Summary: Antichrist and the head wound
Last Week In Revelation...
It often amazes me how much information and doctrine can be packed into a single verse or two of God's Word. Sometimes, I feel like an NFL referee; when I look at a passage of Scripture I form one opinion but "upon further review" I overturn the previous decision! I love God's Word.
When we started in chapter 13, we reviewed how chapter and verse divisions are man made; this makes it most often easier for the reader. That being said, sometimes these divisions of chapter and verse are not correct; God's Word is true, but the divisions are sometimes not. Such is the case with the first sentence in chapter 13; many scholars feel that it should be the end of chapter 12. Also, the manuscripts vary in that some translations state "Then I stood on the sand of the sea" (NKJV, KJV, ESV, HCSB) while the older manuscripts translate as "And he stood on the sand of the seashore" or something similar (NASB1977, NASU). The difference is that it is either John looking on (Then I) or Satan (And he); I lean more toward the latter version as do many scholars.
We then saw a terrifying beast arise out of the sea (summoned by Satan), this beast being a symbol, not literal; this beast symbolizes Antichrist. Each part of this symbolic beast represents a quality or characteristic of the Man of Sin (2 Thess 2:3). Coming up out of the sea refers to the Mediterranean Sea (the region of origin of Antichrist), the ten horns referring to ten kingdom government that Antichrist will rule, and the seven heads being either the seven hills of Rome or seven great kingdoms from antiquity to and including the future kingdom of Antichrist. Each country will be rotten and "antichrist" in nature, and will blaspheme God in word and deed.
The three animal attributes (body of leopard, feet of a bear, mouth of lion) refer to characteristics of Antichrist and his rule. He will come to power quickly, will have brutal strength and his voice and even his name will dominate and strike fear into the hearts of men. He will gain his power, throne and authority from Satan, the "god of this world" and "prince of power of the air".
This week, we will see one of the great deceptions of all time and how the people of the earth--for the most part--will be duped into believing the greatest lie ever told.
And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" Revelation 13:3-4 (NKJV)
The Great Deception
As Christians, we "serve a risen Savior, He's in the world today" (from the hymn "He Lives"). We know what millions of men, women and children have come to believe over the millennia since Jesus Christ: "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. (1 Cor 15:3-8, NKJV). Any other faith is believing "in vain" (1 Cor 15:2).