The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 10 : The Revelation (Commentaries on the Revelation)

[Chapter 13-2] (Revelation 13:1-18) The Appearance of the Antichrist

(Revelation 13:1-18)
 
Based on the main passage, I will now discuss the appearance of the Antichrist and the martyrdom of the saints. From chapter 13 we see a beast coming up out of the sea. This Beast, which has ten horns and seven heads, is none other than the Antichrist. The passage tells us that on the Beast’s horns were ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. We are also told that this Beast was like a leopard, with his feet like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. In addition, the Dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. One of his heads was mortally wounded, but this deadly wound was miraculously healed.
Marveled by this, the whole world began to follow the Beast, and as he was given authority by the Dragon, they worshiped both the Dragon and the Beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” The passage also tells us that the Beast was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and authority to continue his works for 42 months. 
 
 
The Beast Rising up out of the Sea
 
What the Apostle John saw was the emergence of the Antichrist amongst the rulers of this world appearing in the end times. This Antichrist was the Beast coming up out of the sea, a monster with ten horns and seven heads.
We must first find out whether or not this Beast is the real Beast that will actually appear in the world. There are two main things of the Beast that interest us: first, whether or not this Beast will actually make his appearance in this world and kill many people; and second, whether or not this Beast refers to the tyrannical Antichrist who would emerge from the rulers of the world. These are some of the issues that draw the most interest from the people. Those who know about these issues may say that they are easy to understand, but for those who are ignorant of them, it is quite natural to be puzzled over the question of whether or not such a Beast will indeed appear in the end times’ world and rule over the people.
What God speaks to us in chapter 13 is about the future appearance of a king in this world who would be ruled by Satan. The phrase, “a beast rising up out of the sea,” means that a king among the seven kings of the world will become the Antichrist. The passage also tells us that ten nations will unite around the Antichrist and rule over the thoroughly destroyed world.
The mortal wound of one of the Beast’s heads and its healing, on the other hand, tells us that one of the seven kings would be mortally wounded, but would also be healed of his deadly wound. This king would be medically pronounced as dead, but miraculously be resuscitated to life, and then act like the Dragon. The Dragon here refers to Satan. Like the Dragon, the Beast would have all authority to destroy and harm people. When the end times come, such a beastly man will make his appearance in this world and massacre people, as monstrous as the Godzilla in the movie.
With the appearance of the servant of Satan, the world will start to dash toward its destruction. The method by which Satan has chosen to work in the last era is to take his atrocities to the people through his servant. This is the same principle as God saving sinners from their sins through His saints.
We need to pinpoint exactly what this passage means for us. As one of the Beast’s heads were wounded in the passage, a ruler of this world, resuscitated from his deadly wound, will receive authority from the Dragon and be honored by the people as if he were God. This is why, we must remember, the people proclaimed, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
This Antichrist that appears in the present passage will be respected by all the people under the dominion of Satan and stand against God. It means that a powerful leader will emerge in the last world and rule over it. This leader would be one of the rulers of the world’s nations. Having received the spirit of the Antichrist from Satan, he will emerge as a powerful leader. The world will then come under the rule of this leader and be reigned by him. The world will be united into a single state in the future. The advanced nations of the present times will cooperate among each other and extend their rule over the whole world by fronting the powerful ruler.
In Europe, we now have the European Union, and in Asia and Americas as well, there are organizations that are seeking further integration of individual states into a single political body. When such organizations develop further, united supranational states will appear, and a very powerful leader will emerge from such integrated states. This leader will play the role of the Antichrist who stands against God. He would be a charismatic leader with power to reign over and repress the whole world as he pleases.
Why? Because by receiving great ability and authority from the Dragon, Satan, his wisdom would be different from that of the ordinary people, and his thoughts would also be different from that of the latter. His wisdom and power would reach the sky. What he says would be fulfilled without any problem, and no one could dare to covet his place. This period of his reign is the era of the pale horse written in Revelation 6.
The era of the pale horse will most certainly come in the near future, and the world will then belong to the Antichrist for a while. But those who do not know this truth actually want to see a powerful leader like the Antichrist to appear. The saints, however, know this truth and will be awake in this era, and so when this time comes, they will be able to resist and fight against the Antichrist, and be martyred to defend their faith.
Not many people nowadays fully respect the leaders of their own countries. Regardless of which country they live in, people in general have some kind of discontent with their political leaders. People throughout the whole world wait for a strong and capable leader. Why? Because they want a leader who can solve all the problems that are mounting in this world, from food shortage to environmental degradation, religious problems, economic stagnation, racial tension, and so on. When a world leader, armed with great wisdom and power, is able to solve all the problems, everyone in the world would honor him like God and be glad to be ruled by him. This leader, the Antichrist who has the whole world in his hand, will take care of everything.
We all want a political leader whom we can respect in all aspects, but such a wish is too great to be met, for this kind of leader can neither arise nor come into existence in actuality. But as the Antichrist to come solves this world’s many political and economic problems, he would become the kind of leader whom everyone wishes for, the one who can bring political and economic stability to the world.
When the era of the black horse passes by and the era of the pale horse begins, because of the plagues of the seven trumpets, the ruined world will seek for a strong and able leader. Powerless leaders of small countries cannot solve global problems. As such, people will look for an absolute leader. The Antichrist will appear at this time, speaking and acting like God. Because he would have been healed from his mortal wounds, people would be marveled by him. As he would live again and work as a ruler with great power, courage, determination and wisdom, people throughout the whole world would think of him as God.
As such, even the people of Israel would believe him to be their long-awaited Messiah. But the Israelites will soon realize that he is a liar and that Jesus Christ is their true Messiah, and many of them will thus be saved. The Antichrist will hear people saying, “Who can possibly ever stand against him?” All those who do not obey him, without any exception, will then be killed.
When the era of the pale horse comes, the entire world will not only suffer greatly from the natural plagues, ravaged by the fire that burns down a third of its forests and choked by heavy smog, but the people of the world will also unite to come under a single ruler to serve him as their king. The one who solves all these problems will be raised by them high above as God.
All these things are but among what God has planned. For these things to come to this world, there must first be drastic global environmental changes, and a consensus among the opinion-leaders of each nation on the need for a centralized governing authority. Such a consensus that seeks after this kind of ruler is now being forged in today’s era of the black horse. The world now wants a very strong leader. As the leaders of each nation are unable to dispel the discontent of their own people individually, the mankind is now looking for a strong leader who can solve all the problems that they are facing.
If you take a closer look at what is happening in this world, you would realize that all these things are very much possible to be actualized. The prophesized leader will be extremely ferocious, a man of absolute power and great abilities, as shown by his description as having feet that are like the feet of a bear, a mouth like the mouth of a lion, and a face like the face of a leopard.
This man, receiving authority from the Dragon, will blaspheme God, his angels in Heaven, and His saints. And he will fight against the saints and overcome them. The Antichrist will kill the saints in his fight against them, demanding them to renounce their faith. Because the saints would not give up their faith at this time, they will all be martyred. And as the Antichrist would have authority over the entire world, he will freely kill and destroy all those who do not listen to his commands.
Verse 8 tells us, “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Because the Antichrist would reign as the absolute ruler in this time, everyone who does not obey him will be killed at his command. However, for all the saints, such a time would be the time of their martyrdom.
From verse 8 above quoted, the word “worship” here means to honor and serve the one who is absolute. In the end times, the Antichrist will be worshiped by the people on this earth like God, receiving far greater honor than what any king had ever received before. Yet a group of people will not worship this leader. They are none other than the “born-again Christians.” They will not recognize the Antichrist as God, and as such, they will not worship him and instead be killed to defend their faith.
 
 
Another Beast Coming out of the Earth
 
The Antichrist also has his false prophet. This false prophet is the one who would raise the Antichrist high, as well as threaten and kill those who do not obey the Beast. Revelation 13:11 says, “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.” The second beast that appears here is the servant of the first Beast—that is, of the Antichrist. Like the Antichrist, he will also stand against God and kill the people of the world and the righteous.
Receiving authority from the Dragon, he will foster the people to worship the Antichrist who came before him as God. Because he, too, would have received authority from the Dragon, he will do what the Dragon wants him to do. He will not only make the people worship the Antichrist who came before him and kill all those who do not obey him, but he will also perform miracles, such as bringing down fire from the sky, and even act like the Antichrist. He will deify and idolize the Beast, who would have been mortally wounded but revived from this wound, before everyone.
Who, then, would do all these things? It is the prophet of the Antichrist. His work is to make an image of the Antichrist that came before him and have the people raise this Antichrist high above as God. To do so, he will breathe life into this image of the Antichrist to make it speak, and kill all those who do not worship this idol of the Beast regardless of their number. Because the saints would be martyred by refusing to worship the idol, a countless number of martyrs will come out at this time.
Everyone in the world who has not been born again, on the other hand, will tremble before their death and end up becoming slaves to death. As such, they will all worship the Antichrist as God. The conscientious intellectuals may arise in a rebellion against the dictator, but they will be quickly put down, killed by the fire that comes out of the mouths of the false prophet and the Antichrist.
This false prophet, having built the idol, would say, “Everyone must receive the mark of his name or number!” He would then make it his policy to forbid anyone who does not have this mark of the Beast from making any kind of trade, so that everyone would indeed receive this mark of the name of the Beast. Verse 18 says, “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”
This is rather straightforward. Though we think the number 666 as a complicated thing, it simply means the name of the Antichrist, or his number. To receive the mark of the Beast means to receive the mark of his name on either the forehead or the right hand. It is to imprint this ruler’s name into one’s body, numerated into a number and digitalizing into a bar code.
This mark would be needed everywhere whenever one tries to buy anything. Even when you get on the bus, you would need this digital number imprinted in your body, and without it you would be restricted. Today’s era is this very digital age. It is an age of numbers. As everything is translated into numbers, what were once extremely complicated have now become extremely simple. In such an era would appear this mark of the Beast.
The Antichrist will make an idol out of himself and demand that people worship him like God. The time will actually come when people would thus be required to call the Antichrist as their “God,” praise him and call upon his name in honor, and receive his name on their right hands or foreheads. When such things happen, the saints will all be martyred. The Antichrist will demand the saints to receive his mark and worship him, saying, “So you believe in Jesus? You believe Him as your God? Throw Him away! Bow before this image and call me God instead! Believe in me as the one who is absolute! If you don’t, you will surely die!”
The Antichrist will demand a single faith from the entire world. And he will demand everyone to worship him as God. Those who do not admit that he is God at this time will all be killed. The Antichrist will publicly execute the saints who stand against him.
All those whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb will receive his mark and worship him. When we receive the remission of sin into our hearts, the Holy Spirit dwells in us, and our names are written in the Book of Life in the Kingdom of Heaven. Because our names are written in the Book of Life and because the Holy Spirit has sealed our hearts, we will all be lifted up as the children of God when He calls us.
Could we ever abandon Jesus Christ who has saved us, and declare to the image of the Beast that it is now our God and Savior? Of course not! No matter how insufficient we have been before Him, our Lord came to this earth in the flesh of a man, cleansed away all our sins by taking them upon Himself with His baptism, and saved us by being judged vicariously on the Cross.
Also, because our Lord has already told us about all these things to come beforehand, we the saints can never betray our faith during this time of the Antichrist. Although the time of the Tribulation will come to us and be followed by our death, we still believe that our Lord will make us live in His Kingdom of Heaven by resurrecting and rapturing us shortly after our martyrdom.
Because we believe that after our rapture God will destroy this world by pouring down His plagues of the seven bowls, and that after this we will descend on the earth and reign over it for a thousand years, we can never kneel before the idol. This is why the servants and saints of God would willingly give up their lives.
The false prophet will then try to convince us otherwise. He will try to buy us over by saying, “Look, chaos is running rampant in this world right now. When everyone, including all the intellectuals and scholars, believe in and follow our supreme leader as God, how can you still go on refusing to believe in this absolute king of ours?” But if we know and believe in the Word of God always, we will triumph in the end by embracing our martyrdom.
In Revelation 14 appear the 144,000 saints who praise God in Heaven. This tells us of the saints’ resurrection and rapture following their martyrdom. From elsewhere in the Bible, such as what Paul told us of the second coming of Christ or what other servants of God had prophesized in the Old Testament, we can also find out about the rapture, with which the saints will be lifted up to the air and join the marriage supper of the Lamb with the Lord. To this marriage supper will enter the saints.
When the saints have thus entered into the marriage supper of the Lamb in Heaven, the plagues of the seven bowls will be poured on this earth, completely laying it to waste. After this, the earth is renewed, and the saints will then descend onto it with the Lord and reign in the Kingdom of Christ for a thousand years to come. When we know all these facts, could we really call the Antichrist as God, even if he throws in all kinds of appeasement and enticements to make us bow before his image, worship him as God, and abandon our faith in the true God? Of course not!
As it is written in the Bible, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1),” the prophets believe in what God has told them beforehand about the things to come. The servants and people of God who believe in the Word are all priests and prophets. By making us preach the gospel of the remission of sin to everyone throughout the whole world, God leads many souls to receive their remission of sin. As our Lord has saved us regardless of how insufficient we are before Him, God has made us His people, and until this very moment, He has loved, guided, and blessed us unchangingly.
The Lord has not only given us the peace of our spirits, but He has also made us place our hope in the Kingdom of Heaven by giving us the Holy Spirit. As such, when we hear the Antichrist telling us to worship him as God, we cannot help but resist him deep from our hearts.
We may at first be startled by the unfolding events when we suddenly realize that the time that God spoke of has finally arrived, but we the saints will soon regain our composure and begin resisting the Antichrist. “So you think you are the real God? Did you create the universe? Did you create the mankind? Are you really the lord of the people’s souls?” These are the words with which we will fight against the Antichrist.
When the Antichrist kills the saints and the servants of God at this time, we, too, would die. There can never be a change of our God to us. Faith does not come by coercion. Nor does faith appear or disappear by the logic of force. Far from it, the true faith in fact has even greater power to overcome coercion. The saints will therefore be martyred, and the Antichrist will end up losing to the saints.
When the Antichrist makes idols in his own image and demands the saints to worship him as God, the saints and the servants of God would shout to him, “Are you God’s servant or Satan’s servant? Do you know the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Do you know and believe that Jesus Christ is God? When Jesus Christ returns to this earth, He will throw people like you into the deepest end of hell! Do you understand, you son of Satan?” The Antichrist and his prophet would then kill the saints, and the saints would joyfully embrace their martyrdom for God.
Verse 10 tells us that “he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword.” This means that if the Antichrist kills the saints, God, too, will throw him and his followers to the bottomless pit, as well as kill them on this earth. When those who stand against God torment the saints, they, too, will face even greater torments from God.
As such, we must stand against the Antichrist with our perseverance of faith. The duration of the saints’ persecution at this time will altogether last for only three and a half years. But God may reduce the saints’ persecution and tribulations, shortening their duration to just a few months or a couple of weeks. Though the saints would be martyred, they will live again. They will be resurrected and raptured, and they will be blessed to reign with Jesus Christ in the Millennial Kingdom.
When the Millennial Kingdom comes, the beauty of the nature will reach its height, and the saints will reign with the Lord in their holy bodies transformed from their old flesh. They will then live happily with the Lord in the New Heaven and Earth forever. How could we, who know and believe in all these things, not persevere through the short-lasting sufferings that will come to us for our faith in Jesus?
No matter how harsh the tribulations of this time are, innumerable saints will nevertheless be martyred, and so there is no reason why we, too, would not embrace our martyrdom as well. As all of these things are true, we will never surrender to the Tribulation that lasts only a short while in this world. In a further example, even if the world were to turn into a paradise for a hundred or a thousand years, we just cannot surrender to the Antichrist. All these things are not far away from us, but will come to us in a very near time.
We must therefore preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit now, when the world is at peace. To prepare for this time of the Great Tribulation, we are diligently spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit now. In a year’s time, the gospel that we are preaching will do the most wondrous works. Nationally and internationally, marvelous works of the gospel will come. People may take the gospel of the water and the Spirit lightly at first, but many who do not know the Word of Revelation will seek and hear it and return to the gospel of the water and the Spirit, because they would be very interested in the Word of Revelation and would not be able to take it lightly.
Revelation 13 is the chapter of the saints’ martyrdom. When the time of martyrdom comes, the saints will be killed by sword or shot to death. Many saints will thus be killed at the hand of the Antichrist. But we can face our death without any fear, for it would be the death of our flesh, not of our faith itself. Filled by our faith and the Holy Spirit, we will shout out the indescribable words of courage.
You have nothing to fear, even if you are not good at speaking or are timid. Just think of the old saints of the Early Church period. The saints of that time did not surrender to the forces of Satan because they were killed not alone but together, and because they were also filled by the Holy Spirit. Just remember that Jesus already told us, “But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you” (Matthew 10:19-20). To receive the Kingdom of God, could we not, as the people of God, bear our death? We can all bear it.
This world will be ruined completely by God’s plagues of the seven trumpets, when an absolute tyrant called the Antichrist will reign for a while. How then could we exchange the eternal Heaven for anything on this world, no matter how nice it might be? When the world would have turned into an impossible place to live, where the rivers would have turned into wormwood, the sea into blood, and the nature laid to waste, far less could we surrender to the beastly man who would try to make us betray our faith.
From the very day of our martyrdom, the only world that awaits those who still remain on this earth would be the kind where unidentified epidemics would be raging fiercely and crops would cease to produce harvests, as they wither away or are wiped out by hail. In such a world, even putting aside the matter of faith, no one would want to live any longer.
The Book of Revelations shows us the things to come in the future. When today’s era of the black horse moves only a little bit further, the era of the pale horse will actually arrive. Our Lord, in other words, will return soon. What I am saying is not that you should give up all your possessions since the Lord’s return is imminent. Rather, what I am saying is that we should continue to serve our Lord until the very day of the Antichrist’s appearance, as faithfully and unchangingly then as now.
If you are, by any chance, troubled or depressed now, you should no longer worry. When you and I realize that we are to become martyrs, our hearts will turn peaceful and calm. Since we are to become martyrs, in other words, what greed would we have left in us? If there is one desire left in us, it would be to preach this gospel to everyone throughout the entire world, so that many saints will rise up in the end times, be saved and martyred by believing in this gospel, and thereby receive the New Heaven and Earth. I also hope that all the saints would make the Kingdom of Christ theirs with their faith, having been nourished by believing in this truth, and thus willingly go through all these things that await them in the time of the Antichrist.
God has given us His blessing of martyrdom. Not just anyone can be martyred, and not just anyone can live for the Lord. I am only grateful to God for giving us such a blessing, and I am only happy for the fact that I would die for faith. Because we have neither hope nor any attachment to this world, embracing martyrdom will be a great happiness for us.
All that we have to do is hope for the Millennial Kingdom and Heaven that God has prepared for us, live our lives by uniting our efforts to preach the gospel throughout the whole world until the day of the Lord’s return, receive Him in joy when He returns, and just to the place where we have hoped for. Believe in this Word, for these are the things that will indeed come.
We cannot receive the mark of the Antichrist, for we are the people of the Kingdom of Heaven. Because receiving the mark would be a matter of personal choice, it would not be done by physical force, but by the acceptance of heart.
Even our children, if the gospel is found in their hearts, would embrace their martyrdom even more boldly than the grown-ups, for they, too, would have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. As the grown-ups confess that Jesus is their Savior, if the Holy Spirit is found in the children’s hearts, they, too, will most certainly confess that Jesus is their Savior and God. The Bible tells us not to think of what to say when we are dragged before the Antichrist, for the Holy Spirit will fill our hearts with the words that we can speak with.
God’s children may also fear as they are spiritually young and weak, but the Holy Spirit in them does not fear. They will be martyred by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Because they, too, belong to God, He will receive their souls, permit them to have their bodies be killed, and also reward them to reign in a better world.
God would have filled the hearts of those who have been born again by the water and the Spirit with His Words to speak with. Because only the souls that have been chosen and received by God can be martyred, God cannot but prepare their faith for His name’s sake. Just by the fact that we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts because we have believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we will all receive the reward of the Millennial Kingdom and the glory of the New Heaven and Earth.
In the end times, we will all experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. As we have been fated to become martyrs, when we are thus martyred according to God’s plan, we will all go through our martyrdom while praising, worshiping, and glorifying Him in His presence. Because we believe in God, we follow Him only by our faith that shouts out “Amen!” Because we know that we are to be martyred, our greed of the flesh naturally sheds away from us, making our souls very pure.
Being martyred, which is God’s will for us, is to receive a great blessing and be glorified greatly. As the saints have their hope to dwell forever in the New Heaven and Earth, they will fight against the Antichrist and defend the gospel of the water and the Spirit in their hearts until the end. In this time of the Great Tribulation, all the saints, recognizing Jesus Christ as their God and believing in their perfect salvation given by Him, will embrace their martyrdom before God.
I thank the Lord who has given us this blessing of martyrdom.