Episode #251. Today we’ll read Revelation chapter 13 together. The Beast of the Earth and the number 666.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #251. Today we’ll read Revelation chapter 13 together: The Beast of the Earth and the number 666.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
There’s something about the week of Christmas. No matter how busy we are, no matter how schedule-oriented we tend to be, no matter how non-sentimental our wiring, there’s something about the traditions, the memories, the smell of things baking that turns our hearts toward home and family.
And there’s something else. Whereas other times of the year, we may have to remind ourselves to be grateful, it somehow takes a front seat and comes more naturally during this season.
I was thinking about my friend, Paula, this week. I say ‘friend’ but technically, she’s my client. I don’t think I’ve ever told you that I own my own business providing bookkeeping and clerical support to small and new businesses. I first met Paula in 1985 as a client, went back into the corporate world for a time, and then hung out my shingle again in the year 2000. Paula has been a client ever since. And she’s practically part of the family.
Mitch and I are both very grateful that she is in our lives. She is generous, talented, and down-to-earth. Despite international success for her horseshow clothing designs, she is as approachable as the girl next door. She is strong too. I am thankful for her and pray that God’s hand rests continually on her.
You can probably expect that I will share many things with you this week that I am grateful for. I would be so pleased if you did the same with me at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Revelation Chapter 13
And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads. On its horns were ten crowns, and on its heads were blasphemous names. The beast I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. The dragon gave the beast his power, his throne, and great authority. One of its heads appeared to be fatally wounded, but its fatal wound was healed.
The whole earth was amazed and followed the beast. They worshiped the dragon because he gave authority to the beast. And they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to wage war against it?”
The beast was given a mouth to utter boasts and blasphemies. It was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It began to speak blasphemies against God: to blaspheme his name and his dwelling — those who dwell in heaven. And it was permitted to wage war against the saints and to conquer them. It was also given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation. All those who live on the earth will worship it, everyone whose name was not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slaughtered.
If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen.
If anyone is to be taken captive,
into captivity he goes.
If anyone is to be killed with a sword,
with a sword he will be killed.
This calls for endurance and faithfulness from the saints.
The Beast from the Earth
Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast on its behalf and compels the earth and those who live on it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. It also performs great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in front of people. It deceives those who live on the earth because of the signs that it is permitted to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who live on the earth to make an image of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived.
It was permitted to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could both speak and cause whoever would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. And it makes everyone — small and great, rich and poor, free and slave — to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark: the beast’s name or the number of its name.
This calls for wisdom: Let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, because it is the number of a person. Its number is 666.
I went back to EnduringWord.com for some guidance on this chapter. He caught my interest right away when he shared the perspective that the Jews had about the sea. They deemed it scary and unpredictable. Of course, they would be immediately put on edge at the prospect of a beast rising up out of the sea.
This beast is not Satan, but he is like Satan. He has the seven heads and the ten horns, powerful and almost impossible to destroy. Almost. He is the one referred to as the Antichrist. I’m going to assume here that none of us need too much of a lesson defining what the word anti-christ means. He is said to be the opposite of Christ. But be on your guard. He is not to be underestimated. And do not make the mistake of thinking of him as a character you see in a creepy movie.
I have to share kind of a funny aside here. I passed this script by Mitch just because I trust his perspective and feedback. He said to me, “I can’t believe you didn’t say anything about the fatal headwound.” He said this because I am always saying that if any world leader receives a fatal head wound and revives, I am heading for the hills.
Sweet Then Bitter
Most people will love this guy. After a time of utter chaos (consider the way our world is going now), the antichrist will come on the scene and look like the savior of the world. There will likely be peace and order and people will clamor to follow him. Especially after the whole resurrection from the fatal head-wound thing. He will not tolerate the divided allegiance of Christians, but will likely be smooth and subtle about it at first. Just like the scroll that John ate, he will be sweet at first…but bitter in the end.
There is a second beast introduced also in this chapter. This second beast will likely have more of an economic concentration. Hence the required number to buy and sell. Many interpretations of the 666 number have been offered. It’s the number a man in the Bible. Hebrew letters are also a combination of letters and numbers. Again, I will let you explore this to your hearts content. But I think there are some very real things to remember from this chapter.
Important First Things
First, we need Christ. If you are not sure where you stand with God right now, I implore you to take care of that in this moment. Pray right now. Tell God that you know you’ve missed His mark of perfection. Thank Him that He sent Jesus to die in your place. Ask forgiveness for your sins and ask Jesus to send His Holy Spirit to help you follow Jesus. Jesus will take care of the rest.
Next, do not be sucked in by this Anti-Christ and all of his little minion anti-christs. An interesting point made in my reading is that humans do have a penchant for worship; we will worship something. Unfortunately, we usually rebel against worshipping God. It’s not that men do not want religion, it’s just that they want their own religion. My rule of thumb is to watch the way the world is going and go the opposite direction.
Finally, we as Christians are not to accept the mark of the beast, regardless of the consequences. We don’t exactly know what the mark will be; however, I suspect that taking the mark will require us to contradict our faith in Christ. How will we know? We need to be ever mindful of the leadings of the Holy Spirit and should be practicing that obedience now. Let’s pray.
Father God, it’s really easy to read the Bible and really easy to type what we should do. But I suspect that when we come face to face with some of these scary choices, we’re going to need all of Your strength and wisdom and discernment. Prepare us, Lord, and keep us close. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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