The Seventh Trumpet has been sounded and God has proclaimed that "The kingdoms of this world (earth) have become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" In what seems to be God's first act in making this proclamation a reality, Michael and his army of angels wage war with Satan and his demons—casting them from Heavenly access permanently to earth because they have no more authority or purpose to be there (since their only function in Heaven was the rightful accusation of fallen man, their purpose is through and they are first driven from Heaven). Satan is now humiliated, desperate and furious at God, and his first act after being cast to earth Is to relentlessly attack the Jews (God's Chosen people) and then, because they are protected by God in the wilderness, attack their "offspring", the Church. John now turns his attention to giving some background to this antichrist that has by this point risen to world power. The symbolism used can be confusing to us if we do not study God's Word regularly on this subject. But it is a completed picture of the origin of the antichrist’s coming kingdom—how he gains such power and respect, and where he plans to take mankind in his rule. Let's jump in where we left off…
Revelation 13:1-4: John tells of a beast which rises who gets his power from the "Dragon" or Satan himself. This is obviously the antichrist of the last days. Now let's decipher the symbolism which tells of his origin and purpose. This "beast" which rises from the sea is not found only here, nor is it shrouded in complete mystery. Most of his appearance is given understanding in Daniel 2, Daniel 7, and Revelation 17 as well. Remember, Scriptures very often interpret Scriptures. What does the "sea" represent? Revelation 17:15, while describing this exact beast, explains these waters represent many people, multitudes, nations and tongues. The spirit of antichrist’s kingdom has come from a long progression of people and nations, which have led to this moment and this kingdom. Now a description of this beast: Revelation 13:1-4: This picture can seem overwhelming at first until we look at the exact same descriptions of previous world powers given by Daniel in two different visions with explanation. The first is when Daniel explains Nebuchadnezzar's dream as being the five world powers which will exist from that point in time (Daniel 2:36-45)—represented in a statue from King Nebuchadnezzar's dream. The world powers, which played out in history exactly as foretold were Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar), Medo-Persian Empire, Grecian Empire (Alexander the Great), Rome (Divided into two parts) (no break in metal here), ending in a revived Rome—of ten rulers. Listen to how Daniel ends this prophetic line of kingdoms, speaking of the last kingdom of ten rulers mixed as iron/clay: Daniel 2:43-44: This last kingdom in the End Days will come together from different cultures but not truly mix their cultures well—which could be so descriptive of Middle-Eastern countries, mixing with many European countries which have strong Muslim influence today. In the days of this alliance, Christ returns. And later, again, describing the same unfolding of events in another way to Nebuchadnezzar's son who took the throne, Belshazzar: Daniel 7:3-8: again describing Babylon, beautifully giving the redemption of Nebuchadnezzar. V5 is describing the Medo-Persian Empire: “raised up on one side"= Persia much more powerful), and having "three ribs in it's mouth" (conquered Babylon, Egypt & Lydia). V6: This again is Greece: a Leopard, because of the speed with which Alexander the Great would move in conquest; four heads, because Alexander's rule was given to four generals upon his death—all written before his Empire was even in existence. V7-8: the last kingdom of iron is describing the Roman Empire: This beast which was more dreadful and powerful than all the others ended with ten horns (no break), just as the first with ten toes of iron and clay. And a new horn which grows up and subdues three of the previous ones. A new ruler overtaking three of the ten in the confederacy. So we have every previous world empire since Daniel represented as a Leopard, Bear and Lion, ending with a final, very different beast in our day—ferocious and powerful, made of iron; involving ten nations in the last days from which the antichrist will arise. This shows the spiritual and governmental atmosphere which this final Empire will follow. Each described as having "blasphemous names"; Satan being behind each one, bringing empires which were anti-God, worldly in religions and horridly brutal and uncaring. And very possibly giving the physical location of the Last Empire springing from where these previous empires arose and fell. What exactly are these seven heads and ten horns? Again, Scriptures don't leave us to guess: Revelation 17:9-13: The seven heads are seven previous empires. Many predict this passage as narrowing down to the "seven hills of Rome". But 1) the Greek word specifically says "Mountains", and Rome sits on seven hills, not mountains. 2) This image is clearly denoting multiple empires that arose as mountains—not rulers of one area—and the seven kings which ruled them (over 70 Emperors in Rome). Why Seven? (Daniel mentions four) Because John goes back to the beginning of history; Daniel only mentions the four starting from his day forward. These heads seem to represent all of the world powers from start to finish: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persian, Greece, Rome, Revived Rome—and showing the antichrist's place in the last empire. Five have fallen (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece). One is, at John's time (Rome), and one is to come (revived Roman Empire) (10 Toes/Horns). But notice John says something very peculiar about this one last king: Revelation 17:11: This is speaking specifically of a king, not a nation, so it would seem that the antichrist is killed—maybe in the rebellion of three of the nations in the ten—and this antichrist rises again. He was one of the Seven Empires, but rises again in new power (same king though). And since Satan is trying to mimic everything God does on this earth, it would make perfect sense that he also tries to mimic the resurrection of his False Messiah. This would explain the reaction of the world towards this new ruler in our text today: Revelation 13:3-4.
In his rage after being cast from Heaven, Satan does not use deception or ignorance of his existence to fool the nations anymore. He reveals himself as the god to the world. This will not be a time of atheistic thought and life. And I believe, as we will see, he portrays God the Father and Christ as false, evil gods of whom he will save them from if they will worship and trust him. If not, you will be killed with extreme hatred for joining the false gods. And the world he is now ruling is mainly populated by those who have rejected our true God; turned their back on Christ and have spit at Him for the Judgments which they are enduring. Satan now demands and receives worship through the antichrist, and he makes a military move to overrun Jerusalem. There he stands in the very Temple built for God and blasphemes God and all who serve Him in Heaven, making a full-scale war against any left on earth who would dare not worship him instead of Christ: Revelation 13:5-10. Other books of the Old and New Testament tell details of this moment: 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Daniel 7:25. For those who hold to a “Mid-Trib View”—I understand some of your points. But consider these thoughts at this point in the Tribulation believing the Seventh Trump is the time of the Mid-Trib rapture. 1) this view says we will suffer under the antichrist’s persecution at the first half, not God’s. We’ve seen many of a God’s direct judgments in the first half. And do you see that the elevated pinnacle of Satan’s wrath is the second half—not the first? 2) Satan is waging all out war on the many Christians left on earth. If the rapture occurs here, why aren’t these Christians gone right now? At about this time of his ascent to total power, the antichrist is joined by another satanic partner. And Satan, who lives to mimic everything God does on earth, creates his own "unholy trinity" just as God has established the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—with the Spirit coming to guide us to, and point us to Christ. This third member of Satan's trinity will come on the scene to guide and point the world towards Satan's false messiah: Revelation 13:11-12: these verses use very peculiar and specific symbolism to describe this "false prophet" of Satan and tell of the false prophet's mission to make the world worship the beast. This passage also gives strong credit to the probability of the antichrist dying and resurrecting at some point in the Tribulation (deadly wound healed). This false prophet has great supernatural power from Satan, deceiving many into believing the antichrist really is a god and demanding that the world build an image of the antichrist (possibly set up in the Temple as an abomination): Revelation 13:13-18: Notice the false prophet gives life to the image of the beast and the image of the beast—in whatever form it is created—actually demands worship from the world. And the image actually causes those who will not worship to be killed. How does an image know whether people around the globe are worshiping the antichrist? It would seem as though the image determines whether anyone has refused the mark of worship—the mark of the beast. We have to ask ourselves in this day and age of technology—will the image of the beast be connected to the world database? Some form of AI or supernatural? We do know this for certain: the entire world will receive a number on their right hand or forehead which will enable or deny them access to any further business transaction on the whole planet. This is absolutely possible to operate this very day. We already have the ability to stop anyone from making electronic purchases anywhere on the globe in an instant, and we have the ability to insert microchips or give invisible, electronic tattoos in 5 to 10 seconds (RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)). These implants or tattoos can replace credit cards and an innumerable number of other things, including tracking of the individual. An NBC News story showed how the RFID is already in use through the same existing technology which reads chipped credit cards or iPhones for payment currently. The reporter followed one chipped citizen in Sweden through his day as he used his hand to make payments, open doors, and get security access all over town. There are an estimated 5 to 10,000 there who are already chipped. The question was asked, "In the future do you think everyone is going to be chipped?" The answer was given, "I think it will be voluntary, but I am certainly convinced that millions of people will find it very, very valuable to have a smart device under their skin..." The newscast ends with this quote: "Human micro chipping may be our future, but in Sweden, it's already reality.” Have you seen the new "Touch Free" credit card readers that do not need cards inserted? Many now take cell phone payments as well—they are everywhere already. That is literally all you need to make this system a reality with one change of the Law. And we are the first and only generation in all of history who could actually live under this system. Why would "the image" of the beast be the catalyst of forcing others to worship and being the cause of their recognition and death if they didn't? And how could a first century prophet ever foresee something this bizarre and seemingly impossible 2000 years ago? And just for your own peace of mind, no one will be able to accidentally take the "mark of the beast." They will know beyond the shadow of a doubt what they are taking when they receive it because it will be expressed openly as willful worship to give praise to the antichrist. And the threat will be directly given that you will no longer conduct business without the mark, and that resistance will result in execution.
Just this far into this Book of Revelation, we have seen Israel returned to her homeland as prophesied. Nation alignments, locations, even literal troop numbers predicted exactly. Military weapons and technology prophesied and described. World attitude towards Jews and Christians prophesied. Satellite technology and world information access prophesied and described. And now, RFID technology to make the "mark of the beast" conceivable. When will some of you realize this is not only real, but at the door? Jesus Christ is real. He loves you. He died for you. He is in control, and He is coming back very soon—and He is better than anything this world can offer: Revelation 22:20-21
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