Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Message - The Victory of Jesus

The Victory of Jesus

I would like to talk to you about the victory in Jesus. I'm sure most of us have heard about "victory that Jesus won", or the phrase "victory in Jesus", or "there's victory in the cross", and this is great, but before I came to understand what this was all about I used to wonder what the big deal was, why should I be all happy about some victory that Jesus won, and why my Christian friends were always telling me about it.  And how in the world could dying on a cross be considered a victory, it just didn't make sense to me.

Well, eventually, I was saved, some of you here heard my testimony about how God rescued me at a time in my life when I called out to Him for help when I reached the bottom.  That was the moment that Jesus entered my heart and began to bring me back to health, and at that time, I started developing an interest in the things my friends were telling me about, Jesus, the cross, victories and such.  As time went on and I learned more and more, the concept of this victory that Christ won became clearer to me, and I discovered that there is indeed a link between what Jesus did on the cross, why it was a victory, and what it has to do with me.

What Were We Told The Victory Would Be?

Well, to uncover just what this victory is, we can start by looking back in the Old Testament. Now the interesting thing about the Old Testament is it was written hundreds of years before Jesus was around, let alone that he won any victory. This is prophecy, and prophecy is given to us that seeing it come to pass, we might believe.

·         The book of Isaiah was written around 700 years before Jesus was born. These scriptures foretell the death of Jesus, and the victories He won through it.

Isa 53:10-12  The LORD decided his servant would suffer as a sacrifice to take away the sin and guilt of others. Now the servant will live to see his own descendants. He did everything the LORD had planned.  (11)  By suffering, the servant will learn the true meaning of obeying the LORD. Although he is innocent, he will take the punishment for the sins of others, so that many of them will no longer be guilty.  (12)  The LORD will reward him with honor and power for sacrificing his life. Others thought he was a sinner, but he suffered for our sins and asked God to forgive us.

Isn't that amazing, that is clearly speaking about the Lord Jesus, and was written long before He came to earth, clearly, there was a plan in place here from the foundation of the world to bring the victory of Jesus to mankind.

·         Again, in Isaiah 61, the pre-incarnate Christ tells us about this forthcoming victory that will be His.

Isa 61:1  The Spirit of the LORD God has taken control of me! The LORD has chosen and sent me to tell the oppressed the good news, to heal the brokenhearted, and to announce freedom for prisoners and captives.

And then when Jesus arrived here on earth, He confirmed this in Luke 4:16-18 where he quotes from Isaiah 61.  He was returning to Nazareth from a time of teaching around Galilee and other places.

Luke 4:16-18  Jesus went back to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and as usual he went to the meeting place on the Sabbath. When he stood up to read from the Scriptures,  (17)  he was given the book of Isaiah the prophet. He opened it and read,  (18)  "The Lord's Spirit has come to me, because he has chosen me to tell the good news to the poor. The Lord has sent me to announce freedom for prisoners, to give sight to the blind, to free everyone who suffers,

·         Not only do we hear this in Isaiah, but 1000 years before Christ came to earth, the David wrote in the Psalms of this victory which was forthcoming.

Psa 98:1  A Psalm. O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.

·         500 years before Jesus' arrival, in 1st Chronicles, we hear From David:

1 Chron 29:11  Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.

There are many more Old Testament writings that foretell the arrival and victory that Jesus would win when he came, in fact, there are more than 300 prophecies that tell us that Jesus is coming, and Jesus fulfilled every one of them.

What Did Jesus Say The Victory Would Be?

·         At the time Jesus walked the earth with His disciples, He also told them about this victory that would come through the cross.

Mat 20:17-19  As Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, he took his twelve disciples aside and told them in private:  (18)  We are now on our way to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses. They will sentence him to death,  (19)  and then they will hand him over to foreigners who will make fun of him. They will beat him and nail him to a cross. But on the third day he will rise from death.

Mat 26:1-2  When Jesus had finished teaching, he told his disciples, "You know that two days from now will be Passover. That is when the Son of Man will be handed over to his enemies and nailed to a cross.

·         The Passover was a remembrance of God's protection upon the Israelites in Egypt when God brought judgment against the Egyptians for worshipping false gods. The sprinkling of blood over the doorposts and it's intervening safety is a foreshadow of the protection and salvation that Jesus will victoriously bring to those who believe on Him and the work He did on the cross, and this is what Jesus was pointing out.

Here is the story:

Exo 12:3-7  Tell the people of Israel that on the tenth day of this month the head of each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for his family to eat.  (4)  If any family is too small to eat the whole animal, they must share it with their next-door neighbors. Choose either a sheep or a goat, but it must be a one-year-old male that has nothing wrong with it. And it must be large enough for everyone to have some of the meat.  (5)  (SEE 12:4)  (6)  Each family must take care of its animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, when the animals are to be killed.  (7)  Some of the blood must be put on the two doorposts and above the door of each house where the animals are to be eaten.

Exo 12:12-14  That same night I will pass through Egypt and kill the first-born son in every family and the first-born male of all animals. I am the LORD, and I will punish the gods of Egypt.  (13)  The blood on the houses will show me where you live, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. Then you won't be bothered by the terrible disasters I will bring on Egypt.  (14)  Remember this day and celebrate it each year as a festival in my honor.

This is a stunning, acted out picture on the part of the Israelites that is an image of what Jesus will do in the future for all of mankind. Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God, and His blood was shed for us, saving us from eternal death. This is one of the reasons that churches have communion where we partake of the wine and bread together, the wine helps us remember the blood that Jesus the Lamb shed to save us from death, and the bread helps us remember that victory which he accomplished by coming to earth as a man.

·         Jesus was replying to questions from people that were gathered around him when he said this:

John 6:38-40  I didn't come from heaven to do what I want! I came to do what the Father wants me to do. He sent me,  (39)  and he wants to make certain that none of the ones he has given me will be lost. Instead, he wants me to raise them to life on the last day.  (40)  My Father wants everyone who sees the Son to have faith in him and to have eternal life. Then I will raise them to life on the last day.

·         And speaking to His disciples in the upper room just before his death, He said the following:

John 17:1-5  After Jesus had finished speaking to his disciples, he looked up toward heaven and prayed: Father, the time has come for you to bring glory to your Son, in order that he may bring glory to you.  (2)  And you gave him power over all people, so that he would give eternal life to everyone you give him.  (3)  Eternal life is to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, the one you sent.  (4)  I have brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you gave me to do.  (5)  Now, Father, give me back the glory that I had with you before the world was created.

·         After Jesus' death, and subsequent resurrection back to heaven, His followers confirmed this victory.

Peter is speaking here to a group that has gathered and has just witnessed the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost:

Act 2:23-24  Now, listen to what I have to say about Jesus from Nazareth. God proved that he sent Jesus to you by having him work miracles, wonders, and signs. All of you know this.  God had already planned and decided that Jesus would be handed over to you. So you took him and had evil men put him to death on a cross.  (24)  But God set him free from death and raised him to life. Death could not hold him in its power.

      Peter continues telling the crowd:

Act 2:32-33  All of us can tell you that God has raised Jesus to life!  (33) Jesus was taken up to sit at the right side of God, and he was given the Holy Spirit, just as the Father had promised. Jesus is also the one who has given the Spirit to us, and that is what you are now seeing and hearing.

Peter and John had been arrested for teaching people that the dead would be raised to life just like Jesus was, and here, they are told to defend themselves:

Act 4:7-12  They brought in Peter and John and made them stand in the middle while they questioned them. They asked, "By what power and in whose name have you done this?"  (8)  Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and told the nation's leaders and the elders:  (9)  You are questioning us today about a kind deed in which a crippled man was healed.  (10)  But there is something we must tell you and everyone else in Israel. This man is standing here completely well because of the power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth. You put Jesus to death on a cross, but God raised him to life.  (11)  He is the stone that you builders thought was worthless, and now he is the most important stone of all.  (12)  Only Jesus has the power to save! His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone.

      And in various letters that the apostles wrote, they also wrote about these victories:

Rom 6:23  Sin pays off with death. But God's gift is eternal life given by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Heb 12:2  We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. He endured the shame of being nailed to a cross, because he knew that later on he would be glad he did. Now he is seated at the right side of God's throne!

1 Peter 2:24  Christ carried the burden of our sins. He was nailed to the cross, so that we would stop sinning and start living right. By his cuts and bruises you are healed.

Philippians 2:8-9  Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross. (9)  Then God gave Christ the highest place and honored his name above all others.

Col 1:20-22  And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God.  (21)  You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things.  (22)  But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent.

Col 2:13-15  You were dead, because you were sinful and were not God's people. But God let Christ make you alive, when he forgave all our sins.  (14)  God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law of Moses. He took them away and nailed them to the cross.  (15)  There Christ defeated all powers and forces. He let the whole world see them being led away as prisoners when he celebrated his victory.

Let's Review What the Victory Is!

·         No one God gave to Jesus would be lost.
·         He won the right to raise those who believe in him to life on the last day.
·         He successfully completed God's plan for the salvation of mankind.
·         He took away the guilt of sin from others, so that many would no longer be guilty.
·         He was the Passover lamb, bringing eternal life to all who will receive it by His shed blood.
·         He received honor and power.
·         He brought healing to the broken hearted.
·         He brought freedom to the prisoners and captives, and to those who suffer.
·         He brought sight to the blind.
·         He defeated death, bringing man hope and joy!
·         He was given a seat at the right hand of God.
·         He was given the power to save.
·         His name alone became the name that can bring salvation to mankind.
·         He healed us by His cuts and bruises.
·         He enabled all of mankind to stop sinning and start living right.
·         He received the highest place, and His name was honored above all others.
·         He pleased God.
·         He brought all beings in heaven and earth back to God.
·         He brought peace between God and man.
·         He enabled us to stand in God's presence holy, faultless and innocent.
·         He defeated all powers and forces, and led them away as prisoners.

Why do we Need Jesus' Victory?

Well this is stunning!  Do you see that His victory was not for Himself, but for us?  How is it that the God of the universe would care so much about us that He would make the victory of Jesus all about us?  Surely we don't deserve this, but He has provided it. But why do we need this particular victory, why do we need to be brought back to God, to have peace made anew with Him?

God knew before he created the heavens and the earth that we would need Jesus and the victories He would provide. We saw that in the prophecies we looked at earlier. So when did our separation from God actually start.  It started in the Garden of Eden, at the inception of the human race.

Gen 2:15-17  The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it.  (16)  But the LORD told him, "You may eat fruit from any tree in the garden,  (17)  except the one that has the power to let you know the difference between right and wrong. If you eat any fruit from that tree, you will die before the day is over!"

Gen 3:1-7  The snake was sneakier than any of the other wild animals that the LORD God had made. One day it came to the woman and asked, "Did God tell you not to eat fruit from any tree in the garden?"  (2)  The woman answered, "God said we could eat fruit from any tree in the garden,  (3)  except the one in the middle. He told us not to eat fruit from that tree or even to touch it. If we do, we will die."  (4)  "No, you won't!" the snake replied.  (5)  "God understands what will happen on the day you eat fruit from that tree. You will see what you have done, and you will know the difference between right and wrong, just as God does."  (6)  The woman stared at the fruit. It looked beautiful and tasty. She wanted the wisdom that it would give her, and she ate some of the fruit. Her husband was there with her, so she gave some to him, and he ate it too.  (7)  Right away they saw what they had done, and they realized they were naked. Then they sewed fig leaves together to make something to cover themselves.

The results were devastating.  The intent of Satan here was to separate man from God, by causing them to disobey God. Satan tried to convince the first humans that they did not need God. How crazy was this?? God had created them from the dust of the earth, and now Satan caused them to think they could be just like God, which is always Satan's lie.  In doing so, Satan brought death into existance.

Gen 3:14-17  So the LORD God said to the snake: "Because of what you have done, you will be the only animal to suffer this curse-- For as long as you live, you will crawl on your stomach and eat dirt.  (15)  You and this woman will hate each other; your descendants and hers will always be enemies. One of hers will strike you on the head, and you will strike him on the heel."  (16)  Then the LORD said to the woman, "You will suffer terribly when you give birth. But you will still desire your husband, and he will rule over you."  (17)  The LORD said to the man, "You listened to your wife and ate fruit from that tree. And so, the ground will be under a curse because of what you did. As long as you live, you will have to struggle to grow enough food.

By listening to Satan, instead of God, mankind separated himself from God. I don't think the tree of life was something God put there so that He could dish out punishment to humans when they disobeyed. It is more like telling a child not to walk off a cliff. The child has a choice, and the parent, knowing what the consequences are, tells the child not to do it for their own good. But if the child rebels, and does it anyway, death is the result, and the parent would be very sad about it. God was sad about death entering the human race.

What Does Jesus Victory Mean to Me Now?

Psa 40:1-5  (A psalm by David for the music leader.) I patiently waited, LORD, for you to hear my prayer. You listened  (2)  and pulled me from a lonely pit full of mud and mire. You let me stand on a rock with my feet firm,  (3)  and you gave me a new song, a song of praise to you. Many will see this, and they will honor and trust you, the LORD God.  (4)  You bless all of those who trust you, LORD, and refuse to worship idols or follow false gods.  (5)  You, LORD God, have done many wonderful things, and you have planned marvelous things for us. No one is like you! I would never be able to tell all you have done.

Act 13:38-39  My friends, the message is that Jesus can forgive your sins! The Law of Moses could not set you free from all your sins.  (39)  But everyone who has faith in Jesus is set free.

Rom 6:9-11  We know that death no longer has any power over Christ. He died and was raised to life, never again to die.  (10)  When Christ died, he died for sin once and for all. But now he is alive, and he lives only for God.  (11)  In the same way, you must think of yourselves as dead to the power of sin. But Christ Jesus has given life to you, and you live for God.

1 John 5:4-5  Every child of God can defeat the world, and our faith is what gives us this victory.  (5)  No one can defeat the world without having faith in Jesus as the Son of God.

1 John 5:11-12  God has also said that he gave us eternal life and that this life comes to us from his Son.  (12)  And so, if we have God's Son, we have this life. But if we don't have the Son, we don't have this life.

John 4:14  But no one who drinks the water I give will ever be thirsty again. The water I give is like a flowing fountain that gives eternal life."

Rom 5:21  Sin ruled by means of death. But God's kindness now rules, and God has accepted us because of Jesus Christ our Lord. This means that we will have eternal life.

What Does Jesus Victory Mean to Me In The Future?

1 Cor 15:54-57  The bodies we now have are weak and can die. But they will be changed into bodies that are eternal. Then the Scriptures will come true, "Death has lost the battle!  (55)  Where is its victory? Where is its sting?"  (56)  Sin is what gives death its sting, and the Law is the power behind sin.  (57)  But thank God for letting our Lord Jesus Christ give us the victory!

John 3:13-16  No one has gone up to heaven except the Son of Man, who came down from there.  (14)  And the Son of Man must be lifted up, just as that metal snake was lifted up by Moses in the desert.  (15)  Then everyone who has faith in the Son of Man will have eternal life.  (16)  God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.

The Call

So the question before you tonight is, what are you going to do with this?

1 Cor 1:17-18  Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to tell the good news without using big words that would make the cross of Christ lose its power.  (18)  The message about the cross doesn't make any sense to lost people. But for those of us who are being saved, it is God's power at work.

Gal 6:7-8  You cannot fool God, so don't make a fool of yourself! You will harvest what you plant.  (8)  If you follow your selfish desires, you will harvest destruction, but if you follow the Spirit, you will harvest eternal life.

Tit 3:4-7  God our Savior showed us how good and kind he is.  (5)  He saved us because of his mercy, and not because of any good things that we have done. God washed us by the power of the Holy Spirit. He gave us new birth and a fresh beginning.  (6)  God sent Jesus Christ our Savior to give us his Spirit.  (7)  Jesus treated us much better than we deserve. He made us acceptable to God and gave us the hope of eternal life.

1 John 5:11-12  God has also said that he gave us eternal life and that this life comes to us from his Son.  (12)  And so, if we have God's Son, we have this life. But if we don't have the Son, we don't have this life.

John 20:31  But these are written so that you will put your faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. If you have faith in him, you will have true life.

Psa 69:33  The LORD will listen when the homeless cry out, and he will never forget his people in prison.

Psa 72:4  Let the king defend the poor, rescue the homeless, and crush everyone who hurts them.  (5)  Let the king live forever like the sun and the moon.   (7)  Let the king be fair with everyone, and let there be peace until the moon falls from the sky.    (11)  Make other rulers bow down and all nations serve him.  (12)  Do this because the king rescues the homeless when they cry out, and he helps everyone who is poor and in need.  (13)  The king has pity on the weak and the helpless and protects those in need.  (14)  He cares when they hurt, and he saves them from cruel and violent deaths.

Is there anyone here who would like to cry out to the Lord Jesus. Not only does He promise to help those who call out to Him, but the practically inconceivable fact is, He went to the cross and died to bring you back to God. You can call out to God where you are by just raising your hand, and indicating to God that you are ready.

You should follow that up by contacting the Rescue Mission chaplain and telling him what you did tonight.  He will help you find a church where you can get additional information, a Bible if you need one, and meet other believers.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bible Study - Revelation Chapter 13

Revelation Chapter 13

The Beast and the False Prophet

The Beast Out of the Sea

Rev 13:1  And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
Rev 13:2  And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
Rev 13:3  And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
Rev 13:4  And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
Rev 13:5  And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
Rev 13:6  And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
Rev 13:7  And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
Rev 13:8  And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Rev 13:9  If any man have an ear, let him hear.
Rev 13:10  He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

This prophecy is closely related to those of Daniel:  Dan 2:42, Dan 2:44, Dan 7:7-8, Dan 7:20, Dan 8:25, Dan 11:36, and Dan 9:27This is still a parenthetical section, describing one of the key forces, kingdoms, and personages of the tribulation.

His Appearance and Identity  (Rev 13: 1-2)
  • Older manuscripts record Rev 13:1 completing Rev 12:17 as follows:  "And he stood upon the sand of the sea."  In the Greek text, this is actually the 18th verse of Rev 12. 
  • The "sea" represents the gentile world powers, which Satan dominates. It portrays the many people who make up the nations, the number of whom is as the "sand of the sea", Rev 20:8   ·         Isaiah likens the nations to a roaring and restless sea that cannot be quiet and whose waters (humanistic way of life and political agitation) can only churn up refuse and mud.  Isa 17:12-13, Isa 57:20-21, Rev 17:1, Rev 17:15 
  • As he stands, he is looking for two things, and Chapter 13 describes the method he will choose. 
    • The best method with which to persecute Israel.
    •  The best way he can rise to greater power in order to be worshipped.
  •   "saw the beast rise up" - rise, or coming up, is in a descriptive present tense with portrays the development of this man and his system through the political and military maneuvers that gradually bring him to power within the nations of Europe.
  • After the church age, Satan see's his chance to rule men, and be worshipped, as at this point, the restrainer has been removed. 2 Thess 2:3-8  
  • Because men have opened the way because of their disregard for truth, God will send them a strong delusion that they may believe the devils lie  2 Thess 2:9-11 
  • The beast of Rev 13 is Satan's (the dragon's) masterpiece of delusion, leading to the worship of himself.
 At this time, the following conditions exist:
  • The white horse rider who conquers, or gains control by peace tactics, power politics and charisma, has already arrived.  Rev 6:1-2, Dan 8:23-25, 1 Thess 5:11 This brings about a 10 nation confederacy of Europe, who were once part of the old Roman empire  Dan 2:42-44, Dan 7:7-8, Dan 7:20-24 The potential for this exists in the EU / European Union or NATO 
  • The leader of this confederation will make a 7 year covenant with Israel designed to give Israel protection, and solve the Israel / Arab dispute of the coveted land of Palestine  Dan 9:27.  This treaty will have begun the 7 year tribulation. 
  • Three kings of the confederation rebel, but the rising dictator defeats them and emerges as the undeniable leader.  Dan 7:8, Dan 7:20-25. 
  • The king of the north (Eze 38:15) at this point in the middle of the tribulation will attach Israel (Gog / Magog War)  Eze 38:1-9.
  • These armies (king of the north and allies) are destroyed on the mountains of Israel by the direct intervention of God Eze 38:21-23, Eze 39:3.
    • 7 months required to bury the corpses -  Eze 39:11-15.
    • Weapons spoils provide fuel for 7 years -  Eze 39:9-10. 
    • Israel living in real or imagined peace, which may indicate the battle takes place before the middle of the tribulation - Eze 38:11-12. 
    • At the conclusion, Israel will know that the Lord Yahweh is their God.  Eze 39:21-22. 
    • The Gog / Magog battle at the end of the millennium is different in time and characteristic - Rev 20:7-9. 
  • The destruction of the king of the north creates a power vacuum, and as Satan surveys the nations, he sees a way open for world domination through the European dictator.  So now enters the system of the beast.  The white horse rider who won his territory by peace tactics, now becomes the beast under the possession of Satan himself  Rev 13:2 b.
  • Israel is the "land", and the nations are the "sea".  The following supports this:
    • Rev 17:1, Rev 17:15, Dan 7:2-3.  All the nations portrayed here are linked with the waters or the sea. These are all gentile nations. 
    • The visions of Dan 2:1-49, and Dan 7:1-28 represent the times of the gentiles - Luke 21:24. This began in 587 BC with the Babylonian captivity and will continue to the end of the tribulation, Rev 19:1-21
    • Note the four gentile powers in Dan 7:4-25 and Rev 13:2-6.
    • Dan 9:26-27 clearly shows the final world ruler would be a Roman.
  • See also:
  •  The Ten Horns  (Rev 13: 1)
    • Represents the 10 nation confederacy, or kingdoms of the future, born out of the old Roman empire.  Dan 7:7, Dan 7:24, Rev 17:12.  
    • After the fall of the old Roman empire, Rome was divided into many separate kingdoms which make up today's European nations.  In the end times, at least 10 of these will confederate together into one, a revived Roman empire.
  • The Seven Heads  (Rev 13: 1)
  •  Rev 17:9-10 explains this for us. 
    • 7 mountains and 7 kings. 
  • One view is that this speaks of the 7 hill city of Rome, then to 7 dynastys or rulers of the old Roman empire, as kings, etc. under whom great persecution of the church occurred.
  • 10 horns is a look forward, 7 heads is a look backwards. 
  • Mountains are routinely used in scripture as an image of a kingdom  Psa 30:7, Isa 2:3, Dan 2:35, Dan 2:45, Jer 51:5. 
  • Chapter 17 deals with the harlot system of Babylon, which goes all the way back to the time of Nimrod, and all these gentile world powers have been her lovers and supporters, not Rome along.  It is possible that the 7 mountains refer to 7 successive Gentile kingdoms which go way back, far beyond Rome. 
  • Rev 17:10-11 - 7 world empires up to the time of Rome, which also were connected with the nation of Israel and her enslavements:
    • Fallen - Egypt - cause of Israel's enslavement before entry into the land.
    • Fallen - Assyria - took the northern kingdom of Israel into captivity in 722 BC. 
    • Fallen - Babylon (or Chaldea) - Where Daniel's prophecies begin.  Captivity of the southern kingdom of Israel. 
    • Fallen - Medo-Persia - Kingdom under which a remnant of Israel were allowed to return to the land to rebuild the city and the temple. (Esra and Nehemiah)
    • Fallen - Greece - Kingdom of Alexander and his successors who likewise ruled over the land of Palestine. 
    • Is (in John's day) - Rome - The Roman empire of the New Testament times.  During this time, Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews dispersed world wide. 
    • Is not yet come - Revived Rome - the 10 horns, 10 nation confederacy under the leadership of the white horse in the first half of tribulation.
  • Compare these two: 
    • Rev 17:8 - Beast which you saw (past history, old Rome), and is not (does not presently exist, would soon pass from John's standpoint, fall of Rome), comes from bottomless pit  = revived Roman empire.
    • Rev 17:11 - The Roman empire represented by it's king becomes an eighth kingdom, while one of the seven, specifically the 7th. This refers to revived Roman empire under the rule of the beast.
  • The Ten Diadems  (Rev 13: 1) 
    • This refers to a form of self government or control of the 10 horns. Out of the sea of nations from the old Roman Empire, 10 independent nations will have their own kings, who in turn are under the leadership of the beast.  In the middle of the tribulation, they give their power and authority to the beast, Rev 17:12-13.
  • The Names of Blasphemy  (Rev 13: 1)
    • On the 7 heads, we see the blasphemous character of these historic and coming gentile powers.  One of the key characteristics of the future system and especially it's leader is opposition to God and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Opposition to God is done:
    • By claiming that he is God 
    • By trying to usurp the place of God  2 Thess 2:4, Dan 7:8. 
    • By slandering the true God  Rev 13:6, Dan 11:36-37, Dan 7:25.
  • The The Leopard, Bear and Lion  (Rev 13: 2a)
    • The following is Theodore Epp's commentary on the composite nature of the beast: 
      • This verse gives a further description of the coming wicked kingdom and its ruler during the Tribulation. The description of this beast is a composite of the characteristics of the other beasts mentioned in Dan 7:1-28. There the first three kingdoms are characterized by a lion (Dan 7:4), a bear (Dan 7:5), and a leopard (Dan 7:6). These animals represented the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece. The characteristics of these kingdoms are combined in the last kingdom which will be the ten-kingdom Roman Empire. The Roman Empire in Daniel 7 was seen as indescribable because it was “diverse from all the beasts that were before it” (Dan 7:7).

        This empire, as seen in Revelation 13, will have all the brilliance, culture and swiftness of a leopard—a reference to the previous Grecian Empire. It will also have the tremendous strength, tenacity of purpose, and brutality of a bear—a reference to the Medo-Persian Empire. Then too it will have the autocratic and majestic power of a lion—a reference to the Babylonian Empire.

        Theodore H. Epp, Practical Studies in Revelation, Vol. II, Back to the Bible Broadcast, Lincoln, NE, p. 203.
His Affliction  (Rev 13: 3a)
  • Rev 13:3 a says, "And I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain....and it was healed."  The heads of Rev 17:9-10 refer to 7 mountains, or seven successive world governments. Now we are looking forward to the revived Roman Empire of the first half of the tribulation, and the 10 nation confederation, we have the following questions to consider.
  • Question 1: To which on of the seven heads does this refer to? 
    • Rev 17:8-11 indicates that this is the seventh head, the last kingdom of the revived Roman Empire. This head "was" (old Roman Empire), and "is not" (The fallen Roman Empire in it's fragmented condition, and "is about to come" (the revived Roman empire of the first half of the tribulation.  The words "was", "is not", and "is about to come" are equivalent to the fatal wound that was healed.
  • Question 2: Does this refer to the empire or to the king or both? 
    • Some believe that the head wound is referring to a resurrected person from the past, like Judas, Nero, Hitler, and so on. Some have even considered John F. Kennedy, due to his head wound.  Others think that a world empire will arise that represents the revival of Rome.
    • Rev 13:5-6 - indicates that the beast is a person. In Rev 13:14 we see that an image is made of the beast, who was wounded by the sword. In Rev 13:18 we see that the number of the beast is the number of man.  In Rev 17:8, Rev 17:11, and Rev 19-20 with 2 Thess 2:3 we see the beast's final doom is to go to destruction.
    • So it is possible that Satan will pull of an apparent death and resurrection of the man of lawlessness to correspond with the restoration of the imperial form of the Roman empire.
  • Question 3: Will this be a literal and real resurrections of some historic figure either of the past like Judas or Hitler or of some future figure? 
    • No. Several reasons why this will be an apparently miraculous, but counterfeit of Christ's death and resurrection. It will not be a resurrection of someone who has died, decayed, and who will be resurrected to life by Satan: 
      •  The translations indicate that there was an apparent death, or a near death, but did not really die. 
      • The greek word for slain is sfazw, to slay, slaughter. It is a sacrificial term used of the animals of sacrifice. This could indicate that the deadly wound is designed to imitate the slaying of Jesus.
      • It is likely this will be some kind of deception. 2 Thess 2:9, Rev 12:9, Rev 13:14-15.
His Acclaim and Worship  (Rev 13: 3b-4)
  •  He will have to be a persuasive speaker, able to motivate the masses to his political ideology.  Dan 8:23 anticipates this.  Dan 8:23-25 expands it.
  • The whole world is in view, all will be deceived by current day means, TV, internet, etc. 
  • The people will be amazed, they will marvel and wonder.   2 Thess 2:10-11 
  • They will all follow after him, behind or after him. 
  • People will acknowledge his uniqueness (who is like the beast)
  • People will acknowledge his power (who is able to make war with him) 
  • Demonism will be rampant and openly visible.
His Aggression and Activity  (Rev 13:5-7)
  • One of the purposes for the tribulation is to show the character of Satan and his Kingdom. Here we see it.
    • His Blasphemy  (The Religions Side)  
      • Anti-religious, anti-God, against God and God's people, against God's name.
      • Mocking God's holy character and essence.  
      • Speaks against God's dwelling place and those who are there. 
      • Blasphemies aimed at promoting the worship of the beast.
    •  His Warfare  (The Political Side) 
      • Persecution of believers and Israel. 
      • The rule of the beast will end in slavery to Satan and to the flesh. Men will think they have freedom, but have no mind of their own, being dominated by the beast and their flesh.  Rev 13:7 b.
His Authority  (Rev 13: 2b, 6b, 7b, 10)
  • The Source of his Authority  (Rev 13:2b) 
    • The source of the beast's power is Satan, demonic and supernatural. He will be literally possessed by Satan. 
    • Power far beyond normal abilities, and far beyond anything the world knows today. 
    • He will honor the "god of fortresses", Dan 11:38, military power and conquests.
    • Ultimately, it is God Himself that is in control, as he uses Satan and the beast to bring judgment to the world.  Isa 10:5-13,  
    • Another example - Habakkuk's question - Hab 1:2-4, answer - Hab 1:5-11.  Another Question - Hab 1:12-17 to Hab 2:1, answer - Hab 2:2-20.
    • Satan is allowed to give the beast three things:
      • Power - miraculous powers - 2 Thess 2:9-12, Heb 2:4, Act 2:22, Act 6:8, Rev 13:3-4.
      • His throne - position as king of emperor of the revived Roman empire. 
      • Great authority - extension of rule beyond the 10 nation confederacy, over every tribe and people and tongue and nation.  Rev 13:7.
  •  The Time of his Authority  (Rev 13:5b)
    • The beast will be given authority  to act for 42 months.  The middle of the tribulation to the return of Jesus.
  • The Extent of his Authority  (Rev 13:7b-8)
    • All people, who's name is not written in the Lamb's book of life.  True believers who do not worship the beast or take his mark here are excluded. 
    • The tribulation saints, though many will die, will overcome the beast.
  • The End of his Authority  (Rev 13:9-10)
    • Note the differing interpretations of Rev 13:10: 
      • KJV - "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. 
      • NIV - "If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed.
      • CEV - "If you are doomed to be captured, you will be captured. If you are doomed to be killed by a sword, you will be killed by a sword. This means that God's people must learn to endure and be faithful!" 
    • Johnson writes: 
      • Combining this with the last phrase, the latter part of the verse yields either a warning directed toward Christians for them not to turn to violence and killing to vindicate themselves or a promise of requital to believers that their persecutors will be judged by God.

        If, on the other hand, we follow the reading of ... NIV … This yields the sense that Christians who are destined by God for death must submit to his will and not resist the oppressor. It is an appeal to loyalty.

        Alan Johnson, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 12, Frank E. Gaebelein, General Editor, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1981, p. 536.
      • Rev 13:9 indicates a serious call to attention. This call is to anyone who will hear it. Note that the church is excluded, indicating it has already been raptured at this point. 
      • Rev 13:10 - is about retribution. These are words of comfort to the believers going through this time, the captor will be taken captive, and the killer will be killed.  It is also a warning against anyone taking matters in to their own hands to oppose this Satanic system by force. This is Satan's hour, but it will be short lived, and God's people will triumph in the end.  Knowing this and resting in it will give endurance, the patience and faith of the saints.

The Beast Out of the Earth

Rev 13:11  And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
Rev 13:12  And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
Rev 13:13  And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
Rev 13:14  And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
Rev 13:15  And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
Rev 13:16  And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
Rev 13:17  And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
  •  A second beast appears, out of the earth. 
  • This completes the trinity of evil, Satan, the beast from the sea, and the beast from the earth.
  • The beast from the earth operates under the authority of the beast from the sea, and is totally committed not to himself, but to the first beast.
  • This beast from the earth is also called the false prophet in Rev 16:13, Rev 19:20, Rev 20:10.
 His Description  (Rev 13:11)
  • The term "coming up" portrays a gradual but continual ascendancy as a world figure and leader.
  • "out of the earth" distinguishes him from "out of the sea".  They are similar, but divers in origin. 
  • The sea represents the sea of humanity, so "the earth, land, ground, region, or country" may symbolize the nation Israel, who is consistently related to the land in scripture.
Is he a Jew?
  • Some think this beast will be a Jew, a false prophet among Jews who seeks to persuade men to follow the beast. He performs signs which are similar to Elijah's Rev 13:12-13. 
  • He also has two horns, like a lamb, the sacrificial animal of the Jews.
  • It seems unlikely Satan or the first beast would allow a Jew to live, much less occupy such an important position of power and authority. 
  • It is more likely he is simply an important religous figure representing a rising religious and ecclesiastical movement which will be used to promote the beast. Rev 17:7, Rev 17:15-16.
  •   "and he had two horns",  the horns are symbolic of great power, but not to the degree of the beast, which has 10 horns.
  • "like a lamb", the lamb is a religious symbol of sacrifice, with a mild, lamb like manner, but a wolf in sheep's clothing. 
  • "and he spoke like a dragon", connects him in character with the dragon, Satan. He gets his power from Satan, and his mild religious appearance is a coverup for his real nature and goals.
  • Lutzer and Devries describe some of the goals of this religous / political order: 
    • an end of nationalism
    • a new credit card system 
    • a world food supply 
    • an emphasis on disarmament and the elimination of nuclear weapons. 
    • all this is done under a banner of love and peace, "universal brotherhood". 
    • goals stated such that only the most obstinate and belligerent could possibly oppose such noble ideas.

      Erwin W. Lutzer and John F. DeVries, Satan’s Evangelistic Strategy for This New Age, Victor Books, Wheaton, IL, 1989, pp. 149-150.
  •  Of course, Christians and Jews will reject this satanic system

His Dominion  (Rev 13:12a)
  • The Greek term, "in his presence", or "before him" in this context means "by the authority of", or "on behalf of".  His authority is delegated authority, exercised on behalf of the beast and his worship.
 His Design and Determination  (Rev 13:12b)
  • “And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast …”,  The design and purpose of this false prophet is to promote the authority and worship of the first beast, just as the Holy Spirit works to bring glory to Jesus. John 16:13-14. 
  • “Whose fatal wound was healed", In the early church, signs and wonders authenticated the message of Jesus Heb 2:4, and the false prophet and the beast imitate this with the deceptive "sign" of the healed wound.
 His Deceptions  (Rev 13:13-15)
  • "and he performs great signs". Performs is a present tense of repeated actions, which indicates he engages in a display of miraculous signs one after the other. 
  • The signs are an imitation of the authenticating signs of Jesus' ministry. 
  • The word great implies large, or great. Meaning significant, prominent, important, outstanding. 
  • These won't be the run of the mill miracles one hears about today with pseudo healers and paranormal events. 
  • In this text, only two of the signs are mentioned: 
    • he makes fire come down from heaven to hear in the presence of men.  A counterfeit of God, in Elijah 1 Ki 18:38, or the two witnesses Rev 11:5.  Also, 2 Ki 1:10-15, Lev 10:1-2. 
    •  "and there was given to him to give breath to the image." The word image "eikwn" is not a mere copy, but in fact, partakes and constitutes the very reality of the thing of which it is a likeness.  This image is designed not only to portray a likeness, but the reality of his rule and worship.  This image is mentioned repeatedly, Rev 13:14-15, Rev 14:9, Rev 14:11, Rev 15:2, Rev 16:2, Rev 19:20, Rev 20:4.
  • The Image
  • The image becomes the center of false worship of the beast, and the focal point of the final state of apostasy and idolatry. 
  • The breath given to the image give the appearance of life, but it isn't real life. Men will think the image lives, another deception.
  • This image will speak, further confirmation of the miraculous nature of the beast's image.
  • It is the image itself that causes the non-worshippers of the beast to be killed, undoubtedly by orders given when it speaks.
 His Demand and Decree (The mark)  (Rev 16:17)
  •  Here we see the separation of believers, those who follow the beast, and those who follow Jesus. 
  • This sounds like the goat and sheep judgment, perhaps another imitation.  Mat 25:31-33. 
  • The word "mark" is the Greek caragma, which means "an impress made by a stamp", or "a scratch or etching". 
  • The mark is a visible identification of a persons slavery to the beast, easily seen on the forehead or right hand.
  • The mark is acquired as a result of the decree to worship the beast, and be branded with the mark.
  • This is designed to make life impossible for those without the mark.  Multitudes of believers will be killed directly because they do not have the mark, and refuse to take it. Some will starve to death since they cannot buy or sell.  Some will survive, however, by living off the land, or because other believers who have food share it with those who do not.  Mat 24:15-25, Mat 25:31-40.
  • Taking the mark of the beast is tantamount to the worship of the beast, blasphemy of God, and rejection of Jesus, Rev 13:8, Rev 17:8, Rev 14:9-12, Rev 15:2, Rev 16:2, Rev 19:20, Rev 20:4.
  • The mark will be the name of the beast, or his number, Rev 13:17 
  • This mark is the means of identifying the beast for who and what he is to the remnant of true believers. 
  • This will not be just a number or identification on a plastic card or chip, it will be on the person himself.
God's Declaration Regarding the Number of the Beast

Rev 13:18  Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

 The Problem of the Number  (Rev 13:18)
  • The views on the meaning of the number 666 are almost as numerous as the number of commentaries written on the book of Revelation.  The speculation is endless. 
  • Some think the number represents one of the Roman emperors, like Nero, Caligula or Titus, or some historical figure like Hitler, Mussolini, or even Napoleon.  (Discussed above under the 10 horns) 
  • Some have thought it stood for the word "Latin", telling us he would be a Roman.
Why all the speculation and the problem?
  • John said "count", which in the Greek means calculate.  See the same usage in Luke 14:28. Also, in Lev 27:23.
  • Students have taken this to refer to the ancient practice of gematria
    • Alan Johnson describes the practice. He says:

      Gematria took many forms and consisted in trying to guess the word from the number or trying to connect one word with another that had the same numerical value. On the walls of Pompeii, there are some graffiti, dated no later than A.D. 79, that illuminate the practice. One reads: “Amerimnus thought upon his lady Harmonia for good. The number of her honorable name is 45 (me [mu epsilon]).” The key to the puzzle seems to be in the word “Harmonia,” which was probably not the girl’s actual name but refers to the nine Muses (the goddesses of song and poetry); and 45 is the sum of all the digits from 1 to 9 (E. M. Blaiklock, The Archaeology of the New Testament, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1970, p. 131). Another runs: “I love her whose number is 545 (fme [phi mu epsilon])” (Deiss LAE, p. 277). In these cases, the number conceals a name, and the mystery is perhaps known for certain only by the two lovers themselves.

      Similarly, the Jews (esp. Hasidim) used Hebrew alphabetical numbers to indicate concealed names and mysterious connections with other words of the same numerical value. For example, the Hebrew word nahas (“serpent”) has the same numerical value of the Hebrew word masiah (“Messiah”) (358). From this it was argued that one of the names of the Messiah was “serpent.” Some suggest that this may relate to Moses’ lifting up the “serpent” in the wilderness (cf. Num. 21; John 3:14).

      Johnson goes on to say:

      Irenaeus (second century) mentions that many names of contemporary persons and entities were being offered in his day as solutions to this number mystery. Yet he cautioned against the practice and believed that the name of the Antichrist was deliberately concealed because he did not exist in John’s day. The name would be secret till the time of his future appearance in the world. Irenaeus expressly refutes the attempt of many to identify the name with any of the Roman emperors. He feels, however, that the gematria approach is John’s intended meaning but warns the church against endless speculations (Contra Haereses 29. 30).

      Alan Johnson, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 12, Frank E. Gaebelein, General Editor, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1981, p. 533.
    •  Walvoord says regarding this:
      A number of other suggestions are made in that the six Roman numerals, that is I, V, X, L, C, D, adds up to 666. J. B. Smith says, “This alludes to the possibility of a Roman being the antichrist.” Smith also adds “All the numerals from 1 to 36 total 666. Beast in the evil sense occurs exactly 36 times (6x6) in Revelation.” Speculation continues ad infinitum using the letter equivalents for numbers in Hebrew, Greek, or Roman numerals. The very variety of the suggestions, however, and the unlikely and unprecedented supposition that someone would rise from the dead to take active part in earthly affairs leaves serious question as to all these imaginative explanations.

      John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, Moody Press, Chicago, 1966, pp. 203-204.
  •  Things to note:
    • Nowhere does John use gematria as a method, but he regularly uses numbers symbolically, especially the number 7.  (7 Spirits of God, churches, seals, trumpets, bowls, 24 elders, 144,000 sealed, 6 stone water pots (John 2:6) 
    • In Rev 15:2, the statement that they had gotten victory over the beast and the number indicates the number is symbolic.
    • 6 indicates the number of man, which falls short (of the number 7, perfection). 
    • Those who have understanding, are those who have spiritual discernment or biblical understanding.
 The Significance and Meaning of the Number  666  (Rev 13:18)
  • The beast claims to be God, but he is only a man. Rev 13:4, 2 Thess 2:4. 
  • The three sixes may elude to the satanic trinity, Satan, the beast, and the false prophet seeking to replace the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which should be very identifiable. 
  • Another proposal is that the number may indicate that the beast is the sum of all apostate power, and concentrate of 6,000 years of unrighteousness, wickedness, deception and false prophecy.  The three sixes look at this wickedness in the past, the present and the future culminated in this end time system of the beast.

References and Credits
  • Revelation 13 Study - Stan Feldsine
  • The basis for this study came from:
  • Credit to: J. Hampton Keathley III
  • Reference Authors:  John F. Walvoord, Charles C. Ryrie, Theodore Epp, David Levy, Gerald Suster, Erwin Lutzer and John DeVries, Alan Johnson, William Newell, Francis Shaeffer