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Revelation: Chapter 13

Setting

As seen in the chronology of Revelation, John is viewing all of the events from the vantage point on earth and during the mid-tribulation point.

Since the unfolding of the seals and the first six trumpets from Chapters 6-9 of Revelation, there is a pause in the sequence of actions during the tribulation. During this pause John describes many important characters and actions that are yet to occur in the last half of the tribulation. There are many characters during the tribulation that cause the evil and horror in the world God will judge before the end of the seven years of tribulation. The oppression of Satan and his followers will be very great upon those who believe on the Lord and maintain their faith despite this terrible oppression during this time. Yet God’s sovereignty exists and is demonstrated through the preservation of the remnant of Israel and having his 144,000 witnesses and two witnesses.  As the Lord said through Isaiah, He is the one who declares things before long before they begin, Isaiah 42:8-9, and He is the one who has set the times and seasons, Acts 1:7.

In summary of what has been revealed so far during this pause, events, places and characters have been identified in this and previous chapters in Revelation:

  • Revelation 10, the mighty angel and the little scroll
  • Revelation 11, the tribulation temple and the two witnesses
  • Revelation 12, the identification of the first five of seven important characters during the tribulation period
  • Revelation 13, the final two characters are revealed, their impact on the world and hatred toward God is exposed

Seven characters that will appear during the mid-tribulation are revealed in Revelation 12 and Revelation 13 and are shown in the table below:

 

Character

Association

Passage

1

The pregnant woman The nation of Israel Revelation 12:1-2

2

The dragon Satan Revelation 12:3-4

3

The Son Jesus Christ Revelation 12:5

4

Michael The Archangel

Revelation 12:7-12

5

The offspring of the woman The tribulation saints Revelation 12:17

6

The seven-headed beast Antichrist

Revelation 13:1-4

7

Another beast out of the earth The false prophet Revelation 13:11-17

Revelation 13 is a very critical chapter in understanding the tribulation period, which requires integrating Old Testament and New Testament passages with these verses in Revelation to fully appreciate the events as they unfold. The events revealed in Revelation 13 occur during the mid-tribulation period. In Revelation 12, Satan had been kicked out of the heavenly realm forever.  With great wrath, and little time (42 months), he is establishing his kingdom on earth and warring against the saints.

A Synoptic View of the Tribulation Era

For a quick review, the description of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2:41-44, of the multi-metallic image shows the tribulation period being represented by the ten toes, which are the 10 kingdoms (or countries) that make up the revived Roman Empire.

  • The 10 toes represent 10 countries
  • They will be divided, but they will be a loose confederation
  • The end of the reign for these kings is marked by the stone cut from heaven and thrown at the base of the image’s feet, destroying the entire image, turning it into chaff, and the wind blowing it away; the gentile era will never be remembered again
  • The millennial kingdom of Christ will be established from that point forward when the era of the Gentile rule and influence over Jerusalem and Israel will end forever

The following is a graphic that charts the timeline as described by Daniel to King Nebuchadnezzar.  The middle of the chart shows a box that delineates the parts of the metallic image in the dream, and associates them with various eras of major Gentile rule over Israel or Jerusalem.  There is also a time indicated where the legs of iron (the Roman Empire) fades away, then during the tribulation period, the restoration of the Roman Empire, but it will not come unto its full strength until the destruction of religious Babylon, Revelation 17.  Upon her destruction just prior to the mid-tribulation point, the ten kings will attain their power.  Their power will be short-lived because the Lord will put in their heart to subordinate themselves to the Antichrist, who also will achieve his full Satanic power at the mid-tribulation period, as seen in this chapter.  At that time the Antichrist will ascend to being the sole ruler over the world’s affairs, though he will be dealing with rebellion throughout his short tenure.  This all comes to an end at the battle of Armageddon when the stone, not carved out by hands, destroys the image, and then the mountain appears and represents the millennial reign of Christ.

A Synoptic View of the Tribulation of the Era

In Daniel 7:7-8 and Daniel 7:23-24 a fourth beast was described as terrible, and then the focus shifted to the ten horns. This occurs during the tribulation. What is presented in this part of Daniel is an outline of the same characters in the book of Revelation. The fourth beast represents the government during the tribulation, which is the revived Roman Empire. This will eventually become governed by the leaders of ten countries. A distinction is made between this fourth beast and the preceding three beasts, the lion, bear, and leopard, who were allowed to continue for a season after the death of the beast (at the battle of Armageddon). The fourth beast is seen by Daniel as terrifying, frightening, and very powerful. It crushed and devoured its victims, was different than the other three beasts, and it had ten horns. The ten horns exist before the little horn appears among the ten horns. Afterwards, the little horn uproots three of the ten horns. The remaining horns, or leaders, will be subordinate to the little horn. The main characteristics of the little horn is that it had many eyes, boastful, it spoke blasphemies against the Most High, oppressed the saints, and will try to change the times and seasons set by God, and attempt to change God’s laws.  He is pure evil!

A Synoptic View of the Antichrist

In Daniel 7:11 the fourth beast was judged, destroyed, and cast into the lake of fire, Revelation 19:19-20 and Revelation 20:10. The beast represents the government led by the little horn (the Antichrist). As described above, the little horn had many eyes, meaning it had wisdom and knowledge, but not like the Lord’s, there is no comparison. In the latter part of Daniel 8, the vision of Daniel provides a glimpse into the character of the Antichrist as a master of intrigue, through the historical figure Antiochus Epiphanes, Daniel 8:9-12, and Daniel 8:23-25.  This is consistent with the revelation of the Antichrist when the first seal was opened by the Lord, showing the Antichrist with a bow and no arrows, Revelation 6:1-2.

The Antichrist will exist in a prominent position at the beginning of the tribulation, Revelation 6:1-2, to confirm a seven year covenant with Israel, Daniel 9:27, then grow in stature and power, Daniel 7:11, so that he can fight a war just prior to the mid-tribulation period. Afterward, Antichrist is indwelt by Satan enabling him to reach the pinnacle of power that he will maintain through the remainder of the tribulation period. The Antichrist's origin will be from the lineage that destroyed the temple and Jerusalem after the crucifixion of Jesus (70A.D.), Daniel 9:26-27.  He will cause the daily sacrifice to cease and set himself up as a god in the temple, Matthew 24:15-16. The Lord will throw the Antichrist and the false prophet into the lake of fire at the battle of Armageddon, Revelation 19:20.

A Synoptic View of the Antichrist during both halves of the tribulation

The beginning of the tribulation is sometimes confused with the rapture of the church. This is not the case; instead the beginning of the tribulation is clearly initiated by the confirmation of a covenant with Israel for seven years as seen in Daniel 9:27. During the first half of the tribulation, before the little horn gains its prominence, the ecumenical religion will have rule over the ten kings, Revelation 17 (follow the link to read more about the ecumenical religion in this site, Revelation 17 and its impact on the tribulation Saints, three groups of tribulation Saints).  During the first half of the tribulation, the little horn will arise and be different than the first 10 leaders, Revelation 6:1-2.  During the second half of the tribulation the little horn will gain his prominence and power from Satan during the mid-tribulation, Revelation 13:1-4.  At nearly the same time that the Antichrist attains his full Satanic power, the false prophet will appear and possess more power than what was exhibited by the harlot in Revelation 17 during the first half of the seven years of tribulation.

A Synoptic View of the Antichrist and Satan

Not only is Satan directly involved with events during the tribulation period, Satan was also involved with Judas Iscariot in the betrayal of Jesus.  It was Satan who put into the mind of Judas to betray the Lord, John 13:2.  Later, Satan entered into Judas to execute the betrayal of Jesus, John 13:27.  In like manner, Satan will enable the Antichrist to achieve the a great pact with Israel, by officially entering the government of the rebuilt Roman empire into a seven year covenant with Israel.  This will occur at the beginning of the first half of the tribulation.  This is when the little horn in Daniel 7 appears and grows among the other ten horns, which already exist. This is the time when the Holy Spirit allows  THE Antichrist to be revealed, 2Thessalonians 2:2-4.  Satan will indwell the Antichrist at the mid-tribulation point, and empower him throughout the remainder of the tribulation period and grant him phenomenal powers.

Outline of this chapter

Verses Topic
1-2 The beast comes out of the sea
3 The false resurrection
4 Satanic worship
5-10 The rule of the Antichrist
11-17 The beast from the earth, the false prophet
18 The number of the beast

The beast comes out of the sea     Chapter Outline     Top

In Revelation 13:1, several important events are outlined in just this one verse, and occur at the mid-tribulation period.

  • Satan is the dragon, and he is the one standing on the sea shore, Revelation 12:9 (Note that the New American Standard (NASB) and the New International Version (NIV) include in their translations that the dragon was on the seashore and then John saw)
  • Satan is calling out his servant, the Anti-Christ from the sea, which represents the mass of humanity, Revelation 17:15
  • The beast has 10 horns, 7 heads and 10 crowns, and on each head was a blasphemous name, Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:11, Daniel 7:24-25

The following table provides a comparison between the characteristics of the dragon (Satan) and the beast (Antichrist), which show how the Antichrist reflects the characteristics of the one who calls him, Satan.

Characteristics of the dragon and the beast

Dragon (Satan) Revelation 12

Beast from the sea (Antichrist)
Revelation 13

Origin

Ancient serpent

Called from the sea by the Dragon

Number of heads

7

7

Number of horns

10

10

Number of crowns

7

10

Special note

Took one third of the angels with him

Blasphemous name on each head

The basic characteristics between the dragon and the beast are the same, only the number of crowns differs. There are many views concerning the seven heads on both the dragon and beast, but since the beast is a reflection of the dragon, the seven heads on the beast probably refer to the Antichrist's deep understanding and world wisdom, similar to Daniel 8:23-25, where Antiochus Epiphanes who is a type of the Antichrist. The 10 horns represent the 10 nations that make up the 10 toes in King Nebuchadnezzar's image, Daniel 2:41-44. The 10 crowns represent the 10 kings that exist at the mid-tribulation period. They are concurrent with the Antichrist when he achieves his full power as he enters into the land of Israel, Daniel 11:40-45, which occurs before he uproots three of the ten horns described in Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:23-25. This is the transition from when the harlot exerted great influence over world events throughout the first half of the tribulation, Revelation 17.  At the midpoint of the tribulation the beast is fully empowered by Satan and does his bidding and all impediments or challenges to his reign are removed forcefully.

In Revelation 13:2 is the listing of the parts of the beasts that Daniel saw in his vision, Daniel 7:1-7.  However, the list of the beasts is in reverse order.  In Daniel's vision, he saw the winds of heaven stirring up the sea and then four beasts came out, the lion, bear, leopard, and the dreadful and terrible beast.  What John saw was the dragon (Satan), give to the beast (Antichrist), his power, throne, and great authority.  Before this time, the Antichrist confirms the seven year covenant to initiate the seven years of tribulation.  Through the first half of the tribulation the Antichrist is a growing political influence, as indicated by the little horn growing among the 10 horns, Daniel 7:8.  The Antichrist grows in power sufficiently to lead an army against invaders of Israel from the North and South, and he sets up his headquarters in Jerusalem, Daniel 11:40-45.

The false resurrection     Chapter Outline     Top

In Revelation 13:3, one of the heads of the beast “APPEARED” to have a fatal wound and was healed.  As a result, the whole world was astonished and followed the beast.  Satan is not an original thinker, but a mimicker.  In Revelation 11:7 the two witnesses whom  the beast, or Antichrist, killed were left for 3 ½ days so their bodies would rot in the streets of Jerusalem and the whole world would witness and celebrate.  After 3 ½ days, God will breathe life back into them and call them to heaven; they are resurrected in the sight of the world.  The remnant not killed in the ensuing earthquake in Jerusalem, gave glory to God.  With such a great witness of the resurrection of the two witnesses seen by the world, Satan will attempt to feign his own rendition of a resurrection of his man, the Antichrist.  

Some teach that the fatal wound to the head represents the rebuilding of the empire. However, a literal interpretation of these passages is that the Antichrist is a real person who is to be gravely wounded, with the appearance of death to facilitate the deception of Satan upon the world. The lie would be that a resurrection occurred. The Antichrist will be proclaimed dead so that Satan will appear to have resurrected him from the dead. Satan needs to copy the work of Christ so that he can appear to be like Him and as powerful and distract the world’s attention from the God to himself.

The world by this time would have known of Christ’s resurrection from the witness of the 144,000 Jews, and the great multitude seen before the throne of God because of their faith and their testimony of Jesus Christ. Also, all who will be alive at the mid-tribulation period would have witnessed the resurrection of the saints of God and the raptured church prior to the tribulation. In addition, they would have recalled the more recent resurrection of the two witnesses. As always, Satan copies what he knows and understands. This is what Paul warned about to the Thessalonians, 2Thessalonians 2:7-12, concerning the deceitfulness of the Antichrist.

Soon after the false resurrection, Satan will empower the Antichrist before the world. This will be a false resurrection. It is God who gave the “BREATH of LIFE” into the two witnesses to resurrect them. There is no indication of the same occurrence here with Satan, nor does he have the power to give life. All that of the wonders attributed to Satan is fake, a facade.  Satan is a created being and he does not give life; he destroys and murders people. Only God has the power to give life, as seen in the Genesis record and witnessed by Christ, John 5:19-30.

The resurrection of Christ is critically important to the Christian, for if it were not true then our salvation is in vain. Christ was raised from the dead and He is the first fruits of the resurrection of all who have died in faith in Christ, 1Corinthians 15:1-20.

Satanic worship     Chapter Outline     Top

In Revelation 13:4, the deception of Satan that is described in this verse will be very effective. Men will then freely worship the dragon, or Satan, as he had given authority to the beast, or Antichrist. They will also worship the beast, wonder on the beast, and believe that he is invincible. It is interesting that people living at that time will recognize that Satan is behind all these climatic events and honor him, not fear him. They will neither regard the Lord in all these matters, despite the enormity of witnesses to God through the judgments He has already imposed on the world.  Isaiah wrote that when the judgments of the Lord come upon earth the people of the world learn righteousness.  In contrast, if grace is shown to the wicked they do not learn righteous but continue in wickedness, Isaiah 26:9-10.  However, the tribulation will be a razor’s edge where there is no room for any individual to straddle or not decide whom they will follow.  Many will love the things of this world.  Though they will recognize the judgments are from the slain Lamb, or Christ, Revelation 6:16, Revelation 9:20-21, and Revelation 16:9-11, they continue in their rebellion and will refuse to repent and follow the Lord.

The rule of the Antichrist     Chapter Outline     Top

In Revelation 13:5-6, the Antichrist is given to be a boaster and a person who speaks great blasphemies, Daniel 7:25 and Daniel 11:36-39. There are several aspects of his uncontrolled hatred toward God. He blasphemed God, he slandered His name, he spoke against His dwelling place, and he spoke against those living in heaven, giving recognition of the existence of the Lord, all of His heavenly host, and the saints which consists of the Old Testament saints, the Church, and the Tribulation saints who had been killed up to that time. The Antichrist will make no attempt to disguise or refute the existence of God, only to blaspheme Him. In addition to this, the Antichrist’s power will only last 42 months, which is the same time interval for Israel (or the woman) to remain in the place prepared by God for them, Revelation 12:6. This illustrates how the many events listed in Revelation 11, Revelation 12, and Revelation 13 are all inter-related.

The Antichrist is viewed by John as a war monger.  He makes war with the saints, to overcome them. The Antichrist will do what he sees his father Satan does against the saints of God, Revelation 12:7. In Daniel’s vision, he reported that this little horn waged war against the saints and defeated them until God pronounced judgment in favor of the saints, and Christ returned for the second time, Daniel 7:20-22, Revelation 19:11-16, Revelation 19:19-21. Until Armageddon, 42 months after the mid-tribulation, the Antichrist will have power over all kindred, tongues, and nations.

In Revelation 13:8, the Antichrist will be worshiped at this time, by all whose name are not written in the book of life of the Lamb.  All those on the earth whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb shall worship the Antichrist. This is a most critical time, for there will be no undecided individuals left, you are either faithful to Christ, or you will either worship or follow the beast. During the first advent of Jesus Christ, the Lord explained how the scriptures testified of Him, yet the Jews of that day refused to come to Him. He went on to say that it would be Moses who will accuse them. He continued in His witness against the leaders of that day to say that He (Jesus) came in His Father’s name, and they did not accept Him, but if another comes in his own name, they will accept them, John 5:39-47.

In Revelation 13:9-10, is God’s message to the Tribulation saints. The phrase “He who has an ear, let him hear” is often used, particularly in the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and Revelation 3. The Tribulation saints will suffer much for the Word of God and for the maintenance of their salvation, but the Lord will have a special place for them for all eternity, Revelation 6:9-11, and Revelation 7:9-17. The Tribulation saints are not to organize and resist, but to patiently endure and to remain faithful. The letter to the church of Smyrna is appropriate for this time as well; this church was also undergoing great suffering, but they were told to be faithful to the point of death, and Christ would give them the crown of life, Revelation 2:8-11. Such was the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who lived through their trial, Daniel 3:16-23.

The beast from the earth, the false prophet     Chapter Outline     Top

In Revelation 13:11-17, John now observes a second beast coming out of the earth, 2Thessalonians 2:9. Unlike the first beast, this one has less capability and comes out of the earth, which may indicate that he is from the line of Israel. The reasoning for this is that God promised Israel land in Canaan.  Israel is the only nation to ever have received an everlasting covenant for land from Him. As shown above, the Antichrist came from the sea, or the peoples surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, and who is from the prince that destroyed Jerusalem after Christ’s crucifixion, Daniel 9:26-27. Unlike the Antichrist, this beast only has two horns like a lamb, but he will speak like a dragon, again mimicking the one he serves. He will have all the authority of the Antichrist, but he was subordinate to him. This beast is known as the false prophet, and he will make the earth and its inhabitants worship the Antichrist whose fatal wound was healed. This beast, the false prophet, completes the unholy trinity as shown in the following graphic.

The following graphic illustrates the three trinities.  The top is the Holy Trinity that is made up of the Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit, John 16:7-15.  As recorded in Genesis 1:26-28, God created man in His image.  This is what separates us from the rest of God's creation, in that not only are we made with a body, soul and spirit, but we are the only created being that the Lord tabernacled with, John 1:10-14, and died for our sins, John 3:11-21.  The unholy trinity is exposed in Revelation 12 and Revelation 13.  This unholy trinity is based on Satan, who is a murder, and the father of lies, John 8:44.  Satan is the one who tried to make himself like the Most High God, Isaiah 14:12-17.

The following table is provided again from above, with the additional column for the false prophet. This provides a means to compare the characteristics of all three entities that make up the unholy trinity.

Characteristics of the dragon and the beast

Dragon (Satan) Revelation 12

Beast from the sea (Antichrist)
Revelation 13

Beast from the earth
(false prophet)
Revelation 13

Origin

Ancient serpent

Called from the sea by the Dragon

Came out of the earth

Number of heads

7

7

1

Number of horns

10

10

2

Number of crowns

7

10

 

Special note

Took one third of the angels with him

Blasphemous name on each head

Two horns like a lamb, but spoke like a dragon

John now reports that the false prophet is given power over the world’s practices of worship and commerce. He is able to perform great miraculous signs. He called down fire like Elijah, 2Kings 1:9-15, and as the two witnesses did, Revelation 11:5. God warned Israel of the false prophet back in the days of Moses, Deuteronomy 13:1-5, and how to distinguish the false from the true.  Whether their signs or miracles come to pass, if they say to follow other gods, people are not to follow them.  They are to evaluate what they say against the Word of God.  This is similar to the account of the Bereans who measured the words of Paul against the scriptures to ensure it was true, Acts 17:11-12.

The Antichrist gives the false prophet power. With this power, the false prophet will deceive the inhabitants of earth. He ordered that the world erect an image of the Antichrist in his honor, 2Thessalonians 2:2-4, 1John 4:1-4, Daniel 3:1-6. It is expected that not only will an image of the Antichrist be erected in a wing in the tribulation temple in Jerusalem, but many other images will be erected around the world to control of the world's population during the last half of the tribulation. These will not be just dumb lifeless figures, but the false prophet will create capabilities that the image(s) will manifest to add realism to a robotic object. They will breath, speak and issue death sentences to those who refused to worship the beast (Antichrist). The false prophet will also institute the mark of the beast on the right hand or forehead of every person on the earth for the purpose to either buy or sell. This will lead to the starvation of many tribulation saints who do not accept the mark of the beast nor worship neither him nor his idol.

This is the time foretold by the prophets and the Lord concerning this very time at the mid-tribulation concerning the abomination of desolation.

  • Moses referred to this time just before they first entered into the promised land of Canaan, Deuteronomy 4:25-31
  • This is the time that Daniel warned of, Daniel 9:27
  • Jesus Christ warned the nation of this time and told them to flee into the wilderness, Matthew 24:15-22
  • This time is portrayed in Revelation 12:6, when the woman flees to a place prepared for her by God
  • Ezekiel wrote about the remnant of Israel and having them pass under the rod, Ezekiel 20:32-38
  • Hosea spoke of the time when God would allure Israel back to Him, Hosea 2:14-23
  • God spoke of giving Israel a new spirit at that time, Ezekiel 36:24-32
  • Only a third of the nation of Israel will be preserved and be refined by the Lord, Zechariah 13:7-9

It is important to understand that the Jews are not relegated to suffer through the tribulation, but all Jews and Gentiles are invited today to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord to be sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus in this age of grace, Galatians 3:26-29. Those who believe that Jesus died was buried, and rose again from the dead, and confess the name of Jesus Christ will be resurrected if dead in Christ, or raptured if yet alive, 1Thessalonians 4:12-18. All others, Jew or Gentile who are not in Christ, will be left behind to go through the tribulation.

The number of the beast     Chapter Outline     Top

As discussed concerning the Anti-Christ, the false prophet will not allow anyone to stand on the fence, you will either worship the beast and take the number, or be faithful to Christ and be killed, Revelation 14:9-13.

Revelation 13:18 is associated with the previous verse, which only the tribulation saints and the others living at that time will fully comprehend. A lot of effort and numerical manipulations of every kind have been used to nail down the identity of the Antichrist, but two things are given:

  • The number is associated with the beast and his control over worship and commerce
  • He is but a man

In summary, the times will be evil in the last half of the tribulation.  Satan will control all aspects of the world’s societies through the Antichrist.  With these two individuals plus the false prophet, the three, the unholy trinity, will control all economies through every social strata, and from the corporate activities to the individual.  Through the tightly bound economy to personal behavior, Satan will attempt to change the times and seasons.  He will encourage evil over all that God declared as righteous.  Systems and sensors will be in place initially to discriminate who has the mark and who does not, slamming the door and actively persecuting those who choose to follow the Lord and His word rather than succumbing to the immediate gratification of the flesh and surrendering their freedom for an onerous and severely taxing system that institutionalizes political correctness over the desires that the Lord has for each of His saints.  Even those who take the mark of the beast to buy and sell will not consider or recognize the horrible evil they will submit themselves to and whether conscientiously or incidentally, they will be worshiping Satan by obeying him and following his ways.  Though they will have the convenience of having doors open for them because they have Satan’s credentials put on their person, and their buying habits and Satan’s dictates on what to consume and the quantity will enable customized shopping and be able to depart the store without coin or paper, they will not see or understand the huge and increasing tax levied on them; the total accounting of the systems tax on every transaction will not be visible.  The persecution of the saints of the Lord will be immediate and visible, but they will enjoy eternal blessings and be in the presence of God for eternity.  Those following Satan and his imposition of his economy will suffer a slow cancer type of consumption while in their physical state, and suffer eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire for eternity for they will have had the mark of the beast, the number of man.


Copyright (c) 2001, 2005, 2008, 2014, J.E. Huntley.  All rights reserved.
last edited August 2014

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