#34 The Unholy Trinity, Part II
Our text is (Rev 13). When we were last here we saw the dragon, Satan standing on the sand of the seashore and calling his helper, the first beast, also known as Paul’s man of sin in 2 Thessalonians. This first beast is the antichrist.
Now many gasp in horror over this individual and rightly so. But we must have a proper perspective about it. God is in control of His world and this beast is a tool in the hand of God to accomplish His will. Yes he will be a monster for he is known as the wild beast, the terrible beast of Daniel’s vision; dreadful and extremely strong with large iron teeth.
He will commit atrocities against mankind; both those who follow him as well as Christians! But he is one of the wicked that God has made for the day of evil and so the truth of the matter is that he will come, as God’s hammer of judgment to punish the world for their wickedness.
Now in verse 1 we saw the beast coming out of the sea and we noticed that he had seven heads and ten horns and ten crowns on the horns. Notice that the crowns are not on the heads but on the horns as we saw before in (Re 12:3). That passage read thus…“And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.” This is the dragon, the devil.
Look a little closer at verse (1) of chapter 13 It says “And he the dragon, the devil, stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, while some think the sea refers to the masses of mankind, MacArthur says that the sea represents the abyss or pit, the haunt of demons.
The description goes on as we read of the beast having seven heads which some hold to be a conglomeration of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the final kingdom of Antichrist. He has ten horns, Ten is a number that symbolizes the totality of human military and political power assisting the beast (Antichrist) as he controls the world. Horns always represent power. and upon his horns ten crowns, crowns signify royalty, kingdoms, rulership etc.
Continuing we see that… upon his heads the name of blasphemy. The name of blasphemy imposed by the dragon, is that which Paul speaks of in (2Th 2:4). He describes the man of sin, the son of perdition, the antichrist as he 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. “He sits as God and boasts himself to be God”. Notice that except for the difference in crowns the antichrist is a mirror image of his master the devil. This is the “messiah” mankind is waiting for.
He is the final Fuehrer, the last world dictator who much like Saul in the Old Testament, will be a messiah that fits into mankind’s sinful desires. “Give us a deliverer from global warming”…Of course there is much symbolism here but we are not left to grope in the dark for the meaning because God has revealed the meaning of the symbols seen in our text.
We read in (Rev. 17:9) “And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads (of the beast) are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.” We haven’t yet gotten to the whore of Babylon. Suffice it to say that she represents the false religious system that the world adheres to even now but will go whole hog for in the last days. We heard the scriptures, that the world will worship the beast and the dragon. Imagine a world where the devil is worshiped openly, wholeheartedly, by the masses. This is just too awful to think about.
As to the seven heads being seven hills; there are many who believe that the seven mountains refer to Rome. It is a fact that the Catholic Church has been called the whore of Babylon for centuries. We know that there is much paganism in the Catholic Church, much of the ‘old religion’ of Roman as well as other ancient civilizations; even going back to the days of Nimrod and his evil kingdom. Rome itself is known as the “city of seven hills” and so there is some validity to the notion of Rome being meant here! If it isn’t Rome, then Rome at least is a prototype, a forerunner of the final product.
I found this next reference interesting. You know how today we seem to need a ‘consensus of public opinion’ to do anything. “Lets take a vote as to what we’re gonna have for dinner!” Consider the world situation. We were attacked on 9/11 even though there are people who believe it didn’t happen. You’d think there would be no question about our right to go out to get the bad guys. But in this ridiculous, upside down world in which we live we can’t just defend ourselves as a nation anymore. No, we need to go out and get a bunch of people to agree with us…we need a ‘coalition, a group of nations to agree that its ok for us to fight back! Now it seems to me from the scriptures that the antichrist will form a coalition of nations; ten in fact to back him up, support him, give him the ‘public opinion’ people so vehemently demand nowadays.
Notice what it says in (Rev 17:12-13) “And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. 13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength to the beast.” People have believed for a long time now that the European Common Market is meant here by this ten nation confederacy. Who knows! It could very well be!
The antichrist will be a tool in the hands (second cause) of the devil. This is why, as I stated last week, the crowns are on the horns (the ten kings) instead of the heads indicating that power has been transferred to them. They are partakers of the power of the devil. They are ‘on his side’ if you will. Here again is a terrible idea. Imagine a nation whose king is the devil! And here are ten such kingdoms! Verse 2 of Revelation 13 says “Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion.
And we saw how this imagery and that of the vision of Daniel fit together…that the antichrist will be a kind of conglomeration of the former kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome (these were the dominant kingdoms in Daniel’s vision) although in its final form this ruling kingdom (the eighth) will be terrifying and extremely strong with iron teeth. It will devour, trample and crush all who oppose it. Now in verse 7 God shows us who it is that is really in control of all things. We read that “It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. The scripture tells us that the dragon gives the beast his power but we know there is only one real power. God! He is the supreme authority. God granted the beast his power, and granted him victory over His saints. This is all part of the judgment of the world.
We see that the beast makes war with the people of God and defeats them. Some people would say, “How could a loving God do such a thing!” My answer is this; you had no part in your entrance into this world and you will have no part in your exit either. God brought you in exactly as He desired and He will remove you in the manner that He decreed. If you are one of God’s kids you will be going home. If you are a child of the devil then your place has been prepared as well. For the people of God this is a home-going celebration. For the devil it is a hollow victory for he may be able to kill the body but after that he has nothing more he can do!
As we continue in verse 7 we read “And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. What did Paul say in (Eph 2:1-3) And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. This is where the world is. They are always ripe for devil worship. They want to do evil; to obey their ‘father’ and indeed are led to do evil for they are held captive by the devil to do his will!
And there is literally hell to pay. Listen to verse 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10 He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; you lead people into bondage to sin and the snare of the devil; you are the human instrument of their being captive to sin, prepare yourselves for you will be led into a dark, torturous dungeon of agony and despair and I am talking about hell.
Jesus said, “He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword. And here in Revelation it repeats that same theme when it says “he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Those who have an ear, but choose not to hear, do so because of pride. This is the major sin of the end and of our own day: (Jer. 13:15-16) says “Hear and give ear: Do not be proud, for the LORD has spoken. Give glory to the LORD your God before He causes darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and while you are looking for light, He turns it into the shadow of death And makes it dense darkness.
And again from (Jer. 15:2) And it shall be, if they say to you, ‘Where should we go?’ then you shall tell them, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity.” God has spoken.
Back in Revelation 13 we read…Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. The Greek word for Patience is [hypomonē] , meaning to abide under. It indicates stead-fastness and perseverance while enduring toil and suffering. It is through faith and patience that the promises of the believer are attained.
The writer of Hebrews exhorted his readers to perseverance in the face of severe trials in (Heb 6:11-12) when he said “11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith (through the exercise of their God given faith) and patience inherit the promises.
John was himself a fellow partaker, a “brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ . . . suffering on the island that is called Patmos” (Rev. 1:9). Jesus recognizes the patience exhibited by the churches of Asia (Ephesus, Rev. 2:2; Thyatira, Rev. 2:19). Patience is a command which the Lord gives believers.
Because the faithful church of Philadelphia kept this command, Jesus promised to keep them “from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world” (Rev. 3:10). The patience in this verse is directed to those who find themselves in the midst of the Great Tribulation—perhaps the most dangerous time of all history for believers upon the earth. The patience and the faith is found here…in the realization of God’s sovereignty. Whatever befalls these Tribulation saints, they must rest in the knowledge that it is according to God’s will and that they can never perish.
They will find rest and comfort in the words of Paul who said “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Rom. 8:35-37) Now I must bring us to our day. Though there are ugly things occurring in our world, even in this country…we, at least those living in America, could be said to be living in the good times. We have relative peace and security. But this is a dangerous situation to be in for it is at these times of peace that we become complacent and fat and forget the Lord who redeemed us.
We are in danger of falling asleep in the light much like Samson. I exhort you; Bestir yourselves. Shake yourselves awake. Peter realized this when he warned believers in his epistle to be on the alert. The Greek word is ‘Gregoreuo’ and carries with it these several meanings “to give strict attention to, be cautious, active, to take heed lest through sloth and laziness, some destructive calamity suddenly overtake you!
It means that we should exercise careful caution and alertness, as one does when he is in danger, in reference to the matter here referred to, it means that we are to be on our guard against the wiles and the power of the evil one. You know what happens when you let your guard down, willingly or otherwise. You do stupid things, sinful things, evil things. You sin against the Lord who saved you. You cause others to stumble. In short, you bring much grief and sorrow to yourself, to those around you and to your Lord! And that’s the last thing we want to do!
For some of us the word may be “4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. (Rev 2:4-5)
Or maybe this is what you need to hear: 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Your life is characterized by compromise. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. (Rev 2:14-16)
Does this challenge from our Lord ring true in your life? “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.
3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. (Rev 3:1-3
Can this be said of you… 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. (Rev 3:8-12)
Or is this your case before God… 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Rev 3:15-21)
If you aren’t strong in the good times how will you fare when things turn ugly? If you’re not bananas for Jesus now, what makes you think you will suddenly be super Christian when the antichrist rears his ugly heads. It is now, when the winds are fair that we must build up our spiritual muscles so that we will be prepared for whatever comes our way.
God has done us a great favor by showing us what lies ahead and He has done so for a purpose…so that we might prepare ourselves for the coming storm! We may not live to see the antichrist but you never know! Are you ready for whatever God brings your way? Don’t settle for “I hope so”. Remember the parable of the 10 virgins. Are you packin oil or just hopin. Is your lamp burning bright or going dim?