Verse 1: John now sees Satan who has been forcibly removed from heaven (12:7-12) standing on the sand of the seashore. He is calling forth a beast from out of the sea. This image immediately reminds us of Daniels vision of the four beasts (Da 7:1-7) in which Daniel saw the four winds of heaven... stirring up the great sea (Da 7:2), and he then watched four great beasts emerge from the sea. Isaiah also used the image of a churning sea to describe the turmoil of the wicked (Isa 57:20). So the sea can be a prophetic symbol of the pagan nations of the world. Satan then is standing before these nations orchestrating the emergence of the antichrists empire. His arrival on earth calls that empire to its full expression. Verse 1 (continued): In Daniels vision a fourth beast comes up out of the sea having ten horns (Da 7:7). As he watches, three of the horns are pulled out by the roots and a little horn grows up in their place and dominates the other seven (Da 7:20). He then hears an angel explain, ...out of this kingdom (fourth beast) ten kings will arise, and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings (Da 7:24). This little horn clearly represents the antichrist and by these images we are being told he will usurp control of three nations among a ten-nation confederacy. So while there will be ten nations forming the core of this empire, three of them will be directly under the antichrists control. It seems he has led a coup against the established rulers and has annihilated their entire families in the process. This is what I take the phrase pulled out by the roots to mean. He didnt just break off three horns (compare: Da 8:8), he pulled them out by the roots. It speaks of violent eradication of all traces of a family.
Verse 1 (continued): With Daniels scenario in mind we see that the antichrists empire will be built upon a core of three nations which is in league with seven others. The seven are autonomous in name only. In reality they are submitted members of the antichrists ten-nation empire. So the symbols John sees of horns, heads and diadems (the band worn on a kings head as a distinctive badge of royalty, see: W.E. Vine) explain the governmental structure of this final empire. There will be ten nations (ten horns) with ten kings (ten diadems), but only seven of those nations will have any autonomy after the antichrist arises (seven heads) (Rev 17:12,13).
Revelation 13:1, 2
Verse 1 (continued): John also saw blasphemous names on each of the seven heads. Daniel heard the little horn uttering great boasts (Da 7:8, 11), speak out against the Most High... (Da 7:25), and magnify himself above every god and... speak monstrous things against the God of gods... (Da 11:36). Likewise John says of the beast, There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies.... (v 5), and ...he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God to blaspheme His name... (v 6). So, the titles these kings will give themselves will have strong religious overtones. They will be defiant titles meant to supplant Gods authority over their people. Verse 2: In Daniels vision of four beasts (Da 7:1-7) the first was like a lion, the second like a bear and the third like a leopard (Da 7:6). Without going into Daniels prophecy in depth, the leopard (which also had four heads) is generally understood to represent Alexander the Great (Greece) and the four generals which divided up his kingdom when he died. Daniel describes Alexander further in Daniel 8:5, 21 and then his four generals in Daniel 8:8, 22 and then the Greek antichrist-like ruler who later controlled Israel named Antiochus Epiphanes (Da 8:9-14, 23-25).
Verse 2 (continued): The angel Gabriel later explained to Daniel that these passages weve just seen from Daniel chapter eight were intended to be prophecies about Greece. He named Greece specifically (Da 8:21). This is significant to us because this means Daniels leopard (Da 7:6) represented a Greek empire which produced a ruler who was so evil that he became a prototype of the final antichrist. This person was Antiochus IV (Epiphanes the manifest god) (215-163 B.C.). As well see when we arrive at Revelation 17:10,11 the antichrist will be a reincarnation of a previous antichrist. The reference here to the leopard may mean that the beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven... (Rev 17:11), is a return of this vicious Greek emperor. Further support of this possibility comes in chapter 11 of Daniel where a detailed description of Antiochus IVs career is given (Da 11:21-45) part of which seems to also describe the future antichrist. Well look at this possibility more closely when our study arrives at chapter 17.
Verse 2 (continued): The beast John sees has the body of a leopard, but also has elements drawn from two of the other beasts listed by Daniel. It has the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion. In Daniel the bear was associated with the Medo/Persian empire (Da 7:5) and the lion with the Babylonian empire (Da 7:4). There will be qualities which these previous antichrist-like empires possessed which will be present in the final empire. The use of animal imagery is also undoubtedly employed to emphasize certain characteristics found in that final empire. The leopard implies swiftness, the bear tears its prey with the terrible claws of its feet and the lion kills and eats its prey with its mouth. In other words, apart from a miracle (Rev 12:14) it will be impossible to flee this empire, and once caught its victims will find no mercy.
Revelation 13:2, 3
Verse 2 (continued): The final statement of this verse must not be overlooked, and the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. The antichrist will not simply be a very bad man. At this 31Ъ2 year point of the final seven years he will become the embodiment of Satan himself. Satan will wear him like a glove. Miraculous power to do miracles (2Th 2:9), influence over human government and affairs (Lk 4:5-7) and control over a kingdom of fallen angels (Rev 9:1-3) will reside in the body of a man. Verse 3: One of the seven leaders of the antichrists empire (one of his heads), which is certainly the antichrist himself, will be assassinated and his death will be a worldwide spectacle. He will be wounded in a violent attack and die (Rev 13:12, 14), but then he will miraculously come back to life, to the amazement of all. In my opinion, it is this event which allows Satan to fully possess the antichrists body. What comes to life is Satan himself wearing a human body. If the antichrists human spirit is still present it has fallen under complete dominion to its new master.
Verse 4: Satan has always longed to be worshipped. Thats what caused his break from God in the first place (Is 14:12-14; Eze 28:12-19; Lk 4:5-8). In the final years humans that wont worship God will find themselves worshipping Satan as he dwells within the body of the antichrist. The resuscitated antichrist will appear invincible. After all, if he is killed he can come back to life. Verses 5, 6: This satanic possession of the antichrist marks the mid-point of the final seven-year period. For the next 42 months (31Ъ2 years) he will declare himself divine and openly revile God along with those who tabernacle with Him in heaven. This phrase probably includes the angels, the spirits of believers who have died, as well as the spirits of believers who will be still alive on the earth at the time because they too have become one with Christ through faith and are seated... with Him in the heavenly places... (Eph 2:6; Jn 17:20-23; Php 3:20). Verse 7: Persecution of believers has been taking place since Cain killed Abel (Gn 4:8), but during the final 31Ъ2 years a religious genocide will be permitted which has no parallel in human history as to its severity. Daniel saw this moment (Da 7:21, 25; 12:1); Jesus saw it (Mt 24:15-22); Paul saw it (2Th 2:3, 4); and now John sees it. He tells us, It was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.... And in Johns next statement we learn that the antichrist will dominate the entire globe. No one will be beyond his reach (except national Israel, Rev 12:14-17). The picture this presents is chilling, but God has allowed it in order to separate the final human population into two distinct camps.