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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Revelation

(Return to Framework Contents)

 

(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for verse-by-verse study or meditation. To focus each verse we have also added in italic a description of what is happening)

FRAMEWORKS: Revelation 13 & 14

 

[Note: We have commented before that we need reminding that the whole of this book is prophecy and we need to recognise that there are lots of analogies, picture language, which leaves it open for varied interpretations of what they might mean. This is especially so in the following chapters. The different ‘beasts' could be specific humans, they could be demonic beings or forces or even movements. In these notes we will seek to keep such interpretations to a minimum.]

 

 

12:17 (Recap-reminder, i.e. flowing on from chapter 12): Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God's commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.

GOTO Ch.14

 

Revelation 13: Activities of the Enemy on the Earth

 

v.1-10 The Beast out of the Sea
v.11-18 The Beast out of the Earth

 

 

v.1-10 The Beast out of the Sea

 

v.1 (some have suggested ‘the sea' refers to the populations of the world. Satan watches over the world. See 1 Jn 5:19) The dragon stood on the shore of the sea.

(another being comes out of the world, with mixed authorities or governments and is anti-God) And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.

v.2 (everything about it is threatening and potentially destructive) The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.

v.3 (but it has a world-wide following) One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast.

v.4 (Satan is worshipped via the beast who has his power) People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?”

v.5 (it is anti-God for three and a half years [see before]) The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months.

v.6 (it is blatantly anti-God) It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven.

v.7 (it attacks God's people) It was given power to wage war against God's holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.

v.8 (all unbelievers worship it) All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb's book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

v.9,10 (persecution will occur, remain true) Whoever has ears, let them hear. “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.” This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God's people.

   

  

[Comment/Summary: At the end of overview chapter 12 we saw Satan thwarted in his intention to destroy Israel. As he stands overviewing the world, a multi-faceted, multi-headed monster, a creature, arises in the world that has a destructive nature [Satan is known as a destroyer] and Satan gives this monster power and authority which wins over the world. A part of the beast seems fatally wounded and yet recovers. Whether knowingly or unknowingly people worship Satan and the creature. Within the economy of God this deceptive and destructive creature is given a limited time to deceive the world and appears to triumph even over the people of God and all unbelievers worship it. This would seem to be a time that fits the description, ‘The Great Tribulation']

   

  

v.11-18 The Beast out of the Earth

   

v.11 (another beast comes from the depths of the world of a specifically deceptive nature. In 16:13 it is referred to as the False Prophet) Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon.

v.12 (it supports the first beast) It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed.

v.13 (it has Satan's power to perform wonders) And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people.

v.14,15 (it leads major deception) Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.

v.16,17 (it imposes a mark on every person) It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.

v.18 (it is a human deceiver) This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666. [3 is the number of deity, 7 is the number of perfection and thus 666 suggests a mock divinity in human form]

   

  

[Comment/Summary: while the first beast still exists, another being, another creature, emerges but the phrase ‘out of the earth' as against ‘out of the sea' [world population] seems to suggest out of the underworld, the demonic. And it speaks like Satan and exercises his power and leads people astray like he does. It supports or bolsters the first ‘beast', reinforcing its activity and imposing itself on the life of every person. The sense of the whole of this chapter suggests a rise of ungodliness and unrighteousness and evil unparalleled in history.]

 

  

Note: The Beasts of Revelation: As this word occurs a number of times in Revelation we should observe these ‘entities' (it seems it is more than a single being and may be more a philosophy or demonic way of looking at things, although later on more specific description is given).

 

“The Beast from the Abyss will emerge and fight them, conquer, and kill them.” (Rev 7:11)

•  no further identification at this stage

•  but clearly a demonic entity (from the Pit or underworld)

“I saw a Beast rising from the sea.” (Rev 13:1)

•  multi-headed, violent looking, blasphemous, one head dies and is raised again

•  worshipped by ‘the world', is all-powerful for a limited set period

•  clearly a demonic entity because it is only one of three cast into eternal punishment (20:10)

“I saw another Beast rising out of the ground.” (Rev 13:11)

•  identified as the False Prophet (16:13, 19:20, 20:10)

•  also a demonic entity (see above)

•  supports and bolsters up the first beast

“I saw a woman mounted on a Scarlet Beast .” (Rev 17:3)

•  supports or carries Babylon

•  this beast appears to be the first of the two, multi-headed but eventually being expressed through just one head or king (17:11)

 

 

FRAMEWORKS: Revelation 14: A Heavenly Overview

    

v.1-5 The Lamb and the 144,000
v.6-13 The Three Angels
v.14-20 Harvesting the Earth

 

 

v.1-5 The Lamb and the 144,000

 

v.1 (this is Jesus with the sealed Jews – 7:4)) Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads.

v.2 (music pours forth) And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps.

v.3 (and there is a song unique to this group) And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

v.4,5 (However this is taken to mean, they are pure before God) These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as first-fruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.

 

 

v.6-13 The Three Angels Proclaiming Truths

 

v.6 (an angel proclaiming the gospel) Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people.

v.7 (warning of judgment to come [on those who have not believed]) He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

 

v.8 (the second angel proclaiming Babylon's fall – see ch.17 & 18)) A second angel followed and said, “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,' which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”

 

v.9-11 (the third angel warns against following the beast) A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”

v.12 (a reminder of a call to the saints to remain faithful) This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.

v.13 (death is about to come on all, but saints need not fear) Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”

 

 

v.14-20 Harvesting the Earth

 

v.14-16 First Harvest

v.14 (The Son of God comes (see ch.19)) I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.

v.15 (heaven calls him to reap) Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.”

v.16 (so he does) So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

 

v.17-20 Second Harvest

v.17 (a second harvester) Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle.

v.18 (an angel overseeing death calls for him to reap) Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth's vine, because its grapes are ripe.”

v.19 (so he does) The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's wrath.

v.20 (these are destroyed) They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.

 

 

[Comment/Summary: This chapter again has a feel of an overview chapter. Unlike the previous chapter, it doesn't deal with the enemy activities, only those of heaven.

•  First, there is simply a view of a Jewish redeemed group singing their own unique song (v.1-5).
•  Second, there is a threefold warning.

•  The first warning (implied) is a call to heed the gospel (there will be no excuses, it will have gone around the world) for all (v.6-7).

•  The second warning is simply that Babylon (which will be seen in later chapters 17 & 18) will be destroyed (v.8) and so,

•  the third warning is to all who go along with Babylon, the dragon and the beast, that their rebellion and unbelief is the reason they will be judged and destroyed, yet all who persevere and remain faithful, when they die, they will be secure (v.9-13).

•  Third, comes the harvest. The fact that it comes in two parts and the Son of God harvests the first group, and the second group are harvested by another angel and this latter harvest is destroyed, suggests the first harvest is of the remaining saints who will be taken to heaven and the second harvest all unbelievers who will go to hell to be destroyed.

  

The fact that the following chapters revert to specific judgments confirms the idea that Chapter 14 is an ‘interlude chapter' providing a further overview or warning of what is to follow.

 

OVERVIEW: Because Revelation is not the easiest of books to make sense of, we again provide an overview to try to catch the structure that is here:

PART FIVE: The Judgments of God: Second viewpoint:

(‘Wave 2' – the enemy revealed before the harvesting of the earth)

 

Revelation 13 : Activities of the Enemy on the Earth

- continuing activities on earth: Satan and two beasts run amok

Revelation 14 : A Heavenly Overview

- another ‘interlude/concluding chapter' predominantly about warnings and then the twofold harvesting of the earth, i.e. the End

 

To see the full Contents return to the Introduction Page