Good morning everybody. Let’s take our Bibles and open them to the Book of Revelation, chapter 13. As you’re turning there I want to thank Gabe for teaching last week, and Jim for filling in for Sunday School. Of course, I want to wish everybody Happy Mother’s Day. How does the saying go, “A man works from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done?” Would you all agree with that? [clapping] Another one of my personal favorites is “she who rocks the cradle rules the world.” So, we’re king of living in a cultural where motherhood is sort of being demoted under feminism and different things so we want to acknowledge the biblical role of mother-hood, its importance in the outworking of God’s purposes. I know that some women sort of dread Mother’s Day for the simple reason that for whatever reason they’re childless. And I would encourage you that this is your day as well because even if you don’t have physical lineage, sons or daughters, the Bible teaches very clearly that you can have spiritual sons or daughters, those that you disciple, those that you pour your life into. In fact, you remember that Paul called Timothy his what? His son in the faith! So this is your day as well, Mother’s Day.
And of course, this time of the year is always a happy time because we have the college graduations going on and so we want to acknowledge some people in our church that recently graduated from college. First of all, yesterday I had a chance to go to the graduation ceremony at the College of Biblical Studies and guess who walked across the aisle to receive her diploma, with honors, high honors I think it was… Judy Cunningham. [Clapping] And then I also saw another guy walk across the stage and receive his diploma with the highest honors and he got some kind of award, it was someone that was involved with our church for many years, and now has moved on to another ministry but you all remember Chris Lampson, don’t you? [Clapping] And then out in Dallas, Texas someone else graduated, someone that’s filled in the pulpit here, Jim McGowan’s son-in-law, Will Miller. [Clapping] Graduation is always a happy time.
Let’s turn to the Book of Revelation, chapter 13. Now you might be saying I thought you just read a bunch of verses about the antichrist, how are you going to work that into a Mother’s Day message? [Laughter] And the answer is I make no attempt to connect the two together at all; it just happens to be what we’re going through. But we are in a place in the Book of Revelation where the trumpet judgments have been sounded. A host of judgments have come to the earth and as typically happens in the Book of Revelation there’s about five times where the chronology stops to give more information about what is happening. This happens about five times in the Book of Revelation and that’s where we find ourselves in our third chronology stopper where Satan is counteracting what is happening. The interesting thing about the devil is he never goes down without a fight and with trumpet seven we read these words in Revelation 11:15. “…The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; [and He will reign forever and ever.]”
The kingdom of God is coming to the earth. Do you believe that? In fact, didn’t Jesus tell us to pray “Thy kingdom” what? “come,” and here in the Book of Revelation it’s happening. Satan is not just going to sit there and take it lying down; he never does! So, the break in the action is an explanation of what Satan is doing as a response to what God is doing. God makes a move, Satan makes a counter move. And that’s why in your personal life you face so many struggles if and when the Lord begins to use you, because as the Lord begins to use you Satan is threatened by that and he makes a countermove and begins to apply resistance.
The countermove happens in Revelation 12 where Satan is evicted from heaven and desires to gobble up the woman (or the nation of Israel) which is the instrument through which the kingdom will come. He hates Israel. He hates the Jews. And what better way to prevent the coming of the kingdom than to destroy the instrument through which it is predicted the kingdom will come. We saw all of that in three sermons going through Revelation chapter 12. And the interesting thing about Satan is he uses people. You know, one day up in Caesarea Philippi Peter made a statement concerning the crucifixion of Jesus, Jesus began to predict His crucifixion and Peter, just to kind of sum it up, told the Lord that wouldn’t be a very good career move for you at this time, to get crucified. And you remember the response of Jesus to Peter? “Get behind Me Satan.” [ Matthew 16:23, “But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”]
You see, a moment earlier God had used Peter’s mouth and now Satan gets into the action and Satan uses Peter’s mouth to discourage our Lord from going to the cross and accomplishing His mission. Just as God uses people Satan uses people. And what you have in Revelation 13 are the two people Satan uses to fulfill his plan of world domination and eradication of the nation of Israel. These people are, number one, the first beast, Revelation 13:1-10, and number two, the second beast, Revelation 13:11-18. We have been introduced to the first beast or the antichrist already in the Book of Revelation. He is the rider on the white horse with the first seal judgment, Revelation 6:1-2, the one who comes on the scene and seems to solve the world’s problems. We’ve also run into him in Revelation 11:7, he is the beast that killed the two witnesses in the city streets of Jerusalem. And yet God, as we have studied, brings those two witnesses to life. So, we’ve had some glimpses, if you will, of this coming beast or antichrist; we just haven had a lot of in depth information about him until now but once you hit Revelation 13 you get an in depth description of him and his associates, an individual described in the second part of the chapter, the second beast.
If I had to distinguish these two beasts I would say this: the first beast is primarily political, he’s a political entity. The second beast, which obviously we won’t get to today, is primarily a spiritual or religious entity. A political figure in the first part of the chapter, and a religious figure in the second part of the chapter. And those are two realms that Satan always seeks to get control of, number one, politics, and number two, the world of spirituality or religion. Once he gets control of those two realms there’s really not much more he needs to have to deceive the masses and to deceive the world.
So, we’re going to begin our journey here by taking a look at the first beast, Revelation 13:1-10. And here are the 13 points we’re going to be marching through. There are points 1-7. [1. His Gentile ethnicity (1b) 2, His fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecies (1c-2a) 3. His Satanic empowerment (2b)  His resurrection (5) His sudden appearance in John’s vision (6) His power-based adoration (7) His oratory (5a)] And there’s points 8-13. [(8) His time of authority (5b) (9) His blasphemies (10) His persecution of God’s people (7a) (11) His global jurisdiction (7b)  His unregenerate audience (8)  His oppressive influence (9-10)]
You say well, wait a minute, how are we going to beat the Baptists to the cafeteria [Laughter] for a Mother’s Day celebration if you go through all 13 points. Well, you can rest easy, I won’t be going through all 13 points today, but don’t tempt me, I may be tempted to do it.
But notice first of all the first point, notice the first beast, notice his sudden appearance. Take a look if you could at the beginning of verse 1, in chapter 13, “And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore.” Now do you remember who the dragon is? The dragon is Satan, we’ve carefully explained how to define the various symbols in the Book of Revelation and in prior sermons you’ll remember that the dragon is the devil himself, the serpent of old. The Book of Revelation calls him that in chapter 12:9 and chapter 20:2. [Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” Revelation 20:2, “And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;”]
So, Satan here is standing on the earth; he’s standing on the sand of the seashore. Now why is he doing that? Because he’s been kicked out of heaven completely. We talked about the fact that Satan, even in his fallen state has the capacity to go into God’s presence, not to worship and serve as he once did as a high-ranking angel but rather to communicate and to accuse. In fact, we’re told in the Bible that Satan accuses us before the Lord how frequently? Day and night, and aren’t you glad you have a good defense attorney in the person of Jesus Christ. Apparently about halfway through the tribulation period this privilege that Satan has is taken away and he plummets to the earth. He comes to the earth because the earth is the only realm or the only domain that he has left. And as we have talked about Satan uses people! This is why your Bible says things like this, in Ephesians 4:26, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger,  lest you give the devil a” what? “a foothold.” Satan can’t possess a Christian because your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and I don’t think God and Satan can be roommates… Amen!
But I do believe this, that when a Christian will pander to the sin nature Satan will take whatever room you want to give him and he can actually use your mouth much like he used Peter’s mouth for destructive purposes. And when we let the sun go down on our anger and we harbor grudges and animosity and vengeance towards other people, not remembering that we have been forgiven just as we are to forgive other people. You know, there’s a solution for bitterness—it’s called forgiveness! If you’re a forgiving person you’re not going to be a very bitter person but if you’re an unforgiving person you’ll be a very bitter person. And Satan, Ephesians 4, will take whatever ground you give him and actually use your mouth (without you even knowing it many times) to accomplish his own purposes.
“Do not let the sun go down on your anger,” the first time I read that I thought well, here’s the solution, I think I’d even move to Alaska because the sun never goes down, not most of the time, and I can stay angry all of the time… and no, that’s not what the Bible says! The Bible says have an attitude of grace towards other people, remembering that God has given us grace. But Satan loves to use people and in John 13:27 we learn that Satan actually entered into Judas to accomplish the final deed, John 13:27, the trial of Jesus Christ. That verse says, “After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. [Therefore, Jesus said to him, ‘What you do, do quickly.’] Judas, John 17:12, is called the son of perdition. [John 17:12, “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.”] Now in the Bible there’s only one other person in all the Bible that gets the designation “son of perdition,” son of destruction. You know who that is? That’s the anti-Christ. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 says, “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,” and I think the reason that only these two people, Judas and antichrist, Judas and the first beast, are called the “son of perdition” or destruction is because these are the only two people in history that will actually be possessed by Satan himself. Just as he possessed Judas to attack the first coming of Christ, he (I believe) will possess the beast or the antichrist thwarting in Satan’s mind the Second Coming of Christ. More on that a little bit later.
But the coming lawless one, or the coming antichrist, or the coming beast, is going to be a man. That’s why I have entitled this message The Coming World Ruler. Before Jesus comes to establish His kingdom upon the earth there will be what we would call an artificial substitute, a counterfeit, a counterfeit that will be palatable to those that reject the authentic. It’s interesting to me that the more a person rejects truth the more their mind becomes opened up to artificial substitutes. And this is the sorry state of the hypostatic union before the overwhelming conquest of Jesus Christ, massive deception is predicted to hit this planet. And this coming lawless one is in actual man, he’s a person!
The reason I emphasize that is there’s a lot of people out there teaching today that the antichrist is not going to be a person, there’s just this spirit of the antichrist. They like to quote 1 John 4:3, which talks about the spirit of the antichrist. I wish they would read the whole verse. What does the whole verse say? “every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” Before THE antichrist shows up the world will have within it a spirit of the antichrist but the spirit of the antichrist in no way denies the actual coming of a person who will embody the spirit of the age.
Didn’t we just read in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 concerning the antichrist? Isn’t he called the “man” anthropos in Greek, “the man of lawlessness.” In fact, you’ve got your Bible open to Revelation 13, look down at verse 18. “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man;” see that? “and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.” Beloved, there is coming a person, just as historical, just as personal as was Jesus Himself two thousand years ago who will be the antichrist. And it’s interesting that when you study this in church history the early church fathers agreed with what I’m saying, not just the spirit but a man.
Here is a quotation from Irenaeus; Irenaeus is just one generation removed from John who wrote the Apocalypse. The chain goes like this: John to Polycarp to Irenaeus. So Irenaeus would certainly know quite a bit about what the Bible originally meant and Irenaeus says this in His book, Against Heresies.” For when he (Antichrist) is come, and of his own accord concentrates in his own person …” see that, “he shall do according to his own will and choice …so that his dupes may adore him as the Christ.” Towards the end of the quote he says, “His prescience foreseeing all this, and at the proper time sending such a man…” [Irenaeus (AD 130‒202), Against Heresies, 5.28.2. sections 1-2.]
He’s an actual person; in fact, this person is so real I think it’s possible he could be on the earth today. In fact, I believe this: Satan does not know when the rapture will take place, once the rapture takes place the restrainer will be removed, the antichrist will have his way, Satan, not being omniscient but being a created being does not know when that event is going to occur so he’s always had someone waiting in the wings should this be the generation that sees the removal of the restrainer. And that’s why you can look at so many people in history or so many people in public life today and you say to yourself, wow, they would be a heck of an antichrist. We’ve had some Presidents in recent memory, if I remember right, that almost looked like they were auditioning for the role because Satan doesn’t know when this restraint will be removed and he’s always had a man or a person waiting. And what we’re reading about here in Revelation 13 is when this man comes to the forefront.
Now you might be asking yourself, well, wait a minute, I thought he was called the beast here. Is he a beast or is he a man? The reason he is called a beast here is not to subtract from the fact that he is an actual person; he’s called the beast here to emulate or to reveal what his true character is. His character will be beastly, it will be animalistic, sort of like a ravenous beast that has absolutely no conscience. The reason he is called the beast is because that’s the way his character will be like.
By the way, Peter, the apostle, says something very similar about Satan in 1 Peter 4:8. He said, “Be sober, be on the alert, your adversary the devil prowls around,” what’s the next word? “like,” figure of speech, simile to be exact, “like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” Pete says you know, Satan isn’t a lion but he sure is an awful lot like a lion in terms of a ravenous animal that has no conscience. And I think that’s the reason he has revealed here this coming antichrist as a beast.
So we move away from his sudden appearance in John’s vision and we move to number two, notice his Gentile ethnicity. There are many, many people that will tell you that this coming antichrist is Jewish. Notice what it says there in the second part of verse 1, John says, “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.” Notice that this beast arises out of the sea.
Now many people say he must be Jewish because the event that will start the seven-year tribulation period will be a peace treaty between the antichrist and unbelieving Israel. That peace treaty, and I believe largely the world today as you look at Israel entering into one peace treaty after another, is being set up before our very eyes. But whenever this restraint is removed and this beast or this man of sin comes forth he will enter into a peace treaty with unbelieving Israel. The Book of Isaiah, chapter 28 calls it a treaty with hell itself. [Isaiah 28:15, “Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have made a pact.]
Once that treaty is entered into the seven-year countdown following the rapture begins. And people say well, the antichrist must be Jewish because the Jews would only enter into a treaty with a fellow Jew, they would never enter into a treaty with a Gentile guaranteeing her security. But you see, I believe that there’s information here in Revelation 13 that indicates that this coming beast will not be Jewish but he will be a Gentile. Why do I say that? You’ll notice in verse 1 that he comes out of the sea. Now do a study on the sea and you’ll discover that the sea represents in the Bible (typically when it’s used symbolically) the mass of Gentile nations. For example, over in Isaiah 57:20 it says, “But the wicked are like the tossing sea, [For it cannot be quiet, And its waters toss up refuse and mud.]”
And then, as we’ve studied in Daniel 7:2-3, that chapter which talks about these Gentile powers coming forth, it says they come forth out of the sea.  “Daniel said, “I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea.  “And four great beasts” Gentile powers “ere coming up from the sea, different from one another”
In fact, when you go over to the Book of Revelation, chapter 17 verse 15 it says this: “And he said to me, the water” that’s the sea, “which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” A careful study of “the sea” indicates that “the sea” is not the land of Israel; ‘the sea” would represent the great mass of Gentile population and therefore I believe that this coming beast will not be Jewish but he will be Gentile. One of the reasons I think this is because he is operating at the end of the time period that we have studied very carefully in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 called the end of the times of the Gentiles. It’s a period of time when the nation of Israel is trampled down by various Gentile powers, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and finally will come the antichrist’s kingdom. And doesn’t it make sense at the end of the times of the Gentiles it will be headed by who? A Gentile.
If you want to make a case for Jewish identification I would not identify the first beast as Jewish; I think there’s a much better case that the second beast, the religious leader, will be Jewish. Why is that? If you look at verse 11 it gives you a clue. It says, “Then I saw another beast coming out of the” what? “the earth; “that’s the Greek word which can also mean land, “and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon.” The second beast does not come out of the sea, he comes out of the land. And when you do a study on the land what you’ll discover in the Bible is the land can refer many times to the land of Israel. Zechariah 12:12 says, of Israel, “The land will mourn, every family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself and their wives by themselves.” The land is Israel, the sea is the Gentile population. So, my current thinking on this is the first beast will most likely be a Gentile; the second beast very well could be a Jewish individual.
But we continue to read here and we come to number three, you’ll notice how the first beast, where we’re focused this morning, is now fulfilling Daniel’s prophecies. Daniel himself gave a series of prophecies about this coming world ruler all the way back in the 6th century B.C. And notice what it says there in the last part of verse 1 of chapter 13, of this first beast. Notice what it says, “having ten horns and seven heads and on his horn were ten diadems and on his heads were blasphemous names.” Now if you’re a student of the Book of Daniel what you’ll start to remember is this relates very much to Daniel’s prophecies given six centuries before the time of John.
There are two issues here: what does it mean by ten horns and seven heads, and then what in the world is verse 2 talking about where it says, “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.” In fact, my family and I just watched together The Wizard of Oz, and I was reminded of lions and tigers and bears. What do you make of these animals and what do we make of these ten horns and seven heads that are so intimately connected with the first beast. Let’s see if we can tackle these one by one.
What are these ten horns? We know from Daniel 7:23 that the antichrist one day will preside over what we would call the New World Order. [Daniel 7:23, “Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it.”] A one-world government that will devour (Daniel 7:23) the whole earth. All of the talking and speaking today about a global government, one world government, these politicians can’t even get through their speeches without mentioning globalism. All of the sort of sayings that people have, act locally, think locally, all of these kinds of things, I call it globaloney myself. But you can see how the psychology of the world is being prepared for this coming one world government. And when we go to Daniel 2 we learn that this world government is going to b divided into ten kings or ten kingdoms. I would say it this way, ten regions. I remember when one of these one-world organizations, The Club of Rome, came out with a map a few years ago and they had the world divided up not into nine regions, not into eleven regions but exactly ten regions and I said oh my goodness, this idea is alive and well in the thinking of fallen man.
Daniel 2:44 says this: “In the days of those kings,” what kings? The ten kings! “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will be not left for another people, it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but itself will endure forever.”
In order for God’s kingdom to come, the stone cut without human hands, in order for it to shatter this ten-king confederacy in the days of those kings what do you have to have first? A ten-king confederacy. The nations of the world divided into ten, ten kings, ten kingdoms, perhaps it’s talking about ten regions. And that’s the best explanation I know of for the ten horns on this beast.
By the way, you’ll notice in verse 1 that on each of these horns, later called heads which I’ll explain in just a minute, are blasphemous names. Yes, the coming world ruler will be primarily political but his involvement will also move into the religious realm where he will engage in some of the most blasphemous, most anti-God statements, activities, and programs a human being has ever done. So, I think this is a pretty good explanation as to who these ten horns are.
You say well wait a minute pastor, I’m reading this very carefully and it doesn’t just say ten horns, it says seven heads. He has ten horns and seven heads. What does that mean? My short answer is I’m not entirely sure, but I can give you the options. Daniel 7:24 says this: “As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones” look at the end of verse 24, He will “will subdue three kings.” So, you have this ten king confederacy all over planet earth and a one world government, and then the antichrist shows up and he takes control of the whole thing. And yet what does it say here? Three of the ten won’t cooperate so they must be subdued. So, he rises to power, seven cooperate, three do not, so the three must be subdued. According to my old math ten minus seven equals three, or ten minus three equals seven. You say I didn’t know we had to do math for Bible prophecy. But that may explain why it’s ten and then seven, maybe it’s an explanation of the three non-cooperative ones that get subdued by the antichrist. That’s a possibility.
But there’s something else that’s a possibility. Notice, if you will, Revelation 17 and notice, if you will, verses 9 and 10. Look what it says here, we haven’t gotten to that section yet and we’re going to have a lot more to say about it when we get to that section but I think it gives a tremendous hint on how to interpret this ten horns and seven heads when it’s talking about the system of the antichrist. It says this: “”Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits,” and people say well that’s the seven hills of Rome. Well keep reading,  “and they are seven kings;” so the seven mountains is a symbol for what? Seven kings! Do we have some more information about those seven kings? John says I’m glad you asked, “five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while.”
So these seven heads are seven kings and when you study the Book of Daniel very carefully you’ll learn that “king” and “kingdom” are kind of used as synonyms. It’s like saying the Reagan administration, you’re talking about a person but then you’re talking about the administration that he governed. That’s how these seven kings or kingdoms are used and they represent seven heads. Now when you go through the Bible what you’ll discover is there have been seven empires that have been hostile to the nation of Israel; seven anti-Semitic kingdoms. The first one is Egypt; Egypt of course is where the nation of Israel was taken into captivity for four hundred years in the time of Moses. The second one was Assyria; Assyria was the empire that God used to scatter the ten northern tribes in 722 B.C. Then after her came Babylon; Babylon of course was the Gentile nation that took the nation of Israel into the seventy-year captivity.
And then following Babylon came Persia; it was under Persia that we read about a very wicked king named Haman who developed a plot to exterminate the Jews. We read about that in the Book of Esther. The Persian Empire was followed by the Grecian Empire and that was the empire of Alexander the Great; it was later the empire, as Alexander the Great’s empire was divided by named Antiochus Epiphanes, or Antiochus Epiphanes, it just depends on which syllable gets the emphasis as we like to say. And it was that man that launched a horrific attack against the nation of Israel, in between the testaments. He’s the subject of much of Daniel’s prophecies and he desecrated their temple. And it’s interesting that from that particular desecration the Jews got a holiday out of it called what? Hanukkah. It’s interesting that when you attack the nation of Israel not only does Israel survive but she gets a holiday out of it as well. That certainly is what happened in the Persian period with Haman; there’s a holiday that came out of that called what? Anybody know? Purim or Lots.
And then Greece was followed by Rome, of course we know what Rome did to the Jewish people, ejecting them from their homeland in A.D. 70. And then what we learn is that Rome has to be brought back to life. There is going to arise a new world order coming forth from the cultural inheritance of ancient Rome; eventually it will cover the whole earth and we call that Rome phase 2. So the last time I checked how many anti-Semitic kingdoms do you have here? You have seven; those are the seven heads that we read about in Revelation 17:9-10. Those are also the seven heads that we read about in Revelation 13:1. [Revelation 17:9-10, “Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits,  and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while.” Revelation 13:1, “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 ten horns I think represent the ten-king confederacy which will exist contemporaneously with the antichrist. The seven heads would represent the embodiment of all of the anti-Semitic empires that have come before and are now represented in one composite anti-Semitic beast, the beast we’re reading about here.
But what in the world do we do with these four animals, the Wizard of Oz, here we go! “And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like that of a bear, and his mouth like that of a lion.” [Revelation 13:2] Now remember our studies on the Book of Daniel and now you can understand why we studied Daniel first. Amen! Daniel is the basement; the Book of Revelation is the ceiling. It’s very difficult to understand this material without a foundation in the Book of Daniel. And in the Book of Daniel we read about four kings or four kingdoms during the times of the Gentiles that would trample Israel down. And remember how those kingdoms were described. The first one was like a lion, Daniel 7:3-7, that would represent the empire of Babylon.
[Daniel 7:3-7, “And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another.  “The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it.  “And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus, they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much meat!’  “After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.  “After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.”]
Secondly came a bear, that’s also in Daniel 7:3-7, and that would represent the coming of the empire of Medo-Persia. Third would be a leopard and that would represent an empire that would come into existence centuries after Daniel had died and that empire is called Greece. And then would come a fourth beast, a terrifying beast, sort of a nondescript beast and that would represent the coming of the empire of Rome. So we have a lion, we have a bear, and we have a leopard in Daniel 7, and my goodness, what are we reading about here, a lion, a bear, and a leopard. Now look at this, this is very interesting. Do you see the order Daniel puts them in? First would come the lion, second would come the bear, third would come the leopard. Why does Daniel put them in that order? Because from Daniel’s perspective in the sixth century the next one on the horizon was the lion or Babylon, then the bear or Medo-Persia, and then the leopard which would represent Greece.
Isn’t it interesting that John, there in verse 2 puts them in the exact opposite order? The leopard is first, the bear is second, the lion is third. Why the difference? Because Daniel is giving you the chronology from a sixth century point of view. The nearest empire to him in the chronological time period would be Babylon. But not so John, as John in the first century was looking not forward but is not looking backward; to him the nearest one was Greece, and then the next nearest one would be Persia, and the one in the far distance looking backward would be Babylon. So, it is very interesting to me how the details come into sharp focus when you begin to understand the time frame of the different writers of the Bible. One is giving a sixth century B.C. perspective; another one is giving a first century B.C. perspective.
And you see, it’s only through diligent Bible study that these interesting details emerge. Your average Christian will just read right over this, not understanding what it is, but not so you because you are no longer a normal well-adjusted psychologically healthy person, you go to a church that’s interested in prophetic details where you pastor, who’s certainly not normal, well-adjusted or psychologically healthy points things out. But these things are important because we believe in inspiration of the Bible right down to the exact words. In fact, right down to the exact letters that comprise the words. In fact, right down to the exact strokes of the pen that make up the letters, that make up the words and make up the sentences, that make up the paragraphs, that make up the ideas. In fact, God has given us an awful lot of things to study here. Amen.
So, what is he talking about, John, in Revelation 13 where he sees this beast coming and this beast is like a leopard, like a bear, like a lion. Well, it’s hard to interpret that without verse 12 of Daniel 7. Daniel 7:12 is sort of just passed over by most people but I think it’s in Daniel 7:12 you start to understand what John is talking about here in Revelation 13. Notice what Daniel says as he describes these four beasts. “As for the rest of the beasts their dominion was taken away,” notice this, “but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.” Yes, each beast would be defeated politically but as that beast was defeated politically it would continue to live culturally within the empire that had just conquered them.
So, we know that Persia conquered Babylon politically yet Babylon continued to live culturally in the Persian Empire. And it’s very interesting that when you study the conquest by Babylon of Persia Cyrus, and I didn’t bring in all the archeological evidence to document this because your minds are numb already with everything I’m trying to say, but Cyrus, according to the archeological evidence came in and he was very careful about not upsetting the Babylonian deities. In fact, the man was a polytheist and he thought if he upset them too much his life would be cursed. So he was very nice to them. In other words, he didn’t destroy their temples, he didn’t destroy their sanctuaries, and so the whole Babylonian polytheistic pantheon continued to live and it continued to breathe within the Persian system that had just conquered Babylon.
Then later on in history Greece conquered Persia… see why I couldn’t tie this in on Mother’s Day, how would you tie this into Mother’s Day? It’s impossible. Greece conquered Persia politically yet Babylon and Persia (do you follow me) continued to live culturally in the Grecian Empire. And then Rome came along. Rome conquered Greece politically yet Babylon, Persia, and Greece continued to live culturally in the Roman Empire. Now historians will tell you this, yes, Rome conquered Greece politically but Greece conquered Rome culturally, the same deity, the same Grecian polytheism that was alive and well in Greece simply switched administrations and they just took on Roman names. That’s why you have deities that are sometimes given a Roman name alongside their Grecian name; it’s the exact same deity.
And so by the time the first beast arises he will be the composite of everything. He will be Revived Rome and he will be Ancient Rome and he will also be a composite fixture of Grecian religion and Persian religion and Babylonian religion and all of those systems which are alive and well will continue to breathe and move and have their being in the worst of the worst that’s ever come along, this coming first beast. And I think that’s what John is seeing there in verse 2 when he says, “And the beast which I saw was like a leopard,” it was like that “of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion.” [Revelation 13:2, “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.”] So, he is no doubt the embodiment and the fulfillment of everything terrible that’s come before, as all of these systems are continuing to live in the coming world ruler, the beast that’s on the horizon.
Now notice the second part of verse 2 where we’re given a description of his satanic empowerment. Notice the second part of verse 2, “And the dragon” who would that be? Satan! “… gave him his power and his throne and great authority.” So the first beast that’s coming has a throne and he has great authority and how in the world did he get those things? Verse 2 is very clear, they came to him through the dragon and we know that the dragon, Revelation 12:9 and Revelation 20:2 is Satan himself. [Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” Revelation 20:2, “And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;”]
And that’s why Revelation 13 follows Revelation 12. See the cutting insights you get by coming to Sugar Land Bible Church? Chapter 13 follows chapter 12. Chapter 12 is Satan’s hatred for Israel; chapter 13 are the two entities that he’s using to bring forth this hatred and this world domination. There in verse 2 it describes it very clearly, if a miracle happens and we get a chance to do verse 4 today you’ll see the exact same thing. In fact, it’s sort of interesting and you guys can tell what kind of week I’ve had looking into all of this stuff, what an interesting week this was. It’s interesting that in Revelation 12:3 it says this, “and another sign was seen in heaven and behold a great red dragon” who’s the dragon? Satan, having seven heads and ten horns. Aren’t those seven heads and ten horns on the beast also. In other words, what Satan has, seven heads and ten horns, are now a dominant characteristic in the person that he’s using, the beast or the antichrist himself.
And one of the things I hope you’re starting to see as we’re moving through this material is how Satan is imitating God. You’ll notice here it says, “the dragon gave,” doesn’t sound like grace to you? “The dragon gave him” that’s the first beast that we’re studying, “his power and his throne and his great authority.” Everything that God does Satan imitates.
In fact, I got so worked up about this I put together this chart and there’s part two of the chart. And I wish I had time to teach through the whole chart, maybe we do. But what this chart shows, and you can take this chart and probably expand it in your own studies. It shows that everywhere you have something Jesus does God the Father through God the Son, Satan is imitating. In fact, when you go down there to number 11 you’ll learn that God the Father gives a throne to God the Son. Isn’t that what the dragon here is doing to the beast? The dragon is giving the beast a throne through gift or through grace. I mean, that’s exactly the program of God the Father through God the Son. One of the things you’ll see in the Bible is the Trinity. We believe in one God yet He has manifested Himself in three separate personages, God the Son, God the Father, God the Holy Spirit. The doctrine of the Trinity.
Are you seeing a satanic Trinity here? What you’re seeing here is the dragon, one member of the Trinity, the first beast, the second member of the Trinity, and another beast coming at the end of the chapter, a third member of the Trinity. And you’ll see this over and over again as you go through the Book of Revelation, you’ll see how Satan is imitating God. You say well why does Satan do that? Here’s the name of the game with Satan’s tactics and strategies. He presents truth about 99% so that it really isn’t truth because if it’s not 100% it can’t be true. So he’ll give you enough ground, about 90% without going over the edge and becoming actual truth because your average person out there who is not rooted and grounded in God’s Word cannot see the difference. So many people in this world have bought into a deception because they don’t start as their starting point with God’s sufficient infallible inerrant Word. They just buy into a system that looks so similar and they can’t quite see the difference because they don’t have on the belt of truth and the helmet of salvation and it looks so similar and they buy into it, and Satan says I’ve got you, because I’ve got you in a lie, it’s a lie that you think is true but it’s not true because it’s about a 99% replica of the truth.
This is why the world at this time is going to fall in love with the dragon and the beast and the false prophet, because the whole thing looks so religious. It looks spiritual, in fact, if you’re sort of a person that doesn’t know much about the Bible it looks quite biblical.
Now the Jehovah’s Witnesses, not if but when they come to your house will sound very spiritual; in fact, they will quote Bible verses, in fact, they know so many Bible verses it’ll sort of take you off guard about how much time they’ve spend studying the Bible. It’s just what? Verses out of context. And in fact, if you track it down carefully you’ll learn that these verses really don’t come out of the Bible, they come out of their own translation of the Bible, called The New World Translation, which looks very similar to Christianity; it looks very similar to biblical truth but it’s not biblical truth.
You say well how do I know? Because I can compare everything they say with this Book, and one of the things they say is Jesus was a created being, at which point I say ehhhhh, thanks for playing. WRONG! The Bible never teaches that Jesus was a created being; the Bible teaches Jesus is eternally existent and they just throw one little word or one little letter in front of the Word of God in John 1:1 and John 1:14, they just say He was not God but “a God” and in the process they just alter the meaning. And your average person out there falls for the deception because it sounds so good and it looks so biblical and it looks so spiritual. Mormonism thrives on people who believe the Bible is God’s Word but don’t really know much about the Bible. If you have a conviction that the Bible is God’s Word and you really never studied it and you don’t know much about it you’re a sitting duck for Mormonism because they’ll show up at your door and they’re going to quote Ezekiel 37 which talks about the two sticks coming together and one of those sticks is named Joseph. And they say you know what, that’s Joseph Smith who had his revelation concerning the guest appearance of Jesus in North America 1600, 1700, 1800, and if you’ve never studied Ezekiel 37 and you don’t understand that’s a millennial passage where God is reuniting the tribes of Israel in the millennial kingdom you’ll see the word Joseph and after all Ezekiel 37 uses the word Joseph in it. It sounds so good, I mean, this way we can make Jesus American after all, He showed up over here. And so people are convicted that Ezekiel 37 is true but they don’t really understand it. And someone with the gift of gab shows up and gives them their routine and boom, a sitting duck, pulled right into the kingdom of the cults.
And by the way, when you go to these massive crusade rallies, whether it be the late group, Billy Graham, Louis Palou, these kind of crusade evangelistic activities, as you go to these things look at who’s in the parking lot afterwards? The kingdom of the cults are there, with their brochures and with their literature. Why are they targeting those areas? Because hypothetically you’ve got a bunch of people that are now regenerated, having received Christ as Savior at this crusade. And how much time have they had to grow? Not a lot, about the trip from the crusade to the parking lot. No study in doctrine, no study in the Bible, no understanding of God’s Word, and what a sitting duck such a person would be to someone that comes along and promotes 99% of the truth. They would be sucked right into the kingdom of the cults, sucked right into the Watchtower Organization, sucked right into Mormonism, etc.
And the reason I’m sharing these things is I want you to understand the strategies of the devil. Paul the apostle, in 2 Corinthians 2:11 says of Satan, “we are not ignorant of his devices.” [2 Corinthians 2:11, “so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his devices.”] And when you study Bible prophecy you see his strategy, you see how he’s going to deceive the masses and deceive the world through a 99% presentation of the truth but not enough to save a soul. And people are pulled into spiritual deception as a result.
Well, we jumped from the frying pan (as the saying goes) into the fire, where we learn here about the antichrist’s resurrection. We’ll conclude with this, in fact, we won’t even conclude with it there’s so much here, I can maybe scratch the surface. Notice, if you will, verse 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.” [Revelation 13:3] The whole world is amazed by this first beast, they’re following him. You see that in verse 3, the second part of the verse. Why is that? Because there’s a mock or a fake resurrection from the dead at the beginning of verse 3, “I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed.”
Now this is really a hot potato because there’s two major issues here. Number one, is this a national or an individual resurrection. I’ll give you my answer; my answer is yes. Number two, if it involves an individual resurrection is this an authentic resurrection. I mean, are you telling me that the deceptive powers of Satan are so profound that he could even fake a resurrection from the dead? Is this national or individual? Well, when you look at verse 3 you’ve got to look at it very carefully, it says, “I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain…” Remember who the heads are? The heads are the seven mountains or seven kings or seven anti-Semitic kingdoms that have come against Israel. One of those kingdoms, number six, was ancient Rome and when John says “I saw one that is” he’s talking about ancient Rome but then he’s talking about a Revived Rome yet to come. I think what this is saying is when the world sees what flippantly is called the Holy Roman Empire, that once trampled down the whole earth, come back to live politically, one of his heads, as we move from number six to number seven, the world is going to say that is absolutely amazing! And because there has been a political resurrection, a political resuscitation the world is going to be astonished by this. And you say well, that solves the issue, right, is it individual or national, you just told us it was national.
Well, look down to verse 14, verse 14 adds the detail. “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” singular, it’s not dealing with one of his heads anymore, “to the beast” singular, “who had the wound of the sword and has come to life.” [Revelation 13:14] Verse 14, unlike verse 3, is not dealing with one of his heads, it’s dealing with the beast himself. [Verse 3, “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.”]
And I believe this, that the beast will die and he will come back to life personally, just like the empire that he presides over was dead, Rome 1, and came back to life, and when the world sees those two things, number one, a political resurrection, number two, a personal resurrection, the world is going to say obviously this man is from God, we’re going to follow Him.
So is this an individual resurrection or is this a national resurrection? My answer to that question is yes. I think it’s both. One of the heads dies and comes back to life, political, as we move from kingdom six to kingdom seven, and the cultural inheritance of the Romans Empire comes back to life. But verse 14, I believe, is actually talking about an individual resurrection from the dead. You can see how the world would be astonished by this and follow after this man. He’s not just performed a political miracle, he’s performed an individual miracle as well. You know when John F. Kennedy was shot and the cameras and the news focused so much on that event, could you imagine what would have happened to that man in terms of his popularity if on the third day he had come back to life? I mean, the world would be stunned by that, astonished by that, surely they would hail such a man as their king and then if John F. Kennedy, in the process performed a political miracle of the type that we’re reading about here, hypothetically let’s say the country was in a recession or a depression, which it wasn’t at that time but let’s pretend hypothetically it was, and he fixed that problem. You’ve got a political miracle, you’ve got an individual resurrection and that’s why verse 3 says “the whole world” is astonished “and followed after the beast.”
And you say well, wait a minute pastor, we’ve got a big problem here. Are you telling me that this is actually going to be a real resurrection from the dead? I mean, doesn’t only God Himself have the power to bring back someone from the dead. And if you’re telling me that Satan has the power to bring back someone from the dead just like God has the power to bring back His Son from the dead, how in the world can you say that, is that not blasphemous? And how do you know that Satan himself, if he has this power, didn’t fake the resurrection of Jesus Christ? You say well, what’s the answer to that conundrum. You’ve got to come back next week where we’re going to get into that.
But you may be here visiting Sugar Land Bible Church for the first time saying what in the world is going on at this church? I mean, I came here for a nice little Mother’s Day outing and my goodness, I’ve never heard stuff like this before. Well, the reason we go into this is we believe this: God’s Word is true and the spiritual world is real. And consequently because of the reality of the spiritual world Jesus Christ stepped out of eternity into time to pay a debt that we could never pay… it’s called sin! Sin is what separates us from God; it’s a problem that all of us have and Jesus Christ bridged the gap, He came into the world to solve that, in fact, His final words on the cross were what? “It is finished!”
Everything necessary to bridge this gap and forgive our sins has been paid for and what must we do as human beings. We contribute nothing to what Jesus did for us other than to receive it as a gift. The Spirit of God has come into the world to convict men and women of their need to do this, to receive what Jesus has done on their behalf. We don’t fix ourselves, we don’t try to bridge the gap between God and ourselves because of sin through good works or good effort of trying harder. We rest upon, we rely upon by way of faith what Jesus did for us.
And that’s why we like to conclude all of our services by reminding people that that offer of salvation is available right now to anybody that will receive it by faith. You can’t get it any other way other than faith. Faith means reliance, it means dependence, it means confidence. The Spirit of God convicts you and at some point, you come to a realization that Jesus is the solution and you trust in Him and Him alone for salvation.
If If the Spirit of God is convicting anybody within the sound of my voice, whether it be in this building or listening by social media or on the internet, to respond to that conviction our exhortation to you here at Sugar Land Bible Church is today is the day of salvation.