Revelation 13 — Study Highlights
In Revelation 13 we are introduced to the Mark of the Beast and the enforcement to worship an established “image” to the beast “out of the sea” that is enforced by the beast “out of the earth.”
Remember that Revelation 12 concludes with Satan being angry that his plan of killing the Christ-child and martyring Bible-believing Christians did not work. In Revelation 12:17 we see that he changes his strategy and goes off in time and space to attempt an end-time global plan of attack against the saints. He shifts from a plan of destruction to a plan of deception, which is what chapter 13 explains.
Revelation 13:1-2 — The first thing this chapter exposes is a beast that comes up from “out of the sea.” When we compare the use of the term “beast” in Bible prophecy, we quickly find that beasts represent kingdoms (Daniel 7:17, 23). This is a kingdom that rises “out of the sea” which we see from Revelation 17:15 means it rises out of an area that is populated with people, because “sea” represents population or civilization.
This is a beast that has the same characteristics of the four beasts in Daniel 7, which point toward Babylon, Medio-Persia, Greece, and pagan Rome. The fact this beast has characteristics of a leopard, bear, and lion may indicate that it follows their rule on the European continent, as did the Holy Roman empire in succeeding from the Pagan Roman empire.
Revelation 13:3-8 — John sees that “one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” In trying to interpret this, it may be prudent to keep in mind that this is a prophetic vision that uses symbolic things that represent literal things. It’s figurative language that is not meant to be taken literal.
Some prophecy students see this wound that was healed as speaking to A.D. 1798 when French General Berthier entered Rome and took the Pope back to France as a prisoner, thereby effectually ending the Holy Roman empire. The healing of the wound has been understood to potentially reference the Lateran Treaty of 1929 when Mussolini gave the Bishop of Rome complete sovereignty of the 109 acres of the Vatican City, including absolute executive, legislative, and judicial power.
We also find that this beast power that comes “out of the sea” is being identified twice as “he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God.” When we look at how the Scriptures define blasphemy, we find two verses: 1) Luke 5:21 which defines it as claiming to forgive sins; 2) John 10:33 which defines it as claiming to be God on earth.
It is worth pointing out that if this beast from the sea is the papacy, and there is further identification in the parallel prophecy of Daniel 7, it would point to the papacy going seriously corrupt on the global stage, not toward any one pope but against its future condition. The Roman Catholic church will quickly admit that the church of the dark ages prior to 1798 is not the same church post 1929. So this prophetic picture in Revelation 13 would clearly expose a condition yet future.
Revelation 13:11-12 — Here we have “another beast coming up out of the earth” unlike the first beast that came up out of a populated area. This nation or kingdom is represented as a beast “out of the earth” which likely means it comes from an unpopulated area not yet established as a civilization.
Some prophecy students see this beast as representing The United States of America because it certainly fits the qualifications of rising from the New World. It has been said that in the earlier 1800’s, even after the 1776 establishment of the new nation, that the American continent’s population was 10 to 1 smaller in comparison to Europe’s.
This beast has “two horns like a lamb” and potentially resembles a bison. From Daniel 7:24 we read that “ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom” which leaves us to interpret “horns” on “beasts” as the king or ruler of those nations.
If Revelation 13:11 is a reference to the United States and it has “two horns like a lamb” it would be worth considering that those horns could represent our American government two-party political system of Republicans and Democrats. It could also represent that our American government system is based on our two constitutional principles of civil and religious liberty.
Even more interesting to me to consider is that the horns are defined as “like a lamb” and one can not evade the significance of a lamb in prophecy as pointing to the Messiah. The United States was built around the Christian principles of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have been a giving nation, a protector of Christian freedoms, and a promoting force in the gospel mission to all the world since our beginning.
The final words of Revelation 13:11 which say, “but it spoke like a dragon” may not be as hard to imagine as it once was, but the lamb-like Christian qualities of the United States are evolving into Satanic qualities.
When we read that a nation speaks, we can consider that a nation speaks through its leaders and laws. Revelation 12:9 has already referred to Satan as the Dragon, so could it be the United States of America will speak as Satan and cease speaking as Christ?
The correlation between the United States of America and the Revelation 13:1 beast “out of the sea” is not as clear cut for me, but we do know from Revelation 13:11-17 that the Dragon power transformation of the beast “out of the earth” is meant for performing “great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth” and to order the global governance of the first beast interpreted as “ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast” and to “cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed” and to have “forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark” so they can engage in commerce.
Even without a certain identification of the United States in Revelation 13:11 one could argue that the transformation from Lamb to Dragon has already begun when you consider government funding of the murder of innocent infants, the denial of religious liberties, the propagation of lies, the silencing of free-speech, double standards of justice according to political affiliations, and making the biological science of two genders illegal to recognize.
Revelation 13:14-15 — Whatever the “image to the beast” is, it has something to do with the world stage, global authority or governance, and if these interpretations of the beast are accurate it has something to do with the United States promoting the revived Holy Roman empire. I think it goes without saying that both Washington DC and the Vatican City are already on every prophecy students radar regardless of how they understand these beasts of Revelation 13.
It is possible that this image is a figurative reference to some type of law that will have global significance. Maybe global circumstances will arise where the Pope advocates for a global law and the United States backs that and pushes it on the nations. There could be a thousand ways to bring about an evil movement that eventually turns to a death penalty against those who “keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17).
When one considers that the dividing factor in this end-time attack of God’s people is the “image to the beast” it is hard not to consider “the image of God” mentioned in Genesis 1:27. We see from the creation account that man and women, male and female, are “the image of God.” Could it be that the increasing denial of “the image of God” and the push to accept gender dysphoria as normal may actually become the “image to the beast” that will demand are allegiance?
Revelation 13:16-18 — There have been a myriad of speculative interpretations regarding the Mark of the Beast. Many well-meaning ministers have said it is a tattoo, or a small identification device planted under the skin, or as we have heard so often in recent months, it’s a vaccine.
Again, we must rightly understand that the symbolic language of this prophecy is steering us away from literal interpretations of this mark. One can’t read these verses without considering that the book of Revelation draws heavily from the Old Testament as its foundation for figurative meanings. So in the case of the Mark of the Beast being “in their right hand, or in their foreheads” we have to consider the practice referred to in Exodus 13:9-10 and Deuteronomy 6:8 as marking one’s self with God’s Word.
To receive the Mark of the Beast in the hand may actually be a reference to those who will worship/accept the image by their own choice of go-along to get-along. To receive the Mark of the Beast in the forehead may actually be a reference to those who will worship/accept the image by their own choice of agreement.
Let’s also keep in mind that Revelation 13:17 says that the Mark of the Beast is “the name of the beast” and the term “name” in Scripture means character. The Mark of the Beast may simply mean the beast’s character. People would receive the Mark of the Beast by the accepting his character through agreement in their minds or taking action as if they support him.
At our next meetup at the Chapel we will open to Revelation 14 and see God’s message to counter this deceptive plan.