Revelation 13:11-14:13

“Another Beast coming up out of the Land” v11, The insidious nature of this beast is in it’s lamb-like horns but speaking with a dragon’s voice, there is no other description of the Land Beast, it may have resembled more of a lamb than a lion, or it could have been a mix. The Land Beast motivates worldly people to worship the Sea Beast (Roman Empire) Which is best identified as the Beast that survived it’s mortal wound (v3 & 12) to one of it’s heads, (possibly) representing the year of the 4 Emperors (69AD), or Nero, who promoted a law for persecution of any one who didn’t praise Emperors to be gods, so the Sea Beast could represent the Imperial Emperor Worship as a religion. Nero acted like he thought he was a god, but he was never officially deified, however there is no evidence of the persecution of Christians by the Roman State prior to Nero, who according to the Roman historian & Senator Tacitus, Nero blamed Christians for the Great Fire of Rome which destroyed portions of the city and economically hurt the Roman population. Tacitus records (Annals 15.44) that Nero was rumored to have ordered the fire himself, and in order to dispel the accusations, he accused and punished the already-detested Christians. Tertullian mentions the “Institutum Neronianum” which describes anti-Christian activities. Later on under Domitian is the execution of Flavius Clemens, a Roman consul and cousin of Domitian, and the banishment of his wife, Flavia Domitilla, to the island of Pandateria, which is indicative of the power of the Empire’s Religion. Eusebius wrote that Flavia Domitilla was banished because she was a Christian. However, in Cassius Dio’s account (67.14.1-2), he only reports that she, along with many others, was guilty of sympathy for Judaism. When the provincial governor Pliny had written to the emperor Trajan in 112AD, he said he required suspected Christians to curse Christ, this was the first recorded time that Christians throughout the Empire had been forced by imperial edict to choose between their religion and their lives. You can see several “anti-Christs” arising through the decades against the Church in secular history, 1st John 2:18-19.

“666” v18, The number representing humanity purporting itself to be deity. “Arithmos Gar Anthropos” = “the number for man”. The mark, worldly people are given is the Beast’s identity or sign of loyalty shown as 666. From God’s perspective, whenever we put a person over and above our worship of Jesus, we identify ourself with the Enemy. Do you see the significance of being measured & sealed, with your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? See Php. 4:3 & Eph. 1:13.

14:1, “Lamb Standing on The Mount”, He rules because he became “dead” and then triumphantly walks off with the gates of the city of Death! Martyrs get great strength following this kind of victor. They are “FOR” him on the Mount. Psalm 2:6 prophesies the King to be set on the holy hill of Zion and Paul applies this to the resurrected Jesus, Acts 13:32-37. “144000 has His Father’s Name”, ref. Rev. 3:12 Remember Peter writes that the Lord commands, “Be Holy for I am Holy”, 1st Pt. 1:16, This name holds enduring power, Acts 4:12 and everyone will eventually bow to this name, Php. 2:9-11. The exact name is what? Isaiah 9:6 describes it as he tells of the 7-fold explanation of the Lord’s Spirit in Isaiah 11:2, Lord, Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Might, Knowledge & Awe.

“Harpists playing…They sang” v2-3, This is a NEW song sung by the church for their secure deliverance. Prophesied in Isaiah 43:16-19 is a NEW creation coming, and his Praise is new as well, Isaiah 42:8-9. Heavenly Harps is a wonderful portrayal of eternal praise to envision for the future, but for here & now Christ desires the “Plucking” of our heart strings of graciousness and gratitude in song, Eph. 5:19 & Col. 3:16. Do we sing because the songwriter wrote it, or because it is well with our soul and understood with our mind?

“They That Are Not Defiled” v4, A God given goal for the church is purity, and Christ’s blood creates purity. Setting your sights in this vision of purity, will help motivate us to live pure lives. Research by curators in the British Museum proved an interesting fact that ANYONE who spent a full minute gazing at the Grecian Idol of Apollo, actually exited the exhibit walking more upright in posture than the usual slouch of a walk when entering the exhibit. We are affected by what we set our sights on. Do you believe this is a description of the 1st century church with all it’s faults? 2nd Cor. 11:2-3 & Php. 1:10.

“Fallen” v8, Even though Jews in 136AD still challenged Rome, it was as good as dead in God’s eyes. Remember the faith of Abraham & Paul, Romans 4:17, and so the Roman Empire would fall with the same certainty, eventually it’s demise was foretold and as good as done. “Blessed” v13, The 3rd Angel pronounces the 2nd of seven Beatitudes in Revelation, (1:3, 14:13,  16:15, 19:19, 20:6, 22:7 & 14) Happiness abounds in the heart of a Christian that believes every effort is rewarded and our labors follow us into Heaven!

Revelation 13:1-10

Trying to understand what the Dragon (Satan) on the beach gives authority to, v4, is impossible without Daniel 7, and Revelation 17. They both compliment what is revealed in Rev. 13. Every scholar both catholic & protestant always interprets Daniel’s fourth beast to be the Roman Empire, which for John’s vision is coming out of the Sea, v1. A list of Caesars are 1-Julius, 2-Augustus, 3-Tiberius, 4-Caligula, 5-Claudius, 6-Nero, (7,8,9 Galba, Otho, Vitellius) 10-Vespasian, 11-Titus, 12-Domitian. The Sea Beast has 10 horns, which have another definition akin but different to the Beast, AND ends up hating the Prostitute which represents the City riding the Beast in 17:12-16. Note John’s Sea Beast has 7 heads (kings) & 10 horns (kings), Rev. 17:9-12, which possibly represents the following: The Heads may represent Emperors which promoted their own deity. The Horns could represent the Provincial Kings of the Empire which rose up against the city of Rome itself. There were at one time (117AD) at least 33 provinces in the Empire, but not all of them had kings that rose up against Rome. Here are 7 Caesars which accepted worship as a god, promoted themselves as a god or were deified post-humously. Which the 7 heads might represent:

  1. Julius
  2. Augustus
  3. Claudius
  4. Nero (Ruler of rulers)
  5. Vespasian
  6. Titus
  7. Domitian

The Historians Suetonius and Cassius Dio allege that Domitian officially gave himself the title of Dominus et Deus (“Lord and God”). However, not only did he reject the title of Dominus later during his reign, but since he issued no official documentation or coinage to this effect, historians such as Brian Jones contend that such phrases were addressed to Domitian by flatterers who wished to earn favors from the Emperor. To foster the worship of the imperial family, he erected a mausoleum on the site of Vespasian’s former house and completed the Temple of Vespasian and Titus, a shrine dedicated to the worship of his deified father and brother. To memorialize the military triumphs of the Flavian family, he ordered the construction of two Temples and completed the Arch of Titus. There are at least 10 Provinces which had Kings or Generals that would lead rebellions & attacks on Rome or the Empire itself. These might represent the 10 horns.

  1. Jews & Galileans from Caesarea to Masada & Beth Horon 66-73AD, Jerusalem fell 70AD, at great expense of Roman life, losing over 10,000 soldiers.
  2. During the years succeeding the rule of Antoninus Pius, the Roman Empire began to be attacked on all sides. A war with Parthia lasted from 161 to 166 (under the joint rule of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus) and, although it ended successfully, its unforeseen consequences for the Empire were great. The returning troops brought with them a plague (the so-called Antonine Plague), which would eventually kill a conservative estimate of 5 million people, severely weakening the Empire.
  3. The Syrian Pescennius Niger, proclaimed himself Emperor with support from Arabians in 193AD.
  4. Goths battle at Thermopylae against Romans & Greeks towards Thessalonica, 250AD
  5. Bar Kokhba revolt in Judea, over 80,000 Romans killed, defeating Jews, 132-136AD
  6. The Burgundians led by King Gunther, 411AD
  7. King Alaric &  the Visigoths sacking Rome, 410-411AD
  8. Gaiseric & the Vandals 435-455
  9. In 451, Attila the Hun invaded Gaul, and the Franks joined the Romans and the Visigoths to resist the invasion. Attila’s conquest was halted at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains, present-day France, and he retreated from Gaul. The Franks continued to provide military support to Rome to fight against imperial enemies, including the Visigoths in 463 and the Saxons at Angiers in 469AD.
  10. Odoacer was a soldier who in 476 became the first King of Italy (476–493). His reign is commonly seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire. Though the real power in Italy was in his hands, he represented himself as the client of the Emperor in Constantinople.

God wants only his Son, in Jesus Christ worshiped as God, no one else on earth deserves our allegiance of life and love, without our life being in Christ, we are without hope. We will become the enemy and lose if we do not make Jesus the only rightful Lord of our life, 1st Timothy 6:14-15 & Deuteronomy 10:17.

Revelation 12

“A Woman Clothed with the Sun” v1, The faithful children of God are symbolized as the young bride in the prime of her life, she is giving birth to the future success of God’s Kingdom, Jesus Christ. Later on in Revelation as the pictures develop, the Woman actually represents the churches as a whole. The Old Testament is clear about how God views his people as a wife, read Isaiah 50:1, 54:1 & Micah 4:9ff.

“The Twelve Stars” represent  God’s continual crowning authority and victory for his faithful children, the 12 tribal leaders of Israel were previously pictured as Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph & Benjamin, (Rev. 7:6-8), but as the Woman’s meaning changes into the church, she doesn’t lose her stars, which represent the 12 apostles, read Matthew 10:2-4. Stars are compared to God’s children through Abraham & Sarah, Genesis 15:5 and our ancestry sheds light on the world in darkness and having the moon under our ancestry’s feet would signify any other light other than our clothing in Christ being of lesser significance. The labor pain is indicative of the fact that we have a common struggle with the nation of Israel going through pain in order to bring the Messiah to the world. Today we find in our work of evangelizing that if there is no pain, there is no gain! Paul taught Timothy, to do the WORK of an evangelist, see 2nd Timothy 4:5

“A Great Red Dragon” v3, remember that Satan has grown from the beginning of time as a subtle snake into a monstrous dragon, this is the nature of evil, it’s deception and destruction grow way out of our control but God’s victory overcomes our enemy in the end. The Pharaohs of Egypt are described as dragons in the O.T., see Psalm 74:13, Isaiah 51:9 & Ezekiel 29:3. It’s 7 diadems the dragon wears is actually reflecting how totally inferior his rule is, in comparison to the victory crown (garland) the Woman wears, she is the winner in the end, the dragon loses his temporary reign.

“Stands Before The Woman” v4, illustrated twice, once in Pharaoh’s slaughter of the baby boys, Exodus 1:15-19 and also prophesied in Jeremiah 51:34 through Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon, being fulfilled in Herod’s slaughter after the birth of Jesus. John alludes to the analogy in Revelation 11:8. “She Bore a Man-Child”, Jesus is the reason God rules perfectly in this life, ministry and sacrifice, shows his heart is enthroned with the Father’s rule, while the mother was being chased in the wilderness, she was nourished by God, this is happening in the spiritual heavenly places, Ephesians 1:3, now, the nourishment is given to her for 1260 days, again, emphasizing the temporary limited suffering of the new churches, this young mother now represents. Daniel foresaw this painful struggle in Daniel 7:25-27 & 12:5-7. The “ruling rod of iron”, it is interesting to note that Hugh J. Schonefield in his book, “The Incredible Christians” describes middle-eastern shepherds as carrying staffs which are covered or shielded with iron and/or lead to hit wolves with!

War Broke Out in Heaven…He was Cast Down to Earth” v7-9, Michael represents the front-line of battle which God orchestrates, see Daniel 12:1, so here in Revelation we shouldn’t think Michael has won the battle, but rather we should see Michael representing the fight Jesus initiated on earth, but actually won in Heaven after the resurrection and ascension. Our own spiritual battles are initiated here on earth but ultimately won in heavenly places, see Ephesians 6:10-17. “Now…have come”, v10, this is past tense for us, the victory for Jesus is already done as in His resurrection, but for us his victory is in his blood, v11. The blood has no effect if we do not express a testimony and are willing to suffer for Him who paid the price, read 1st Peter 2;21 & Acts 14:22.

“Two Wings of a Great Eagle” v14, The woman has not changed into an eagle but was given wings of one, this is clearly showing God’s powerful care to rescue, nourish and deliver her out of harms way, see Deut. 32:11, Psa. 36:7, Isa. 40:31. “The Serpent Spewed Water out of His Mouth” v15, Satan here tries to ape God’s action during Noah’s flood, but the effect is reversed by the earth. This may be an analogy of Satan’s spiritual work in false religion from Rome’s Emperor worship and later on in the false religion of Rome’s secular seal of approval on Christianity, which did not bless the woman’s latter offspring, the new church gave birth to other children which struggled with false doctrine and persecution by so-called christian leaders. Notice the war is ongoing but we experience the war’s reality if our testimony is true and we are using the Spirit’s Sword which is the word of God, Ephesians 6:17.

Revelation 11

“Measure the Temple of God” v1, To John, there is only one Temple, the Churches of Christ, 1st Cor. 3:16-17, Eph. 2:19-22 & Rom. 16:16. The altar being holy, means that our prayers are sanctified. The worshippers are measured within the NAOS (inner temple) therefore they are priests, 1st Pt. 2:9. The purpose of measuring is to designate what is holy and whatever is not measured is profane, Ezk. 40:3-5, 42:20. What is the consequence? Relief from the nations trampling underfoot God’s holy people, the church. Though the church will suffer abuse & martyrdom, they will not be profaned. But everyone outside the church suffering hardship from the Roman Empire falling, will be punished as profane and in the next life too.

“42 Months…1260 days” v2-3 are two different ways of expressing the same thing. This is why we know that the identity of the Two Witnesses is identical to the Temple. The numbers correspond to 3½ years but in the context of the Two Witnesses so that it relates to the resurrection of Jesus, his 3½ days, v9. This number, be it days, weeks or years, as in 1260, 42 or 3½, always means “LIMITED TEMPORARY SUFFERING”. It’s equivalent occurs in Dan. 7:25 as the “little horn” temporarily persecuting the saints, it occurs in Rev. 12:6 & 12:14 where the Woman is suffering in the wilderness but nourished and it occurs in 13:5 where the Beast temporarily exercises authority over the saints but is eventually destroyed, Rev. 19:20-21.

“Two Witnesses” v3, The Church can be seen as mournful prophets, witnessing His judgments against their persecutors and prophesying God’s deliverance and Jesus’ return. Why “two”? So that God’s message and meaning of the olive trees and lampstands (v4) delivers strength to them in their suffering. Zechariah helps us understand the meaning, Zec. 4:11-14, where we see two olive trees providing the candlestick with oil, they are two anointed ones before the Lord, whose eyes go throughout the whole earth. Without light, Zerubbabel can’t build and use his plumbline, the enemy can’t be seen and the victorious presence of God isn’t witnessed. So the olive trees and candlestick are essential for God’s work of judgment and spreading of His good news, building His Temple, the church. Two is used to bring the meaning of King Zerubbabel and the High Priest Joshua son of Jozedek inside the olive tree and candlestick Witnesses. Both Royalty and Priesthood are seen in the church, 1st Pt. 2:9. Therefore if the church lived noble lives like Royalty and holy lives like Priests, therein lay the avenues of God’s power to endure the hardship, preach the word and experience the deliverance of God into salvation. His Temple will be built no matter what opposition halted it.

“If anyone wants to harm them…” v5, The Church’s altar (prayers) are measured, sanctified and heard for a response, God will punish the Beast, v7, which is Rome for it’s persecution against the church in Asia Minor and anywhere else.

“Their Dead Bodies” v8-9, The witnesses resurrection is coming, their humiliation and suffering is temporary. This sin against the church is not only committed by Rome, but also by leaders of Judaism in Jerusalem, v8, symbolized as Egypt, for it’s oppressive power over God’s people, and also symbolized as Sodom for it’s degenerate morals which lured people away from Christ.

“They Stood on their Feet” v11, After both Jerusalem & Rome fell, the church was alive & growing. The surviving unbelieving world would indeed by amazed to see such a persecuted religion win despite all the odds. The resurrection of Jesus which the church was within, was what they experienced, we are now surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, Heb. 12:1.

“The 7th Trumpet” v15. Here is the most significant division in Revelation’s text. The end of the Roman Empire is finalized in this trumpet we see the triumph of Christ, and within this Trumpet is the 7 bowls outpouring His entire wrath on the enemy. From here on, there are no more series of sevens. Therefore Christ’s reign is celebrated & established completely over all the earth and although we don’t completely understand why Jesus tolerates the chaos of world powers today, nevertheless, He is King of kings, NOW, 1:5, 19:16.