1. Tonight we head into a chapter which is easily one of the most difficult chapters in the entire Bible. Widely divergent opinions are held by many different Bible teachers.
2. Let me say that we are on track and we are safe so long as we interpret the Word of God in a normal, literal way, whether we are studying prophecy, doctrine, history, or any other Bible subject.
3. In our study of Revelation chapter 12, we learned the identities of three of the first five persons John has shown to us. The woman symbolizes the Jewish people. The child is the Lord Jesus Christ. The dragon is Satan.
4. In this portion of Scripture we will learn the identities of the last two great personalities of the Great Tribulation.
5. As we begin, try to imagine yourself in John’s position, as the seer who observes these things unfold your eyes. Imagine the amazement and how astonished he must have been.
(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.
1. This beast is literally a wild beast, which is what the Greek word refers to here. This man is a wild beast, not like the living beings referred to in chapter 4. Notice that this wild beast of a man rises up out of the sea. But what is meant by the phrase “a beast rise up out of the sea”?
2. Several opinions are put forth here that are plausible. Some commentators feel that the sea is representative of turmoil in the world, and that this first beast rises to prominence amidst turmoil, just as Napoleon rose during the French Revolution from a lowborn nobody who was an army corporal, to become emperor of France. Others point out that the seas are often symbols, in Scripture, of the great Gentile masses, and that this beast must, therefore, be a Gentile. Still others feel this refers to the Mediterranean Sea, and that the beast’s origin is from this area.
3. I believe there is some truth in each view. After the Rapture there must, of necessity, be much chaos and disorder in the world. This beast of a man will then come along and rise to prominence in the regions of the Roman Empire and will, with a great display of organizational and diplomatic genius, restore order to that greatly troubled region.
4. The fact of this beast’s tremendous authority and dictatorial rule is seen in John’s description of his 7 heads, 10 horns, and 10 crowns. Heads speak of authority, horns of power, and crowns of imperial rule.
5. Turn and read Daniel 7.1-8 with me, particularly verse 8. This is parallel prophecy that will help you to visualize what will happen at that time:
1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.
2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.
3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.
5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.
6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.
7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.
6. Notice the similarities between Daniel 7.7-8 and Revelation 13.1. Notice, also, the differences. Daniel speaks of empires, while John speaks of a man. The answer to why these passages seem different even though I have described them as parallel prophesies lies in the fact that there is little difference between the empire and the emperor.
7. Was not Nazi Germany an extension of Adolph Hitler’s personality? Was not Italy an extension of Benito Mussolini’s personality? Was not Soviet Russia an extension of Joseph Stalin’s personality? Was not Communist China an extension of Mao Tse Tung’s personality? This is how Daniel could write about the empire and John could write about the beast, and they two are basically writing about the same thing.
8. That this beast of a man is opposed to everything that is of God is seen in the last phrase. “And upon his heads the name of blasphemy.”
(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.
1. This man about whom John writes, who is so much like a beast, is a kind of composite personality. If these symbols are representative of the great Greek, Persian, and Babylonian empires of the ancient past, and all of the dreams and aspirations of those empires, then this man is the sum total of all the hopes and aspirations that unsaved mankind has ever dreamed of accomplishing.
2. This beast will have the military genius of the Greeks, who dashed like a leopard in conquest across the known world under the leadership of Alexander. At the same time, he will have the might of the Medo-Persians, who were able to field a standing army of more than one million men, and stamped and crushed the known world like a giant grizzly bear. Finally, he has the mouth as a lion. That is, he speaks with tremendous authority. His words are law. And all of these aspects of the beast are further heightened by the fact that the beast’s power, his seat, and his authority are backed by the dragon, by Satan.
3. Turn to Matthew 4.8-11 and read with me:
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
4. Satan once offered the world to the Lord Jesus Christ, in return for worship. Christ, of course, refused Satan’s repugnant offer. The Lord of glory would take His kingdom back by force, not by compromise. He was not about to barter with the Devil for what He had created from nothing. But this man in Revelation 13.2 will dicker. This beast of Revelation chapter 13 does accept Satan’s offer, and thus becomes the most powerful mortal in the history of the world.
5. How can this happen? Keep in mind that the world that we now live in is controlled by the Devil. First John 5.19 reads, “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” That is, the whole world is controlled by the wicked one.
6. This is why First John 2.15-16 says what it says about the world: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
7. Do not love this present, evil world. You see, it is contaminated and defiled by the one who controls it, the one who energizes it, the one who fills it with his own moral decay and putrefaction. It is all a matter of personal loyalty, after all. The world is attractive, and enticing, and fun. Who could deny that? But as a matter of personal loyalty to God and His Son, Jesus Christ, we are told to choose. You have to choose. You cannot have it both ways. If you love the world you cannot love God. And if you truly love God you cannot love the world.
8. That this beast of a man becomes as powerful as he will become shows us two things: First, it shows us whose side he is on. Since the whole world lies in wickedness, for him to ascend to the position he will occupy he cannot be on God’s side. Second, for Satan’s hireling to succeed as he will shows us that God will have withdrawn His influence to a great extent, letting the Devil have his own way, not knowing that by getting what his wicked heart craves he will still be fulfilling God’s grand design.
(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.
1. There are several views put forth on this verse. Let me share two with you.
a. If the seven heads of verse 1 represent the seven great world empires that have ruled on this planet, then this deadly wound refers to the destruction of and the reemergence to prominence of the Roman Empire. The world empires were the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian, Roman, and finally, the revived Roman Empire being the seventh. If the Roman Empire is going to be revived to its former glory, there is no doubt that the world would wonder after the beast. Amen?
b. However, if the seven heads represent individuals who head governments....say, if this speaks of 7 Roman emperors, then you begin to talk about Satan bringing people back to life from the dead. This seems too much for me to swallow. Only God has the power to give life in this way. But what if He allowed Satan to bring someone back from the dead?
2. Of the two positions, I tend to believe that the world marvels at this beast’s ability to consolidate the different factions that once made up the old Roman Empire and deliver that false peace that everyone is working so hard to achieve. Any man who can deliver peace and get rid of governmental chaos will have a following.
3. Let me read the very fine comments of John Walvoord on this verse:
John in his vision sees one of the heads of the beast as wounded unto death, and the apparent parallelism is to the slain Lamb, described in 5:6. John further observes that the deadly wound (literally “plague”) is healed and that the entire earth marvels at the beast. Countless views have been offered in the interpretation of this verse, one of the very common ones being to identify the person wounded to death and healed as some historic character. Among the more common suggestions are Nero, Judas Iscariot, and in modern times such personages as Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin. The multiplicity of suggestions seems to be evidence in itself that these explanations are not the meaning of the passage.
The wounding of one of the heads seems instead to be a reference to the fact that the Roman Empire as such seemingly died and is now going to be revived. It is significant that one of the heads is wounded to death but that the beast itself is not said to be dead. It is questionable whether Satan has the power to restore to life one who has died, even though his power is great. Far more probable is the explanation that this is the revived Roman Empire in view. As Alford states, “This seems to represent the Roman pagan Empire, which having long been a head of the beast, was crushed and to all appearance exterminated.” It is questionable, however, whether Alford is right in saying that “the establishment of the Christian Roman Empire” was the stroke which caused the death.
The identification of a head with the government over which he has authority is not a strange situation. The person is often the symbol of the government, and what is said of the government can be said of him. Although verse 3 will continue to be a subject of controversy, the theological reasons for resisting an actual resurrection of a historical character to head the revived Roman Empire are so great as to render it improbable even though such personages as Nero and Judas Iscariot will continue to attract the attention of modern students of the book of Revelation. The beast is both personal and the empire itself; so also is head. The revival of the future empire is considered a miracle and demonstration of the power of Satan.
(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?
1. Notice where it leads. Mankind will end up worshipping the dragon, or Satan, for giving the beast the power to do the things he will do. And mankind will worship Satan by worshipping Satan’s man.....the beast.
2. That which Satan has always craved, the worship and homage that is due only to God, he will finally have from those who worship beast. How do we know Satan has always wanted the worship and adoration that properly only belongs to God? Isaiah 14.12-14:
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
3. So you see, Satan has long been ambitious. It was his ambition that fueled his rebellion. But how to acquire worship from mankind? By imitating God’s tri-unity with an unholy trinity. Satan is the counterfeit god and the beast plays the role of his counterfeit savior. This beast will be the superman the world is waiting for.
4. There will not be a more intelligent, more brilliant, more diplomatic man anywhere in the world. And powerful? Who would dare make war with such a man as this one will be? “He has brought us peace,” they will say. “He’s too powerful to be opposed.” Who’d make war with him? Who do you think will make war with him? Right. The Lord Jesus Christ will make war with him.
(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.
1. Wow! What a talking man this antichrist will be. Speaking great things will be his trademark. And blasphemy, too. I rather think his great things will center on how great the human race is, and how we can do anything we want to do if we just think positive enough, and how government will solve all our problems if we just learn how to be compassionate and feeling, and so on and so forth.
2. I rather think his blasphemies come in when he makes reference to God and to Christ. He will probably talk about worship of God as being an emotional crutch that the unstable and the fearful need for survival. He will probably intimate that religion was dreamed up, and God was thought up, by fearful shepherds as an explanation of lightning and thunder.
3. I am sure that he will put down believers and mock the blood of Christ. But he will only do that for three and one half years. During the first half of the Tribulation he will keep quiet about such things as religion. But once Satan is cast out of heaven, this beast, the antichrist, will become the most venomous blasphemer mankind has ever seen.
4. But he only gets away with it for three and one half years. Why? Because God has him on a string. And God’s string is only three and one half years long. Then the beast’s ravings will be over and Christ will reign.
5. Consider this 42 month time period more closely with me. It is the last half of the seven years of the tribulation.
a. In Jeremiah 30.7, that seven year period is referred to as “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” Turn there and read with me: “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.”
b. This seven year period is also referred to as Daniel’s 70th week, in Daniel 9.24-27:
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
c. Now read Matthew 24.1-31 with me, to see what the Lord Jesus Christ had to say the night before His crucifixion about this period of time:
1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25 Behold, I have told you before.
26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
6. So, this fellow will be the central figure, the center stage actor, during the last 3 ½ years before our Lord’s second coming in power and great glory.
(13.6) And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
1. Verse 6 necessarily occurs during the last three and one half years of the Tribulation. This is because the antichrist will not begin to really show his true nature to the world until Satan is cast out of heaven by Michael the archangel and he begins to vent is rage through this human instrument, called the beast.
2. Consider this word “blasphemies.” The word “blaspheme” refers to abusive speech of any kind, and translates a word, blasjhmew, that literally means “to ridicule or slander.” So you see, anyone can blaspheme, but the beast is brazen enough to blaspheme the living God.
3. Now, common sense would dictate that these blasphemies begin to occur about when the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem is defiled. We will look again at some verses, some from passages read just moments ago.
Daniel 7.25: “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”
Here we have the blasphemy.
Daniel 9.27: “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
This verse talks about the treaty made between the beast and the nation Israel which is to last 7 years, or one week. But when Satan is cast out of heaven, he rages against Israel and his beast, the antichrist, breaks the treaty and desecrates the rebuilt Temple.
Matthew 24.15: “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)”
The beginning of blasphemy is this abomination of desolation, the desecrating of the Temple.
4. Back to Revelation 13.6. Not only does the beast desecrate the Temple, and blaspheme God and His name, he blasphemes them that dwell in heaven. Just who does “them that dwell in heaven” refer to? It can refer to the angels who have just defeated Satan in battle. It can refer to the saints in heaven. Or, it can refer to both.
5. See what he is doing? He is reviling everyone who stands on God’s side. This includes angels, Church Age believers who have been raptured and are in heaven at this time, Old Testament believers who have died and are awaiting their resurrection, and those Tribulation saints who have lost their lives during this period of time.
6. He passionately hates everyone aligned with God. So, where does this fellow get his malevolence and hatred? Understand that he is more intensively opposed to the plan and purpose of God than anyone who has ever lived, because he is Satan’s masterpiece. But he is only quantitatively different than you who are lost, not qualitatively different. That is, any one of you who is lost is of the same essence in his opposition to God as the antichrist, it is just that the antichrist is a more determined and powerful foe of God than most lost people are.
(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.
1. In this verse we see the universal dominion of the beast. Here God allows the beast to make war against His saints on the earth. Who is a saint? Remember, the word “saint” comes from the Greek word for holy, agioV, which basically means set apart or different.
2. Pay attention to the word “power.” There are two words in the Greek New Testament that are typically translated by our English word “power.”
a. One word is dunamiV, and refers to might and strength. This is the word found in Romans 1.16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
b. The other word is exousia, and actually has to do with authority. This is the word found in Matthew 28.18: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
c. The word found here in Revelation 13.7 is the second word, exousia, referring to authority. Thus, it seems the antichrist has been given authority “over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”
d. Where did the beast get this authority? He got it from Satan. Though God will permit what the antichrist will do, it will be Satan, who exercises illegitimate authority as the god of this world, who will grant to antichrist the illegitimate authority to wreak havoc on mankind during the last 3 ½ years of the tribulation.
3. But though this illegitimate authority will be given over all the people of the earth, notice that the beast will make war against those who are spiritually different, those who are spiritually set apart, in an effort to overcome them. All believers, no matter what kindred, nation or tongue they represent, will be sought after by the beast. This amounts to a world wide persecution of folks who are genuinely saved such as has never before been seen.
(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.
1. In this verse we see the universal worship of the beast by the unsaved. All “that dwell upon the earth” shall worship him.
a. Remember two things that will tell you who will worship the beast: #1, those who “dwell upon the earth.” That is our technical phrase for those who are permanent residents of this planet. This world is their home. They are not just passing through, like we are. This describes unbelievers.
b. #2, verse 7 shows us that believers, saints, holy ones, those different from lost mankind, will be persecuted by the beast. The reason for their persecution, in part, is their refusal to worship the beast.
2. But the most conclusive thing that tells us that these beast worshipers are not saved is the fact that their names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life. Those who are not saved will worship antichrist. Every single person.
3. I want to spend some time on the subject of “the Lamb’s Book of Life,” which is mentioned here in Revelation 13.8. I am aware of three opinions that are often voiced on the subject of the “Lamb’s Book of Life.”
a. One opinion is that God has a book in which the name of everyone who is born into this race is written. As long as the person remains alive his name remains in the book. But if he should die without Christ his name will be removed and he will go to Hell. On the other hand, should he ever trust Christ his name is assured of remaining in the book forever.
b. The second view is that there are two books that God has. One is called “the Book of Life” and the other one is called “the Lamb’s Book of Life.” In this view, your name is written in the Book of Life when you are born, and it is removed when you die. But your name is written into the Lamb’s Book of Life only when you repent of your sins and trust Christ to the saving of your soul. When one dies he is received into heaven only if his name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
c. The third view about the Lamb’s Book of Life is simply stated: “A divine journal records the names of all those whom God has chosen to save and who, therefore, are to possess eternal life (13:8; 17:8; 20:12,15; 21.27; 22:19; cf. Dan. 12:1; Luke 10:20). Under no circumstances will He erase those names (see notes on Ex. 32:33; Pss. 69:28; 139:16; Heb. 12:23; Phil 4:3) as city officials often did of undesirable people on their roles.”
4. Which of these views is true? I lean toward the third view. But rather than adopting one view over the others, you should study the Word of God and formulate your own view. That is really the way the child of God should arrive at his personal beliefs and convictions.
5. There are a number of passages, in both the Old and New Testaments, which refer to a book that God either possesses or writes in. Let us examine these one at a time. On the handout the ushers are giving you I have written the passages we will look at. Next to the verse we will write some information about the verse. The left column is the one in which in which you can indicate what you think the book mentioned in the passage refers to.
6. After doing this little exercise I think we can all be agreed on several things:
a. First, it appears as though there are three books, or three kinds of books, that are kept by God; a book that records the names of those who are physically alive (we will call this Book 1), a type of book or ledger that apparently holds information on each individual’s works or activities during this physical lifetime (we will call this Book 2), and the Lamb’s Book of Life, on which all of the names of the righteous are recorded (we will call this Book 3).
b. Second, it appears as though Book 1 and the Book 3 actually hold only people’s names. And it appears that only Book 1 can have a name removed from it at the time of physical death.
c. Third, the passages did not indicate when the names that are recorded in Book 1. But the names entered into Book 3 seem to have been entered from the foundation of the world, according to Revelation 13.8 and 17.8.
d. Finally, we do know that only people whose names are written in Book 3 go to heaven, and that only those who have trusted Christ as their personal Savior have their names written in Book 3.
7. We have learned about a book that is mentioned in Revelation, a book that will play a major role in your personal destinies, a book that God, alone, keeps and controls, a book that you need to be in. Are you in that book? Have you trusted the Savior whose book it is?
A Study of God’s Books
BOOK TYPE PASSAGE COMMENTS
(13.9-10) 9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.
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.
1. If you keep in mind what is stated in verse 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,” then it becomes pretty obvious why Bible believing Christians have always strongly resisted ecumenicalism, and why liberals and others who likewise do not believe the Bible have always been eager to join ministerial alliances and other kinds of interfaith groups. The Word of God predicts a future world religion. Keep this in mind as we consider Revelation 13.9-10.
2. We cannot know for sure whether a future world religion will arise from a uniting of apostate Christian denominations, paving the way for a coming together of so-called Christians with others, such as Buddhists and Hindus and perhaps even Muslims before the rapture. But Sun Yung Moon’s Unification Church is laying the groundwork for such universalism right now. And by the time of the great tribulation a world religion will be realized which will feature the worship of a man chosen and empowered by Satan himself. When that happens, of course, true believers in Jesus Christ will be separated from this world religion and they will then be terribly persecuted.
3. Consider, if you will, verse 9: “If any man have an ear, let him hear.” This phrase, or one very much like it, is found eight times in the gospels, each phrase being uttered by the Lord Jesus Christ. How many times has this phrase been used in the Revelation? Seven times. To each of the churches of Asia, the Lord Jesus Christ wrote, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Why is the warning issued to a wider group than just churches, as in Revelation chapters two and three? It is likely that the broader scope of this challenge is because at this time in the future the time of the church has past, all church age Christians having been raptured more than 3 ½ years before. Since there will be no churches anywhere on earth during the great tribulation this challenge is not addressed to churches. The scope of the message is therefore expanded to anyone who will hear. And what is to be heard is found in verse 10.
4. Though the Greek words are not, for some reason, translated into English by the King James translators, verse ten contains two statements that begin much like verse nine begins, with the Greek word for “if.” Allow me to paraphrase: “If any man is for captivity, into captivity he goes. If any man is to be killed by the sword, he must be killed by the sword.” So, these two verses really comprise three phrases, each a conditional statement that begins with the word “if”:
If any man have an ear, let him hear.
If any man is for captivity, into captivity he goes.
If any man is to be killed by the sword, he must be killed by the sword.
5. What we have here is the law of divine recompense. These are God’s reminders and promises that, not only will He reward deed for deed, but that vengeance is His, as well. Is the antichrist imprisoning God’s children, tribulation saints who read this verse? He will be imprisoned. Does he murder God’s children with the sword, for no other reason than their refusal to receive the mark of the beast? Then he will be killed with the sword that cometh out of the mouth of the King of kings.
6. Let me read from John Walvoord’s fine commentary on this portion of scripture:
Those who persecute the saints and lead them into captivity must in turn suffer the righteous wrath of God. In this ultimate triumph and judgment upon wicked men lie the patience and faith of the saints in their hour of trial. The Scriptures frequently mention this final vindication (Gen. 9:6; Matt. 5:38; 26:52; Rom. 12:19; Gal. 6:7). The same truth which serves as an encouragement to the saints acts as a warning to their persecutors. Their ultimate doom is assured as in this case at the end of their brief period of power (Rev. 13:5; 16:6; 18:2-3, 5-8, 20; 19:20).
7. “Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” “Patience” refers to “the capacity to hold out or bear up in the face of difficulty, patience, endurance, fortitude, steadfastness, perseverance.”
a. James 1.3 tells us that “the trying of your faith worketh patience.” So we see, faith is the prerequisite. Of course, faith is God’s gift, Ephesians 2.8-9, so God gets the glory for anyone’s patience. That faith will be severely tested and tried during the Tribulation. When that happens believers will want to strike out against their oppressors and defend themselves, but the Spirit of God will minister to their needs, reminding them that they are not to respond as do unsaved Christ-rejecters retaliate. They are not to avenge themselves and try to “get even” as our sinful nature is so prone to want to do. Rather, they are to wait for the Great Day when their Lord comes again. He can be trusted to settle accounts. He will get even. He will execute His judgment upon the damned. He will vindicate Himself.
b. Has an unbeliever crossed you today? Perhaps another Christian is doing you wrong. Are you supposed to lash out and seek revenge against him who does you wrong? No. Be confident that the lost man will get his reward. Why so? Because when he persecutes you he persecutes the Lord Jesus. Remember what the Lord Jesus Christ said to Saul of Tarsus, in Acts 9.4, for persecuting Christians? “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Let vengeance be God’s. Romans 12.18-21:
18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
8. What about the Christian who is doing you wrong? He is your Father’s child, too, is he not? Let your Father in heaven chasten and hasten His will to be known. God will deal with him. This does not mean you should not rebuke him when he does wrong. But it also means you should not seek revenge when he sins against you. There is a difference. Amen?
9. Friends, we endure so much less than the Tribulation saints will have to endure. Surely God’s grace, which will surely be sufficient for them, is sufficient for us. Is there any doubt about that? So, if you are down in the dumps and feel like giving up, why don’t you return to the throne of grace in prayer and get another measure of God’s wonderful grace to get you through the low spot in your life, Hebrews 4.16? “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Or, if you don’t feel like praying, consider the Lord Jesus Christ’s experiences, Hebrews 12.1-4:
1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
10. Walvoord again:
Taken as a whole, the first ten verses of Revelation 13 predict a future world government which from God’s point of view will be a continuation of the ancient Roman Empire expanded ultimately to cover not only the area of the ancient empire but the entire world. This government will be empowered by Satan, and its primary objective will be forcing the whole world to worship Satan and his human representative, the world dictator.
The purpose of Satan to take the place of God in this future great tribulation is the motivating power behind Satan’s activities today. Satan’s desire to be like God originally plunged the universe into sin (Isa. 14:14). His program has never changed, and he is seeking today as throughout his career to lure men to obey him instead of God. In the great tribulation this purpose will be transparently clear, and after its manifestation it will be brought into divine judgment.
(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.
1. Look at the word “another.” Remember that there are two entirely different Greek words that are translated by our single English word “another.” One Greek word, alloV, tends to mean another of the same kind, while the other Greek word, eteroV, typically means another of a different kind. Our word “heterosexual,” referring to people who like to marry people who are not like they are, begins with this Greek word eteroV. The word we have here tells us that what we are dealing with is a second beast which is of the same type and nature as the first beast, alloV.
2. Notice that this beast comes up out of the earth. There are two ways in which this symbolism can be understood, since this man could not, literally, come up out of dirt. If the earth is symbolic of the nation of Israel in the land of Palestine, then this second beast is either Jewish or comes from the region of Palestine. But if the word “earth” stands for order, in contrast to the turmoil of the sea, then this man has risen to his high position through promotions up through the ranks of some organization, some complex bureaucracy. Many are of the opinion that the great organization the second beast rises up through is the Roman Catholic Church. A possibility.
3. This second beast does have authority, as his two horns symbolize, and as our next verse tells us, but he likes to be seen as a man of peace and serenity. This is the lamb. But notice that the shabby imitation of meekness is betrayed by his speech. The Bible says that he will speak as a dragon. This does not necessarily mean that he will roar, because the dragon is capable of flattering lies. This just tells us that what the second beast tries to portray is a far sight different than what he actually is. Unfortunately, he will succeed in fooling all but the elect; all but God’s people.
4. To fix the distinction between these two evil men in your mind, consider them both relative to the Lord Jesus Christ. The first beast, the antichrist, is opposed to the Lord Jesus Christ. The second beast, on the other hand, imitates Christ, with his pretense of being a lamb. The first beast will likely be anti-religious, while the second beast will make use of unsaved man’s religious tendencies to accomplish Satan’s wicked ends.
(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.
1. Here we see that the first and second beast work in harmony and unison. There are several things about this union that we should notice as being unusual.
2. It should strike us as unusual that these two wicked men can be united and not bicker and fight amongst each other. When is generally the only time and circumstances in which the wicked can unite in anything? That is right. When opposing God. The Herodians, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Romans were united, in the end, in their opposition to the Lord Jesus Christ. Here, the antichrist and the false prophet (as this second beast is referred to) unite to oppose God. Pride alone usually prevents the wicked from submitting to one another at any other time.
3. Notice that the second beast exercises his power before the first beast, and that he exercises all the power of the first beast. I believe the antichrist will use this one out in the limelight as a means of building up the mystique that will surround him. This aura will make the antichrist seem far more powerful and mysterious than he really is.
4. The goal to be reached? To cause the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first beast. Again the earth dwellers are mentioned. What a sharp contrast John makes between those whose homes are here on earth, whose affections are here on earth, and those whose hearts are fixed upon Jesus Christ, and who want to be with Him.
5. As well, notice that those who pretend to be resistant to such influences, convincing themselves that when the tribulation comes they will be somehow immune to the deceptive practices of the antichrist and the false prophet, will nevertheless be persuaded to worship the beast. How so? The second beast will exercise “all the power of the first beast before him.” The result of this application of supernatural persuasive power will be the worship of the first beast by the entire unsaved population on earth at that time.
6. But it will not be satanic power only that will persuade the lost to worship the beast. Second Thessalonians 2.1-12 shows us that God also plays a part in this supernatural delusion:
1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
7. So you see, it will not only be the result of Satan’s persuasive power that the unconverted will be deceived into worshiping him. It will also be the result of God judging the unconverted by sending them a strong delusion. My friend, it is good to come to Christ now, and not presume that you will be able to later.
8. The reference to the deadly wound of the first beast being healed, probably serving to convince people that he deserves to be worshipped, probably means that the wound referred to back in verse 3 is a real physical wound. So, it may be that the antichrist will be attacked by some crazed assassin, either appearing to murder him or almost killing him. But he recovers in miraculous fashion. Remember when John Hinkley tried to kill President Reagan, and almost succeeded? What an outpouring of concern and adoration that won for President Reagan, and how it silenced his political opponents for a time. Imagine what will happen if something similar happens to the antichrist and he succeeds in pinning the blame on some crazed Christian fundamentalist.
(13.13) And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men
1. There might be a reason why the second beast calls fire down from heaven. Remember the two witnesses of God who are on earth at this time? I rather think that one of those men will likely be Elijah, the prophet of fire from heaven, who called fire down from heaven onto Mount Carmel.
2. Remember Revelation 11.5? “And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.” How else can the second beast, the false prophet, deal with these two witnesses and this fire that protects them, but by duplicating that fiery miracle with some type of counterfeit and by preaching a far different message than they preach?
3. If I remember the situation in Jerusalem just prior to the sacking of the city by the Babylonians, the prophet Jeremiah preached repentance and he preached it loud and hard. The false prophets, on the other hand, talked really nice and spent most of their time predicting a future prosperity, which we remember never came. That same type of contrast will be seen during the tribulation, with most people believing the lies as they usually do.
4. So, when given a choice of whom to follow, unregenerate man will always follow the nice talking, nice-smelling fraud and will hate the man of God. Amen? Has not that been the story of history? It sure has been.
(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.
1. “And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth” Here is our phrase again, “them that dwell on the earth.” Of course they will be deceived. They are the ones whose roots are here, who have all their hopes and aspirations tied up here, who give no thought to eternity, and who have no stake in the hereafter.
2. Turn to Matthew 24.24 and read with me:
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
3. Jesus predicted more than one false prophet. This means there are probably false prophets on the scene today. Why can some see these false prophets and some cannot? I am not positively sure I have all the answers to that question.
4. But this false prophet has brought people full circle. Man starts out by rejecting God. Then he will come to the place where he denies the existence of God as He has revealed Himself. Then he will turn to idolatry. That is the way Paul describes it in Romans chapter 1. And we see the end of the cycle here in Revelation 13.14.
5. A great idol is constructed. An image of the superman is erected, the antichrist. And mankind, those who dwell on the earth, will worship the image of this beast “which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” Folks, if my count is correct, this is the third time mention is made of the antichrist being wounded. This might suggest that the attempt on his life and his astounding recovery plays a very large part in his rise to power and his influence over the people.
6. We recently had a presidential election. One of the candidates tried to make a very big deal about his wounds, so he could translate those life-threatening scratches into electoral votes. It did not work for Jean Françoise Kerry because of our beloved swift boat veterans rallying to tell the truth. But the principle still applies. With the vast throngs of people, being wounded in the line of duty, especially when the wound happens in the public eye and is on the public consciousness, tends to have a dramatic effect. So, I expect the antichrist will experience such things in his dramatic rise to prominence and ultimate control over the unsaved people of this world.
(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.
1. Notice the word “life” here. This is not the usual Greek word for “life” that is used by John. The normal Greek word for life is zwh, from which we get the words “zoo” and “zoological.” This word, however, is the word pneuma, which refers primarily to spirit or breath. I take this to mean that the beast cannot really give life to the image, but he can give that which appears to be life to the image. What I think we have here is an imitation of the life giving power of God.
2. Additionally, the image actually speaks. Not typical of an idol. Perhaps it will be a cleverly designed robot. Whatever it is, people will fall for it to the point that this image demands worship by all, and death to anyone who refuses. Shades of Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar. Thus, the false world religion that came into existence will be suddenly cast aside so people can be required to worship the antichrist’s image.
3. Read Daniel 3.1-6 with me:
1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.
2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
3 Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
4 Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages,
5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:
6 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
4. Now read Daniel 6.1-9 with me:
1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;
2 And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.
3 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.
4 Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.
5 Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.
6 Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.
7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.
8 Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.
9 Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.
5. Why would the antichrist and the false prophet make use of an image and require people to worship the image, with the penalty of death for those who would not? And why did Nebuchadnezzar and then the Persians think it so very important to exercise control over the religious conduct of their population? My friends, it goes all the way back to a man named Nimrod.
6. We first see the tying together of political and religious authority to rule people and to oppose the plan and purpose of God in the career of Nimrod:
a. Genesis 10.6-10 introduces us to the man:
6 And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.
7 And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtecha: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan.
8 And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.
9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.
10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
To be a mighty hunter before the LORD shows that Nimrod was in competition with God. Matthew Henry writes about him:
Nimrod was a mighty hunter against the Lord, so the LXX; that is,
(1.) He set up idolatry, as Jeroboam did, for the confirming of his usurped dominion. That he might set up a new government, he set up a new religion upon the ruin of the primitive constitution of both. Babel was the mother of harlots. Or,
(2.) He carried on his oppression and violence in defiance of God himself, daring Heaven with his impieties, as if he and his huntsmen could out-brave the Almighty, and were a match for the Lord of hosts and all his armies. As if it were a small thing to weary men, he thinks to weary my God also, Isa 7:13.
b. Genesis 11.1-4:
1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.
4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
1) It was God’s plan that after the flood men would spread out and replenish the earth. It was Nimrod’s plan to build an empire. To do that most efficiently he would wield not only political power, but also lure the population into the idolatrous system he had devised to control their passions and to tap into their spiritual inclinations.
2) The tower of Babel was a temple. It was built, not to physically reach heaven (they were smarter than that), but to spiritually reach heaven; or to pretend to.
7. Down through the centuries, despots have always made use of religion to advance their political and military agendas.
a. The Egyptians had their gods. Remember, when God used Moses to deliver the Israelites the plagues visited upon the Egyptians were judgments against the Egyptian’s gods. Thus, their deliverance from the political oppression of Pharaoh was very much a spiritual deliverance, as well.
b. The Assyrians had their gods.
c. The Greeks had their gods.
d. The Romans had their gods. It is remarkable that Julius Caesar was the Pontifus Maximus, the religious leader, as well as the political and military leader of Rome.
e. During World War Two, did you know that Adolf Hitler made not so subtle appeals to the pantheon of ancient Germanic gods, and that allusions to Valhalla were frequently before the people?
f. The communists came out against all religion, but Lenin was more practical than Marx (after all, Marx was only a Satan-worshiping theoretician), and he saw the need to transform Soviet communism from an antireligious despotism into a very religious antireligion. That approach continues to this very day in North Korea.
g. During World War Two, Josef Stalin’s appeal to the Russian people to fight against the Germans was an appeal to fight for Rossiya, mother Russia.
h. How about Great Britain, during her empire era? They looked upon their national mission as what they called “the white man’s burden,” to socialize, to educate, to civilize, and to evangelize the pagans of the world. But whenever Christianity interfered with business the East India Company came down hard on the missionaries and their efforts. This showed that religion was seen as a tool to advance a business agenda, a military agenda, and a political agenda.
i. My friends, Christians need to be wary of those who would use appeals to God and country, who would wrap themselves in the flag while holding a Bible. Though there are, no doubt, some who are both patriotic and religious, for the most part history has shown us that men with political and military agendas find that soldiers are more likely to fight and more willing to die, and civilians are more likely to send their sons and daughters to war, if there is a healthy measure of religion added to the patriotic recipe.
8. We will find that the greatest since Nimrod at mixing politics and religion will be this team we identify as the antichrist and the false prophet, the first and the second beast. They will seduce everyone who is not elect. Thankfully, though it will be antichrist’s intention to kill everyone who does not worship him, a remnant will be saved alive to populate the millennial kingdom that the Lord Jesus Christ will establish as His second coming.
(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
1. Remember God’s 144,000 sealed servants? Where were their seals placed? On their foreheads, right? People, Satan has never done anything original except originate sin. Here he seals his servants and tries to go God one better with a mark on the hand or on the forehead.
2. I do not need to spend any time elaborating how the world is being prepared for this kind of stuff, do I? You know that military personnel who live in housing provided on military installations are now required to implant an electronic identification device in pets that they own. And you are aware that at certain gas stations fuel may be purchased by simply waving a device on a key chain in front of a reader on the gas pump.
3. The technology is here. The cultural shift toward mutilating your body with piercings and tattoos and scars will make it so easy for the antichrist to implement this scheme. And it will be so easy to malign and ridicule Christians for refusing to do this type of thing, portraying them as being so obstinate and obstructionist, such a hindrance to progress and expansive thinking.
4. In the end, everyone will be taken in, everyone will be convinced, and everyone will be persuaded. Everyone, that is, except the elect.
(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.
1. You will have a choice. You can choose between the mark of the beast, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Take any one you want.
2. But take one, because without one of those marks on your forehead or the back of your hand you will not be able to buy or sell anything. That means you will not be able to purchase food or sell your wares.
3. People living on earth at that time will starve to death and go bankrupt at the same time. Assuming they love the Lord Jesus more than they love their own life. You see, you can buy food and water if you deny Christ and take the mark of the beast. But believers will not do that. Not people who are really believers.
(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.
1. The number of the beast is 666. The Hebrew, Greek and Latin all used letters from their alphabet to represent numbers, and did not have a set of numbers distinct from their letters of the alphabet, as we do. Thus, the number 666 ends up being a jumble of letters to us and no one can figure out what is meant by it.
2. There have been thousands of ridiculous attempts to figure out exactly what the 666 means, but no one can be certain of identifying the beast using this number because the beast has not yet been revealed. And I do not think he will be revealed until we are gone from here.
3. But there are some things about 666 that we can see. Seven is the number of perfection, the number of God if you will, in the Bible. Six lets us know that no matter how great the beast is, no matter where this one comes from, he is still no more than a man. No matter how high he may ascend, he cannot ascend to God.
4. Thus, in the darkest hour of history, the elect on earth at that time will know that though the devil does his best through the beast to destroy them, they still have God on their side.
 John Walvoord, The Revelation Of Jesus Christ, (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1966), pages 199-200.
 Fritz Rienecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1980), page 841.
 Footnote on Revelation 3.5, John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1997), page 1996.
 Walvoord, page 204.
 Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), pages 1039-1041.
 Walvoord, page 204.
 Bauer, pages 46-47 and 399.