Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Revelation 13

Revelation 13 describes how the church will be persecuted by Rome.

“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. 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” (Revelation 13:1-2).

“A beast rising up out of the sea” is Rome (the beast) rising up among the Gentiles (the sea). Satan brought this to pass when he used Nero to change Rome’s relationship with the church. Up until then, Rome was the restrainer of the Jewish persecution and the protector of the church. In fact, during the early part of Nero’s reign, from AD 58-64, Nero did not persecute the church.

However, after the Jewish persecution of the church began to wind down, Satan moved Nero to persecute the church, beginning in AD 64. Nero blamed the burning of Rome on Christians.

This imagery of the beast should remind us of Daniel 7. Remember, that God gave Daniel a vision of four animals that would be the caretakers of Israel until the Messiah. The fourth animal, representing the Roman empire, was simply described as a beast. Notice that this beast encompasses the previous three empires: leopard (Greece), bear (Persia), and lion (Babylon).

These four caretakers of Israel can also be divided into seven distinct stages, which are the seven heads.

1. Babylon

2. Persia

3. Greece (under Alexander)

4. Greek Egypt (king of the South from Daniel 11)

5. Greek Syria (king of the North from Daniel 11)

6. Hellenistic Rome

7. Imperialistic Rome (under Nero, AD 64-70)

Just as in Daniel 7, the ten horns are the ten rulers of Rome, starting with Julius Caesar and ending with Vespasian, who was ruler in AD 70, when the temple was destroyed.

“And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. 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 13:3-4).

This describes the transition from the sixth head to the seventh head. Under Nero, Hellenistic Rome suffers a “mortal wound” and is “healed” when she becomes imperialistic and persecutes the church.

“And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 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. 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. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 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 13:5-10).

Nero is given forty-two months (3½ years) to persecute the church. He forces all inhabitants of the land of Israel to worship him (verse 8).

“Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. 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” (Revelation 13:11-12).

John now sees a second beast. This beast comes not out of the sea (Gentiles), but out of the earth (geo = land of Israel). This is a Jewish beast, representing the Jewish rulers.He has two horns, like a lamb. However, he is a counterfeit of the true Lamb. The two horns may refer to the twin powers of evil: the Herods and the high priests.

He speaks like a dragon, that is, like Satan. He has all the authority of Nero, and forces those in the land of Israel to worship Nero.

“He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 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. 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” (Revelation 13:13-15).

This may be referring to the completion of the Herod’s temple, which was completed in AD 64, the same year that Nero began to persecute the church. The newly built temple emboldened the Jewish leaders to persecute. The fire from heaven may be a reference to the animal sacrifices.

An image of Nero is set up, and worship is commanded under the penalty of death.

“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, 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. 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).

This is one of the most well-known and least-understood parts of Revelation. The “mark of the beast” is not a literal mark on the forehead or hand. This is not a tattoo or a computer chip. This is classic Old Testament language to describe one’s thoughts (forehead) and deeds (hands). To receive the mark of the beast was to worship the beast, which is the sea beast (Nero).

The “number of the beast” is 666. This is not three sixes in a row, but a number, six hundred and sixty-six. This appears in 1 Kings 10:14 to describe how the weight in talents of the gold Solomon took in annually.

“The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold” (1 Kings 10:14).

Israelite kings were forbidden to multiply gold, women, and horses. Solomon did all three. He collected an “evil” amount of gold, and thus the kingdom was taken from him.

The first century Jewish leaders were thoroughly evil, and so their kingdom was taken from them in AD 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed.

The number 666 corresponds with the Hebrew (Aramaic script) of Nero’s full name, Nero Caesar. The Hebrew language did not have a separate alphabet and separate numerals. Alphabetic letter also represented numerals, similar to how Roman “numerals” (I, V, X, L, M, etc.) are actually from the Roman alphabet.

In Hebrew, Nero Caesar would have been written: “NRWN QSR.”

N = 50

R = 200

W = 6

N = 50

Q = 100

S = 60

R = 200


John was given a clue to identify the beast. The sum of his name is going to be 666, according to the Hebrew alphabet. This was a message for Jewish believers.

Thus, non-Jewish readers of Revelation would have been confused because in Greek, Nero Caesar adds up to 616. Interestingly, one ancient manuscript lists the number of the beast as 616. Some enlightened scribe changed this so that Gentile readers would understand.


Frontier Forest said...

Wow, some powerful straighten’ out here! And you are right, from the “mark of the beast” to the misinterpretations of “666,” no greater controversy has ever been batted back and forth, by believers who mean well, but yet are seemingly determined to make these “signs” a stamp for “what has to come!” I have never heard any dispensational argument about I Kings 10:14? I sincerely pray, many will read your thoughts, and many blind eyes will be opened to the truth?

jake said...

Hey so I was looking at this and saw your arangment on the 7 kingdoms and I want to urge to look at it in this manner
From Daniel 2 7 and Rev 17 they are all different kindoms except the antichrist who will come form one of theses decendant kingdoms.

1. eygpt 1445ish
2. Assyria
3. Babylon
4. Medo-Persia
5. Greece. The four kingdoms after his death are still considered Part of the same greece.
6. Rome the Kingdom in control when Rev. was written.
7. the 7 heads and ten horns kingdom from which the Antichrist will come,
8. this is one mentioned in the means of Anti-Christ.
Ive been studying this fro a few months and have much more information on how is plays out. Remember the in Daniel the four beasts each represent kingdoms not sepperate rulers under one kingdom. If you want to know more ask me or email me and I would really like to help you out with whats I was taught. It might help to know that my teacher was on the Masters Seminary Board when they started it.

jake said...

I dont mean to pick at this but I see things that are different from what ive been taught. The 70 years when the temple was destroyed in 70 a.d. and done by titus in order to fulfill prophecy about it not because the leaders were bad. Study Luke 21:20-24 states on the day of vengence is why its taken.

666 is to represent Satan antichrist and the false prophet, they fall one short of god holy trinity of 777 with 7 being the perfect number. Be careful to say that we can count it by a name since the bible dosnt state that's possible and you dont want to get far from the bible. the main reason nero is thought as the antichrist is since he is of the 7th kingdom (Rome) and of the right linage ezek 39 and 38 and gen 10, Gog and Magog is western europe which is a possibility for Nero. And Nero isnt even his birth name also. And it is an actual mark placed rev 13:16-18 Verse 16 "a mark on the right hand" please dont say its not an actual mark it states it simply all throughout revelation.

The fires from heaven is not from sacrifices its false sorcery that the antichrist will use to make people believe he has powers above god its not from sacrifices.

I really wish to help you understand more of this message be back or something if you have any more questions

Eric Adams said...

Jake, thanks for reading my blog. You might want to go back read some of my previous entries to catch up to speed on my approach, as it is quite different from what you are suggesting. Thanks!