1. Last week we heard the sounding of the seventh trumpet. A a sign that the end of this present age is at hand. But before this event takes place, we looked at the woman and the dragon. We saw hpw the woman represents the church - both in the OT and the NT. And the dragon is Satan. And we saw how there were three battles that have and are taking place. One between Satan and the OT church in which he tried to stop Christ from being born and gaining victory over Satan through Christ’s death and resurrection. Another battle in heaven between Michael and Satan and their angels. In this spiritual battle Satan accuses those OT saints who are in heaven. Because Christ’s atonement had not been completed at that time, Satan says they ahve no right to be in heaven. And the third battle is Satan trying to take the NT church away from God. When that failed he makes war with the seed of the woman, the church, which means individual believers.
2. Today we are told how Satan makes this war with the saints, and with God and Christ. We will see how Satan attempts to establish his kingdom and boldly sets it up. In chapter 13 we have a picture of the anti-christian power and kingdom and its king.
3. First, John sees a beast coming out of the sea. Remember, its description is symbolic. It has seven heads and ten horns, each horn with a crown on it. On the heads were written names of blasphemy. It looks like a leopard, its feet are like those of a bear, and its mouth is a lion’s mouth. And one of the heads seemed to have a fatal wound which had been healed.
4. What does all this symbolism mean? What does the beast represent? Let me give you the answer and then explain how we get that answer. The beast is the symbol of a political government. More than that, a great world power and its government.
5. The beast comes out of the sea. In Rev. 17:15, where the passage is about this beast, we are told:
Rev 17:15 Then the angel said to me, "The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages.
This power comes up out of the nations.
6. And in Daniel 7, as we saw some time ago, we are presented with four beasts. These beasts also came up out of the sea. In Daniel, these beasts represented four empires in human history. These beasts were like a leopard, lion and bear and the fourth was described as frightening. The beast in our passage combines the characteristics of these four beasts. And so it represents a combination of the kingdoms of the earth, uniting together as a world power.
7. Vs. 2 makes it clear that this world power gets its power and throne and authority from Satan. Satan wants to establish his kingdom. He failed to do that when he tempted Jesus. Since the devil is spirit he needs a human or humans to take the position. That is why he offered the position to Jesus. And now he tries to give this to the beast or a world power.
8. And though that power is a kingdom, the nations, the power is concentrated in its governing head. We might say that this world power is the very incarnation of the devil. As Christ is the incarnation of God, we see how this beast is seen by many as the antichrist.
9. John tells us that the world was astonished at the beast and worshipped both the beast and Satan since he had given the beast its power. The antichrist will not come as a terrible power which will subject the people to suffering. He will be attractive and inspiring. It will be a wonderful time of peace for the world since all will be united. He will have control over the powers of nature, science, religion, worship and industry. It will be such a time as the earth has not seen before.
10.Vs. 4 - they also worshipped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?"
They will worship him in true gratitude.
10. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. His authority will be very strong and absolute. To go against him will not ne tolerated.
11. The beast is given authority for 42 months, the time of this present age. This means that after Christ’s resurrection this authority has begun but it is getting greater and will be at its strongest just before Christ returns.
Rev 13:8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast--all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.