Sunday, 19 November 2017 10:38

90. The beast that comes out of the sea: what does it say? * Revelation 13:3-6 - PART 5

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3 And I saw one of his heads as if it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world marveled after the beast.

4 And they worshiped the dragon who gave power unto the beast: and they worshiped 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.

 

PART 5

 

*** Background ***: So far, we’ve seen that John described the sea beast in many details. He described its origins, its powers, and its activities. We’ve seen how the description of the sea beast of Revelation 13:1-2 is very closely related to the description of the political-religious powers described in Daniel 7 and Daniel 8 (see studies #86, #87, and #88). Before we go on to Revelation 12:3, we must have a very clear understanding of the components that form the sea beast and how that relates to Daniel’s visions.

In Daniel's vision described in Daniel 7, he saw 4 beasts. Together, all four beasts had a total of seven heads (Daniel 7:4-7): 1 lion head, 1 bear head, 4 leopard heads, and 1 fourth beast head (a head is assumed because the verse mentions that the beast had teeth). The beast of Revelation 13:1 also has 7 heads, and so does the red dragon (Revelation 12:3). In Daniel 7, the heads represents kingdoms (Daniel 7:17,23). In Revelation 13, we learn an even deeper meaning to these seven kingdom-heads: they represent the ongoing satanic activities throughout history (see study #86). The Bible tells us that the first beast of Daniel 7 is Babylon, the second is Medo-Persia, the third is Greece, and the fourth kingdom is Rome.

The fourth beast in Daniel 7 has 10 horns, and so does the dragon and the sea beast. The horns are ten kings that would arise from the fourth beast. In other words, ten divided nations would arise right after the disintegration of the Roman Empire. Daniel 7:8 tells us that a different power would emerge from the Roman Empire (which is the fourth beast). That power was a little horn. This little horn is again mentioned in Daniel 8:9-12. On study #86, we included a table comparing the beasts described in Daniel and Revelation. We saw how the sea beast in Revelation 13 aligns perfectly with the little horn power of Daniel 8:9-12. With this in mind, we must separate the two powers at play in Daniel 7:7-8. The fourth beast is one power and the little horn is another power. The little horn power came from the fourth beast. In other words, the Roman Empire is the fourth beast of Daniel 7 and out of the Roman Empire came this other power, referred to as little horn. When this other power rose up, it destroyed three existing kingdoms (which were part of the ten divided nations that emerged after Rome’s demise). The little horn has eyes like a man and a mouth that speaks boastfully (Daniel 7:8). The sea beast also has a mouth. Its mouth looks like a lion’s mouth, and as we’ve seen in study #89, the lion’s mouth is a proud mouth that does not give glory to God. The sea beast seems to be the little horn in Daniel 7:8, but described in greater detail.

*** Wounded head ***: We must be careful not to mix the seven heads and the ten horns. They represent different aspects of the beast’s powers. The heads are the satanic activities executed by the horns (see study #86). Revelation 13:3 starts out by saying that John saw one of the heads being mortally wounded. It was wounded by a sword (Revelation 13:14). Note that one of the sea beast’s head actually died. It received a mortal wound (Revelation 13:3). The death of this head indicates that the beast was no longer executing its activities the same way it did before. But the wound started to heal. The Bible tells us that it will one day heal completely (Revelation 13:3, 12, 14). When it heals completely, the world will witness the beast’s activities come to life, as strong and active as it was before it received the mortal wound. This scene is Satan’s attempt to imitate what happened to Jesus, who died and resurrected. Once Jesus resurrected, He ascended to Heaven, where the heavenly beings were around the throne worshiping the Father. Once Jesus sat down on the throne with the Father, He went on to exercise His full authority in Heaven and His rulership over the Earth. The Universe marveled before the Lamb who was Slain and worshiped Him (Revelation 5). Pay attention to the order in which the events unfold. The same order. is described in Revelation 13. Once the wound healed, “the world marveled after the beast” (Revelation 13:3), and they worshiped the dragon, and then they worshiped the beast. When we study Revelation 17, we will get an insight as to which of the seven heads was mortally wounded.

*** Worshiping the dragon and the beast ***: The people who marveled with the healing of the mortal wound felt compelled to worship both the dragon and the beast. They worshiped the sea beast by saying: “Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (Revelation 13:4). Here we have two questions. The first question, “who is like the beast”, makes us think they meant that no one else, other than the dragon himself, is like the beast. The question “Who is like the beast” is also a counterpoint to the title Jesus had while fighting the dragon during the war in Heaven. The Bible tells us that Michael and His angels fought the dragon and his angels (Revelation 12:7). The word Michael means “Who is like God”. We also see the question “who is like God” in the Old Testament (Exodus 15:11; Psalm 35:10; Micah 7:18). Satan is trying to imitate every aspect of the Trinity. The second question is “Who is able to wage war with him”. Once again, the implied answer to this question is ‘no one’. The scene of the war in Heaven comes to mind. Satan is the one who rebelled against God. As we saw before, Revelation 12:7 says that the One Who is like God fought agains the dragon. So, the true followers of God know that Jesus is the one defending His people but the people of the earth have been deceived into thinking that no one can go against the sea beast. Not even God Himself.

*** The beast speaks blasphemies ***: Just like the little horn in Daniel 7, the sea beast had a mouth who spoke boastfully. Through its proclamations, the beast was not only elevating itself, but it was also speaking blasphemies. In our studies #87 and #89, we learned that blasphemy happens when someone makes themselves equal with God, and attributes to themselves powers that belong only to God, such as: changing God’s law (Daniel 7:25) and forgiving sin (Luke 5:20-24). The sea beast is announcing to the world its own powers to change God’s law and to forgive sins. The sea beast is a religious power with political influence that claims to have powers that in reality belong only to God. This religious power, the little horn, as the Bible says in Daniel 7, came up during the time of the Roman Empire. As Revelation 13:5 says, this religious-political power continue to exercise its unquestioned power for a prophetic period of forty two months. We’ve seen in many different studies that this period occurs during the Middle Ages, and is a literal period of 1260 years (see studies #16, #20, #68, #71, #72, #80, and #85). This is the same amount of time Daniel 7:25 states that the little horn exercises its activities of speaking blasphemies and pressing the saints. The blasphemies extend not only against God, but also against His name, His tabernacle and His people. This verse expands even more the gravity of what the the beast is saying and amplifies the scope of what blaspheme is:

- Blasphemes against God: As we’ve seen before, a blasphemy against God is claiming to have powers that only belong to God, such as changing God’s law (Daniel 7:25) and forgiving sin (Luke 5:20-24).

- Blasphemes against God’s name: Moses one time inquired about God’s name, and “God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.” (Exodus 3:14). A blasphemy against God’s name implies that the sea beast is not professing that God is who He says He is. The beast is passing along incorrect information about the character of God. Talking to the religious leaders of the time, Jesus warned them that no one should call them “father upon the earth: for one is your Father, who is in heaven” (see Matthew 23:8-9). The sea beast is claiming to have not only the powers of God, but an equal position to the Father. By making God less than what He is, the beast makes itself more than what it is.

- Blasphemes against God’s tabernacle: The Bibla mentions a few things that can be considered God’s temple, or tabernacle: His house of worship (Matthew 21:13), Jesus Himself (John 21:19-22) and His people (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Gods temple is the place where He dwells, where He executes His activities, being in the hearts of His people or in Heaven, or even at His physical temple, which is the symbol of His special connection to His followers. Ultimately, the purpose of the tabernacle is the direct connection between God and the people, now possible through Jesus Christ. The sea beast claims to have the power to alter the order of that connection. The bible says “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Any religious power teaching that there are other mediators between humans and the Father, is guilty of blasphemy according to this biblical teaching.

- Blasphemes against God’s people: The expression “them who dwell in Heaven” is a reference to God’s faithful followers. This is to contrast to those who do not follow God, and are referred to as “those who dwell on earth” (Revelation 13:8, 12, 14). How can the beast blaspheme against humans? Humans do not have innate divine powers or a sovereign position in the Universe. This seems difficult to understand but let’s look at this way: humans have one very special gift from God, which God respects tremendously. Humans were given free-will to choose God or not; to love Him or not. God does not force anyone to serve Him. Let’s see what Jesus instructed the disciples to do when He sent them out to preach the Gospel and what they needed to do if the message was rejected: “And whoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when you depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” (Matthew 10:14). Jesus never said to kill or persecute those who disagreed and rejected God’s teachings. The fate of those people are in God’s hands, not up to humans to decide. And their fate will be made known on the day of Judgment (Matthew 10:15). This type of blasphemy is a segway to what we will read in Revelation 13:7-8, where the beast begins its war against God’s people. The sea beast claims to have power over those who do not agree with its proclamations, and determine their fate.

*** Overview ***: The sea beast makes very bold claims. It speaks very highly of itself, and says it has powers that, according to the Bible, belong only to God. With its many blasphemies, it announces to the world that it not only has the power to change God’s law and to forgive sins, but that it also has God’s authority on Earth. Furthermore, the beast claims to have the right to alter the direct connection that God has established with His followers and to decide the fate of God’s people. The blasphemies out of the best’s mouth are the beast’s activities. At the end of the 1260 years, these activities stopped for a period. But as the mortal wound began to heal, these activities gradually began again. Note the order in which the beast’s activities are mentioned. The persecution against God’s people is the last one to be mentioned, as the blasphemies against “them that dwell in heaven”. Once the beast recover the full healing of its injured head, we can expect that the beast will resume all of its activities with full strength. We can see most of the blasphemy activities of the beast in practice today. It comes labeled as Christian religion by certain denominations. The main thing to remember is that God’s people do not need to be defined by a denomination preaching such blasphemies. Many of the people who belong to such denominations truly love Jesus and they will hear God’s voice when he says “Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins” (Apocalipse 18:4). God will call His sincere followers to leave any religious-political powers that preach a message contrary to what is contained in the Bible. Those who know God’s voice will hear and follow God’s call. Let’s not forget that the sea beast is not one person. It is a religious system with political influence that has been in place for many centuries. We must not behave like the beast and claim to ourselves the right to decide the beast’s fate either. We would be no better than the beast. Everyone has the right to decide for themselves who they will serve. It is up to God to determine their sentence. And the sentence for the sea beast has been already revealed: “And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.” (Revelation 19:20).

   
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