Revelation 13:11 NLTse Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb, but he spoke with the voice of a dragon.
The first rule of Bible Study is context. The author explains the proper context within the chapter in the introduction and summary of the chapter. Look for words in the subject texts which are the same, similar and related within the chapter’s introduction and summary. Also look for repeated words within the introduction and summary which reveal the theme and context of the chapter.
Revelation 13:1-4 NLTse (1) Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God. (2) This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion! And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority. (3) I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery–but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. (4) They worshiped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they also worshiped the beast. “Who is as great as the beast?” they exclaimed. “Who is able to fight against him?”
Revelation 13:16-18 NLTse (16) He required everyone–small and great, rich and poor, free and slave–to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. (17) And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name. (18) Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.
Based on the introduction and summary, we see Revelation chapter 13 deals with worship of a beast on a world wide basis.
The beast in Revelation 13:11 has two horns like a lamb. Notice the body of the beast is not described. The emphasis is placed on the two horns. Which lamb do the horns resemble? This beast speaks like a dragon which is easily identified as Satan in the previous chapter. This great dragon–the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world–was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. (Revelation 12:9 NLTse).
Comparing the introduction and summation shows this beast has a close connection with Satan, convincing people to worship the devil and submit to his control.
There are a few things we must review about the book of Revelation. First is to understand its name defines it’s purpose.
From G601; disclosure: – appearing, coming, lighten, manifestation, be revealed, revelation.
Revelation was written to reveal and enlighten Jesus appearing and coming. Since the definition of Revelation reveals its purpose, the coming of Jesus, each symbol must be interpreted within the context of the Book of Revelation in relationship to Jesus’ appearing. Each and every symbol in Revelation can be identified within Revelation then expounded on by other books of the Bible. One other fact about Revelation we have to consider is, chapter 13 is the only chapter which does not begin in Heaven, but on earth. This shows all interpretations must originate in Heaven, and also warns the majority of interpretations of chapter 13 originate from this world.
Basic rules of Bible study dictate the sequence interpretation. The first place to search is the chapter and book before allowing the rest of the Bible to expound on the details. Following these simple rules, we examine the chapter looking for words which are the same, similar, and related to words in the subject text. We know the beast has horns like a lamb. Chapter 13 also identifies another lamb.
Revelation 13:7-9 NLTse (7) And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation. (8) And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made–the Book that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered. (9) Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.
Verse 8 shows a contrast between these two lambs. The lamb in verse 11 gives power to Satan, while the Lamb in verse 8 is slaughtered. To identify the slaughtered Lamb we have to review another basic rule of Bible study. Each symbol points to a fulfillment greater than the symbol itself. As seen in verses 3, 7, 8, 11, and 14, all the symbols in chapter 13 point to a fulfillment involving the entire world. Using the key words given in verse 8 we can search Revelation for the Lamb’s identity.
Revelation 5:6 NLTse Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth.
Revelation 5:6 shows a slaughtered Lamb with seven horns which are identified as the Spirit of God sent out into every part of the earth. Notice how Revelation 5:6 contains four key words Lamb, Slaughtered, horns, and earth, related to Revelation 13:7-9. This illustrates God’s ability to write a book that explains the symbols He placed within it. There is never a reason to look outside of God’s Word for an interpretation. The first step is to clearly identify the Lamb in Revelation 5:6. Once again, the first place to search is the same chapter.
Revelation 5:12-14 NLTse (12) And they sang in a mighty chorus: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered– to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.” (13) And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang: “Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.” (14) And the four living beings said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb.
The Lamb in Revelation 5 has qualities far different than the beast in Revelation 13. The qualities in Revelation 5 clearly point to Jesus, the only slaughtered Lamb sitting on a throne forever. John makes it clear, Jesus is the Lamb of God. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29 NLTse).
Remember, the beast in Revelation 13 has two horns like a lamb. The symbol of a lamb in Revelation 5 has seven horns. Why does the beast have only two horns? The horns used to represent Jesus represent the seven Spirits of God sent throughout the entire world. Once again we see this involves the entire world. The story is beginning to unfold. This shows the epic battle between good and evil, between Jesus and Satan. Now we see how the symbols point to a far greater fulfillment. To understand the two horns in Revelation 13, we first have to find the role of God’s sevenfold Spirit in Revelation.
Revelation 1:4-6 NLTse This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia. Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne; (5) and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world. All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. (6) He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.
Once again, the author of Revelation provides a number of key words to link Revelation 1:4-6 directly to Revelation 5:12-14, adding vital details. Jesus has made us a Kingdom of priests. This introduces our role in Revelation as well as making this a personal message. This letter to the seven churches is delivered by the sevenfold Spirit. The role of God’s sevenfold Spirit is to deliver a message to the seven churches. This is repeated a number of times in the first few chapters of Revelation.
Revelation 2:11 NLTse “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death.
Revelation 2:17 NLTse “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.
Revelation 2:29 NLTse “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.
Revelation 3:6 NLTse “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.
Revelation 3:13 NLTse “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.
Revelation 3:22 NLTse “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.”
To understand the the full message would include an in depth study of Revelation chapters 2 and 3. The basic role of this study is to identify the spiritual meaning of the two horns in Revelation 13. Since these horns resemble a Lamb which symbolizes Jesus, the message from the beast that deceives the world resembles the message from God’s sevenfold Spirit to the seven churches. One theme remains consistent in the message to the seven churches, when the churches listen to God’s Spirit they understand.
The book of Revelation not only reveals each of its symbols, it also teaches basic Bible study fundamentals. Revelation 1:12-16 contains a description of Jesus which is broken down in later verses in the letters to the churches.
Revelation 1:12-16 NLTse (12) When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. (13) And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. (14) His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. (15) His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. (16) He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And hisface was like the sun in all its brilliance.
Each of these descriptions of Jesus in the letters to the seven churches can be gathered and laid out in a chart which provides the complete description. The message to the seven churches also contains descriptions of Heaven, what the churches have done wrong, and right. Each of these can also be gathered into charts to see a full description of the message and an understanding.
The basic message to the seven churches from God’s sevenfold Spirit is how to study and understand Revelation and the Bible. Since the seven horns on the slaughtered Lamb symbolizing Jesus represent the sevenfold Spirit, the two horns in Revelation 13 represent study concepts not consistent with God’s Spirit. We can see this in the description of the beast.
Revelation 13:11-15 NLTse (11) Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb, but he spoke with the voice of a dragon. (12) He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he required all the earth and its people to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. (13) He did astounding miracles, even making fire flash down to earth from the sky while everyone was watching. (14) And with all the miracles he was allowed to perform on behalf of the first beast, he deceived all the people who belong to thisworld. He ordered the people to make a great statue of the first beast, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life. (15) He was then permitted to give life to this statue so that it couldspeak. Then the statue of the beast commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die.
It is not hard to see the conflict is centered on worship. The role of the beast with the two horns is to either deceive or force people to worship the first beast. To understand this conflict, you must first understand the worship God is looking for, which is a personal relationship with Him. Jesus came to this world to reopen the path to God’s throne. And so, dear brothers and sisters, we canboldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s bloodto make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22 NLTse).
Since the message of the sevenfold Spirit of God is to teach the churches to listen and understand by learning how to study Revelation and the Bible, the beast with the two horns will offer a substitute, or counterfeit form of worship. Its easy to understand this deception once we learn to understand the message. The slaughtered Lamb, Jesus, shed His blood to make us a Kingdom or priests. This is the same role God offered Israel soon after delivering them from bondage in Egypt. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.” (Exodus 19:6 NLTse). As we have seen in Hebrews 10:19-22, Jesus died to open a direct path to God’s throne for us. The offer to become God’s kingdom of priests was repeated in the New Testament after Jesus’ ascension. But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9 NLTse).
All of this points to an individual, personal relationship with God. This is the message Jesus came to teach this world. It is a relationship Satan tried to put an end to in the garden of Eden and a message he tried to stop in the wilderness when he attempted to discourage and bribe Jesus. Satan has used false gods, prophets and priests to stand between God and His people. In our time Satan still convinces people to stand between God and his people. We still have preachers and prophets boasting gifts, higher education, and training they claim are special qualities which place them to stand between God and His people. In fact they are unqualified and unwilling to teach people how to develop a stronger personal relationship with God through His Word. They do not understand God’s message from His Spirit to the churches. They deliver a message from the beast, a deception the world cannot see or understand.
Look at the description of the beast. This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion! And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority. (Revelation 13:2 NLTse). What are the physical attributes of a leopard? Its spots blend in with shadows. A leopard hides in the brush waiting for its unsuspecting victim to pass by, then ambushes it. So I will go and speak to their leaders. Surely they know the ways of the LORD and understand God’s laws.” But the leaders, too, as one man, had thrown off God’s yoke and broken his chains. So now a lion from the forest will attack them; a wolf from the desert will pounce on them. A leopard will lurk near their towns, tearing apart any who dare to venture out. For their rebellion is great, and their sins are many. “How can I pardon you? For even your children have turned from me. They have sworn by gods that are not gods at all! I fed my people until they were full. But they thanked me by committing adultery and lining up at the brothels. (Jeremiah 5:5-7 NLTse). This describes how subtle the deceptions will be until the beast is sure it can spring into action to attack and kill it prey.
Notice the fact, God does not waste a lot of words or time describing the deceptions these beasts use to mislead the world. Instead, God placed His efforts in a message of hope and understanding. Many people fall prey to one of the beast’s deceptions by wasting time and effort trying to identify some of the beasts deceptions, but the lesson taught in Job tell us, this is not our battle and should not be our concern. Instead we need to study God’s Word, learn to rely on His Spirit, and become Jesus’ disciples. It is an individual effort. No one is responsible for your personal relationship with Jesus but you.
Jesus told His disciples, “You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders, so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: ‘When they see what I do, they will learn nothing. When they hear what I say, they will not understand. Otherwise, they will turn to me and be forgiven.'” Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understandthe meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables? Jesus used many similar stories and illustrations to teach the people as much as they could understand. In fact, in his public ministry he never taught without using parables; but afterward, when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them. (Mark 4:11-13, 33-34 NLTse).
Early in His ministry Jesus promised His disciples He would teach them how to understand all parables. Jesus emphasized the word UNDERSTAND by repeating it a number of times. One way He did this was to point them back to scripture. In the months and years that followed, Jesus explained how to understand parables by pointing His disciples back to scripture. Each of the examples He used taught basic Bible study principles used over generations and still recognized , but seldom taught or practiced today. One of the roles of the disciples was to teach these simple principles using the same methods taught by Jesus. Over two hundred examples are found in the New Testament where the disciples point back to the Old Testament prophecies Jesus fulfilled. The prophecies Jesus fulfilled teach simple Bible study rules. But how many churches today teach these simple concepts? The leopard’s deception is well hidden. So well hidden, the world cannot see it has already fallen for the deception. The good news is, the original message is still in God’s Word and His Spirit is still available to provide understanding. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.