END TIMES PROPHECY: BOOK OF REVELATION, CHAPTER 13
J. Grant Swank, Jr.
Political Leader: Antichrist
1 And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.
The beast coming out of the sea is the yet-to-be-revealed political leader —Antichrist. He has ten horns; see Rev 17:12 to read that the ten horns are ten political leaders who will give their allegiance to the Antichrist. They will rule together for “one hour” — that is, a brief time in comparison to all of history. They will attack Christ’s work but eventually Christ will topple them (Rev 19:20).
Some speculate that these ten will rule over the old Roman Empire geography that would place them in the present-tense European Union. Since “ten” is symbolic, the number does not necessarily have to tally a literal ten. Moreover, there is an aggressive effort within the EU to secularize all of Europe, hence the start of replacing any presence of God with Satan’s presence.
The Antichrist also has seven heads; see Rev 17:9 to read that the seven heads represent seven hills on which the prostitute sits. (The prostitute is graphically described in Rev 17. She, Babylon, “the great harlot,” is the religion of hell, that is, the prostituting of the true Christian faith). The city of seven hills in geography is Rome, the hills being Quirinal, Viminal, Esuiline, Palkatine, Caelian, Aventine, and Capitoline.
The seven hills are also seven political rulers, “five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he comes he must remain only a little while. . .” (Rev 17:10) The five rulerships that are past tense are the Chaldeans, Egyptians, Babylonians, Medes-Persians and Gracians. The one that “is” is Rome of John’s day (the apostle John being the recipient of Christ’s revelatory vision). The one that has “yet to come” is the revived Roman Empire of the Antichrist rule.
The Antichrist wears upon his head “blasphemy,” that is, he is of Satan’s domain.
2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. 3 I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast.
The dragon is Satan who gives his dynamic evil presence to indwell the Antichrist. One of the beast’s heads is wounded. With the heads representing hills, then one of Rome’s hills will be attacked by an enemy to the Antichrist. However, the Antichrist will overthrow the attacker, retrieving the whole of his headquarters city.
About the dragon, it is interesting how Christ uses that symbol in that Satan appeared at the start in Eden as a snake. By the close of the Church Age, the snake will have consumed scores of damned souls so as no longer to be handsomely slim but bloated to the size of a dragon.
4 they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?"
Worldlings worship Satan, hence today’s open Satan worship as well as the supposedly more respectable apostasy consuming many within various denominations. When Christian truth is prostituted, such as concluding practicing homosexual lifestyles to be sanctioned of God, then Satan worship takes the place of Christian truth. Therefore, the Church of Satan may appear occultic and grotesque or refined but void of biblical truth. Clergy of Satan may be satanic priests and priestesses or they may be Protestant and Catholic clergy who have sold out their ministries to unbiblical teachings. The Church of Satan may be a coven or a sanctuary within the community.
Worldlings will be enamored by the political charisma of the Antichrist so as to exclaim, “Who is like unto him. Who can ever even think of overpowering him?”
5 There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.
Christians aligned to biblical truth of course readily will recognize the Antichrist to be hell’s stooge on earth. As the Antichrist gives forth with demonic conceit and “blasphemies,” genuine believers will know him to be of Satan.
The Antichrist rule in particular vengeance will be forty-two months, or 3 l/2 years, the last half of the almost-seven-year tribulation period (Rev 11:1-2). (It will be almost seven years for in Matthew 24:21-22 Christ predicts that that time frame will be abbreviated somewhat for the believers’ sake). During that time, knowing his rule is short, the Antichrist will vehemently curse God’s name, any truly Christian place of worship and blaspheme the holy powers of eternity.
7 It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.
The Antichrist, his political rule being global, will single out especially genuine Christians for persecution.
8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10 If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.
All unbelievers on the planet will worship the political leader in his offer of world peace. (Rev 4:1-2 pictures the Antichrist as a rider on a white horse, holding only a bow in his hand, a crown on his head. He goes forth to conquer. The Antichrist here is represented as one offering peace for he has only a bow — absent an arrow — in his hand. His crown represents his political power. With the offer of worldwide peace, he goes forth to lure all peoples).
Religious Leader: The False Prophet
11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. 12 He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.
Ruling alongside the political leader Antichrist will be the city-of-seven-hills’ religious leader False Prophet. Since he is false he is not of God. He is of Satan. He has two horns like a lamb. That is, he appears lamb-like or as a Christian, follower of the Lamb of God. In fact, he is just the opposite for when he opens his mouth he speaks the doctrines of the dragon (Satan). In other words, he endorses apostasies such as the present-day teaching that practicing homosexual lifestyles are approved of God.
The False Prophet will acquiesce to the Antichrist. In reality, the political leader and religious leader will work in concert under demonic authority. This is similar to the political and religious dimensions that condemned Jesus to death — the Roman rule and the Judaic temple regime. All the more impacting is that both Antichrist and False Prophet will be overthrown by the Ultimate Political Leader / Ultimate Religious Leader — Christ — the King of Kings (politics) and Lord of Lords (religious).
The False Prophet will order the world to bow down to the Antichrist. Christians will disobey that order; worldlings will obey that order.
13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life.
The False Prophet will act out amazing fetes, including miracles (Matthew 24:23-25) for Satan can performs miracles just as he does daily via cultic practices. Such splendors will lure worldlings into allegiance to Satan.
The False Prophet will include in his agenda making a statue of the Antichrist. The statue will particularly celebrate the fact that the Antichrist overthrew the enemy who previously had attacked one of Rome’s seven hills.
15 And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
The False Prophet will cause the statue to speak. That of course is believable today, though when Christians read that prophecy in previous eras it might have seemed impossible. However, with machines now equipped with human voices, we now take that phenomenon as not a phenomenon at all.
The False Prophet will command those in the environs of the statue to bow down to it, symbolizing their worshiping the Antichrist. Those who refuse will be martyred.
16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.
The False Prophet causes everyone to be marked on right hand or forehead with the symbol of the Antichrist rule — 666. Those with the mark are able to engage in commerce. Those without the mark will not be able to engage in commerce.
For those without the mark, they will either die because of lack of food, fuel and medicine or the mark will be leveled just prior to the Second Coming so supplies last into the millennial reign. Or God will miraculously provide as He did for Hebrews during the forty-years wilderness sojourn, giving manna and quail for food as well as keeping shoes from wearing out.
In Rev 14: 1 Christ reveals that genuine Christians will receive God’s mark upon their forehead. Could it be that 7 is that mark since 666 is Satan’s mark? Or, since Christ unfolded the Revelation mostly in symbolism, we could leave the literal understanding to the future.
However, the symbolism given does represent 666 as less than the divine number of perfection, 7; that is, the work of Satan is less able than the work of God. In other words, God tops Satan. Satan’s 666 is his straining to be 7, an old satanic plot in seeking to overthrow the divine throne in order to be deity. (As an aside, there are 3 sets of sevens in Revelation: 7 trumpets, 7 seals, 7 bowls of wrath — 7 topping 3 sixes or 666).
After studying Revelation 13, it is spiritually enriching to study Revelation 19, the Second Coming hope that sets forth the defeat of the Antichrist and False Prophet. “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God. . .” (Rev 19:1).
“The beast was captured and with it the false prophet who in its presence had worked the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone” (Rev 19:20).