Revelation 13:1-18 Part 5

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.



Although we’ve not proceeded past verse four, we’ve done a lot toward understanding the scope of this text.  We know that it is the sign of the woman and the sign of the dragon; that it begins in the garden with a divine decree, and it includes the whole of the history of God’s preservation of all that belongs to Him.

God sees it in its totality because it all belongs to Him; it’s His history.  It’s about Him.  We know it’s about Him because this is His “sign”.  It isn’t the dragon’s sign; it isn’t the beast’s sign.  This isn’t shown to John as coming from those two creatures; rather it is Yahveh’s sign of the woman and the dragon.  It comes from Him; and it reveals His consistent administration and preservation of all things.  So, it is about Him; and it is His history.

The “Strong Right Arm”, God the Word, “WAS” at the beginning; and without Him nothing was made that was made.  And it was He Who was to be born Savior of the World to the glory of the Father (all written previously by John).

Having defeated death at His resurrection, God-man assumed His place as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and proceeded with His further work of submitting the creation to His Own authority for the glory of the Father.

That work (which is clearly relayed to the Church in these two chapters – and, indeed the whole of John’s Revelation) includes the judgment of the insubordinate, and the proving and preservation of the faithful; all to the eventual acknowledgment of His authority by all nations and peoples and tongues.

Remembering Who He is, and keeping His Commandments, and holding His testimony is our duty as His newborns, all while resting confidently in His authority.

The authority of the Savior of the world includes all of the creatures in the heavenly tabernacle, and it extends to the cosmos itself (which was created to “look like” the heavenly tabernacle); and it includes the earth and every creature on it, and every creature in the “abyss”.

And the insane insubordination of fallen man (in complete defiance of what he knows to be true) is always being provoked by these devilish creatures to rise up in rebellion against The Christ’s authority.  Man doesn’t want Jesus Christ to reign over him; instead he wants his own dominion!  He wants to be “as God” in his own right.  And he wants to rule the world himself – independent of The Christ!

However, this creature called “Satan”, the serpent of old, the “dragon” here in the sign, has its own agenda, which is vengeance.  And it uses the (already) defiant nature of fallen mankind (its “seed” here in the sign) and causes man to rise up against the dominion and authority of the Christ and produce its own world dominions.  (Never mind that Satan’s agenda is different!)

Please note that man is already defiant of the Lord’s authority.  It doesn’t take provocation from Satan to make man defiant; it’s already his nature!  He’s quite capable of all forms of wickedness in his own right without being provoked to it.  And it all proceeds from his person, because that’s what he is.  Satan just deviously manipulates and uses man’s innate evil for accomplishing its own agenda.

But Jesus Christ, God-man, has His covenanted work to do; and He has all the authority.  And He mocks the devil; and laughs at defiant mankind.  He gives them the authority to do what they do, and then judges them for doing it!

He purposefully uses the nature of Satan, and purposefully uses the nature of fallen mankind to complete His Own decreed work; and then He judges them for their wicked deeds, while proving and preserving His Own!  And His Church grows mightily and extends the acknowledged reign and rule of The Christ into the nations and peoples and tongues of the earth.

This is the post-Parousia history of the Christ and His Kingdom, isn’t it?  And given His promises and His Own history, we have no reason whatever to believe that His work won’t be completed (and in His Own time)! 

And therein is the comfort and assurance that John’s letter provides to all the little Churches of the first century; for they were to stay strong in the Lord, keeping His Commandments and holding the testimony of Jesus during the most momentous and consequential event ever in God’s history.

Before we go on to verse five (seems like I keep putting it off; but not really; there’s just so much…!), (before we go on) in order for us to gain as full an understanding as possible of what John writes here, the text requires us to know something about our Savior’s manhood… His humanity.  This isn’t something that’s foreign to us, since we comment on it frequently; but stay with me on this and it will become clear just how important it is that we go back to it right at this point.

Jesus the Christ of God (the Anointed One is what “Christ” means) is the fullness of the entire prophetic Word.  And He is “Man”.  He is revealed here in the sign as the male “seed” of the woman; to be born “in the fullness of the time”.  So, “Word” became “flesh”… human.  He was “born” of a woman – as prophesied.

John the apostle previously referred to Him as “the Word of God made flesh” (Gospel of John chapter one)… God the WORD, second Person of Triune God, without Whom nothing was made that was made.

God the Word set aside His glory for a time to take on humanity that, by death and resurrection, He would overcome the curse of human depravity by receiving the “stroke” of the Father in place of His people (no greater love has any man than to give his life for his loved ones). 

He therefore was Prophet, Priest and King of God’s creation, having faithfully obeyed, all the way to “abandonment” on the cross, to the Father’s glory.

He IS “prophet” in that He is Word of God; He IS “priest” in that He is the Offerer of the sacrifice as well as the Sacrifice Himself, receiving the full wrath of God the Father for those who are beloved; and He IS King, for He was given authority over everything for His faithfulness.

And the point here is, that He is “human”.  The Word of God (His Strong Right Arm) took on humanity (taking the “stroke” for His loved people) and overcame death as a human being, and ascended to the glory-cloud/sanctuary (a human being) where He was crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

There is a resurrected human on the throne in the heavenly tabernacle!  (He even has “shoulders”, for thereon rests the government/authority over all created existence – a creation that He, Himself, called into being as “Word of God”.)  Jesus Christ is a risen and ascended man!  One like us has ascended to the throne and rules all of creation!

Now, there’s a “covenantal continuity” here in the text (and all through Scripture) that exists among all those who descend from Adam and remain attached to him as their heritage.  And there is a covenantal continuity that exists among all those rebirthed into Christ.

The first are referred to here in our text as the “seed of the dragon”; and the second are those called the “seed of the woman”.  Adam has his heritage, for they are in him; and Jesus the second Adam has His heritage, for they are all in Him (having been born anew).

The first Adam was insubordinate; the second faithful.  The first Adam lost paradise… for himself and all descended from him in his heritage; but the second Adam gained paradise for Himself and all in His heritage.

The first was rebellious and defiant; the second meek (which means, by the way, submissive to the will of the Father).

The first Adam – sinful; the second without sin.

Those in the first Adam defiantly seek to regain the heritage lost in the garden; and those in the second Adam confident that they possess the heritage, for the human Savior of the World has delivered them from their former heritage; and He has all the authority!!  He is God and Man.

Now.  The history of God’s creation declares the complete victory of the Second Adam.  It is prophesied; and now we have the fullness of that Word here in the Revelation.

At every occasion of defiant self-rule; at every occasion of man’s attempt to regain the heritage and rule the earth, our Lord has overcome!  And we who are rebirthed into Him are “more than overcomers” in Him (we’ll see that quote later on in the text).

Fallen man’s nature is defiance.  Man’s nature is to have dominion.  He’s made in the image of God!!  He wants the dominion; his agenda is dominion.   He was commanded to have dominion over the creation as “vice-regent” under God.

But he will not have this man Jesus – the second Adam – to rule over him.  After all, Jesus is “human”; and He’s “stolen” the heritage (which is dominion)!  He blames God the Son for kicking him out of paradise, when it was by his own desire for independence that he was judged!

On the other hand, the serpent has another agenda (one which we’ve discussed already).  And it uses man’s desire to recapture his heritage for its own purposes.  And, of course, the purpose is vengeance.

The serpent is crafty; it conceals its motives.  It is full of lies and hypocrisy.  It is a deceiver from the beginning.  Hiding its own agenda, it deceived the first Adam into craving his own, independent authority.

Then later, in the wilderness, it attempted exactly the same thing with the man – Jesus, the second Adam!  From its own agenda of vengeance, it provoked Jesus – the Man – to crave independent dominion over the world!  And, by the way, the “temptation” of Jesus in the wilderness can’t be understood in any other way.

So, you see, there are two different agendas at work in the world order.  It’s been the case since the beginning.  Satan with its “vengeance agenda”; and man with his “dominion agenda”.  And the serpent provokes fallen mankind’s craving for independent authority and dominion.

But all through God’s history He has prevailed and overcome in preserving His Own.  And now we have the Man – Jesus - in the heavenly tabernacle to represent us.  We are His heritage – rebirthed into Him.  We are claimed by Him as family – a “different” family from Adam’s family.  Beloved brothers – “siblings” (if you will), reborn into Him – into His human body.

And since He is “Overcomer-in-Chief”, we have comfort and assurance (just as the early Churches did) that we are overcomers In Him, and that there will be ultimate victory.  The “Lamb slain from the foundation of the cosmos” knew us and loved us from the foundation of the cosmos.  And there is nothing that can separate us from Him.  He is the representative Head of the family, having shed His Own blood for us – purchasing us out of the slavery of our cursed Adam nature.  Although we are “born” into Him, we are not called His “children”…..we are His brothers – members of His family.

Faith.  Hope. Love.  These three.  The greatest of these is love however (remember: “greater love has no man”), because one day there will no longer be any need for faith and hope.  Love alone will remain when we see Him as He is – face to face – the MAN, Jesus.

As we continue here in the text, that’s what we’re remembering and learning.

“And a mouth speaking great, blasphemous things was given it (John says in verse five), and authority to act forty two months was given it.”

We’ve read large portions of Daniel’s prophecy at various times; but let’s review it just a bit.  Then we’ll see how verse five fits.

Daniel, as a very young man, was taken into captivity in Babylon in 586BC along with the rest of Israel (the nation, the city of Jerusalem and Solomon’s temple having been destroyed).  Babylon, as you remember, was the first of the four great beasts given world-wide dominion.

From one of the four cherubim at the ark in the heaven, the serpent had been given to provoke mankind to rise up and take dominion over the all the nations of the earth.  (Remember, it is man’s nature to crave world dominion in defiance of his Creator.  And it is the devil’s nature to provoke man to do this, in vengeance at having been cast from the glory of God in His sanctuary.)

Early on in the captivity, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had been shown what was to be in a dream.  He didn’t understand any of it.  He was shown four great beasts called up from the sea of fallen humanity, he and his empire being the first one (although he didn’t know it yet).

He would eventually fall to the second, and the second to the third.  Then there would be a fourth beast greater and more terrible than the first three put together.

The worst part of this, though, was the fact that Nebuchadnezzar was being shown that he wasn’t the world’s authority at all!  But having called on Daniel to interpret the dream (and having heard the interpretation), he went insane and became animalistic.  He grew hair all over his body, and his nails became claws, and he grazed on all fours like the beast that he was – the first of four of them!

Daniel, with utmost deference to the king, had explained to him what the dream meant; and, once again, the worst of the interpretation in the king’s mind was that his craving and quest for world dominion was just the first of several, and that it really wasn’t his dominion at all!

Well, our God judges all those who exercise the cravings of their fallen humanity.  And while Daniel was still there in captivity (with all of what was left of Israel) there was devastating judgment upon the kingdom, as the Medo-Persian armies swept it away.  That was, of course, the second great beast of God’s history.

In the meantime, Daniel was suffering.  Through the course of his captivity, Daniel continued to receive further Revelation concerning all of these things; and he was very troubled.  He was shaken to the core; for “the land” – God’s covenant people – seemed to be at the center of attention for all four beasts that had been revealed to him!

At the same time these beasts were raised up from the sea of fallen humanity with an agenda of world dominion independent of the Creator, the serpent/dragon’s agenda was the land, the holy people, the covenant seed, the seed of the woman.  Daniel saw that; he understood what the ultimate objective was.  And it was the annihilation of the holy ones of God’s paradise – the land.

And we can clearly see that agenda as the dragon provoked a trusted, high-ranking officer of the Emperor of the Persian empire to scheme for the killing of every last Jew in captivity.

But it’s all God’s history, isn’t it?   In a demonstration of His sovereign protection and deliverance, He had placed a beautiful, god-fearing woman in the seat next to the Persian emperor of the world.  Esther was his wife.  And she foiled the scheme; and the Jews were released from captivity in another “exodus” to the promised land.

But, back to Daniel; being terribly shaken by all that had been revealed to him concerning the land and God’s covenant people, Daniel continued to inquire about these things.  And except for the “mystery of the seven seals” (which were to remain sealed until “the end of the age”), Daniel was provided some further explanation.

And a part of the explanation was concerning the Prince of the holy ones, Archangel Michael, a pre-incarnation appearance of God the Word – The Son of God – Who, toward the end of the age, “stood up” for His people!  And we already know that every single one of His people were delivered in an exodus “OUT OF” Israel before the “time, times and a half” (three and a half years – forty two months).

Anyway, in chapter seven Daniel is provided with a concise summary of those “end times” and a clear statement of Who’s dominion all of this really is!

Here it is for you once more:


23) "This is what he said (that is, the messenger sent to Daniel): 'The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, different from all the other kingdoms. It will devour the whole earth, trample it down, and crush it.

24) The ten horns are ten kings who will rise from this kingdom. Another, different from the previous ones, will rise after them (after the ten kings) and subdue three kings.

25) He will speak words (blasphemies) against the Most High and oppress the holy ones of the Most High.  He will intend to change religious festivals and laws, and the holy people will be given to him for a time, times, and half a time.

26) But the court will convene, and his dominion (the dominion of the fourth beast) will be taken away, to be completely destroyed forever.

27) The kingdom, dominion, and greatness of the kingdoms under all of heaven will be given to the people, the holy ones of the Most High.  His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will serve and obey Him.'


As our text says, the beast was given a mouth full of blasphemies of the Name of God and all the creatures tabernacling in His tabernacle (verses five and six).  That’s exactly what Daniel was told would be the case.  The beast was given to do that.

Blaspheming God and all the creatures of the glory cloud was not something the beast would be prone to do on its own.  It had no innate, first-hand knowledge of the throne-room/sanctuary in the glory cloud.

How would the beast know to blaspheme the cherubim at the four corners of the ark?  How would it know to blaspheme the twenty-four elders and the ten thousands times ten thousands of messengers in the great cloud of glory?  It had no knowledge whatever of any of these things.

There’s only one explanation, and that is that the beast was “given” to do that!  And there’s only one creature that would be so inclined; and that would be the dragon here in the sign.

The satan, consumed with vengeance at having been cast from the Presence of Glory, gives the beast to blaspheme God, His Name, and His creatures that exist in the heavenly tabernacle.  Almighty God, Father Son Spirit, and all the creatures that testified against it, and all those that witnessed its humiliation, are objects of the satan’s fury.

And this beast that has been raised up in the dragon’s image opens its mouth, and out come the words of blasphemy.  We don’t have the language revealed to us; and it’s a good thing that we don’t.  However, Daniel was told by the messenger that it would happen; and John sees and hears that it was about to happen – just as Daniel had seen.  And therefore it is important for the Church to know that it was the dragon that instigated the blasphemy, and that the beast was acting in Satan’s image.

Also, John hears that the beast had been given to have authority over all the nations and tribes and tongues of the earth (just as Daniel was told), and it was given authority to act for forty-two months (just as Daniel was told), to war against the people that God had set apart for Himself by covenant.

Now, if it were part of what we should do here, we could spend quite an extended period (maybe weeks) in a review of all the political and military machinations of the Roman empire (we’ll no doubt touch on some of it later on); historians have written reams about all the tyranny and bloodthirsty conquests, and the victories and failures, and the intrigue and scheming and deceit, and all of the degeneracy of this dominion-oriented beast.

But we’re not here to learn all of that.  It’s not inspired Scripture.  This is God’s history; and it is His perception here in His sign.  And we already know that this fourth beast was raised up out of the sea of fallen, degenerate humanity under the authority of our Lord. 

But even so, all of that political and military history became very obvious to the historians (they just don’t see it and record it in the light of God’s Revelation).

And, as Daniel had been so troubled by this beast, it was for the purpose of judgment of the land and the covenant people – the “holy people” – those that had been “set aside” by God for Himself.

At the same time (as Daniel was told) it was for the purpose of proving our Lord’s Church and extending the dominion of Christ the King and His people over all the nations.  That’s very clear in the summary that Daniel heard (and that we just read).

However, we are made aware of our God’s awesome sovereignty as He extends and sustains His Own history with precision!  The historians are helpful, and we shouldn’t ignore them; but God’s history is what we’re after here.  And the numbers revealed to Daniel and to John are awe-inspiring (to say the least)!

John writes that authority was given to the beast for forty-two months (already revealed to us before – at chapter eleven at verse two); it was to make war against the holy people and to overcome them.

Twelve hundred and sixty days (forty two months) has already been revealed (chapter twelve at verse six).  Three and a half years has already been revealed to us (chapter twelve at verse fourteen).  Daniel is told “a time, times and a half”; we’ve already seen that here in the Revelation (that’s three and a half years – forty-two months).

We’ve been told that all of this took place “at the appointed time” (God’s time; God’s history; God’s perception).

We know that Augustus declared himself “caesar – god of the earth” about forty-two years before the birth of the real King of Kings.

We’ve also noted, once before, that Matthew takes great pains to list the important names and events (the generations) in the ancestry of Jesus (Matthew chapter one).  There are exactly forty-two of them. Jesus was born at the exact appointed time for His birth.  And he told the scribes and pharisees that all of that which had been prophesied of them would take place in this generation (the forty second one).

And now that I’ve thought some more about it, if we had enough information from God’s revealed Word, we would probably figure on something like forty two hundred years between Adam’s fall and our Lord’s Parousia!  That would be an appropriate period of time between the devastating curse upon mankind (on the one hand), and light and life for mankind of all nations in the resurrection of the Christ.

God’s history reflects His complete authority over all that He has made.  And for man to see that and acknowledge it glorifies Him.  It is a definite history; it is a consummate history – very precise.  It is not a conditional history that’s dependent or ambiguous… it’s certainly not questionable.  It’s probably described best as “providentially meticulous”.

In fact, at the end of this chapter, John says that anybody with a brain can figure out the number of the beast!

As with all of God’s history, that number is rather precise.  Fallen mankind’s agenda is independent dominion over the creation.  Four times in God’s history man was given to have world-wide dominion. And the first one came to power six hundred and sixty six years before our Lord’s Parousia.

The fourth of which, as Daniel was told, would be the last; for our Lord’s Kingdom would be over all the nations, and He will never abdicate that dominion.  Eventually all of them will acknowledge Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

This is our God’s history.  It is the history of the salvation of His people and His created order.  It brings Him glory.  And He is worthy of our praise and our obedience and our worship.