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)
Revelation 13 & 14
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.]
(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.
13: Activities of the Enemy on the Earth
The Beast out of the Sea
The Beast out of the Earth
The Beast out of the Sea
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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']
The Beast out of the Earth
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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]
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.]
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).
Beast from the Abyss will emerge and fight them,
conquer, and kill them.” (Rev
no further identification at this
but clearly a demonic entity (from
the Pit or underworld)
saw a Beast rising from the sea.” (Rev
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)
saw another Beast rising out of the ground.”
identified as the False Prophet
(16:13, 19:20, 20:10)
also a demonic entity (see above)
supports and bolsters up the first
saw a woman mounted on a Scarlet Beast .”
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)
Revelation 14: A Heavenly Overview
The Lamb and the 144,000
The Three Angels
Harvesting the Earth
The Lamb and the 144,000
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Three Angels Proclaiming Truths
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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
Harvesting the Earth
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.
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
he does) So he who was
seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth
second harvester) Another
angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp
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.”
he does) The angel swung
his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into
the great winepress of God's wrath.
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
Judgments of God: Second
2' – the enemy revealed before the harvesting of the earth)
13 : Activities of the Enemy on the Earth
continuing activities on earth: Satan and two beasts run amok
14 : A Heavenly Overview
another ‘interlude/concluding chapter' predominantly
about warnings and then the twofold harvesting of the earth,
i.e. the End