REVELATION CHAPTER 13: ENDURING BEASTS AND DRAGONS
Verses 1-2: In making war with Children of God (the Church), the dragon first calls up the beast from the sea (the gentile nations) and the beast has the appearance of all previous beasts (nations) combined. We should note Daniel 7 where we see a representation of Babylon, the Medo-Persians, Greece, and Rome. The beast points to an ongoing world system carrying forward with power, but without legal grounds. “Legal” meaning there is “no authority” because at the Cross Jesus disarms the principalities and powers. There is ongoing rebellion in the face of Christ’s victory over sin and death and all such powers.
The dragon makes war with Israel’s children (those who would accept Jesus Christ). They are the target because they reign with Christ and when the sharing of the Gospel over the whole world is complete… his destruction comes. The dragon makes war to stop the great commission of the children of God which is the communication of Christ’s victory and the teaching of the nations to obey King Jesus. The command is taught to forgive as He has forgiven and to love as He has loved.
Verse 3: Power is drawn from all the powers limping along… including Rome. Keeping the time in mind that this was written, at a point in the future the beast is wounded and his healed. Historically, Nero is killed and then the beast rises back up Roman Empire is healed. Spiritually, Satan still has a system on the earth that he can manipulate and control, but they all have been disarmed, but continues (healed).
As we look at this, we should contrast the breath to the image of beast with breath of life of the two witnesses in previous chapters.
Verse 6: A mouth full of lies tells a false message meant to tear down the Gospel since the text says the second beast “blasphemes.”
Verse 7: These verses state that the beast was “given authority” … by whom? The verses do not directly state God.
Verses 8-10: All inhabitants of the earth worship the beast so perhaps it is they who permit his authority over them. Those whose names are written in the book of life don’t worship the beast which is why verse 10 indicates suffering on the part of believers. In verse 10, endurance is needed because the world system will try to overthrow the Gospel as it has done in the past. This is a continual ongoing effort and the dragon understands that his time is short thus he is ruthless and furious and very controlling with what is permitted on the earth. The dragon is limited, for example, without any access to heaven as (apparently) he had before Christ’s victory and ascension. Endurance is needed by God’s people as the Gospel goes into the whole world and it is resisted with all opposition to God.
Verse 11: A second beast comes from the earth. This beast has power and influence that looks like innocence and good but is really deceit.
Verse 12: The second beast exercises the authority and influence of the first beast and dupes immature men and creates fear in order to have submission.
Verses 13-14: There are lies and deceptions which are fueled by false signs which bring about worship of the first beast. People worship the image of the beast that was wounded by the sword, but still lived.
Note: We are in a period of time in this passage where Jesus is on the offense and Satan is on the defense because worldly powers have been disarmed, but still gather power from those who allow them to rule. Eventually all worldly powers will be utterly destroyed, but this is not yet at that point.
The endurance of the Saints also indicates that the Saints are to persevere and endure evil and persecution until the Gospel reaches its full end result. In this passage, the believers in the Gospel must tolerate the push-back from Satan and his cohorts.
Verses 15-18: See John 8:42-45. This is the end of the Little Book.
COMMENTS TO HELP YOU STUDY:
Jesus Christ has overcome the world which changes the way the beast is understood and functions. The beast is rising out of the sea and is not a completed action, but this ‘rising’ takes place to Judgment Day. It is a continual ongoing rising. This continual rising is juxtaposed with the Angel from Chapter 10 which stands on both the land and the sea is a overseeing the Mystery of God which we know is the Church (see Ephesians 1:8-10). The Church is made of both Jews and Gentiles IN CHRIST. The beast continually challenges Church and thereby there is the need for the endurance of Saints.