The beast from the Sea: 13:1-6.
Chapter 13 introduces us to the beast rising up out of the sea. This symbolizes the man who will play a prominent role during the tribulation period. He is called man in verse 18 and said to be rising out of the sea. It is an expression that signifies the gentile nations. He has seven heads and ten horns with ten crowns on its horns. The Seven heads may represent the seven world empires of past history. Daniel predicted that the 10 nation Roman confederacy will be revived (Daniel 7:24). He had blasphemous names on his heads to deceive people to believe that he is God. Satan has an unholy trinity composed of Satan, the Antichrist, and the false prophet. Satan will use Antichrist and false prophet to accomplish his purpose on the earth (12:13). He will imitate God and deceive many people to worship him. In Daniel “The lion refers to the Babylon Empire; the bear refers to the Medo-Persian empire ; the leopard refers to the Grecian empire and the final empire refers to the Roman Empire” (Daniel 7:1-8). The beast will suffer a mortal wound. But he will be raised from the dead. The Roman Empire will be revived in order to provide Antichrist control of the whole world. Satan will take credit for all these things. People will be marveled at this miracle and worship Antichrist. They would say “Who is able to fight against the beast?” (13:4). He will be an intellectual, political, military and religious genius. Antichrist will be the spokesperson for Satan and will blaspheme against God. He was given authority to do whatever he wanted for 42 months. He will engage in war with God and slander the believers. But believers will be protected during this period.
The Power of the Antichrist: 13:7-10.
Satan will use Antichrist to wage war against believers. He will use false religious system for his peace program (Revelation 17; Daniel 8:25). Half way through the tribulation period, Antichrist will break the covenant of peace with Israel (Daniel 9:27). He will also turn against the apostate church and call people to worship him. He will rule the world with absolute authority. Many believers will be murdered. He will receive praise and worship from people whose names are not written in the book of life. Antichrist will promise a counterfeit millennium and deceive many. Even though believers suffer greatly, they will be protected and strengthened by the Lord. They find comfort in knowing that their hardships are designed by God who called them. They should endure persecution patiently and remain faithful unto death (13:10). Satan cannot do these things without God's permission. But the ultimate victory belongs to Christ. The suffering is inevitable for everyone in this world but believers are the only ones who will find comfort in suffering because they are in Christ and have the blessed hope that it will be over when Christ returns.
The Rise of the False Prophet: 13:11-18.
John saw another beast coming up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb but he spoke with the voice of a dragon. Jesus warns believers not to be deceived by Satan and false teachers (Matthew 7:15). He exercises the power of Antichrist and promotes the worship of him. Scholars suggest that the unholy trinity is made of Satan, Antichrist and False prophet. False Prophet is an influential religious leader with delegated authority from Antichrist to do signs and wonders (13:13). False Prophet is successful in deceiving many people by performing miracles (13:13). The reason false teachers deceive people is that they resemble enough truth to look convincing. Miracles can be deceitful (2 Thessalonians 2:11). The believers should be wise and watchful against deception. He will order people to worship the image of the Antichrist. Those who refuse to worship the image will be killed. Everyone will be asked to bear the mark of Antichrist on their right hand or on their forehead to show their allegiance to him. It is impossible to buy or sell anything without this mark. This mark is 666, a number representing the unholy trinity; Satan, Antichrist, False Prophet. Six symbolizes man in the scripture. While seventh is the number of completion and perfection. The entire book of Revelation is built around the number seven. The number six is less than perfect and the highest number Satan can attain. Antichrist will have total control of religion, commerce and government. Believers should patiently endure the hardships and remain faithful during this time. Whatever happens, they have Christ and He is everything to them.