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"The Beast, the Mark, and the Number"

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Sermon shared by Andy Grossman

January 2010
Summary: Commentary on Chapter 13
Denomination: Holiness
Audience: General adults
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will have the catlike vigilance of a leopard, the slow and crushing power of a bear, and the authority and ferociousness of a lion.
Since the beasts of Daniel 7 represented empires more than specific men, some have thought that the beast of Revelation 13 is not a person, but a government or a cultural system. Many believe the beast is a picture of totalitarian governments, especially the totalitarian states of the 20th century. But others see the beast as a person, specifically the Antichrist - the final Satanic dictator who leads the world in rebellion against God. Some (like David Hocking) combine the approaches and say that the beast is a modern, world totalitarian government, but the one head that has ten horns is specifically the Antichrist - the leader of this beast - a final satanic dictatorship. But with any empire, especially brief empires, the government is almost totally identified with the ruler. When we think of Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, the figures of Hitler as an individual and Nazi Germany as a state are virtually the same.
All the indications in Revelation 13 are that the beast is a man, a human individual, although he is closely identified with his world-dominating government.
“The Beast is worshipped as a god; but people never worship an empire as such; neither do they make a succession of emperors into an object of religious devotion. The paying of divine homage to kings has been a common thing in the world’s history, but it has always been rendered to individuals.” (Seiss)

An image is set up of the beast, and the whole world is commanded to worship it. How can one set up an image of an empire or a government? This hasn’t been done in the past, but men have often bowed down to an image of a political ruler.
“This Beast also has a proper name - a name expressive of a particular number, and that number ‘a number of a man;’ which cannot be conceived except on the idea of an individual person.” (Seiss)

With all this in mind, I have to agree with Seiss:
“We would therefore greatly err from the Scriptures, as well as from the unanimous conviction and teaching of the early Church, were we to fail to recognize this Beast as a real person, though one in whom the political power of the world is finally concentrated and represented.”
So this beast is a real man of flesh and blood, probably a leader of a world power. He is empowered and supported by Satan. Through this man, Satan will express his own desires. So the beast is a man, but he is no ordinary man. He is called “the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit” (Revelation 11:7, 17:8), and ordinary men do not come from there.
“One who hails from that place must either be a dead man brought up again from the dead, or some evil spirit which takes possession of a living man. In either case, the Beast, as a person, is an extraordinary and supernatural being.
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