Sunday, February 7, 2010

#Revelation 13> Things Which Shall Be Hereafter> Trumpet Judgments ( #Prophecy )

3. The things which shall be hereafter (4-22) 
     A. Judgment on the inhabitants of the earth (4 - 19) 
          5. The trumpet judgments (8b, 9, 11) 
          Summary of who plays a role in the tribulation (12-13) 
          6. The Beast of the Sea (13) 
          7. The Beast of the Earth (13) 
         
What is the beast of the sea and what is the beast of the land? Chapter 13 continues a behind the scenes view of people who will play a role during the tribulation. 

In Daniel, a vision of a man describes the successive world kingdoms from the time of Judah's defeat until Christ returns to establish His millennial kingdom (2:31-45). An image with a golden head, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet of iron and clay, represents the successive world kingdoms. A stone, which smashes the feet represents Christ's millennial kingdom on earth, which will destroy all the previous kingdoms. 

First, the head of gold represents the king of ancient Babylon (Daniel 2:36-38). Next, the breast and arms of silver show the kingdom which will arise after Babylon (v. 39a). Historically, that was Medo-Persia. Bronze thighs and belly speak of the "third" kingdom (v. 39b), which was Greece. A "fourth kingdom" (v. 40ff.), consisting of the loins, then the legs of iron and feet of iron and clay, concludes the image of the man. 

Rome succeeded Greece, and was later divided into two legs (Rome and Constantinople). It was not, however, a ten kingdom confederation as the ten toed feet of iron and clay indicate, either in A.D. 70, or any time thereafter. 

Since Rome constitutes the fourth kingdom of man, and since the kingdom of God will destroy this kingdom, it is necessary that there be a revival of the Roman empire, as a ten kingdom (European) confederation (v44-45). 

Certain aspects of this kingdom are pictured again in Daniel, by images of beasts (cf. 7:7ff, 23ff.). This prophetic background sets the stage for the introduction of the beast of the sea and land in Revelation 13. 

Daniel 7:23-27 says, 

The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all other kingdoms, and it will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. And he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey him. 

Seven heads may refer to the seven hills of the city of Rome (17:9). The ten crowned horns represent the ten-nation support (revived Roman empire) of anti-christ (Revelation 17:12-17; cf. Daniel 2:33, 41-44; 7:8). 

Being wounded on the head, and then reviving from this deadly wound, seems to describe the return of the Roman empire, which is headed by the anti-christ. The world will wonder at the beast, worship Satan who revived it, and ask "who is able to make war with him"? Setting himself up as God in the temple, anti-christ will blaspheme God (cf. 2 Thess. 2:3-12; 1 John 2:22; 4:3), and persecute the saints. 

The beast of the sea is the revived Roman empire, which will rise from the nations, be headed by anti-christ, and oppose the people and religion of God. 

7. The Beast of the Earth 

A second beast came up out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, and spoke like a dragon. This beast will appear as a prophet of God, performing great wonders (e.g. he will cause fire to come down from heaven, and do other "miracles"), but will promote the worship of an idol which represents the beast. This scene is typified in Daniel 3:1-30, where Nebuchadnezzar makes a golden image of himself, and commands that everyone bow down and worship it, or be killed. 

Both prophecies in Daniel and visions in Revelation, reveal a contrast between the satanically energized political and religious systems of man, and the kingdom and true worship of God. The false prophet, or beast from the earth, causes everyone (except the 144,000 mentioned in chapter 7) to worship the image of the beast, and to receive its mark in their right hand, or foreheads, if they want to buy or sell anything. 

Much speculation has occurred, in attempting to figure out the number of the beast (666). Perhaps the simplest answer to this question is the one found right here in the text. The number of the beast "is the number of a man". The purpose is to show that the political/religious system of the anti-christ is that of a man, as contrasted with that of God, and not necessarily to give the name of a specific man. 

The beast from the sea is a man (anti-christ) who will head the revived Roman empire. The beast from the earth is a man (false prophet) who will promote a false, idolatrous religion.

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