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Chapter 1


God put prophecies in the Bible for someone who has an ear to hear. Yes, there has always been wild speculation about Bible prophecy. There have been many interpretations that cannot be supported by scripture. And there are many interpretations that agree with scripture that will turn out to be wrong. Only time will tell. If your very salvation is in jeopardy, a prudent person will not dismiss anything that agrees with prophecy.

No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation, 2nd Peter 1:20. The word "Revelation" (the Greek word is "Apocalypse") means "revealing." It is not a hiding. "Despise" not prophesyings, 1st Thessalonians 5:20.

Revelation 13 has many points of identification that we may rely upon to recognize the Mark. We cannot add or subtract from Prophecy.

Revelation 13:  {1} "Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name."

Comments: Verse 12 calls this beast "the first beast." A second beast introduced in verse 11 will cause all to receive the Mark in verse 16, whereas this first beast is not the beast associated with the Mark. According to DIVINE interpretation in Rev 17:15, the sea refers to people, multitudes, nations and tongues. According to DIVINE interpretation in Daniel 7:23 "beasts" symbolize kingdoms. John the revelator saw a ruling power rise up from the multitudes. According to DIVINE interpretation in Daniel 7:24, Daniel 8:20 and in Revelation 17:12 the 10 horns symbolize 10 kings that came out of the beast kingdom, possibly successive kings. It has been argued that horns can also symbolize dynasties or perhaps personified governments. Until we have further divine revelation we cannot know for sure who these kings are. Time will tell. On his head is a blasphemous name (the original Greek could be plural "names"). Blasphemy is "The act of claiming for oneself the attributes and rights of God."

Since the "sea" refers to multitudes, nations and tongues, some have interpreted this as a beast coming from a densely populated Europe, or that this is a "universal" beast, or simply any ruling power that comes from a multitude. To avoid jumping to conclusions, we cannot dismiss any blasphemous democracy, even if we cannot yet identify ten specific horns.

{2} "Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority."
Comment: This is a composite of the most notable features of each beast mentioned in Daniel 7.  DIVINE interpretation of Daniel 7:12&23 says that the ten horned beast will take away the dominion of, and devour the leopard, bear, lion kingdoms. Here in Revelation 13 this beast has assimilated all the nations of Daniel 7 into a confederacy of beast powers. Some people claim that this is the Roman Empire because divine interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's image of a fourth iron kingdom (Dan 2:40) fits chronologically with the Roman Empire. And indeed, history has shown that the Roman Empire took away the dominion of, and devoured other beast kingdoms.

The second sentence of verse 2 states that the dragon gave him his power, throne and authority. Therefore the dragon cannot be the beast. Perhaps there is a connection to the red dragon of Revelation 12:3, which also has 10 heads and 7 horns, and will hunt down Christians (12:17), and seems to have influenced Herod to kill the Christ child. Shouldn't a democracy (ruling power rising from a multitude) that speaks blasphemy, and is now targeting Christians, be suspicious? Especially if it is patterned after Roman Civil Law?

{3} "And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast." 
Point of identification: Look for worship (per verse 12) of a confederation of beast powers that was once thought of as dead. There have been many speculations about this. UNTIL we have further divine revelation, ANYTHING in history that agrees with scripture cannot be ruled out. Some have claimed that the capture of the Pope by Napoleon's General Berthier in 1798 was the mortal wound. Some claim that the seventh head was wounded to death when the barbarians overran the Roman Empire in AD 476.  As for me, the decline and fall of the Roman Empire is sufficient, and I marvel that the Treaty of Paris explicitly mentions that the "Arch Treasurer" and "Prince Elector" of the Holy Roman Empire gives the United States the authority to exist.

Point of identification: Last sentence of verse 3, and in verse 7 we see that this first beast has world wide influence. Not necessarily a worldwide government.

{4} "So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, 'Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?'"
Comment: Again we see that this beast is not the dragon. Perhaps the dragon is the red dragon that is mentioned in Revelation 12. I want to suggest that this is the same type of today's government powers that wait to devour Christian children at birth as is indicated by Rev 12:17. The dragon is an associate, per Revelation 12:9, of a serpent devil, and Satan.

Who can make war with the beast? This beast apparently has war powers. Let's briefly examine war powers. Daniel 7 used the term "exceedingly dreadful" in verse 19, and "shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces" verse 23. And take away the dominion of the other beasts per verse 12. Both Daniel 7:21 and Revelation 13:7 say the beast will make war with the saints, and Revelation 13:10 speaks of killing with a sword while saints remain patient. The Catholic Church has never had military power, but Roman Emperors certainly have.

Point of identification: Look for worship of a confederation of military beast powers that was once thought of as dead. A salute is a form of worship, and a salute would also fit into the military flavor of this prophecy.

{5} "And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months."
The first beast, which is not the beast that will cause all to receive a mark, continues in power for 42 months. "Months" could be literal months. But there is another possibility. Year long days are used in Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6. In the next Chapter, I will show that the historical Protestant position is that the 42 months has already occurred.  An alternate translation has this authority "to make war 
forty-two months."
{6} "Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven."
Point of identification: Look for worship of an authority of beast powers, once thought of as dead, that exercises worldwide military influence, speaking against God.
{7} "It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation."
Point of identification: Look for worship (caused by the second beast in verse 12) of an authority of beast powers once thought of as dead, that has military power, worldwide influence, speaks against God, rises up from the multitudes and overcomes saints. I don't think you need to look far.
{8} "All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
Comment: Bible believers will not worship (Greek proskuneo = prostrate oneself in homage to) the first Beast. Notice that the verb "worship" refers to a body motion, later I will show that the U.S. Supreme Court has acknowledged that a "salute" is worship. It is the assuming of a body position, initiated by the inferior toward the superior. Even today, a courtroom Perjury Oath is given with the right hand raised. Do you worship a beast power when you sign a Perjury Oath on a government form?
{9} "If anyone has an ear, let him hear." 
Comment: Verses 9 and 10 changed the subject. These two verses address you, the reader. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. The Revelation 13 message will be difficult to understand by those who do not want to understand. If you want to hear, then you cannot reject anything that agrees with prophecy.
{10} "He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword.  Here is the patience and the faith of the saints." 
Comment: The NIV translation says "If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go." The original King James added a note that this referred to Matthew 26:52.  "Sword" might refer to the military. "Sword" can also refer to the word of God as in Matt 10:34, Ephesians 6:17, Hebrews 4:12. Saints (that's you) will patiently endure this captivity. If "sword" is military, saints will endure the sword. If "sword" is spiritual, saints will kill and be killed spiritually.
{11} "Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.
Comment: This second beast will cause all to receive a Mark in verse 16. "Out of the earth" is contrasted with the first beast's "rising up out of the sea" in verse 1.  "Horns" symbolize kings according to DIVINE interpretation in Daniel 7:24 and in Revelation 17:12. [Although it can be argued that horns represent dynasties or kingdoms or personified governments]. As was my comment for verse 4, it is possible that the dragon can symbolize the control of the Roman Empire, as well as for Satan. "Speaking like a dragon" is not necessarily speaking blasphemy. "Speaking like a dragon," if the dragon is Satan, can mean speaking "deception," or promising, as Satan promised Eve, that you could be like God.
{12} "And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed."
Comment: The second beast appears as an agent of the first beast. There will be some form of worship of the first beast confederation, the one with military power, that speaks blasphemy and overcomes saints and was once thought of as dead.
{13} "He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men." 
Comment: Fire from heaven is a capability of the second beast. We are living in a time where military can make fire come down from heaven in the sight of men. "In sight of" is used in the Bible more than 150 times. It can mean "on behalf of" as in verse 14, or it can mean "in defiance of" or "in the witness of."  Until we have divine revelation, we can only speculate what this is. Time will tell.

There is no hint, one way or another, as to whether people are influenced by fire from heaven to get the Mark. All the other indications of war lead me to believe that fire from heaven is military fire. But there is another possibility for you to consider. If you want to insist that fire from heaven cause people to get the Mark, you have to consider that brightness from heaven signifies God's glory. As in Luke 2:9, Acts 22:6, Acts 26:13, 2nd Corinthians 4:4 & 6, Hebrews 1:3, and in Revelation 21:23. Perhaps this performance of a great sign is referring to a counterfeit glory of a counterfeit God in the sight of men. Were you induced by the glory of a counterfeit god to get a number so you could sell your labor? If so, then you cannot dismiss this as a "great sign."

{14} "And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived." 
Point of identification: Deception is involved. Beast #2 simply tells earthlings to make an image. There is no hint of force, only deception. Perhaps just a hidden agenda. These signs are different than those in verse 13; these are done in the sight of the Beast whereas verse 13 was in the sight of men. The two-horned second beast kingdom deceptively, perhaps even politely, asks the people of the earth to make an image (Greek icon = profile, representation, resemblance, depiction) to the first beast. Blasphemy is not mentioned as the authority. War is not mentioned. Until we have further divine revelation, anything that fits these prophecies cannot be flippantly dismissed. Even a coin has an image (the very same Greek word "icon"), as in Mark 12:16. Could a monument to Pharaoh on the Great Seal of The United States be dismissed? How about the Statue atop the Capitol Building? Do you salute the powers of bureaucracies that demand worship, provide for you and judge you?

Another possibility was once articulately put to me, and I'll try to convey the meaning. You can control whatever you create. If we create a government to enforce God's laws, it is up to us to control it and keep it subservient to the lawful chain of command. Our civil servants did not like being subservient. They did not like the chain of command we created so they used "deception" to create, for their control, a false authority, a mirror image of the actual authority. Their chain of command is the mirror image that you salute.

{15} "He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed."
Comment: The second beast kingdom breathes life into the image-icon-representation that we were asked to fabricate. The word translated as "killed" is the Greek word "apokteino" that can also be translated as "abolish."
{16} "He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,"
Comment: "Beasts" symbolize governments. "Horns" symbolize kings. The personal pronoun "he" in verses 11 through 16 refers to the two-horned beast, not a horn. Nowhere in the Bible do other references to "marks in the right hand and forehead" refer to physical marks. I have devoted an entire Chapter on this topic. If you want to insist that the mark can only be a physical mark, you should state a reason for bible believers to ignore the five other Bible references to tokens, signs and seals that are in both the hand and forehead.  The original King James had a note that the words "to receive" could mean "to give."
{17} "and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."
Comment: It is the mark of the beast, just like it says. It is not the mark of an antichrist. Transactions are authorized by a mark, name, or number. Nowhere does it say that a number will be in an identically same format in all countries. As I will show in the next Chapter, it is the number of "its" name, not the number of "his" name. The deliberate mistranslation "his" is due to the influence of the Catholic Church on the King James translators during the Counter Reformation. More about this later. If you are a Protestant who was never told that you were protesting something, go to any Encyclopedia and look up "counter reformation."
{18} "Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666."
Comment: The phrase "Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding ..." certainly sounds as if the meaning is hidden. I don't claim to have this wisdom.

As for the "number of a man" - I will show in the next Chapter that this translation mimics the official Catholic position on the AntiChrist that was fabricated to divert attention away from Martin Luther's accusations. There is nothing in Scripture to suggest that the beast is a single man. Carelessly repeating anti-Protestant fables will not help you understand prophecy that is unfolding right in front of you.

There has been much wild speculation on the number "666," but I'm not one who has the understanding to calculate it.