1 The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. 3 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. 4 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 13:1-4
Today, we transition into Revelation 13 where the Apostle John sees the dragon which is Satan who is standing on the shore of the sea.
In v.1-2 we read, "1 The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority."
Throughout the Scriptures the sea is illustrative of the gentile nations of the world. John also sees a beast with characteristics of a leopard, a bear, and a lion. It also had ten horns and seven heads with ten crowns on its horns. In Daniel 7 we see four beasts much like these in our text today. This underscores that the best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself.
In Daniel 7:8 we read, “While I was contemplating those ten horns, behold another horn, a little horn came up among them. Three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts.”
The antichrist will arise out of the ten confederacy of countries that we considered first in Daniel 2. And, as is obvious in our text, the antichrist will be closely associated with the dragon. He will be the child of Satan. Most scholars believe this beast will represent the revived Roman Empire. The world is certainly looking for just such a leader with its void of leadership. The fact is, such a man is coming. Satan will design him and possess him. And, he will be everything that the world thinks it is looking for in a leader. He will rise to authority quickly. He will be everything the people on earth at that time will hope for a leader to be. He will bring worldwide peace and prosperity to all.
And so, it will be, in the time of the tribulation, that Satan selects his leader and empowers him to take over the world. And, his ultimate goal, of course, will be to prevent people from turning to the Lord Jesus Christ. He will begin by trying to destroy all of the Jews on the earth, so they can’t come to Christ and enjoy His Kingdom.
This is not the first mention of the antichrist in the book of the Revelation. We find him first mentioned in Revelation 6 as the rider on a white horse who comes to conquer. We find him again mentioned in Revelation 11:7 where he is identified as the beast which comes out of the abyss.
The antichrist will be an individual who will rule over a conglomerate of ten world nations that have ten horns and seven heads. The horns represent kings. Horns are symbols of strength and power in the Scriptures, and they will represent these kings. Ten of them simply represent the nations of the world that will assist the antichrist in the implementation of his kingdom here on earth.
In Revelation 13:3-4 we read, "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. 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?"
There will be such chaos on the earth at that time that it will present the perfect situation for the antichrist to be presented to the languishing people of the world. And, as we all know, leaders are born in a crisis. Leaders rise in the midst of the unsolvable problems. Whether they are bad or good, leaders come to the top when there are no solutions. It will be in this frightening and horrible chaos of the world that this man will arise. He will be empowered by by the god of this world, Satan, in order to seize authority in the midst of this worldwide emergency.
So successful will be his entrance into the world that the people of the world will throw aside their freedoms just for peace that he will offer. This man will come on the scene at the beginning of the tribulation and he will bring peace, which tells us that before that happens, there’s going to be utter worldwide chaos. And, yes, the rapture of the church will surely contribute to the disruption.
The people on the earth during the antichrist's arrival will be amazed and astounded at his charming personality and his great miraculous abilities. And, as a result, they will follow him in droves. He will experience a fatal wound but he will come back to life. This will only increase his mystique before the world.
So, the antichrist will be a great world leader on the earth during the first part of the tribulation and he will be killed. And then, he will come back to life. He will deceive the whole world and through his ability to pull together the ten confederation of nations, the world will fawn all over him. In 2 Thessalonians 2:9 we are told that he will win the world's trust through his power, signs and deceptive abilities.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:10 we read, "... They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved."
When the people of the world reject God's truth, they will have no truth to prevent themselves from recognizing the lies of the antichrist. It is the nature of the truth to protect us from deception. As these people reject the truth, they will be deceived. This highlights for you and me the utter necessity of being devoted to being defined by God's word. And, in order to be both protected and effective in helping others from being deceived, we must make it our goal to be defined by God by the study of His word. Perhaps this is why George Orwell once said, “In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”