The Antichrist – Revelation 13:1-10

The Antichrist has been the center of discussion and speculation for many years. Many people have tried to identify who the Antichrist is. Some suggest that the Antichrist is living in this world at this present time and will soon rise to power. This is, of course, simple speculation. We do not know if the man who will be the Antichrist is living today or not. I tend to have the view that Satan has always had a man ready and waiting. You see, the Antichrist is a real man who rises to power and is eventually possessed by a powerful demon. Satan will then use this man in order to attempt to establish his own kingdom on the earth in order to thwart God’s plan for Christ to rule and reign on the earth. As you study history, you find that there has always been someone who you could picture as being the Antichrist. Satan is powerful but he is not all-knowing like God is. He is not omnipresent either. He does not know all of the future. Therefore, he always has someone ready to take the mantle of the Antichrist. It may be interesting for us to speculate what world leader today could be the Antichrist; however, such speculation should not be taken seriously. To learn more about whom the Antichrist is and what his purpose is, we should simply look to the pages of scripture.

Here in Revelation 13, we find the rise of the Antichrist. The Antichrist was already revealed in Revelation 6 as the rider on the white horse. There will come a day when a political figure will rise to power and will unite the world’s governments, currency, and religions. When you look at what is taking shape in our world today, we realize that this is not so far-fetched. The world we live in is getting smaller and smaller. Nations are looking to come together for the sake of economic stability and world peace. With the rise of movements such as the so-called ‘atheist church’ and all-inclusive religions, the idea of a one world religion is also a scenario that could easily be played out. There has been a moving toward a one world currency for some time. We have also seen a rise in the development in microchip technology that would play a huge role in the mark of the beast. The world is certainly ready for the Antichrist to rule. The Antichrist is on the scene throughout the first 3 ½ years of the tribulation period as a peace maker. He unites the world and brings a false peace. However, at the mid-point of the tribulation period, this man who rules the world is possessed demonically and Satan incarnate will rule the world. He will break his peace treaty with Israel and all hell will break out on the earth. Revelation 13:1-10 gives us a description of this beast; this demon-possessed man who rules the world.

Where he comes from. Revelation 13:1 gives us an idea as to where this Antichrist comes from. And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.”[1] It is mentioned that the beast rises up out of the sea. There has been much speculation as to what the sea symbolizes in this passage. The sea could represent the Gentile nations. It could also represent the abyss. As John MacArthur writes, “Both Revelation 11:7 and 17:8 indicate that the beast comes up out of the abyss, so it is best to equate the sea with the abyss. That interpretation fits the Old Testament, which also uses the metaphor of the sea to picture satanic activity. Some of the demons are currently in the abyss, and Satan will be imprisoned in that abyss during the millennial kingdom.”[2] It is important to note that the fact that the Antichrist will rise from the Gentile nations is true. It is also true that the Antichrist will be demonically possessed during the last half of the tribulation. Therefore, whether the sea literally  symbolizes the abyss or Gentile nations; is not the important thing. The fact is that the Antichrist will come from the Gentile nations and he will be possessed by Satan during the last half of the tribulation.

This beast will have ‘seven heads and ten horns.’ Warren Wiersbe writes, “The seven heads represent seven mountains (Rev. 17:9); and since Rome was built on seven hills, this must be a veiled reference to that powerful city (see Rev. 17:18). It would be a most meaningful allusion in John’s day! The ten horns represent ten kingdoms (Dan. 7:24; Rev. 17:12). It appears that “the beast” will head a “United States of Europe,” a revived Roman Empire, before taking over as world dictator. All nations will no doubt admire and thank him for the “peace” he has achieved, little realizing the sorrow and destruction he will bring to the world.”[3] The thought of the Antichrist beginning his career as the leader of a ten-nation confederacy known as the revived Roman Empire is not so far-fetched. Such a confederacy is in the works even today. It only takes a simple google search to find article after article that states the plans of such groups as the U.N. and the European Union to unite the world in ten super regions for the sake of economic prosperity. It is important to note that there are others who view the seven heads as the seven world empires throughout history. This may be the more proper interpretation. However, it is my view that the Antichrist will rise to power as the leader of a ten-nation or region confederacy; however, whether he literally comes from the city of Rome (as Wiersbe seems to suggest) is still up for debate.

His power and authority. The power and authority of the Antichrist is described in verse 2. “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”[4] The Bible Knowledge Commentary says, “In Revelation 13:2 the beast was seen to gather in the symbolism of the three preceding empires—Greece (a leopard, cf. Dan. 7:6), Medo-Persia (a bear, cf. Dan. 7:5), and Babylon (a lion, cf. Dan. 7:4). The power of the beast was derived from Satan himself: the dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. This accords with Paul (2 Thes. 2:9) who referred to “the lawless one” (i.e., the Antichrist, this first beast of Rev. 13) as working “all kinds of counterfeit miracles [dynamei], signs [sēmeiois], and wonders [terasin].”[5] The Antichrist will be very powerful and will be able to deceive the masses with his ability to perform various supernatural acts. This power is given to him by Satan.

The other night I was watching one of the Star Wars episodes with my wife. It was the episode where Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader. Anakin was a Jedi knight. He was a defender of that which is good. Then he turns to the ‘dark side’ and is given more power than all of the Jedi’s. He then reign’s terror on the galaxy as, in anger, he fiercely attacks those who oppose him. The Antichrist will begin as a world leader who desires to bring peace to the world. He works hard to unite the nations and bring people together into a one-world government. Then, Satan comes on the scene and gives the Antichrist new powers as he bows to Satan and turns to the ‘dark side.’ The Antichrist uses his new powers to continue his deception and bring the whole world under his control.

His injury and his healing. Though the Antichrist will have great power, he will have his share of enemies. Verse 3 speaks of an injury that he is inflicted with. “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.”[6] Some suggest that the Antichrist is actually killed and is then resurrected. I do not believe the Bible says that. It simply states that he has a severe wound that it appears that he would not survive. This, I believe, is an assassination attempt on the Antichrist’s life. He is wounded (perhaps shot in the head) and is miraculously healed. Because he miraculously survives, the whole world is in wonder and awe.

His following. After the Antichrist is miraculously healed, many will begin to worship him as god. Notice what it says in verses 4-8. “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? 5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” [7]The history of gross and subtile devil-service here arrives at its meridian.”[8] The whole world finds themselves engrossed by this leader and bows before him in worship. Even today, there is a rise in satanic cults and the worship of Satan. This will all come to a head in the last half of the tribulation as the world bows in worship to Satan. Only those whose names are written in the book of life will not bow down to Satan. The Bible Knowledge Commentary describes the view that I personally hold to concerning the book of life: Some hold that the book of life originally contained the names of every living person to be born in the world, and that the names of the unsaved get blotted out when they die. This interpretation stems from Revelation 3:5, where Christ promised the believers in Sardis that their names would not be erased from the book of life, and from 22:19, where a person who rejects the messages in the Book of Revelation is warned that “God will take away from him his share in the tree of life” (cf. “tree of life” in 2:7 and 22:2, 14 and “book of life” in 3:5; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27).”[9]

Encouragement for the saints. This section of scripture ends with an encouragement to the saints of God who are on the earth during this dreaded period of time. We see this in verses 9-10. If any man have an ear, let him hear. 10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”[10] Verse 9 gives the encouragement for everyone to hear the words of this book. “The dream of many today, of a universal church and a universal religion, will be realized in the end time, but it will be satanic and blasphemous instead of involving worship of the true God. In such a situation, appeal can only be made to individuals who will turn from it to God. In every age God speaks to those who will hear, a concept mentioned frequently in the Gospels (Matt. 11:15; 13:9, 43; Mark 4:9, 23; Luke 8:8; 14:35).”[11] The encouragement is given to those who do come to faith in God during this time in history. Some will be taken to prison. Others will be killed. However, the encouragement is given that the believers should remain faithful. The day will come when the rule of the Antichrist will end and God will set up His kingdom on the earth.

The encouragement to remain faithful is the same encouragement we need today. The dispensation of the church is soon to come to a close. Jesus is coming again. While we wait for His return, we must stay faithful no matter what we may face in this life.

 

[1] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 13:1). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] MacArthur, John. Because the time is near. p. 214

 

[3] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 604). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[4] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 13:2). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[5] Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 960). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[6] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 13:3). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[7] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 13:4–8). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[8] Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Moore, E., Craven, E. R., & Woods, J. H. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Revelation (p. 267). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[9] Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 961). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[10] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 13:9–10). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[11] Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 961). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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