Revelation 13

In this chapter we are introduced to two beasts. They are allies and both are anti-Christian and get their authority from Satan. They are blasphemous toward God.

Note the chain of command….The first beast from the sea gets its power, throne, and authority from the dragon, Satan (see 13:4, 12:9). The second beast from the land exercises the authority of the first beast – kind of like an institution created to enforce worship of the first beast.

Satan > Beast From The Sea > Beast from the Earth

Note also their goal – making war with the saints.

Interestingly, the time duration of the authority given to the first beast is 42 months, the same we saw earlier when the Gentiles were treading the holy city and the witnesses were prophesying and God’s people were protected (11:2, 3; 12:6, 14). What we are looking at in these beasts is likely a closer inspection of what was revealed earlier. In fact, this is building on what we saw about the dragon at the end of Chapter 12 “And the dragon (having failed to defeat Jesus or Michael) was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. These beasts are his agents in his war against believers.

The idea of a mark is something that indicated a person had worshiped the beast. Those who did not were killed or excluded from society.

The number 666 is likely some cryptic code identifying the beast. There are many theories which you can read about.

Polycarp was a leader in the church at Symrna (one of the 7 to which the book of Revelation was written) and he died as a martyr in 155 ad. Many Christians were being put to death at the time and now they seized one of the leaders. According to tradition, before he died he was given a chance to save himself by cursing Christ, saying Ceasar is Lord, or saying ‘Down with the Atheists!’”. (Atheists in this case would be Christians who denied the diety of the emperor and who believed in a false God (to them), Jesus.) Polycarp famous reply was “86 years have I have served him, and he has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?” after which he was burned to death.

How does this account fit what we see in Revelation 13 and maybe help us understand the book?

5 thoughts on “Revelation 13

  1. The visions in chapter 13 certainly document tremendous persecution of Christians by the state. If it ended here there was really not much for looking forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I knew it was just a matter of time till someone suggested that getting a vaccine, or perhaps a positive coronavirus test would be the “Mark of the Beast”. See the link for an example:

    Such is typical of how people use the book of Revelation (though admittedly a little extreme).

    I believe the book was written about the Roman persecution but can encourage Christians of all ages that no matter what “beasts” Satan is using today, God will always win and the faithful will always be rewarded.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The beast seem to represent the ruling nations during the time of Christian persecution. The forty two months may be pointing to the length of the persecution of saints..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I again find the book of Revelation difficult to understand. You have to step back and, with what knowledge one has of the book of Daniel and of the history of the Roman Empire, try to understand the symbolism of what John is seeing in his vision. Seven heads – the 7 mountains Rome was built on? The 10 horns – the 10 divisions of the Roman Empire? The commentary I read referenced ch 17 several times. Maybe when we get to ch 17, we’ll get more detail/insight to understand.

    I did find v. 8 interesting. Sounds as if the names are already written in the Book of Life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. On your point about their names already written in the book of life I think that is correct. Not to be negative, but in light of Revelation 3:5 we see that it is possible for those whose names are written in the book of life to have their names blotted out.

      I agree it is a difficult book in many ways. We will get a few clues when we get to 17. Not sure if this would be a “spoiler alert” but the 7 heads and 10 horns are identified there in verse 9 and 12. Not that that answers all the questions but I think it helps.

      Liked by 1 person

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