End Times: Back to the Future
Lesson 16 w/AnswersRevelation 13
In this lesson, we will examine Revelation Chapter 13, which describes the two beasts and the mark of the beast — all symbols telling us something about the end times. Here again, we will have the opportunity to apply the symbols that we learned earlier in our prophecy study.
So let’s read Revelation Chapter 13, put on our thinking caps, and respond to the following questions:
- Chapter 13:1-18 describes two beasts. One rises out of the "sea", and one emerges from out of the "earth". Who are these two figures?
- ANSWER: The Anti-Christ and the False Prophet.
- If the sea has always symbolized peoples in turmoil, and the earth symbolizes organized civilization, then write down what you think these specific passages connote (i.e., "rising out of the sea" and "coming up out of the earth").
- ANSWER: They represent a government that that will rise up from turmoil and unrest. The Anti-Christ will rise to power out of turmoil and unrest, and the False Prophet will come to power by leading an organized religion to worship the Anti-Christ. Some have previously speculated this might be the Pope and the Catholic Church, but I don’t believe that at all. I also don’t believe that it will be the Muslim religion. Rather, this will be a true ecumenical movement and organization that will lift the Anti-Christ up as God to be worshipped, much the way the Romans did with Caesar. You may remember that in the Roman Empire, they allowed a variety of religions to exist as long as they acknowledged Caesar as the Supreme Being over all. It is unclear what religious form this will take, but I reject the idea that it will be either the Catholic Church or Islam.
- Where will the Anti-Christ come from? (Where is his birthplace?) See Micah Chapter 5, especially 5:5; and Isaiah 14:24-27.
- ANSWER: He will be an Assyrian.
- If horns and crowns are symbols of power, then what can be inferred by the fact that ten crowns are mentioned in the passage, but only seven heads? (Before you answer, read ahead to Revelation Chapter 17:6-18 and then re-read Revelation 12:3. Let the Bible interpret the Bible.)
- ANSWER: The ten crowns represent the ten leaders who join as a ruling federation in support of the Anti-Christ, but only seven of them are actually leaders of "kingdoms". The others are in places of high authority but are not kings, e.g., in today’s world, these could be people like the head of the WTO or President of the UN, for example. Although this is not (necessarily) a reference to either of those two organizations, they provide examples of leaders who have a lot of authority and power but not over a kingdom.
- Where does the first "beast" cited in Revelation 13:1 get its power? I.e., from whom? (see Rev. 13:2)
- ANSWER: He receives his power from Satan.
- From our previous lesson, who did we learn is "the dragon"? (see Rev. 12:9)
- ANSWER: He is Satan.
- What is the dragon’s main purpose, i.e., that which he hopes to accomplish through "the first beast"? (see Rev. 12:13)
- ANSWER: He seeks the persecution of the Jews on a worldwide basis.
- From all of the above and the understanding that you’ve gained so far, read Revelation 13:3 again and identify that which is "wounded to death". Is it a person?
- ANSWER: No; it is a government that is "wounded to death", not a person. Note that it references "one of his heads". Many believe that this is a reference to an old government, long since regarded as dead, that will come back to life and rule the world again — probably the Roman form of government that ruled the known world through the Holy Roman Empire. This interpretation would also explain the role of both the Anti-Christ as god, along with the False Prophet’s validation of the Anti-Christ as both leader and god.
- What "blasphemies" are associated with Anti-Christ and his empire, or are voiced by him? (see Rev. 13:1) See Ezekiel 9:9 for one example; you should be able to think of plenty more.
- ANSWER: If we consider the Caesars or Pharaohs of prior kingdoms, they believed themselves to be both leaders and gods. It is certainly reasonable to think that the Anti-Christ will call himself God, or he will say he is above God, or he will say that he is the savior that everyone is looking for. He will assert that no other "God" can save them, only he can.
- In Revelation 13:11-18, the Second Beast — the False Prophet — causes several things to happen. List each one alongside the pertinent verses below. (Note he is able to perform these acts because Rev. 13:12 tells us that he has "all the power of the first beast".)
- Verse 12
- ANSWER: He causes the earth, and those who dwell therein, to worship the First Beast.
- Verse 13
- ANSWER: He does great wonders, making fire come down from heaven.
- Verse 14
- ANSWER: He deceives many through the miracles that he performs.
- Verse 15
- ANSWER: He has the power to give life to the image of the beast so it speaks and causes the death of all those who will not worship the image.
- Verse 16
- ANSWER: He causes the great and the small, the rich and the poor, the free and slave to all receive the mark of the beast on their right hand or forehead.
- Verse 12
- Revelation 13:18 references the mark, or number, of the beast, i.e., 666. Before answering the questions that follow below, consider several things:(a) The number for man is 6, representing imperfection, while the number for God is 7, representing perfection or completeness.(b) A "mark" sets someone apart (see Ezekiel 9:4), so it is normally a symbol, not an actual "name".(c) A "mark" indicates either ownership, or something that happens or results from some type of action or decision (see Galatians 6:17).Given the above considerations, do you suppose that the number 666 is someone’s name (containing six letters in each name, e.g., Adolph Hitler, etc)? What could possibly be meant by this "symbol" and the "mark" of the beast?
- ANSWER: Given that God is a Triune being — The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit — His number would be 777. An imperfect imitation of that by Satan would be Satan as god, the Anti-Christ, and the False Prophet, and that imperfect number would be 666. So, it is not the number of a person’s name, it is the number of the beast and his part in the false trinity.
- [BONUS QUESTION] Can you determine the basic difference between the theme of Revelation Chapter 13 and the theme of Revelation Chapter 17?
- ANSWER: Revelation Chapter 13 describes a one-world system of government, while Revelation Chapter 17 describes a one-world economy and the collapse of both.
May God richly bless you as you study His Word.