Updated: May 22
The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. …The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. 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?”
… And it was 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, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.
Whoever has ears, let them hear. …
Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. … Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, … It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
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: 1-18
We are in the second half of the Great Tribulation: three and a half years, forty-two months, 1260 days, time, times, and half a time… time for Satan and his accomplises to be defeated once and for all time. Some of the most enigmatic, mysterious passages in all of John’s visions concern the dragon and his two beasts. The dragon will stand on the shore of the earth’s sea and a beast will emerge that will be given the dragon’s power and authority. But, remember, the dragon’s time is short. Also remember, Satan has no power or authority except that which has been given to him by God. Remember God's conversation with Satan in the throne room in the story of Job?
This beast arising out of the sea appears to have been fatally wounded but has miraculously recovered from his wound. The whole world is amazed and worship both the beast from the sea and the dragon. Who has really been wounded fatally? Christ, of course. This first beast only seemed to have a fatal wound. This wound is not real: This beast is a counterfeit, an antichrist. Remember there are only three groups of people left on the earth now. This antichrist will have power to war against both God’s holy people and against every tribe, people, language and nation. Our third group, all inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast.
Next, John witnesses a second beast that comes out of the earth. It will deceive the inhabitants of the earth by performing great signs and wonders. It will set up an image of the first beast, the antichrist and give breath to the image of the first beast. Do you remember who had, has, and is the breath of life? Who is the true Ruach? The Holy Spirit. Do you remember the three young jewish men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, thrown into the furnace by Nebuchadnezzar when they refused to worship his golden image?
Here we have an unholy trinity: the dragon, the antichrist, and the false spirit, here we have the 666. Remember, at the end times, the great dragon will be hurled down from the heavens—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. Do you also remember when full of joy, what Jesus told the disciples and the 72 he had sent out to preach and heal upon their successful return? “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” Luke 10: 18. At that time, while still on the earth incarnate, Jesus, the Son of Man, had seen this future prophecy that John hears coming from a loud voice in heaven concerning Satan's final fall to the earth:
Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them!
But woe 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
The fallen angel, Satan, “the prince of the earth,” “the god of this world” and now identified as the huge red dragon, will be cast out of heaven and hurled to the earth.
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.” Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names ... The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. The name written on her forehead was a mystery:
BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus...“This calls for a mind with wisdom. ... Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages... The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.” Revelations 17: 1-18
Who is this symbolic woman? John tells us that she is a mystery. I believe she represents all in and on God’s beautiful but perverted and broken creation that desires to lead us away from our Creator. In other words, Babylon is lust and its perverted child, sin. She is the lover, whore, and spirit of Satan. Babylon is Satan’s influence upon the world, where God’s image, all of humanity, has scattered and so filled the entire earth. She is greed, ambition, power, and every other possible abomination we are so heartbrokenly aware of. She is seduction. Take a moment to read Revelation 17-19. These three chapters are devoted to Babylon. She is fascinating.
She is dressed in purple, the color of royalty, and red, the color of sin and blood. She has in her hand, a golden cup. Remember, gold is what symbolizes God in his holy inner temple. This cup is full of the wine of three horrible things: abomination, the filth of her adulteries, and the blood of God’s holy people. What does the word abomination mean? Something that is abominable is loathed, disgusting, abhorrent, hated, grotesque, raunchy, and perverted.
Is there anything more destructive to a family than adultery? A man and a woman join in a union that promises to remain secure and true. The betrayal of one to the other is devastating. And if children are part of the equation, the result is always heartbreaking. The reverberations are felt immediately and in the years, and I’d say, even in the generations to come. We know inside of our hearts, a marriage is supposed to be forever. It’s supposed to be holy and complete. It’s supposed to be an unbreakable promise. But life outside of marriage is so very seductive.
Remember Jesus, the Son of Man, as he revealed himself as the Son of God, as he offered his disciples the cup of wine, drunk in remembrance of him, symbolizing his blood as humanity’s atonement for sin. Babylon’s cup is the vile corruption of Christ’s Passover cup. Jesus’ cup promised redemption; Babylon’s cup promises damnation. Babylon's cup is full of the wine of the second harvest: The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. Revelation 14: 19
Do you remember the story of the Tower of Babel? Listen to the echoing of that story: peoples, multitudes, nations and languages. What specifically was the sin present in the story of the Tower of Babel? Ambition and pride for starters. This story reminds me of God’s lament of his archangel, Satan’s self-centered ambition: "How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high;... I will make myself like the Most High.' But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.” Isaiah 14: 12-15
Compare this grotesque woman, Babylon to the woman clothed with the sun. And, remember another lovely woman: the Virgin, Mary, clean and unblemished, who would carry the Son conceived by the Holy Spirit. Now let’s think of yet another lovely clean and unblemished woman, the Bride of Christ, washed white through his blood. The Trinity, three in one, will be joined in marriage with its creation, bearing the symbolic holy number four. Seven, the symbolic holy number of completion: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit joined with the creation. Perhaps the number for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with the bride is 777.
Satan and his two beasts, his unholy trinity, and his bride, his prostitute, Babylon, are powerful, insidious, and so very seductive. They have led the world, God’s beloved creation, astray since the dawn of time, since the birth of the earth and its first man and woman, Adam and Eve. This corruption continues in the present time and will continue until the Second Coming of Christ.
The waters that Babylon sits on? Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages. Revelation 17:15. Those waters will be redeemed through living water and the Holy Spirit, as we, the church, have been. Remember the Samaritan woman at the well?
How do you envision the dragon, the two different beasts, and Babylon?
What does the world offer you?
What in your life have you been seduced by?
Is that the same as being attracted to something?
What do you indulge in?
What do you overindulge in?
Do you drink alcohol? Is it a good or bad thing?
Do you have adultery in you family history? How has it affected you and your loved ones? How many generations has it affected?
What is it that you want? What do you desire? What would satisfy you?
The Two Feasts
I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues - last, because with them God’s wrath is completed. And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb …
After this I looked, and I saw in heaven the temple—that is, the tabernacle of the covenant law—and it was opened. Revelation 15: 1-5
Now John witnesses the final seven plagues of the Great Tribulation, the seven bowls of God's wrath:
Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.” …
The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done. …
Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.
The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” … God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Revelation 16: 1-19
It is done, so like what Jesus said as his dying words, “It is finished.” Listen carefully to the following passage as John describes the destruction of the two beasts and Babylon. Can you discern two feasts? Can you connect them to the two harvests of the earth?
”Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)
Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”…
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS
And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and the mighty, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, great and small.”
Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh. Revelation 19: 6-21
There will be a wedding supper of the Lamb. The Bride will be wearing fine linen washed white. Who will be gathered in as the bride? Is she only those of us who are part of Christ’s church, already raptured, snatched-up? No, Christ’s Bride will include the nation of Israel, protected and redeemed, and the great multitude from every nation, tribe, language and people. Do you remember Jesus’ first miracle, the water into wine? Again do you remember Hagar and her son, Ismael, who were fed in the wilderness? Do you remember the feeding of the 4000, and the 5000? Do you remember the Syrian gentile woman begging for scraps from the Lord’s table?
There will be another feast for the birds of the earth. The great supper of God will be made up of the flesh of kings and all other inhabitants of the earth. Can you imagine the vultures circling the air and cleaning the bones of the dead. This is gruesome.
Two feasts for and from the two harvests. Awesome and awful.
The Millennial Reign, the Thousand Years
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. … to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. … They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. … they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. …But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. Revelation 20: 1-10
Satan’s power to deceive the earth will be fierce. He will be successful in winning over untold numbers of the inhabitants of the earth but that number will not be enough for him to remain in power as the lord and prince of the earth. His end is revealed in sparse words following the reporting of the destruction of his consort, Babylon. Do you remember God’s wrath of fire raining down on Sodom and Gomorrah?
If you've been married, what was your wedding like? Was it lovely or a less than perfect? Has your marriage been as lovely as your wedding? What is the difference between a wedding and a marriage? What do you think the marriage between us, the Bride of Christ and Christ will be like?
Have you ever been to a lovely wedding? What made it so? Have you ever been deceived? What were the circumstances?
Have you ever deceived anyone? Why?
When will God , Christ, and the Holy Spirit be victorious? This is a tricky question. Has that happened yet? If you think that it has happened already, when did it happen?
Why do you think Satan will be bound for 1000 years? Why doesn't God destroy him after Babylon is destroyed?
What will this earth be like when Christ rules for the 1000 years? What will it look like? Remember, this will follow the seven years of tribulation and destruction.
The 29:11 Story
What does the bead for the 144,000 and the Two Witnesses look like? Why is it bronze? What beads in the Old Testament are prophetic of the Revelation's nation of Israel? Can you find the Twelve Tribes and the series of the Major Prophets?
What beads on the 29:11 Story are gathered from among the other peoples, multitudes, nations and languages of God's creation? Can you find Hagar and Ishmael? Ruth? The Syrian gentile woman, the Samaritan woman at the well? Can you locate Luke, the gentile physician of Paul?
Who on the 29:11 Story foreshadows the inhabitants of the earth? What color bead would they be? Can you find Cain and Judas? How about the Tower of Babel.
Where are the angels in this lesson? Are they agents of refinement or of destruction? Can you find the angels in the Old Testament that foreshadowed this Host of Angels?
Can you find the old red dragon and its corresponding bead, the red apple in the beginning of God's Story? What parallels can you draw between the two?
Can you find Babylon, in red, and her corresponding red bead of the Tower of Babel? What connects the two?
Can you find the orange bead of the Lake of Fire and its foreshadowing bead of God's Wrath raining down on Sodom and Gomorrah? What connects these two events?
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Romans 8: 22
When you are in crisis, when the brokenness of life seems overwhelming, God will give you daily manna and living water. Here are two other stories that I love. The first one was given to me shortly after William was first diagnosed. My cousin called me from my hometown to tell me that there was a mother in her Bible study group who had a daughter who had been treated for the same type of bone cancer as my son. I called that mother to seek solace and listen to her family's experience. She told me that God would give us all the affirmations that we would need as we went along. Then she shared this story:
She and her husband had to take her daughter to Charleston, South Carolina, for the bone biopsy. After the surgery, the doctor sat down with the little ten year old girl and very kindly and frankly told her, "Chelsey, you have cancer. I believe we can save you but we will have to amputate your leg."
Before they set off to return home, Chelsey said, "I want to see the ocean." Her father picked her up out of the car and set her down on top of the sea wall. A sea gull flew over and landed beside her. It flew away and then returned and landed again beside her. This sea gull had one leg. ... "Do you think God is talking to me?" Chelsey asked her mother and father.
Another favorite story happened to my daughter and husband the weekend after we had buried William. We were at the lake. The two of them were outside and they noticed a beautiful dead hummingbird on the ground. They picked him up carefully with a plant trowel. He was laying there, glowing in the sun as its light caught in his feathers. Suddenly, he lifted up and remained flying in midair, buzzing wings beating wildly between my daughter and my husband's faces!
Chelsey's mother had assured me of God's affirmations in a time of need. What a lovely assurance of His presence for her family. What a lovely gift for mine.
Chelsey is a grown woman now, I'm pleased to say...
What surprised you today?
What new connections in the Bible did you make today?
What questions do you want to explore further about today's study?
Have you ever wondered if your prayers will be answered? Do you wonder if they are even heard? Read Revelation 5. Can you find the prayers? What does this mean to you?
Read Matthew 22: 30. Jesus told the disciples that we will not marry in heaven. Why not?
Compare this to Genesis 2:18. There is a shift from the Old Testament compared to the New Testament in regards to marriage. Why?
How does Ephesians 5 help with this question?
Will the marriage of the Bride and Christ be like our marriages?
If you turn the question around: Should our marriages be like that of the Bride and Christ?
We've read how Satan desires to sift us like wheat. Let's explore a possible reason for the 1000 year reign, when Satan will be bound. Could this be a time for healing from the horrible series of plagues of the Great Tribulation? Read Revelations 20: 1-10. What will happen to the nations when Satan is released? What did God promise Abraham?
Can you define what a religion is? What other religions are there on the earth? What do each of them believe, what do they promise?
Read John 3: 16-21 and John 14: 6-7. What does this lesson add to your understanding of these well know passages?
What is the reason that religions exist?
What is happening today with people's religious beliefs? Why?
What, is anything, is replacing people's religions?
What has happened to hope and faith? Does the world still need an answer to the oldest question of all: What is the meaning of life?
Who will reign with Christ during the 1000 years? Read again about the fifth seal, Revelation 6: 9-11. Where do these come from?
What is it that we want? Is that the same thing as what we need?
What do you think about dying? Does the thought about death scare you? Why or why not?