The background behind the chaos. Revelation 13:1
If you are following along with me we just finished chapter 12. A quick recap of chapter 12 has Satan thrown out, and excluded from access to heaven. If you are honest we saw a throw back in time to him lying in wait to kill the Christ child. Unable to do that he pursues the Woman (Israel) in attempt to kill them off. Failing that he goes after her seed, which happens to be Israel. There is another peculiar aspect of chapter 12 that should have caught your attention and that is: Revelation 12:17 EMTV And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went off to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus.
This last segment clearly identifies this aspect of the remnant as:
Those keeping the commandments of God.
Any decent Jew would think that they are doing that.
And having the testimony of Jesus.
Now we are in deep water.
The Jews rejected Jesus, but these either have not, or they have turned to Jesus as the awaited Messiah. Depending on when they came to know Jesus as the Messiah plays heavily into the end times chronology. If they came to a knowledge and acceptance of him prior to the rapture they would not be here. So then it is safe to say they came after. Using your brain and putting the pieces of the puzzle together, you can gather that they have been:
seen many die around them,
chose not to flee,
and had someone mentor them about how they could walk through this test.
After walking through the barrage being thrown by Satan, stepping into chapter thirteen is like putting the brakes on. Chapter thirteen takes us back in history and prophecy, so can we say that this chapter is giving us the background that makes all this chaos happen.
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.
(Revelation 13:1 KJV)
John is the person referred to when it says “I”.
The sand of the sea is not necessarily literal but certainly can have a correlation with Abraham, for God told him that his descendants would be as the sands of the sea. This is another area in which we may have made disastrous assumptions for we consistently attribute the sands reference to Jews. But if you are paying attention then you know that Muslims claim Abraham as their father through Ishmael. Ishmael was not the son of promise and seems to be the basis of their anger, but try numbering them. The promise applied no matter what direction Abraham's seed went.
John has the fortune to have an angel, much like with Daniel, give an explanation of the events that John is seeing. The sea that the beast rises out of is explained in Revelation 17:15
Revelation 17:15 EMTV Then he said to me, "The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages.
A beast rise up out of the sea,
The beast at this point has no definition and yet we eagerly assigned this to some man. One of the things I noted as I journaled about this, is that you have to keep your beasts straight. Scripture tells us that four have attained that title.
“having seven heads...”
In trying to find the right words there is no shame using the words of someone smarter. John MacArthur's commentary states:
“The heads may represent successive world empires—Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the final kingdom of Antichrist”
MacArthur goes on to say,
“When John wrote, the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Medo-Persian, and Greek empires had gone out of existence; Rome still existed; and the Antichrist's empire had not yet come.”
If we are talking empires when we try to ascertain the heads, and I believe we are, then we have to begin looking for some commonalities. I may not go into that here, but hopefully touch on some possibilities.
Keep in mind that my object is make this book understandable, as I believe it was meant to be.
“..having seven heads and ten horns,”
John MacArthur says the horns represent power.
Daniel saw the same beast.
Daniel 7:7-11 NASB "After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. (8) "While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts. (9) "I kept looking Until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow And the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire. (10) "A river of fire was flowing And coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, And the books were opened. (11) "Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.
But Daniel got an explanation of the beast.
Daniel 7:23-24 NASB "Thus he said: 'The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. (24) 'As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings.
So the horns actually represent ten kings. Three get taken out. What do we have that closely resembles this level of activity? Libya and Egypt. Is Syria the third? Do not know for sure, but it is a strong maybe.
I mentioned earlier that you should start paying attention to commonalities. Although I am sure this can be defined we have the underlying purpose behind their coalition, God decreed it to fulfill his word.
Revelation 17:17 NASB "For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled.
Revelation 13:1 CJB (12:18) Then the dragon stood on the seashore; (13:1) and I saw a beast come up out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads. On its horns were ten royal crowns and on its heads blasphemous names.
The focus at the moment is what is on its heads. Each head had a crown. Let's think this through for a moment. The queen of England wears a crown but only during ceremonies.
Some of the countries that may fit into this beast as a head:
Libya – Old information, valid during the reign of Muammar Qadhafi, defined the government there as: governed by the populace through local councils; in practice, an authoritarian state. Col. Qadhafi never wore a crown.
Saudi Arabia – A major supporter of terrorism seems to be missing from the prophetic picture. They are run as a monarchy. No one here wears anything closely resembling a crown. Sharia law is exclusive to Saudi and outsiders have no rights there.
Iran – They seem to be a major player in bible prophecy. They are called a theocratic republic. Consider what that means. Although they have a president the real leaders of the country are religious. The religion happens to be Islam and the laws are Sharia laws. Essentially the mullahs or Imams run the country.
Egypt – Their name is actually Arab Republic of Egypt. Prior to Morsi's election as president of the country they claim to be a republic. Anyone with open eyes knows that within the last year Egypt under went a major upheaval and Andrew Morsi got himself elected. The country is now attempting to govern itself by Sharia law and one should only assume that the Imams wish to have total control.
None of them wear crowns, but they do wear turbans.
John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible states,
“And upon his horns ten crowns; which distinguishes Rome Papal from Rome Pagan; the crowns in Rome Pagan were upon the heads, or the emperors, that resided at Rome; and though it had ten horns, as here, and was divided into so many provinces, which were governed by deputies, proconsuls, &c. yet they were not kings, they had no crowns; but here the horns have crowns on them because the governors of these ten kingdoms are crowned kings:”
You might think that this should force us to focus on the Vatican as the beast, but I think that is a misdirection and some ill thought out logic.
Daniel shows that the human Antichrist will rise up from these ten kings (Daniel_7:16-24); And that this is the little horn.
Daniel 9:26 CJB Then, after the sixty-two weeks, Mashiach will be cut off and have nothing. The people of a prince yet to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary, but his end will come with a flood, and desolations are decreed until the war is over.
Both Josephus and Tacitus recorded that Assyrians within the legions outnumbered Romans by a five to one ratio, and that at the time of the temples destruction there were about 60,000 troops primarily of Assyrian decent. They demonstrated no love for the Jews, and were entirely responsible for the destruction of the temple.
So if you are looking for the direction from which the prince will come then you should be looking toward the Assyrian nations. These are the nations that are surrounding and threatening Israel as we speak. And they are Islamic controlled nations.
A bit of a heads up. Find the book The Islamic Antichrist, by Joel Richardson and you will get a clearer picture than I can give you.
“...and on his heads were blasphemous names. “
In Mark's gospel, chapter 3, the Jews attributed the works that Jesus did to the devil, specifically Beelzebub = “lord of the house”1) a name of Satan, the prince of evil spirits (Thayer). For this he lit into the middle of them and defined for us just what blasphemy was.
Mark 3:22-29 KJV And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. (23) And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? (24) And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. (25) And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. (26) And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. (27) No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. (28) Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: (29) But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:
These names on their heads are the antithesis of God (in opposition to.) The Greek word used was blasphemia, and means: 1) slander, detraction, speech injurious, to another’s good name; 2) impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty.
God did not introduce himself to the father of not only Israel, but the Arab as well (through Ishmael) by the name of Allah. He called himself “I am”. It is even more complicated than that, for as one translator described it, his name sounds like breath itself.
The Quran teaches that it is absurdity to think that Jesus Christ is the son of God for Allah would degrade himself to partake of such an act. Therefore Jesus is merely a good prophet, worthy of listening to, and he did not die on any cross for he was rescued off of it before death and lived a long, married life. Again you should be able to see the opposition to the gospel and blasphemy.
If this is not a man who John sees in Revelation 13:1 then what is it. We have an idea of what it looks like, but that only makes it more freakish. We also know that Satan brought powerful angels with him in his first fall. The angel Gabriel had fought with a powerful angel and another was coming. Ironically one of those angels was called the prince of Persia (Which we now know as Iran). We also know that there are four evil angels that are to be released, currently bound in the river Euphrates.
So what if this beast is really upheld by the actions of a powerful angel, and what if his name is Allah?
I tell you these things not to incite you riot, scare you off, or turn you from God because you see him as filled with rage, but in hopes that you come to him.
We are still living in the age of grace, that time period where Christ's blood covers our sins, therefore the only thing that puts distance between us and the Father that longs for us is our arrogance and unbelief.
I equate this world to a giant adoption agency where God came to make an adoption. Knowing full well what we were like and how many of there were he brought the full price and paid for all of us, so that we could be in his family. Because God is loving and wants all to come by choice you merely have sign in agreement and get in the truck to go home with him.
What does it mean to sign the agreement? Not that much different from believing. Believing means I understand that he loves me and wants me, and that the price Jesus Christ paid that day (his life) was enough. We have been forgiven of all sins. I cannot stress that enough, but we have to make the decision to get on board of our own free will. Love outside of free will is slavery and not love at all but fear. God is love. Love put himself on the cross for you, and the best news of all is that death could not hold him, for he is alive.
Ask Jesus Christ to make himself real to you. He will. The rest is up to you, run into his open arms and life with him is yours.
P.S. I talk to much, so we will continue Revelation 13 with the next post.