Revelation 11:15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.
This pronouncement seems premature since there is still more conflict to come. But this is where the story is going, and the outcome is certain. The world is at war with God, and it will not back down until it is defeated—but it will be defeated.
The First World War (1914-1918) was called the war to end all wars. It did not turn out that way, but the real war to end all wars is coming, and Christ will be the victor. [T]hose enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me (Luke 19:27), he will say. If we do not receive Jesus as our Lord (Colossians 2:6) we will face him as our judge.
Revelation 12:3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads.
This dragon is later identified as Satan himself (Revelation 12:9). He is a creature of massive power, with an appetite for destruction. [W]oe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short (Revelation 12:12), wrote John.
The devil has been active in the world since Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-6), but his fury will intensify as time runs out. He wants the world to hate God as much as he does, so we should expect an increase in every kind of wickedness. This was also foreseen by the Apostle Paul.
There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:1-4), he wrote. Under the devil’s sway, people will turn into moral monsters.
For example, three friends murdered their buddy after a disagreement. The autopsy showed that he was beaten with a board, and choked so severely that his Adam’s apple was crushed. They also crushed his head with a rock and left him to decompose. Worst of all, the victim was only eight years old, and his killers were the same age. The world’s most hateful sins are Satan’s purest joy.
Revelation 13:1 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.
This figure is thought to be the antichrist, which was also described by the Apostle Paul. 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 (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
Likewise, he will be given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 13:7-8), wrote John.
Worship belongs to Jesus Christ, but the Christ-rejecting world will worship the antichrist instead. Jesus is the rightful king of the world (Isaiah 9:6), but the antichrist will claim that honor for himself. Jesus laid down his life for the sheep (John 10:11), but the antichrist will slaughter the sheep (Revelation 13:10). He is the devil’s counterfeit of the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). He is Satan’s Messiah.
Revelation 13:11 Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon.
This figure is understood to be the antichrist’s false prophet (Revelation 16:13, 19:20, 20:10). He will perform great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people (Revelation 13:13). His goal is to bring glory to the antichrist so that everyone will worship him (Revelation 13:15).
The devil, the antichrist and the false prophet make up an unholy trinity. Like the Father, the devil remains invisible. Like the Son, the antichrist claims all authority (Matthew 28:18). And like the Spirit, the false prophet glorifies another, not himself (John 16:14). This will be a difficult time for believers, but it will not last.
Revelation 14:9-10 If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury.
The false prophet will set up an image of the antichrist, and require everyone to worship it, or be put to death (Revelation 13:14-15). People will also be required to receive a mark on their right hand, or their forehead, in order to buy or sell (Revelation 13:16-17). The mark is the name of the antichrist, or the number of his name, which is 666 (Revelation 13:18).
Mankind was created on the sixth day (Genesis 1:26-31), so the triple-six may represent the glory of mankind over against the glory of God. God marks his people inwardly with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30), but the antichrist will mark his people outwardly with the number of a man (Revelation 13:18). The highest concern of many is the glory of mankind, but the highest concern of believers is the glory of God.
Reflection and Review
Is the world getting better or worse?
How does Satan imitate God?
Should Christians fear the antichrist?