Summary: Antichrist, The Beast From The Sea
Back to Revelation
Over the past two weeks, we have explored the prophecies from both Daniel 4 concisely and Daniel 7 in detail. The image that Nebuchadnezzar saw in chapter 4 and the dream that Daniel had in chapter 7 revealed five kingdoms:
Babylon (head of gold/winged lion).
Medo-Persia (arms/chest of silver/humpbacked bear)
Greece (belly and thighs of brass/a winged leopard)
Rome (legs of iron/fierce beast)
Revived Roman Empire/Antichrist (feet/toes of iron and clay/little horn)
Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon was the finest and most prosperous of all the kingdoms (Daniel 2:37, 38), and all other kingdoms that followed diminished in their greatness. The statue from Daniel 2 illustrates this beginning with gold, the most precious metal at that time, then to silver, brass, iron and finally the worthlessness of iron and clay.
Last week, we touched on a few questions about Antichrist, and we will answer them this week:
Where will Antichrist be from?
What will Antichrist be like?
Will we know the identity of Antichrist?
We will see answers to these questions and more today.
Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.
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. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. Revelation 13:1-2 (NKJV)
Who Is On The Beach?
As we discussed two weeks ago, this is not a literal passage of Scripture but is a figurative one. How can we interpret it? By having Scripture interpret Scripture, one of the golden rules of Biblical interpretation. But right off the bat, we are dealt with an odd issue.
The Textus Receptus, on which the KJV some other translations are based, is translated "Then I stood on the sand of the sea" (verse 1a). However, the older manuscripts are quite different in stating "And he stood on the sand of the seashore" (NASB77), with the NASB updated version translated as "And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore." So whom is on the beach? Most scholars would agree with the latter view, with "he" being the dragon--Satan. How would we know this? Another golden rule of biblical interpretation: context, context, context.
It's important to remember that verse and chapter divisions are not inspired by God, but are man made. With that in mind, many scholars feel that Revelation 13:1a should actually be part of chapter 12, and I agree.
One of the major characters in Revelation 12 is The Dragon, whom we have already identified as Satan. In the last five verses of Revelation 12, Satan is the main character that pursues Israel into the wilderness and is thwarted in that pursuit. He vents his wrath upon "the rest of her offspring", which is most likely converted Jews that did not make it to the refuge of Petra. The context, then, is one where Satan and his fallen angelic army, loses the war in heaven badly, is cast out never to return, then cannot touch the bulk of saved Israel, then vents his wrath on the saved Jews that he can find. Part of that assault is the official calling by Satan of Antichrist; he summons him "out of the sea".
While Satan is currently limited by God in scope and cannot do anything to a believer with out God's permission, at this point the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit will be removed and evil will explode across the planet. Lawlessness will rule, as Satan "shall intend to change times and law." (Daniel 7:25b); Satan hates God and will seek to change the calendar (which is a testimony to Jesus as we live in 2013 AD or "after Christ") and the law (because God created law). Antichrist will be revealed officially at the midpoint of the tribulation, which we shall see next week.
Out of the Sea of Humanity
Satan, full of fury and wrath at the humiliating loss of the war in Heaven (Rev 12:7-9), then calls forth Antichrist to the forefront. The term sand comes from "an old word for sand, for innumerable multitude in Rev 20:8" (Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT). It's important to remember that Satan is "the god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4) and "the ruler of the world" (John 12:31). A view here is that Satan stands as ruler over the people of the world as represented by the sand of the seashore.
It's important to note, that although Satan rules the world he does not rule those that are saved by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. God is our Father, and the unsaved's spiritual father is Satan. We are citizens of Heaven, not of this world as the children of God.