The Last Dictator

Revelation 13

Alan Lewis
Elon, North Carolina
February 2023

Today, we come to an amazing chapter.  The next two weeks are going to be deep, as we look at this section.  You are going to learn some things you may have never heard before.

It introduces us to two new characters in the Book of Revelation: the beast and the false prophet.  We saw five characters in Revelation 12 (the woman, the baby boy, the dragon, Michael and her other children).  Revelation 13 introduces us to two more characters.  It introduces us to two satanic beasts.

It is one of the most controversial chapters in the Book of Revelation.  It is one of the most controversial chapters in the Bible.

It is the only chapter of the Bible with a math problem in it.  It is a chapter that raises all kinds of questions.

What is the mysterious Mark of the Beast?  Is it a barcode?  Is it a computer chip or tattoo?  Is it the COVID vaccine?  What is the meaning of the number 666?  That may be the greatest mystery of the Bible.

Is America prophesied in this chapter?  Seventh Day Adventists (SDA) teach that America is the second beast of Revelation 13.  That is what Ellen White (1827-1915), the founder of the SDA, taught.[1]

Does this chapter refer to the Antichrist or does it not?  If it does, who is he?  People have said that a lot of people in history were the Antichrist.

Some said Nero was the Antichrist.  Luther and Calvin thought the Pope was the Antichrist.  Some said Adolf Hitler was the Antichrist and Joseph Stalin was the Antichrist. Some thought that Obama was the Antichrist.

Some think Vladimir Putin might be the Antichrist.  He seems pretty evil, invading sovereign countries, bombing maternity hospitals but most people do not see him as a Savior but as a bully.

Some thought JFK was the Antichrist at the time.  At the democratic convention in 1956 he received 666 votes.  He was popular and did receive a mortal head wound but never came back to life.

Three Applications

Many get bogged down in the details of the chapter.  They look at the chapter prophetically and that is not wrong, but there are also some applications from this chapter.  There are three calls for believers in this chapter.

There is a call to HEAR.  Whoever has ears, let them hear (Revelation 13:9).  God wants us to hear. Some people are open to what this chapter says, and some are not.  Many are not too interested in the prophetic portions of Scripture.

There is a call to ENDURACE in this chapter. “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.” (Revelation 13:10 NIV).

Believers will be killed in the Tribulation.  It is going to be hard to be a Christian during that time.  Many will be martyred.  It will be hard to buy food.  Many will go hungry.  It will take endurance and courage to be a believer in that day.

There is a call to WISDOM.  This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666 (Revelation 13:18).

John gives a riddle.  Who is smart enough to figure this out?  Most people don’t know what he is talking about, including most preachers.  We will see if we can figure it out.

A Sad Chapter

Revelation 13 is also one of the saddest chapters in the Bible.  It tells us how bad it will be during the Tribulation Period.

Jesus said that when He returns to earth it will be like the days of Noah.  Those days were so bad that God sent a worldwide flood and wiped out the planet.

During the Tribulation, there will be demon possessed politicians.  They will be deceptive politicians, like many we have today.  They will not all look like monsters.  Some will look like cute, little, harmless lambs that you want to pet but they speak like dragons (Revelation 13:11).

There will be Satan worship.  People will be worshiping the dragon (Revelation 13:4).  There will be intense persecution.  Believers will be slaughtered for their faith.

It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them (Revelation 13:7).

God’s name and His Word will be blasphemed.  It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. (Revelation 13:6 NIV).  People will mock the Bible.

People will not only worship the beast; they will be required to worship the Beast.  It will be mandatory.  All who refuse to worship the Antichrist will be killed (Revelation 13:15).  Christians will be killed.  They will not be able to buy food for their kids.

There will be worldwide deception.  People will think the Antichrist is great. They will say, who is like him? (Revelation 13:4).  He will be very popular.

He will be the most admired man on the planet.  The very they admire is the man who will be man who will be inspired by Satan himself.

One preacher called the Antichrist “Satan’s last victory.”[2]  It will look like Satan is winning and it will look like the saints are losing.  The dragon launches these two monsters in the Tribulation Period.

He supernaturally empowers the Antichrist.  He will perform false signs and wonders.  He will get the whole world to worship him.

He will slaughter the saints.  It looks like Satan is winning but looks can be deceiving.  God will be in control of the worst period of human history.  God actually restrains evil in this chapter.  It looks like Satan is winning but remember three things.

First, just before this, Satan was just defeated in heaven.  Michael the Archangel beats him.  He was defeated, cast out of heaven, and hurled to the earth in disgrace.  That is in Revelation 12.

Second, the Antichrist can only operate under the sovereign will of God.  God allows this to take place, like He allows evil to take place in the world today.

The beast WAS GIVEN a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. (Revelation 13:5 NIV)

It WAS GIVEN power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it WAS GIVEN authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.  (Revelation 13:7 NIV)

The Antichrist will have incredible power, but it will only be for a short period of time.  It will only be for forty-two months (Revelation 13:5).  This reign of terror will only last for three and a half years. That is less than one term as president in our country.

Third, when Jesus returns to earth, He will go to war against Him.  He will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.  He will not even be killed first.  He will be thrown ALIVE into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20).

Three Common Myths Today

Before we look at this chapter, we have to talk about three myths that people have about this chapter today.

1) The Beast in Revelation 13 is an empire, not a person

Many argue that this is not talking about a man but an empire.  Revelation 13 is an allusion to Daniel 7.  Daniel saw four beasts coming out of the sea (e.g., lion, leopard, bear).

They represented four world empires (Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome).  John sees one beast coming out of the sea that looked like the lion, leopard and bear.  The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. (Revelation 13:2 NIV)

The leader of a country often represents the country itself.  We say that Hitler killed six million Jews, but he did not actually kill them.  It was done by Nazi Germany.

In the Bible, the king and kingdom went together but Revelation 13 is referring to a person.  How do we know?  The beast is described in personal terms.  He has a throne.  He speaks.  He blasphemes and slanders people.  He wages war.  He has a mortal wound and almost dies.

At the end of the book, the beast and the false prophet are seized and thrown into the Lake of Fire. They are thrown alive into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20).  That fits real people.  It does not fit an empire.

There is another reason for believing this.  The number of the beast is 666.  We are told that it is the number of a man (Revelation 13:18), not the number of a nation or an institution, like the Roman Catholic Church.  The Beast is a real man.

2) The Beast of Revelation 13 has already come

Some say the Antichrist refers to someone in the first century.  He already came.  This has already been fulfilled.  There are two problems with that view.  No one in history has done what this man will do.

He will be given authority over all inhabitants of the earth.  He will be worshiped and will force people to receive a mark in order to buy and sell.  That does not describe anyone in history. Another problem with that view is that the Antichrist will be alive when Jesus returns.

When Jesus returns in Revelation 19, he throws this individual into the Lake of Fire. Jesus hasn’t come yet, so the beast has not come.  Jesus will not come until the Antichrist comes first.  That is what Paul said (II Thessalonians 2:3).

3) The Antichrist is only future

That is common error among many in the church today.  Most people on focus on the future Antichrist.  There will be a future Antichrist.  He will be the worst ruler of history.  He will be the incarnation of evil.

The Bible predicts that he will come.  It is all through the Bible.  Daniel predicted him (Daniel 7:8, 20-25).  John predicted him (Revelation 13).  Jesus predicted him (Mark 13:14; Matthew 24:15).  Paul predicted him (II Thessalonians 2:4).

The early church predicted a literal end-time Antichrist (Hippolytus, Irenaeus, Tertullian).  It is not something that began with some dispensationalists in the 1800s.  The Church Fathers spoke of this in the second and third century.[3]

The Bible talks about a future antichrist, but it also of a present antichrist.  It speaks of “the spirit of the antichrist” (I John 4:3).  This spirit was in the world in John’s day and is in the world in our day right now.

In fact, John did not just say that there were some antichrists in his day, he said that there were many of them (I John 2:28).  What is the spirit of the antichrist?

The Beast in Revelation 13 makes war against the people of God (Revelation 13:7) and will kill many of them.  Many governments today persecute God’s people (Communists governments, Muslim governments).  They have the same spirit today.  The same spirit is at work in those places.

There is another spirit of antichrist today.  It manifests itself in doctrinal error, especially about Jesus.

This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist (I John 4:1-3 NIV)

Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. (I John 2:22 NIV)

Who denies that Jesus is the Christ?  Many do today.  Islam teaches that God has no son.  Jesus is not the son of God.  That is the spirit of the Antichrist.

Six Signs of the Antichrist

What will this man be like?  How do we know when he comes on the scene?  He will have six traits.

1) Demonic Power

The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. (Revelation 13:2 NIV).

He will have power.  He will have more power than anyone in history.  He will have power, a throne and great authority.

Where did he get his authority?  Where did he get his throne?  Where did he get his power?  Satan gave it to him.  He will have supernatural power. He will not just have political power. He will have demonic power.

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; IT HAS BEEN GIVEN TO ME, AND I CAN GIVE IT TO ANYONE I WANT TO. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.” (Luke 4:5-7 NIV)

Satan has incredible power.  He is called “the god of this world” and he can give power to anyone he wants.  This does not mean that all governments are devil and demonic.[4]

It does mean that Satan has power and can give other people power, including political power.  During the Tribulation Period, that is exactly what he will do.

2) Global Dominion

And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. (Revelation 13:7 NIV).  He does not just have authority over one people and nation but over EVERY nation.

Many people have tried to conquer the world (Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler) but only the Antichrist will succeed.  Nations will still exist but the Antichrist will have authority over them.

The Antichrist will be a dictator over more people than anyone in history.  He will be worse than Hitler.  He will rule the whole world for three and a half years.  Hitler did not rule the world, only Nazi Germany.

The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast (Revelation 13:3 NIV)

3) Miraculous Signs

Not only will the two witnesses perform miracles in the Tribulation but, after they are gone, there will be miracles associated with the Antichrist and many people will be deceived.

One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. (Revelation 13:3 NIV).  The fatal wound is mentioned three times in this chapter

And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. (Revelation 13:13 NIV)

This mentions not just signs but GREAT SIGNS being performed and that word “signs” is the same word used of the miracles of Jesus.

For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 24:24 NIV)

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. (II Thessalonians 2:9-11 NIV)

That raises an interesting question.  What is God doing send a delusion.  That is Satan’s job, not God’s job, and yet this verse said that God will not only send a delusion but a POWERFUL DELUSION so that people will believe, not just a lie but THE lie.

That is strange.  Does God send a strong delusion on people because He hates them and wants to damn them?  Does He do it because He wants people to perish?  No.  That is not what is happening here.

The truth had already been rejected,  They rejected the truth.  God wants everyone to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth but when you reject the truth repeatedly there are consequences.

When people reject the gospel.  They don’t believe it.  They don’t love the Bible.  They can’t stand it.  They delight in sin; they leave themselves open to judgment.

God just reacts to their decision and choice to reject Him.  God allows false miracles to take place and they believe them.  Why?

When people reject the truth, they open themselves up to error.  When they reject the Bible, they end up believing lies.  That still happens today.

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (II Timothy 4:3-4 NIV)

This is not God causing people to reject the gospel.  This is further judgment on people who have already rejected it it.  He uses Satan as his instrument to punish them.

4) False Worship

People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?” (Revelation 13:4 NIV)

All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. (Revelation 13:8 NIV).

Who will worship him?  People whose names are NOT in the Book of Life.  People whose names are in the Book of Life will NOT worship him.  Why are so many people going to worship him?  They will see the signs and wonders.

5) Blasphemous Words

The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. (Revelation 13:5-6 NIV)

Most politicians are arrogant.  They have power so they say whatever they want.  The Antichrist will not only be pompous; he will be profane.  He will blaspheme God.

He will not only blaspheme God, He will do it right in the Temple in Jerusalem and commit the Abomination of Desolation.

 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. (II Thessalonians 2:4 NIV)

The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. (Daniel 11:36 NIV)

6) Religious Persecution

It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them (Revelation 13:7 NIV)

He will kill the two witnesses (Revelation 11:7) and persecute the saints (Revelation 13:7).  Daniel says that he will wear out the saints of the Most High (Daniel 7:25).  Next week, we will look at the rest of this chapter.


[2] Arnold Froese (Revelation Thirteen: Satan’s Last Victory [Olive Press, 2009]).

[3] Augustine in the fourth century quotes II Thessalonians 2 and in the fourth century stated, “No one can doubt that he wrote this of Antichrist (City of God, Book 20, Chapter 19).



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