Revelation 13

Note: The word Antichrist is not found anywhere in the Book of Revelation. This word appears in the New Testament only in 1 John 2:18,22; 4:3 and 2 John 7.


13:1 And the dragon [Satan] stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast [the Antichrist: human embodiment of absolute evil / some say Satan in human form] coming out of the sea [symbol for nations or masses of people; sea often associated with evil in apocalyptic writings]. He had ten horns [cf. Rev. 17:12; symbol of complete human power; some see as federation of nations/kings] and seven heads [complete dominion; cf. Rev. 17:9-10; some say Roman emperors; some say series of empires], with ten crowns [symbol of sovereignty] on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name [refers to divine honor claimed for itself by the beast].

13:2 The beast I saw resembled [a composite of the beasts described in Dan. 7:3-7; a vicious antagonist] a leopard [ferocious swiftness], but had feet like those of a bear [voracity] and a mouth like that of a lion [strength]. The dragon gave the beast his power [energized by Satan] and his throne and great authority.

Note: Three main positions regarding the beast… [1] The Roman emperor Domitian. [2] Any person or power in history that cooperates with Satan to stand in defiance of God’s sovereignty and that seeks to destroy His followers. [3] Antichrist who will come toward end of history.

13:3 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed [a parody of the death and resurrection of Christ]. The whole world was astonished [marveled or amazed] and followed [blindly] the beast.

Note: Three views re: the “fatal wound.” [1] Nero raised from dead; some see as Domitian because, like Nero, he too persecuted believers. [2] Symbol of the resilience of evil. [3] Resurrection from dead of a future Antichrist.

13:4 [beast will seek to popularize worship of dragon] Men worshiped the dragon [Satan wants to be worshiped: cf. Matt. 4:9] because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast [next step after following] and asked, “Who is like the beast [perhaps a parody of the word “Michael” which means “who is like God”]? Who can make war against him?”

13:5 [after achieving a worldwide following] The beast was given [indicates that Satan operates only by permission of God] a mouth to utter proud words [persuasive and charismatic oratorical power inspired by Satan; cf. 2 Pet. 2:12,18] and blasphemies [to revile or to speak reproachfully] and to exercise his authority for forty-two months [some say refers to a limited amount of time; others say refers to last 3½ years of the tribulation; there is an end in sight to evil].

13:6 He opened his mouth to blaspheme [lessen everything that is held sacred by the church] God, and to slander His name and His dwelling place and those who live in heaven.

13:7 [after in position of world control he will unleash the full force of his evil against believers] He was given power [destructive power derived from Satan, his master] to make war [persecute (perhaps by infiltrating/using government); cf. 12:17] against the saints [true believers who refuse to worship him; Jesus warned of persecution in Jn. 15:21] and to conquer [inflict death] them [those who are faithful to the Lord]. And he was given [allowed by God] authority [power to influence] over every tribe, people, language and nation [the whole (pagan) world; excludes true believers as per v. 8].

13:8 All inhabitants [unbelievers] of the earth will worship the beast [Antichrist] – all [what follows specifies exactly who will worship the beast…] whose names have not been written in the book of life [roll of the living] belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.

13:9 He who has an ear, let him hear [and obey the message of the book].

13:10 [end time persecution inevitable and so great that resistance of little use] 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 [martyrdom actually a victory for Christ]. This calls for [rather, under these circumstances] patient endurance [to abide under a load; to stand strong during great difficulties without losing hope] and faithfulness on the part of the saints.

13:11 Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon.

13:12 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.

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

13:14 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.

13:15 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.

13:16 He [a second beast as per vv. 11-12 (later called “the false prophet”: cf. 16:13); represents false religion and satanic power] also forced [economic sanctions] everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark [no sure way to know what this mark/symbol is; parody of the mark of God on saints (7:3)] on his right hand or on his forehead [figuratively denotes that everyone gives evidence of loyalty],

13:17 so that no one could buy or sell [business activities that are essential to sustaining life] unless [requirement] he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number [see 13:8] of his name.

13:18 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.

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