Lesson 9

The Dragon Versus the Remnant - Part 1

(Revelation 13)
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Introduction: Last week we examined several great "billboards" in the sky to determine what they meant. One billboard had this surly red dragon of unusual size on it. We found out that he was a killer and, worse, he has moved into our neighborhood! This week we find that he has friends - that are just as undesirable. Let's learn more by jumping into our lesson, which is the first of two lessons about these friends!

  1. The Dragon's Beastly Brother


    1. Read Revelation 13:1. Have you ever noticed how brothers or sisters sometimes look very much alike? Who does this beast look like? (Compare Revelation 12:3. You would recognize these two anywhere! The Beast has seven heads, ten horns and seven crowns just like the dragon. This similarity is pretty hard to miss.)


      1. What do you think this similarity in appearance means? (Last week we decided that seven (the perfect or complete number) heads (the place where you think) meant perfectly evil.)


      2. Notice the Beast is a sea-creature. Is there any significance to him "coming out of the sea?" (In Daniel 7:2-3 we have all of these beasts coming out of the sea. Some believe this symbolizes people or political agitation in population centers (Jeremiah 46:7-8; Isaiah 8:7). Others believe this means the Mediterranean, the "Great Sea" of the area (Joshua 1:4).)


    2. Read Revelation 13:2. How are the Dragon and the Beast related? (The Dragon, who we learned last week (Rev. 12:9) was Satan, confers power and authority on the Beast. The Dragon is the sponsor of the Beast.)


      1. Why would the Dragon, who is not a nice guy, give up his throne to someone else? (This must be the Dragon's agent. Otherwise, this would make no sense.)


      2. We find that in some respects the Beast does not look like the Dragon. What is different about his looks? (He looks like a leopard, has feet like a bear, and a mouth like a lion.)


        1. If you saw an animal like that in the lost animal pound, would you take it home? What would you conclude? Would this be a suitable pet? (Bear claws are a very dangerous part of the bear. The lion's mouth is a very dangerous part of the lion. A leopard is very fast. The total picture I get is a fast, dangerous animal - definitely one to be left at the pound.)


      3. Have you ever seen someone who looks like someone you know? Does this odd-looking beast remind you of something you have seen before in the Bible? (Look at Daniel 7:3-6.)


        1. What did those animals represent? (Read Daniel 7:15-17. They represent the three "world" kingdoms we discussed in the second lesson of this series. These are Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. That makes it seem that this Beast of Revelation 13:2 is a world power.)


        2. Notice that these "beast parts" are mentioned in Revelation in the reverse order that they are mentioned in Daniel. It is as if Revelation is looking back through history. Are we missing a beast from Daniel 7? (Yes, we are missing the Roman Empire.)


    3. Let's review. The beast has a family resemblance to the Dragon (same horns, heads and crowns)and he also looks like a committee of beast parts from Daniel 7. What do you think this means, other than to tell us he is really ugly? (This paints a symbolic picture of this beast. He is evil, like Satan, and he is apparently a world power because he has the attributes of several of the world kingdoms of the past, and he operates with the authority of Satan.)


  2. Identifying the Beastly Brother


    1. Read Revelation 13:3-4. We have learned the beast is evil and it is a world power. What other characteristic do we learn about it? (It is resilient ("fatal" wound is healed) and it is religious in some sense ("worshiped the beast").)


    2. Read Revelation 13:5-7. What occupation does the beast have that is like the dragon? (Remember in Revelation 12:17 we saw the dragon going after the righteous. In Revelation 13:7 we see this beast has the same occupation - making war on the saints.)


      1. Read Daniel 7:7-8, 20-21. Do you see a parallel between the activities of this "little horn" and the Beast?


    3. As you consider all of this, what clues do we have about the identity of this Beast? (When we studied the prophecies of Daniel earlier this quarter, we found the sequence of world kingdoms was Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. The implication here ( Revelation 13:2) is that this beast arises after the Greek Empire. What arose after the Greek Empire was Rome. Daniel 7:7-8, 23-25 identifies the "ten horns" for the beast that represents Rome and reveals that the "horn" power that follows Rome, oppressing the saints. In addition, the geography works for those who consider the "sea" ( Revelation 13:1) the Mediterranean. Both the Roman Empire and Papal Rome persecuted believers. Many commentators point to Papal Rome as filling this description both as a matter of time in history and the historical record of the persecution of the saints by the Church.)


      1. If "Papal Rome" is right, is this just a dusty old prophecy, of no use to anyone other than those who want to defame the Catholic Church?


    4. Read Revelation 13:7-8. What clues point to a different understanding of this beast? (Papal Rome never had authority over the entire world. (Although some may dispute this during the Middle Ages.) Verse 8 seems to point to the future, specifically the end of time. All inhabitants of the world do not worship Papal Rome now. Although the "teachers helps" in the lesson point to increased cooperation between Catholics and Protestants, any impulse by the Catholic hierarchy to cooperate with Protestants shows its lack of power to compel worship. Why try to cooperate when you can just command? In the United States, there is a strong anti-Catholic bias in the media. It would take an astonishing change in public opinion for any church, much less the Catholic Church, to compel people to worship it.)


        1. How does Revelation 13:5 fit into this discussion? (It says that this Beast only has authority for a limited period of time.)


        2. How, then, can the "end-time" people be forced to worship this Beast?


        3. Is it possible that we have more than one power that might be represented by this Beast?(While I certainly do not claim an expertise in this area, this seems the most likely answer to me. The Beast certainly was reflected in the Roman Empire with its murder of Jesus and the subsequent persecution of the saints. The terrible role of the Catholic church in persecuting and killing "unbelievers" centuries ago also potentially reflects "Beast" characteristics. However, it appears there is a Beast to come, which will not be very nice to those who love the Lord. As Christians, the important part of this to watch for is the common characteristics between the Dragon and the Beast. Both oppose God and attack His people. Any group that opposes God and attacks His people in the end times takes on the characteristic of the Beast. Be alert.)


  3. Our Response to the Beast Problem


    1. Read Revelation 13:9. What advice does Revelation give to the saints? (Pay attention!)


      1. What do you think the "pay attention" warning means as a practical matter? (The danger that I see is the same danger that the Jews faced when Jesus came. There were plenty of prophecies about Jesus coming, but the Jews had fixed ideas that caused them to be unwilling to examine any alternative explanation of the Scriptures. Those who were not constantly studying the Bible to match it with current events rejected Jesus. Just because someone else has told you a certain interpretation of prophecy, you are not safe in just taking their word for it. God requires every one of us to carefully study His Word so our (v.9) ears will be open and we will hear.)


    2. Read Revelation 13:10. When the surly red Dragon and his friend the Beast come after Christians, what should we do? (We are called upon to faithfully endure.)


    3. Friend, God calls on us to pay attention to these difficult to understand warnings in Revelation. Will you commit to studying God's Word and keeping your eyes and ears wide open?


  4. Next Week: The Dragon Versus the Remnant - Part 2

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