Introduction: There was an interesting article in Friday’s Los Angeles Times. It said that 20,000 pairs of True Religion jeans were seized at the Port of Long Beach. Customs agents determined they were illegal knock-offs. Each pair had the True Religion label, plus another label that said “Made in the USA.” But they were actually knock-offs made in China and were counterfeits. Well, that’s a microcosm of what the devil does. He counterfeits True Religion. In Isaiah 14:14, we learn that in his original sin, Lucifer wanted to make himself like the Most High . Now in Revelation 13, we learn that at the end of time, he will form a twisted, evil version of the Trinity. In chapter 12, the devil appears as a dragon, who is a sort of the anti-father. Now in chapter 13, we meet the anti-christ and the anti-holy spirit.
Verse 1: This beast out of the sea is the second person of the reverse trinity. The “sea” is figurative for the “sea of humanity” (see Revelation 17:15). That tells us that the antichrist is a human being who will arise. Just as Jesus was a human, so the antichrist will be human.
Verse 2: All authority is given to this beast/antichrist. He became the visible, down-to-earth ambassador for the dragon. The Lord Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” The antichrist will speak similarly about his authority.
Verse 3: In some sense, this beast will die and rise again.
Verse 4: The purpose of the beast will be to glorify the dragon.
Verses 5-10: This antichrist will lead a universal political regime on earth for the 3 1/2 years of Great Tribulation. This is obviously a reverse-image of Jesus—a human to whom all authority is given, who dies and comes back from death, who glories the first person and sets up a kingdom.
Verse 11-12: Now we are introduced to the anti-holy spirit, who is a false prophet.
Verse 13-17: This false prophet has the ability to call fire down from heaven, similar to what the Holy Spirit did on the Day of Pentecost . He is instrumental in erecting the image of the beast (the abomination that causes desolation) in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. According to the books of Daniel, Matthew, and Thessalonians, this will trigger the last half of the tribulation.
Verse 18: Satan wants to be 7-7-7, but he can never be more than 6-6-6. Seven is a divine number. It is repeated constantly through the book of Revelation. Satan falls short. The antichrist falls short. The anti-spirit falls short. God the Father is perfect, symbolized by the number seven. God the Son is perfect, symbolized by the biblical number seven. God the Spirit is perfect, symbolized by the number seven. But the false trinity can never hit that 7-7-7. They always fall short. They are 6-6-6. There is some symbol or logo of this evil trinity, which will be imprinted on the hands or foreheads of their followers. The tribulation saints, however, will never agree to bear the mark of the beast.
Conclusion: If Satan is such a great counterfeiter, how do we learn to distinguish right and wrong? Two passages help us:
- Ask God for wisdom – 1 Kings 3:9
- Be a diligent student of Scripture – Hebrews 5:11-14