Revelation 13:1-18 Part 7

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.


As we consider the last eight verses of this chapter, let me just set the stage for you once again (this will be the short-form); it’s all necessary to the understanding of these final verses of the chapter. 

And remember as we do this, that all man-written history, in order to be deemed true, must fit into God’s history of Himself as revealed by Him, and as recorded by the prophets of old and the apostles of Jesus Christ.  If man-written history contradicts God’s revealed view of His Own history, then it has to be declared inaccurate or distorted.  So historians, by necessity, must know the Scripture in order to be accurate historians!

For example: if one is writing a history of the Roman empire, he has to know the prophecies of Moses and Samuel; he must know the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah and Daniel; he must know the prophecies of Jesus as He quotes the prophets of old and as He tells His disciples what is to happen in this generation; and he must know the letters of the apostles to the Churches! 

Otherwise, the history of the Roman empire would be man’s history, and it would be cast in a complete vacuum as an accident – a “happening”.  It would have no relevance whatever… only a series of “events”.  And all who happened to read that history would be left void of understanding about any of it!  Who, what, when and where might be accurately recorded (maybe), names, dates and places; but the “why” would be left to the historian’s imagination.  There would be no relevance to anything.

However, God’s history is not only recorded accurately, but He reveals the “why”!

Moses and Samuel both had warned God’s covenant people that should they not worship and obey Yahveh according to His Word, that incomprehensible evil would overtake them and destroy them; captivity and famine and plagues… and the sword!

By 925BC God’s promised land, the land of milk and honey (His second Eden!) was filled with false prophets and priests and kings.  From the forty years in the desert, they never believed.  From the time of Joshua, the nation was worshiping ba’als and ashtoras.  The “holy people” – the ones Yahveh had set apart for Himself – had never obeyed; and they were “hearing” the false prophets of the idols.

Elijah, having prayed for fire from the lake of fire under God’s altar and killed many of the prophets and priests of ba’al, was then promised that there were still seven thousand in all of Israel that God had kept for Himself.

Elisha, in about 800BC, spoke many words and performed signs and wonders before the nation as God’s true prophet.  However the nation would not turn; but it followed its own prophets and priests and kings in idolatry.  He, and Elijah before him, had both been sent to Gentiles to heal, preserve and raise the dead!  The holy people wouldn’t hear and believe!

Before 700AD Isaiah prophesied against the nation’s idolatry and its false prophets.  Right after he was touched on his mouth with a red-hot coal from the lake of fire at the altar, Yahveh sent him to Israel (chapter six):


9)    And he said, Go, and tell this people, ‘Hear indeed, but understand not; and see indeed, but perceive not’.

10) Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn again, and be healed.

11) Then said I, Lord, how long?  And he answered, ‘until cities be waste without inhabitant, and houses without man, and the land become utterly waste….’


This is the exact passage that our Lord quoted to His disciples when they asked Him why He spoke in parables!   So that hearing they would not hear!

And in 701BC Sennacharib of Syria took the northern tribes of Israel into captivity.


Last Lord’s Day we heard Yahveh tell Jeremiah (and quoted here in our text) that those who were for captivity, to captivity; and those who were for famine and pestilence, to famine and pestilence; and those who were for the sword, to the sword.  That prophecy came just before Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon became emperor of the world (596BC) and took the two southern tribes of Israel into captivity (586BC).

Daniel, in captivity himself, then prophesied the four beasts of God’s history (all serpent provoked), the first being Babylon itself, after which there would be three more – all four of which held Israel in captivity under their dominions.  That’s all twelve tribes!

For five hundred and eighty six years before our Lord’s birth as Savior and King (which was prophesied from the very beginning of God’s creation) prophet after prophet was sent to Israel (the last being John the baptizer); and the false prophets, priests and pharisees of Israel persecuted and killed them (preferring their own law, their own prophets, their own priests), and preferring the pagan kings that kept them in obeisance throughout the dominions of all four of the beasts!

So all Israel preferred their own prophets, priests and kings rather than god’s prophets, and rather than His anointed Prophet, Priest and King!  And they were shut up in captivity, deaf to the Word of God as prophesied.

The True Prophet Himself, before HE was persecuted and killed, prophesied the last days of the “land” and the “holy people”; the shaking of the heavens and the earth; the sun, moon and stars of this second paradise being extinguished; false prophets and false “christs” arising; horrific plagues and pestilences; the abandonment and destruction of the temple on the mount; His resurrection out of death; the coming of God the Spirit in great power at Pentecost, and the redemption of all Israel (as promised) beginning with a hundred and forty four thousand that God had kept for Himself.

And Jesus Christ also prophesied that, as a final act of hostility toward, and rebellion against, God’s Prophet, Priest and King (and Savior of the World), Israel’s leadership would pursue and persecute God’s elect from the tribes of Jacob – the ones for whom the Christ had shed His blood!

That was the final and preeminent sin which, in Jesus’ Own words, brought the plenary judgment of Almighty God upon the covenant nation; for all the blood of the righteous in Israel’s history would be brought to their account – in this generation!

For the next forty years, the most appalling and dreadful droughts and plagues and pestilences were brought against this nation (as prophesied by Moses and Samuel and the rest); and then the sword of the fourth beast.  And yet the false prophets and false christs never relented in preaching that God would never cut off His holy people (just as the false prophets in Jeremiah).  

(“Peace!  Peace!  But there is no peace” cried Isaiah.)  God would yet save Israel, they said; for He would send a messiah from among His people to bring them back and restore Israel to the former glory of Solomon.

And we’re reminded once again of verses nine and ten of our text, that those who have ears to hear are to hear the words of Jeremiah.  Isaiah had prophesied Israel’s ears to be closed; but John’s letter is to the redeemed in Christ.  They are to hear Jeremiah’s words from Yahveh:  “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.


And now John sees (in the sign of the dragon) another beast… this one arising from the “land”.  This beast doesn’t come up from the sea of pagan humanity; it hasn’t conquered anybody and put nations under its dominion; so it has no kingdom… it isn’t one of the four described to Daniel; neither is it a grotesque image of the dragon.

In fact, it has the appearance of a young lamb with only two horns.  It has nothing like seven heads and ten horns and ten diadems and iron teeth and a ferocious demeanor.

It is “of” the land – not the sea.  It is of the “holy people”.  It is the beast of the land.

The beast that had arisen from the sea is the fourth beast of God’s history; and John’s description of it is recorded in the first eight verses of this chapter.  It’s the one Daniel described as greater and more ferocious than the other three.  It’s the one he feared the most; it’s the one that not only had the land and the holy people under its dominion (captivity), but it’s the one that would put all Israel to the sword!

And as John sees it, its bizarre, monstrous appearance is accentuated by seven heads – one of which has been slain and has resurrected – a grotesque imitation of the defeat of death, since caesar proclaimed himself king and god-of-the-earth and mediator between the earth and the gods of the heavens.

The beast as John sees it blasphemes Triune God and all His creatures in the heavenly tabernacle, for it is the image of the dragon that was cast in humiliation from the cloud of glory.

Great authority was given to it to have dominion over all nations; and it was given authority over the land for forty-two months to overcome the holy people.

However this “second” beast has no multiple heads or iron teeth; nor is it impersonating a messiah with a counterfeit resurrection; nor has it been given authority over the nations of the earth; nor has it been given authority to war against the holy people and overcome them.

Since it doesn’t arise from the sea, it is not of pagan, Gentile origin (it isn’t “spawned” by the fourth beast).  It’s from “the land”; it’s from the covenant community; and it has, in Yahveh’s description, a rather “benign” appearance (which is deceptive and fraudulent).  It is a “pseudo” lamb that speaks “as dracon” (as dragon – verse eleven).  In other words, it has been incited, induced, inflamed (inspired, if you will) by the devil – the serpent of old.  It speaks “as” dragon.

As we continue, please remember Who’s in authority here.  The second beast of this chapter (the one from the land) is “given” to do these things.  So it’s not as if the One Who has all authority is surprised!  The reason we went through the “short-form” history at the beginning is to remind ourselves of that.

There are several passages of Scripture that I want to read for you… the first being a few verses from the thirteenth chapter of Moses’ fifth book (Deuteronomy).

Listen to this carefully:


1)    "If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,

2)    and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, 'Let us go after other gods,' which you have not known, 'and let us serve them,'

3)    you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For Yahveh your God is proving you, to know whether you love Yahveh your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

4)    You shall walk after Yahveh your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.

5)    But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against Yahveh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which Yahveh your God commanded you to walk.  So you shall purge the evil from your midst.


As you can hear from that, false prophecies arise in the covenant context (“from those among you”, Yahveh told Moses); and they’re only worthy of death.  They are in imitation of the prophetic Word of God; and false prophets operate in relation to the covenant people.  Moses warned that false prophets would arise from among the holy people – from “the land”, performing signs and wonders.

Now listen to Jesus as He answers the questions of His disciples just before He was crucified.  Here’s a small part of chapter twenty-four of the Gospel of Matthew:


“And Jesus having come out of the temple was going away, and His disciples approached Him to point out to Him the building of the temple; but He, answering, said to them, ‘Do you not see anything?  Truly I say to you, in no way shall there be left here a stone upon a stone which shall not be thrown down.’”


And then, during His sitting upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached Him privately saying, “Tell us when these things shall be and what (shall be) the sign of Your coming (parousia) and consummation of the age.”

…And answering Jesus said to them, “See, lest someone deceive you, for many shall come upon My Name saying, ‘I am Christ,’ and they shall deceive many.

But you are about to hear battles and reports of battles; see, lest you be terrified; for it is necessary to occur.  But, it is not yet the end.

For there shall be raised up a nation against a nation, a kingdom against a kingdom; and there shall be famines and earthquakes from place to place, and all these ‘beginning of travails.’

Then they shall deliver you, and you shall be the ones detested by all the nations because of My Name.

And then many shall be entrapped, and they shall deliver one another and kill one another; and many false prophets shall be raised up, and they shall deceive many;

And because of the lawlessness to be multiplied, the love of many shall be caused to expire.

But the one persevering to completion, this one shall be saved….


This is Jesus’ last prophetic warning about what was to occur in this generation.  But He had warned all His followers before, hadn’t He?  Listen to Him during the sermon on the mount (Matthew chapter seven):


15) Beware of (be on guard against) the pseudoprophets such as are coming to you in sheep’s garments, but inside they are rapacious wolves.


And how is this beast described here in verse eleven?  It has the appearance of a young lamb; but it was a savage beast!  Sheep’s clothing!

Later on in John’s Revelation the second beast is referred to as “the false prophet” (of which, according to Jesus in Matthew, is “many”).  In our Lord’s sign of the dragon it is “a” beast.  Listen to it from chapter sixteen:


13) … and I saw out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs --

14) for they are spirits of demons, doing signs….


So John’s Revelation itself identifies what this second beast is.  The “signs” that are causing the people of the land to wonder and to adore the dragon and the beast are coming from the mouth of the false prophet.

And then, toward the end of the Revelation John sees The Overcomer Himself in the defeat of the beast from the sea and the beast from the land.  Listen to it in chapter nineteen:


19) And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth and their armies, having been gathered together to make war with Him who is sitting upon the horse, and with His army;

20) and the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet who did the signs before him, in which he led astray those who received the mark of the beast and those who did bow before its image; they were cast alive -- the two -- to the lake of the fire that is burning with brimstone;

21) and the rest were killed with the sword of Him who is sitting on the horse, which [sword] is proceeding out of His mouth, and all the birds were filled of their flesh.


So, as he continues to watch, and record, the sign of the dragon from Yahveh, the apostle reveals exactly what this “land beast” is, doesn’t he?  It is the “false prophet” (from among them) that continued to deceive all Israel – as it had done through all Israel’s history!

We’ll get to those portions of John’s letter to the Churches much later; but the revelation of this beast confirms what we’ve heard from Moses and Samuel and Elijah and Elisha and Isaiah and Jeremiah and Daniel, and what they all prophesied and encountered earlier all through Israel’s history. 

And it is the fullness of our Lord’s instruction to His disciples (as we read) in Matthew chapter twenty-four.  Many pseudoprophets would arise!  And Israel would “hear” them rather than God’s prophets.

Now, it is important for all of us to remember that judaism is not the Faith revealed by our God from the beginning.  In fact, it is a rejection of His Revelation and His history, in favor of man’s own view of himself and his world and its history.

Judaism is a cult… was a cult, always will be a cult; just as mormonism, jehovahs witness, unification church, islam, buddhism, scientism (and all the others) are cults.  Their “gods” are described in God’s Word as having eyes, but they can’t see; ears, but they can’t hear; mouths but they can’t speak.  They are all called “ba’al” in the older Scripture (ba’alim – plural).  And their “prophets” are those who did not stand in Yahveh’s Presence; He did not speak to them, and He did not send them.

Many of them were “given” to do signs and wonders before the people in order to shut their eyes that they not see, and in order to close their ears that they not hear; and they are given that they speak lies that their hearers prefer to hear!

Our Lord Jesus was perfectly clear that judaism denies The Christ of God precisely because it denies God’s prophet Moses.  Moses, the prophet, who stood in the Presence of God in His tabernacle, brought down two tablets of stone on which the Commandments of God were written by His very finger!  And Moses wrote five books of history and instruction that he heard directly from the mouth of Yahveh when he was in the cloud of glory on Sinai.

And Israel never believed him, nor did they obey Yavheh’s Commandments.  Rather, they had their own preferred religion; and they heard their own prophets while persecuting every prophet sent to them by Yahveh.

And because of the false prophets (pseudoprophets) all through Israel’s history, and because of Israel’s preference for the false prophets and the persecution of the ones sent from God, they would suffer captivity, pestilence and the sword.

And our Lord, as we quoted earlier, told His followers: beware of the false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but are really ravaging wolves (beasts).

The “land beast” is the false prophets of Israel.  They have the benign appearance of being members of the “holy people”; but they ravage the nation.  They are beasts in covenant clothing.  They may be pharisees or scribal lawyers or members of the sanhedrin; but they have never stood in the Presence of God (as all of God’s prophets did); they were not sent by God; they do not speak God’s Words, for He did not speak to them; and therefore they are worthy only of death by the sword… as are all of those who prefer to hear them!

They didn’t believe Moses and Samuel and Elijah and Elisha and Isaiah and Jeremiah and Daniel; and so they didn’t believe the Christ of God when He came.  And they persecuted all of the prophets who were sent directly from the Presence of Yahveh, and even persecuted the ones kept by our Lord from the twelve tribes of Jacob!

The text from John says (verse eleven) that this beast looks benign (like a young lamb); but it speaks “as dracon”.  John doesn’t say that this second beast speaks “like” the dragon… he says it speaks “as” dragon!  That’s what the text says here.

How does the dragon speak?  It is a liar.  It was a liar from the beginning, and it speaks out of vengeance.  It speaks exactly the opposite of that which Yahveh has spoken.

What did God say to the two in the garden who were created in His Own image?  Should they disobey Him (preferring their own way) they would die.  And what did the serpent say to them?  That they would not die!

The serpent of old (the dragon here in the sign) speaks lies.  And the beast from the land speaks “as dragon”.  It speaks lies.  The prophets of Israel speak lies to the holy people… right to the very end – of the captivity, of the plagues and pestilences, and of the sword.

But we learned from the first eight verses of this chapter that Yahveh has kept His promise to Israel by keeping some for Himself throughout His history (the seed of the woman)… seven thousand of all of Israel belonged to him (He told Elijah).  Twelve thousand from each tribe of Jacob (He revealed to John).

It is all under His authority and His providence.  It’s His history; and His justice and His mercy and His faithfulness are made apparent throughout that history.

Now that we know the identity of this “land beast” (identified in the text of Scripture itself), we can quickly finish the chapter next Lord’s Day.  Then I want to give you a brief outline of the “man-written” history (that which is relevant to the text)… at least what we know about the last days of God’s covenant people.

We’ll probably do more of that as we go along.  But we’ll see if what has been written in the history books - the Who, What, When and Where (the names, dates and places) – fits accurately with God’s history of Himself and His “holy people”.


And now we come to an event to be celebrated.  There is not only to be self-examination and confession and repentance, and restrained eating and drinking; but there is also to be thankfulness, gladness and comfort in our having been included.

We’ve seen in the Revelation text that, in God’s perfect justice, many were deafened and blinded; but some were chosen and kept for Himself.

 In the sacrament itself, which is the sign and seal of the new covenant, we must be elated that we were in Him in His birth; we were in Him in His humiliation, death and burial; we were in Him in His resurrection.  And now we are in Him at His Seat in the throne-room/tabernacle in the heaven.

 Because what HE did – not what we did – we are washed in His blood, and we are nourished in His body.  And it is all given to us freely.  We don’t choose Him; and we don’t hold onto Him.  He’s the One Who holds onto us.  Otherwise there would be no certainty; and there would be no faithfulness from us.

How do we know that He’s holding onto us?  How do we know that we belong to Him?  It’s by our faithfulness.  Faith is a gift!  Perseverance in The Faith is a gift that assures us of our election!

So, if there is no confession and repentance from sin, how does one know he belongs to the Christ?  How does one have any confidence at all, in anything, if he continues in rebellion against the Lord’s Commandments?

Baptism is our Lord’s “mark” of His covenant.  So improve your baptism by repentance and obedience!  Celebrate the Lord’s Table (His continuing sign and seal of that covenant), (celebrate it) with assurance and confidence by repentance and obedience!

The Church is being “proved” all the time.  And the text of chapter twelve says that those who keep His Commandments and hold the testimony of Jesus are the ones who belong to Him.  The rest go out from them, because they were not “of” Him.

There is a great cloud of witnesses around His tabernacle that attests to the mighty salvation wrought In Him.  And the Scripture reveals more witnesses to His grace toward fallen mankind.  And we’re told that there will be a vast army of the redeemed… more than the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore – many from every nation, tongue and tribe.  The authority of the risen Christ will bring it to pass.

That will come to pass because He shed His blood for the salvation of the world.  His shed blood is sufficient and efficient for the redemption of the creation itself!  And His body – the risen body of the Christ – is the new mankind, the “genesis” – the new beginning of man created in the image of God.

These things are what we are to “remember” as we receive the bread and the wine this morning.