The Beast from the Raging Sea
November 25th, 1962 @ 8:15 AM
THE BEAST FROM THE RAGING SEA
Dr. W. A. Criswell
11-25-62 8:15 a.m.
On the radio you are listening to the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing the early morning message entitled The Beast from the Raging Sea. It is an exposition of the first ten verses of the thirteenth chapter of the Apocalypse. And if you will turn in your Bible to the Book of the Revelation, to chapter 13, we shall read the first ten verses which comprise the basis of the message at this hour.
In our preaching through the Bible these many years, we have come to the last book, and in our preaching through the last book to chapter 13. And now let us follow the reading of the first ten verses:
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and his throne, and great authority.
And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months,
And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
If any man have an ear, let him hear.
He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
I wish we had five or ten hours as we look at this passage. We shall try to encompass in so few brief minutes so very much.
In the preceding chapter, in the twelfth chapter, after the war in heaven, when Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, called that ancient serpent, the Devil, and Satan, Satan was cast out of the presence of God [Ezekiel 28:16-18; Revelation 12:7-9] and interdicted his intercourse and his attendance upon and his right of entrance into the heavenlies [Isaiah 14:12].
And in rage, knowing as the book says in 12:12, knowing that he had but a short time, forty-two months, three and a half years, one thousand two hundred sixty days, a time times and a dividing of times [Revelation 12:12-14], knowing that he had but a short time, he comes to the earth for his last great stand [Revelation 12:12]. And in that awful crisis, this ultimate consummation of this age, in that awful crisis, he wars against God’s people through two ministers, one an antichrist, political, and the other a false prophet, religious [Revelation 13:1-18].
And both of these beasts are described, delineated in the thirteenth chapter of the Apocalypse. The first ten verses have to do with the political Antichrist [Revelation 13:1-10], and the second eight verses have to do with his cohort and compatriot, the religious leader called the false prophet [Revelation 13:11-18].
These two war against our Christ until finally they lead their dukes in battle itself against our Lord and the heavenly hosts, and are destroyed at the interdiction, at the coming, at the intervention of our Christ, which occurs in the nineteenth chapter of the Apocalypse [Revelation 19:11-16].
When you come to the twelfth chapter of this book, things move rapidly, and speedily, and furiously to their final end [Revelation 12:12].
Now, the sainted apostle John, who, in the Spirit stood upon Patmos isle [Revelation 1:9-10], was lifted up to heaven [Revelation 4:1], was taken in to the wilderness [Revelation 17:3], was taken to a high mountain, here the same prophet stands upon the sand of the sea [Revelation1 3:1]. This is the same raging sea that you have read about this morning in the seventh chapter of the Book of Daniel [Daniel 7:2-3].
And as he sees the strife and the storm raging on this sea of humanity, the revolutionary chaos of the great multitudes of the nations and people in the earth, as he looks upon it, he sees a monstrous thing rise out of the deep. First emerging, you have it translated here, “I saw a beast rise, anabainon, present participle of anabainon, “rising” [Revelation 13:1].
Very graphically, as he watches the storm raging on the sea, he begins to see rising, emerging, ascending out of the deep this monster. First rising, he sees ten horns and on each one a diadem, then as it rises further there are seven heads. And then, finally he sees the ferocious and terrible monster himself, like a leopard, like a panther in the contour of his body, with feet like the feet of a bear and with a mouth like a mouth of a lion and speaking blasphemous things against God and His people [Revelation 13:1-6].
Now, as this beast is described, these things are revealed about him: First, he is God’s symbol of the great, final, ultimate end power, world power in this earth. In the nineteenth chapter of the Book of the Revelation he is destroyed, and he has no successor [Revelation 19:20]. I know by that, therefore, that there is none beyond him. This is the form of the final political sovereignty in this world [Revelation 13:1-10]. In the seventh chapter of that Book of Daniel, who saw this same vision, here in composite, there in separate form, these are political kingdoms, God said to the prophet Daniel [Daniel 7:1-12, 15-28]. So here, this is a picture of, it is God’s symbol of the great last political dominion in this earth [Revelation 13:1-10].
In the seventeenth chapter of the Book of the Revelation, the parts of that animal are delineated. The seven heads are seven mountains [Revelation 17:9]. When we come to the seventeenth chapter and speak of the great scarlet whore, she is described as seated upon the seven mountains [Revelation 17:9]. This is a delineation of the location of this great last capital city.
There are seven kings; those seven heads also represent seven kingdoms. Now, this is a personal interpretation. He says here that five are fallen, one is, and the other is yet to come [Revelation 17:10]. Those seven heads, he says, represent seven kings or seven kingdoms. Now, this is just a private persuasion: I think the five that were fallen were the Egyptian, the Assyrian, the Babylonian, the Persian, the Greek. I think the one that was when John wrote was the Roman. And the one that is yet to come is this final world dominion, represented by the political leader, this Antichrist, this beast [Revelation 17:11].
Then it says, “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings which are yet to come” [Revelation 17:12]. The final political sovereignty and dominion of this world will be divided up. It will not be one nation, but it will be ten. And ten may be a number representing completion, fullness. Or it could be ten great centers of political power. In any event, the end government of this world will be divided into separate nations and separate kingdoms. “The ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings who are yet to come” [Revelation 17:12]. These ten have one mind, and they give their power and their strength unto the beast.
So, at the end time, there is coming into this world one great political arch-regent over all. There will be nations in this world as you see them now, but in the end time, in the vast consummation of the age, there shall arise one tremendous military, political leader, and these ten kings, the heads of these different nations, shall give to him, willingly, gladly, triumphantly, the authority and the power and the dominion of their separate governments [Revelation 17:13].
So he is, first of all, a political leader.
All right, a second thing about him, he is a man. He is a somebody. I would suppose that from the very language of the Apocalypse. For example, when he is destroyed with the false prophet, the Book says, “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet.” These both were cast alive into a lake of fire, burning with brimstone [Revelation 19:20]. So, the language of the Apocalypse seems to refer to the fact that this great, final ruler is a person; he is a man; he is an individual.
I would also suppose that from the other passages in the Bible concerning him. For example, when Paul delineates that final Antichrist, in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, verse 3, he refers to him as that “man,” that man of sin who shall be sent into perdition [2 Thessalonians 2:3].
So he is a somebody. You cannot have a kingdom without a king. You do not have an empire without an emperor. And there is no such a thing as dominion and power and authority in this world that is not revealed by somebody, some person. So, this political leader is a man; he is a particular man.
Now I would suppose that from another passage. One of the most remarkable statements in the Bible is written by the apostle John to no particular church; it is found in a general epistle. And he says in 1 John 2 and [verse] 18, “Little children, ye have heard that Antichrist shall come” [1 John 2:18].
Where did they hear that? They heard it because it was a part of a general teaching of all Christendom. It is a part of the general teaching of the apostles, of the Gospels, of the Son of God, and of the apostles. It is a part of the Prophets, and of the Gospels, and of the Son of God, and of the apostles themselves.
From the beginning, when we were promised a Deliverer, there was also concomitant with it that dark adumbration, that there would be another power that would bruise the Deliverer’s heel. There would be a prodigy, a brood of that serpent that would war against the Seed of the mother [Genesis 3:15]. And through the ages, that is always been true. There is a Cain for every Abel [Genesis 4:8]. There is a Jannes and Jambres for every Moses and Aaron [2 Timothy 3:8]. There is a Babylon for every Jerusalem [2 Chronicles 36:5-7]. There is a Herod Antipas for every John the Baptist [Matthew 14:1-12]. And there is a Nero for every apostle Paul [Acts 25:10-12]. “Ye have heard, little children, how the Antichrist shall come” [1 John 2:18]. There is a dark subversive power in this world that has been here, has been prophesied, has been revealed from the beginning.
Then the apostle John says, “Even now there are many antichrists; whereby ye may know that it is the last time” [1 John 2:18]. These others are all types and figures and adumbrations; they are harbingers of that great, final, what Paul calls, the man of sin [2 Thessalonians 2:3], and what John, in the Revelation, delineates as this monstrous beast [Revelation 13:1-10].
All right, another thing about him: he is superlatively attractive, and bewitching, and marvelously influential [Revelation 13:4].
You must remember that the delineation of Satan as a dragon, here described in [Revelation] chapter 12, is a symbol [Revelation 12:9]. It is God’s symbol of him. Now, you must remember that same thing about this Antichrist, this beast [Revelation 13:1-10]. He does not look that way. This is God’s symbol of him. By that plainly I mean this, when you see him, when he arises on the horizon of history, you will not see a leopard or a panther with feet like a bear and with mouth like a lion and terrible visage [Revelation 13:2], as described by Daniel [Daniel 7:2-7]. You will not see that. These are symbols of God’s description. This is God’s outline of him that you might understand his character.
Now, look at him. This ultimate and final Antichrist, I say, is bewitching; he is attractive; he is superlative in all of his ways and deeds. He is a very god of wisdom and of knowledge and of achievement. Look at him. And this beast, and this beast, the dragon, the angel of light [2 Corinthians 11:14], Satan, Lucifer,
The dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and his authority.
And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deathly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
…And they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like him? And who could make war against him?
Now, here is another private interpretation. I think, “I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deathly wound was healed” [Revelation 13:3], I think that refers to a political oblivion to which it was cast. He was killed politically, and then marvelously, unbelievably arose in power out of that deathly political oblivion [Revelation 13:3-8].
In any event, Satan gives to him the attractiveness, and the glory, and the beauty, and the fascination, and the bewitching power, all that Satan has and controls in his hand, he gives to this final political Antichrist [Revelation 13:2].
What an amazing and stupendous thing. And had I read this, as I study it now, when I was a youth I would have doubted that such a thing in humanity could ever come to pass. But in the days of my manhood I listen on the radio time and again to hundreds and thousands and millions of Italians crying, “Il Duce, Il Duce!” And on those same radio frequencies, I heard the Germans by the thousands and the hundreds and the millions cry, “Der Fuhrer, der Fuhrer!”
These are the most cultured, and the most civilized, and the most enlightened nations in the earth, and yet I saw with my own eyes the veritable worship of a crackpot Napoleon whose name was Adolph Hitler by the most cultured, and civilized, and educated, and trained of all the nations of all time. Therefore, when I read here in the Bible these things, I can understand how they could come to pass. You see, Satan glorifies that final political leader [Revelation 13:2].
What was refused by the Lord when Christ refused to bow down and worship that evil one, what Christ refused [Matthew 4:1-10], this man accepts [Revelation 13:2]. And the glory of the world and the power and authority of this whole political fabric shall be laid by the dragon, by Satan, at his feet, and he shall accept it, doing Satan’s bidding in return.
You see, I stood upon the sand of the sea, the raging chaos of humanity, that vast ocean of nations and peoples, and out of that raging torment, described by Daniel 7:7, this monstrous Antichrist arises [Revelation 13:1-10]. They all come like that. Out of chaotic revolution and massive turmoil, a Napoleon will arise over the wreckage of the great, bloody French Revolution. Out of it a Lenin shall arise; out of the social forces, the mass and stock of millions of people, Lenin rises, or a Hitler rises, or a Mussolini rises. They all come the same way; out of the raging torment of a mass of humanity, these social, political, revolutionary leaders rise [Revelation 13:1-10].
And at this end time, when Satan makes his last stand against God and God’s people in the earth, in a day of tremendous, indescribable chaos and revolution and turmoil, out of it shall this political leader arise.
That is why, for one reason, I think the opening of the first seal is the picture of the Antichrist coming bloodlessly, conquering and to conquer. He has the bow but no arrow, and he rides a white horse [Revelation 6:1-2]. He is acclaimed by the ten kings of the earth [Daniel 7:7-8]. He is accepted by the nations and peoples of this earth. “Hail!” This is the man that can bring us victory. This is the man that can speak peace to the warring masses of humanity. This is the man that has the answer to all of our social problems. This is the man who can bring us prosperity. This is the man who can lead us out and on and up. And he comes in as the savior, as the der Fuhrer, as the Il Duce, as the great leader of all mankind. He arises out of the turmoil of the sea, out of the masses of chaotic humanity [Revelation 13:1]. But the book also says that he arises out of the abyss [Revelation 11:7]. That refers to God’s knowledge of his ultimate character. This is that prince that shall make a covenant [Daniel 9:27], with Israel in which time they shall rebuild their temple. In the midst of that seventieth week in which he will break that covenant, and this last half of that ultimate and final week is depicted here, “There was given unto him…to continue forty-two months” [Revelation 13:5], a thousand two hundred sixty days. His time is short [Revelation 12:12].
But while he appears on the horizon, the entire world wonders after him [Revelation 13:3], and wonder is followed by actual worship [Revelation 13:4]. And he presents himself as the Lord God Himself [2 Thessalonians 2:4].
I can easily understand the meaning here in the Revelation, that is, I think I can. Here in the Book of Daniel he sees these kingdoms and their glory in the order of first, a lion and then a bear and then a leopard as Daniel looks at it in the future [Daniel 7:4-6]. Here when John is looking at it in the past, he composites it and turns it around, the leopard, which was last in Daniel, the bear and then the lion, which was first in Daniel, last here [Revelation 13:2]. That is, John is saying that this great final Antichrist is a composite of the glory and the wonder and the bewitching power and fascination of all of the glorious things of all the kingdoms of the past.
And I could understand that too. The great classics in human literature were produced in that ancient age, summed up in the glory of this coming Antichrist. The seven wonders of architecture, the Seven Wonders of the World were back there in that day, the golden majesty of a Babylon, the ponderous massive power of a Persia, the brilliance and scintillating intellect of a Grecian civilization, and the authority, and law, and justice of the Roman.
Sum it all up, a Nebuchadnezzar, a Cyrus, an Alexander the Great, a Caesar, a Charlemagne, put it all together, and you have here John’s picture, the composite of this great, final political Antichrist, this ruler of the whole earth [Revelation1 3:1-10].
Another thing about him, he is the archenemy of God and the great persecutor of the saints. “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them” [Revelation 13:7].
And summing up briefly, he takes the place of God Himself. He dethrones Christ. He is anti-God, anti-Christ, anti-Holy Spirit, anti-church, anti-everything holy and divine. And he himself assumes all prerogatives and authorities that belong to the Lord God Himself [2 Thessalonians 2:4].
And he is a persecutor. In the eleventh chapter of the Book of the Revelation he slays the two great witnesses of God in the earth. He does it [Revelation 11:7-9]. In the twelfth chapter of the Book of the Revelation, Satan uses him to persecute the woman and the remnant of her seed [Revelation 12:17]. And here in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of the Revelation, those that have not the sign of that beast on their hand or on their forehead are put to death [Revelation 13:15-16]. Those who oppose him are only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and they pay for that opposition in martyrdom. He is a persecutor.
And in those awful and trying hours, what does God have to say to us? He concludes this delineation, “If any man have an ear, let him hear” [Revelation 13:9]. God lays great store by His prophecies, that we might be admonished therein [Romans 15:4].
In the Book of Matthew, in the Book of Luke, the most stupendous and weighty and important of the sayings of our Lord were attended with those words, “If any man have an ear,” says Christ, “let him hear.” And seven times in the messages of our Lord to the churches, He says, “If any man have an ear, let him hear” [Revelation 2:1-3:22]. There is no added phrase here what the Spirit saith to the churches as there is seven times in chapters 2 and 3 because the churches are gone. The churches are gone. “If any man have an ear, let him hear” [Revelation 13:9].
Then what is it God would have us attend to? “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword shall be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints” [Revelation 13:10]. Look at what God is saying to us: “Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” Not in the days of the Saleucids when Antiochus Epiphanes fried on plates of iron, fried whole families. Not in the days of the bloody Caesars. Not the in the days of the horrible inquisitions of the popes. Here, hode, “here” is the patience and the faith of the saints.
As the Lord said, “When the Son of Man cometh, will He find faith in the earth?” [Luke 18:8]. So terrible that persecution, so horrible those days, is there one left who still clings to the faith of the Lord? Ah, yes, and the word of comfort.
First the judgment of God: “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword” [Revelation 13:10]. And the Lord said to Simon Peter, “Simon, put up the sword in its sheath,” when Simon cut off the right ear of Malchus [John 18:10-11]. He intended to cut off his head, and ol’ Peter was right handed because Malchus dodged that way, and he cut off his right ear. Peter intended to cut off his head. “Put it back!” said the blessed Savior; “put it back. They that take the sword shall perish by the sword [Revelation 13:10]. I have twelve legions of angels,” 72,000 angels, “at My command now that I could call on” [Matthew 26:51-53]. Just one angel in the days of Sennacherib killed 185,000 soldiers [2 Kings 19:35; Isaiah 37:36]. Put it up. Put it up. “He that take the sword shall perish by the sword, and he that leads into captivity shall go into captivity” [Revelation 13:10].
The seeds of destruction lie in the system itself, wherever it is found. God is then no different than God is now. The seeds of destruction lie inherent in any power that is coercive, that rules by force. Whether its communism in China, whether it is communism in Russia, whether it is communism in Cuba, this is the law of God; it is the judgment of the Almighty. The seeds of destruction lie in the thing itself, and when it is sown, those seeds of its ultimate dissolution are sown with it. “He that leads into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword” [Revelation 13:10].
This is the patience, the endurance, the hupomone, the endurance and the faith of the saints to believe that these things lie in the hands of God, and God will ultimately judge that which is evil and wicked, and make it come to pass gloriously for the glory of His Son and the exaltation of His children. And here is the patience and the faith of the saints [Revelation 13:10].
He has forty-two months [Revelation 13:5]. Always there is a limit that God hedges any tyrant, whether now or that is yet to come. He has forty-two months, as the Lord said, for the elect’s sakes those days shall be shortened [Matthew 24:22]. The number of any man who lives in violence is numbered. The days of any man is numbered.
And then finally, behind it all lies the sovereignty and the keeping of the Almighty God. Six times I have counted here of this Antichrist, six times of this beast, “It was given unto him…” “It was given unto him…” “There was given unto him…” “There was given unto him…” “It was given unto him…” “It was given unto him….” [Revelation 13:2, 4, 5, 7].
In the permissive will of God does a man storm in the earth, does a man violate God’s commandments, does a man oppress God’s people, in the permissive will. But He holds the destiny of history in His hands. He holds us in His hands. He holds the little babe in His hands. He holds the whole world in His hands, God. That is the faith of the saints [Revelation 13:10].
Now, immediately, while we sing this one stanza, somebody you, to put your life in the fellowship of the church, a family you, to come and to be with us, somebody you, to give his heart to Jesus, while we sing this song of appeal, this one stanza, will you come and stand by me? While we stand and while we sing.