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Revelation 13:

 Closer to Home Than We Think

By David A. DePra

The 13th chapter of Revelation contains a description which stands at the center of much end-time prophecy interpretation. It is in that chapter that we find two beasts, the anti-Christ and the false prophet. It is there that we find, "the mark of the beast," and the number, "666."


Most often, the anti-Christ and the false prophets are interpreted to be individuals who will someday appear on the scene. The so called, "mark of the beast" has been interpreted to mean everything from a social security number, to an ATM pin number, to a computer chip which is surgically implanted in the hand or forehead. The ways in which these things are interpreted are always a reflection of the times. Those who, at one time, thought that a social security number was the mark of the beast would have, I’m sure, not felt so strongly about it had they known about the possibility of a computer chip. It would seem that we will never learn that trying to interpret Revelation along these crazy lines is futile.


Revelation 13, as is the rest of the book of Revelation, is a vision which John had when he was, "in the Spirit." He saw SPIRITUAL things – not physical things. Even those who say that the anti-Christ and the false prophet are individuals know enough to see that the "beasts" which represent them are merely PICTURE lessons of – according to them – literal men. But let’s take it a step further, for the two beasts of Revelation 13 are NOT literal individuals at all. God would not picture individuals in that way. The two beasts of Revelation 13 are something else entirely. Indeed, the message of Revelation 13 is closer to home than we may think.


The First Beast


And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. (Rev. 13:1)


In the book of Revelation, the sea is most often representative of the enemy. This is the case here. This beast "rises" up out of the sea, that is, this beast is OF the sea; of the enemy. All through the 13th chapter we find that Satan is the real power behind this beast.


In Revelation, there is a distinction between "beasts" and "living creatures," which is distorted by the KJV. "Beasts" are more often bad creatures in Revelation. "Living creatures" are good things. The term "beast" speaks of the lower nature – one which is governed by instinct and survival, rather than the Spirit of God.


As an aside, the KJV is wrong when it translates, "I stood upon the sand…" It should read, "And HE stood upon the sand…" This "he" is the dragon of chapter 12. So we see that the dragon stood on the sand of the sea, where the sea meets the land, and John saw a beast "rise up" out of the sea.


The "rising up out of the sea" not only shows that the beast came about as an agency of the enemy, but this "rising" certainly denotes a PROGRESSION. There is a RISING UP, as opposed to all of a sudden being there. Thus, whatever this beast represents is progressive in nature.


This beast has 7 heads and 10 horns. There are 10 crowns upon it’s 10 horns. Compare this to the description of the dragon in Revelation 12:3. The dragon is said to also have 7 heads and 10 horns. Only the crowns are upon, not it’s horns, but upon it’s 7 heads. We’ll get to the reason WHY there is this difference in a minute. Sufficient for now to notice that the fact that this first beast is OF the dragon is seen in the fact that is also has 7 heads and 10 horns.


Numbers in the book of Revelation sometimes indicate AMOUNT. But most often, numbers indicate CHARACTER. Thus, rather than think of the heads as 1, 2, 3, etc., and trying to identify each of them, the FACT that there are 7 of them is the issue. In other words, don’t ask: What do each of the heads represent? No. Rather, ask, "What does having 7 heads indicate?"


7 always denotes spiritual completion or perfection. Thus, we can conclude that 7 heads indicate the perfection of spiritual headship. The "head" of this beast is spiritually complete or perfect. In other words, the authority it is under, and the source of all that directs it, is spiritually perfect.


Now, before we jump to the conclusion that this is a GOOD thing about this beast, we need to read on. Verse one says, "And upon his heads the name of blasphemy." This shows us the nature of the heads. 7 heads represent spiritual perfection. But add the fact that upon the heads is the name of blasphemy, and what you have is a beast who symbolizes THE PERFECTION OF SPIRITUAL BLASPHEMY. So this isn’t a good thing. It is about as bad a thing as could be.


Blasphemy is, of course, irreverence for God. This can be manifested in a number of ways. But irreverence for God, and rebellion against God, is really a matter of refusing God’s rule over me in favor of my own. In other words, instead of "Thy will be done," we say, "MY will be done." What better way to picture this than to show that this beast has a HEADSHIP which is blasphemy against God? – instead of a HEADSHIP which is God Himself.


This beast represents independence from God – rebellion and irreverence against God. Instead of Christ being it’s spiritually perfect head, it has a headship with is spiritually perfect in it’s rebellion against Christ. That’s why it’s heads are written upon with blasphemy. This beast is the perfection of spiritual blasphemy – it represents the outcome and summation of rebellion against, and independence from, God.


We would expect nothing else from a beast which is seen rising from the sea, and which has behind it, the motivation and power of Satan. Satan is the source of all rebellion against God. Any beast which comes from Satan would look like Satan, and carry the same spirit, and be used for the same purpose.


Now, we must note again that this beast RISES from the sea, which indicates a PROGRESSION. In other words, whatever this beast is, it has been rising. It is a beast which is coming to maturity. It is a beast which is being formed BY Satan. This is, as we will see, quite important.


Before moving on, we must deal with the horns and crowns. We already saw the HEADS denote headship. The horns upon the heads denote power, as in MIGHT. The crowns upon the horns denote authority, as in RIGHT. Thus, this beast, in it’s spiritually perfect blasphemy, has RIGHT and MIGHT to execute it’s purpose – all given, of course, by Satan, the dragon.


The source of the power of this beast is stated clearly in verse 2:


And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.


The other characteristics of this beast, as pictured by these other "animal parts," will not here be given space. They are not pertinent to the point at hand. Needless to say, don’t try to turn these things into nations, etc. They are not.


This beast is a creature of self-rule. It’s headship is spiritually perfect in it’s blasphemy against God. It has great power and authority from Satan.


A Deadly Wound


And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. (Rev. 13:3)


The reason the book of Revelation is often not understood is that we don’t think in spiritual terms. God is speaking about spiritual things in physical terms. We think He is speaking about physical things in spiritual terms. This beast is not a person or a nation – in the sense of an literal individual yet to appear on the scene of history. It is something much bigger.


In verse 3, the real meaning of this creature begins to become clear. This verse is a sort of "flashback." It doesn’t say that the head is NOW being wounded, or NOW being healed. Rather, John is discerning something about one of the 7 heads – about how it came to be what it is. He is saying that he sees that the head was wounded, but is now supposedly healed. This is it’s state or condition. This causes great "wonder" or "awe" – admiration.


Numbers once again help us here. This beast originally had 7 heads. When one of them was "wounded to death," it became – figuratively -- a beast with 6 heads. But now, because the wounded head has been healed, it once again has 7 heads. It is after this has all taken place that this beast RISES from the sea, and John sees it.


We saw how the number of heads represent the character of the beast’s HEADSHIP. We saw how 7 means spiritual perfection. Thus, if this beast had seven heads, without the name of blasphemy on them, this would be a good headship. It would, in fact, mean that the HEAD of this beast would be GOD HIMSELF. In that case, this would be a beast whose God IS God, and who was under the headship of Christ. Sure. Who could be a more spiritually perfect head for any of us than God?


But this beast does not merely have 7 heads. It has the name of blasphemy upon those heads – which means that it represents SELF-RULE over and against the rule of God. It’s headship is the perfection of spiritual blasphemy, which, when all is said and done, is exactly what self-rule and rebellion against God is. Yet we are told how it came to this condition. It originally had 7 heads, one was wounded unto death, leaving it with 6 heads. But then the seventh head was healed. What in the world does all of this mean?


6, in the Bible, is always the number of FALLEN man. Sure. 6 is short of 7. The Bible says that, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23) Man not only falls short of God’s glory in works, but he falls short of God’s glory as a creature. Fallen man is a 6. He, by his very fallen nature, falls short of the glory of God.


God did not originally create man as a 6. No. He created Adam in His image. Adam was a 7 – spiritually perfect in every way. We might say, at that point, that Adam was a living creature whose headship was a spiritually perfect 7 – for he was completely dependent upon God. To compare Adam, in his original state, to the beast of Revelation 13, we might say that Adam was created by God as a 7-headed living creature, whose life and headship was spiritually perfect through his relationship with God.


But this beast in Revelation 13 had a head which was "wounded unto death." Then supposedly healed. Here again, we need to think spiritually. When Adam sinned, he fell from being that "perfect 7" down to being a "fallen 6." In other words, Adam rejected God as his HEAD. Thus, instead of being a living creature whose headship was spiritually perfect in God, Adam became as a beast whose spiritually perfect headship was forfeited. He was a beast who originally had 7 heads, but one of his heads was now "wounded unto death," through his sin.


That is not all. The 7th head, which was wounded unto death, seems to be back to life. It seems to have been healed. But not by God. For the seven heads that this beast now has are written upon with the name of blasphemy. It may appear as if this beast has been restored back to it’s original headship. It may seem as if there has been a resurrection of sorts. But there has not been. Rather, the restoration of the 7th head is a blasphemy against God. It is not God’s doing. It is the work of this beast, and of course, Satan.


Can we possibly fail to see what this pictures? This beast is a clear picture of fallen man in his attempt to do for himself what only God can do through Christ. Adam sinned and forfeited his relationship with God – forfeited his life. Adam was a perfect, "7-headed living creature." Through sin, he became a blasphemous "6-headed beast" – hopelessly short of God’s glory. The only solution for this "6-headed beast" is death, and then resurrection, through Christ. This would truly restore that "7th head." This would bring it back into the relationship with God of spiritual perfection. But Satan has always offered an alternative: A restored life WITHOUT Christ. A healed or resurrected 7th head – but all the while maintaining independence from God and rebellion against God.


This beast represents everything Satan is – as worked out through human beings. Man without God is often said to be as a brute beast. He simply follows his instincts, rather than God’s will. This beast represents, not only man in his rebellion against God, but man in his attempt to try to fix what is wrong with himself without God. God says that the only way to life is through death – through the Cross. Man says – Satan says – you don’t need the Cross; you don’t need to die; you don’t need to surrender to Christ. Rather, you can heal that seventh head. You can get everything back – without God.


The beast of Revelation 13 is the summation – in it’s progressive unfolding – of man in his rebellion against God. It is a beast which has been rising out of the sea since Adam sinned. It is a beast which God says must die in Christ, and be raised a new creature in Christ Jesus. But Satan says that this isn’t necessary. Instead, Satan says, "You shall not die." You can heal what is wrong with man through other means.


We can see from this that the beast of Revelation is indeed the Anti-Christ. But he is not an individual man. He is a collective man. Just as the body of Christ is comprised of all of those individuals who have died and been raised in Christ, and are restored back to the proper relationship with God, so this beast is comprised of all of those individuals who have chosen to refuse the death and resurrection of Christ. Instead, they try to "prop up" that seventh head. For a time, this seems to have worked. But the real character of the beast they comprise is that it has the name of blasphemy upon it.


None of us are responsible for being born in Adam. We are all born members of the human race – part of the beast which HAD seven heads – but which through sin fell into the condition which is short of God’s glory – a beast with 6 heads. But while we are not to blame for that, God has sent His Son. When we surrender to God through Christ, we are delivered OUT of that fallen beast, and resurrected unto newness of life in Christ: We become a new creature. A creature which could be pictured as having 7 heads – for we have been brought back again under God’s perfect headship. The alternative to this is to stay part of the first beast, and try to resurrect him on our own. This is the height of blasphemy. It is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and the unpardonable sin.


Note the contrast: The new creature in Jesus Christ vs. beast of revelation. We have the Body of Christ vs. the old man in Adam. There are only TWO groups of people on earth. Either I am in Adam or I am in Christ. In Adam all die – although they try to live. In Christ, all are made alive, through death to the old.


Just as the Body of Christ is the summation of Christ in people, and has been formed over the course of two-thousand years, so is this beast RISING progressively from the sea of Satan’s. Both are coming to fruition and maturity. The Body of Christ is the NEW MAN in Christ. The beast of Revelation 13 is the OLD MAN in Adam – independent from God, and in rebellion against God in every way. This is Anti-Christ.


The Anti-Christ


The Bible speaks of Anti-Christ in a number of ways. Add them all up and you don’t have an individual. You have a collective body. Just as Adam and Christ are opposites, so are Anti-Christ and the Body of Christ. Each is a group of people – under a head. Each is of a definite spirit.


The progressive unfolding, or "rising" of the anti-Christ, is shown in the fact that John says that anti-Christ was ALREADY in the world during his time:


Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. (1 John 2:18)


And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:3)


For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. (2 John 1:7)


John says that one of the signs that it is the last time is the coming of the anti-Christ. He said that this was already happening in that day. Two thousand years have passed, and the anti-Christ is still rising. He is coming to maturity.


Paul spoke of this same anti-Christ. He gives a perfect description of this "beast" who stands for everything that opposes God.


Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholds that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now lets will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Th 2:1-12)


This passage begins to make more sense when we understand that the anti-Christ is a work of Satan, in fallen man, resulting in the exaltation of man as his own god -- and that he is not an individual, but the collective body of people who reject Christ. These are as a "beast" rising out of the sea. This beast is coming together. It is coming to maturity, and has been for two thousand years.


Note that this one spoken of by Paul, "opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped." This, again, is the perfection of spiritual blasphemy, as pictured by the heads with the name of blasphemy written upon them. This "mystery of iniquity doth already work," during Paul’s time.


This "man of sin" is THE man of sin. Just as we are a NEW man in Jesus Christ, so this is a allegorical man. He is representative of man in his independence and rebellion against God. A "man" who has, in rebellion, sought to fix himself – bring back to life the head that was wounded. Rather than turn to Christ, he justifies himself.


In this day and age, as never before, we see that this "beast" is coming to maturity. Any mention of standards, of absolutes, of right and wrong, is rejected. This has reached new heights in this world. It is all part of this "beast." This beast will appear GOOD to those who reject Christ. As John wrote in Revelation, "All the world will wonder after the beast."


When things get to the place where people call SIN by the name "freedom," and when people call "righteousness" by the name "ignorance," the beast has just about come to maturity. Today we see that. People rejoice in things like gay marriage, seeing it as freedom and open-mindedness. They think it is the result of the world finally casting off the restraint of morality. Man can finally do as he pleases. This is freedom! No. This is anti-Christ. It is THE BEAST of Revelation 13. He is rising. And all who join him are of him.


The power and universality of this beast is shown by John’s words. He goes on to say:


And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. (Rev. 13:4-6)


Doesn’t this sound exactly like Paul’s description of II Thes. 2? Yep. It is the same thing.  This is the anti-Christ – the REAL one. It is not an individual. It is a body – a beast.


In the Church


To finish Paul’s thought from Thessalonians, he says that this one who opposes God will, "sit in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." From passages like this, people get the notion that there is going to be a third temple. They say that the anti-Christ, a supposed individual, will sit in it and claim to be God.


Again, this misses the whole Truth. Not only is the anti-Christ – the "man of sin" – not an individual, but neither is the temple a physical temple. The Bible says that the church is the temple of God. Paul wrote:


Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Eph 2:19-22)


Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Cor 3:16-17)


The body of Christ is a living temple of God – the third temple. It is that way even if someone manages to build a physical temple, in an attempt to "help" God fulfill what they perceive to be his prophecy.


But wait. This "man of sin" sits in "the temple of God." THERE he proclaims himself God.


Are we saying that this beast of Revelation 13, or as Paul calls it, "the man of sin," is going to sit in the Body of Christ?  Yep. That is exactly the Truth. Again read John’s words about anti-Christ. Read Paul’s warnings to the church. Read church history. The anti-Christ is not merely a worldly movement. It is a RELIGIOUS deception.


In Revelation 13, John writes:


And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leads into captivity shall go into captivity: he that kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.


John says that this beast was given, "to make war with the saints, and to overcome them." Clearly, this is victory by this beast OVER those who belong to God. Not good news. The good news is that he does not have victory over ALL God’s people, and the victory he does have is only temporary. Read Revelation 12:11-17. Here we see a group of saints which OVERCOME the dragon. John writes:


And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. (Rev 12:9-14)


Here we see a group of saints which overcomes the dragon, as opposed to the group of saints which is overcome BY the beast. Again – this beast will sit IN the temple of God, the Body of Christ – and proclaim himself God. He WILL win ground, temporary, over many of God’s people.


Why should this surprise us? Isn’t it evident that this is exactly what has happened? Look at the Body of Christ worldwide. It looks more and more like the world. The attitude of the world is everywhere in the church. We have allowed MAN to be exalted over God.


If we would really examine this, we would see that the core of this problem is that people have denied the CROSS of Jesus Christ. No longer is it politically correct, even among God’s own, to tell people they are sinners. No longer can we identify specific sins such as fornication, adultery, homosexuality, etc., lest we offend some special interest group. Rather than preach a gospel which requires repentance and the surrender of the old life to the Cross, we now skip that part, and just usher people into a big party which "celebrates" Jesus. This is subtle. And it is of the Devil himself.


Anytime I deny the Cross of Jesus Christ, and offer a Christianity which merely "celebrates" Jesus, I am, as it were, trying to resurrect the beast – trying to heal that seventh head. In the end, I will end up opposing everything Christ stands for – which is what anti-Christ does. I will create a beast which embodies man’s independence from God, even in a religious sense. Today Christianity is more and more becoming a religion which merely talks about Christ, but which has denies the Cross.


For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. {18} For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Cor 1:17-18)


God has made one way by which a person might be saved. That person has to come to the Cross of Jesus Christ and relinquish his old life. That is the one thing God requires us to do, and it is the one thing we can do. God will show us how. But we must do it. Then, by faith, our old man in Adam DIES in Christ. We are then raised with Christ a new creature.


Notice that the OLD is dead. Paul says:


Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Cor 5:17)


The beast of Revelation 13, the anti-Christ, offer a NEW creature without the Cross. Instead of death and resurrection, what is offered is resurrection without death. The deception offers a healed seventh head, seeming to restore man back to HIS glory. In reality, it is a terrible beast, who is in rebellion against God from start to finish.


All heresy in one way or another denies the Cross. Even if the heresy acknowledges the Cross, it will misrepresent it. The Cross means I surrender ALL to God. It means that the way to life is through death. In the church today, the denial of the Cross is everywhere. The beast, the anti-Christ, has taken his seat in "the temple of God." He is speaking against the very One who saved us.


The False Prophet


The beast of Revelation 13 does not, at first, seem to have much to do with the church, or religion. It is just a beast. Yet as we read on in Revelation 13, we see that what emerges is in full harmony with Paul’s words of II Thessalonians, regarding "the man of sin" who "sits in the TEMPLE of God," which is the church. John continues in Revelation 13:


And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon. And he exercises all the power of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.


Revelation 19:20 identifies this second beast as "the false prophet." Thus, this beast is one which "exercises all the power of the first beast," but "causes the earth…to worship the first beast." Worship is a religious thing. So is a "false prophet." Therefore, what we have here is a religious spirit of deception, which legitimizes the first beast – making him seem to be OF GOD.


If you have been getting the picture of Revelation 13, and have understood that the first beast is man in his rebellion against God – man having refused the Cross and trying instead to live independent of God – you now see this terrible attitude embodied in the second beast or false prophet. This second beast or false prophet take everything about the first beast and makes a place for it in the temple of God, or the church. Again – Christianity without the Cross. We see it everywhere today.


This second beast rises out of the earth – again a progression. It is OF THE EARTH – of the flesh. It is not "of heaven," or of the Spirit of God. It has two horns, "like a Lamb." Of course. It MUST look like a lamb – THE Lamb of God. Just as the term , "anti-Christ" can denote a substitute for Christ, so would this false prophet offer a substitute lamb. Notice that this second beast is only "like a lamb." It is not THE LAMB which was slain. No. Remember, the enemy wants to skip the Cross.


Furthermore, this beast, "speaks as a dragon." In other words, despite how it may look, it carries the message of Satan, the dragon. It speaks for HIM.


The false prophet, or second beast, promotes everything which the first beast embodies, only now under the guise of religion – under the guise of Christianity. No wonder Paul says that this "man of sin" will sit in the temple of God – the church – proclaiming himself as God. The false prophet is that Satanic religious spirit which will legitimize Christianity without the Cross, and which will exalt man in his own rule.


And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.


This false prophet, through deception, tells people to "make an image to the (first beast). An image is always a physical articulation of that which it represents. So what we see here is not a statue. The image of the beast is whatever, in the church, or even in the world, outwardly represents the first beast. It is whatever represents that attitude of rebellion against God – of man independent of God.


In the world, of course, this image is not hard to find. But in the church, it is more subtle. Anywhere you have an "anything goes" attitude, or an irreverence towards the things of God, you have that image. Anywhere Biblical standards are compromised for the sake of "unity," or "political correctness," you are seeing the "image of this first beast." Anywhere you see sin applauded, allowed, or made comfortable, all in the name of love and forgiveness, you have the IMAGE – the outward manifestation – of this spirit of the beast.


When you see things happen like what happened in the Episcopal church – where they ordained a gay bishop – you are seeing this happen. Such a thing was commended by many as being tolerant, loving, and open-minded. According to God, it is an abomination. Yet there are people reading this right now who will think that such words are "homophobic," and mean-spirited. They are not. If the man was straight, and living in fornication, the sin would have been as serious. But in this day and age, we have vilified standards of holiness. We now glory in our shame. THIS IS ANTI-CHRIST. It is a denial of the Cross, and the exaltation of man – all done in the name of Christ, right in the very Body of Christ.


Of course, we err if we simply look at the big events in the church. Each believer must be on guard lest this spirit of anti-Christ infiltrate his life. The moment I begin to spare my old man in Adam I am in danger of this. Compromise with the holiness of God, and an attitude of irreverence towards God will suffice to endanger me.


The job of the false prophet is to take the unholy and make it seem holy – all in the name of love and forgiveness. But behind him there is Satan. We are told that even miracles will be there to verify that which is evil. It will SEEM good. But it will be clearly in opposition to the Cross, the Word of God, and be blasphemy unto God Himself.


The Mark of the Beast


And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.


The false prophet "gives life" to the image – in other words brings to life these representations of the beast. The false prophet is able to make these deceptions real and living. These are not merely concepts or false doctrines. These are attitudes of unbelief, and of real damaging deception.


The "life" which the false prophet brings to this "image" of the beast is so strong and so convincing, that it will seem to "kill off" all that suggests otherwise. Look at Christianity today. You barely hear the gospel message. We have adapted the Truth to fit people. This is the whole goal of the false prophet, of anti-Christ, and of Satan himself.


This image of the beast will SPEAK – become articulate. Have a message. It will "cause all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads." This is "the mark of the beast." What it means is not difficult to see. It is NOT a physical brand. It is a spiritual mark of ownership. The word "mark" here can mean "brand of servitude." It is an engraving. This false prophet, through deception, causes people to be branded as belonging to the beast – that is – they are of that body of people. They are what this beast represents (rebellion) -- in their WORKS (right hand), and in their MOTIVATION. (mind or forehead)


Sure. Everything we have been seeing in Revelation 13 speaks of man trying to live forever on his own terms. This was the deception of Satan from the beginning, that you will not die, but will be like God. The first beast is man’s attempt to do so, even of trying to fix what ails him through his own efforts, rather than through surrender to the Cross. The false prophet comes and turns this into a religious thing – to legitimize man as his own god. Humanism. The image of the beast are all of the manifestations of this spirit of deception – especially those in the church. Do you have any "images" of this beast in your church?


The "image of the beast," in fact, can be so real that it is said to actually "speak." If you listen and obey it, then your works and your thinking, even your motivation, will come under the deception. This can take many forms. But the bottom line is, it will be Christianity without the Cross – which is no Christianity at all!


As a capstone to this whole message, John writes:


Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

If we would just read. First of all, 666 is not the "mark of the beast." It is the number of his name. This number 666 indicates the true nature of this beast. We saw how 6 is the number of man. 666 is fallen man in his self-sufficiency or completion. Is this not what we have been seeing IS the first beast? No wonder the number 666 represents him!


666 represents man in his final and sealed rebellion against God. 6 not only falls short of 7, but 666 is complete in that. Adam without the Cross, indeed, Adam having rejected the Cross, is 666. It is the spirit of anti-Christ, and the spirit of Satan. He is "the man of sin" who sits in the very temple of God, proclaiming himself as God.


Mark of the Lamb


It is pretty easy to prove, right from Revelation, that "the mark of the beast" is not a physical mark. We are, in fact, told that the name of the Lamb, "shall be in their foreheads," that is, upon the heart and mind of those who are saved. This is the alternative to the mark of the beast. Neither are physical marks. They are marks of spiritual ownership. God’s name is written on those who belong to Him. The name of the beast is written on those who belong to him and live for him. Who we belong to is OUR choice.


Whichever mark I have determines my salvation. It is that simple. Note this in the references from Revelation about the mark of the beast:


And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (Rev 14:9-12)


And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Rev 20:4)


Can there be any doubt as to what, "the mark of the beast" is? It is a spiritual mark indicating WHO I BELONG TO. If I belong to God, it is because, as Paul says, I am no longer my own. I have been purchased with the Blood of the Lamb. I have placed my faith in Him. In short, I belong to God because I have given myself to Him.


In contrast, I belong to the "beast" if I have chosen to belong to the old creation in Adam. I belong to him if I have refused the way out in Christ. In that case, such unbelief is seen in my works and in my mind – attitude and motivation.


It is nonsense to think that God would condemn someone for being physically branded. But that is where we end up when we try to turn these revelations into world events. They are not. They are spiritual realities.


Buying and Selling


Buying and selling is said to be restricted to those who receive the mark of the beast in their hands and foreheads. Buying and selling is the world’s way of living. If you live in the world’s system – and we all do live IN it – you have to buy and sell. You even "sell" your time and talents in exchange for money, if you have a job.


We live IN the world. But we don’t have to be OF it. Note, however, that there is more to "the world" than just the outward. The world system is really a spirit. It is a spirit of living independent of God. Thus, "to buy and sell," is really a way of describing how man is able to live without God. Man simply does whatever is necessary to "cut the best deal" for himself. When I am my own god, sitting on the throne of my own life, I will compromise morally and spiritually, and sell myself, if it means I will get what I think I want.


Buying and selling is the antithesis of God’s way, or of His attitude. With God, I unconditionally surrender all of myself. There is no buying or selling. There is just surrender. The result is that I get all of Him. There is no "deal making." I freely give and I freely receive. This is GRACE.


Religiously, buying and selling is manifested in legalism. I "scratch" God’s back so he will "scratch" mine. I do what I do because it PAYS me to do it. Again, this is subtle, but it is nothing more than avoiding the CROSS. There is no bargaining at the foot at the Cross. There is only a recognition of total helplessness, and an unconditional surrender.


You cannot operate in the system of the beast – of independence from God – unless you buy and sell. And you cannot buy or sell unless you belong to that system, that is, have his mark. The whole things goes together as one package. You are either in or out – as is the case with being in Jesus Christ. You are either in or out; living on God’s basis, or your own.




Revelation 13 becomes even more clear once we turn to Revelation 20. There John writes:


And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Rev 20:4-6)


What does it mean to be "beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God." This is important. For those to whom this has happened are also those who did NOT worship the beast, his image, or receive his mark. They stand in contrast to that, and so, by positive example, can help to define what those negative things are.


To "beheaded for the witness of Jesus," means to have your OWN HEADSHIP CUT OFF, because you have surrendered to HIS HEADSHIP. Christ is the only Head of the Body, of which we are all members, if we are saved. Thus, we can no longer be ruled by our own head, or WILL.


Do we see the parallel here to Revelation 13? Those who have the mark of the beast are of the beast – they continue to rule themselves. They have their own headship. But those who refuse that mark, and surrender to Christ are "beheaded" spiritually – they now have a NEW HEAD: Jesus Christ.


The result is obvious: They sit on thrones. In other words, they reign and rule WITH CHRIST. Of course. That is always the result of relinquishing your own headship and surrendering to Christ. You reign and rule with Him because He reigns and rules over and in YOU.


The "thousand years" is not a period of time. It is a spiritual condition. It is a spiritual condition of reigning and ruling with Christ. If you have surrendered to Christ, and His Lordship over you is manifesting itself in the here and now, you are right now sitting on a throne, and are, right now, in the "thousand years."


John actually says this. He says the everything he is describing in chapter 20 IS the first resurrection. He says that reigning and rule on those thrones, during the thousand years IS the first resurrection – the resurrection of all believers in Jesus Christ.


Jesus said:


Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24)


Paul wrote:


If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (Col 3:1-3)


If we have come to the Cross of Jesus, we ARE risen in Him. Sure, there is yet a bodily resurrection. But right now, we ARE new creations. We have already passed from death to life.


John says that this IS the first resurrection. It if one which believers can experience NOW. It has to be referring to NOW because the one where people rise bodily from the dead is said to be ANOTHER resurrection.


The fact is, if you are IN CHRIST, you are reigning and ruling with Him in the spiritual relationship depicted by the "thousand years." You are entered into HIS rest, and sitting with Him on His throne. And over you, "the second death" has no power:


Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Rev. 20:6)


The only ones over whom "the second death" could have no power are those who have eternal life in Christ. What is the second death? The second death is not physical death. It is not the death into which you were born through Adam. The "second death" is the death which is the result of refusing LIFE! It is the result of refusing Jesus Christ.


We are not responsible for being born in Adam. But we are responsible for refusing the way out – for refusing life in Jesus Christ. The result of that refusal is the "second death."


So what we see here is that if we come to the Cross and die in Christ, the "first death" is satisfied in Jesus. We are then raised in Him in what John says is "the first resurrection."  We have eternal life in Him. Plus, by virtue of our surrender to Christ, we have refused the mark of the beast. We are therefore reigning and ruling with Jesus. The "second death" has no power over us. But those who refuse Christ not only remain IN death, but they have committed a greater sin: They have refused life. The wages can only be the second death. This is perfect justice.


Once again, we see a clear line of separation. We are either in Adam, or in Christ. We are either part of the beast which is rising up, and being formed of people who reject Christ, or we are a member of the Body of Christ. We are either alive or dead.


Two Men


In the final analysis, there are really only TWO MEN God talks about. There is ADAM, and there is the LAST ADAM, Jesus Christ. In Adam, all die. In Christ, all are made alive. There is no middle ground. You are, right now, either in Adam or in Christ.


The way out of Adam and into Christ is through the death and resurrection of Christ. Jesus bore all that Adam is on the Cross. So when we come to the Cross, our "old man of sin" dies. But then we are raised in Christ unto newness of life, as a new creation. We are then no longer "in Adam." We are born again "in Christ."


The beast represents all of those, yes, who are in Adam, but worse. This beast is the summation of that body of people who are in Adam by choice, rather than just by natural birth. They have "sealed the deal." They have REJECTED CHRIST. God is able to picture them as a beast rising out of the sea, progressively coming to maturity in their choice to rule themselves.


The terrifying Truth is that the anti-Christ, the beast, and all that is pictured in Revelation 13, is a progressive unfolding of that which is against God. Just as there is a Body of Christ which is two-thousand years old, so is there the antithesis, this beast, the Body of Anti-Christ. By the time Satan is done, this terrible beast will seem good. It will deceive many into believing that it is THE Christ – the Truth.


What we see in Revelation 13 is not a picture of individuals and their part in future world events. Rather, what we see is a picture of TWO WAYS, and the on-going progressive maturity of each – the beast way, or Jesus as the Way. God is pushing things to where each of us are going to have to choose, one way or the other.*


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