Revelation 13:1-18 Part 9

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.


Verse twelve says that the “land beast” exercises all the authority of the first beast – before it.  And as the first beast (the one from the sea) is the agent of the dragon, so the second beast (the one from the “land”) is the agent of the first beast.   Having exercised “all the authority” (as John writes) of the first beast makes the land beast the complete agent of the first beast!  In other words the false prophet (of which there were “many”) is the agent of, and is subservient to, the Roman empire (which is the fourth beast from the sea in Daniel’s prophecy).

Judaism became completely subservient to the self-proclaimed “man-god” of the Roman state.  The “false prophet” exercised that beast’s authority “before it”, or “in its presence”.

This is in contrast to what we’ve already said about God’s prophets.  The true prophets of God actually stood “before” (or, in the presence of) Almighty God, under His authority, and were given to speak the Words which He required them to speak.

But, on the other hand, the false prophet stands before (or in the presence of) the beast whose interpreter and servant it is!

The pseudoprophets (those who Jesus said would be “many”) led the holy people to “adore” this beast (the Roman state and its self-proclaimed god-emperor) – a beast that was said to have had a fatal wound that was healed!  It is the “resurrection” of the beast that is given here (and in verse fourteen) as the reason for the adoration (or worship).

Just as Christian worship is ultimately founded on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the land beast (the false prophet) looked to a counterfeit (imitation) resurrection of the Roman state.

Speaking “as dragon” (which is the “liar” from the beginning) the pseudoprophets of Israel exercised “all the authority” of the fourth beast of history – the Roman empire and its caesar-gods.

The false prophets of Israel (in God’s perspective) “is” the land-beast in the sign of the dragon.  And in exercising all the authority of Rome’s emperor, it looked to a counterfeit “resurrection” of one of this beast’s seven heads as the “adoration-factor” in the exercising of that authority.  That’s made evident in the sign from God, for John includes that information three times… first in verse three, then in verses twelve and fourteen.

Since that’s the case, we need to look at that for a minute; for it is apparently of high value in understanding the sign of the woman and the sign of the dragon; and it is also important in our “calculation” of the beast’s number (verse eighteen).  And since we already know what the beast is, and since the number is already revealed to us, there’s nothing difficult about it!

You’ll remember that, since the establishment of God’s “holy people” in “the land”, the serpent-dragon provoked cursed mankind to rise up against the land of God’s set-apart people with four great “dominions” (world-wide kingdoms); the ultimate purpose of all four was the “cutting off” of the covenant seed (the seed of the woman) and then the humiliating destruction of that which God had created for Himself – the “paradise” on earth.

In Daniel’s visions, and in the messenger-delivered explanations of those visions, Daniel was terribly troubled by what was revealed to him.  It made him sick; for it was evident to him that the four beasts that he saw (especially the fourth one) were for that very purpose (i.e. the destruction of God’s earthly “paradise” in which the copy of His heavenly tabernacle was built).

In reading Daniel and including his visions and explanations in our preaching, it was observed that the appearance of the fourth beast-kingdom was a “compilation” of the attributes of the first, second and third beasts; plus, Daniel saw that it was much, much more brutal and ferocious in its appearance and its intent; and it was the very image of the serpent dragon.

John is specific with the numbers here in the sign of Yahveh; the fourth beast has seven heads – a “complete” number totaled from the heads of the first three beasts; it has ten horns – another “complete” number (one of completeness of order).  That’s the totaled number of horns of the first three beasts.  And it has ten diadems (or crowns), a total of the crowns of the first three beasts.  And, again, ten is a number indicating completeness of order.

In the following chapters of Daniel’s visions and explanations, there is a brief, one-chapter revelation of the exploits of the fourth beast, which is Yahveh’s perception of the history of the Roman empire; and it culminates with the enlistment of the false prophets of Israel, a mention of the captivity in which Israel existed, and the famines, plagues and infestations of the land, and the sword of the beast, and the desecration of the temple and the termination of the land of the holy people.

And Daniel was told that the seven seals of the scroll were not to be loosed until that time.  And having taken to his bed from all of this, Daniel was then “strengthened” by the revelation of the “Prince of his people” – Archangel Michael – who would deliver all those whose names were written in the book… a number which we’ve heard here in the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ: the number is twelve thousand times the twelve tribes of Jacob.

All of that is in the prophetic Word; and it’s all in John’s Revelation, culminating at a specific, appointed time!

And all of this points us to the meticulous precision of God’s Word.  Even though we who belong to the Christ should expect integrity in the Revelation (considering the nature and character of our Triune God), but our hearts should burn within us as we hear these things and see them as Holy Spirit brings clarity and enlightenment to the words that God has spoken throughout His history.  The authority by which His history proceeds provides us great assurance!


If one should do an historical review of all the false prophets of history, he would find that every one of the cultic religions that try to compete with The Christ of God come, originally, from someone who, in a very short period of time, writes his own experiences and his own commandments!

And it’s very easy to think them through and realize that they are all, every one of them, “knockoffs” of Christianity (which was revealed at the creation). 

Even a historical study of philosophy would reveal that every imagination of man is a competitive thought process to the Revelation of God.  Because man is created by God and in His image, man can’t help himself; he has to begin with God’s thought as revealed in His creation and in His Word; he’s a “creature” of God. So man’s thought process must begin there.

But back to the “knockoffs”, each and every one of them begins with a claim of personal revelation while “alone”; and they all are “received” within a short period of time.  And they are all obvious perversions of the creation and salvation of the world, and all riddled with errors, negations and abrogations.

But, back to the first place, God’s Word was revealed to many over an extended period; and it all agrees.  From the prophets of old to the apostles of Jesus, men were inspired by God’s Spirit to write and speak His Word; and it is inerrant and infallible … even to the names, dates and places, and precise to the significance of the numbers!

God’s Word is truly “wondrous” to all who have the mind of Christ.  Its perfections and its precision are awesome.  And how could it be otherwise?  It is God’s history; it’s all conceived by Him and perceived by Him; and it is revealed to men who actually stood before Him (in His Presence).  The prominence of the arithmetic scope of His entire Revelation provides irresistible confirmation of His sovereignty and His total perspicuity of all that He has conceived and created; for it is meticulously revealed and inerrant in all its parts.

Now, as far as the imitation (or counterfeit) “resurrection” of one of the seven heads of the beast is concerned, the man-written history of the Roman empire fits very well with God’s history of the last days.  For the Roman empire was a cult of emperor worship.

Augustus caesar declared himself god on earth and the mediator between man and the gods of the heavens.  That was in 31BC, and it began the cult of the emperor-god of all the earth.  Man had declared himself “as god”.

By 54AD the emperor cult had fallen into a state of ill-repair; the “beast” had lost much of its glory, or “luster”.  The succession of emperors of the empire didn’t command the “worship” that was demanded of the cult; and it was as if the cultic idolatry of the throne of Augustus had passed away – or had suffered a “death-stroke” to the head!

That was the case until 54AD when Nero ascended the throne.  Nero was a direct descendant of Augustus caesar; and he abandoned all reserve and caution in re-establishing and promoting his divinity as emperor-god of the earth.  As a result there was a “resurrection” of cultic idolatry in the empire.  The Roman emperor, once again, became man-god and mediator between man and the gods in the heavens.

So the man-written history squares very well with God’s perception of His Own history as John sees it in the sign of the woman and the sign of the dragon.

The fourth beast from the sea of humanity has seven heads (the total of the heads of the first three beasts – a perfect “seven”), one head which has suffered a “death-stroke” and has revived.

The “resurrection” of worship of the divine emperor of the world is supported and promoted by the false prophets of Israel (the “land beast”); for the survival and return to glory of the land of Israel depended upon this Roman beast!

And an insignia of the serpent (the image of the Roman emperor) is raised high over Israel for all the people to worship; and its number or its name is inscribed upon foreheads as the mark of its sovereign authority over all mankind!

That “resurrection” of divinity in the empire is an imitation, a counterfeit imitation, of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The beast was “incarnate” in Nero.

The numbers and signs in God’s Revelation are incredibly precise, aren’t they?

Back in verse two of this chapter John writes that the appearance of this beast was like three beasts before it.  It was like a leopard, with feet as a bear, and a mouth as that of a lion.  The three animals are those Daniel writes as describing the first three empires of God’s history:  Babylon, the Medo-Persian empire, and the Grecian empire.

And this fourth empire, Rome, has the same beast-like characteristics as the first three… but it is much worse.  Here’s what Daniel said:  “Behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth.  It devoured and crushed, and trampled down the remainder with its feet (whatever was left of the first three beasts); and it was different from the beasts that were before it.”

This beast of Revelation is clearly the Roman empire and its “caesar-god” that was revived in Nero; and it combined all the elements of brutality and oppression that existed in the aggregate of the first three combined.

And the emperor covenantally represents the empire.  And no single emperor (after Augustus caesar) represented the empire as Nero did.  Nero revived (resurrected) the empire and its emperor idolatry.  So this fourth beast of John’s Revelation is not only the Roman empire, but it is its representative emperor-god at the very time John’s Revelation was received and sent to the Churches!

This resurrected empire was represented, and embodied, in the reigning caesar-god: Nero.

This was no mere oppressive ruler.  As Nebuchadnezzar had done over six hundred years earlier, Nero reverted to bestiality.  But where Nebuchadnezzar only grazed in the field on all fours, Nero actually dressed up as a wild beast in order to attack and rape male and female prisoners; and who used the bodies of Christians burning at the stake as the original “roman candles” to light up his beastly garden parties!

He and the entire empire were sunk in degeneracy.  Nero murdered many members of his own family (including his own mother).  He actually kicked his pregnant wife to death; he was homosexual (the Biblical “final stage” of degeneracy); his favorite aphrodisiac-pastime was watching people suffer the most horrifying and disgusting torture.

Every hint of betrayal; every suspicion of secrecy; every imagined unfaithfulness or treachery were met with ruthless savagery.  And all dereliction of duty to his commands and pronouncements were dealt with brutally.

At the provocation of judaists, Nero launched the first imperial persecution of Christians.  And it was he who played music while three of the fourteen districts of Rome burned to the ground, so he could blame it on Christians (most of whom were Jews).

This animalistic pervert was the very image of the serpent-dragon (God’s perception); and he was the resurrected emperor-god of the most powerful empire in all of God’s history.  He set the tone for all the nations on earth, and they all had to be under his authority by divine right!

And the empire was a moral “sewer”.  And how could it be otherwise with this man as its “idol”.  And it was Nero who issued the command for the total destruction of this tiny nation called Israel, which was at the other end of the Mediterranean Sea (and which dared to be chaotic under his divine authority).  Although Nero died by his own hand in 68AD, the commander Titus carried out his emperor’s proclamation to the fullest.

This is all man-written history, and it is confirmed by what God revealed here in the sign of the dragon.  Nero, the divine emperor is, in God’s perspective, the seminal and representative head of the Roman state – the fourth beast of God’s history (just as Adam was the seminal and representative head of mankind).  This beast was mankind proclaiming himself “as God”, and rising up to have dominion over all the earth in competition with, and direct rebellion against, the authority of Christ the King.

And this is the one that the land beast adored; this is the one that the land-beast (the false prophets of Israel) caused those remaining in the land to adore.  This is the one of whom the leadership of Israel said: “we have no king but caesar”… and that was even before the resurrection of emperor-divinity in 54AD! 

Israel, in effect had, for its own protection and security, sided with the emperor-god of Rome against Christ and His Church.  Ultimately it was adoring the serpent-dragon; for this beast was the serpent’s image.  It did the serpent’s vengeful agenda by cutting off God’s covenant people and destroying the land.  All the synagogues of Israel had become “synagogues of satan”; for Nero and his divine Roman empire was the very image of the dragon.  And Israel had committed covenantal suicide at the bidding of its false prophets (as do all who reject the Christ and His Kingdom).

Now.  We’ve done this before to some extent; but let me just review for you the numerical precision with which our Triune God perceives His creation and His history.  And remember that this is the determinate counsel of God, which is revealed to His creatures meticulously; for He comprehends it all and apprehends it all in detail.  After all, He brought it all into being by the Word of His power!

And I want to make a distinction here between our God’s arithmetic perception and (what is known as) numerology.  Numerologists (as they’re known) discern the numbers in Scripture (and numbers in general) for the purpose of divination, which is condemned in Scripture as witchcraft.

Divining, or predicting, what will happen in the future by the use of numbers gives numbers a power that they don’t have; and it gives the “diviner’ of the numbers a power that he or she doesn’t have!  Astrologists and fortunetellers and tarot card readers and numerology readers and birth-path readers are all participating in witchcraft.

On the other hand, God has revealed His character and His history with arithmetic precision.  That’s His nature as revealed in His Word.  Your character and nature, nor your future, are revealed by the month you were born – or the day of the month, or the location of the stars.  Your character is revealed by whether you obey His Commandments and whether you hold the testimony of Jesus!

God reveals Himself to His creatures in the use of the numbers “one” and “three”.  He is both.  The structure of the creation depends on that; for it is all created in His “likeness”.  Just one example here: the family is “one” and “three”.  There is husband/father; there is wife/mother; and there is child or children.  That is a unity; and it is also “many” – a diversity.

And that Tri-unity exists in another “oneness” and “threeness”, in that a godly civilization rests upon the three entities of family, Church and state.

The creation itself exists in “tri-unity” for the very reason that its Creator “is” Triune.  And if you reason with the mind of Christ (Who IS Wisdom), Holy Spirit will cause you to understand that the entire creation “resembles” the One Who causes it to be!  And it matters a great deal whether you discern that.

The apostle Matthew knew that; and his knowledge of the one true God is reflected in his Gospel of Jesus Christ which is written in “threes”: groups of three parables, three sayings, three events, three instances, three prayers, three denials, three healings… the perfections of God in the Gospel of God the Son, which is the power of God into salvation for all who are faithing.  All those who deny Triune God – Father, Son and Spirit, deny creation itself and its continuance.

The creation also resembles the Cloud of Glory in which ten thousands (plural) times ten thousands of messenger/lights proceed from the mouth of God; and in which there are exactly twenty four (that’s twelve – twice!) twenty four elder-creatures worshipping before the throne; and in which there are exactly four magnificent creatures – one at each corner of the “ark” of the heaven.

The messenger-light-creatures (the number of which God knows intimately, for He “spoke” them into being) are mirrored in the galaxies and stars of the heavens; and the Scripture promises that the number of the elect from cursed mankind will be more than that!

The numbers of the elder-creatures (twenty four) that are performing the liturgies of song and praise before the throne are mirrored in the perfect “twelve” of the tribes of the redeemed of Israel and the perfect number of nations that will acknowledge the rule and reign of the Christ (which is all of them, for He alone knows their number; and it is exact).

The four great creatures (one each at the four corners of the ark of the heaven) have to do with God’s creation and His history… especially with man.  Each of them called a great beast of dominion out of the sea of fallen humanity… four of them.  Each also called out one of the four horsemen (Revelation chapter six), the first being the One on the white horse riding out “overcoming and to overcome”.  The four control the four winds of the earth and stand at the four corners of the land.


Our God’s perception of quantitative perfection is reflected in the number of “sevens” in His Revelation.  And it begins with His creation – in the beginning.  Man was created on day six (as we’ll see, that’s a very important number), and God rested on the seventh, completing a cycle of “sevens” for His creatures. 

The Christ of God, having defeated death at His resurrection on the eighth day (prophesied in all the joyous feasts required of Israel) moved the cycle of sevens ahead by one day – having shaken the foundations of the heavens and the earth that were created in the beginning.

Also we recall the feeding of the four thousand men with a few fish and seven loaves of bread; and there were seven baskets of food left over for all the Gentiles in the nations to be fed on the body of Christ.

And we certainly can’t forget John’s view of the Lamb of God that was slain standing in midst of the throne; for He had seven horns and seven eyes (the perfections of Holy Spirit); and also the seven seals of the scroll and the seven trumpeters… and much more.


 God’s perception of His number ten (the perfection of order and structure) is reflected in the Ten Commandments and in the tithe (which is a tenth).  The number of “tens” that are used in the building of the earthly tabernacle (and in its offerings) is enormous… all reflecting the perfections of God’s heavenly tabernacle in the Cloud of Glory.  And the basic legal order of society is revealed to Moses as elders and judges of “tens”.

Also the ten thousands times ten thousands of messenger/lights in the cloud of glory reflect the perfections of structure and order in God’s heavenly tabernacle, for each and every one is created and known and performing its duty.  And as has been stated previously, even the creatures cast from the heaven are known; and they do what they do under the complete authority of the Christ.

Now, God’s Revelation of His history is often revealed in forties.  Although man himself, having been created on the sixth day, is numerically referred to in terms of “six”, God’s historical order for man is revealed in fours and forties.  It is no coincidence (for example) that the twelve thousand elect of each of the twelve tribes of Israel totaled a hundred and forty-four thousand!

It rained forty days and forty nights in order to “save” Noah in the baptism of the flood.  Moses fled to the wilderness after killing an Egyptian solder, and he was there forty years before the confrontation with Yahveh in the burning bush; and he was in the Cloud of Glory forty days and forty nights receiving the Word of God; Israel was captive in Egypt for four hundred years, and it encamped in the wilderness for forty years.  Our Lord – God-man – was “proved” in a fasting of forty days and nights; and the time between His resurrection and His ascension was forty days.  The period between Jesus’ resurrection and His Parousia was forty years.

There is so much more….

Arithmetics doesn’t flow naturally from the mind of man in his scientific examination of his surroundings… it is “created” by Triune God.  And it is “discernable” because God is “One” and “Three”; there is no such thing as “arithmetics” without it!  He IS “One” and He IS “Many”.  And His creation reflects it!  His history reveals it!

And the continuity of the covenantal Revelation of Scripture can only inspire awe and wonder at the precision with which God reveals His history.  And we can count!

We can count to six.

And beginning with creation itself, we know that man was created on the sixth day.  The Commandment says that man must work and do all his work-like activities in six days.  And he is to work the land for six years out of seven.  Hebrew slaves were to work for their masters six years (and be freed afterward).

The total number of people (Jacob’s family) that entered Egypt at the beginning of the four hundred years of captivity, were sixty-six!  The Gentile – Goliath (seeking to kill David – and thereby the coming Messiah) – was six cubits tall.  His son (encountered later) had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot!

The list of “sixes” could go on for a very long time here; but God has revealed man in terms of six.  I’ll give you one more (one of the most awesome of all): Nebuchadnezzar, first emperor-beast of the world, after his dream had been interpreted to him by Daniel, had a golden idol molded for himself; and it was sixty cubits tall and six cubits wide!

There were six hundred and sixty-six years from Nebuchadnezzar’s rise to power and the Parousia of Jesus Christ.  A great case can be made (and has been made by Ken Gentry) that Nero, emperor-god of the world from 54AD to 68AD was the culmination and epitome of “six” – fallen mankind in rebellion against The Christ and His Kingdom…….the Roman empire being the serpent/dragon’s vengeance against God and His holy land and holy people.

We do have a “mind” (verse eighteen); we have the mind of Christ.  We can discern the perfections of God’s Word, and stand in wonder of it all.

John’s letter says the number of the beast is the number of man.  Most translations say it is the number of “a” man, but the article isn’t in the Greek text.  And against all the scrupulous precision of God’s Holy Word, millenarians are predicting – divining – “a” man will soon arise who embodies the six-six-six, or whose name equals the numbers.  It’s false prophecy.  And it’s divination; it’s numerology; it’s witchcraft.

Six has always been God’s Revelation of fallen man.  It’s all through His Word.  And six hundred and sixty-six is man seeking “seven” and never acquiring it.  He has always wanted to be unique in his own right and be his own god.

And at the provocation of satanos – the dragon – man wishes to cut off the seed, have dominion over the earth, and replace the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ with his own.

But our Lord’s Word is sublime in all its parts.  And it is meticulous and precise in all its detail.

This fourth beast from the sea of fallen humanity was “called up” from the four corners of the ark in the heaven!  It was the voice of Almighty God Himself.  And the beast is the aggregate of the three that came before.  It is man wanting to be “as god”, and seeking to have dominion over His creation… all the while being under the authority of God!

As Nero and the Roman empire was six hundred and sixty-six, so the first three beasts of history were six hundred and sixty-six.  All four beasts were six hundred and sixty-six, culminating in the destruction of the holy people and the holy land by Rome – a six-six-six.

Adam was a six – desiring to be seven; and all those in Him are just like him.

There is only One “Seven” Man….  His Name is Jesus.  And all of us rebirthed into HIM participate in HIS “sevenness”.