Prophecy Sign 3: ANTICHRIST and THE FALSE PROPHET
REVELATION CHAPTER 13
THE TWO BEASTS
Donnie's Study Notes
In Revelation 13, one of the great prophetic chapters in the Bible, we are given astonishing details regarding the two beasts of Daniel’s 70th week: (1) Antichrist, and (2) the False Prophet.
First, John gives us a disturbing vision of Antichrist and his Kingdom. John describes, in much greater detail than he has done in the previous chapters, the rise and reign of Antichrist. Antichrist, energized by Satan, will be Satan's last attempt to overthrow and destroy the Kingdom of God, Israel, and the Church. Antichrist will be the earth's final gentile ruler and will reign over the world during the second 3 ½ year period of Daniel’s 70th week. Antichrist's power will know no bounds; he will demand the worship of men and inflict martyrdom on those who resist and remain loyal to Jesus. In this Chapter, John describes the key supernatural event that will occur during Antichrist's reign; Antichrist's death and his subsequent resurrection. John also provides us with additional details as to Antichrist's persecution of the Church.
Second, John for the first time discusses the role that the False Prophet will play in Antichrist's empire. Satan will give the False Prophet supernatural powers, which the False Prophet will use to recruit men to Antichrist. The False Prophet represents ultimate deception of false religion. He will direct the final apostasy ¾ when Antichrist is resurrected from the dead a large number of those who claim to be Christians will defect from the Church and follow Antichrist. The False Prophet will be the powerful henchman of Antichrist; he will be responsible for implementing much of Antichrist's plan to destroy the Church (think of the Nazi butcher Adolph Eichmann, who implemented and enforced Hitler’s extermination of more than six million Jews during World War II). John details two key End-Times events in which the False Prophet plays an essential role: (1) the creation of the Speaking Image of the Beast; and (2) the implementation of the ferociously evil religious and economic system known as the Mark of the Beast.
INSERT DANIEL'S 70TH WEEK CHART SIMPLIFIED
THE FIRST BEAST: ANTICHRIST
John first gives us an in-depth description of Antichrist's Kingdom. John explains that Antichrist is the beast that will come from Satan, the Dragon. Antichrist's Kingdom will be composed of ten nation-states, each of which will be ruled by a king who will swear allegiance to Antichrist and his satanic agenda. This ten-nation empire will be the ultimate fulfillment of the seven historical empires that will seek to destroy the Jews and the Church.
REVELATION 13:1 And the dragon (Satan) stood on the shore of the sea (the Mediterranean Sea ¾ the Roman Lake. Antichrist’s kingdom will arise from the various nations and the many peoples that are located around the Mediterranean Sea, each of which was a part of the former Roman empire). And I saw a beast (Antichrist) coming out of the sea. He had ten horns (representing the ten kings/nations that will constitute Antichrist's End Times Empire. See Dan 7:24) and seven heads (representing the seven Satanic Empires that have existed throughout human history and sought to destroy the Jewish people: Egypt; Assyria; Babylon; Medo-Persia; Greece; Rome; Nazi Germany??? See discussion of Rev 17), with ten crowns on his horns (the crowns represent the ten kings that will give power to the beast and make up the ten nations of Antichrist's End Times Empire. See Rev 17:3.), and on each head a blasphemous name. (Antichrist’s ten-nation confederacy will blaspheme God, Israel and the Church).
The seven heads of the beast represent the two nations that persecuted Israel prior to the time of Daniel (Egypt and Assyria), the four nations of Daniel's vision (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome - see below), and a seventh nation that will attempt to destroy the Jews before Christ returns.
John's reference to the seven heads is important for two reasons.
First, it is a prophecy ¾ Antichrist's Kingdom can only arise after seven different nations have failed in their attempts to destroy the nation Israel. Prior to the time of Daniel, two nations attempted to destroy Israel; Egypt and Assyria. Egypt attempted to destroy Israel (and the Dragon attempted to destroy the Woman) when Pharaoh ordered the midwives to kill the Hebrew baby boys. Assyria was responsible for the downfall of the Northern kingdom of Israel and carried the people into captivity. The destruction was so severe, we refer to the “10 lost tribes of Israel.”
In Daniel 2, we are provided with four additional nations that Daniel correctly prophesied would subjugate Israel. In Daniel 2, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was given a dream of an enormous statute. The head of the statute was made of gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, and its feet of clay. See Daniel 2:31-35. Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream, explaining that the statute represented four nations that would subjugate Israel; Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Therefore, the Bible provides us with six out of the seven nations that will attempt to destroy Israel before Christ returns to set up His eternal kingdom. I believe Nazi Germany was likely the final of these seven nations, and that its Holocaust of the Jews fulfilled this precondition to the occurrence of Daniel's 70th Week.
Second, the seven heads of the Dragon provide us with a vision of the evil of Antichrist's Empire. Specifically, Antichrist's Kingdom will be a composite of these seven nations. The brutal nature of these seven nations is discussed in Daniel Chapter 7. In Daniel 7, Daniel saw four ferocious beasts coming out of the sea, representing four nations that would persecute Israel. Daniel saw Babylon as a raging winged lion; its takeover of Israel would be swift and strong. Medo-Persia was a fierce and devouring bear. Greece was a swift winged leopard. Finally, Rome was a ravenous beast with iron teeth too terrible to describe ¾ think of a devouring Tyrannosaurus Rex. (See Daniel 2:40) These descriptions are repeated below in Revelation 13:2.
REVELATION 13:2 The beast (Antichrist and his Kingdom) I saw resembled a leopard (Antichrist's Kingdom will have the leopard-like swiftness of Alexander’s Grecian Empire), but had feet like those of a bear (Antichrist's Kingdom will have the bear-like crushing power of Medo-Persia) and a mouth like that of a lion. (Antichrist's Kingdom will have the lion-like ferocity of Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon. Note that these three kingdoms may represent the first three nations of the 10-nation that Antichrist conquers and subdues. Today, the modern geographic equivalent of these three nations are Iraq, Iran, and Syria, arguably the three greatest modern-day enemies of Israel.) The dragon (Satan) gave the beast (Antichrist) his power and his throne and great authority.
It is important to realize that, while Antichrist’s Kingdom will possess characteristics of all the seven nations that attempted to destroy Israel (it will be a composite Kingdom), it will specifically be an extension of the Roman Empire ¾ it will be the Revived Roman Empire. In Daniel 2, the Roman Empire is described as a Kingdom that is “strong as iron ¾ for iron breaks and smashes everything ¾ and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others.” See Daniel 2:40. So too will Antichrist’s final kingdom crush everything in its path like an unstoppable machine of war. In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the Roman Empire was represented by the toes on the clay feet on the statue of Nebuchadnezzar. Note that these ten toes correspond to the ten kings of Antichrist’s final empire. Antichrist’s composite Kingdom, empowered by Satan, will rise and conquer the Earth more quickly and surely than any other kingdom the world has known. It will be Satan’s final and ultimate effort to destroy the Church, Israel, and the Kingdom of God to come.
ANTICHRIST WILL RISE FROM THE DEAD
REVELATION 13:3 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound (this is the exact same Greek word that is used to describe of our Lord’s “fatal wound” in Rev 5:6), but the fatal wound had been healed. (Antichrist's mortal wound is healed and he will be restored back to life. This is some kind of counterfeit resurrection.) The whole world (no nation, including the United States, will be exempt from the influence and authority of Antichrist) was astonished and followed the beast. (The whole world will be amazed at Antichrist's supernatural ability to cheat death. We are not told when this wound occurs, but it would seem that it occurs during the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week. This event secures the base of Antichrist’s power and provides a justification for the Abomination of Desolation, when Antichrist proclaims himself God in the rebuilt Temple.)
Here we learn that Antichrist, will receive a deadly head wound and literally die. In this context, it seems like John is not saying that Antichrist himself will die but that “one of the heads of the beast,” i.e., one of the seven kingdoms, will fall. However, John later explains that Antichrist himself will be dealt this fatal wound ¾ John is referring to Antichrist when he references “one of the heads of the beast,” for, as we will later learn, Antichrist emerges to power from one of the seven kingdoms that will later form his End Times Empire. See Rev. 17:8. We also know that this fatal wound will be inflicted with a sword. See Rev 13:12,14.
REVELATION 13:4 Men worshiped the dragon (Satan) because he had given authority to the beast (Antichrist), and they also worshiped the beast (Antichrist) and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?” (The world will be in chaos during Daniel’s 70th Week, and Antichrist's “resurrection” will solidify the perception of Antichrist as an all-powerful savior. Antichrist will be seen as an indestructible, god-like figure, who cannot be defeated, and men will flock to him. He will possess tremendous authority and the world will marvel at his power.)
Following Antichrist's restoration, many people will become willing followers of Antichrist. Antichrist really will be given supernatural authority, but remember that not all that is outside this world comes from God. The Bible tells us that Satan employs counterfeit miracles to turn the hearts of men from God.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10
9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders,
10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
The Many Names of Antichrist
Antichrist is given several symbolic and descriptive names in the Bible, including:
The man of lawlessness and son of destruction, the wicked one (2 Thessalonians 2:3)
Gog from the land of Magog (Ezekiel 38:2-3, 39:1,11,12)
The Little Horn (Dan 7:8, 8:9) who blasphemes (Dan 7:25)
The King of Fierce Countenance (Dan 8:23)
The Prince that shall come (Dan 9:26)
The One who Desolates (Dan 9:27)
The King of the North (Dan 11:28)
The extremely powerful and ungodly king (Dan 11:36)
The King of Babylon (Isaiah 14:4)
The Assyrian (Isaiah 30:30-31)
The Abomination of Desolation (Matthew 24:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:4)
The Rider on the White horse (Rev 6:2)
The First Beast (Rev 13:1).
ANTICHRIST IS THE LITTLE HORN WHO BLASPHEMES
REVELATION 13:5 The beast (Antichrist) was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies (this prophecy is based directly on the prophecies found in the Book of Daniel. In Daniel, Antichrist is repeatedly referred to as the Little Horn. The Little Horn will speak boastfully and will openly revolt against Jesus and terrorize the saints with his arrogant words. The ultimate blasphemy will occur when Antichrist proclaims himself to be God in the Temple. See 2 Thess 2:4) and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. (Antichrist will be given great power and control over the world during for the second 3 1/2 years of Daniel's 70th Week.
8 "While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully.
20 I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell--the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully.
21 As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them,
22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.
25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.
9 Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land.
10 It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them.
11 It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low.
12 Because of rebellion, the host [of the saints] and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.
John next describes the specific blasphemy of Antichrist:
REVELATION 13:6 He (Antichrist) opened his mouth to blaspheme God, (Antichrist, a man of open blasphemy, will swear and insult God, and will deify himself) and to slander his name (Antichrist will smear and use Jesus’ holy name for evil purposes) and his dwelling place (Antichrist will abuse and defile God’s holy temple) and those who live in heaven. (Antichrist will curse and malign the Church, whose citizenship is in Heaven. See Phil 3:20.)
WAR WITH THE SAINTS
REVELATION 13:7 He (Antichrist) was given power to make war against the saints (the Church of the Great Tribulation is not exempted from the persecution of the Antichrist. The saints will be enduring “a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then.” See Dan 12:1. Antichrist will wage a vindictive and exhaustive war against believers, who will be the focal point of Satan’s final and most intense and spiteful attack. See Dan 7:21, 25-26, Rev 12:17) and to conquer them (Antichrist will wear down the Church during the Great Tribulation and will persecute and martyr untold numbers of believers). And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation (Complete power to prevail and dominate the world is given to Antichrist. It is difficult for us to grasp this concept, because no other leader in the history of the world will be so dominant and absolute ¾ his power is unrestrained and ultimate.)
REVELATION 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.
John is explaining that, in this great and ultimate spiritual war, there will be only two sides; you are either with Antichrist or with the Lord ¾ there can be no middle ground. Although we are free to choose our own destiny, even now God knows the identities of the spiritual elect during the End Times, those who have their names written in the Book of Life. During Daniel’s 70th Week, there will be those who are initially undecided ¾ those who refuse to ally with Antichrist but do not yet believe in Jesus Christ. The 144,000 are prominent examples of such initial indecision. However, by the end of Daniel’s 70th Week, God will have claimed all of His own.
The Book of Daniel issues the same challenge to believers who encounter the Antichrist during the End Times:
 His (Antichrist's) armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. (Antichrist, who allowed the temple to be rebuilt, and allowed the re-institution of the daily sacrifices, will break this part of his covenant) Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. (Antichrist will declare himself God in the rebuilt temple and set up an image of himself to be worshiped.)
 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, (Antichrist will reward those who set aside their worship of the God of Israel and submit to his false religion) but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. (Perhaps this is a reference to those special times when the Holy Spirit fills us with such power that He give us the words to resist the power of evil. See Matthew 10:19-20 (“But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”)
 Those who are wise (those who understand what is occurring through their knowledge of the prophetic scriptures) will instruct many (believers must warn others of Antichrist's wicked ways, and direct people to faith in Jesus), though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered (Antichrist will persecute and martyr those who are wise in the Church).  When they fall (undergo severe suffering), they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them (Beware of those who falsely join the resistance against Antichrist ¾ like Judas, the End Times Church will contain many who would betray it to Antichrist).  Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time. (During this difficult time, Antichrist’s persecution will serve to refine and purify those who cling to their faith in Christ ¾ the martyred will infuse the body of Christ with the strength to endure to the end.)
Daniel 12:3 Those who are wise (those who possess great understanding of the prophetic events that are occurring in the End) will shine like the brightness of the heavens, (THE MASKILIM - these prophetic scholars will emerge as courageous leaders of the resistance to Antichrist ¾ their knowledge will be a light to the Church as they explain and elucidate the confusing events of Daniel’s 70th Week. Remember, this is the ultimate purpose of the Book of Revelation; to prepare the Church for this time of intense persecution) and those who lead many to righteousness, (these teachers will convert many to Jesus because they will be able to make clear Antichrist’s agenda of evil, predict and describe the details of the catastrophic end-times events, and enlighten many that the Second Coming of the Lord is very near) like the stars for ever and ever (this noble and wonderful army of evangelistic soldiers will shine as bright as the stars in heaven on the darkest night).
Daniel 12:10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand (the prophecies ¾ Christians have a distinct advantage over unbelievers as we have the prophecies of God to guide us during this period), but those who are wise will understand (the prophecies – and take action by leading many to Jesus!).
Many of those who are wise will be purified through the cleansing fire of the last days. Remember, like Peter, soldiers of Christ are not without weakness ¾ to be sure, many will falter and stumble when faced with the overwhelming persecution of Antichrist, particularly those members of the Church living in first-world countries who have not previously experienced such religious intolerance (such as America and Europe). Indeed, it is likely that the initial leaders of the rebellion against Antichrist will emerge from parts of the world that have long endured true spiritual warfare (such as southeast Asia, Russia, or parts of Africa) or from ethic groups that understand and are on alert for religious persecution (such as the nation Israel and the Jewish people). However, Revelation teaches us that, as long as we do not betray Christ or take the Mark of the Beast, our weakness will be refined, and like coal under pressure becomes a diamond, we will become fierce End Times warriors for the Lord.
Remember, Antichrist’s rise to power will be astoundingly sudden ¾ in three and a half short years, he will conquer the entire world, establishing his religious and economic New World Order. This is why we must remain vigilant, and we must prepare ourselves in advance to recognize the signs of Antichrist’s rise to power.
A MESSAGE TO THE CHURCH
John steps out of his description of Antichrist in order to offer a word of warning and encouragement to those who are wise in the Church. John's message is that, although Antichrist will be extremely powerful during the Great Tribulation, God is ultimately in control. Therefore, we must be at peace and remember that ultimate victory is ours!
REVELATION 13:9 He who has an ear, let him hear. (Listen Up! A serious “red alert” warning, the same one John gives to the seven churches when he discusses the trials the saints will endure during Daniel's 70th Week.) 10 If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go (many Christians will be thrown into prison by Antichrist). If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. (Many who refuse to worship Antichrist will pay for their loyalty to Christ with their lives. But we are promised that if we die with Christ, we will live with Him.
2 Timothy 2:11-13
11 Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
Many faithful will be martyred by Antichrist, but it is better to be martyred than to worship the Beast. See Rev 14:9-12). This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.
John is encouraging believers to be at peace with their earthly fates. We will suffer many hardships during this time, but we are promised that if we endure, we will reign with Him. See 2 Tim 2:12. Many of God's people will die during the Great Tribulation, but in the end, the martyrs will be victorious! Ultimately, God is in control and we are exhorted to stand firm in our faith in Jesus, even to the point of death. Faithfulness, not safety, should be our primary concern. In the end, martyrdom will result in glorious spiritual victory, not defeat.
10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.
4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.