Let’s look to the Word of God together, and I invite you to study with me the thirteenth chapter of Revelation tonight. We are embarking on a very, very significant portion of this great apocalypse, one that does demand some very careful thought and careful attention. Things that are here are going to demand some scrutiny, some careful comparison of other Scriptures, some thoughtful insight. The things that are here are those kinds of things which I am quite confident the Lord has designed to reveal unto those who belong to Him and hide from others.
I can understand why unregenerate people would read the book of Revelation and be hopelessly confused. But at the same time, that should not be the case for those of us who are believers. To us, the promise is given way back in the first chapter and the third verse, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy and heed the things which are written in it, for the time is near.” And even in the very passage to which we look now, down in verse 9, there is that somewhat familiar statement, “If anyone has an ear, let him hear.”
That means more than just to hear the words, it means to comprehend and to understand what is being said. The Lord has given us His Word. No matter how difficult and challenging it might be, we, under the direction of the Holy Spirit and with careful thought and study, are to come as deeply into the truth as we possibly can to discern its intent. So it may take us a little while to move through this chapter and come to a full understanding of all its great truths, but we’re going to do that at a pace that’s going to give us understanding.
The first ten verses of chapter 13 describe a figure to come in human history that is commonly known as the antichrist. John sees here this astounding vision of this figure. Much of the imagery of this vision parallels the prophecy of Daniel, as we shall see in a few moments. John wrote this letter probably around 96 A.D., long after most of the rest of the New Testament was written. This, being the last book in the order of the New Testament and also the last one in terms of chronological writing, right at the very end of that first century.
This is the most graphic and the most thorough, the most penetrating, the most unforgettable, the most dramatic presentation of the antichrist anywhere in Scripture, but it is not the first. In fact, the apostle John, writing in his first epistle to a wide circle of believers and to the church throughout all of history, written before the book of Revelation, said in chapter 2 and verse 18 of 1 John, “Just as you heard that antichrist is coming.” Before the writing of the book of Revelation, they knew antichrist was coming.
And that brings up the question: Where and how had they heard about antichrist? How did they know such a one was coming? The answer: This was common teaching given to God’s people in New Testament days. John spoke about it and certainly the apostle Paul spoke about it. In 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, we hear these words regarding the teaching concerning the antichrist. While writing to the church at Thessalonica about the antichrist, in the second chapter, Paul said to them, “Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?” That’s verse 5, 2 Thessalonians 2:5.
Before he wrote this chapter describing antichrist, he had already taught them about him. So here is John saying you already know about antichrist in his epistle. Here is Paul, in writing to the Thessalonians, saying you already know about antichrist. And the question is: Where was the source of this biblical data that Paul and John were using to teach about antichrist?
The answer, of course, is the prophet Daniel. Though there are some more oblique references to antichrist in the Old Testament, the very straightforward, direct ones are in the book of Daniel. Let’s go back to Daniel chapter 7, and here we will find the initial specific teaching with regard to this coming world ruler. In Daniel chapter 7 - and I’m going to flow through this rather rapidly with some brief comment. If you want more careful detail with regard to this, you can get our tape series on the book of Daniel, and all of these passages are covered in detail.
But in Daniel chapter 7 and verse 8, Daniel is given here a prophecy with regard to the coming antichrist. Verse 8 says, “While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them.” There were ten horns in this fourth beast that Daniel saw and out of those ten arises a little one. “And three of the first horns were pulled up by the roots before it and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man” - probably indicating intellectual genius, cleverness, shrewdness, knowledge - “and a mouth uttering great boasts.”
The antichrist then rises out of this group of kings, somehow tearing up some of them as he arises. He is intelligent, an intellectual genius. Starts small, grows larger. His career surpasses his associates’. He becomes a proud orator. Down in verse 21 of the same chapter, we continue to hear a description of him. “I kept looking and that horn, that little horn, was waging war with the saints and overpowering them, until the Ancient of Days came” - that’s God - “and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the highest one, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom.”
The antichrist, this intellectual genius, this powerful orator who grows out of some confederacy of nations and takes over complete authority, wages war with the saints, has success in overcoming them until God steps in and gives them the Kingdom. Verse 23 says, “Thus he said the fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth which will be different from all the other kingdoms, and it will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it.” Here is the domain of antichrist, the kingdom of antichrist, a powerful kingdom, military might is its trademark. It has devastating and devouring effect on the world.
Verse 25 tells us a little more about this horn that arises. He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the highest one. Surely through injustice, seizure, punishment and death, he will massacre those who belong to God. He will intend to make alterations in times and in law. He wants to write his own morality, he wants to write his own history. There will be given into his hand - they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time - that’s one, plus two, plus a half equals three and a half. He brings in a new religion, new morality. He rewrites history. He is the counterfeit Christ.
Then turn over to chapter 8 and verse 23. Here, we find another picture in the prophecy of Daniel with regard to this coming world ruler who wreaks havoc among the saints and all over the globe, up until the return of Jesus Christ to set up His Kingdom. It tells us in verse 23 that a king will arise, in the middle of the verse, insolent and skilled in intrigue. That first term, insolent, has to do with being fierce. In fact, the Hebrew carries the idea of a fierce face. He is an intimidator and he is skilled in intrigue. He is a master deceiver. Verse 24 says, “His power will be mighty but not by his own power.” We shall see very clearly in Revelation 13 that he is empowered by Satan himself.
Verse 24 says, “He will destroy to an extraordinary degree.” In fact, Jesus says in Matthew 24 there will be trouble during that period of the world’s history like no other time ever. And certainly much of that will be contributed to the wrath of God but much as well to the operation of Satan through this antichrist. He will prosper, perform his will, destroy mighty men and the holy people. He’ll go after Israel, as you well know, wanting to prevent their salvation and Kingdom, as well as believers from all the nations.
Verse 25, Through his shrewdness or his cunning, he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence. He will magnify himself in his heart. He will destroy many while they are at ease. You remember in chapter 6 of Revelation, when he first comes, riding on a white horse, he comes and offers peace. In Daniel 9, as we shall see in a moment, he signs a covenant of peace even with Israel. So he comes while people are at ease and opposes the true prince of princes, the Lord Jesus Christ.
And then it says at the end of verse 25, “He will be broken without human agency.” In other words, no man will be able to deal with him, no man will be able to destroy him. But back in chapter 7, verse 13, it says, “I kept looking in the night visions and behold, with the clouds of heaven, one like a Son of man was coming, and to Him was given dominion, glory, and the Kingdom.” It is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ who will destroy the antichrist.
Then over at the end of chapter 9, Daniel gets another glimpse of this figure to come. In verse 26, he is called the prince who is to come. He will destroy the city and the sanctuary, that abomination of desolation. Its end will come like a flood. Even to the end, there will be war, desolations are determined. He will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, that’s the time of the tribulation, that seven-year period. In the middle of the week, he puts a stop to the sacrifice, the grain offering, and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.
In other words, he signs a pact for seven years with the people of God. He brings a certain amount of peace. In the middle of the week, the middle of the seven years, he disrupts it. He starts his onslaught, his massacre of the Jews, trying to wipe out the nation so the promise of God can’t be fulfilled regarding their salvation and Kingdom, and then goes after the saints of God from every nation, trying to destroy them all. He makes a complete destruction until his own desolation comes at the hands of Christ.
And then over in chapter 11, I want to point your attention to verse 36. These are texts that are so very important because they lay a historic, substantive description of this figure in place and become the background for the book of Revelation. Verse 36 calls him a king again. He is the willful king, or the king who does as he pleases. He is sovereign. He answers to nobody. He is the last wicked dictator and the most comprehensive and powerful one the world will have ever known. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods.
He is blasphemous. He is proud. He is profane. That’s because he represents the blasphemous, profane, and proud Lucifer himself. He will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done. He’s going to go right up until the coming of Christ. Verse 37 tells us he will be irreligious. He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women. He may be a homosexual. Some think that has reference to the Messiah; that is, the desire of women in the Jewish race was to be the mother of Messiah, and perhaps it means he will have no regard for Messiah.
Others think it could well mean that he will be a homosexual. Nor will he show regard for any other god. He will magnify himself above them all. He will be God and he will claim to be the Messiah, the Christ. He will honor a god of fortresses - that is, a god of power, might is right, a god whom his fathers did not know. He will honor him with gold, silver, costly stones, and treasures. In other words, he’s going to take all of his fortune and pour it into the god of force, he’s going to buy a massive military powerhouse. That’s his only god.
He will take action against the strongest of fortresses with the help of a foreign god - that, probably a reference to Satan himself. He will give great honor to those who acknowledge him. He will cause them to rule over the many and will parcel out land for a price. He’s going to buy the world off. He’s going to buy off loyalty. He’s going to buy off allies.
Further description of the activity of the time starts in verse 40, but go down to verse 45, “He will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful holy mountain.” That would be the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, right in the land of Israel. Yet he will come to his end and no one will help him. He will meet his match.
Now, there you have in the prophecy of Daniel some very specific things outlined with regard to this man so that when John says, “You have already heard about antichrist,” indeed they had. When Paul says, “Remember that when I was with you, I was telling you these things,” he certainly had the prophecy of Daniel as the text for that kind of instruction.
And Jesus Himself affirmed all of Daniel’s prophecy by quoting it, Matthew chapter 24 and verse 15. So by the time 1 John was written, the Thessalonian epistles had already been written and widely circulated. The early Christians had well read 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, and there they had much information about antichrist as well as the teaching of the book of Daniel.
Look at 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, and let me just briefly remind you of what Paul wrote there. Again, we went through this in very careful detail in our study of 2 Thessalonians, and I won’t beg the point by going through all that detail again. But I want you to look at verse 3 and just to rehearse what Paul says. “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come” - that is, the day of the Lord, final time of judgment - “until the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction” - or the son of perdition.
And then he goes on to describe this man. He says the day of the Lord is not going to come until the antichrist, the man of lawlessness, he’s called, the son of destruction, comes first. Then he describes him. “He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god, or object of worship.” And you can see the influence of Daniel right there in what he writes. “He takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” That is the abomination of desolation recorded of Daniel chapter 9.
Down in verse 8, it says, “That lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth,” again rehearsing what Daniel says, that no human agency will destroy him, but the Lord Jesus Christ Himself will bring to an end his life by the appearance of His coming.
Further in verse 9, it describes him as one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish because they didn’t receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in wickedness. He’s going to come, powerful, mighty, deceptive, just as Daniel said.
So when John says you know about antichrist, indeed they did, even before the book of Revelation was written. Even the light of the very first prophecy in the Bible about a coming deliverer in Genesis 3:15 had mixed in it the dark reality of an antagonizing power to bruise Christ’s heal. From the very outset, there has been a serpent’s brood to strike against the seed of the woman; namely, Christ. Through all of the ages, there has been a Cain for every Abel, there has been a Jannes and Jambres for every Moses, there has been a Babylon for every Jerusalem, and a Herod for every John the Baptist, and a Judas for every Peter, and ultimately, there will be another and final antichrist for the true Christ.
Antichristos, pseudochristos, he is called both; antichristos, against Christ; pseudochristos, false Christ. He is against Christ by pretending to be Christ. He has had many predecessors. There are many false Christs, says Jesus. And someday you will hear, “Here is Christ, and there is Christ,” and there will be many false Christs - don’t believe them.
John also said in that same verse, 1 John 2:18, “Even now many antichrists have arisen.” They have been around since the very start, Genesis. There have been many. But there will be a final culminating one who is the great antichrist. A portrait of this manifested antichrist, this man of sin, this son of perdition, son of destruction, little horn, this willful king who does as he pleases, this prince that shall come, this devil, as Jesus certainly would identify him, is now given much more detail as we get into the book of Revelation.
Let’s go back, then, to chapter 13. We know what we know, but there is much yet to be revealed. Now, even though chapter 13 is the first description of this individual, we have seen him already in the book of Revelation. The first time we saw him was in chapter 6. He is described there as riding on a white horse, having a bow, a crown, going out to conquer and successfully conquering. That describes the initiation of the peace covenant at the beginning of the seven-year tribulation which he effects with Israel and the world. So we first saw him there.
We secondly saw him in the book of Revelation, where he is identified as a beast in chapter 11. All of a sudden, he isn’t this pristine and magnificent rider on a white horse, coming with conquering power and glory, he takes on a different look altogether in chapter 11 and verse 7, and there he is called a beast that comes up out of the abyss, who makes war with them and overcomes them and kills them. And he’s describing his activity against the two witnesses, the two great preachers during the time of the tribulation. It is the beast who rises up to kill them.
So we met him in chapter 6, but we couldn’t really tell how wicked he was there. We saw his wickedness surface in chapter 11, and now we’re going to see it full-blown in chapter 13, and we’re going to see a lot more about his activity as we move further into this book, into chapters 16 and 17 later on.
So Satan, in his last effort to thwart God’s plan, his last effort to destroy Christ, his last effort to stop the Kingdom before himself being chained and put in a pit for a thousand years and then cast into the lake of fire eternally, calls forth this final ruler, this man. He is a man. He is a human being. But as we shall see, he is demon-possessed, and powerfully so. Maybe more powerfully than any other man ever. He is the ultimate, the last wicked dictator, the supremely evil human leader who culminates Satan’s rebellion as the incarnation of his power.
Now, chapter 13 fits perfectly after chapter 12. Twelve looked at Satan’s war with God and Israel and the seed of Israel, the Christ, from the start. We saw the beginning of that war and we saw the history of that war in chapter 12, and now in chapter 13, we’re going to see the culmination of it. It takes us all the way to the end of the great tribulation and the final battle in which Satan engages God and Christ as he attempts to get what he’s always wanted, sovereign rule and worship equal to God.
So in chapter 12, Satan was cast out of heaven to earth. In chapter 13, we find him on earth, unleashing his massive effort to defeat God and Christ and set up his own kingdom and doing it through this individual called antichrist.
Just a note about this. Satan is a spirit, and we want to keep that in mind. He is not somebody running around in a red suit with a pointed tail and little horns and a pitchfork. He is a spirit. Spirit does not have flesh and bones. Because Satan is a spirit, he is limited as to how he can function in the world. In fact, his operation is severely hindered unless he can function through the bodies and the personalities of people. All his demons, along with himself, move in and out of people to do their evil work on earth. Certainly this is abundantly clear to anybody who studies the New Testament. We see it repeated again and again.
For example, you will remember that it tells us of Judas Iscariot, these frightening words, Luke 22:3, “And Satan entered into Judas and he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them.” Satan and his demons need human bodies to carry out their earthly agenda.
Jesus - follow this - when He was on earth showed His power over Satan. How? By identifying those places where demons dwelt - namely, human beings - and casting them out, showing that He had complete power over the fallen spiritual domain. He gave His disciples the power to do the very same thing. He wasn’t doing this just to show how clever He was, He was doing this to make a very clear statement to the kingdom of darkness and to all of those human beings who were victims of the kingdom of darkness, and that is that He totally controls it. He showed his power to dispel demons out of the humans they so long to occupy.
I think most people don’t understand this, they suppose that a whole world of unregenerate people are running around doing whatever they choose. Not so. You might say, “Are you saying that most people are under the control of Satan?” No, all of them. They’re all of their father, the devil. “Are you saying that most people, therefore, are influenced by Satan?” Yes, they walk according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.
“Are you saying that most of them have demonic activity going on in them?” Yes, but not all of them are throwing themselves on the fire and cutting themselves. Some of them are. Jesus has power over that whole domain.
Now, as you come to the end, in Revelation chapter 13, Satan knows his time is short. One place in Revelation, as we shall see, it says he has one hour, that’s just a way to express the brevity of his time of operation, this brief three and a half culminating years. And he pulls out all the stops on his rage, all the stops on his pride, on his blasphemy. He wants to operate at full power and God, believe it or not, is letting him do it. God has opened up the pit and allowed all of the temporarily bound demons to come pouring out of that pit, as we saw earlier in Revelation.
God has taken the binders off those two hundred million demons that were bound - you remember? - at the Euphrates River and set them loose. God has vacated the entire universe of the demons that occupy space between here and heaven and plunged them all to the earth, so he really is operating with a most massive force he’s ever known. It will be demonism at its historical height, all the demons of earth, sky and the pit, all those released from the fertile crescent are running amok all over the place. And Satan is endeavoring to make his final great onslaught against God.
That endeavor involves slaughtering the Jews so that there will be no Israel; therefore, God’s promise of a kingdom cannot come to pass. He will be doing everything he can to prevent gentile salvation as well as Jewish salvation. He will kill those who do believe. He will conquer the world, wanting to capture the whole world so there will be nothing for Jesus when He returns. And above and beyond all of this, he wants what he most of all wants, and that is he wants to be worshiped as God.
So in this massive effort that Satan puts on at the end, this man plays a very significant role because he is the human who basically sits on top of all the human operation in response to satanic power and planning and demonic possession. This man, according to 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, verses 7 to 11, which we read earlier, will be given the power to do signs and wonders deceptively so that the whole world, as it were, would fall at his feet as a miracle worker and a genius. It will be a terrible time. It will be the worst time in human history.
God’s wrath and Satan’s fury both at their apex simultaneously. The whole universe falling to pieces under the wrath of God and all hell breaking loose under the wrath of Satan. And the chief weapon that Satan has is antichrist. And all of the demons, millions of them, assisting him in his reign of terror.
Now remember, we’ve already gone through the tribulation from God’s viewpoint, and now we’re going back again and going back through that same period of time, particularly the last half, from Satan’s side. We’ve already seen the unfolding of God’s wrath in seven seals and seven trumpets, and seven bowls are about to come. That’s God’s wrath. We’re now backtracking to pick up Satan’s perspective and his operation before the final bowls of judgment are poured out from God. Part of that necessitates a look at this individual known as antichrist.
Now for tonight, I want us to look at just the first point, okay? His ancestry - his ancestry. There are several things I want to say about him before we get down to verse 10 and meet his compatriot, the false prophet who is introduced in verse 11. But the first thing I want you to note is his ancestry, and this unfolds all kinds of demands on us if we’re going to be faithful to comprehend it. Verse 1, “And he stood on the sand of the seashore and I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems” - or crowns - “and on his heads were blasphemous names.”
Now, this unfolds his ancestry, this unfolds his parentage. Jesus said all unbelievers - in John 8:44 - all unbelievers really are categorically identified as of their father, the devil. He said that specifically of the Jewish leaders, “You are of your father, the devil.” Anybody who is not a child of God is a child of the devil. And no one has ever in human history been more the devil’s child than this man. And that unfolds in this opening verse as well as the rest of the first part of the chapter.
Notice how the chapter begins. It really begins in a very strange way, and I don’t know why those people who put the chapter headings in put it where they did because the first statement of chapter 13 should be the last statement of chapter 12. It says, “And he stood on the sand of the seashore.” Who? Well, you have to go back to chapter 12, verse 17, “And the dragon was enraged with the woman” - that’s Israel - “and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” This describes the satanic warfare against believers during the tribulation.
And then it says about the dragon, “And he stood on the sand of the seashore.” He being the dragon. You want to know who the dragon is? Go back to chapter 12, verse 9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world.” So chapter 13 begins with the image of Satan as some great dragon standing on the sand of the seashore.
Now, what is the significance of such imagery? If you look at chapter 20 of Revelation and verse 8, we read about a time when Satan is released from the thousand-year imprisonment at the end of the millennial kingdom, and he goes out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, and he gathers them together for war and the number of them is like the - what? - sand of the seashore. I think that simple comparison indicates that what you see back in chapter 13, verse 1, is Satan taking his position squarely in the middle of the nations of the world who are represented by the sand of the seashore.
He is squarely putting his feet down as the usurper, and he is not about to give up his world. He wants to be the god of this world, he wants to be worshiped and adored, he wants to be the focus of everyone’s attention. So he takes his place squarely in the midst of the nations of the world and its peoples, and as he stands there, I believe what he does is summon forth the beast. There is this great dragon standing, as it were, symbolically over the nations of the world as if he possesses them. And immediately John said, “And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea.”
The word beast could better be translated monster. It’s the same term that we noted was in chapter 11 and verse 7, the one who killed the two witnesses near the end of the great tribulation time. Very close to the end. But now we’re backtracking and we’re seeing the beast as he comes, as he arises out of the sea. The term thērion, translated beast or monster, is used to describe some rapacious, some vicious, some killing animal. By the way, it is used forty-six times in the New Testament and thirty-five of them in the book of Revelation.
Here is a powerful monster, as the details of this chapter will further reveal. And I believe you have to understand this monster in two ways, or really in a twofold way, a dual way. You have to understand him as both a person and a system, both a king and a kingdom. He has to represent a kingdom because of the complexity of the description here, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten crowns, and on his heads were blasphemous names. Obviously, this is a complex monster.
And yet he is always described with personal pronouns - he, he, he, him. And clearly, Daniel and Paul in 2 Thessalonians and the book of Revelation see him as a person. He is both this monster, a king, and a kingdom. A way to look at it would be to see the satanic final world empire inseparable from the satanically empowered man who leads it - as inseparable as Adolph Hitler was from the Third Reich.
So the dragon, Satan, expelled from heaven after his defeat by Michael and the angels, comes to earth with all of his demons. He stands there positioning himself to maintain control of the earth, even in the midst of the wrath of God and all the judgments. He sinks his great feet, dragon’s feet, as it were, into the sand to hold his ground, and he summons out of the sea this great personality so he can fight the last battle with God and Christ. The monster coming from the sea is the final satanic empire embodied in the final satanic man.
And when it comes to the sea here, it says in verse 1 coming up out of the sea, there’s been a lot of discussion about what the sea means. Some have said - and there certainly would be reason to conclude this - that it represents the nations. The nations are like the troubled sea, said the Old Testament prophet. It is not uncommon to see people and nations as a turbulent, chaotic, rolling, rumbling, agitated ocean. But I think there’s a better understanding and a better interpretation. I think the sea is really representative of the abyss, the abyss, the pit.
Remember back in chapter 11 and verse 7? It says, “The beast that comes up out of the abyss” - here it says, “The beast comes up out of the sea.” So we would equate, then, in my judgment, the sea with the abyss. It’s the haunt of demons, the abyss. Read Luke 8:31. It’s the home of fallen angels. It’s the place of incarceration. In Revelation chapter 20, when Satan is taken captive at the beginning of the millennial Kingdom, he is thrown into the abyss and shut there and sealed there. It is the pit of demonic torment where the demons didn’t want to be sent when Jesus confronted them in the maniac at Gadara.
What does this say? It says that this antichrist who dominates this world power is going to be a body containing the spirit that has risen out of the abyss. One of the demons in the pit, one very formidable demon who is released from the pit at some point invades the body and the mind of this very gifted man - an orator, an intellectual genius, with charm and charisma, astounding leadership ability. This man becomes the body for a spirit from the pit.
The idea of the sea being a symbol for the abyss, by the way, is not new. In fact, if you go back to the Old Testament in the book of Job chapter 26, several of the Psalms, Isaiah chapter 27, chapter 51, Ezekiel chapter 36, you will find there some indications that the sea was often associated with satanic activity and great monsters.
It is also interesting to note that in chapter 21 of Revelation, I don’t know how important it is, but it does say quite interestingly at the end of verse 1 of Revelation 21 that in the new heaven and the new earth, there is no longer any sea. You see, the sea always represented what couldn’t be seen, the unseen, the dark, the foreboding, the monstrous, the fearful, the threatening, the place of mystery, the place where things were hidden. Before the sophisticated equipment of modern day where we can plunge into the depths of the sea and study all of this, it was greatly mysterious.
And by the way, another little interesting note that I came across in just trying to think this through, in Romans chapter 10 - and again I don’t want to go too far with this, but I do want to give you some reasons to see this as the abyss. In Romans chapter 10, Paul says this, “Who will descend into the abyss?” Who will descend into the abyss? You say, “What’s important about that?” Well, here’s what’s important about it. That’s quoted from Deuteronomy chapter 30 and verse 13, only there it says, “Who will cross the sea?” So there you have abyss and sea used interchangeably.
So I believe you have the imagery, then, of Satan standing, as it were, and planted on the earth, conjuring up, as it were, some powerful demon who has occupied his proper place in the abyss until the time of release. He now controls this man who controls this empire, which is the monster described.
Now, looking even further into the ancestry of this individual, follow this. He has ten horns and seven heads. Now, that is what I call a family likeness. “You’re kidding, you mean somebody else looks like that?” Yes. Somebody else looks exactly like that. This guy is the spitting image of his father. Back to chapter 12, verse 3, “Another sign appeared in heaven and behold, a great red dragon” - guess what? He had seven heads and ten horns. That’s a family likeness. Is it any wonder that this monster is described the way he’s described? No, he is the emissary, the agent, the son of Satan, if you will. As I said earlier, no one was ever more like the devil or ever will be than this one.
Now, what are these ten horns? Well, horns always represent power, as in the animal kingdom, both offensive power to attack and defensive power to protect. They represent strength and force. And here, no doubt, represent the great power of kings who, in the human realm, wield that power. There are ten of them. You say, “What’s the significance of that?” Well, I think it’s a symbolic number. It simply represents all the world of human, political, military power that assists the monster. Here comes the antichrist’s spirit out of the pit, embodies this great world leader.
By the way, it’s interesting to think about. He will already have to have reached a high level of prominence, and there’s a sense in which he probably reaches that prominence before he becomes the entire possession of this demonic force. And by the way, you can see that illustrated in the life of Adolph Hitler who, by certain natural gifts, attained a high level of leadership and then seemed to have been infused from hell and spoke in his great speeches in a voice that wasn’t even his own.
At what point this abyss spirit occupies this world leader, I don’t know, but he will have had to have risen to adulthood and to some significance and prominence and a place where he can then move into this great power. And when he does it, his kingdom will encompass ten horns. That’s, I believe, simply symbolic, representing all the world of human and military, political might. They all live and rule at the same time at the end. You see that again in chapter 17, verse - I think it’s verse 12. Yes, the ten horns which you saw are ten kings and they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour.
You say, “Are there exactly ten?” I don’t think that’s the point. I think the ten is sort of symbolic of the totality. They are representative of the totality. There would have to be more than ten, my friends, because the antichrist doesn’t just rule with ten, he rules the whole world - the whole world. They are the anti-Israel, anti-Christian, anti-God, anti-Christ force that come alongside antichrist himself for the last forty-two months, the last three and a half years.
Daniel has described this coalition. Let’s go back to Daniel chapter 2, and we’ll kind of pull this together and conclude, but I want you to see this. Daniel chapter 2 and verse 41. Daniel is describing here the fourth kingdom that’s going to come in world history. You remember there were four in the image that God gave to Daniel, this tremendous vision of this huge statue, it was gold, silver, bronze, and then iron and clay. Back in verse 32, the head of the statue was fine gold, its breasts and its arms silver, its belly and thighs bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.
Eventually, of course, a stone cut out without hands, that represents the Messiah, strikes it at the feet and smashes it all. Verse 35, they’re all crushed at the same time, they become like chaff, dust blown away by the wind. That’s human history. And you remember how that flows. The gold part of the statue represented the Babylonian Empire. The silver part, the Medo-Persian. The bronze part, the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great. And the great iron legs representing Rome. And then the ten toes representing the final form of the Roman Empire which comes at the end, which is smashed, and the whole of human history comes crashing down and with it, all human power. And that’s what’s described.
Down in verse 41, in that you saw the feet and toes partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, that’s mixed strong and weak, it’ll be a divided kingdom, but it will have in it the toughness of iron inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle.
So here will be the final form of the Roman Empire which will be a world empire way beyond Rome, way beyond a European confederacy, and which will ultimately be the final form, smashed and crushed and put to an end by Christ, the stone cut out without hands, verse 45 says, crushes the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver - in other words, the whole gathered power of that final form as God then takes His place and sets up the Kingdom of Christ.
So there we are told in Daniel chapter 2 in a dream that God gave to Daniel that Nebuchadnezzar would be representative of the first form of world government, it would flow all the way down to the final form in Rome, which would be smashed and crushed in its final form. Now, there are ten toes and that’s where people talk about the ten toes that are parallel to the ten kings that we see in the book of Revelation. I think what it’s trying to tell us is not there have to be ten kings and no more and no less, but that simply every body has ten toes - so we’ve got to deal with that and I think the book of Revelation picks up that same imagery uses it as an expression symbolizing the totality of rule as the kingdoms of the world come under the influence of antichrist and his satanic enterprise.
Now, while you’re in Daniel, look at chapter 7, just one more text there. Daniel chapter 7, so much to be said about this but I don’t want to go back and teach the book of Daniel all over again, I just want to touch it and remind yourself down there in verse 20, the shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king, the broken horn and the four horns that arose from it represent four kingdoms which will arise from his nation, although not with his power. There you have Alexander the Great, his kingdom is divided into four and you can see - and I’m just showing you that as an illustration of how Daniel has outlined the whole flow of human history.
The unification, of course, of the kingdom of Babylon, one head. And the somewhat twofold character of the Medo-Persian. When you come down into this part of the anatomy, the two arms, and then you come down into the Greek, which is the thighs, again, there’s a unification there. And then you come into the legs, which is Rome and Rome, you remember, split into east and west. And here you have even a description of the fact that the kingdom of Greece would be disseminated among four, and that’s exactly what happened when Alexander the Great divided it among the four generals who were his military sons and carried on his might.
So Daniel lays out for us much of this, and it’s important for us to understand it. Now, Daniel describes also in his prophecy that there will be some beasts that are going to make clear the character of these four kingdoms. Let’s go back to the book of Revelation, just as a closing, and I’ll refer backwards to Daniel without taking you through all of that in the book of Daniel. But you will notice this, in chapter 13, verse 2, he sees in this beast a leopard and a bear and a lion. And we’ll come back to that.
There was one other beast in Daniel’s case, which was called a diverse beast, or unlike the rest, and that is parallel to the final form of antichrist. This is the point. When the final kingdom comes, though it is the ten-toed, multiple-confederacy world empire under antichrist, having somewhat of its head in a revived Roman Empire, it will engulf the whole world but it will also embody all of the strengths of Greece, all of the strengths of Medo-Persia, all of the strengths of Babylon, it’ll be the final form, sort of capturing all of that and yet mixed with weakness and ultimately crushed.
And that is why he sees the final beast looking like the leopard (Greece), looking like the bear (Medo-Persia), looking like the lion (Babylon) because it seems to embody all of that.
Now back to verse 1. The beast coming up out of the sea, then, has these ten horns. It is the final form of world government. It is the embodiment of all of the viciousness and the rapaciousness and the swiftness and the strength and the stability and the power of all other world empires. And it engulfs ten horns; that is to say, it embraces all other rulers.
And then he adds that it has, as does Satan in the description in chapter 12, seven heads. This refers, I believe, to seven successive forms of government, but we’ll get into that in chapter 17. It refers to Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and then ultimately the final kingdom of antichrist. You will find that again in Daniel chapter 7, and we’ll dig into that a little more in the future.
So the man antichrist shows up, and he is the embodiment of the whole prophetic picture of the end time in terms of gentile human history. He is the head of the coalition of all gentile power. He is the culminating of all of the great empires, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and then ultimately the final kingdom, which is the seventh, and he himself says, Revelation 18, rises out of that and becomes the eighth.
So what you have here, then, is this satanically designed man possessed by a demon spirit from the pit who has a resemblance to his own father who is none other than the devil. Then he says the horns are crowned - that is, it is a regal coalition, and the heads have blasphemous names on each one of them. That, by the way - and I don’t want to spend too much time on this again, but every time a monarch in ancient history identified himself as a god, he blasphemed the true God. And here they come, the final culminating form of human government is blasphemous, it is powerful, it wears crowns, regal dominion, and it blasphemes the true God. Daniel saw it and John saw it.
You know, just in closing, as we think about the world uniting under antichrist, we can already begin to feel that happening. Can you? Clearly in Scripture the world is going to unite - all of the world. The antichrist is not going to rule over just a unified Europe, he’s not going to rule over the Common Market. He’s going to rule the world. And that’s the way it’s going.
Václav Havel, who was the newly elected president of Czechoslovakia in 1990, pointed out in a major article written for U.S. News and World Report, this is what he said: “Europe has been the cradle of a civilization that has shaped the history of the world for the last two thousand years. The spiritual impulses of antiquity Judaism and Christianity merged into a force that has forged the world as we know it. European civilization discovered, explored, conquered, and dominated other continents and other civilizations. It has brought European thinking, enterprise and inventions to the remotest corners of the earth,” end quote.
What he is saying was that it was Europe that colonized the globe. And a unified Europe leads to a unified world. These colonial nations not only spread European culture and ideas around the globe, but they quote/unquote “Christianized” their colonies. Thus the foundation, I believe, was laid worldwide, and you can see vestiges of it all over the globe in a kind of apostate Christianity that will easily frame up into the antichrist’s harlot. It is this spiritual impulse, as Václav Havel calls it, which more than anything else links the entire world back to Rome.
This is a very important connection. The revival of the old Roman Empire will begin certainly with the uniting of Europe, and we’re seeing that rapidly happening before our eyes. The democratization of Eastern Europe has made Eastern Europe now a partner with Western Europe. Of course, Gorbachev’s scenario unfolded and opened the doors for the East and the West to be united in a brand new way. Perestroika has made one Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals.
And alongside Gorbachev and the incredible vision that he had for a unified Europe was one other major player, it was Pope John Paul II in 1987 while performing a mass for fifty-five thousand people outside Spire, Germany’s nine-hundred-year-old cathedral, he appealed for a united Europe. That’s what’s going to happen. That united Europe then extends its influencing tentacles all over the globe.
Havel also went on to say this: “For more than forty years, there has not been one Europe but at least two. One is the Europe of the West, the land of democracies and relative prosperity. The other is the Europe of the East, of totalitarianism until recently unchallenged, a Europe that has finally awakened. Then the tide turned, paving the way for the enormous changes in Eastern Europe we have recently witnessed. Europeans in the West have made clear their intention to overcome national, political, and geographical barriers and to enter the next millennium as a single community.
“Europeans in the East have made equally clear their interest in joining in this community of free nations.” Beyond that, trade agreements with America and Canada and Mexico, Germany is calling for all of these. Germany is calling for trade agreements all across the globe. Japan and Asia wants the same thing with Europe and America. Everybody is talking about globalism economically, globalism politically, setting the stage for antichrist.
It’s even showing up in public schools in what’s under the National Education Association, here’s what they say, quote: “It is with sobering awareness that we set about to change the course of American education for the twenty-first century, by embracing the ideals of global community, the equality and interdependence of all peoples and nations and education as a tool to bring about world peace.” It doesn’t sound too threatening until you read a little more deeply into what they really want to do. Part of bringing about their world peace is the elimination of any doctrine, any dogma, any religious conviction that divides.
And that’s, of course, where the blasphemy comes in. Second Thessalonians 2:4 said the antichrist would be a blasphemer and indeed he will be. So starting at the highest level politically and at the lowest level educationally, the push is toward globalism. And sometimes it almost seems as if we can hear the angel blow the trumpet to take us away, right?
So his ancestry is pretty clear, and we know where he’s coming from, and we have plenty of information about him and the blasphemy which he will bring as he attempts to destroy the people of God and the purposes of Christ. Next time we’ll go to verse 2.
Father, thank you for our time tonight in your Word. What a precious and rich time it is, even though the subject is so frightening and terrorizing. Our hearts break and grieve deeply for what the people in this world are going to have to face. You find no pleasure in the death of the wicked, nor do we. We find no morbid glee in such frightening things. Knowing these things are coming, knowing the terror of the Lord, we should persuade men. We should live holy lives, calling them to the safety of Christ. That’s our responsibility. But at the same time, Lord, we rejoice because we know Jesus is coming, and we long for Him to come and take His church away. May we be ready when He arrives. In His great name. Amen.
This article is also available and sold as a booklet.