1. We begin this chapter with a look at the Antichrist. The Antichrist is both a person as well as an empire. We have a look at him rising up out of the sea. This sea refers to the mass of humanity, a sea of people, and he rises out from amongst them. We already talked about what the seven heads, 10 horns, and the crowns signified in the last chapter. He has blasphemous names written on them in the fact that he will curse God and make himself out to be God. Satan has his own false trinity in that he will be the “father”, the Antichrist will be the “son”, and the False Prophet will be the “spirit” that goes to give power, glory, and worship to the Antichrist.
2. A description is given that he looked like a leopard, had feet like a bear, and a mouth like a lion. This is a reference to the first three beasts in Daniel chapter 7 which were Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. This description of the beast is towards the world government and religious system that will take place. It will be a culmination of all the previous Gentile world rules spoken of before. This will take place in the form of what verse 3 speaks of as one of the wounds that was wounded to death but is healed. This will be the revived Roman empire which ceased its power around the 5th century. I will point this out factually in Chapter 17 in John’s description of it, but you will see where Rome, through the Roman Catholic Church, will be the centralized powerhouse of religion that will form a spiritually renewed Babylon. The Antichrist will turn on this system later in order to have all worship come to him alone. Those who have heard of the New World Order beware! There is no conspiracy theory; these things were revealed 2000 years ago. What is interesting is that the heads also denote an imperial form of government that died off, but will be renewed under the new system. That is the empire side to the Antichrist, but as we will see later, the Antichrist himself takes a wound and is healed, and in such the world marvels and asks “Who can be like him?” It is my guess that it will be perceieved that he dies and is raised again as Jesus did, which will be how Satan mimics Jesus and tricks people into following him.
3. We are told that ALL who dwell on the face of the earth will worship him, EXCEPT those who have their names written in the book of life. These are believers who come to Christ since the rapture of the Church. We are also told of how these believers will have a dreadful time as the Antichrist will search them out to kill. This will be a trying time and we are told that if you live by the sword, you die by the sword. Believers of this time will have to endure the trials with faith in Jesus to deliver them. Many will experience death through execution, sickness with the inability to get medical help, starvation since they cannot buy without the mark of the beast, and the list goes on. It will be a true testament to their devotion to the Lord as to whether they are willing to give up this life in order to live with Him forever.
4. The next person we see if the False Prophet, who comes out of the earth with two horns like a lamb yet speaks like a dragon. The horn description shows that he will portray gentleness as to be trusted., but the speech as a dragon shows what he preaches will be blasphemous and of Satan. Lambs don’t have horns, so this is trying to tell us he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He is able to exercise all the power of the Antichrist and proof he is of a priestly nature is given in the fact that he tells the entire world they need to worship the Antichrist. Ahh, but signs and wonders follow him! One is that he is able to make fire come down from Heaven. There are a couple parallels here with this “miracle”. First, Elijah called fire down so many will relate this to him and he will be viewed as Elijah, yet he will be a false Elijah, thus a false prophet. But many will be deceived. Next, when Satan killed Job’s sheep with fire, people said God did it, so they will do the same here. The fact that people can do signs and wonders is a reason why many people today are led astray by the likes of Todd Bentley, Benny Hinn, and all the other wacky “healers” out there today putting on a show. Satan is capable of signs and wonders too. This is why Jesus rebuked a crowd looking for a sign from Him. They wanted to see a miracle to believe. Moses went before Pharaoh and cast his rod down and it turned into a snake. Well, Pharaoh’s magicians did the same exact thing! Satan is a great imitator. We are told in Matthew 24:11 that in the last days false prophets will deceive many. In Matthew 24:24 we are told they will use great signs and wonders. And in 2nd Peter 2:1 we are told they will twist and misquote the Bible and ultimately deny Jesus for people to follow them. This is seen in people claiming to go to the 3rd Heaven, those worshipping and calling upon angels instead of Jesus, and the list goes on.
5. Now we see in verses 14-15 that an image is made of the Antichrist. Proof of Satan’s ability to perform miracles is that the false prophet is able to make this image come to life and demand that all people bow down and worship it. This is symbolic of what Nebuchadnezzar did in the book of Daniel. What’s more, is that this will actually be a symbol of the Antichrist dying, yet living again, the false “son” of the Satanic trinity. Just as those who would not bow down for Nebuchadnezzar, those who refuse now will be put to death. The Antichrist has now come full circle in his scheme with Satan and is the single charismatic leader of the world, and their god!
6. Now comes the part many have speculated, and over-speculated in the mark of the beast and the number. First on the mark, it will be on the right hand or the forehead. Lots of talk is out there about it being implanted microchips, debit cards, and the list goes on. The fact is this. This number will be something that will have to be taken willingly, because in it, you agree to serve the Antichrist, and you will worship him. Some will do this because they don’t want to starve and would rather satisfy their needs in this life versus focusing on their life with Jesus. In doing that, they have willingly turned themselves over to the Antichrist. This will not be something secretly snuck in that you get implanted in you while you are in surgery or anything else. The fact is, we, the Church, will not be here when this happens. It happens after the man of sin, the Antichrist, is revealed as shown in 2nd Thessalonians 2:1-8. It is interesting why Satan would choose this as it mimics what the Jews used called Phylacteries. They would strap these to their forehead and left arm for their morning prayer and were basically small leather boxes with passages from the Torah as well as the 10 commandments in them. See how Satan imitates?
7. Now what reason would Satan want this mark on people? It is a counterfeit mark of God as well as the seal of the 144,000. It identifies opposition so they can eliminate it. It forces people to turn away from God and worship the Antichrist and permanently ties these people to the Antichrists kingdom as well as sealing their fate in Hell. It will also help with tracking and controlling commerce. In Leviticus 19:28, God tells us not to cut our flesh for the dead or make marks on your body. This is a strong warning I give people concerning tattoos since their origin comes from markings for the dead. There are many different tattoos now some even of crosses. That does not make it any better. God’s words are strong against this. He sees out a lot farther than us and knows that Satan’s mark will be something visible such as this. God’s seal is within us, in our hearts, minds, and soul so there is no marking needed. As we look at the marks people take and refer back to that passage, it should make a Christian stop and reconsider tattoos as he has warned. It is an interesting comparison that no Christian should take lightly.
8. Finally, on the number, six-hundred and sixty-six. The numbers of times people have said someone’s name has added up to this and they are that person is insurmountable. It is also ridiculous since as I have already said, we won’t be here when he is revealed. We also will not find that number adding our English alphabet together by correlating them to numbers 1-26. Ancient languages had an alpha-numeric system in which every number was a letter and every letter was a number. Given this every word, name, sentence, and paragraph would have a numeric value. John knew Greek as well as Hebrew and Aramaic, the English language was nowhere on the globe yet. The letters would be from one of these languages, or possibly a combination of them, but it won’t make any sense to anyone until the time of the Tribulation. It is pointless to guess. Could someone guess it beforehand? Yes, but they wouldn’t know it with any certainty. It would be as all the others have been… speculation. What is interesting is how the number 6 plays into this. Seven is the number of God, it is perfection. Six is the number of man, as man was created on day six, he was to work 6 days, a Hebrew slave couldn’t be a slave more than 6 years, and fields were to be sown for 6 years and then allowed a year of rest. The 666 is a reference to what man will view as the ultimate in human power and authority under Satan. Terrible times they are a comin’!
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