Revelation 13 - Satan's Henchmen
Episode 2 of the 3rd Brief History of the World (from Jesus' 1st to 2nd Coming)
- in chapter 12 we saw the woman (Old Testament church on her way to becoming the New Testament church) the Dragon (Satan) and the Man-Child (Jesus the Messiah/Saviour). It ends with Satan cast out of heaven and out-maneuvered on earth.
- But he is not finished - his time is not yet ended, and he is furious and cunning.
- The Dragon calls up a monster from the sea, very much like himself - 7 heads, 10 horns, 7 crowns.
- He give the monster-beast his power and authority, and the beast wages war on the Christians, and rules over all the earth. The beast makes people worship him and the Dragon (Satan).
- Satan calls up another beast from the earth. This one looks harmless, like a lamb, but watch out! He's a dragon in sheep's clothing. His main task is to make all people worship the 1st beast (and the dragon too, its one and the same and crush all who won't
- We are told the first beast's name-number; "666"
Who Are They?
- if we know that, we know what this chapter is all about.
- Remember, as always in The Revelation, we need to ask "what do these symbols, these pictures, represent?"
- v1 from the sea; Isaiah 17:12 "many nations - they rage like the raging sea..." - as in Daniel 7 the sea means the turmoil of nations.
- v1 Called up by the Dragon, Satan, the "Father of Lies".
- v1 he has the same 7 heads 10 horns and 7 crowns as the Dragon. Their ambition and power is the same.
- v2 yet he is not a dragon, but rather a mixture of Lion, Leopard, Bear and Monster, as the 4 beasts in Daniel 7. It has the same number of heads and horns as those four put together. Daniel 7 plainly shows us these were real earthly kings. Strong men of the earth, and opposed to God and His rule.
- v2 Satan gives him his own power and authority.
- v3 1 head has a mortal wound, yet he lives, for a while (v5 42 months, 1260 days, 3.5 years)
- v4 People worship the beast, he is just so amazingly powerful (and through him, they worship Satan, whether they realise it or not).
- v5-7 He despises God and all His people, and attacks them, and for a time, he wins!
- v8 just about everyone will end up worshiping the beast - but not ALL. Jesus the Lion-Lamb of God has His records, and many names are written there. (Is yours? - it can be!)
- LISTEN UP! v9
- Why? Because trouble is the normal lot of God's believing people; Jesus said so. You can't avoid it v10
- but you can endure it, with patience, and faithfulness to Jesus (and it is only for a time - Paul says "our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" - he should know! He endured more than most, and gave his life to serve his King, Jesus. Hurt, Harassed, but going Home
- Who is it then?
- from Daniel's kings we know it represents a man; v18 confirms this, when it tells us that the mysterious number "666" is a man's number
- history and the Internet are littered with failed attempts to identify the man.
- Probably the Christians who first read the book thought of the Roman Emperor Nero, a madman who cruelly slaughtered Christians.
- A bit later they would see Emperor Domitian, as bad or worse.
- Later some thought it Mahommed, or the Pope (many popes in fact)
- Perhaps many thought it Adolph Hitler, the Nazi "Superman", 70 years ago.
- they all fit, as did Alexander the Great and Antiochus Epiphanes (another madman and a butchering horror).
- Really it must represent many men, though I believe at last there will be one final superman 2 Thessalonians 3-12.
- Overall, the beast represents worldly political power and tyranny, serving the Dragon/Satan, the real power behind the throne.
- v11 "such a cute, harmless lamb" but he spoke like a dragon. His speech betrays him.
- v12 same power as sea-beast and uses it to make everyone worship that beast
- v13 with miraculous signs, just as Paul said (2 Th 2:9) v14 he DECEIVES, just like his father the devil. v15 - even makes the image/statue of the beast "come alive" and be worshipped (for the 1st beast is a man; he can only be in 1 place at a time, no matter how proud he is; but there can be many images - "Caesar is Lord!" - its only a pinch of incense - nothing to it.)
- v16,17 wages economic war on Christians - can't buy or sell without a show of allegiance to the 1st Beast, without his mark or ownership and slavery, which true Christians can never do ("We'll starve!" - better starve than eternal, gnawing, bitter, death in hell)
- Who is it then?
- like a lamb - a counterfeit of the true Lamb
- religion (false worship of Satan and his "son", the 1st Beast) is its goal
- I think it is plain that this means corrupted religion of all kinds, but especially corrupted Christianity.
- History shows us that; almost from the beginning there where those who said "Jesus was just a man" or "Jesus was never a man" or "its a special secret, and we know..."
- maybe you've been in contact with some corrupted Christianity; please don't be offended, but I wouldn't be a friend to you it I kept quiet, and I would not be faithful to my King, Jesus.
- Cults, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, or the Mormons, or the Christadelphians, or the "Christian Scientists" (who are neither Christian nor scientific)
- Corrupted mainstream Protestant churches, who have discarded the Bible as God's authority, and don't believe Jesus is the God-Man-Saviour-King-of-Kings. (Eg, Bishop John Shelby Spong)
- even the Roman Catholic church; it holds to the Bible as God's word, making it far better than corrupted Protestantism, yet it adds and allows much superstition, making it hard for people to have any real idea of forgiveness by Christ alone, that is, of God's free grace.
- it must be Christ no one else can forgive me; no one else died for me
- it must be Christ ALONE - I can add no merit, no good works to His finished and matchless work (and if I try I am so likely to lose sight of Him and think it is all about my works).
We had to get to it - 666!
- rivers of ink and reams of paper have been gobbled up with ideas about what the "666" means (and of course, who the beast is).
- now its pounding keyboards in cyberspace - A search for the phrase "beast 666" on the Internet via Google gave me 422,000 results!
- one that went around early in my own life as a Christian was the Bankcard. Aussie invention, and 1st general bank supported credit card in Oz, approved by Gough Whitlam, our PM, in 1974; 5 million my 1984! (1 in 3 Australians had one). Well, some were sure it was the mark of the beast, and would be used to control our spending (ha! more out of control than ever!) Look at the Bankcard symbol - with imagination you can see the "b" as a "6", and in 3 colours, one inside the other, so 666! Bankcard withdrew from the market in 2006, and its website disappeared in 2007.
- Yet another, and still taken seriously by many, is the Bar-Code. Some have convinced themselves that the 3 pairs of longer lines that act as separators in some versions of the code are the codes for "666" (they are not - they are "guard-bars" so that the scanner knows its got a legitimate bar-code and which direction is is scanned in); so they think people will be forced to have a bar-code tattooed on their foreheads, and scanned before they can buy or sell.
- Some think the beast is Pierre Trudeau, flamboyant Canadian PM, who used to drive a Mercedes with the number plate "666" - he died in 2000, so that theory is a bit suspect.
- Ditto US past president Ronald Wilson Reagan; his 3 names all have 6 letters, and if that isn't enough proof (so some say), he used to live at 666 St Cloud Rd, Belair, LA, CA. But he's died too.
- some think its the number of the Internet, because in Hebrew the 6th letter "vaw" or "waw" is used for number 6, so "www" (the nick name of the Internet, World Wide Web, and the prefix of many websites, eg, www.ibm.com) becomes 666 (or so they say).
- finally, more than a few think Prince Charles is the Beast, and manage to twist 666 out of his name. Well, the Prince is alive and well, so we'll have to wait and see.
- Well, then, what does it mean?
- we may never know for sure
- the early Christians probably did - if it was Nero at first (an example of all the brutal tyrants to come) it would not have been safe for John to say so, nor for anyone to have a copy of the book that said so.
- here is my best effort
- 6 is the day man was created, so it is the number of a man
- 6 is also one less than the perfect number 7 (7 days in God's week, and 7 is used of the spirits of God, etc, and counterfeited by the Dragon and the Beast's 7 heads and crowns). Man fell in Adam, and is no longer perfect, but utterly flawed
- 666 is 3 times flawed, and will come to ruin at last
- 666 might also hint at the counterfeit trinity of the Satan, his incarnate "son" the 1st beast, and his corrupted religious leader. - as someone put it, "A Unity of Devilry"
- Jesus will win
- Whose side are you on?
- Trust yourself to Christ Alone, and you will be safe, and going Home.
Click here for the next Revelation article Revelation Chapter 14, "The Lamb with His Fair Army"
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published: 23 July 2008
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