Revelation chapter twelve ends with the dragon/Satan doing what looks like a retreat.
Revelation 12:17 ESV Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.
Don't ever think the enemy is retreating or asking for a peace treaty. If he pauses, it is only to change strategy or reload his weapons.
The Good News bible did an interesting thing, they included an excerpt of Revelation 12:18 I assume for clarity but it works.
Rev 13:1 (12:18) (And the dragon stood on the seashore.) Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads; on each of its horns there was a crown, and on each of its heads there was a name that was insulting to God.
You will come to realize that the Holy Spirit does nothing by random whim. Every word and how they are placed is intentional. Therefore, it is up to us to learn the intention.
Let's start with this:
- The bible is a Jewish oriented book
- Written, at first, to Jewish converts for the most part.
- That the Revelation is prophecy; and, Jews are not the least bit interested in something that cannot be backed up.
Consider Abram (his name when God began appearing to him): God lays out the goal and plan of bringing all men back to him and starts the commitment by stating, “as for me”. God would carry out his role regardless of what the man, Abram would do.
So, what does God do? He declares and then he does, establishing a pattern. A pattern that could be trusted. Our approach to reading the Revelation is no different. Since we are fortunate enough to be grafted in as unlearned gentiles we need to find where the pattern began.
- No one is convicted, or convinced without the testimony of at least two witnesses. Therefore, somewhere in scripture, there is corroborating evidence.
Let's consider the beast rising out of the sea.
Revelation 13:1 ESV 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.
The association with something rising out of the sea is an easy one for the Jew. This was a part of their history and salvation; and, a mandatory part of their education.
Isaiah 63:11 ESV Then he remembered the days of old, of Moses and his people. Where is he who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock? Where is he who put in the midst of them his Holy Spirit,
All Israel and a few outsiders (such as Caleb) received deliverance from Egypt by following God's command and walking through a the sea that God parted and dried adequately so that over a million people could walk across what would have been a muddy bottom. God deemed this process as coming out of the sea.
For our second witness, we have the prophecies of Daniel.
Daniel 7:2-3 ESV Daniel declared, "I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. (3) And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another.
Once again, though the language is Chaldean, the word means sea, as in noisy surf. If Daniel saw these things in a dream, and there is nothing on earth physically equal, then we are talking about demons as the primary thing that motivates the world powers or leaders they equate to.
Since God can do this any way he chooses, the four that Daniel saw, may, or may not be the same thing that we see in Revelation 16. If it is, then Daniel has seen the beginnings of the first four kingdoms and will live under the rule of three of them.
Think about Daniel for a moment.
Taken captive at a time when he would have probably been getting married, he is most likely castrated, ending all hopes of ever being a daddy, and, effectively curtailing the need to escape. In spite of all that Daniel works wholeheartedly for Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian kingdom. While under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Daniel interprets a dream about a large statue with a golden head. This head parallels the first of the four beasts he later saw and is explained by an angel as being the Babylonian kingdom. Daniel outlived Nebuchadnezzar and somehow maintains his place under the Medo-Persian and Chaldean empires. This alone should give us tremendous insight into whom some of the others are as we now know the identities of three of those empires portrayed by the statue.
This beast may not be coming out of a sea at all.
Another theory and I have espoused it as well, is that the sea represents a sea of people. While that may be, the term itself, which Strong's concordance indicates means salt. That would tend to lend itself to a region and the qualities of that region I would think.
Thayer's definition states that the term is used specifically for the Mediterranean Sea or the Red Sea. If you have an open mind about this, then you can see the possibilities of these beasts being demonic (think fallen angel and this entire scenario will make more sense to you.) To give more credence to what I just said, remember that scripture tells us that four angels were bound and placed in the Euphrates river until their appointed time. So, it is not that far-fetched to envision an angel called the beast coming out of the Red Sea, is it.
“with ten horns and seven heads, with ten crown on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.”
We already saw this in Revelation chapter 12. However, in chapter 12 it is not called a beast; it is called a red dragon.
Revelation 12:3 KJV And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
Because we are intelligent and have considered the context of chapter 12, we know the red dragon is Satan. We can then say that what we see here is one of two things, and perhaps both:
- That these are demonic kingdoms
- Or, that they were completely motivated and empowered by Satan.
We also know from chapter 12 that the dragon had three purposes:
- Kill the man-child, Jesus.
- Pursue Israel – the woman.
And to make war with the remnant of her seed. (Keep in mind that we Christians are grafted in and, therefore, targets as well.)
“seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.”
Daniel served Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian kingdom, which was toppled by, Darius the Median, and, eventually Cyrus the Persian.
What was the common thread?
They were all Assyrian. Three empires, operating in unity and purpose under one central Assyrian head. Does this have possibilities? Yes.
Who took over next?
The Grecian empire.
Now we have a dramatic change, but what happens? Alexander dies and there ensues a power struggle. The result is that four generals run the empire until two rule supreme – Seleucid and Ptolemy. And they only maintain peace between them because of an intermarriage between the families.
But are we not looking for seven empires?
Scripture tells us that seven power structures come into being. That does not mean that the empires are contiguous, but they could be. We have extraordinary historical clarity from Babylon to the Grecian empire, but beyond that is vague, unless you do your homework.
Daniel 9:26 is a verse that seems clear and yet is greatly misunderstood. Why? Because it is attributed to Rome and assumes incorrectly that we should be looking to some leader coming out of the Roman empire to stand as the Antichrist. What does the verse say?
Daniel 9:26 ESV And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.
Historically, we know that Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by troops, operating under the Roman flag, under the control of Titus Vespasian, one of the Caesars, in 70 A.D.; Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 24 that this day would come. But what came in 70 A.D., was only a shadow of a future event.
Focus, for a moment on the phrase, “the people of the prince who is to come”.
Historians, Josephus and Tacitus, both documented that as the Roman empire swept through a region the defeated were forced into military service. They had little choice in the matter. Josephus tells us that the majority of the troops in Jerusalem, marching under the Roman banner, were men from Arabia and Syria; and, they had a vile hatred for the Jews. Many killed off the escaping Jews, searching their bellies for swallowed gold.
Because the Jews were attempting to fight back it sounds as though much of the city was burning, including the gates of the temple as the Romans attempted to quell the rebellion. Josephus documented much of this but it is lengthy. You find the details in the Wars of the Jews, book 5, chapter 13; and, book 4, chapter 6.
So, when it comes to the destruction of the temple, and, identifying who the people of the prince that shall come are, you need to know some background information. You cannot successfully understand end times events with flannel board lesson you learned as a child.
Titus was well aware of what these so-called troops were doing and their lousy attitudes toward the Jews. According to Josephus, Titus tried to stop their barbarism but the Arabians and Syrians did not seem to care.
“Moreover, do the Arabians and Syrians now first of all begin to govern themselves as they please, and to indulge their appetites in a foreign war, and then, out of their barbarity in murdering men, and out of their hatred to the Jews, get it ascribed to the Romans?"..... But it appeared that the love of money was too hard for all their dread of punishment,... Josephus, Book 5, Chapter 13
Yes, the order was originally given to use fire to drive the Jews that were using the temple as a stronghold, out, but then the directive changed, and they were to quench the fires inside. With that, Titus went off to rest.
“... when Titus had given orders to the commanders that the rest of their forces should lie still; but that they should make use of such as were most courageous in this attack. So he commanded that the chosen men that were taken out of the cohorts should make their way through the ruins, and quench the fire.”
“So Titus retired into the tower of Antonia, and resolved to storm the temple the next day, early in the morning, with his whole army, and to encamp round about the holy house. ... although these flames took their rise from the Jews themselves, and were occasioned by them; for upon Titus's retiring, the seditious lay still for a little while, and then attacked the Romans again, when those that guarded the holy house fought with those that quenched the fire that was burning the inner [court of the] temple; but these Romans put the Jews to flight, and proceeded as far as the holy house itself. At which time one of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking, and being hurried on by a certain divine fury, snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house, on the north side of it. ….”
It is blatantly obvious that Caesar attempted to stop the destruction of the temple based upon what this next paragraph tells us.
“And now a certain person came running to Titus, and told him of this fire, as he was resting himself in his tent after the last battle; whereupon he rose up in great haste, and, as he was, ran to the holy house, in order to have a stop put to the fire; after him followed all his commanders, and after them followed the several legions, in great astonishment; so there was a great clamor and tumult raised, as was natural upon the disorderly motion of so great an army. Then did Caesar, both by calling to the soldiers that were fighting, with a loud voice, and by giving a signal to them with his right hand, ordered them to quench the fire. But they did not hear what he said, though he spake so loud, having their ears already dimmed by a greater noise another way; nor did they attend to the signal he made with his hand neither, as still some of them were distracted with fighting, and others with passion. But as for the legions that came running thither, neither any persuasions nor any threatenings could restrain their violence, but each one's own passion was his commander at this time; ... and when they were come near the holy house, they made as if they did not so much as hear Caesar's orders to the contrary; but they encouraged those that were before them to set it on fire.
And now, since Caesar was no way able to restrain the enthusiastic fury of the soldiers, and the fire proceeded on more and more, he went into the holy place of the temple, with his commanders, and saw it, with what was in it, which he found to be far superior to what the relations of foreigners contained, and not inferior to what we ourselves boasted of and believed about it. But as the flame had not as yet reached to its inward parts, but was still consuming the rooms that were about the holy house, and Titus supposing what the fact was, that the house itself might yet he saved, he came in haste and endeavored to persuade the soldiers to quench the fire, and gave order to Liberalius the centurion, and one of those spearmen that were about him, to beat the soldiers that were refractory with their staves, and to restrain them; yet were their passions too hard for the regards they had for Caesar, and the dread they had of him who forbade them, as was their hatred of the Jews, and a certain vehement inclination to fight them, too hard for them also. Moreover, the hope of plunder induced many to go on, as having this opinion, that all the places within were full of money, and as seeing that all round about it was made of gold. And besides, one of those that went into the place prevented Caesar, when he ran so hastily out to restrain the soldiers, and threw the fire upon the hinges of the gate, in the dark; whereby the flame burst out from within the holy house itself immediately, when the commanders retired, and Caesar with them, and when nobody any longer forbade those that were without to set fire to it. And thus was the holy house burnt down, without Caesar's approbation.”
Were they operating under the Roman flag? Yes, but as you can see Titus was unable to rein them in and the temple was burned in opposition to Caesar's orders; that would imply that this action was against Roman approval as well.
What we Christians like to say is, that the prince was Caesar and that the troops were Roman, therefore, the people who are going to come will come from Europe. Can you not see that history records the opposite. That Rome had little to do with the direct destruction of the temple, but Arabians and Syrians did. Syrian, by the way, is a generalization for those forced into duty from the Assyrian nations to the North of Israel.
Revelation 13:1 BBE And he took his place on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads unholy names.
Thayer's definition of diadēma or crown is this: “a blue band marked with white which Persian kings used to bind on the turban or tiara.” This could be huge because the Persian kings are now called Iranian. And, the greatest threat to civilization now is Islam. A product of the Middle Eastern world.
One last thing before I go. Depending upon the translation you will get unholy names or this:
Revelation 13:1 AMP [AS] I stood on the sandy beach, I saw a beast coming up out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads. On his horns he had ten royal crowns (diadems) and blasphemous titles (names) on his heads.
Jesus told the Pharisees that they had crossed the line, blaspheming, when they attributed the works that he did to the devil.
Luke 12:10 ESV And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
In what way do religions then blaspheme? Since attributing Godly things, including names, to someone or something other than God when they should be, is blaspheming.
Islam calls him Allah. Why would that be a problem? Because Islam was not created until 600 years after Christ's death and resurrection. Allah is the name given to Mohammad by an angel that was trying to kill him, and that angel identified itself as Gabriel, according to Mohammad. Is it possible for an angel to lie? Certainly, Satan did. The other side of this would come from scripture that tells us that there is no other God but God and that we are not to worship man's creations.
Exodus 20:1-5 ESV And God spoke all these words, saying, (2) "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (3) "You shall have no other gods before me. (4) "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. (5) You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
I can assume that worshiping something other than God would then be blasphemy.
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then that tells me you are an avid reader of God's word and in an active pursuit of this love affair, we have with Christ. What's that you say? Your beliefs are private and you do not like to read. That is a shame. That sort of makes you like the ten virgins of Matthew 25. 50% of those invited only had enough oil to get them there. After demanding that the others give them of their oil and being denied, those lacking had to go find an all night market in hopes of getting some oil. While they obtained oil, it was too little, too late and they were shut out.
I wish I could tell you all the implications in that, but I cannot. What I can tell you is that Christ, out of love for us all, gave his life on the cross and purchased, not only our freedom from sin but removed all judgment from us. There will be a day, at the Bema seat of Christ where the question will arise, “what did you do with what I gave you?” Many respond to that with, what did Christ give me? The first response I have to that is, freedom. Dying, William Wallace cried out, “you can take my life, but you cannot take my freedom. Why is that possible? Because our freedom was secured on the cross. There is something blatantly obvious though and it becomes glaringly apparent if you spend any time in a recovery group. There are many people there who do not seem so free. As a matter of fact, they are constantly pulled back into their destructive lifestyles.
Because we can be pulled back into our destructive lifestyles, does this make God's grace of no effect? No!
Some would even say (and they have), you should never preach a grace gospel as it is the hell fire and brimstone message that keeps people on the straight and narrow path. Really. What if that kind of thinking borders on blasphemy, as it ignores the price Christ paid for us. What if, that kind of thinking is no different from witchcraft as it attempts to control and manipulate you.
Paul wrote to church body in Rome and said,
Romans 13:14 ESV But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Read chapter 13 of Romans. That is how we are to live, by loving our neighbor as ourselves.