Bible Study with Jairus-Revelation 13

The Beast and God’s Final Harvest

In Revelation 13, we learn about an evil trinity composed of the dragon, the first beast, and the second beast. This chapter lies between the account of the birth of the man-child (chapter 12) and the account of the 144,000 who stood with the Lamb on Mount Zion (chapter 14). These accounts represent the two great harvests of God. As we mentioned earlier, the Book of Revelation is structured around alternating judgments and harvests. Judgments lead to spiritual harvests.

In Revelation 13, anyone “whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain” begins to worship the beast (13:8). When God “gives them up” to worship the beast, this is actually another form of judgment on the world. The Book of Romans depicts this type of judgment:

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (1:21) God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts. (1:24; 26) God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. (1:28)

When God allows people to sin, it means that he has rejected them. This is the most serious form of judgment. The beast and those who worship him will be judged by God in the future. Perhaps they are so full of sin that God will no longer give them a chance to repent anymore. If so, this indicates a transition from the age of grace to an age of judgment.

Revelation 14 tells us that after this transition, God will begin to incrementally cleanse the former creation. First, the “eternal gospel” will be proclaimed (14:6) and Babylon the Great will fall (14:8). Babylon the Great is a counterfeit Body of Christ. She is a great whore instead of a bride, and she is drunk with the blood of the saints (17:6). The Lamb will then fight against the beast and conquer him (17:14), and the beast and the false prophet will be cast into the lake of fire and sulfur (19:20). In the end, Satan will be bound for a thousand years (20:3) and finally cast into the lake of fire and sulfur (20:10). At this point, God will begin the Great White Throne judgment, and those who are not in the book of life will be thrown into the lake of fire (20:15). Then the New Heaven and New Earth, the New Jerusalem, will be created (21-22).

Throughout every stage of judgment, God is constantly bringing in a harvest of souls. Even during the final judgment before the Great White Throne judgment, some people will be ushered into eternal life. God’s continuing harvest brings many true believers into eternal life. In the end, all who seek and long for God will enter heaven and become a part of the Bride of Christ. Martyred believers who refused to worship the beast will take part in God’s final harvest. This is why at the beginning of Revelation 14, we see those 144,000 believers standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion.

Satan Hides Behind the Beast

The false Trinity is composed of Satan, the first beast (the Antichrist), and the second beast (the false prophet, 19:20). Revelation 12 ends with the dragon standing on the sands of the sea (12:17). Why is the dragon standing there?

This dragon is Satan. Because Satan has been cast to the earth, he must find an agent to help him deceive humankind. Just as Satan used the snake to deceive Eve in the Garden of Eden, he must find a new agent of deceit so he can continue to pursue his purposes. If for a moment he does not use deceit, he will fail to win the admiration and worship of mankind. If people realize that he is a big red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, few will want to worship him. Since Christ has already conquered Satan on the cross, his only tool is deception. He attempts to confuse and deceive those who do not know about Christ’s victory.

The Bible mentions that Satan often disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He tries not to show his true colors. Because of his propensity for deception, I conclude that the first beast he summons up from the bottomless pit may not appear as vicious as God knows him to be. He may be trying to deceive people. On the other hand, God’s revelations of judgment allow people to see Satan’s true colors and the true nature beast.

The Picture of the Beast Depicts the Worship of Diverse False Gods

Revelation 12:3 declares that the dragon has “seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems.” Revelation 13:1 tells us that the beast rising out of the sea has “ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.” God reveals that the beast and the dragon have the same nature. Through spiritual eyes, we can see that Satan is behind many events and people in this world. But if our spiritual eyes are not open, we run the risk of being deceived by outward appearances.

The beast’s multiple heads and horns remind us that the beast manifests itself in multiple ways. It has something for everyone. If you do not want God, you can likely find a beast or a dragon that fits you perfectly. The beast does not have just one manifestation; he has many different evil manifestations to deceive a variety of people. This is why some countries have fallen into the control of the Evil Spirit of Communism; other countries fallen into the control of Islamic Extremism; and yet other countries have fallen into the control of homosexuals and extreme leftists. The beast hides behind all kinds of beautiful things. For instance, the homosexual movement is disguised as seeking respect for minorities, and the religious pluralism movement is disguised as accommodating all religions. They all have beautiful slogans, but what they are doing is against God.

The beast has a leopard’s body but a lion’s mouth. This may indicate that it is a counterfeit of Christ, the lion of the tribe of Judah. His feet are like the feet of a bear, meaning he is merciless in hurting people. We see echoes of the beast in many systems of thoughts and anti-God movements in this world. Behind the beast is the dragon, that is, Satan.

Why was the dragon standing by the sea? Why did he call the beast up from the bottomless pit? Perhaps the dragon was trying to disguise itself after its partial exposure. The angel had defeated the dragon, so perhaps its true nature had been partly exposed. Now, it wants to hide itself by using the beast to deceive people.

Why is there a second beast after the first beast? For the same reason: the first beast has been partially exposed. Its head has been wounded with a knife, and one of its heads has died (13:3). Although the beast has been healed (13:3), its nature has been exposed to a certain extent. Therefore, a second beast is needed to continue to confuse people with its shapeshifting. The second beast will continue to entice people to worship the first beast and the dragon.

Whether the dragon, the first beast, or the second beast, their goal is to confuse and deceive people. The job of God, the angels, and the church is to continue to expose what they are doing. When the works of Satan and the evil spirits have been fully exposed, they will finally be defeated. As we mentioned earlier, Christ’s work on the cross stripped Satan of all his power when was accomplished. His only tool is to deceive. Once that tool is removed, he will be utterly destroyed.

God’s Purpose Is Still Harvest

As we have seen, Revelation is structured around recurring judgments and recurring harvests. After God’s judgment, there is always a harvest. God will gather the grain and put it into the barn (representing the harvest of true believers, and he will also harvest the weeds (false believers) and throw them into the great winepress of the wrath of God (14:19). If you’ve ever seen a harvester at work, then you can imagine the work of the beast in Revelation 13. The beast has one most important purpose: to separate the grain from the weeds. The beast is allowed to fight against the saints and to conquer them (13:7), resulting in many martyrs. All who are not written in the book of life will worship the beast and receive his mark.

The harvest in Revelation 14 has a different purpose. This chapter opens with a vision of one hundred and forty-four thousand people standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion. Perhaps this number represents those who did not worship the beast and were martyred in Revelation 13. God is now gathering the grain into his barn, which is heaven.

In the Revelation 14, the angel proclaims the eternal gospel to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people (14:6). What is the “eternal gospel”? The interpretation of this passage is controversial. I was taught that that the proclamation of the eternal gospel represents the end of the Age of Grace. Perhaps at this time, people will no longer have the opportunity to be saved by hearing the gospel from fellow humans. Instead, the gospel will be preached directly by angels. Whether or not this interpretation is correct, this verse definitely represents the end of an era. Perhaps the window of God’s grace will partially close as humanity enters a new phase.

As Revelation 14 continues, God continues to harvest the earth. An angel swings a sickle across the earth to reap the earth (14:15-16). The angel puts the grain (symbolizing believers) into the barn (14:16). Another angel swings a sickle across the earth to gather the grape harvest. The grapes (symbolizing unbelievers) will be thrown into the great winepress of the wrath of God (14:18). This continues the judgment + harvest structure. But soon God’s harvest will come to an end, and God’s final judgment and final war will begin.

The rest of the book of Revelation tells us about:

  • The seven plagues that complete God’s wrath (15:1).
  • The seven bowls of God’s wrath which are poured out on the earth (Chapter 16).
  • The judgment of Babylon the Great (Chapter 17-18)
  • The wedding feast of the Lamb and the battle of Armageddon (Chapter 19)
  • Satan’s imprisonment for 1,000 years, the thousand-year Millennium and Satan’s judgment (Chapter 20).
  • The Great White Throne Judgment (Chapter 20).
  • Satan and his followers, death and Hades are thrown into the lake of fire (Chapter 20).
  • The New Heaven and New Earth, New Jerusalem (Chapter 21).
  • The Throne of God and of the Lamb and the Tree of Life (Chapter 22).

These events take place in a completely different era, the era of final judgment and wrath. During this time, God cleanses the old creation, defeats Satan’s rebellion, and brings in the New Heaven the New Earth, and the New Jerusalem to complete God’s ultimate plan for the universe. Therefore, the beast in Revelation 13 prompts people to make their “final selection.” Their decisions regarding this beast will determine their final fate. This is God’s last harvest, and it is mankind’s last chance to repent.

The Meaning of The Number 666

If you drive along Highway 295 and Highway 95 from Washington DC, you will see a sign for Highway 895 before you get to Baltimore. The sign reads, “Passage leading to Strait, no turning back.” Once you enter this tunnel, there is no exit until you go through the tunnel and get to Baltimore. When driving for work, I often need to exit before Baltimore City to run errands. So I know I shouldn’t take the tunnel road. But a few times, I have missed the sign and entered this tunnel. It was a point of no return. Not only did I have to pay, but I also had to go back to my business by another route after arriving in Baltimore. Later, the number 895 became a sign to me. As soon as I see 895, I remember that if I ignore this sign, I will have to spend a lot of time and money and end up delaying my work.

The same is true for the number of the beast in Revelation 13, which is 666. Six is the day when man was created, and seven is the day that God rested. So 666 is the limit that all created things can struggle. The role of the beast, as I have shared before, is to completely separate the wheat from the weeds for better harvesting. When the number 666 appears it is the final chance for people to “exit” for eternal life. After the beast’s name and number appear in Revelation 13, the concept of repentance or salvation are never again mentioned, with only one exception: “And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands.” (15:2) Perhaps at this point, God has closed the window of salvation. The structure of “judgment + repentance” in the Book of Revelation has come to an end, and the structure is now “judgment + war”. No matter how many times God judged humans with disaster, those who worshiped the beast did not repent. Instead, they fought against the Lamb and his bride until the great battle of Armageddon, where they were finally defeated and thrown into the lake of fire.

Regarding the number of the beast, the Holy Spirit says: “This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.” The Holy Spirit says that we must pay special attention with wisdom and understanding. In other words, we must remember that once we see the number 666, we must be vigilant and make the right choice. It is our final opportunity to decide to follow God. If we make the wrong choice, we will enter a tunnel leading directly to hell, with no exit and no way back. Going back to my analogy, If I take exit 895 and enter the tunnel, I will drive directly to the center of Baltimore, a city filled with crimes and drug trafficking. In the same way, those who do not take God’s offer of salvation will end up in hell.

Each Hebrew character can also signify a number, and the number of the word Lucifer + hell (Satan + hell) in Hebrew is also 666. Throughout the ages, many people have associated 666 with people who seemed to be Antichrists, such as Caesar, Nero, Napoleon, and Hitler. These people have all passed away, and the number of the beast has not been fulfilled. But we do not rule out the possibility that the Antichrist will be associated with the number 666. However, we should note that the number 666 may be a warning signal to an individual or to all humans in general. God has provided us with many warning signals in this world. When there is a problem with our bodies, pain is our warning signal. When we drive across the line on the interstate, the rumble strips are our warning signal. Similarly, when human beings are facing a critical moment of choosing between life and death, God will give people a clear warning signal: 666. But we must make sure that we are not distracted, or we will miss the signal.

We who seek God will see this warning signal and make the right choice. But unrepentant people who are filled with evil spirits may miss this signal. Just as I ended up in Baltimore because I was distracted and didn’t pay attention to the road signs, we must be careful not to be distracted and unrepentant. We don’t need to guess what the number 666 means. But we need to be vigilant about distraction so we do not miss God’s warnings.

Conclusion

Many people enjoy speculating about who the false prophet and the Antichrist are. Some people say that the current Pope, Francis, is the false prophet, and the French leader Macron is the Antichrist. I don’t think Christians need to speculate about this. Instead, our great mission is to spread the gospel, bring people to repentance, and show people the way of salvation as soon as possible. We want people to have a chance to be saved before the last harvest of God so they can go to heaven. If you have accepted Christ, it does not matter who the false prophet and antichrist are. As long as you are confident that you would rather be martyred than worship the beast, that is enough. Perhaps some weak Christians will worship the beast, but mostly unbelievers will fall of his traps. Because of this, we must stop worrying about who the Antichrist is and start spreading the gospel and helping sinners find salvation. In these urgent times, this is the most important response.