Summary: Revelation 13 and 17 are John's two clear testimonies about the coming antichrist.
5. JOHN: REVELATION 13
Have you ever considered just how much Daniel and John have in common? As young men, both had a personal relationship with the Lord. They were both considered beloved of God. Defiantly strong for the Lord as young men, they both grew into long-term servants of God whose ministry involved prophecy. Both lived until their 90’s, when both received the vision of the end of the world, much of which overlaps. Both received these visions as men in captivity to their respective Empires.
Their prophecies were given by the same Spirit, so you would expect common threads running through both. Away, please! with the notion that John was an intuitive thinker who created his own wild vision of the end of the world, with generous borrowings from Daniel’s work. I’ve actually heard that garbage in church settings, and it makes me sick to my stomach.
John was an old ex-fisherman, a life-time disciple of Jesus, and a man full of the Holy Ghost. He was appointed of God to be one of twelve men to lay the foundational teaching stones of the church. His book of Revelation was placed last in the list of accepted books for a reason. And the warning within the book of “don’t add-don’t subtract” has led all true believers of Jesus to understand that John has been given the final word to the church. Oh how we need to listen!
But in the portions we will hear, there will be a clear resemblance to the tune the Spirit played through Daniel, and thus John will serve as confirmation of what we have learned so far. Let us turn to Revelation chapter 13.
John here sees a beast rising from the sea. Daniel (chapter seven) saw the four winds of heaven stirring up the “Great Sea” out of which came four beasts, the fourth of which was the same as the one before us now. The Great Sea is the Mediterranean Sea. The fourth beast of Daniel and John’s beast here are meant to represent the final world power before Christ comes back. Most recognize this to be the power that incorporated all powers before it, centered in the Mediterranean region. So when John sees his beast here, he connects with Daniel in identifying him with the last formation of the Roman animal.
John’s beast has seven heads. This characteristic is missing from Daniel’s, yet the total number of heads seen by Daniel is also seven, if one includes all four beasts that he saw. The Spirit’s object in the Daniel beast seems to be to predict what world powers are coming, one at a time, whereas in John we are being shown a conglomerate of all the world powers at once. The seven heads when thought of as kingdoms are normally considered to be, in chronological order, Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the 10-nation confederation that flows out of Rome at the end. Following Daniel’s order, we would start with Babylon, then go to Medo-Persia, then instead of Greece alone would be the four divisions of the Grecian Empire: Greece, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, and finally Rome (in both of its forms.) I must reserve judgment for now as to which of these lists is the correct one for Biblical purposes. Nevertheless, the “heads” of the beast are key elements in identifying antichrist later.
Back to Revelation 13. The beast has ten horns. So does Daniel’s. The number ten in Daniel’s and John’s prophecies is always referring to a ten-nation confederation flowing out of the final world power, Rome. So it is in Daniel 2 and 7, the statue and the animals, toes and horns. Ten. Rome will be colossal and powerful at first. We well remember her might and authority in the first centuries. It will then shrink to the background noise of human history, stretching as those long legs of the statue and then resurfacing as a pair of feet with ten toes. The imagery is perfect. We are headed for another Roman Empire, somehow divided into ten parts. Each part will have its own crown, or seat of government. Thus the beast we see has ten crowns.
Ten nations, somehow bonded together, part strong like iron, says Daniel, part not so strong, like clay. Many have been the speculations: Democracies and Muslim-style kingdoms merging to form a super-power? An awesome nightmare, don’t you think, combining the wealth of Europe and the passion of Mohammed’s men? Is not Europe being overrun by Islam this very moment? But I merely speculate. We need to get back to the main discussion…
Notice that it is the heads and not the nations (horns) that have a blasphemous name. The world powers, and one man in particular in each of these powers have risen to fame on the basis of hatred for and emulation of the Deity we serve. An anti-christ, so to speak, in every Empire, every generation. We have them in our day. They will continue to rise and be obviously the enemy until the final manifestation comes, and by the elect will be easily identified.