history of the nation with divinity!

What do we think about all of that?

Again, the “something” that beats it all is the history of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.  It’s not the history of man; it isn’t the history of the world; it isn’t even the history of the United States.

Chapters twelve and thirteen of The Revelation provides us with God’s perspective of the history of His creation.  And it’s His history.  And therefore it’s how we must view it.

And in the “light” of it, it’s how we must also view post-Parousia history.  With prescience – not prophecy – we understand world history as the history of Christ’s Kingdom; we understand the history of the Church as the history of Christ’s Kingdom; we understand the history of the Roman empire as the history of Christ’s Kingdom; we understand the history of the United States as the history of Christ’s Kingdom!

Jesus Christ came preaching the Kingdom!

“The Kingdom of God is as a sower….” The Kingdom of God is as a mustard grain….” The Kingdom of God is as leaven…” “The Kingdom of God is as little children….”

Having been perfectly faithful to The Father; and having defeated death in His resurrection, He was given all authority – over everything!  And the authority that anything or anybody else has comes from Him.  And that authority is “judged” by Him; and His Church is “proved” by Him.

He views all of His history as the history of His Kingdom (that’s obvious from our two chapters here).  And our perspective is to be His.

So, should we view and understand the history of the world, or the history of the United States, in any other way than in the glorious Light of the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and the promises that He has made, then we’re practicing either “nothingness” or outright idolatry.

We didn’t make much headway in the text; but all these things arise out of the text; and we address them because of the text and in the Light of the text.

But hear this before we stop:

"Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations.  Ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you:  ‘When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when He separated mankind He fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God; for Yahveh’s portion is His people; Jacob is the line of His inheritance’”. (Deuteronomy thirty-two, verses seven through nine).

The history of God is where our attention must be fixed; for it is all His!

May our Lord hold on to us, build faith in us, and cause us to keep His Commandments and hold the testimony of Jesus.