Over the past 7 weeks, we have been studying Revelation 6-18, seeing Jesus revealed as the “Lord of the Earth.” It has been a joy to preach seven sermons, and also to add additional material on this blog, to help us understand these verses better. It has been my prayer that this study would not just make us more biblically literate, but also that God would use this section of His Word to increase our faith in Him and our love for others. If you have had any encouragement from this series, I’d love to hear it! These have been challenging passages to preach, but I believe God has great stuff in here for us!
I want to share just one additional thought about a section of verses (Revelation 17:7-13) I mostly skipped this morning in the sermon. These verses further describe the anti-christ. Just to recap some of what we know of the anti-christ from Scripture:
- The anti-christ is a human leader who comes on the world scene in the last seven years before Jesus returns to the earth. (Revelation 13:1)
- The anti-christ will be a human pawn used by Satan to mislead the world. (Revelation 13:4)
- The anti-christ will preside over a one world government for a period of roughly 3.5 years. (Revelation 13:5)
- The anti-christ’s religious leader (the false prophet) will promote the worship of the anti-christ as a god and persecute all who do not worship him. (Revelation 13:11-18, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
- The anti-christ will be defeated by Christ at His return and judged severely. (Revelation 19:20)
In Revelation 17:7-13, we see more details about the anti-christ’s human activity and identity. We see:
- The anti-christ is referred to in this section as the “beast.” (17:7). This symbol is consistent with the depiction of the anti-christ in 13:1. He does not sound like a friendly fellow!
- The anti-christ is described as “coming from the bottomless pit” (17:8). This speaks to his association with Satan and Satan’s schemes.
- The anti-christ is also described as “going to destruction” (17:8). This is a further reminder that his reign and rule will be short and have no future!
- The anti-christ will be able to mislead the non-Christians on the earth and deceive them into following him during the last days (17:8). This will happen (in part) because of a deception that the anti-christ will pull off in the last days. The anti-christ appears to recover from a fatal injury (as described in 13:3-4) and this will impress the people into following the beast. This phenomena hinted at inside Revelation 17:7-13 with the repeated phrases, “was and is not and is to come.” The Beast’s fake resurrection is what is hinted at in those phrases.
- The anti-christ will be connected to seven heads, which are said to represent both seven mountains (17:9) and seven kings (17:10a). What is this talking about? Well, in the first century, the city of Rome was said to rest on seven mountains. Therefore, the connection of the anti-christ to the one seated on seven mountains seems to indicate that the anti-christ will be the leader of a revived Roman Empire. I will not go into the detail here, but Daniel 9:24-27’s prophetic calendar also implies that the anti-christ will begin his reign from inside a revived version of the Roman Empire (though it may not go by that name, it will be made up of similar people.) The seven kings, therefore, would represent a team of seven world leaders who make up the new Roman Empire in the end.
- The anti-christ will ultimately take control of the whole world, including subjugating the other kings of the revived Roman Empire under his rule in as he establishes his worldwide reign in the middle of the Great Tribulation period (17:10-11)
- The anti-christ will have ten lieutenants (represented by the ten horns) who will serve with him in his worldwide rule (17:12a). They will support the one world rule of the anti-christ unto the end (17:13). It is these world leaders who will assemble the army to fight the Lamb and the Lamb’s people in the ultimate “battle of Armageddon.” This battle is spoke of in 17:14 … and we will look at more of the specifics of this when we get to Revelation 19 later this summer.
- The anti-christ is Satan’s last best gasp to take over the world … and with all of his work and effort, he is only able to hold his rule for a VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME (see the reference to “one hour” in 17:12b.) Further … even this short “reign” of Satan and his beast is only possible because the true Lord of the Earth (Jesus Christ) allowed it! As we saw this morning in 17:17, God allows the Beast this moment only to expose how truly wicked and awful he really is. A world completely captive to Satan’s lies is a world no one wants to be a part of … when seen in all of its awfulness.
So, friends, these verses in Revelation 17:7-13 further describe for us the Beast. If we know Jesus as our Savior, we will not be on this earth when this Beast/anti-christ is wielding his power (since the rapture of the church precedes these events) … but seeing these prophecies unfold, hopefully we are encouraged to stay faithful to our God. This world and its guiding principles are a terrible substitute for our God. Let’s follow Him wherever He goes.