Revelation 13 explained


What does this prophecy say? What’s it about?

Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. 2 Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. 3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marvelled and followed the beast. 4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”

Revelation 13.1-4

Well, it tells us about the beast who is the Antichrist or the man of sin, the final opponent of Jesus Christ, of God. Who has his brief moment of power in the time which we call the Great Tribulation, immediately before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to the earth.

He rises up it says: ‘out of the sea’. So, what does it mean by ‘the sea’?  There are two possible interpretations of this:

1. The sea actually represents the mass of the human race in rebellion against God. Isaiah chapter 57 says:

But the wicked are like the troubled sea,

When it cannot rest,

Whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

Isaiah 57.20

So, out of humanity’s rebellion arises this one known as the Beast or the Antichrist. It also connects to Daniel chapter 7 where he has a dream of four beasts coming out of the sea. One like a lion, then a bear, then a leopard, and then a terrible beast out of which arises a little horn speaking pompous words.

This speaks about four empires which from Daniel’s time bring in what we call the ‘times of the gentiles’, the time of gentile oppression of Israel. They bring in some kind of anti-God system which oppresses God’s people.

From Daniel‘s point of view, it was a succession of empires:

  • The lion (Babylon),
  • The bear (Medo-Persia),
  • The leopard (Greece), and
  • The terrible beast which is Rome.

Four empires which followed each other and oppressed Israel.

Out of this it says will emerge what is called ‘a little horn‘: the Beast or the Antichrist who is going to come out of some kind of revival of the fourth beast (4th empire) in the last days.

So, by connecting it to this, John, in Revelation 13, is saying that ‘what I’m telling you now has something to do with what Daniel was telling you in Daniel chapter 7 speaking about four beasts‘, and one who comes out of it, who speaks pompous words against God and who brings in the oppression and the persecution of the saints in the last days.

So, the beast, who John saw, is some kind of Antichrist entity which will arise, which will have the spirit of these beasts arising in the Book of Daniel.

It will have some kind of religious and political dimension which is based on the worship of false gods and a denial of the true God.

2. Revelation 17 implies there is going to be a ‘coming together’ in the last days of the world religious system which will bring together all faiths into what we call Babylon the Great, based on worship of false gods and the denial of the true God: a one world religion with a scarlet woman riding on the beast.

Many have seen that what the Pope is actually doing at the present time is actually to bring together all religions, including New Age cults and Islam, into a one-world religious system attempting to save the world from calamity.

And so, we’re seeing that spirit of Babylon coming together, bringing the religions together, allied to a political system which will emerge in the last days.

From the Christian point of view, from our point of view, the good news is that this system is going to be destroyed by the coming of Jesus Christ.

Daniel says in his prophecy chapter 7 verses 13-14:

13 “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not pass away.

Daniel 7.13-14

His kingdom is the one which ‘shall not be destroyed’.

And all through prophecy, there is the bad side which is the coming of the Beast, and there’s also the good side which is the coming of the Lord.

And the Lord is the One who’s going to be victorious. So, that’s the reason why, when you see these things beginning to happen, you should not get into a panic and give up, and despair, and want to kill yourself, you should look up and lift up your heads because you know that Jesus is coming and that we’re going to have the victory at the end of it.

Going back to Revelation 13 verses 3 and 4. It tells you that something is going to happen which is going to cause the world to submit to this one, the Beast, and to worship him.

It speaks about a deadly wound which is going to be healed. Someone said he’ll undergo some kind of assassination attempt which will make him appear as if he’s dead, and he’ll perform a counterfeit death and resurrection.

It’s possible, I don’t know. We’ll wait and see what happens, or not, as the case may be.

Also, it could be that he causes some deadly plague or threat to humanity to be stayed, brings a solution to a problem which is threatening humanity, and does so with supernatural signs and wonders.

According to Thessalonians chapter 2 verses 5 to 10, he speaks blasphemies against God. You find this also in Daniel chapter 7. So, he is very much on the anti-God, Antichrist spirit, and he’s going to be working against God and against His people, and not just speaking blasphemies against God but also blaspheming His people. It says that ‘he blasphemes God, against His name, His tabernacle, and against those who dwell in heaven.’

5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. 6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Revelation 13.5-8

The question is: who are those who dwell in heaven? Is it the saints who’ve gone before?

Someone said he’s speaking about those who have been taken in the Rapture of the Church and, if you take the pre-Tribulation Rapture view, then the Rapture comes before this takes place, and he blasphemes those who’ve been taken, and this gives an alternative explanation as to why they have been taken up there.

But he also he attacks those who are alive at this time, who believe in Jesus, he makes war with the saints.

According to Revelation chapter 7, in the first stage of the Tribulation, you have a passage which speaks about a great multitude who are going to come to faith in Jesus Christ at this time. There will be 144,000 Jews who are going to go out and preach the Gospel and it will be a great multitude which no one can number who come to faith at the very early stage of the Tribulation period.

According to the pre-Tribulation view, those are the people who come to faith after the church has been raptured; according to the post-Tribulation view, those are us plus others who will come to faith during this time.

So, either way, there’s going to be a great number of people by this time who believe in Jesus but are then subject to persecution from the Antichrist (the Beast) and his people.

It speaks here about 42 months as well. He has authority to continue for 42 months. That’s a significant time frame. If you work out 42 months, it’s three and a half years. And right through Revelation and Daniel you have references to 7 years divided into two, which makes 2 times three-and-a-half years, which is the length of time of the Great Tribulation period.

During the first three-and-a-half years, the Antichrist is rising to power. The event of the Mark of the Beast system comes halfway through, at the midpoint of the Tribulation, and kicks off the Great Tribulation of the last day’s events, which will lead up to the Second Coming of Christ.

So, the 42 months is a significant time, it’s pointing to the end of days and to the final period before the return of Jesus the Messiah, when the Antichrist takes absolute power but also kicks off the time when God actually pours out His judgment in the Great Tribulation.

At this time, all people are required to submit to the Antichrist except those whose names are written in the Book of Life.

Who are those who are named in the Book of Life? It says ‘of the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

So, who is ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world‘? Obviously, it’s Jesus. And here’s a reference to Jesus as the One who is the answer to all of this.

Interesting that it says ‘He’s the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.’ So, that was from even before the world came into existence. Jesus was going to be slain and die for our sins right through this time. He’s making mediation for us so that we can come to God and, at the end of days, He’s going to come back with all power and glory to judge the world in righteousness.

And there’ll be those people who have understanding of these things, who’re going to believe in Jesus at this time. They’re going to be the object of persecution.

Now, already, we’re seeing that Christians who believe in Jesus are the object of persecution in many parts of the world. Countries which have the more advanced Antichrist systems have the greater persecution levels. Whether it’s China or the Muslim countries, wherever you see the spirit of Antichrist at work, you’ll see persecution of Christians.

When it comes to this end time, you’re going to see an advance of this and you’ll see great persecution taking place. But the Bible says:

9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10 He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

Revelation 13.9-10

There will be people to be taken into captivity and people killed with the sword it says here. ‘That this is the patience and the faith of the saints’ because when you see this happening, you know that the person who’s doing the killing and putting people into captivity here, themselves are going to be subject to God taking them into eternal captivity and eternal death.

So, don’t panic and don’t be over worried about what’s happening because you’re going to have the victory and those people who are doing the bad things to you are going to be defeated by God and have eternal punishment. It’s also warning to be on the right side of course.

In verses 11 to 18, we then have the second beast who appears, known as the False Prophet. He causes people to worship the Beast.

11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. 12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,

Revelation 13.11.16

It’s interesting, in this passage you have a satanic trinity. You have the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet. The Dragon who is Satan who gives his power to the Beast, who, in turn, is his man on the earth; and the False Prophet who bears witness to the Beast, who points people to worship him.

If you think about that, it is a counterfeit of the Trinity. You have God the Father who puts His man, the Son of God, on the earth to be His representative, to die for us; and you have the Holy Spirit who comes to bear witness to Jesus and to cause people to believe in Him.

Satan always counterfeits what God does. And, as a result of this, he causes people to worship the Beast and his image. Also, it says that ‘he performs great signs and wonders’.

The question is whether these are signs and wonders done by technology or by some supernatural power or even a mixture of both.

And one of the things we’re going to see in the end times, I believe, is something we’re already seeing now. A huge increase in the power of technology to create illusions, great things which are not really there, and to make people believe them. And you can see it speaks about making an image that speaks.

But we have plenty of images that speak now, don’t we? Even television is an image which is projected and speaks.

One of the things they’re saying that you can create with technology now is a hologram. A hologram can represent a person and ‘go and speak’ as if it was the person, as if the person was there, in person.

Apparently, President Erdogan of Turkey used a hologram on one occasion. He sent a hologram of himself to speak at a meeting. People thought it was him there but it wasn’t, it was himself as an image. So, we have the idea of an image that speaks, something which is supernatural. It seems that this could also be explained by some developments of technology and we know that the things that can be done with technology today are staggering, and are becoming even more staggering as time goes on.

It also implies in Thessalonians, in the parallel passage, that this leader is going to have power and that the Antichrist and the False Prophet will have power to do signs and wonders. 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 verses 8-12 says:

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

2 Thessalonians 2.8-12

When Jesus did His miracles, many people believed in Him and they believed the truth because they saw Jesus doing miracles which gave glory to God.

Apparently, this one is going to have the power to do miracles and these miracles will cause people to believe in him and give glory not to God but to the one who’s behind him, the Devil. And it will be also something which will come upon those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved.

So, how are you going to be conned into believing that these are signs from God? Well, if you don’t accept God’s message of salvation through Jesus Christ, then you can be open to the spirit of delusion. And one of the things which we’re seeing more and more in our time is a spirit of delusion which is being poured out on people who reject Jesus Christ, making them believe all kinds of crazy things.

Believing for example that a man can become a woman and vice versa. And that you can’t even tell the sex of a baby when it’s born because the baby might change things later on in its life.

Well, there are all kinds of weird and wonderful things being told today. But behind them, you can see there is a spirit of illusion, of delusion, which is coming upon people who reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then you’re not going to be subject to that delusion because you have the truth in Jesus within you. That’s another reason why you should believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

One of the features of the end time is going to be this spirit of delusion and deception which will be very strong at this time. Jesus also spoke about ‘lying signs and wonders’ in the last days, now already going on. He says that those who do not worship the image of this Beast will face death. Revelation 14 says that those who do worship the image will face eternal damnation. So, you have a pretty stark choice.

9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”

Revelation 14.9-11

We have a pretty strong warning there: ‘don’t take the Mark of the Beast’. The result will be eternal damnation and that’s written in scripture. It doesn’t really need to be expounded upon, it is what it says it is. And it’s a clear warning to people not to do that. The image itself is connected, I believe, with the ‘abomination of desolation’ which Jesus speaks about in Matthew 24 where he says:

Therefore, when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”

Matthew 24.15-22

So, prophecy here speaks very clearly about a time of unique trouble which will come as a result of this.

Probably, a reason why a lot of people don’t want to study prophecy is that they don’t want to hear about ‘trouble’. Maybe you’re thinking: ‘I don’t want to hear about this on a Sunday morning’, you want to hear some good news.

Well, there is good news. The good news is that Jesus is coming, and that He has come to save us. But we have to face the fact that the Bible contains these scriptures and that the Bible warns about these things happening. Also, that current events are very clearly, in my opinion, ushering us towards these things happening in the not too distant future.

Now, how distant the future is? Only God knows. We can see however that these things are on their way.

Revelations 13 concludes with the passage:

16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”

Revelation 13.16-18

You have the famous ‘666 prophecy’ and it says that, as a result of receiving this mark and receiving this mark on your hand or on your forehead, you’re able to buy and sell.

What’s the significance of ‘buying and selling’? Basically, buying and selling is what you need to do to enter into normal society. If you don’t do it, if you can’t buy or sell, you’ll become an outcast from society. It says that this has something to do with a number, and it also mentions the number, 666.

What is it the word which is actually used for ‘mark’? In the Greek is cháragma (χάραγμα) which means some kind of ‘engraving or tattoo’, some mark on the skin without which you can’t buy or sell, the number 666.

So, what is that? Now, I have to say that you have a lot of explanations of this in history and I’ll just briefly mention two which are partially true but not wholly true, and one which I believe is what this scripture is really pointing to.

One of them is called the preterist interpretation. According to the preterist interpretation, these things have already happened in the events of the Roman Empire and they’re saying that the Book of Revelation is actually a kind of ‘coded message’ which speaks about the conflict between the early Christians and the Roman Empire and the persecutions which the Christians suffered under Rome, particularly, under the Emperor Nero. Some have said that if you convert Emperor Nero’s name into Hebrew, it becomes Neron Kesar. Because Hebrew has numerical values attached to its letters, ‘Neron Kesar’, when its individual letter values are tallied together, adds up to 666.

So, they say that Nero was the 666. I find that a bit difficult to believe because, as far as I understand it, Revelation was written towards the end of the first century. Nero died and was no longer the emperor in a.d. 66. Revelation was probably written somewhere around 90 to 96 a.d. So, to say it was writing about Nero seems a bit strange.

Revelation was probably written during the time of the persecutions of the church under the Emperor Domitian, and one of Emperor Domitian’s practices was to take people into exile. And we read that John was exiled on the Island of Patmos when he received the Revelation.

Also, the timing of events, especially the messages to the seven churches, tie in much more with it being written around about that time, that is, by the time the churches had developed in a way in which Jesus could give the messages to them as you have in Revelation 2 through to 3. So, my conclusion is that Revelation was written round about that time.

Nevertheless, there is a parallel between what you see here and what happened to the Christians in the early church. Particularly, under Domitian, they were told that they had to worship Caesar as Lord. So, the man (emperor) becomes God and they had to make a sacrifice to him, burn some offerings before him and say that they were pledging their allegiance to Caesar as Lord, giving him the title of some kind of God.

Those who wouldn’t do this, then found themselves socially excluded, unable to buy and sell. So, you do have some kind of parallel with the events which are taking place at the time Revelation was written.

What you don’t have is the conclusion of these events, that is, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to the earth. And that which would follow after that.

The other explanation is what we call the historicist explanation. It maintains that this is a symbolic picture of the battle of the church with the Antichrist’s forces right through the Christian era.

Those who say this, also say that the Pope actually is the Antichrist. And reformers such as Luther and Calvin said that the Pope was the Antichrist too. They even worked out that one of the titles of the pope which is Vicarius Filii Dei which, in Latin means ‘the vicar of the Son of God’, if you use Latin numerals, adds up to 666 as well. So, the Pope is the Antichrist, he’s the 666. The Pope actually took over one of the titles of the roman Emperor, ‘Pontifex Maximus’ in the Middle Ages. True Christians were actually persecuted very severely by the Roman Catholic church.

In fact, Dave Hunt, in his book Woman rides the Beast, estimates that far more Christians were killed during the medieval period by the Roman Catholic church than under the Roman Empire. The Roman Catholic church also brought in certain Babylonian practices of false religion. Therefore, the image in Revelation 17 of ‘the woman riding the Beast’ and the scarlet and the purple, (speaking of the cardinals of the church of the Rome) tie up with that too. There are many parallels between the Pope, the Antichrist, and the Antichrist system.

Additionally, following on from that, there’s a view that the kind of dictators which arose in the 20th century like Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, also showed certain parallels with what’s taking place here.

There is no doubt that Hitler was given power by the Devil. I spoke about this once before. He was initiated into an occult society called the ‘Thule Society’ by a man called Eckhart, and when Eckhart initiated Hitler into this, he said “I’ve made Hitler the Antichrist who will cause great changes in the world.” He actually and specifically said that Hitler would be the Antichrist. Many people, when they saw people raising their hands and saying ‘Heil Hitler!‘ in worship, have considered that a kind of ‘worship of the man’ with the sign of the Swastika becoming the mark needed to enter into society, causing those who didn’t submit to it to find themselves unable to buy and sell, particularly if they were Jewish.

We see the terrible persecutions of Jewish people which took place during this time as a type of the Antichrist.

At the time of the persecutions which take place in the last days, similarly, with Hitler, with Lenin and Communism, with Mao Zedong, we have seen another spirit of Antichrist raised up.

I went to Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) and Moscow just after the fall of Communism. One of the things you notice is that there are images of Lenin all over the place. Why are these images of the man who died so many years ago still there? He’s like a sort of god who’s come to help the people, and one of the things they said during the high days of Communism was ‘Lenin lived, Lenin lives and Lenin shall live’. The worship of the man, the worship of the image.

During my pre-Christian days, I was into Communism and I used to get a magazine from the Chinese Embassy which was called ‘China Reconstructs’. I remember reading one of them, it had this story of a man who walked past chairman Mao’s image and said: “I looked his image and I felt this peace, this love, this power, and he enabled me to change my life and to live a life to the glory of the Communist party.

The image of the Beast, 666, the worship of man. Even today, Christians in China are being told that they have to put up an image to their present leader Xi Jinping and to Mao Zedong in their churches. I read of one instance where elderly Chinese Christians in receipt of state pensions were visited by party officials at home who said to them: “Why have you got these images of Jesus and your Bible verses there? Take them down and put up an image to Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping. Then, we’ll give you your pension.” What does that mean? Worship the image, then you can buy and sell, and you can get some money. It’s the spirit of Antichrist.

Now, all of these things partially make reference to this passage in Revelation and part of the genius of scripture is that it can be interpreted on different levels. There is a way in which you can see this as a picture of the struggle with the Roman Empire; also, with the papacy or the dictators of modern times, but to understand it fully we have to see that it must have some future application.

There must be something which is going to happen in the future and provide a picture of what will take place in the coming 7-year Tribulation period before the Second Coming of Christ.

The implication of it is that, before Jesus comes again, you will see the rise of one who will be called the Antichrist or the Beast, he’ll bring in some kind of a world government.

It’s very likely that he’ll come out of some disaster which will affect all the people on the earth, and that such a man will arise with great power from Satan, offering peace and safety, and a solution. But his solution will actually lead to the final calamity before Jesus returns.

At that time, there will be a persecution of those who believe in Jesus and there’ll be some form of dictatorship which will control the population and regulate who can buy and sell, who can enter into society and who cannot. It will cause a way to buy and sell to be created through a number, and some kind of mark to be imprinted on the people.

This represents something that could not have been happening at the time when Revelation was written but which points forward to a future time when the technology may be in place to make it possible.

So, the final question before we close: Has this anything to do with COVID vaccines and COVID passes today? Is it happening now? Is it on the way to becoming a reality? Or has it got nothing to do with it?

Now, clearly, we’re not in the time of Revelation 13 now.

The Antichrist is not in place. There’s no requirement to worship an image or to deny Christ to get the vaccine.

So, taking the vaccine is not taking the Mark of the Beast.