Segment 26 - 13.01 - 2nd portent - The anti-christ
Well, let’s look at the thirteenth chapter. Here’s the second portent. On and on we go. In the thirteenth chapter, this is a picture of the anti-Christ. The anti-Christ is the devil’s messiah; Satan’s messiah. God has a messiah, and who was God’s messiah? Jesus. Who’s the devil’s messiah? The anti-Christ. In the eyes of the writer, okay?
This is a picture here of the anti-Christ. This idea of the anti-Christ developed among the Jews. It became prevalent in Jewish thought just before the Christian times. The idea of the anti-Christ was that a leader would come forth in which all evil was personified. All evil was personified. Every once in a while throughout our culture, somebody comes up with that idea, and you’ll see it on a TV program or something else. I remember one time in the ... Star Trek. If you ... Any Trekkies here today, Star Trek fans, that Melvin Belli, the famous San Francisco attorney, you ever heard of Melvin Belli? I grew up in the San Francisco area, and I heard a lot about Melvin Belli all my life. But he played in one episode of Star Trek. I can’t remember what his name was. It wasn’t important. But a figure much like the anti-Christ, in which all evil was supposed to be personified.
This is the way we try to deal with evil sometime and get a grip on it. We want to contain it and see it all personified within one person. I guess then if we can do away with that person or deal with that person, then all evil’s going to be gone. It doesn’t work out that way, but it’s a way of objectifying our thoughts when trying to deal with evil within us, I guess. But this is what the anti-Christ represents, this leader who personifies all evil and who was going to arise and oppose the messiah. Okay? If that’s the case, then it has to be the anti-Christ who is behind all the evil work that the Romans are performing in the eyes of the writer. In the eyes of the writer.
Segment 27 - 13.01 - 1st beast
Well, he goes down and gets pretty descriptive here. I won’t get too much into this detail. I think we’ll finish with this 13th chapter, then probably break for lunch, but in the 13th chapter he first of all talks about two phases here, the first beast and the second beast. You see this in Chapter 13? He says, “I saw a beast rising out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads.” Go back to the book of Daniel. This refers to the Seleucid Kings, the kings who reigned during that time, and there were a whole bunch of them, one of whom was Antiochus Epiphanes, I mention his name again. He’s called in the book of Daniel “that contemptible person.” He’s not mentioned by name because the book of Daniel is all cryptic too, but there’s a clear cut reference to good old Antiochus if you know your history of that time. These ten horns and seven heads sort of tie in to the book of Daniel, but it also means a reference to the Roman emperors and rulers, and it’s not always clear which one they’re talking about. It’s not important, because they’re talking about the Romans altogether.
The writer makes a reference to ten horns and seven heads, ten diadems and a blasphemous name upon his head, and that sort of thing. It means that the emperors in those days assumed for themselves divine titles. Many of the emperors thought that they were manifestations of God, so they took on divine titles, Lord of Kings and things like that. As a matter of fact, Antiochus, you have to go back to Jewish times, Antiochus was also known as Antiochus Epiphanes, and Epiphanes means a manifestation of God. This means that Antiochus was the one who dared to call himself God. How do you think that came across to the Jewish leaders, you know? They weren’t too keen about that. Some of the Roman emperors did the same thing, and where it says “wearing a blasphemous name upon his head,” it has to do with this assumption of divine authority for themselves. Then it goes on down and talks about the Antichrist giving authority to the beast, and this beast that’s referred to here is really the Roman Empire and the emperors. The beast is the Roman Empire itself and the emperors as well.
In Verses seven through nine, it says that “The power of the beast wins the allegiance of the faithful. Wins the allegiance of the faithful,” but then in Verse ten the faithful are told that you must hang on. You’ve got to hang in there and hold on to your faith and that sort of thing. Okay? All this is really referring, once again, to the Roman Empire as the first beast.
Segment 28 - 13.11 - 2nd beast - the mark of 666
Then the second beast is mentioned in Verse 11, here we get to a very interesting one because we’re going to hit this number 666. If you saw the picture, Omen, then you saw 666 all over the play okay? Well, the second beast is the second ally of Satan, the second beast comes into the picture. Let’s just read this from Verse 11 on down and then we’ll conclude with this.
Then I saw another beast, which rose out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence. Now, the first beast represented the whole Roman Empire, specifically the emperors, ten horns and seven heads. This second beast here now, has to do with the Roman officials, the priests, and the officials who were under the emperor.
It says, in Verse 12, it exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast whose mortal wound was healed. The first beast is the Empire and then the second beast, who has the same power as the Empire and the emperors are simply the Roman officials, whose mortal wound was healed. This is probably a reference to Nero.
Nero died under peculiar circumstances, it was believed that he might have committed suicide but, this is very important now, a belief that arose later on, that Nero was going to rise from the dead and lead the Parthian army in an attack against Rome. We’ll see that a little more clearly in the Book of Revelation later on. So, whose mortal wound was healed may be a reference to Nero and that he was hurt in some way but it was healed, he’s coming back to life. Because, this belief developed in those days that Nero was going to... some people thought he didn’t even die. Remember the picture of Viva Zapata!, you know with Marlon Brando, that came out years ago and the legend at the end has it that the great Mexican leader, his horse is still moving through the hills and he’s going to come back one of these days, many countries have legends like that.
But this also, was a part of the legend of Nero, that he was going to come back and lead the Parthians in a war against Rome, against his own people. It says, it works great signs, in Verse 13, even making fire come down from Heaven to earth on the side of men and by the regions which it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast. It deceives those whose dwell on earth. Here it talks about the Anti-Christ, this ally of Satan, as a false prophet, as a false prophet. In the eighth chapter of John, in the Gospel of John, in the eighth chapter of the Gospel of John, Verse 44, I believe it is, he refers to the Anti-Christ as the father of lies, false prophets who deceive, false prophets who deceive. It’s a reference once again to this aspect of the Anti-Christ.
Okay, deceive those who dwell on earth, building them an image for the beast which was wounded and so forth. Let’s go on down to Verse 16. Also, it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right-hand of the forehead. So that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is the name of the beast, or the number of its name. I’ve already mentioned this, this refers to emperor worship. If you did not make the proper worship, in whatever form that was, and didn’t get your mark, your little verifying slip that you’d done your duty, then there was sort of an economic boycott that was foisted upon you.
It says, no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, so they made it rough on you when you went to the grocery store. In other words, if you didn’t make your duty and that sort of thing, to the Roman Emperor, and it’s a reference to emperor worship. Then look at Verse 18, this calls for wisdom, let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number, it’s number is 666. The beast, we’ve got two beasts here, the first beast is the Roman Empire and the emperors, the second beast are the Roman officials, but it all refers to Rome. And then, bringing it down a little closer to home, it gives a specific number of the beast, 666.
It’s not really certain which emperor they were referring to, but if you take the name of Nero Caesar numerically, like in Greek the Hebrews attach numerical numbers to their names, and you write out the name Nero Caesar, you have to use this, the scholars tell us, you have to write it Neron Caesar. Have it come out that way, when you take the Hebrew letters and write it out numerically, you’ll see that it comes to 666 and that’s where the number of the beast comes. The beast is a reference to Rome and possibly, more specifically, to the Roman Emperor Nero, who was active before the writers time in 63 or 64 AD, but what’s the difference, a writer just picking up on history because Nero was the one who persecuted, one emperor at least, who persecuted the Christians, fed them to the lions and gave them a real hard time.
So, beast is identified possibly with Caesar here and his number is 666. The interesting thing is this, and we’ll close with this and take an offering in just a moment before we have lunch, the name of Jesus in Greek, works out to 888. The name of Jesus in Greek works out to 888. So, you’ve got between 666 and 888, what do you have? 777, which represents what? Fulfillment, let’s say perfection. So, 666 falls below perfection and 888 rises above perfection. Isn’t that a beautiful bit of metaphysics for you? And that’s the way the numbers work out. That’s something a little bit in addition, Jesus 888, the beast, Nero, 666 and perfection right in the middle. But, for our purposes here, what it’s simply referring to, is the number of the beast, emperor worship and, more specifically, probably, to Nero.
Okay, I hope you’re all hanging in there, there’s a lot of great news coming if you can be with me this afternoon okay? I’d like to receive an offering now, as I said today, this will be the only one that we’ll take. And then we’ll break for lunch for an hour and then come on back at one o’clock folks.
Segment 29 - Summary
Well, I think we’ll begin our third hour. Are you all kind of getting an idea of our approach here and what we’re trying to say with the book of Revelation? Sometimes I’m not sure myself, but I think there’s so much involved here, all of a sudden you can find yourself getting lost in the detail but just keep in mind our basic thrust once again, that this is a book that was written during a time of persecution when people were forced to follow emperor worship, and that the writer picks up on this happening in his time and uses it as the framework within which to help people meet this persecution, but also beyond that to help them see that, as he thought, this great final battle between the powers of darkness and light was going to come about, a thought that was prevalent in the minds of many people and cultures of those days. He’s going, this is what we’re approaching, and we’re going to bring the whole thing to a point with that and then expand it out from there.
Okay, we concluded the last hour talking about the second portent, which as to do with the coming of the Antichrist, and we see the beast, the first and second beast that are numbered here and referred to, which mean the Roman Empire in general and the best is given a number, 666, which probably refers to Nero because that’s the way his number works out numerically if you spell it this way, N-E-R-O-N Caesar. Once again, it’s just the idea of speaking to this emperor worship and the persecution and trying to encourage the people that everything is going to work out just fine. There are a number of different ways of course of dividing up the book of Revelation. We talk about the seven seals, seven trumpets, and three wolves, and now we’ll get into the seven plagues shortly here. You might read some other scholar who will divide it up into seven seals, seven trumpets, and then a series of seven from there on in too. Don’t be too concerned about that, because that’s the symbology that works out, and there are different ways of dividing the book of Revelation up.
As you do some research on it, you may see these other divisions, and that’s okay. Whatever you come up with is helpful. Just keep in mind that it’s all symbolic. That’s the important thing.