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Revelation 13 Bible Study Lesson With Questions – The Antichrist And The False Prophet

Outline

I. The First Beast: Antichrist (1-10)
II. The Second Beast: False Prophet (11-18)

I. The First Beast: Antichrist (1-10)

Discussion Questions

  • Who or what is this beast?
  • What might the heads, horns, and diadems represent?
  • What does the description of the beast show us about its nature?
  • Where does this individual get his power from?
  • What does this passage teach us about Satan influences this world?
  • What happens to this person in verse 3?
  • How can its mortal wound be healed?
  • What does this trick teach us about Satan?
  • How will the world respond to this event?
  • What will the antichrist’s speech be like?
  • What will he do?
  • What hope for believers can you see in this passage?
  • How are believers exhorted to respond to the beast?
  • How can believers endure and remain faithful during this difficult time?

Cross-References

1 John 2:18 – Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 – Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

Daniel 7:25 – He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. The beast from the sea – In the Bible, beasts often represent governments. Daniel had a similar vision which is recorded in Daniel chapter 7. He saw four different beasts. Each beast represented a world government.

The four beasts that Daniel saw included: a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a beast with ten horns. Note that this beast John records in Revelation has all of these features. It is a chimera. The world governments that Daniel learned of in his vision all set themselves up against God. Each one refused to submit to the King of Kings. Instead they established various forms of idol worship. The leaders of those nations ensnared people in sin. Rather than encouraging their citizens to be faithful to God, they demanded their subjects absolute loyalty.

The beast in Revelation combines all of the world governments together into one world government. That government will pridefully set itself up in opposition to God under the leadership of one man, the antichrist.

Sadly, throughout history there have been very few governments which lead people to God. The very first attempt to create a government was in Babel under Nimrod (Genesis 10:10). Babel then proceeded to rebel against God’s authority and try to unite all people under the banner of human independence and power.

The beast will come out of the sea. The sea probably refers to the mass of humanity. It will emerge from among the people.

Application: Believers are to be loyal to God first. God does command us to obey the government since it is established by God (Romans 13). At the same time, our highest loyalty should be given to God, not man. We place our hope and faith in Jesus, and not in politics or world leaders. All men are fallible and since governments are composed of men they are fallible.

2. Ten horns, seven heads, ten diadems – These symbols are explained in Revelation 17.

Revelation 17:9-13 – This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast.

The beast will not rule all by himself. He will head an alliance of a group of ten kings. These will crown him as their leader and be subservient to him.

3. To it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority – As we learned in chapter 12, the dragon is Satan. Satan is the one behind the rise of this world ruler.

He is called the “god of this world.”

2 Corinthians 4:4 Bible verse

Satan is active in this world. He is not laying around dormant. In chapter 12, we see that as he realizes his time is drawing to an end, this motivates him to even greater levels of activity. The devil has always been a master of seduction and deception. He is continuously at work behind the scenes opposing God and the saints.

Already Satan has successfully sold many of his lies to the world. Some of these include: evolution (there is no Creator), hedonism (live for pleasure), materialism (money is everything), LGBT+ (there is no boundary on what you are allowed to do), and relativism (truth is whatever you say it is).

At that time his schemes which he has been laying for millennia will hatch. The world governments will buy in. And Satan will install his man as the leader of this new world government. All of Satan’s minions, the horde of demons, will actively work to delude people and maintain this leader’s power.

4. The identity of this world leader – This world leader is the antichrist. He is also called “the abomination of desolation.” (Matthew 24:15-16)

There have been many “antichrists,” people who oppose Christ. At that time the antichrist will emerge. And he will take up the mantle as the final and most powerful one who sets himself up against God.

Application: Some believers spend a lot of time trying to speculate on the identity of this person, wondering if he is alive today or not. The passage says he will come up out of the sea. You will not be able to identify him ahead of time. He will be hidden among the masses of humanity. Only when he “rises up” will his identity be revealed. And that doesn’t happen yet. So that time spent on trying to guess his identity would be far better spent studying the Bible and sharing the gospel.

5. The mortal wound – Satan is a master imitator. He doesn’t have very many original thoughts or ideas. Mostly he seeks to copy God. And this will be no exception. Jesus’ death and resurrection proved His divinity and is the crux of our faith.

Satan will want to prove he is equal to or greater than God, so he will seek to stage a similar miracle. It looks like the antichrist will be severely wounded to the point of death. Note that it says “seemed to have a mortal wound.”

The antichrist PR machine will be in full motor proclaiming a resurrection. They will use this to push the whole population of the world to worship the beast. The seeming resurrection will be used as proof that the beast is worthy of worship and the object of religious allegiance. Whether or not the clearly demonic origins of this government are manifest to the common person before this or not is not clear. But it is clear that at this point people will know that this is not just a typical government demanding typical loyalty. Its leaders demand worship. Its top leader will claim to be God.

However, not is all as it seems. He “seemed” to have a mortal head wound. There is something more going on. The language used indicates this will be a trick. It will be something like a very well executed magic trick. That will be made all the easier since this government will control all media and since they will own the police and morticians, etc.

When Moses performed miracles in Egypt, the Egyptian priests were able to imitate these miracles on a small scale (Exodus 7-8). Perhaps that was through magic or if not, through demonic power. Satan is a supernatural being. He and his demons will be capable of performing signs. However, he cannot create life or truly raise a person from the dead. That won’t stop him from pretending he can.

6. And they worshiped the dragon – Not only will they worship the beast (13:4, 12), but they will also worship the dragon. Satanism will emerge as the one world religion. Satan is behind many of the world religions today just as he was behind the Canaanite idols that demanded child sacrifice thousands of years ago. But he is hiding behind these religions. After this event, the facade will be removed. People will directly worship Satan with full knowledge that that is what they are doing.

Their reasoning is not because the dragon is good. It is because of his power. They say, “who can fight against it.” Perhaps in some respect, they will feel resigned to it. Fear will drive them to him.

That is in direct contrast to our relationship with God as seen in 1 John 4.

1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Application: Let us thank God that our relationship with Him is based on love.

7. The blasphemy of the beast – The antichrist will have a big mouth. He will be a huge boaster. Terrible abominations will pour forth from his mouth.

8. It was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months – Here we see again the phrase “it was allowed.” God could squash him in an instant, despite his boasts. Yet God will permit it for a period of time in order to bring His plan to conclusion. The King has limited patience. He will set a limit of forty-two months as the amount of time this evil man can remain in power.

We are reminded again that God is on the throne. Though this world may look chaotic and evil, that will not last. One day God will set everything right.

9. He will make war on the saints – Satan hates those who don’t follow him. His rage against believers will be unleashed. In one sense, he will conquer them. He will kill them.

In another sense, they will conquer him when they don’t give in and worship him (Revelation 12:11).

10. True believers will not worship him – According to verse 8, every person in the world whose name is not written in the book of life will worship Satan. The reverse of that is that all true believers will not.

Reflect: How can believers stand firm against such serious persecution?

God will protect His followers from apostasy. It is His power that will strengthen them to stand against such terrible persecution as well as the combined deluding power of the demonic horde.

Believers will need to depend on Christ.

John 15:5 Bible verse

At the same time, we also see that believers are called to endure. They are not like passive objects. Each believer will also have responsibility to stand firm and endure. Believers will need to call upon the name of the Lord for help. Active prayer and strong roots into Scripture will be essential. God’s work in the life of believer is not divorced from the believer’s response to Him.

He supplies the power and believers need to connect to that power like a battery to a charger.

II. The Second Beast: False Prophet (11-18)

Discussion Questions

  • What will this second beast be like?
  • Who or what is this beast?
  • How would it be like a lamb?
  • How would it be like a dragon?
  • What is the role of this individual?
  • How does he seek to mislead and deceive people?
  • How can he perform signs and wonders since he does not belong to God?
  • What unholy trinity do you see in this passage?
  • How can we guard ourselves against deceptive teachings and being misled by signs and wonders?
  • What observations do you have about the mark that will be forced on the world?
  • What rights does the mark entitle a person to?
  • What does 666 represent?
  • How should believers at that time respond to the mark?
  • Is there anything you can do now to prepare yourself to stand against greater persecution in the future?

Cross-References

1 John 4:1-3 – Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 – For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 – For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Another beast – The second beast has some characteristics like a lamb, but its speech is from the dragon. Perhaps it wants to make itself appear as pure, righteous, and kind. But he is just another tool of the devil.

2. The unholy trinity – Three characters are seen throughout the this chapter. The dragon, the first beast, and the second beast, otherwise known as Satan, the antichrist, and the false prophet.

As discussed earlier, Satan loves to mimic God. For those who can’t create, they copy. And that is what Satan does. He models his mission after God’s in that he forms a trinity, albeit an unholy one. In this evil trinity, Satan imitates God the Father. The antichrist imitates God the Son. And the false prophet imitates God the Holy Spirit. As such, the antichrist is the most visible of these three and the false prophet’s main mission is to glorify the antichrist.

3. The mission of the false prophet – The false prophet will use his influence and power to compel people to worship the antichrist. We can see in this passage that he has real power. Among many other signs that are not named, he is able to call fire down from heaven in front of people.

The false prophet also commands people to make an image (an idol) of the antichrist and then forces them to worship it. He then somehow causes the idol to speak and strikes down those who do not bow to it.

So the power of this being is significant. It seems more than just magic tricks is at play here.

We should not be surprised. Demonic beings are very powerful. They are fallen angels and throughout Scripture we see that angels are very powerful. In one incident, an angel kills 185,000 people in one night (2 Kings 19:35).

The false prophet uses these signs for one goal, to deceive people. His goal is their total devotion to the beast. And his tools are power and fear. That is a stark contrast with Jesus whose miracles always helped people.

4. The prevalence of false teachers –

Believers should not be surprised by the false prophet or his signs.

2 John 1:7 – For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.

Matthew 24:24 – For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

As we can see, Jesus Himself warned us about such people. Every era and every civilization has had false prophets from Satan come in and attempt to lead people away from God. Shamans and witch doctors and priests of Baal are just a few of the people he has used over the years. Many of these were able to perform some signs that our world cannot explain. But they do it through the power of demons.

Application: Believers of all times and regions need to be ready to resist false teachers. We do that by being rooted to God’s Word (Psalms 1), which will make us like a tree planted by a stream of water. As we fill our minds with Scripture and prayerfully seek to be enlightened by Him, He will give us wisdom and discernment.

Don’t be tricked by the flashy. Not everything powerful is from God. False teachers give themselves away in either or both of two areas.

Firstly, their message is not consistent with Scripture. If a person or even an angel preaches any other gospel (no matter if it is accompanied by miracles), we should not believe (Galatians 1:8).

Secondly, their lifestyle is not consistent with Scripture. Many false teachers indulge themselves in the world (2 Peter 2). Their lifestyle is unholy.

With the popularity of the internet, false teaching is more accessible than ever before. That is why you must learn to read the Bible and apply it yourself. As you come directly to God’s Word, He will give you increasing discernment.

5. The mark of the beast – The false prophet will force people to get a mark.

The mark is something like a brand which is put on cattle. A brand shows who owns the cattle.

In similar fashion, the mark of the beast will prove the bearer’s loyalty to and worship of the beast. Highlighted in the text is the fact that riches or power will not exempt someone from the requirement to get the mark.

One of the methods used to force compliance is that without the mark, no one will be allowed to buy or sell. Store clerks will be required to check for the mark before allowing customers to checkout. And if anyone is found without the mark, surely they will be reported to authorities and quickly dealt with.

It is not hard to imagine a world like this. Modern technology has made it far easier for governments to monitor, track, and surveil their citizens than ever before. Cash is quickly becoming a thing of the past and digital currencies are being proposed and developed around the world. In some countries, the governments already track nearly everything that its citizens buy and sell. It is only a small step toward a world where a mark like this is required.

Reflect: If the rapture does not come first, how can believers be prepared to say “no” to the mark?

Application: Believers must depend on the power of God. The end times will see demonic forces in full activity. Delusion and deceit will be powerful force difficult to resist. Having a gun won’t save you from the antichrist. Storing up food will not save you. Resisting all modern technology will not save you. Our only hope is a strong, personal relationship with Christ. He will open your eyes to the truth and keep you from being deluded. He will empower you to resist the devil (1 Peter 5:8) and refuse the mark, even if it means death. During that time of testing, He will give you the help that you need to remain steadfast (Mark 13:11).

Believers should focus on getting close to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). In the modern world it is easy to take our eyes of Jesus and start worrying about all of the developments we see around us. It is easy to wonder what all of it means and try to decipher the signs. While you should be alert, don’t be distracted. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Don’t follow red herrings. Our battle is not against these things which we can’t stop. Our battle is for souls. Share the gospel. That is the power of God (Romans 1:16).

John 9:4 Bible verse

6. The number of the beast is 666 – That number represents imperfection and sin.

Application: How can you better keep your focus on Jesus this week?

Revelation Bible Study Guide – If this study is helpful, you can download the whole Revelation study PDF, get the paperback from Amazon, or also get the 7 Churches in Revelation study.

Revelation 14:1-5
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