by Reverend Anthony R. Locke
Sermon Series in Revelation # 25
English Standard Version
1 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.
2 And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.
3 One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast.
4 And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”
5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.
6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven.
7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation,
8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear:
10 If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
The Book of the Revelation is largely about the conflict between the Kingdom of Darkness and the Kingdom of Light. Most of the battle is fought above the Earth. Lots of skirmishes also happen on the Earth. The good guys are the Church symbolized by the Seven Candlesticks or the Woman that God protects. The bad guys are the Dragon and his minions.
The first half of the Revelation details the Kingdom of Light. There’s a vision of Christ in Chapter One. The next two chapters are a promise that our candlestick of light will only be stopped by Jesus if we get off message.
In chapters four and five we are treated to a vision of the Heavenly Throne Room of God, of the Heavenly Temple of God, and of the worshipers. Finally, we see the Lamb of God who has the strength of a Lion, ready receive His rightful place of lordship over all things.
Jesus is the true prize of Heaven. Jesus is the treasure and the gift. Jesus is worthy to be seated next to the Father and open the Scroll from which He declares the Omega of all things. Every knee bows to King Jesus.
Then from chapters 6 through chapter 20 we learn in detail about the doomed agenda of the Kingdom of Darkness. We meet the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, the enemies of the Church and the seven trumpets of woe upon the Earth.
In the midst of our trials God reminds us in chapter ten that the Word of God is the most powerful weapon the Church wields. Chapter 11 tells about the Two Witnesses and ends with the victory and glory of the Kingdom of Light.
But then chapter 12 starts back at the beginning. It’s like reading the Gospel of Matthew. The Gospel of Mark is not a continuation of Matthew. The story cycles back to the beginning.
Revelation does the same thing in chapter 12. The story cycles back to the beginning. We read much of the same content, but from the vantage point of the main characters.
We learn about the Church, the Dragon, the Christ Child and the Battle that started in Heaven between Michael and Lucifer which has now spilled out onto this Earth.
Chapter 13:1-10 introduces us to the next person within the drama: the Anti-Christ.
The anti-Christ will arise from the nations as represented by the ocean. The Dragon is always stirring up the oceans of humanity into crashing waves of crisis after crisis. As a politician recently said, “you never let a good crisis go to waste.” The Dragon has this world in crisis to stay in a constant state of readiness to receive the anti-Christ. If the world is in crisis then it will embrace a dictator that promises to calm things down. Global Marshall Law as it were.
There is a book in our generation that details these strategies called Rules for Radicals. Revolutionaries upset the good and orderly progress of culture, and through fear and social instability, get their man elected. The anti-Christ will be sold to this world using that strategy.
What will he look like? He will appear to be a noble leader, maybe a Noble Peace Prize winner and a great humanitarian. Yet, he will have no humanity toward those who oppose him. He will be at Beast at heart: coldblooded and cruel.
This Beast is larger than just the person known as the anti-Christ. The Beast is all the nations in opposition to all that is good. All ten nations symbolize the totality of humanity involved in this rebellion, and the seven heads remind us that the Dragon is the Puppet Master.
Which is why this Beast, through the leadership of the anti-Christ and the power of the Kingdoms of the Earth, targets their anti-Christian rage against the followers of Jesus. This is a Demonic Beast who is Hell bent on the Church’s destruction.
Have you ever wondered why the world is so unified in their hostility to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? This vision answers that question.
The book of Daniel and chapter seven goes into more detail about this Beast. We see in our passage the same marks.
The Beast is Leopard fast like the armies of Greece, Bear strong like the Medo-Persian armies, and Lion crushing like the world wide power of ancient Babylon.
And this world’s anti-God system is under the orchestration of the Devil himself. It is empowered by Satan. The rule of the darkness comes from the Dragon himself.
Let me illustrate how far down the slide into corruption this world has gone.
This last week I read a story that conducted research on internet traffic. They identified the most sought after category of information around the world on the world wide web. If measuring the content by bandwidth, the most accessed data category on the internet is pornography.
1/3 of all internet traffic, world wide, is for the distribution of internet pornography? One third.
How else could we measure our decline? The greatest expense of almost every nation is for their military: nukes, warheads and armies.
Only recently has America’s greatest budget item become making people more and more dependent on the government.
The Dragon is all about counterfeiting the goodness and the blessings of God.
A family is only healthy when God is at the center, yet the secular media will never reveal that truth. Lust is sold as better than the fidelity of marriage. A wealthy end justifies the immoral means for gaining money.
The Gospel offers rest in God. The Devil offers us rest through idleness, movies or drugs. The Devil is great at offering substitutes.
Somehow the anti-Christ positions himself to be able to claim a resurrection. Maybe he has a political comeback that inspires the world to follow him. He might win over terminal cancer.
God said that the Dragon would be wounded on his head by the Seed of the Woman. Satan spins the story a little different. He was wounded, but he claims to have the power to overcome the judgmental plans of God.
That’s the story this world loves to hear!
You can be a sinner and not suffer God’s judgment. You might feel the wrath of God, but it won’t hurt too bad. You can live and prosper after receiving God’s wrath. You can break God’s commandments and live to tell about it.
So don’t worry about your lies, don’t stress over your immorality, don’t loose sleep over the hatred in your heart. Disrespect toward your parents or a lack of respect and worship to God won’t result in your judgment. None of God’s commandments matter. There’s no real consequences. You’ll survive and prosper.
Verse 4 says that the world follows after the Beast because of it’s invincibility. The world will side with the winning team. Why would anyone side with losers. The Kingdom of Light is made to look out dated and weak.
Can you overcome the federal education system which imposes godless evolution on our children?
Can you overcome the Beast’s oppressive Sharia law?
Can you bring down the influence of the almighty dollar in your industry?
The Beast is cleansing the culture from all things Christian. He seeks to marginalize, diminish and trivialize the Church. The Beast claims that the Church is a non-tax paying burden to local municipalities and that Christian values are a threat to the unbridled growth of a secular government.
The Dragon would rather trample religious freedoms than allow people to follow their conscience (The new healthcare law requires employers to pay for abortions).
The only power to overcome this Beast is by claiming the blood of the Lamb. We must not stop giving testimony to the power of the Gospel to free sinners from the bonds of darkness. God’s people must not love their life so much that they are unwilling to suffer for the cause of Christ.
We must die to self and live for the Kingdom of Light regardless of the price we pay. This is how we overcome according to Revelation 12:11.
So Revelation 13 begins to unveil for us the Dragon’s strategy. He wants to lift up his Beast and the anti-Christ that the Church will be discouraged and fall.
Satan wants us to think that living for ourselves is the only way to pursue our own happiness. The Dragon keeps telling us to follow our heart.
Satan is creating his own Trinity as it were.
God the Father handed the Scroll of power and authority to Jesus. Satan hands his power and authority to the Beast which is led by the Anti-Christ.
The Holy Spirit is our power for living in the light. The False Prophet is the power that leads people into darkness and death.
Do not be deceived by the Dragon. God will not be mocked. Whatsoever we sow, we will also reap. We cannot sow disobedience to God’s commands and reap life everlasting.
There is a line drawn in the sand this morning. There are two warring kingdoms. We cannot stay neutral.
We are told in verse 9 to listen and gain understanding. Are you listening this morning? Have your ears heard the false promises of the Beast? Are you convinced that living for the Lord is the better path?
You will either be taken captive by this world and follow in rebellion against the ways and commandments of God, or you will endure in faith and be saved. That’s the point of verse 10.
Enduring in faith means we speak out against the corruption, the lies and the false promises of safety from the wrath of God. The Devil cannot protect you from God’s certain judgment that will fall on sinners. The promises of peace and rest from this world are a lie. Don’t be dazzled by it’s glitz and glory. It is fading. Only Jesus can share with you glory that will last for ever and ever.
Where are you in this eternal drama? Are you living under the power of the Beast? There’s no beauty in the beast. He is ugly and corrupt. He isn’t good. This world has nothing real to offer. All the blessings are really a curse. The Devil has nothing to offer except counterfeits.
Many, many people could stand up and testify that sin brings destruction and death, while the ways of God bring life everlasting. Be a hearer of the Word this morning. Be apart of the group that speaks out against this world. Rise up with the power of God’s Spirit and be an over comer.
May God bless us to see the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ, embrace His Word and Commandments, die to self and through His blood be over-comers. Amen.
 The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
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