SATAN’S FINAL ATTEMPT AND HIS SHORTFALL
The devil is a showman and desires the attention of mankind, and in this chapter we will be able to see his mode of entertainment, and his seeming attempt to overthrow the Kingdom of God and His Son, and no matter how vicious it may be, he will come up short.
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. 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. 13:1-2 (KJV).
Some translations of the Bible read, “…and he stood” referring to the dragon. It really does no harm to the text to read it either way. Although John standing on the sand of the sea would serve no seen purpose, while the dragon standing so would place him among the people of earth.
The description given of the beast would imply a great empire. It would be the Roman empire revived and empowered by the dragon (11:7; 17:8). Daniel speaks of these same beasts (Daniel 7:1-8) only he refers to seeing four – the fourth being indescribable. Daniel mentions a lion, a bear, a leopard, and the fourth beast being “Dreadful and terrible”. John sees the leopard, the bear, and the lion; and the fourth must be the dragon.
Let’s look at these as Daniel has them interpreted to him (7:17):
1. The lion would be Babylon – Nebuchadnezzar the king;
2. The bear would be Medo-Persia – Darius the king;
3. The leopard would be the Alexandrian empire – Alexander the Great being the king.
Each of these kingdoms were “Swallowed up” by the one following it. All three of these are swallowed up by the “Indescribable beast” or the Roman empire.
Why are these likened to these beasts? Babylon had majesty and power likened to the lion. The Medo-Persian empire had strength and tenacity like the bear. The Alexandrian empire moved swiftly like the leopard (Daniel 8:5 “…touched not the ground”).
If you will note John sees and writes of these in reverse to Daniel. Daniel is seeing these in the future tense. John is seeing them in the past tense.
The seven heads and ten horns probably refer to the remnants of the confederacy that formed the Roman empire in the beginning. In Scripture the horn is symbolic of power. Ten nations of which three were overthrown by the “…little horn” of Daniel 7:8. The ten crowns referring to the symbols of governmental authority. The kings of these confederacies exalted themselves as gods, thus having the “name of blasphemy”.
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. 4 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? vv. 3-4 (KJV).
If we look at this in the light of the other Scriptures the head “…wounded to death” would be one of the confederacy, probably the Roman empire itself. Since the empire fell many of the confederate nations has risen and fallen silent, but the Roman empire is dead. Of course the empire is represented by an emperor. For a period of time the dragon [satan] will be given the power to deceive. It seems he may even give the appearance of raising an individual from death. It would be so much like him to counterfeit what God has done.
Because of this “resurrection” “…all the world” will follow him. Worship will be directed to the dragon. The dragon giving power to this resurrected beast could be satan himself possessing this one who has yielded himself to satan’s will (11:7; 17:8). This individual would probably be the ruler of the revived Roman empire, promising peace to Jerusalem and the world.
It is quiet possible that the resurrected beast is a form of government represented by an emperor. The renewed life is the “resurrected” nation able by satanic influence to deceive people and nations.
Here we even see satan’s counterfeiting the Holy Trinity. The dragon, and he in the anti-christ. The third being the second beast “…out of earth” a messenger of the anti-christ.
Anti-christ not only means “Against Christ”, but also, “In place of”, or “Instead of”.
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. vv. 5-8 (KJV).
This ruler is probably only over the Roman empire until the last three and one half years of Daniel’s seventieth week. He makes peace with Israel, only to be slain in the midst of the week, raised up in satan’s power of deceit, then, breaks the covenant with Israel, and becomes the world ruler.
His mouth to speak is to speak against God and His saints (Daniel 7:25; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), calling himself god, blasphemes the name of God Most High. In this state of satanic power he is given 42 months to rule (1260 days or 3.5 years).
The dragon’s purpose instilled in the antichrist will be to attack all that is holy and of God (Daniel 7:21). All those on earth “…whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb” will worship the beast. Only those redeemed by the blood of Jesus will not worship this beast. These are those who have been won to Christ by the 144,000 Hebrew witnesses of Revelation 7. See also 2 Thessalonians 2:5-12. They are not exempt from worshipping the beast. They will give their lives (6:11). “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13). This is where this verse fits into the interpretation of Scripture.
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. vv. 9-10 (KJV).
An appeal, maybe even an invitation or warning is given us in verse nine. Listen up. John appeals for us to hear and heed the awfulness that is about to come upon the earth. Verse 8 is quite clear in showing a great ecumenical peace will come at last. A world religion where all give up their’s to join one. The worship of satan.
Notice this plea is similar to the ending statements of the letters to the seven churches. The only difference being this one does not end with “Unto the churches”. This tends to give support to the teaching of the absence of the Church, because it has been raptured out at this time.
Divine retribution is the topic of verse 10. Those who persecute these saints will be tormented likewise. The faith and patience of the saints, of all ages, is in the fact that that “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay’, saith the Lord”.
And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. vv. 11-14 (KJV).
The first beast (v. 1) is said to come “out of the sea”, cast out from heaven (chapter 12), and from the mass of humanity. “Sand of the sea” is often a reference to a great mass of humanity. This second beast is come “out of the earth”. This seems to imply that this one is simply a man, not possessed by satan; because two men could not be possessed by satan himself at the same time. Satan is not omnipresent. The “horns like a lamb” show that he is a man of religion. He will be the leader of the world religion leading people in the worship of the first beast. This one is truly a “wolf in sheeps clothing”, for he speaks “as a dragon”.
He is given power as the first beast and deceives the people into worshipping the dragon. He deceives “with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9), with such intensity that, “if it were possible, they would deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24). We may even now be asking, “Why would God allow such things? The answer which is plausible is only to say, “To bring an end to sin”.
People always want to see the miraculous, but miracles, or at least what appears to be miracles, can only lead to deception, when not tested by faith in Jesus Christ and the Scriptures. The miracles of God point to Him. Some of what seems to be miracles today often point to something or someone other than God.
Some in Jesus’s day asked Him for a sign, and He told them no sign would be given, except the sign of the prophet of Jonah (Matthew 12:39-41), and they did not get it. The Word of God is sufficient enough for those who believe God. The sign of the prophet Jonah was he came alive out of the belly of the fish, and Jesus was raised alive out of the belly of the earth. The resurrected Jesus is all the proof God needs to generate faith in His children (Romans 1:3-4).
And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. vv. 15-17 (KJV).
Verse 14 says that every one should make an “Image to the beast” (probably similar to the image of Nebuchadnezzar’s of Daniel 3; of course, maybe a lot smaller). It almost sounds as though every home would have an image of the beast. It would only be speculation, but this could be some electronic device to keep track of his followers. It wold be a way of determining those who worshipped the image and put to death those who did not. Of course those who are God’s would not have the image in the first place.
These worshippers of the beast are identified by a mark, another counterfeit of God’s work. Here satan, the dragon, counterfeits the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God seals those who are God’s to the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). The mark “in the right hand, or in their foreheads” would seal these people to eternal destruction. The Church today needs to hear this message and take the gospel of Jesus Christ out to the perishing, because what awaits the lost is doom. These with the “Mark of the beast” would be able to buy, sell, and trade. They would be able to obtain the things of earth, but be kept from the eternal blessings of God. “What will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. v. 18 (KJV).
The number of man is six (6). It falls short of God’s perfection, “short of the glory of God”.
When man tries to obtain the glory that belongs solely to the Lord he will always come up short. So will the devil.
No one knows what this number means. There are numerical equasions which figure into names. For example each Hebrew letter is also a Hebrew number. Since I do not know these things I can only share what I have read and studied. For instance Nero’s full name using the Hebrew alphabet and numbers adds up to 666. Alexander the Great’s name adds up to 666. Hitler’s adds up to 666. Both Bill and Hillary Clinton’s names add up to 666. I simply used the Clinton’s to give a more modern perspective, not to accuse them of anything.
This is not a sure thing. One thing we can be sure of, is that, the attempt by satan through man will come up short, sin will be eternally put away and Jesus Christ will reign as King of kings, and Lord of lords. SATAN’S FINAL ATTEMPT AND HIS SHORTFALL is certain because of who Jesus is.