The Beast

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THE BEAST FROM THE SEAAnd I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?” The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. He who has an ear, let him hear. 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. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints. (Revelation 13:1b-10)

The Coming of the Beast, Second Person of the Unholy Trinity – The Greek word used here for Beast means wild beast. Man becomes beastly when he severs himself from God, in whose image he was first made. World leaders and powers seeking their own glory, and not God’s, are represented as beasts. A classic example was Continue reading “The Beast”

The Dragon

THE DRAGONAnd the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. (Revelation 13:1a)

Enter the Dragon, First Person of the Unholy Trinity – As previously discussed, Revelation 12:9 identifies the dragon as Satan.(1) At one time the highest of God’s angels, he tried to usurp the throne of God and capture the worship that belongs only to God (Matthew 4:8–10). “I will be like the Most High” reveals his basic strategy, for he is an imitator (Isaiah 14:14; 2 Corinthians 11:13–15).(2) He aspires to the position of God the Father, the first person of the Trinity.

Stood on the Shore of the Sea – Literally upon the sand, using the same word that is used for the innumerable multitude in Revelation 20:8.(3) The phrase foreshadows what is about to come, the summoning and coronation by Satan of the beast from the sea, the anti-Christ.(4) At least one commentator insists that “stood on the shore of the sea” means across the ocean. The commentator connects this with the beast arising out of the sea (the nations, or more specifically nations arising from the geographic area comprising the ancient Roman Empire). Of course, only one nation is comprised of such nations and settled across the ocean – the United States.(5)

Power, Throne and Authority – The dragon will give the beast from the sea his power, throne and authority and he will work through this beast. Satan claimed that he had this power when he tempted Jesus (Matthew 4:9; Luke 4:6) and Christ called Satan the prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).(6) Since the dragon bestowed his power on the beast, the beast will share many of the dragon’s characteristics.(7) This new world ruler will use his position to exercise “authority over every tribe, people, language and nation” (Revelation 13:7). He will be worshipped by all who do not belong to God (Revelation 13:8). Satan, who has always yearned for the worship and the place belonging to God alone, will seemingly achieve that goal on earth through the counterfeit Christ (anti-Christ) who will rule in his name.(8)

Up Next – The Beast from the sea.

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Continue reading “The Dragon”

The Dragon Pursues the Woman

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DRAGON’S PURSUIT OF THE WOMANWhen the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus. (Revelation 12:13-17)

Pursuit and Escape – Aware that his time is short, and with no more access to Heaven, Satan will vent his remaining wrath earthward. As a result, God will Continue reading “The Dragon Pursues the Woman”

War in Heaven

WAR IN HEAVENAnd there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” (Revelation 12:7-12)

Celestial Conflict – What is this celestial conflict all about? The fact that Michael led God’s angels to victory is significant, because Continue reading “War in Heaven”

Red Dragon & A Male Child

THE RED DRAGONThen another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. (Revelation 12:3-6)

Identity of the Dragon – Later, in Revelation 12:9, the dragon is unmistakably identified as “that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan.”(1) This arch adversary and accuser of the Church is depicted as an enormous (denoting strength), red (denoting terror), dragon (denoting fierceness and cruelty). It is described as having seven heads, a possible veiled reference to pagan Rome (Rome was situated on seven hills). It also has ten horns, perhaps a reference to Continue reading “Red Dragon & A Male Child”

The Woman Clothed With the Sun

THE WOMANA great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. (Revelation 12:1-2)

Identity of the Woman – As with many of the visions in Revelation, there are a variety of viewpoints as to the identity of the “woman clothed with the sun.”

Mary – One viewpoint is that this is a symbolic reference to Mary the mother of Christ.(1)

Church – Others identify her as the Church, with the twelve stars representing the twelve apostles referenced in Revelation 21:14.(2)

Israel – Still others see the woman symbolizing Israel, as indicated by Joseph’s dream in Genesis 37:9–11, where the sun and the moon referred to Jacob and Rachel, Joseph’s parents and the stars the twelve sons of Jacob.(3) This view is further supported by Satan’s clash with Michael, the archangel assigned to protect Israel (Daniel 12:1).(4)

Combination – As in other signs and prophecies, there is no reason why this one cannot have multiple meanings, as each exemplify Satan’s efforts through the ages (what was, is and is to come) to thwart God’s program for His creation.

Activity of the Woman – The woman was said to be pregnant and about to give birth. Under the first viewpoint above, John would be looking back to the birth of Christ to the Virgin Mary,(5) (what was). If a reference to the church, it could be referencing the persecution of the church as Satan opposes it prior to the Rapture (what is). Finally, if a symbolic reference to Israel of the past, it could point to the suffering of the future nation prior to the Parousia,(6) (what is to come).

Up Next – The Red Dragon.

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References

  1. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 957–958). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  2. Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (Re 12:1). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
  3. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 957–958). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  4. Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J. P., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 1903). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  5. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 958). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  6. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 958). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

 

Resurrection of the Two Witnesses

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TWO WITNESSES’ RESURRECTIONBut after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon. (Revelation 11:11-14)

Resurrection – The phrase, “after the three and a half days” could be compared with Jesus being resurrected on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:4). Great fear would be the expected response to a double resurrection. Such fear can be a positive thing, however, since the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7).(1)

Ascension – The command, “come up here,” is understood by some to speak of the Rapture of the church, though here it is a call to Continue reading “Resurrection of the Two Witnesses”