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Revelation
Chapter Thirteen

Commentary by Tom Brown

 

13 And the dragon a stood on the shore of the sea.

And 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.

And the dragon a stood on the shore of the sea. The devil recognizes that he needs help to defeat the church.

ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns. Same description of the devil.

blasphemous name. In some way the beast looks to put down Christ.

2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.

Leopard…bear…lion. See Daniel 7:4-6 and 16-17. This shows that the beast is government.

The dragon gave the beast his power. Government often is a pawn in Satan’s hands in order to keep people from coming to Christ or keep Christian from serving Christ.

3 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.

the fatal wound had been healed. Several interpretations are adequate: fatal wound could be a reference to the cross that defeated Satan; it could be a reference to the Roman emperor Domitian, who came after Nero; it could simply be a reminder that governments come and are often replaced by other terrible administrations. Some see this as a revived Roman empire.

4 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?"

Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast. Whether people know it or not, they are really following the devil when they follow beastly governments and obey their every rule. We should obey governments so long as governments do not force us to compromise the gospel and our duty to it, which includes preaching.  Today, some governments do not allow conversion to Christ, which proves they are one of the heads of the beast.

5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months.

forty-two months. Again this is the length that Daniel says the anti-Christ will cause desolation (Dan 9:27).

6 He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven.

Blaspheme God…slander his name…his dwelling…those who live in heaven.  Government has a way to sacrilege God, and to falsely blame God for our troubles, and to criticize the church for bigotry and to find fault with those in the past, like the apostles. 

7 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.

to conquer them. There are times when it looks like we are losing, but the book shows that we ultimately win. We may be in the bottom of the ninth inning and down by seven runs, but John shows that we come from behind to defeat the beast.

8 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.

 

9 He who has an ear, let him hear.

 

10 If anyone is to go into captivity,

into captivity he will go.

If anyone is to be killed c with the sword,

with the sword he will be killed.

This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.

patient endurance and faithfulness. These are two great qualities necessary to come from behind and win.

11 Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon.

another beast. Just as the dragon needed help, so government needs help to try to defeat the church as well.

two horns like a lamb. World religions, pseudo Christian faiths, and apostate Christian churches. Unlike the lamb with seven horns (omnipotence) these religions can never compete with the true faith.

12 He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed.

on his behalf. Religion knows its limitations. True power is still in government. Religion can only move the masses to follow government. Religion cannot make and enforce the laws; that is the job of government.

13 And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men.

A counterfeit miracle is one that is done by someone not authorized to do it. Only the Christian can perform authentic miracles, because we do them by the authority of Christ.

14 Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived.

Because of the signs. People are always gullible because of miracles. Not all miracles are of God.

15 He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.

to give breath to the image of the first beast. Just as God breathed into man and he became a living soul, this is a prediction that religion will give the world a real breathing man. The Bible calls him the anti-Christ.

16 He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead,

to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead. Do not take this to mean there will be a computerize money system where the anti-Christ will force chips under the skin. Those who teach this have taken this symbol too literally. (see notes on 14:1) Rather it is simply a picture of money in their hands and money on their minds (forehead), which is greed.  The anti-Christ will try to control how money is distributed. Those who compromise the gospel will find favor with the anti-Christ. Today this prophecy is fulfilled in how we use our money. Those who are greedy already have the mark of the beast.

17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.

he had the mark. Currency usually has pictures of president, kings, queens, and other important governmental officials.

   18 This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.

for it is man's number. Man was created on the six day, so the author could be playing on this fact. Six is short of seven. Seven is God’s number.

His number is 666. Could be a reference to the unholy trinity of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet (second beast). Interestingly scholars have pointed out that the numerical value in Hebrew of Neron Caesar is 666. Since Nero had long died before this prophecy, the author could be referring to someone with his title, which could include Domitian or presently the papacy. Remember the Pope has the same title of Nero (Pontificus Maximus).

Previous  Chapter Fourteen

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