Revelation 13:1-18 Part 6


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.



Assurance and confidence in our Lord’s government of His created realm, and His complete authority in all of the history of that realm, is of the very essence of the faith and hope to which His people are called.

That’s the comfort that the Churches of the first century are receiving here in the sign of the woman and the sign of the dragon (and, indeed, throughout the entire Revelation of Jesus Christ to the apostle).

And we in the twenty-first century are called upon to exercise prescience as we are given confidence in all we’ve heard; for if our Savior and King has done all these things, we are to be assured that He will continue on to finish His further work! 

By no means is He done with it.  So we are to address our time (nineteen hundred and some-odd years later) in that light.  That’s prescience.

His dominion is over all; His authority remains.  His continued preservation of all His Own is our comfort and assurance, for that’s what He’s done throughout His history.

And the ones who stand strong, keeping His commandments and holding the testimony of Jesus (especially during times of His “proving”), are the ones who are being assured of His faithfulness.  As the apostle Paul put it, these are the ones who are proving their election sure!  Our Lord, in the seven letters to the Churches, says exactly the same thing.

But we aren’t anywhere near finished hearing about the Lord’s authority and His preservation of His Own.  Therefore, we aren’t finished being comforted and assured.

Our faith in Him continues to be buffeted daily from all that we see around us (sadly that’s the case), for there seems to be endless opposition to Christ the King and His Kingdom.  And our minds and emotions aren’t “steady” enough yet to deal with the personal anxieties (and even depression) due to daily stresses.

In the Gospel of Matthew, and here in the Revelation, we have heard that our Lord’s elect people were removed from Israel before the wrath of The Lamb brought judgment upon the land.  They were not to suffer His wrath.  He had already suffered the wrath of the Father for them.

However, they were warned of the “proving” that would take place; for the priests and pharisees of Israel would pursue them, persecute them and kill them because of the Christ.  In addition, there would be the beast with the teeth of iron that had been given authority over all the nations and peoples of the earth as well as the authority to “overcome” the land.  And the beast would persecute the Church in the nations… all to the “proving” of the Lord’s people.

Those who were not “of them” would not remain “with them”; they would deny The Christ in word and deed, thereby proving that they were not members of His risen body.  But those who remained faithful in thankfulness and obedience and in anticipation of the Lord’s “overcoming” the world “proved” themselves as “belonging” to Him.

The “proving” of the Church is all under the authority of the Christ, isn’t it?  After all, He was the recipient of the ultimate suffering on our behalf.  Therefore why would we not suffer “In Him” in order to “fill up” HIS suffering?  That’s the apostle’s teaching for the Churches in the nations; they’re going to be afflicted and distressed and discomfited for the Name of Christ and for His Kingdom!

So, our King and Lord brings judgment (temporal and eternal) upon all who oppose Him; and He “proves” those who belong to Him – and all to the glory of The Father.  The “proving”, while in the belly of the beast, makes it obvious to all that He holds on to all – every single one – of those who belong to Him.  Those who don’t belong to Him, “fall away” in the proving. 

The Father is delighted in the perfections of the Son (for The Son loses none of those for whom He died); and The Father is pleased with the Son’s authority over all that He has made, for it is all to the salvation of the world, which is the grand manifestation of His glorious Person.

Now.  To the end of building the faithfulness of His people in all the Churches, the sign of Yahveh continues with a most remarkable reference to the written words of the prophet Jeremiah.  In order for the Churches to hear and to faith in the complete authority of Jesus Christ the King, John writes what he saw and heard in the sign; and the sign of the dragon quotes Yahveh’s conversation with Jeremiah. 

And what John writes here in verse ten of our text is almost always read without reference to Jeremiah and what Yahveh said to him; and it is almost always read through the lenses of a completely false and irrelevant eschatology; and it is almost always “interpreted” through the imaginations of men because there’s no reference to Jeremiah; and it is therefore almost always the opinions of men, regardless of what the text says!

Let’s read what John writes once again in verses nine and ten:


“If anyone has an ear, let him hear:  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!”


In the first place (as we heard in the second sermon in this series), “the holy people” is usually understood as “the saints” (meaning those belonging to the Christ).  That’s because of a translation error in King James. 

We’ve already dispensed with this error in the first two sermons in this chapter.  But the insurmountable problem that arises from the error is never dealt with; the error, having not been corrected, just requires even more creativity and more artistry and more craftiness with regard to the text. 

But, as we’ve seen, the “holy people” refers directly to Israel – the land – for they are the ones that God “set aside” for Himself in covenant.

Secondly, in total disregard of the Jeremiah passage (which we’ll read shortly) verse ten is understood as meaning those who are “for” something.  In other words, if one is favorable toward putting other people into captivity, then he, himself, will go into captivity.  And if one is prone toward using the sword, then he’ll be subject to being killed by the sword.

So, in essence, rather than this quote from the prophet being about the dominion and authority and justice of God regarding His wicked covenant people, it has degenerated into a statement about Christian people needing to have enough “love” for their enemies!  Rather than being a clear statement regarding Yahveh’s nature and His justice, it’s turned inward to refer to the Christian’s nature and what he needs!

So, if one is “for” treating one’s neighbors like this, then how can a Christian have the “love of Christ” in his heart!  Christians ought to be determined (the goal) to have enough faith to love others, even if they act in a hateful manner!

Do you see how the entire sign falls apart?

And not only is something made out of the text that’s not there, but what is there is missed!  So the Church is not only misled and confirmed by something that’s not in the text, but it misses being comforted and assured by what Yahveh has shown it. 

And the same is true concerning the Jeremiah passage, isn’t it?  When the Church is misled about verse ten of our text, it won’t know that Yahveh has quoted Himself from Jeremiah; and it won’t know anything about the covenantal continuity that exists between what He said before and what He says in the Revelation!  It will all be absent from any understanding. 

And then, of course, it’s all made a part of a future time-frame when Jesus returns and the Kingdom finally is established on earth.  It’s all made-to-fit in some pre-conceived system which denies everything this text says, and everything the Jeremiah text says!

I’m going to read now from the prophet Jeremiah; he begins his prophecy in the period just before the captivity in Babylon.  He records his pleading with Yahveh to be longsuffering and to spare His “holy people”, for He has covenanted with them.  And he records Yahveh’s answer to his plea.

The later chapters of Jeremiah were written during the Babylonian captivity; but the passage I want to read for you was written as a record of direct conversations with Yahveh before the destruction of Israel by the forces of emperor Nebuchadnezzar.

The end of chapter fourteen and the beginning of chapter fifteen is what you’ll hear, because this is what the apostle John hears and writes in our text.  Verse ten here in chapter thirteen is a direct quote of Yahveh speaking to Jeremiah!

Here then is the chapter fourteen passage:


10) Thus says Yahveh unto this people, even so have they loved to wander; they have not refrained their feet: therefore Yahveh does not accept them; now will He remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.

11) And Yahveh said unto me (Jeremiah writes), ‘Pray not for this people for their good.

12) When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt-offering and meal-offering, I will not accept them; but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.’

13) Then I said, ‘Ah Lord, Yahveh!  Behold, the prophets say unto them, ‘You shall not see the sword, neither shall you have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place’.

14) Then Yahveh said unto me, ‘the prophets prophesy lies in my name; I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake I unto them: they prophesy unto you a lying vision, and divination, and a thing of nought and the deceit of their own heart’.

15) Therefore thus says Yahveh concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, ‘sword and famine shall not be in this land’.  By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed.

16) And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them - them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them.

17) And You shall say this word unto them (Jeremiah is to say this), Let mine eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease; for the virgin daughter of my people is broken with a great breach, with a very grievous wound.

18) If I go forth into the field, then, behold, the slain with the sword!  And if I enter into the city, then, behold, they that are sick with famine!  For both the prophet and the priest go about in the land, and have no knowledge.


Then Jeremiah responds:

19) Have You utterly rejected Judah?  Has Your soul loathed Zion? Why have You smitten us, and there is no healing for us? We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of healing and, behold, dismay!

20) We acknowledge, O Yahveh, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers; for we have sinned against You.

21) Do not abhor us, for Your name's sake; do not disgrace the throne of thy glory; remember, and break not Your covenant with us.

22) Are there any among the vanities of the nations that can cause rain?  Or can the heavens give showers?  Are You not He, O Yahveh, our God?  Therefore we will wait for You; for You have made all these things.


There’s a lot that came before this passage, but Yahveh tells Jeremiah not to pray for this people.  Then He reveals to the prophet what is to come upon the nation: famine, pestilence and the sword.  We spent many weeks preaching through John as the seven seals were loosed so John could see; and they revealed famine, pestilence and the sword as Israel neared the “end of the age”.

But Jeremiah persisted in reminding Yahveh of His covenant, not fully understanding that God would, indeed, remember His people, but by saving twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes of Jacob in an exodus from Israel before His wrath in the “last day”.


Now here’s the beginning of chapter fifteen, as Yahveh responds to Jeremiah’s persistence:


1)    Then said Yahveh unto me, ‘though Moses and Samuel were standing before me, yet my mind would not be toward this people; cast them from my sight and let them go forth.

2)    And it shall come to pass, when they say unto you, ‘where shall we go forth?  Then you shall tell them Thus says Yahveh:  such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for captivity, to captivity.

3)    And I will appoint over them four kinds, says Yahveh: the sword to slay, the dogs to tear, the birds of the heavens, and the beasts of the earth to devour and to destroy.

4)    And I will cause them to be tossed to and fro among all the kingdoms of the earth….

5)    For who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem?  0r who will bemoan you?  Or who will turn aside to ask of your welfare?

6)    You have rejected Me, says Yahveh; you have gone backward: therefore I will stretch out My hand against you, and destroy you; I am weary with repenting.

7)    I will winnow them with a fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy my people; they turned not from their ways.

8)    Their widows are increased to me above the sand of the seas; I have brought upon them against the mother of the young men a destroyer at noonday: I have caused anguish and terrors to fall upon her suddenly.

9)    She that has borne seven languishes; she has given up the ghost; her sun is gone down while it was yet day; she has been put to shame and confounded: and the residue of them will I deliver to the sword before their enemies, says Yahveh.’


Then Jeremiah responds:

10) Woe is me, my mother, that you have brought me forth a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth!  I have not lent, neither have men lent to me; yet every one of them curses me.

And Yahveh addresses Jeremiah again:

11) Yahveh said, ‘truly I will strengthen you for good; truly I will cause the enemy to make supplication unto you in the time of evil and in the time of affliction.’


Then He turns His attention to Israel once more in a direct reference to the fourth beast, and Israel’s final demise:

12) Can one break iron, even iron from the north, and brass?

13) Your substance and your treasures will I give for a spoil without price, and that for all your sins, even in all your borders.


Now, here’s what John hears and writes, once more… verse ten:



          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



Can anyone tell me now, having read John and Jeremiah together, how the Church of Jesus Christ can conclude (from verse ten of our text) that Christians must have peace in their hearts, and that we shouldn’t take up the sword; and that we shouldn’t be militaristic toward our enemies?

As much as that may be the case as far as our dispositions are concerned, where do they get that from this verse?  It has nothing – absolutely nothing – to do with a Christian’s personal temperament!

Verse ten, in a direct quote from Yahveh (as recorded by Jeremiah) has to do with Yahveh’s temperament – Yahveh’s determination regarding Israel, in that He is “wearied” with their insubordination and rebellion against Him; for the “faith” of Yahveh’s set apart (holy) people is in false prophets – prophets that He did not send to them.  That’s the context from which the quote comes!

The false prophets are telling the people that there will be only peace in all of Israel; that there will “not” be famines and pestilence (as Moses and Samuel prophesied); that Israel will “not” be made a wilderness fit for animals of prey on dead bodies; that God’s covenant people will “not” be slaughtered by the sword of a great beast with iron teeth from the north; and that Yahveh has covenanted with His people, and He will keep covenant – no matter what Jeremiah says to them and no matter what Moses and Samuel said; and no matter whether they repent!

Israel’s faith was in the words of the false prophets instead of the ones Yahveh sent!  And the ones Yahveh sent brought word to Israel directly from Yahveh, that if Israel would repent of their wickedness and worship Him and keep His commandments, He would heal the nation!

But since Israel persecuted every prophet sent from Yahveh and listened to their own false prophets instead, those who were for captivity would go into captivity; and those who were for the sword would be killed by the sword.

At about the same time this exchange between Yahveh and Jeremiah occurred, Daniel and the rest of Israel were being taken into captivity  (those who are for captivity to captivity, John writes); Daniel was receiving Revelation concerning the four beasts of history, the first of which had taken all Israel captive!   He also received revelation concerning the fourth beast of history that would put all of Israel to the sword!  And John writes “those who are for the sword to the sword!) that is, all Israel except those who God had preserved for Himself).

What could be clearer than a passage of Scripture in which God quotes Himself!  Verse ten here in the sign of the dragon (from God to John for the comfort and assurance of the Church) quotes Yahveh’s Revelation to Jeremiah about what is to happen to this nation that has broken His covenant.

Those who are for captivity shall go into captivity; and by the time John receives the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Israel had not only been in captivity in Babylon for seventy years, but it had also been under pagan dominion of all four beasts for well over six hundred years!

Those who are for the famine, to the famine: and the famines and plagues and pestilences that came upon Israel during the last forty years are all revealed in the loosing of the seven seals.

Those who are for the sword, to the sword; and the complete abandonment of the nation to the vengeance of the dragon through the fourth beast of God’s history was shown to John; and as the city of Jerusalem fell in 70AD, all of Israel was left a wilderness in which birds and animals of prey had their fill of carrion for a very long time.  For there was no one left to bury those put to the sword.

The dragon’s vengeance in destroying the land and the holy people of God’s covenant was also extended to the temple, in that the “holy place” and the “holy of holies” in that man-made temple was desecrated before it was stripped of everything of worth and burned; and then it was leveled, with no stone left on another (just as our Lord had prophesied to His apostles).

But the Glory of God had long since abandoned the temple on the mount to its destruction.  Holy Spirit Himself had come in the sights and sounds of the glory cloud at Pentecost forty years earlier; and He had filled His new holy temple – the Body of Christ.

The temple that Herod had built on the dome of the rock was void of the Glory of God at the time of its desecration and destruction, since it was totally obsolete; for the glory of the Christ and His Church was in no need of a man-made edifice.  The temple (and the tabernacle before it) had served its purpose in prophesying His coming.  And now He had come.

He had paid the price; and He had risen out of death and ascended into the heaven (all prophesied in the altar and the holy place and the holy of holies and the priesthood and the ceremonies of the temple); and the Human Jesus (God-man) had received His glory and a crown and a kingdom.

The Strong Right Arm is “at The Right”; and His glorious Person rules His dominion from the throne in the Cloud of Glory.  And all who belong to Him are In Him and With Him, secure in the fact that His blood was shed for them, and He had preserved them all through His history.

And now in John’s Revelation His Church is strengthened and comforted in that which is about to happen shortly; for John writes what he hears in the sign.  And what he hears is exactly what God said nearly seven hundred years before.

The world-wide turmoil, and the “shaking of the earth and the heavens” and the coming abandonment of the land and the holy people, with all Israel being put to the sword… all these things were under the authority of the Commander in Chief of all the creatures in the heaven and all the creatures on the earth and all the creatures in the abyss.

Confidence in God’s authority and government over all that is His is of the essence of the patience and faithfulness to which His elect people are called.

We are to put our trust not in man, and certainly not in the vengeful machinations of diabolical conspirators; and we’re not to heed the words of false present-day radio and television prophets who tickle the ears of the masses with good-sounding words, but in our Lord Who rules this world for His Own glory.

His justice is sure; His judgment will surely come upon all who obstinately refuse to acknowledge Him.  The patient expectation of this is the perseverance of the saints.

We’re called upon to rest secure in His authority, to remember His government over all His history, to be comforted in the preservation of His people, and to keep His Commandments and hold His testimony in times of proving.



And now, before we finish, let me just give you a warning (as if you even needed one, since you’re all quite capable of recognizing what’s going on).

The gatherings of tens of thousands at the Lincoln memorial yesterday (Aug. 29, 2010) and at the Kennedy center today (on the Lord’s Day) are flagrant, brazen examples of people being led by false prophets.

Glenn Beck is a false prophet.  He was not sent by God; he does not say what God said; and he tickles the ears of his followers – saying some things that are of value to them, and doing so in an entertaining way.

Like all other false prophets, he says some things that are true; and in doing so he gains some credibility.  And, knowingly or unknowingly, he plays upon the nationalism of a once-proud people.  And who wouldn’t want the restoration of this once-great nation?

However, what the nation needs in order to begin its restoration isn’t what Mr Beck is preaching!

The people need to mourn personal and national sin, and they need confession and repentance.  And since the sin is public, so the mourning, confession and repentance must be public.

The God-decreed means of accomplishing that is by the power of Holy Spirit, through the preaching of the Gospel of God concerning His Son Jesus Christ.  There is the power of God unto salvation (and so the restoration of a people and a nation).

However, Mr. Beck is holding an all/faiths meeting at the Kennedy center, here on this Lord’s Day, at which occasion prayer will be offered to “a” god (one to which all faiths can pray), having preached a false message of hope for the nation.

And just as Israel did, this nation’s concerned people are listening to the false prophet.  And not only are they hearing a false prophet preach a false message, but they aren’t hearing what God requires of them!

The Lord’s Day is for the worship of the One true God, Father Son Spirit, and not for generic prayer to a generic god that has no ears that can hear, and no eyes that can see and no mouth that can speak!

This open display of idolatry in our nation’s capital is so serious that I’m tempted to follow God’s Word to Jeremiah not to pray for this people!  But since our Lord Jesus Christ has many people here, and since I’ve received no extra-Biblical Word from Him to prophesy, I can’t do that.

But I suspect that this is another in a list of egregious sins against God that will bring the “justice-work” of God the Son to the forefront for a time.  For He will not be mocked; and He won’t abide a competitor to His dominion.

And I suspect that this conspicuous and intolerable idolatry will mean “proving” for our Lord’s Church in America.  And I do pray that, in whatever form that proving may appear, you will stand strong in The Lord, keeping His Commandments and holding the testimony of Jesus.