Skip to content
May 13 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Revelation chapter 13 – 05/12/2024



Welcome and Prayer: Nancy Lopez

Welcome ReeXion Family. Grace and Peace to you!

We call today “Mothers Day.” Some of us will celebrate it; some of us will not. Some will experience a very happy day; some will not. We’re celebrating with all the moms who will, and we’re thinking about all the mothers who will not be able to fully celebrate their motherhood today. We remember the mothers in Ukraine and Gaza, just trying to keep their children safe, fed, well and encouraged. There are mothers who are estranged from their children or are in some way distanced from them. Addicted mothers, hospitalized mothers, incapacitated mothers—they may need help, not just a “Happy Mothers Day” salutation. Some mothers look back on their mothering experience with regret or sadness, as well as some with pride and happy memories.

Other women have broken hearts because their children are not doing well, or they’ve experienced a miscarriage; maybe they have lost many babies. Single moms wish they could do more but are stretched beyond normal limits just to make sure that their children are fed and sheltered. Some mothers are homeless, living in cars or on the streets with their children, or in “displaced persons” camps. Some must watch their children suffer or even die. Some women only long to be a mother. And don’t even get me started on our own mothers! “Happy Mothers Day” only goes so far.

There are many seasons of motherhood and many ways to mother. We thank God for His very good idea of mothers who give of their bodies, their energy, their time, and their love so that other humans can live and flourish. Whatever your experience of motherhood, it is valid and welcomed.

Will you join me to pray?
Father, You gave us many examples in scripture. Moses’ mother gave him up. Hannah was barren, year after year, until she became the mother of Samuel. Hagar and her child Ishmael were rejected and sent away. The Syrophoenician woman was sincerely committed to her daughter’s healing. Mary gave birth to Jesus. What a privilege to care for another human being, whether we are male or female.
Bless us with deep hope in You alone; we give thanks for every renewed opportunity to care wisely and well. Bless the work of our hands, anoint us that we would bear the fruit of Your Spirit. We pray for Your blessing of peace that passes all understanding, and we thank You for the celebration that many mothers will have today; may their children rise up and call them blessed. Amen

Morning Talk: chuck smith, jr.

Intro: I think most anyone reading Revelation sees that it takes a turn in chapter 13

What stays the same: the dragon (Satan) is still here
– at least at the start – and he’s continuing his fight against God
What changes: the dragon, after being defeated three times in the previous chapter
– now scores a significant victory
– also, prior to this, his battle has been in the religion arena
• he tried to sabotage the life and ministry of Jesus
• but now he changes the battlefield and his strategy

This is not a bright chapter – it is like the night of Jesus’ arrest
He told those who came to arrest him, “. . . this is your hour, and the power of darkness” (Lk. 22:53)
– he did not fight those men, because he knew God’s will
• this chapter is shadowed by the power of darkness
– I’m not sure how fully we will comprehend these visions,
• but if we listen closely for their inner-meaning,
• you will probably see what is unfolding before I try to point it out

The chapter features two “beasts”
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. 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 Revelation 13:1-2

The first beast arrives with an animal-like nature (remember this is all in dream images)
– in scripture, horns typically symbolize power – rulership or brute strength
• here the beast’s power is ten-fold
• it seems that the seven heads are meant to overwhelm us
◦ like there are too many to deal with if you have to fight it
◦ anyway, the heads are seven aspects of the creature – seven being a symbolic number, not literal
• the diadems, in particular, represent royalty
◦ this is the real deal, not like our American celebrities, but like people who are born into it
◦ the beast has this natural and regal superiority above common people
• each of the heads are also tattooed with blasphemes (blasphemy is a trademark of the two beasts)
– if we’re trying to picture this in our imagination, we’ll blow a fuse at what comes next
• the beast is leopard like! with a bear’s claws and a lion’s mouth
◦ with all the heads, I imagine him as more reptilian than mammal
◦ my over all impression of his description: he is extremely dangerous and ferocious

Whatever this monster represents, it is empowered by the dragon
– “power” (dunamis) is brute force; “authority” (exousia) is the influence one has in a social structure
• authority is one of the key concepts in this chapter (it occurs five times)

The scene suddenly expands and the beast goes viral
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. 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 him? Revelation 13:3-4

One of the seven aspects (heads) of the beast receives a death-blow
– but instead of dying, it was healed
• that got the whole world’s attention and they became followers of the beast
◦ and worshipers! The beasts, after all, are trying to compete with God
In Psalm 113:5 the poet says,
Who is like the LORD our God,
who is seated on high?
◦ the worshipers here, ask, “Who is like the beast?”
• before any sort of resistance or war begins,
◦ they are already defeated and surrender to the beast
“who can fight against it?”

The beast makes his move – what he’s come to do
And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 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, 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
Revelation 13:5-8

I think the statement, the beast was given a mouth speaks volumes!
– he uses that mouth to blaspheme God
• this is the verbal thrust of its war on God’s people
◦ those blasphemes disturb us, but God is not affected by them
◦ blasphemy is an expression of defiance, rebellion, and rejection
• this attack on God and his saints involves two-pronged offensive:
◦ one part is verbal – he launches a war of words
◦ the other part is physical combat
it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them (v. 7)
– the goal is to establish a totalitarian regime
• no vote, no two-party representation, no parliament, no checks and balances
• ◦ everyone will be sucked into this system – that is,
everyone whose name has not been written in . . . book of life of the Lamb
◦ this is the first way “saints” are set apart; their names are recorded in heaven
– three statements are worth highlighting:
1. The beast is allowed authority for forty-two months
– the time he wreaks havoc on earth is limited
2. He’s allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them
– the the time he has to do this, and the amount of damage he can do is limited
– he doesn’t have absolute power, he is constrained by the One who does
3. From chapter 5 until now, Jesus is referred to as the Lamb about eight times (take note of that)

Advice for believers who receive these visions
If anyone has an ear, let him hear:

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 Revelation 13:9-10

If anyone has an ear, let him hear – sound familiar?
– first, we heard Jesus say this when teaching his parables–e.g., Mark 4:9
• then, at the beginning of Revelation we heard Jesus say it to five of the seven churches
◦ two churches did not need to hear it, because they were already listening
• but here the word spoken is an interruption to the story
◦ Jesus, not John, is talking directly to us, the readers or hearers
– to listen attentively is the first word of advice
• if we place all of these events in the past or in the future,
◦ we will be looking in the wrong places to find their meaning
◦ we’ll miss the point that this is the world situation today
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God . . . . every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already (1 Jn. 4:1-3)

Verse 10 seems to be saying,
– whatever a person chooses, that will determine their destiny
• if this sounds bleak for both believer an follower of beast, believers are shown how to deal with it
• the second word of advice has to do with endurance and faith (I always want to substitute trust for faith)
– it makes sense we will need to hear this advice more than once (cf. Rev. 14:12)

A second beast is brought on stage – this one out of the earth
Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain Revelation 13:11-15

This second beast looks more docile than the first
– in fact, it seems it is intentional that he would look like Jesus
• but his horns give him away
◦ and when he speaks, his voice is that of a dragon, not a lamb
◦ this beast rises from the earth, he does not descend from heaven
• he uses words to create a false reality and to lend credibility to the first beast
◦ later this second beast is identified as the false prophet (Rev. 19:20)
Jacques Ellul asks, “But prophet of what? It is not said, except to speak of propaganda for the imperial cult.”
• his propaganda is used to deceive those who dwell on earth

In our time, there is a new mechanism for dispersing false realities
– the documentary, “The Antisocial Network,” is terrifying in what it reveals
• pranks became conspiracy theories, and conspiracy theories have become facts for millions of people
◦ now those “facts” built on falsehood have altered and divided our nation
◦ and those responsible cannot fix it now that the genie is out of the bottle
• the beast’s speech is sensationalized when he tells his followers to make an idol
◦ the Old Testament is filled with statements regarding idols, but one fact the prophets stress:
They have mouths, but do not speak . . .
nor is there any breath in their mouths (Ps. 135:15-17)
every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols,
for his images are false
and there is no breath in them (Jer. 10:14)
◦ but in this instance the beast gives the idol the ability to speak and cause things to happen

The climax of these visions comes at the end
Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666 Revelation 13:16-18

The beast takes over total control of the economy and commerce
– this is how a nation can be conquered and ruled — people have to eat
• the mark is an imitation of God’s mark placed on his people–cf. Rev. 7:3
◦ we can trace God’s mark back to Moses
Regarding God’s words to Israel: You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes (De. 6:8)
◦ the most visible parts of the bodies of people living in the first century Mediterranean world
• but this is not only about controlling economy: the mark is about ownership
◦ he is marking his property – like branding cattle

Conclusion: That the beasts rise from sea and earth, tells us that they have been here all along

They have just been working from a hidden realm
Throughout the history of nations and civilizations, and from behind a curtain,
these beasts have injected the worst influences into world
Their sinister work effects all things human:
economy, commerce, culture, government, media, and even religion

This chapter is an eye-opener and a warning
To avoid being conformed to the world and its ways, we must
hold faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith (1 Tim. 1:18-19)

This chapter enhances what may be most important in our spiritual development: Discernment
And discernment is a life-saver

Leave a comment