Lesson 47 – Revelation 13:12-14:5
Lesson 47 – Revelation 13:12-14:5
Revelation 13:12 The objective of the second beast or false prophet is to secure the devotion, loyalty, and allegiance of the world to the Antichrist and his government. This second beast will exercise the power of the Antichrist who will give the false prophet the right to speak and act for him. When he speaks and acts, he will do it with the full authority and power of his throne. He will be the chief executive officer of the Antichrist, the second in command, and the full representative of the Antichrist.
This beast is a prophet, a prominent religious leader. He comes from a form of Christianity because he will claim to represent Yeshua, but the Antichrist will entice him to use his religious position and influence for the state. The false prophet’s mission will be to use all the means available to him from the Antichrist to cause the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast. The false prophet will perform great signs of his own.
Those signs mimic not only the miracles performed by Jesus Christ (John 2:11, 23; 6:2), but also those of the two witnesses (John 11:5–6). That Satan and his false prophet can imitate supernatural signs is clear from Scripture. Jannes and Jambres, the magicians in Pharaoh’s court (2 Timothy 3:8-9), imitated some of the miracles God did through Moses and Aaron (Exodus 7:11-12, 22). The false prophet again like the two witnesses (Exodus 11:5), even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth similar to what Elijah did (1 Kings 18:38; 2 Kings 1:9–12).
In the end time, the government and its leader, the Antichrist, will have to solve the problem about how to hold the support of so many diverse people throughout the world. A world-wide religion will be the answer. Everyone in the world will be expected to give his first loyalty and allegiance to the state and the Antichrist. Everyone’s second loyalty and allegiance may perhaps be given to any religion of their choice, but all religions will come to acknowledge the divinity of the Antichrist.
Revelation 13:13-17 One thing above all others that will stir universal worship of the antichrist and his state will be the peace and economic recovery the antichrist will bring to the earth. The political unrest and economic crises and chaotic mess of the world in the end time will be ready-made for a leader with some answers. He arose from a small nation, and conquers three nations and then seven willingly come under his rule. He will propose some solutions to some of the problems of the world and to offer peace; and he will be made the supreme chief of some organization that has enormous influence.
From that post he will be able to maneuver and make power plays to secure more and more power. And all the time his idea and program for world peace and economic prosperity will be succeeding. He will be so successful that people will begin to say: “Who is like the beast? Who is able to match him or to oppose him?” The false prophet will suggest that the people of the world make an image of the beast (Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).
The temple of God is prophesied to be rebuilt in the end time. The false prophet will convince the people that the world has been blessed with the peace and economic recovery brought by the Antichrist. That the Antichrist is the one who is bringing the utopian kingdom to earth where there is going to be perfect peace; and he is the one who is solving the problems of society and providing plenty of food and housing and jobs for everyone. He will suggest that every one needs to show their support and loyalty to the state that the Antichrist has brought.
That the only way to keep the movement going and continuing is for everyone to honor the state and give their first loyalty and allegiance to the state, and that the best way to show one’s loyalty is to have an image of the state (symbolized in its leader, the Antichrist). This worship will center around the supernatural power that will enable the beast to speak (Revelation 13:15); just as there are all kinds of shrines and places where miracles are supposed to have happened today.
The false prophet will use religious persecution to secure loyalty to the Antichrist and the state (Revelation 13:15b). Very simply, anyone who does not worship the state and the beast or Antichrist will be slaughtered. The false prophet will use economic controls to secure loyalty to the Antichrist and the state (Revelation 13:16-17). There will be some mark placed upon the head or forearm of people to show that they are loyal to the state.
Food and supplies and other purchases—the whole economy—will be based on this mark. There is an ironic twist to the mark of the beast on their right hand and on their forehead. When Jewish men pray, they wear phylacteries on their left arm and forehead. They are little leather boxes with little scrolls of parchment inside on which the following passages are written-Exodus 13:1-10; 13:11-16; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:13-21.
Revelation 13:18 There is the number of the beast or Antichrist. It is the infamous number that is more well known in literature than any other number: 666. What does it mean? No one knows. Scripture does not say what it means. All we know is what Scripture says: “it is the number of a man.” In Scripture the perfect number is seven. Man’s number is six in Jewish tradition and means that man is incomplete and short of God’s glory.
The number of the beast indicates that he is mere man, short of the triune God. Man was created on the sixth day (Genesis 1:26-31); slaves were freed after six years of service (Exodus 21:2); fields were to be sown for only six consecutive years (Leviticus 25:3). Repeating the number three times emphasizes that this is man’s number, just as the thrice-repeated statement “holy, holy, holy” stresses God’s absolute holiness (Isaiah 4:8; 6:3).
The call to wisdom is a warning to those alive at that time to be wise and discerning. They will need to understand the significance of the number connected with Antichrist’s name. The church father Irenaeus cautioned against speculating about the identity of the person associated with the number 666 until that person arrives on the scene. In a sobering passage, Revelation warns of the fate of those who do worship the beast (Revelation 14:9-11).
Revelation 14 The last days are going to be terrible days, days of horror. The dragon that old serpent who is called the devil and Satan, is going to unleash the fury of his wrath on earth with the Lord’s permission. His spirit will enter one man and use that man to offer a utopian state to the world. He is going to empower that man, the Antichrist, to bring peace and prosperity to the earth.
Man is going to place all his hope in this one world ruler. He is going to give the world peace, move the world toward economic prosperity, propose programs for the hungry, homeless, and diseased, and for the other problems of the world, he is going to have a program to help the people tragically affected by the natural catastrophes that will be devastating the earth during the end time. But then he will turn against millions on earth, the religious who will not worship him.
The opening verses of Revelation 14 also introduce us to some of the greatest heroes of the faith; men who will be on the level spiritually with the likes of Joseph, Daniel, and Paul, 144,000 of them. These men will survive both Satan’s wrath and persecution and God’s judgments on the world.
Nothing will be able to harm them, because God will seal them (Revelation 7:3-4). They will be like the remnant of Malachi’s day (Malachi 3:16-17). Throughout history, God has protected those who belong to Him. He preserved Noah during the Flood and kept Rahab safe when Jericho was destroyed. He preserved Lot from the destruction of Sodom and kept the children of Israel safe from the plagues that devastated Egypt.
There will also be other kept by the Lord, both Jews (Zechariah 12:10–14; 13:1, 9; Romans 11:26-27) and Gentiles (Romans 6:9-11; 7:9, 13-14; Matthew 25:31-46) will be saved. Many of them will die as martyrs during the persecution unleashed by Antichrist but the rest will enter the millennial kingdom (Isaiah 65:20-23; Matthew 25:31-36).
Revelation 12–14 form an parenthesis of the judgments described in Revelation 6-11. Revelation 11:15 records the sounding of the seventh trumpet, though the judgments associated with it will not begin to unfold until Revelation 15. Revelation 12-13 give us insight into 7 personages who are key figures in the events of the Tribulation. They expose Satan’s efforts to destroy Israel (Revelation 12) and detail the work of Antichrist and the final false prophet (Revelation 13). Revelation 14 returns to what God is doing.
It contains three visions that give a preview of the judgments yet to come that culminate in Christ’s return. In addition to its prophetic significance, this passage gives us practical principles for living in the face of opposition and trials.
Revelation 14:1 This chapter with a picture of the redeemed who are with Jesus. He is standing on Mount Zion, which is another name for Jerusalem (Psalm 2:6-9) Isaiah 11:9-12, 24:23, Joel 2:32, and Zechariah 14:4 help us to understand that this is not heavenly Mt. Zion but rather the earthly Mount Zion.
With Him are the one hundred and forty four thousand Jews of Revelation 7, who had been sealed by the Lord and who had not denied Him during the holocaust of the Antichrist. They have been sealed with God’s name, they refused to take the seal of the Antichrist .
Revelation 14:2-3 The redeemed will hear the voice of God. The voice of God is described like the sound of many waters: forceful and mighty, as powerful as the sound of many Niagara Falls. It is also described like the sound of thunder, calling us to pay attention. The voice had a musical quality described like the sound of many harps: restful, calming, soothing, able to calm our hearts in the most troublesome of times.
Ezekiel 43:2 and Revelation 1:15 describes the voice of Jesus the same way. The new song sung is the song of redemption (Psalm 33:1-3; 40:3; 96:1-2; 98:1-2; 144:9-10; 149:1; Isaiah 42:10). Some of the lyrics of their song may be found in Psalm 15:3-4.
Revelation 14:4-5 With God’s restraint removed (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7) the unbelieving world will be abandoned by God (Romans 1:24, 26, 28), sin will be released like a flood. Set against that darkness the 144,000 will shine. Despite the sexual sin that surrounds them, they will not be defiled with women. This passage does not necessarily teach that they will all be unmarried, since sex within marriage does not defile anyone (Hebrews 13:4). They also are described as following the Lamb wherever He goes. (Hebrews 14:4b)
The 144,000 are further characterized as the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They will be completely loyal to the Lamb, no matter what the cost, To declare to the world the coming kingdom of God (Matthew 16:24; John 10:27). These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. While all believers have been purchased by God (Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23; 1 Peter 1:18-19), the 144,000 were purchased for a special purpose.
They are first fruits to God and to the Lamb. In the Old Testament the first fruits, the first part of a crop to be harvested, were offered to God (Deuteronomy 26:1-11) to be used in His service (Deuteronomy 18:3-5). No falsehood was found in their mouth (Psalm 32:2; Isaiah 53:9); and they are without blemish. The word used here is characteristically a sacrificial word. It describes the animal which is without flaw and so fit for an offering to God.